** Amber's Belly Fat Cure Shopping List - Download or Print HERE **

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

And the winner is

The lovely Lori is the winner of my repurposed Altoid tin! Lori shoot me a message and let me know what initials you would printed on it. I will fill it with Stevia in the Raw packets, which my current sweetener, so it will be ready to go!

Stay in touch over on my Facebook group The Belly Fat Cure by Jorge Cruise. There is lots of good, positive interaction and advice going there daily.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all! My heart and thoughts are with the families of Newtown, CT these days. Hugs and Kisses, Amber

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Don't forget to enter my giveaway! Just leave a comment HERE to enter. I won't be blogging much in the new year, so this is a little parting gift from me :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

She's Crafty and Giveaway

I have been all about the crafts this holiday season! My goal was decorate the house with supplies I already had, but in new and different ways. I also wanted to recycle/repurpose some of the items I've collected. That includes old Altoid, coffee and cookie tins and glass bottles, from pickles to kumbucha, I could use to package gifts and also place around the house. (Altoid and kumbucha are great low sugar snacks, and are the only diet mention in this post!) At the bottom I have a cute giveaway I wanted to share with my readers! I perfect little purse tin to carry your stevia packets (or bandaides, safety pins, hairbands, etc) in.

I am fascinated with chalkboard paint and script right now. I decorated these little tins for the kid's teachers and will fill them with fun candies lined with the red and white chevron paper. I'm no artist, but I really wanted these to look pretty. I put the teacher's initial on one side and holly and berries on the other. I decorated a coffee tin for myself. You can always erase it and write something new. I used spray chalkpaint for this project and followed the directions.

This was my favorite project, making icicle branches. I used glue, small branches, and clear vase filler (the "icicles", purchased from Michaels). I had the hubby cut off small branches from an over grown tree in the side yard. They were sticking over the deck, so this was a two for one! I trimmed them up on the bottom, snipping off everything on the bottom 10 inches or so. I laid one branch at a time over a big tote lid (to catch the extra "icicles") and painted the everything except the bottom 10 inches with a thick layer of glue. Then I poured the clear vase filler slowly over the glued areas until it was well covered. They turned out great! I mixed them with artificial flowers that I already had in a big vase and put it on my mantel. These are really pricey to buy, especially if you want to use a lot of them in your arrangement.

These are my glitter pine cones and I LOVE them! The funny story is that I was determined to use "found pine cones", not store bought. So I bugged my friends to see if they had any in their yards. Everyone said no, but the store was selling the cinnamon kind... Then a friend mentioned on a certain side street she had seen some. It is a along a new running route I had been using for my Half Marathon training, but I'd never seen pine cones, but sure enough when I drove by, there they were! My mind is apparently occupied with just breathing while I run, because I must have stepped right over them. On the down side they had a few tiny spiders and other weird things in them. Ha! A little glue on the tips and a sprinkle of glitter and they look great in my big Apothecary jar I got on sale for $15.

I also made two of these mini garland trees. I bought two poster boards and folded and taped them into a big cone. Then I took some unused garland and hot glued it around the big cone. I placed them on either side of my fireplace. Kind of boring, but a little project I wanted to try, since I'd seen these at the stores for about $25 each. It cost me about .50 since I just needed the poster board.

And I LOVE my glitter vases! I painted an old kumbucha bottle with glue and sprinkled a really pretty iridescent glitter all over it. When it was dry I painted on good layer of modge podge over it all, so the glitter wouldn't flake off and leave a glitter trail everywhere. I display this pretty vase on a shelf and put flowers in it. I also made a few with friends from old pickle jars that are perfect for candles.

And the giveaway! Leave a comment or tweet about this post to win the red and white chevron tin. I will add the winners initials or name to the top! Or you can choose the glitter top box (the glitter doesn't fall off since it has a clear modge podge layer on top). Winners choice, both handmade by me!

These are repurposed Altoid tins and are perfect for carrying little things in your bag or keeping your car. I use mine to keep stevia packets in my purse. I'm thinking of a way to man these up, to use as small storage in the boys backpacks too. I love these little things!

To enter: Leave a comment, tell me what you would put in it! You can also tweet about this post with a link back to my blog, just leave a 2nd comment that lets me know and @meandjorge in the tweet. I will choose winners on Wednesday Dec. 19th at noon, so make sure to check back or leave a way to contact me.

Monday, December 10, 2012

LCHF - Low Carb High Fat Eating

I just added the ability to get my blog posts via EMAIL, if you are interested.

Jimmy Moore is the king of Low Carb blogging, IMHO, and I finally caught up on his posts on the Livin La Vida Low Carb blog. He recently started testing his blood ketones and upped the fat content in his low carb meals. Sounds nuts right, MORE fat? I've always thought of myself as a low fat/low carb dieter, even though I use coconut oil and real butter daily. But I was looking at ways of shaking up the Belly Fat Cure (making minute changes to the plan, but still sticking with it since it obviously works for me) and what could be keeping my sister from losing more weight each month. I downloaded the book Jimmy recommended (Low Carbohydrate Performance, just $6 from Amazon on Kindle) and ordered my own blood ketone tester! w00t! That's right, I'm going to start testing my blood sugar and ketones to find out exactly what foods are affecting ME. Not what a book says I can eat, or another blogger, or Dr. Oz. I'm going to test and find out for MYSELF. I am actually really excited by this and patiently waiting for the tester to arrive. Sorry, little fingers, but your gonna get pricked.

This has been my big meal each day for the last week... it centers on eggs (which I don't love). But the high fat content has kept me feeling full for so long each day, that I'd say this is my only "real meal". The rest are really mini-meals or a light snack. Just to clarify, I'm not a Doctor, Nutritionist or "weight loss expert". I'm just gal trying to figure out how to maintain my weight loss for life. These meals are right in line with Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure and Fast Track plans, so it wasn't that different.

Two eggs, sour cream, sausage patties, raw kale
Two eggs, diced turkey, sour cream, hot sauce, avocado
Two eggs, sour cream, ground sausage, avocado
Two eggs, ground sausage, hot sauce, sour cream, avocado
Two eggs, hot sauce, sour cream, avocado
Jimmy was also the recent target of online bullying, where photos of his weight loss progress were turned into a cruel video and posted on YouTube. Beware, weight loss bloggers, bullies abound! Anyone who tries to lift themselves up by pulling others down is a loser in my book. Weight loss, especially if you are obese, can be a life long struggle with health issues most of us cannot understand. I applaud Jimmy for his success and being honest in his success and failures, and for sharing it all with us. None of us are perfect.

Monday, December 3, 2012

1 Year, 100 Pounds: Month 11 Weigh In

Yay December! And it’s gorgeous in Oklahoma – a sunny 73 here today. December 1st snuck up on me! It’s been a great month for me. I’m really enjoying the new me. Starting to try new things with my new body – here’s me taking my sister-in-law’s convertible for a test drive. I was really nervous about fitting in it!
So this month, I’m down 1.2 pounds, still making progress! Amber and I are talking about making some changes and I’ll let her talk about that. It’s funny, I’ve been asked a lot lately – about what I’m going to do after the first of the year. The big answer is – keep losing weight! I will stay wheat-free as it really has seemed to make a huge difference to me in things that aren’t just weight related. I’ve had osteoarthritis for several years, and you should be well acquainted with my feet problems. And while I still have issues, they have been alleviated on my Wheat Belly diet.
I’m SOOOO glad I’m well on my way and well “planted” on my plan during the holidays. Thanksgiving was quite easy. Just no stuffing and I’m not a pie-eater. I made a great “riced” cauliflower dish that I made a nice cheese sauce for and baked. It was yummy. I did grab a pecan that fell off a piece of pie and enjoy that. I think about all that Christmas candy and cookies and the miserable feelings I would have after partaking in all that. I respect myself and simply know it’s not something I do any more.
Thanks again for everyone for your support and encouraging words. I encourage YOU to renew your dedication to YOUR health and remember what’s really important to you during the holiday season. Have a GREAT month!

1 Year, 100 Hundred Pounds is a series written by my sister Misha (read her full story HERE). Her battles and journey are different than my own, but I thought my readers could relate to her story. We came up with the idea that should could break up her weight loss into monthly measurements and concentrate on the long term, instead of instant gratification. My role is to just support her, where she needs it. Not to nag, correct or scold. Just to be here for her. I that puts her at a total of 54.5 pounds lost so far, that is awesome! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Crockpot Cinnamon Chocolate Almonds

Last winter I made Spicy Cocoa Roasted Pecans and I thought it would be fun to try a new recipe. I've also been firing up the crockpot a lot lately and decided it would be a great way to roast nuts! I love making anything in the slow cooker and how it makes the house smell.

I looked around and found a few recipes that I could adjust enough to work on a low sugar plan like the Belly Fat Cure or Paleo. Basically that means removing all sugars! I was SHOCKED at the amount of sugar the recipes all had. Cups of sugar, brown sugar and powders sugar! I skipped it all, but I'm pretty much over sweeteners at this point. *You could add a few packets stevia sweeteners or xylitol if you needed it sweeter. Paleo eaters could add a little Maple Syrup if wanted.

Crockpot Cinnamon Chocolate Almonds

  • 3 Cups Raw Almonds or other nuts (not roasted or salted)
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp Raw Cacao (regular cocoa will work too, but this is better)
  • Sweetener*
  • Big Pinch each of: Pumpkin Pie Spice, ground nutmeg (any other favorite spices)
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • Sea Salt (regular salt will work too, but this is better)
Heat your crockpot on high for about 15 minutes, with only the butter. Once the butter has melted add the nuts, stirring until they are coated with butter. Add all other ingredients, stir well, and cook for another 15 minutes on high. Turn the crockpot to low and cook 2 more hours. I gave them a good stir every half hour or so.

Once it is all done and removed from the slow cooker, I sprinkled with sea salt to taste.These will make a great hostess gift or small friend gift for the holidays! One of the craft projects I've been obsessed with lately is reusing old tins. These old coffee tins, painted, glittered or stencil, will be great filled with Cinnamon Chocolate Almonds! Cute, right?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Birthdays and Racing

This have been a really busy week! My oldest son is turning 11 (seriously, WHERE did the time go?) and I ran my 4th Half Marathon (w00t!). But stupidly I did them all the same weekend, and I'm tired and sore.
Nice race shirt and finishers medal

My 4th Half Marathon was the Big Sur Half in Monterey Bay, just about 90 minutes from where I live. Luckily my good friend has family with a home there and we were able to stake out there for the for the night. I've been diligently training for this race, putting in the hard work each week, so that I can enjoy the race and not struggle through it. But my girlfriend was having a fabulous running day and we started out too fast for me. I was unable to keep up with her pace and we separated around mile 4.5. I was actually worried something was wrong with me, my heart was racing so fast. But once I was on my own, I found my pace and did fine. In the end I finished in 2:18:06, best time yet by just a few seconds. It is SO strange to me that I have finished all my Half Marathons within a 5 minute rage. No matter how bad or great the race was, I seem to do the same time. Weird.

My recovery afterward was the easiest so far. Just sore thighs and back. Ibuprofen solves everything! With this race done, I am going to concentrate on those dastardly 8-10lbs I've been carrying around for the last few months. 

Instead of a specific theme for my son's the birthday party, I did "Archer's Favorite Things". So we had a little dance party, went the Myth Busters Exhibit at the San Jose Tech Museum, played a little Minecraft and a few other of his favorite games and tucked in with a movie for a sleepover. Ugh! 10-11 year old boys are a handful. I had baby photos out of him and his baby photo album. I had several of his favorite treats too.
The Family
I also have the crafting bug. I have been obsessed with repurposing metal tins. Here are a couple of the Altoid tins I've redone. I'm obsessed! You use them as a little first aids kits, or earbud storage, whatever, in your purse or the kids backpacks. They are the perfect size for gift cards too. Obsessed.

I won Becky's giveaway, which is so sweet! At first I was going to ask her to draw again and pick another reader, but then I thought I'd LOVE to try this cool butters! I'm allergic to peanut butter so I'm really looking forward to it. If you don't already read her Becky's Belly Fat Cure Blog, please click on over and say howdy.

If you need some Thanksgiving ideas for staying true to the BFC, click HERE. You can do it! I will counting my S/C Values along with you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pumpkins and Bras

Sorry I haven't blogged much lately, I don't have much to say diet-wise that I haven't already said. But I thought I'd do a little catching up. An old habit when I see a photo of myself is to instantly critique my appearance.  In this photo I go right to my hips. I'm curvy and I'm never going to be stick skinny. But I went and checked the tag on those pants and was unreasonably happy they were a (snug) size 6. Much better than the curvy size 14 I was wearing a few years ago. My weight is still up a little, I am not at my low weight. I am not thrilled with that, but I realize my weight is going to fluctuate.

My oldest son is only an inch away from being the same height as me! We have a lot of fun deciding on a theme and putting together Halloween costumes. We really like Halloween in my household. My boys are still obsessed with Minecraft and dressed up as a Creeper and Honeydew this year. We have a (another) Minecraft themed birthday party next week. It feels great not to be tempted by cake and party treats - in fact it feels very freeing. (This is what I do with the kids' excess Halloween candy)

Backyard chickens are all the rage here in Northern California. As long as they aren't roosters, which crow, they are allowed and provide fresh eggs each day. The same friend even dressed up her hen in a Halloween costume! How cute is that? My grandparents raised chickens, but they were mean and pecked you when you gathered the eggs. These backyard chickens are total pets and let the kids hold and pet them - along with providing breakfast. I'd love some backyard chickens, but the Husband has nixed that idea.

I also went bra shopping recently. I noticed with my yoga classes and girl's weekends that other women have  pretty bras. But my own are more Large Marge Workin' Hard type bras. I need a minimizer and everyone else seems to wear these padded, cute and colorful bras. The bras I buy come in three colors: beige, white and black. Period. Macy's had their buy 2, get 2 free sale on several different brands so I spent a sweaty hour trying on scratchy bras until I found four I liked, that also fit.  I settled on the Bali Passion for Comfort Underwire Minimizer and bought it all three colors it comes in, plus a strapless. Then I came home and threw away my old bras. Did you know that your cup size changes when change the band size changes? So if you are a 36C, but the band is too loose, you should try a 34D not the 34C like you'd think. HERE is a great site for figuring out your proper bra size.

On another note, I am turning off anonymous comments since Im getting spammed to death with them. Please use the Name/URL option if you don't have an account!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

1 Year, 100 Pounds: Month 10 Weigh In

Hey! It’s November! Such a very busy time of the year for everyone. A FULL-ON PRESS of holiday-after-holiday; so many ready-made excuses to eat out of control. So – it’s cooled off a bit in Oklahoma..a couple of days have dipped into the 30’s (it will reach 80 today!). This did mean COAT weather. So…COATS.. I hate coats. They don’t fit me; they make me too hot; they’re too bulky; I usually can only button the neck button...it’s just a big reminder of how being overweight SUCKS. Last week, the cold came and I mindlessly got out last winter’s coat and it was very odd. My upper arms didn’t get stuck as I slipped it on. It zipped; it snapped; it buttoned; it fit. In fact, it was too big! Oh yeah – I forgot to mention – I lost 3.2 pounds this month, for a total of 53 pounds since January 1st. YAY! <insert celebration dance here!>
I’ve mentioned before that my son is the top high school marching band in the nation, and we leave to defend our title in Indiana at the Bands of America Grand Nationals Championship on Wednesday. This is his senior year – and they won state again last weekend (11th consecutive year!) Can you tell I’m proud? Anyway, the contest is three FULL days at the NFL COLTS stadium, so NOTHING but concession food is available. What a carbfest that is! But with some planning, I think I’m good to go. I’ll have protein bars, string cheese, jerky and shakes stuck in my bag. I’ll refill my water bottle over and over again and eat smart at every turn.
Our 72 year old dad had a heart attack a few weeks ago. He’s doing great now; in fact going on the Indy trip with us. This event was life altering for him and really drove home the importance of making yourself a priority. Amber and I were talking this morning about this, about how we both are seeing the need to just treat ourselves perhaps like a diabetic would. Diabetics have to put their nutrition ahead of everything else. They have to be prepared and make sound decisions regarding their health and eating – it’s a matter of life and death. Why did it take me so long to see that I am virtually in the same predicament? I have a condition, that if it goes unchecked – I’ll be checking “out” too soon. And I don’t want to. I am loving my life; enjoying it so much more now.
And while I do have a much more to lose, I no longer see this as my weight loss plan. This is simply - how I eat now. January 1st is coming soon for the end of my “big year” weigh in. But I think it will just mark the beginning of the rest of my years, and mark my re-dedication to my life and my family. This is the body I’ve been given and the nurturing and caring of it is my first priority. After that, everything else …is a snap! ~ Misha

1 Year, 100 Hundred Pounds is a series written by my sister Misha (read her full story HERE). Her battles and journey are different than my own, but I thought my readers could relate to her story. We came up with the idea that should could break up her weight loss into monthly measurements and concentrate on the long term, instead of instant gratification. My role is to just support her, where she needs it. Not to nag, correct or scold. Just to be here for her. So proud she reached the 50lbs milestone!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Three Years on the Belly Fat Cure

This is my three year anniversary on the Belly Fat Cure! That is a long time to be on a diet, right? You might think that if it was so successful, then I wouldn't need to "be on a diet" anymore. But I am determined to keep my 53 lbs off, and that means I'm still on a diet. Forever probably, but I'm just concentrating on getting through today.

I started this blog on the very first day that I started Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure and can't believe I am still doing it! I was just going to give it a go for 12 week class I had signed up for. I have said it before, and still believe it to be true - it was easier to lose my weight than it has been to keep it off. While losing weight you get that weekly reward at weigh in, and people complimenting you and new clothing. You know at some point it's going to end. But with maintenance it is different. I see now my "skinny friends" who made it all look so easy, are really working at it all the time. They are working out and watch what they eat at every meal. Of course a few of them are just naturally thin, but mostly they are working at it and that was news to me!

Here is my best piece of advice: Don't cheat.

If you really are hungry, have more of a food that is allowed and go over your S/C Values of 15/6 with those foods. When you cheat with high sugar or high carb foods, you bring those tastes and cravings back into your life and it takes will power to fight them back off again. Cheating even a little bit, makes staying on the plan really hard. So do yourself a favor and don't cheat. Who are are you cheating? Yourself.

I love this old song by Alanis Morissette and I think it really speaks to where I am in life right now. It's not perfect, but it's pretty darn good. I'm broke but I'm happy, I'm poor but I'm kind, I'm short but I'm, healthy, yeah. I'm high but I'm grounded, I'm sane but I'm overwhelmed, I'm lost but I'm hopeful baby. What it all comes down to Is that everything's gonna be fine fine fine.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

1 Year, 100 Pounds: Month 9 Weigh In

Hey – Happy Fall Weather everyone!  A big sigh of relief from this part of the country.  We’ve enjoyed a few days in the 70’s and 80’s and a bit of rain, so Oklahoma may escape another dustbowl era! Time for walks, soups, hot tea and new resolve.

So today I start my TENTH month without a whiff of wheat, while I follow the Wheat Belly diet – and 49.8 pounds down since 1/1/12! I really wanted that 50 pounds, but it will come. And so will 60, and 75, and 100 and more. For the month of September, that’s 1.8 pounds.

What am I eating?  I’m eating lots of protein and veggies. I eat raw pecans and almonds for a quick snack. I love a good sharp cheddar cheese…cold or melted on protein. I include a salad every day and usually a protein shake for breakfast. Omelets with mushrooms and any leftover veggie on hands are usually the star on a weekends. I love grilled, baked and sautéed chicken. I even fried “naked” chicken breast and shake on some kind of seasoning (like Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning or Hidden Valley Ranch mix ) and dip them in blue cheese dressing.

How many calories do I eat? I don’t know. When I do track, it’s under 1000 calories, with most of it coming from fat. My carbs are generally between 20-40. But again, you’ve heard me say it before, that’s what I like about Wheat Belly. I have a list of foods that I can eat – I eat just them. And for the most part, I am satisfied with smaller portions and simply do not get hungry. In fact, while I was typing that… I don’t really feel like they are smaller portions any more.

Do I exercise?  I don’t. Not really. I want to, but my body just isn’t there yet. I bought some resistance straps that I use with my feet and Achilles and try to work that in every night and morning…just for survival’s sake. So I can walk from the parking lot to my car. I want to walk. I want to ride a bike – stationary and …regular. I do want to make that a priority. I’m just afraid of hurting my feet and ankles…and…I hate to say something negative about me…but I am lazy when it comes to exercise.

How much longer can I go wheat/grain free?  Definitely through the end of the year. Bread is almost off my radar. I have this weird craving from time to time for of all things… a kraut dog with mustard… Hasn’t haunted me much this month, and yes, I have sauerkraut and wieners from time to time, and even squirt some mustard. But dangit… sometimes, you just want to eat a hot dog!  I ate a bunless burger with a salad today with my husband. I order mine without, he does not, but takes off the bun. He’s afraid of being judged or doesn’t want to say..i’ll have the same. Soooo he always has a stack of bread or buns on the side of his plate. Today, we were in Fuddruckers which REEKS of fresh-made bread, but I’m over it. But I have to admit, it was overwhelming. After I was done with my patty and salad, I picked up a bun and sniffed it. It didn’t have the same intoxicating smell that the baking bread had. I thought it was funny. It was like, you know, you could come in here and just sip and water and smell all the bread you want to. Because the bread itself, doesn’t smell anymore like the baking bread than a glass of water does. Does that make sense at all?

Am I going to have a bread gala on 1/1/13? Absolutely not. I have treated this diet like flour/bread is a drug or alcohol. I’m afraid that the first bite will send me spiraling down a binge I wouldn’t recover from. Actually – if I really stop and examine it all now, I don’t think that I would. But for now, it’s a somewhat healthy scare that does its job. In fact…I ventured out a bit this month.

Now I don’t really want to say I conducted an experiment, but let’s just say I turned it into one. I’ve talked about my chip addiction and how chips are my kryptonite. Did I mention that it’s fall and fall means football, and football means marching band, and that means concession stand, and I am a band parent that runs the fast concession window in the state. Sooo.. wow..so many temptations and really, just no Wheat Belly friendly foods. We start popping the popcorn about 5 and shutdown the windows around 10. The first game was absolute torture. By the second game, I ate a really nice chicken salad and iced tea and took a frozen protein shake in with me. Fully satisfied, but I kept thinking about that chip rack stationed in front of me and was simply obsessing about it…I’m taking 3 days after the game.  Without disclosing all the chip fantasies to you, I decided that I would simply buy a snack sized bag of chips and eat them. I did.

So what happened? Nothing. I ate them, they were uber salty; actually made the corners of my mouth burn and they didn’t last very long. My stomach seemed a little …wonky… bloated or something for a day or so and I really didn’t like the experience. And that was it.
So what did I learn?

  • I am in control.
  • Potato chips are not as good as a parmesan crusted chicken breast.
  • They are definitely not worth losing my plan and confidence over.

So here I am, teetering on the edge of 50 pounds gone. Planning my meal before this Friday’s game (and oh by the way, Saturday is an all day event at the stadium, so I will be packing a lunch and a dinner.) Feeling just really good about my sense of well being. Nothing really sexy, but confident. I have a sense of calm as I start October. November and the holidays are just around the corner and I’m totally ready.

I will be attending the Parade of Roses on New Year’s Day. My son’s marching band (The Pride of Broken Arrow) won the National Championship last year and was invited to march at the parade and in Disneyland. So I will be celebrating this year in style. I think back to this last New Year’s – where I committed this year to a total makeover, and it’s happening. Not as fast I was wanted, but it is happening. Amber found a neat sign on Pinterest that I printed out and have displayed in in my office. It says, “IN A YEAR, YOU MAY WISH YOU HAD STARTED NOW.” I like to look at the sign and say, “not me…I did start!”  If you haven’t already committed, don’t wait until next Monday, or next month or next year. Commit to plan now that will make your life better.

Have a GREAT October!

1 Year, 100 Hundred Pounds is a series written by my sister Misha (read her full story HERE). Her battles and journey are different than my own, but I thought my readers could relate to her story. We came up with the idea that should could break up her weight loss into monthly measurements and concentrate on the long term, instead of instant gratification. My role is to just support her, where she needs it. Not to nag, correct or scold. Just to be here for her.

I am so proud of her for sticking with it, even when she doesn't meet the arbitrary goals we made up. If she ends the year at 5lbs, 20lbs, 50lbs or 100lbs lost then it was a success. I know she feels so much better, and that is what really matters most.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fifty Shades of Sweat

My boys are back in the school groove, but for some reason I'd swear I have less time for myself than I did this summer. But being busy is good. Being busy means less time to think about food. I had a an incredibly stressful month, but I think I am managing better now. My weight is up, but I bet it is just the toll of so much stress. I'm doing all the right things, so it should even out.

I got a great Groupon for Bikram Yoga and signed for 20 classes with a few girlfriends. I have wanted to do this for ages, but I nearly didn't survive the first class. They keep the room 110 degrees and the classes are 90 minutes long. I have never, in my entire life, sweated as much as I did during the first class. A river of sweat ran off my body and plopped onto the mat! I remember laying on the mat, soaked and wondering, WHY is my heart pounding? It's just yoga! The second class was much better, I was dressed more appropriately and I knew what to expect.

In Bikram Yoga you do the exact same 27 moves in every class. You do each of them twice, in a short series. The worst part is that it can be a little smelly in the yoga room with all those people sweating and in close quarters. Today I could totally tell the older man behind me had eaten loads of garlic at lunch. Barf. (The first time the place smelled like feet. Turns out I prefer feet smell over garlic breathe.) While my mom was in town I decided yoga would be a really good stress reliever, so I'm going to give it a good honest try.

I also went a on Girl's Weekend down to Santa Cruz and just had a beautiful time. I'm new to this Girl's Weekend thing, but it was so nice to spend a relaxed day with lovely ladies on the beach. I discovered that everyone and their church going sister is reading Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. I had read the first chapter free on Amazon months ago and wasn't drawn in. But I decided to download the Kindle version of this silly book and really enjoyed the author's interview on Katie Couric's new show this week. Have you all read this?!

The family and I are jumping in the Prius on Thursday and heading down to LA for a long weekend of Disneyland and Universal Studios. This will be my third trip to Disneyland on the Belly Fat Cure, and I think I have it figured out. First the first time ever I made reservations there, for the Blue Bayou and Wine Country Trattoria's World of Color package. We usually end up leaving property for dinner, to seek out a cheaper option. But that always just wastes lots of time and doesn't seem to save any money either.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

BFC Week with Mom

I just had a great week with my mom visiting us. The first day of her trip she decided to switch from WW to BFC with me. I was totally doing the Belly Fat Cure before mom came to visit, but this made me super aware of everything I was eating. Tracking in such detail and explaining each meal to her really helped. For example, I found I cannot have a full serving of oatmeal (3/4 Cup) if I am having it with my morning coffee. The fiber supplement and cream I add to my coffee put my carb count over 2 servings. Did I already know this? Had I forgotten it? I know that might sound like a really minor detail, and what does a few measly carbs here or there matter. But I think I am very sensitive to carbs and that it does matter for me. So I cut back to 1/2 Cup of my oatmeal if I'm having my nice coffee with it.

Here is a little of what we ate this week:
Steak Taco - La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious
Introduced my to my favorite BFC Tacos - a staple of my diet. She has a hard time find the the La Tortillas Factory Smart and Delicious tortillas. I showed her different packages and explained why these are the best. Other brands, like Mission, have artificial sweeteners or no fiber at all even if their carb count is okay.

Grilled chicken and zucchini fauxcini alfredo
Our favorite dish all week was Chicken from the The Food Lovers Make it Paleo, cookbook which we grilled up! I made her my fake Fettuccine Alfredo and she loved it too. She couldn't believe it wasn't noodles!
Refine Mojitos on Labor Day
A fun little Stevia sweetened cocktail on Labor Day in the sun. We also took my 72 year old mom to play her first game of Laser Time, to mini golf and the water slide.
Evening Snack - Whipped Cream & 2 pieces of dark chocolate
 I think mom and I  both licked the bottom of our bowls when we had a few squares of dark chocolate and a little whipped cream. We all piled into our bed with the kids to watch Pirates Band of Misfts, because strangely our best TV is in our bedroom. Which makes it a little weird when we have guests....
Afternoon snack - sliced cucumbers, tzatziki and hot tea
 I introduced mom to a fun snack of thinly sliced cucumbers that you use like chips. I like it with all sorts of dips, but had tzatziki that day. We sat out in the sun and both read novels and had a cup of chamomile tea.
Chicken Enchildas with La Tortillas Factory Smart and Delicious tortillas
This was my mom's Sassy Enchilada recipe that I BFC'd for us. I left out most of the stewed tomatoes and used the right tortillas to get the S/C Value down for us. We served it with a spinach salad and it was really filling.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

1 Year 100 Pounds: Month 8 Weigh In

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone! I can't believe how this year is flying by. I am SO glad I decided to make a life altering change 245 days ago. That means there are 110 days left in this year, but it will not be the end of my journey. What I've finally come to understand is, this is really not a temporary change I've implemented to lose weight. This is my life. I am changed. Will I ever go back to eating flour, grains, sugar? I really don't think so, or definitely not a normal part of my lifestyle. Before I go into my new philosophy, let's get to the weigh-in!

This month, I've lost 2 pounds. That's 48 pounds down since 1/1/12. I sure was hoping to get past the 50 pound mark, but I'm pleased that my new lifestyle still yields a loss. I can't tell you how much personal pride I've gained in knowing that I have the strength to carry out a plan I put in place 8 months ago. I have such resolve and confidence; I control what goes in my mouth; food doesn't "happen" to me any more. What an odd little victory this is!

I actually allowed myself to think about planning a binge this weekend. I really entertained the idea. I tried to justify it by thinking, I deserved it, or it may be what I need to shake things up, or who would know... While all this started and ended within about a 3 minute timeframe, it scared me. That used to be my pattern. Do great on a diet, lose weight, hit plateau, binge, start over. Then I received a newsletter from Geneen Roth, author of Women Food and God, and this month's topic was called, "The Secret to Change." It really spoke to me about my relationship with food:

"Take the next step: Remember that the more time you spend ignoring the food-and-weight problem, wishing and hoping for it to just go away, the less time you spend developing new attitudes, behaviors, and habits that will change it.  Decide whether you'd rather keep lamenting your relationship with food or create a new way of eating.  And then decide what you're going to do about it.  Because wishing and hoping won't change a thing.
Finally, I decided instead to invest my time and energy in acting on a positive vision of myself  the sane, powerful me I sensed was waiting in the wings.  Every day I would wake up and feel the pull to go back to what I had been doing before:  dieting, bingeing, agonizing.  And every day, I would tell myself that change was possible and that I was following a new plan;  I was eating when I was hungry, stopping when I'd had enough, and keeping a written track of my food intake, hunger levels, and feelings before and after I ate.  After a few months of paying attention in this way, my relationship with food permanently changed.  Not only did I lose weight, but I began to believe  because I experienced it directly  that I was worthy of self respect, and that left to my own devices, I would not chomp my way clear across the United States.  In brain language, I'd been consistent and focused with my attention and I'd repeated the same new behaviors over and over; I'd given my brain a chance to develop new pathways, new habits.  And I've never gone back."
You can read more or sign up for her newsletter here:    http://www.geneenroth.com/?s=news001

Well, I didn't mean for this to turn into a commercial, so thanks for indulging me. This just really spoke to me.

I made a lot of the improvements that I set out for August. I made little grated zucchini, ham and cheese "muffins" for breakfast for about 10 days. They were a great idea. I ate breakfast all but about 2 days. I've been using resistance bands for some stretching exercises. I did track a couple of days, but I think I'd like to do this the first week of each month, just to validate. I really don't stray much from my food list and I really don't like thinking about food/calories/points. I like feeling hungry, eating, stopping, still feeling a little hungry and moving on. My only non-approved diet pop was actually last night at the high school football game when they ran out of water; I had a diet Pepsi. I did have a few of crystal lite drinks this month, but have cut back on them. Mostly drinking water or tea. Overall, it was a great month for me.

September is here and I'm ready to take it on. These days are mine for the taking, the changing, and the reaping. Take charge this month before the holidays roll around and take charge of you!

Thanks for listening....... Misha

1 Year 100 Pounds is written by my sister Misha who is on a journey to lose 100 lbs this year. She started Jan. 1 with a goal to lose about 8 lbs a month. Her issues with weight are very different than mine and she is 10 years older than me, but I thought my readers could really relate to her and she can definitely use the support. You can follow her weigh-ins and full story HERE

Friday, August 31, 2012

Oh Mother

My mother is visiting us from Tulsa for a week, and is enjoying our much cooler weather here in Northern California. She does Weight Watchers, but like I've mentioned before, she has done a dozen different diets in her lifetime. She is doing Points Plus with Simply Filling, which sounds totally confusing to me.

Introducing my mother to the wonders of Paleo
But for the week she is with me, she is going to the the Belly Fat Cure! Wahoo! She hasn't lost anything since April and she goes weekly for the weigh-ins and has really been following the plan. But we were sitting here talking over breakfast. Her with with her Cheerios and milk with coffee, me with my my Pumpkin Oatmeal, thumbing through Make it Paleo. So I just asked "wanna do my diet while your here?" and she immediately said yes!

So we are entering our food into My Fitness Pal right now, comparing our breakfasts. This is Mom's WW Breakfast. She had coffee too, but forgot to enter it.

(* Just added the screen shots from My Fitness Pal. Both of us had forgotten or misentered foods)

We are making Pg. 118 of Make it Paleo for dinner tonight, Buffalo Wings with drumsticks instead of wings.  This is a beautiful book with great recipes. Many have to adjusted for sugar content if you are trying to lose weight on a few of the recipes though.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


View of West Terschelling village, harbor and lighthouse

My sister-in-law lives on the Dutch island of Terschelling, in the North Sea and we were able to spend a few days with her this summer. It is such a cool island, long and thin, with a wide beach that covers it's entire Northern coast. Terschelling is part of an island chain off the part city of Harlingen.

We spent one day riding bikes around the island, racing a huge thunderstorm home just before dark. It was actually a lot of fun to spend a hours with my son on a tandem bike. He talked the entire time, telling me stories about school and his favorite computer game (Minecraft!). I'm not the most skilled bike rider, so I was a little nervous on the big bike. The Dutch are practically born on a bike, but I has really gripping those handle bars.

Many of the homes and buildings on the island were built from lumber washed ashore from shipwrecks. There are hundreds of shipwrecks surrounding the island. There is a great museum filled with items washed ashore or salvaged around the island. The island is a few miles wide and 15 miles long, and I really wish I had brought my running shoes. But it was perfect to explore by bike. During certain times of year at low tide you can even go Mudflat Hiking, or Wadlopen, and actually walk from the mainland to the island via the tidal flat. The Husband did this a few years ago, and I didn't go because I didn't think I was in shape to do it. It was before I lost my weight.

The entire Northwest coast of the island is one long wide beach. It was pretty empty when we were there in mid-July, since August is really vacation month in Europe. Terschelling is considered a low-key vacation spot, mostly for campers. No big fancy hotels here. Lots of Dutch and German high school students arrive by the boat full as part of school trips. Did I mention the drinking age is 16 in my last post? Steer clear of any cafe marketed "Disco" at night - that is key word for drunk children as far as I'm concerned. That was the only negative thing I encountered our whole trip. Maybe it is just my age, where that sort of thing really annoys me.

I had seen these boats used as houseboats in the canals in Amsterdam and other Dutch cities, but I had no idea they could sail on the ocean! They were beautiful and we passed many on the two hour ferry ride to the island. Terschelling also has several bomb shelters from WW1 and WW2 that the boys loved to explore. There is also a very large square light house that is supposed to be the oldest lighthouse in the Netherlands, built in 1594. But it looked awfully modern to me, and I'd guess it has been rebuilt. But it was just outside my sister-in-laws top floor windows and made for a beautiful view at night.

It was along trip to get to Terschelling and who knows if we will make it back there again. But the kids loved all of it and it was wonderful to spend time with family. As far as food goes on this part of the trip, I cannot even remember eating! We were so busy and active, seems like we had lots of coffee and beer! Eggs for breakfast and sausage and cheeses midday. But I don't remember being hungry or thinking of food at all, which is a change for me.

Thanks for your sweet comments on my last post! I am working through each of the things on the list instead of wallowing in frustration and indecision. I am happy to report that my pool nolonger has algae (or at least it doesn't today), we decided to rent our home in Denver again, instead of selling it (thanks to recent neighborhood foreclosures) and I have booked Skyler's 8th bday party at a local waterslide. Check, check, check. School started this week for the kids and trying to start new habits for the kids and myself right off the bat!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

That's the Stress Talkin

Well it feels like summer just started, but my kids are back to school on Monday. We had a wonderful laid back summer with a perfect, once in a lifetime trip! I have to say, I really do have a blessed life and have no right to complain... however...

The planets must be aligned poorly, or the moon must be in a disturbing phase, because I swear that everything that can go wrong lately has! Okay, that is totally not true and I take that back. Several more things could possibly go wrong and I don't want to tempt the fates.

I get to beta test lots of products for the Hubby's employer, which is usually fun. But last week they recalled the ChromeBook I've been using for months and then my old laptop decided it was mad at being ignored and died. I had given my old desktop to my son, since I was swimming in laptops, and he is loath to give it back to me. Plus HOW is he supposed to play Minecraft if he gives me back the computer? I don't know.

In the meantime the accelerometer on my smartphone broke, and it doesn't know up from down or North from South. And it thinks the screen is being touched all the time. Which means basically, nothing works except the phone part of the smartphone. It lost its smarts. It's possible I dropped it. Again.

Somehow I ate something with peanuts snuck into it and my face is broken out with two dozen painful pimples. That is why I'm covering my face in the photo - you don't want to see it.

The woman who rents our home half way across the country has lost her mind and gone completely crazy. She thinks of new ways to threaten us and ideas to sue us for every few days. Some days it is actually funny, but most days it is not.

Our plan to finally sell that house, once crazy has moved out, was foiled by the house across the street selling in pre-foreclosure for 100k less than we paid for ours 12 years ago. When my real estate agent told me nearly four years ago when we moved, that it would take longer than this for the housing market to improve, I'm pretty sure I laughed and I certainly did not believe her.

We are growing a weird yellow "mustard" algae in our pool. It grows on the surface and stinks. An algae treatment and three straight days of shock *might* have killed it. Fingers crossed.

I haven't really recovered from the minor surgery I had in June. Some days are fine, some days I take the max ibuprofen allowed.

A friend talked me into being on the PTA board. Basically she sweet talked and flattered me (ps. that is how to get me to do almost anything). Don't ever let someone talk you into being on a PTA board, is my advice now. School starts next week and, well, let's just say it hasn't been fun. (If you are reading this and are a Mom from my kid's school, I'm totally lying, and it's been a lovely experience ...those were tears of joy)

My son's birthday is just over a week away and I haven't planned his party or sent invites.

My best friend moved to Hong Kong. Last summer my best friend moved to England. I sense a pattern.

The weird thing is, I really don't like how I react to some of these issues and I'm questioning myself a lot. At 43 I can see how annoying my behavior is and how much I really want to change it. I am very passionate about things I truly care about. But I see how it can come off as irritating to others. And WHY do I get so stressed, when others can just let things roll off their back? If you read this blog, you know I am not a complainer and I'm revealing tons of stuff that should not be discussed on the intranets. Think positive Amber, think positive! I'm going to pull out Eckhart Tolle's New Earth ASAP and read it from cover to cover. I need some enlightenment.

On a positive note, when I logged on to write this post blogger said I've had over one million pageviews! The Hubby quickly popped my bubble when I told him and said "You got that many today?" No not today stupid, do I look like Perez Hilton? That is total, lifetime pageviews. Argh.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Netherlands

I married a foreigner, which means I "get" to go to Europe more often than most. My in-laws live in the Netherlands, which most Americans refer to as Holland. (Technically Holland is a region of the country) One of our favorite things to do is go for a long bike ride out in the farm lands. The Dutch love their bikes, and it is totally normal for adults to ride their bikes to work, out to restaurant or shopping. Needless to say, there were plenty of family bikes around for us to borrow. It is so flat, the biking is easy. For the most part we were on dedicated bike paths or farm roads with little to no traffic, so we don't have to worry about the kids. We packed a little picnic and the hubby told us stories about his town as we biked. We went for miles, but the kids really loved it and it was really relaxing.

But I won't lie. After a week in Holland, my butt really hurt from all the bike riding.

You see the craziest bikes in Holland! Here are just a few of the custom bikes we saw. They have these big buckets attached to the front, or sometimes the back, of the bike that they carry things in (kids, dogs, stuff). We once saw a wedding procession completely on bikes, chasing the bride and groom in a weird tandem bucket bike. Instead of honking their horns, they were all ringing their bikes bells... we were sitting at a cafe when they went by, and nobody else even batted an eye at it. I was like "Is that normal" to which the Hubby responded "What do you mean by normal?"

Smoked Herring and Eel are a Dutch delicacy, usually sold at roadside stalls in seaside towns, or at the weekly market. The eel is pretty good actually, but I could do without the herring. The Dutch eat a lot of potatoes and have a dozen words for the different ways you can prepare them. The language lessons for the kids usually center around potato words "aardappel, patat, frites" and playing with their cousin's that don't speak English.

It wouldn't be Holland without lots of working windmills, right? Modern windmills and ones that are hundreds of years old dot the landscape. We made up a little song "I see a Molen, a Molen, a Molen!" for whenever we spotted one. 

Flowers are pretty cheap in Holland, lucky for me! I celebrated my 43rd birthday on our trip and my Mother in Law decorated the house for me! The Husband bought me a big bunch of roses (which apparently aren't sold by the dozen there, but by the 10s) and my MIL got me a beautiful little arrangement.The family took me to Afternoon Tea at my favorite place way out in the country at an old farm house. We sat outside and sipped tea and ate finger sandwiches for a few hours and decompressed.

I find the Netherlands to be such a dichotomy. How do you separate the beautiful countryside and farms, from the Red Light District and relaxed attitude toward "soft drugs"? They set the legal age recently for purchasing beer at 16 and hard alcohol at 18. There is a whole cafe industry setup to cater to 16 year old partiers - which seems crazy to me. But there is much more to the Netherlands than you see in a city. You have to get out to the countryside, where the landscape reminds me so much of my grandparent's farm in Kansas. 

I tried to skip the bread and potato dishes and just stick with proteins and salads when possible. Although cheese, sausages and coffee were abundant. Since I am in maintenance now and not in the losing stage, I was a little more lenient on the trip. Thanks for letting me share my vacation with you! Next up I'll share our visit to the Dutch island of Terschelling in the North Sea.