Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's never too late to start afresh!

Wow, June 30th. The year is half over. I decided to look some things up and see how I'm doing so far this year...
  • Financially: well, the checking account is about the same as it was at the beginning of the year, so I guess we're doing okay there.
  • Physically: I'm 15 pounds heavier than when I started the year. Not good. Not good at all.
  • Spiritually: You know, I realized that I didn't set any spiritual goals this year. I didn't pledge to read through the Bible in a year, or memorize verses or read some hefty tomes of hermaneutics. I'm thinking maybe I should have!
  • Organizationally: I feel like I'm making progress. I've wrapped up some long-term projects that have been on my to-do list for ages. I still have a few lingering projects, but I'm not feeling as overwhelmed as I was at the beginning of the year!
So, with the second half of the year at my doorstep, it's time to turn things around. The recipe contest is over, so I won't be churning out treats like Pumpkin Streusel muffins and gluten-free Monkey Bread. Once I get past this weekend, my work schedule will lighten up a bit (the end of the month is always hectic with the church newsletter going out).

Love Food and Live Well: Lose Weight, Get Fit, and Taste Life at Its Very BestFor me, July is going to be a fresh start. I'm starting out the month reading a new book, "Love Food & Live Well" by Chantel Hobbs. I got it from the "Blogging for Books" program (I love getting free books) and so far, I'm really identifying with a lot of what she's saying. I almost cried at her story of not being able to buckle her seatbelt on an airplane. I remember when I'd lost 40 pounds from my highest, and tried to go on the Superman ride at Darien Lake. The seatbelt wouldn't buckle, so I had to get off the ride, after waiting in line for more than half an hour! I should be done reading the book within a few days, and will put up a book review blog.

My July Plan:
Get back to walking on a daily basis, and jogging a few times a week - get in at least 50 miles over the course of the month

Return to "clean eating" with only one cheat day per week

Get back to doing the daily assignments in the book "The Beck Diet Solution"

Have the long-time items on my to-do list (like opening an Etsy shop) crossed off

Get in at least 10 kettlebell workouts over the course of the month

Get back to posting in the Livefit Revolution forum on a daily basis (I need the encouragement from my friends there, and the accountability)

Now I need to go make myself a chart to plot my progress... I like checking off accomplishments!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Pain of Procrastination

I looked back a month, at a post I put up just after we got back from vacation. I said:
At the end of the month, I'm hoping I'll be able to say the following:

  • I'm back down to the lowest weight in more than 20 years
  • I don't wince when I look at the checkbook balance and worry if I can pay the bills
  • I have my Etsy store opened and I sold something! 
  • My blog made more than last month! (considering I made $8 in May, that shouldn't take much!)
Okay, let's check in on my progress... 
  • Instead of losing ten pounds, I gained five.
  • The checkbook has made some progress, but the credit card bill with charges from the vacation needs to be paid next week, so that will wipe out the checkbook again.
  • Etsy store still isn't open, and I only have four items ready to sell. 
  • My blog did not make any money so far this month... apparently you can lead a reader to a page, but you cannot make them click. 
I've still got five days left in the month, so rather than getting discouraged, I want to turn things around and end the month with a sense of accomplishment. Today, I wrote up an ambitious to-do list (where most of the items have been on my to-do list for the entire month of June), and I am attacking it with a vengeance. 

Hope, Help, and Healing for Eating Disorders: A Whole-Person Approach to Treatment of Anorexia, Bulimia, and Disordered EatingOne of the first items on the list is a book review. Back in February, I got a book called "Hope, Help & Healing for Eating Disorders: A Whole-Person Approach to Treatment of Anorexia, Bulimia and Disordered Eating" from the Blogging for Books programI've struggled with overeating and "stealth eating" for years, and was hoping that this book would help me get to the root of the problem.

Due to my procrastination, it took me more than a month to get around to reading the book. It's not a quick sit-down-and-read-it-through book. It's the kind of book you want to read slowly, with pen and paper nearby, taking notes, leaving bookmarks, maybe even writing on the front cover "turn to page ___ when you feel like going on a junk food binge!" 

The book deals with a lot of serious issues, helping the reader to get to the reason why she turns to (or away from) food. I like that way that the issues are addressed from a spiritual standpoint, giving Bible verses throughout the chapters, and ending each chapter with a "Spiritual View" discussion that helps the reader to focus on the issue from a Biblical standpoint. 

This book isn't a quick fix for disordered eating, but it is a valuable tool. If you read it slowly and prayerfully and do the "homework" in each chapter, it can help you break free from destructive habits.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hanging In There

My blog has been quiet for a while. I haven’t updated for a week. That’s not a good sign. You know that old saying, “If can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”? Well, I haven’t been doing well with my diet and exercise program, so rather than admit my slacker attitude, I went silent. I haven’t been exercising, and some of the bad eating habits are sneaking back into my life… habits that led me to the point of being more than a hundred pounds overweight.

Today was a turning point. I had a bad day at work. I was in tears, and couldn’t wait to get away from my desk. Unfortunately, there was still work to be done, and I was the only one left there to do it, so I stayed past my usual quitting time. Then I headed out the door to do some grocery shopping. The old habits were rearing their ugly head… thoughts like “You’ve had a bad day. You deserve a treat. Get yourself a bag of Peanut M&Ms or a pint of ice cream. That will make things better.”

Fortunately, it takes fifteen minutes to drive from work to the grocery store. I jacked up the air conditioning and the stereo. There’s something therapeutic about singing along with the radio at the top of your lungs, with the windows rolled up in the car.

By the time I got to the store, I had my head on straight. I stuck to my shopping list (for the most part… Bethany was happy to see that I bought her a few Edy’s single-serve milkshakes. There were on sale and I had coupons.) I didn’t get myself any of my “trigger foods”. We’re having grilled salmon for dinner – a nice, healthy dinner.

One song that kept running through my mind this afternoon was the old Amy Grant song “In a Little While.” It starts out with her talking about what a bad day she had, including a traffic ticket (LOL, I made sure I used cruise control this afternoon!) and dropping the mail all over the floor on her way in the door. The song describes how getting a letter from a good friend lifts her up and encourages her.

I hope that my blogs are an encouragement to others on the same road… whether you’re just starting to lose weight, or if you’re near your goal. Don’t give up. There are going to be days when you feel like you just can’t do it. The only way to fail is to give up. Turn the day around, and take a step in the right direction. If I can do this, so can you!
The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Gluten-Free Outback Bread!

It has been on my to-do list for months to make this bread:
Gluten-Free Outback Steakhouse Bread
Well, today was the day! I planned on making Jennie-O Turkey Italian Sausage with onions and sweet peppers for lunch, and decided that I wanted to have some gluten-free bread with it. I searched through my piles of recipes printed out from the internet and found the first page of the recipe... then had to go online to find page two. Such is life... it's always something!

Of course, I can never follow a recipe exactly. Instead of melted butter, I used vegetable oil. I didn't have instant coffee to put in, so I was going to use some powdered caramel coloring I keep on hand. Well, that didn't work out. The last time I used it, the powder had turned into a rock-hard chunk, so I chipped out what I needed, put it into a plastic bag and bashed it with a mallet until it was a powder again. This time, the powder had formed a hard, sticky solid that would not budge from the bottom of the jar no matter how hard I tried, so I poured the warm milk into the jar and sloshed it around a few times to get some of the caramel coloring.

One thing about making gluten-free bread: if you're used to making regular yeast breads, it's a whole new ball game. The consistency is totally different for a gluten-free bread dough. It's more like a thick cake batter:
I pulled out my English Muffin rings so I could make rolls rather than small loaves of bread. I didn't want them to stick to the bottom of the pan, so I used parchment paper and a good dose of cooking spray (Watkins, of course)!

Fox Run Set of Four English Muffin RingsI smoothed down the tops with my fingers (wet fingers work best, so I kept a bowl of water on hand and dipped my fingers after smoothing down each roll), and let them rise for a little less than the prescribed 90 minutes. (What can I say? I was getting very hungry!)

They turned out great! I think this was the best gluten-free bread I've ever had, and I will definitely make it again and again!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Movie Review: Field of Vision

Earlier this week, I got an e-mail offering me the chance to preview a movie that will be airing on NBC this weekend: Field of Vision. It tells the story of a young man who is the captain of his football team, the star quarterback. Just before his team heads to the playoffs, he discovers that his teammates (and friends since elementary school) are bullying a new team member. He faces a difficult decision: if he tells the coach about the bullying, his friends could be suspended, and be ineligible to play during the big game, which means a certain end to their championship dreams.

I had a chance to watch the movie yesterday, and while I enjoyed watching it, and cried at the ending (hey, I cry at the ending of most movies), I don't give it my full approval. You know how in the letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation, there would be commendations and then the phrase "nevertheless, I have something against thee." That's the way it was with this movie. It has a lot going for it:

  • It shows a traditional family, with a father and mother who care about their children. The kids in the family (a high-school boy and a young girl) actually get along with each other. 
  • There is no offensive language or sexual content that would keep you from viewing this movie with your whole family. The only violence is one scene where some of the football team are bullying the new guy. They have a brief scuffle and some heated conversation. There's no bloodshed or anything like that, just a big guy looking and sounding mean.
  • The movie is all about making the right choices, and several of the characters do just that. It's good to see a movie where people stand up for what's right instead of taking the easy road.
Okay, now the part that bothered me. The description of the movie describes it like this: "mysterious footage captured on an old malfunctioning video camera." To me, it seemed more like the video camera was more like a crystal ball, showing characters glimpses of the past and future to guide them on their way. It seemed to give the movie a bit of a creepy aspect to me. I'm okay with magic in fantasy movies like "The Chronicles of Narnia" or "The Lord of the Rings", but when you mix a supernatural element into a current-day movie, it raises a red flag for me. It probably won't bother most people, but I wanted to mention it.

Facebook movie trailer

Overall, it was a good movie, and most families will enjoy it with no reservations. It premiers tomorrow night (Saturday, June 11) at 8 pm on NBC.

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Beck Diet Solution, Day 2

So far, so good. I have to admit that last night, I was having problems with wanting to sneak a snack after dinner, but after reading over my list of reasons why I want to lose weight, I toughed it out and resisted the snack attack.

This morning I read the next day's chapter in The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person. Today's assignment was to decide what diet I will be following. The book talked about how going on a diet that is too strict can backfire, as you get cravings and feel deprived, so go off the deep end. I can relate to that. As a result, I decided on Phase 2+ of the LiveFit Revolution eating plan for 4 days per week, and counting calories (1,800 per day) for the other 3 days. "2+" is my own concoction... LiveFit has Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3... I add a couple of Phase 3 items (brown rice tortillas and hummus) to the Phase 2 plan to make Phase 2+. It has worked for me before... I'm sure it will work for me again!

I decided to sit down and calculate my calories for today, since I was having a special breakfast of gluten-free waffles with Nutella on top. When I opened my diet software on the computer, I realized that I hadn't updated my date on the program for quite a while, so I did that. Then I realized that when I bought the software more than a year ago, it came with calipers for determining body fat percentage, and I'd never used them. Well, since I had two girls at home to help with the calipers and the camera, I decided to go ahead and check out those measurements, too:
Candy, aren't you glad you fixed your hair for this picture?

I need to get back to 5K training to trim down my legs!

I think it's good to have the numbers to show my progress. There are weeks when the scale doesn't show much of a loss, but I might see a change in the caliper readings. 

Time to get off the computer and get in some exercise! 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Getting Back On Track... With Beck

So, it's Friday. We got back from vacation on Sunday. You'd think I'd be back into my routine by now, eating healthy again, getting in my exercise. Nope. I'm still in vacation mode. Still having dessert just every  night, like I did on the cruise. Still saying I'm too busy to get in my exercise.

Last night, I had a chance to sit in on a live chat led by Shay Sorrells, former Biggest Loser contestant. The chat itself was pretty crazy, with dozens of people in the room, phrases getting repeated, and several people "talking" at once. A couple of things that Shay said stuck with me, though. She said that we need to change our mindset, and not see it as a "diet" that we go onto and off of... or as a race with a finish line. It's a lifelong journey. She also said, "If you're not going to do this for yourself, nobody will!"

It was pretty late when the chat ended and I dragged my tired bones to bed. As I stepped into the dark bedroom, I thought about how I have routine down for quietly getting ready for bed. Ron has usually been asleep for an hour or two by the time I come to bed, so I tiptoe in and get ready for bed without turning any lights on. The Lavender Aromatherapy hand lotion that I always put on at bedtime is always on a certain corner of the dresser, so I can find it in the dark. PJs are under the pillow, so I can find them easily. Last night, there was a glitch in my routine, though. When I pulled off my sweatshirt, the hood or a sleeve bumped a picture frame off the nightstand. The frame clattered noisily to the floor as I winced. I whispered "sorry" and tried my best to finish up my routine without any more crashes.

As I lay in bed, thinking over the day, how badly I'd done with my diet that day, and the things that Shay said in the chat, I realized how illogical my thinking can be. I start out the day with a healthy breakfast, then sometime in the afternoon, I tend to give in to temptation. Then, the "oh, I've gone off my diet, so I might as well enjoy this forbidden food and start fresh in the morning" mentality kicks in.

I don't let that mentality kick in for other aspects of my life. Take my little mess-up with knocking the picture frame off the nightstand. I "went off track" by making noise when I was trying to be quiet. As soon as I messed up, I apologized and went back to being as quiet as possible. I didn't throw my hands up in the air and yell, "Yippee! I can make as much noise as I want tonight, and tomorrow I'll get back to being quiet when I come to bed!" (Maybe that's why we're still married after 25  years!)

When I got up this morning, I spent some time reading The Beck Diet Solution again. It's a great book, and very helpful... but it's like being back in school again. I've skimmed through the book a couple of times, but haven't done it "by the book" yet. In order to really benefit from it, you need to do the assignments. The book is set up for a 6-week course, where you do writing assigments most days, and review those assignments on later days. Today I wrote up a list of the advantages to losing weight, and I need to review those advantages on a daily basis, especially when I'm facing temptations.

So, this time I'm going to go through the book day by day, doing the writing assignments and reviewing them as prescribed. I typed up my list of the advantages of losing weight and set up to have them e-mailed to myself every day by

Here's one of the quotes from The Beck Diet Solution that really stood out for me this morning:
"If you can identify the triggers that evoke sabotaging thoughts and lead you to eat in unhelpful ways, you can minimize your exposure to them or change your response to them."

My goals for this 6-week course: to follow Shay's advice and change my mindset to that of a person committed to a healthy lifestyle, with healthy eating and regular exercise!

I'll keep you informed of my progress!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Happy Thursday!

Today was one of those mornings when it just seems like everything is coming together. As I sipped a delicious cup of chai this morning (one Cocoa Chai teabag, one Vanilla Chai tea bag, sweetened with Stevia and a touch of chocolate almond milk to add creaminess), I had to smile... because, a few days short of my 50th birthday, I can say for the first time in my life, "I have a glue gun and I know how to use it!" LOL, I've been doing crafts for decades, but never had a project before that needed hot glue. A few weeks ago, I found a pattern for a flowered headband that I wanted to try making for sale on Etsy. First I needed to get the glue gun, get the headbands, and check out online instructions for a new crochet trick (the magic loop). All those pieces came together, and this morning, I finished up my first headband. I'm one step closer to opening up my Etsy craft shop!
Good thing I put down newspapers! I dripped a lot of glue!

The finished project

I got to work on time, and remembered everything I needed to bring with me: mail, shopping list, lunch, purse, cell phone, camera... I even remembered to put in earrings and check the shelves in the basement for cranberry sauce (got it, no need to add it to the shopping list). We're having a turkey dinner tonight, one last big family meal before Candy's all-too-short summer break ends. 

I think we finally found the reason why my computer kept crashing (a faulty power cord), and moved the broken-up mat from under my office chair, putting in a new one. 
I'd say this should have been replaced a long time ago!

I'm making good progress on crossing stuff off my to-do list, and feeling quite organized this morning! So, I hope you're having a Happy Thursday too! 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Gluten-Free Fruit & Nut Scone

I'm not sure what the reason was... maybe I'm feeling like I'm not completely ready to commit to my diet again after vacation. Maybe I was still feeling deprived, after a week of seeing all sorts of pastries, danishes and muffins that I couldn't eat on the cruise, because they weren't gluten-free. Whatever the reason, I really wanted something baked for breakfast this morning.

I started looking for the recipe I made once before for Gluten-Free Scones. The last time I made them, I had some dried tropical fruit in the pantry that the girls didn't care for, so I tossed that in with some pecans, and made a delicious tropical scone. Rooting around in the pantry this morning, I found some dried pineapple and decided to make a Pineapple-Almond Scone.
First, I had to find the recipe. That was a bit of a challenge. I looked through the pile of "recently tried and waiting to be tried" recipes on the kitchen counter. Nope. I pulled out my notebook with photocopies and computer printouts of gluten-free recipes. Of course, I started in the back of the notebook, and the recipe I was looking for was the first one at the front. The first ingredient was "gluten-free flour mix," and my supply of that was depleted, so I had to go through the notebook again to find a recipe for mixing up more flour. By the time I refilled my big glass jar with a blend of flours (rice flour, sorghum flour, cornstarch, potato flour and tapioca flour), the kitchen table was a mess of flour!

I got them all mixed up and popped the scone into the oven, then got ready for work as they baked. I noticed that my shorts were covered in flour, too. I was going to toss them in the laundry, but then I remembered that I need to make "real bread" for the  rest of the family tonight. I guess I'll get them a little messier before washing them.

The scones were delicious, and as I was driving to work, I was thinking of what other dried fruit/nut combinations I could do: Cherry/Almond, Date/Walnut, Apple/Pecan.

So, here's my recipe. The next time I need it, I'll know right where to find it!

Gluten-Free Fruit & Nut Scones
2 cups gluten-free flour mix
1/2 tsp Stevia Extract (or your choice of sweetener to equal 1/2 c sugar)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
6 Tbsp cold butter
1/2 c chopped nuts
1/2 c dried fruit
6 oz Dannon Vanilla Greek Yogurt
1 egg
1-2 Tbsp water

Combine the flour mix, Stevia, baking powder, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum in a bowl. I prefer a wide, shallow bowl since I'm using a pastry blender. Add the butter and use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour, until the bits of flour & butter are pea-sized or smaller. Mix in the fruit & nuts. Beat the egg in a separate bowl and add the yogurt to the egg, beating until well blended. Mix into the flour mixture. Mix until it all comes together, adding a little water if necessary. Turn dough out onto a greased cookie sheet and press into a circle about 1" thick. Use a fork to score the dough into 8 pieces. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.