Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Kinda Get It Now

I've struggled with my weight all my life even during "thin" times when it wasn't obvious. I would watch other people lose weight and maintain their weight loss and I always wondered how they did it. What were they doing that I wasn't? What piece of the puzzle was I missing?

I think I'm slowly beginning to understand what I was missing. Earlier this year, I began my weight loss program with a low calorie diet because it's what I knew; it's what I had done before. That was the problem. In the past I had focused entirely on losing the weight without trying to understand why I gained the weight in the first place. For me, the missing piece of the puzzle was admitting to myself that I was an emotional eater. Nothing earth shattering, but it was a revelation nonetheless. I had to admit to myself even though I said I was a Christian, I had been taking my problems to the refrigerator instead of to God. Ouch.

Admitting that I had a problem was only the beginning. However, once I admitted my problem and examined my past behavior, I became more open to the fact that I needed a new weight loss approach. Simply put, I had to stop dieting and start learning how to eat sensibly. Enter calorie shifting (also called zig zag dieting, ironically). It's working for me and more importantly, it's a plan that I can live with because I'm not on a diet - I'm making a permanent lifestyle change. Do I have days when I slip up? Yeah, I do. Like today, for example. But the beauty of it is tomorrow is another day...and best of all, it's a preplanned high calorie day!

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I Lost Two Turkeys

The scale says 168 this morning. Wow, that means I've lost 41lbs. (I updated the Weight Loss Journal with a new photo.) That's two Thanksgiving turkeys. That's alot of weight, folks. I could just pinch myself because I can hardly believe it. This means I only have 23lbs to lose. Onward and downward.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Smartphone Plunge

I went ahead and finally did it - I took the smartphone plunge. It's not that I completely hated my dumbphone; I didn't. And it's not that I was completely enraptured by the smartphones; I wasn't. I like the new, shiny, sparkly electronic gadgets as much as the next person. I really do. However, while I do think iPhones and other smartphones are cool, I was simply unwilling to pay the extra money for data plans each month. In other words, I'm way too cheap to pay for stuff that I know I won't use.

The cheapest iPhone plan from AT&T would cost me $55 per month. That would include 450 rollover minutes, DataPlus 200MB, and $0.20 per text (sending and receiving) and $0.30 for video messaging. In other words, a bare bones plan with a 2 year contract. I hate contracts. Their pay-as-you-go smartphone plans using Android phones would end up costing me $60 per month. Compared to my $20 per month no contract, dumbphone plan with Virgin Mobile, I decided the extra $40 per month was not worth it.

When it came time to add more money to my Virgin Mobile phone, I took a second look at their website. Holy crap, where have I been the last couple of months? For $25 per month (no contract) their Beyond Talk plan includes 300 talk time minutes, and unlimited messaging, data, web and email. Say what? That's right, you heard me: unlimited messaging, data, web and email. If you need more talk time, there are other options. Since Virgin Mobile was acquired by Sprint, VM uses the Sprint network. Suddenly, the world of smartphones seemed affordable. Both hubby and I purchased the LG Optimus V Android phone. It has been alot of fun. Is it a high-end phone? No, it's a middle-of-the-road phone. But, it does everything I want it to do.

That's not to say that everything went off without a hitch. While my husband had no problem swapping phones, I wasn't so lucky. However, once I got a tech on the phone who was willing to take the time to solve my problem, I was up and running within 40 minutes. If you're considering upgrading your dumbphone for a smartphone, or you're tired of plans with a contract, just know that you have other affordable options.

Update 7/25/11: Virgin Mobile has since increased their prices for the Beyond Talk plans. The cheapest Beyond Talk plan is now $35 per month. Still a good deal in my opinion.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

BFD - May '11

May's BFD was going to be last week, but hubby was out of town on a business trip. The only available night for this week just also happened to be Open House for the kids' schools. So, for this month, breakfast for dinner was a relatively light meal:

Bread Pudding with Apples and Cinnamon
Fresh Sliced Strawberries Topped with Vanilla Yogurt

Yeah, I know we had strawberries last month, but hey, it's strawberry season! Anyway, on to the bread pudding. Call me gauche, but in my mind a bread pudding is like a french toast casserole; or a dessert alternative to cornbread stuffing. Whatever the case, bread puddings are fairly simple to make: cubes of bread combined with an egg/milk batter, or custard. (As an added bonus - the above link to the bread pudding recipe contains a video from start to finish.)

Don't let the directions scare you - especially regarding the water bath. The video shows a fancy roasting pan that's used to put the 9x13 bread pudding pan in. I don't have a large roasting pan, so I had to use a pan that came with my old oven and it worked fine. Seriously, that is the hardest part to making this recipe, other than making bread cubes. I used one loaf of french bread. Normally, I make my own french bread (sounds kinda snotty doesn't it?), but I was pressed for time so I had hubby buy two loaves of el cheapo french bread.

I decided to forgo the raisins, but I did peel and dice two Granny Smith apples; then I mixed them with some cinnamon sugar and stirred them into the bread cubes. The next step is to pour the custard mixture on to the bread cube mixture and pat down the bread cubes. When it was baked and fresh out of the oven, I let it cool for 10 minutes and then I dusted it with some powdered sugar. Yum. If this is your main meal, then it will comfortably serve 6-8. If it is one of several dishes, then it could easily serve 12. Since this was such a hit, I will definitely make this again. Maybe next time I'll look for some sort of caramel and pecan custard. Or chocolate chips.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Goodwill Hunting

So, the size 12 (ahem) jeans of which I spoke in the previous post only cost me $6.99...at the Goodwill. That's right, you heard me, at the Goodwill. The Goodwill of today is not the Goodwill of my long ago childhood.

You see, when I was a kid growing up in the 70s, it seemed like all of the thrift stores (Goodwill, Salvation Army, whatever) were in reality the final resting place or burial grounds, if you will, for all of the weird, pathetic rejects from the 60s. Or 50s. Or 40s. And I'm not talking about "vintage clothing" here. I'm talking about the stuff that would make you turn your head and say, "What was their mama smokin'?"

Nowadays, though, it's almost kind of chic to shop at the Goodwill. Or at least, in my circle it is. I only have to look at the piles of nice clothing that I've donated to realize that other people are doing the same thing. Shopping at the Goodwill stores of today (or at least the ones in my area) is almost like shopping at Ross or Marshall's. If you are willing to scour the racks and go on a frequent basis, you can find some real bargains amidst the junk. This is good to know because when I do reach my final goal weight, and if I actually make it to a size 8 (wink wink), I know that shopping at the Goodwill can provide the transition clothing that I am too cheap to pay full price for.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Vanity, Thy Name is Bulls#!t

I can honestly say that I haven't felt this good in a long time. I started off the year wearing a size 18 and I'm now wearing a size 12. Wow. I'm finally out of the "women's" sizes and into the regular sizes. That should be a great feeling, right? Baloney.

You see, I've been a size 12 before - like 20+ years ago when I weighed in the comfortable 140ish range. I'm at least 25lbs heavier than I was back then and you can't tell me that I wear the same size jeans! In fact, at one point I got down to 135lbs and I was a size 10. And you mean to tell me that I'm a size 12 now? Please. There is a name for this monkey business and it's called vanity sizing.

Cosmopolitan magazine is not on my To Read list, but while searching online about vanity sizing, I came across this article in Cosmo, "Vanity Sizing: The Insanity of Size 0". As I was reading, I noticed a couple of sentences that explained the reason behind this sizing discrepancy:
Some time in the past several decades, designers tapped into a bankable truth: Women tend to feel better and buy more when we fit into a smaller size...Enter vanity sizing, where designers add extra inches of fabric to clothing without changing the number on the tag.
Huh. You mean people actually lie to themselves and want to be lied to? Go figure. (That's one of the reasons why I bought a pedometer, BTW.) I don't know about adding extra fabric, but I do know that Spandex is a vanity sizer's best friend. If you click on the picture you'll notice that the jeans contain 2% Spandex. That 2% makes all the difference in the world; without it, I doubt very seriously that I would be wearing size 12 jeans.

On the bright side: does this mean that when I reach my goal of 145lbs that I'll be a size 8? Or, dare I hope - a size 6! Wow! Golly, I've never been a size 6 or 8 before! The closest I got was a size 10...and that was weighing 10lbs less than my current goal weight. :-)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Who Writes This Crap Anyway?

I read my news online. I can't remember the last time I picked up an actual, honest-to-goodnes, real live, big name newspaper. Sure, we get the local paper delivered for free, but I can't honestly say that I read it. The San Francisco Chronicle used to be my newspaper of choice back when I was in college...like two decades ago (cough); but even now, I read that online.

While I have some fond memories of reading the morning paper with my morning coffee, I can honestly say that in this case I prefer online news reading for a couple of reasons: instant variety and reader comments. With just a few clicks of the mouse I can go from reading the SF Chronicle to the New York Times to the Los Angeles Times and then over to the BBC with a final stop at the Onion. If I'm feeling really lazy, I head on over to the News section of All My Faves and just click the icons of my favorite news sources. Virtually no typing. All of this I can do in the same amount of time it would take to hunt down one newspaper, come home, and make some coffee. Seriously.

My second reason for preferring online news to print news has to be the reader comments, hands down. Sure, the newspapers have letters to the editor (yawn), but they can't compare to the instant off the cuff comments. Part of the fun for me is trying to pick out the trolls and the innocent folks who get their undies in a bundle and get sucked into the trolls' comments. I also like reading comments like, "Who writes this crap, anyway?" or "This is what passes for journalism these days?" Dude, if you didn't like the article, why did you bother taking the time to comment...unless of course, you didn't read it and you're trying to start something.

BTW - I like comments, too. And just in case you're wondering who writes the crap on this blog: I do. I write the crap on this blog.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Speaking of Showers

What? Don't look at me like I'm a freak. I'm not the only one who takes a shower in the buff.

I've come to realize that the easiest and most practical time for me to clean the shower is when I'm taking a shower. Seriously, it makes sense if you think about it.

Try scrubbing at awkward angles and then try to rinse the shower walls and door while simultaneously trying not to get your clothes wet. It's asinine, unless of course you have clothes that are specifically designated as shower cleaning clothes. I figure since I'm already in the shower I don't have to worry about getting water on my clothes. Hehe. I can easily scrub the walls, the door, and the floor while my conditioner is working in my hair. What? Don't look at me like that.

Oh, and I love the Lavender Comet, by the way. Well, "love" may be too strong. How about "really like"? I really like the Lavender Comet. It's not so much that it eliminates the regular Comet smell (it doesn't); it's just that after the Comet scent assaults your nostrils, the gentle scent of lavender comes right behind it to soothe your nostrils. Yeah, OK, it's just a cleaning product, but it does smell better than the original. So, the next time you're in the shower...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Another Milestone

Of course I'm talking about shampoo! What did you think I was talking about?

There comes a time in every boy's life when he realizes that he doesn't want to smell like a baby; or heaven forbid, like a little kid. He realizes that the shampoo he's been using all of his life is no longer acceptable because it contains names like Wild Watermelon or Orange Mango Outburst. No offense to Suave. It's hard to pinpoint when this realization happens, but based on our household's experience I'd have to say that it happens around puberty. I could be wrong, but I'm fairly certain that's when it happens.

It all started out innocently. My oldest son asked if he could use our shower because I was helping his brother to shower in the other bathroom. He took his usual kid shampoo, body wash and towels into our bathroom and used our shower. Afterwards, I noticed that all of the shampoos and conditioners in our shower had been used. Even mine. Really? This went on for a while. Then it graduated to "Daddy, can I use your shampoo?" This happened fairly recently, like within the last four or five months. When asked why he didn't want to use his shampoo he said, "I like the way yours smells better."

Now I buy shampoo and conditioner for me and two bottles of men's shampoo - one for my husband, and one for the boys to share. Yes, even my youngest son now uses the big boy shampoo. Since we're not shampoo snobs, we generally use the Suave shampoos. In the past, I have used fabulous shampoos from Leonor Greyl and my husband has used Molton Brown. (And yes, there is a difference both in performance and quality; if anyone says otherwise, their head is somewhere other than on their shoulders.) As much as I enjoyed those high-end products there is no compelling reason for me to squeeze the budget to continue purchasing them. So, it's the grown-up Suave shampoo for everybody in the house. Finally, another milestone.


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