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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.  

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Keep Cool and Carry On

My Mother sent me this photo and I had to share it. I think really shows her adventurous spirit. My family lives in Oklahoma, which has record breaking heat (it was 116 yesterday) and fires. She decided to cool off in a 100 gallon  gardening tub, her makeshift hot tub.

She has tried every diet known to man, and it seems like she has been on a diet her whole adult life. I grew up playing Barbies on the floor in the back of her Weight Watchers and Overeaters Anonymous meetings. When I was a teenager she lost about 70 lbs on a liquid diet and I can still smell the warm chocolaty scent of those Cambridge drinks. It still makes me gag. She kept the weight off for a long time, but eventually it crept back on.

Today she is recently retired and determined to get her weight off. She is back at Weight Watchers because she finds the weekly meetings really useful. Even though our diets are very different, we support and encourage each other nearly every day in some way. She is about 13 lbs from her goal weight and been stalled there for a while. She is trying the Simply Filling to lose the last few pounds.

Who knows, maybe in the heat she will melt off a pounds.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

1 Year 100 Pounds: Month 7 Weigh In

Happy August everyone! This marks the end of the 7th month that I have been following the Wheat Belly Diet. It also marks the first month that I’ve been somewhat disappointed in my weight loss; only 1.2 pounds for this month. So, let me get all the negativity out of my system. Waaaa. Ok.. I’m over it.
That’s a total of 46 pounds since 1/1/12. Yes – I’m behind my goal. Do I know why? Not really. I still can boast that no wheat/no flour/no grains have passed these lips for the duration, but I have become a little relaxed. These are the things that I’m going to work on for August.
  • I have made it a habit to have only coffee/cream for breakfast. I think I need to step it up to plan and prepare better. (Send me your suggestions for quick and easy wheat free breakfast ideas for a working mom!)
  • I have allowed artificial sweeteners to sneak back into my life. Wheat Belly allows the natural ones (Stevia and Xrythitol) and Splenda. I have allowed ANYTHING, mostly in the form of those little Crystal Lite and Walmart brand flavor stix that you add to a bottle of water. I have had a couple of cans of diet soda that are sweetened with other things too. And while I don’t believe that this has caused any weight gain, it may jack up my sweet cravings, but I just crave another bottle of peach tea or lemonade. So I need to knock that off.
  • Tracking – I hate tracking. That’s one of the biggest reasons I like this diet. Just a list food I can and cannot eat. It’s a control thing with me too. And I don’t like thinking about my food. It makes me hungry. Amber wants me to track, mostly, (I think) so she can validate that I’m on track. We’ll talk about it.
  • Exercise – I hate exercise… Ooohh…more negativity… (I hate negativity! ;-P) And it’s oppressively hot here! 112 yesterday and today… But..my achilles and feet have been really good this month, so I’ve been thinking about just walking around inside my office building. Still get a twinge when I go up or down stairs, so just flat surfaces for now.
Here’s the good news – I am not depressed about my small loss this month. I’m not falling into the usual – “woe is me, no matter what I do, I just can’t lose weight.” I like the progress I’ve made. I’m proud of it. I claim it. It’s made some huge differences in my life…physically and mentally. I’ve had some neat things happen at work, my clothes are fitting nicely (and I’ve bought a few new things). I fit into chairs, and cars and booths with much less effort. So I think I’m on the right track.
Of course, I hope that July was just a slow month for me and that August will show my progress on the scales. I’m going to do everything I can to reach my 100 pound goal ..which is yikes… almost 11 pounds a month for the next 5 months. Regardless, I already feel successful and I can envision myself, in a time not so far away, in smaller clothes, a more fit body, but with my same big smile.
Have a great August everyone, and thanks for all your support!              ……………………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