Tuesday, June 28, 2011


During the month of June, my weight has fluctuated between 168 and 170. Today, the scale said 169. Four whole weeks I've been on this roller coaster. There are two ways I can look at this: 1) I can get mad and frustrated because I've hit a plateau all the while forgetting that I've lost 40lbs; 2) I can be happy over the fact that I am capable of maintaining my weight - even if it's unintentional. I am happy that I've lost 40lbs and I don't ever want to gain it back. I am glad that I can maintain my weight now because it proves that once I reach my goal weight, I'm capable of maintaining it.

That being said, while I'm happy to have lost 40lbs, I'm not satisfied with staying where I am. So, I've decided to walk one extra day per week. I started out walking three days per week. Then I bumped it up to four days per week. I've been walking four days per week for about 4 months; and while I've slowly increased my walking time, I think my body has gotten used to that. I can easily walk 5 miles each day. Today I actually walked 5.6 miles. So, starting yesterday, I'm going to walk at least 5.25 miles for 5 days per week.

Next, I think it's time to seriously look at the nutritional components of the food I eat. One good thing about Calorie Count is that it has a nutritional analyzer for the food that you log. It lets you know if you're eating too much or not enough of something. The picture to the right shows my nutrition report for Monday. Since I retain water like crazy, it's time to get serious about controlling my sodium intake. I'm not too concerned about calcium or vitamins because I take supplements. Still, it couldn't hurt to increase those by eating more fruits and veggies.

I'll post an updated photo in the Weight Loss Journal later today. Currently, there's no one around to take a picture of me and besides I have to shower after my walk. Hey, maybe it's a good time to clean the shower. Hehehe.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

En Garde!

Parents of special needs children often feel as though they are en garde, or on guard as we say in the non-fencing world. I guess one could argue that most parents feel that way at one time or another, but it's different with a special needs child. I don't mean to imply that "nobody knows the troubles I've seen"; certainly parenting entails taking many precautions because that's what parents do. For example, most new parents know that they will need to buy outlet covers and cabinet locks, to remove poisonous plants, to make the pet food inaccessible, to keep baby away from a hot stove, etc.

Most new parents also know that at some point in the not-too-distant future they won't have to be concerned with these things. This is where the parenting road diverges for parents of special needs kids. You see, my youngest son will be 9 years old next month, and I still have to be concerned with those things. In our house, I still need to do all of the above as well as ensure that he doesn't ingest non-food items; use an extra lock on the front door; remove the knobs from the gas stove; ensure that the gate is always shut; keep the car and the garage door locked, as well as a host of other things. He still needs help with bathing and toileting, as well as dressing, eating, and other personal care. It's emotionally and physically exhausting. It's also frustrating. It can also be isolating.

There is no way to convey the sense of being en garde without sounding like I'm whining, so I will close today's post with this: parenting is a tough and tiring job. Most parents look forward to the day when their children leave the nest. For some parents though, the job of parenting a child can continue even when that child has reached adulthood. So, if we look tired, it's because we are. Is it really all that bad? Sometimes it is; usually when I think about what could have been vs. what is. I need to remember to count my blessings even on the days when I don't want to.

But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me. Psalm 22:19

Thursday, June 16, 2011

BFD - June '11

This month's BFD was a homemade concoction inspired by several recipes and my own creativity (cough).  I had been looking for a recipe for a breakfast pizza. I don't know why, I was just in the mood for pizza; but, since it was time for BFD, I knew it had to be breakfasty. Canadian bacon and pineapple? Too regular-sounding. Hmm, what to do what to do. I came across a few that had sausage and apples as their ingredients. Perfect!

The Dough
This is actually a modified version of the recipe that came with my KitchenAid mixer. For this recipe, I added cinnamon sugar and used a mixture of white flour and whole wheat flour. If you want to use it for regular pizza, cut the sugar down to 1 Tablespoon and omit cinnamon.

1 Tbsp yeast
1 cup warm water + 1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour

Combine warm water with 1 tsp sugar. Add yeast and let stand for 5 minutes. Mix together flour, whole wheat flour, 1/4 sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add yeast mixture to flour mixture. Use dough hook on your stand mixer and mix for 8 minutes. Cover, let rise for one hour. Punch down dough and roll out onto your pizza pan.

The Sauce
Do you remember the Honey Walnut Cream Cheese Spread that I used back in November for BFD? Oh yeah, baby, this was the pizza sauce. I don't feel comfortable reposting this recipe, but you can follow the link. It's a very easy recipe. I did add an extra 2 Tbsp of water in order to thin it out and make it more spreadable. (I also omitted the walnuts because my kids don't like them.) Once you've rolled out your pizza dough, spread the cheese spread over it. Sprinkle with additional 1 Tbsp of cinnamon sugar if desired.

The Toppings
16oz ground sausage, preferably mild or a breakfast sausage
2 small apples, peeled and chopped + 2 tsp cinnamon sugar
2 Tbsp raisins
a handful of shredded coconut

Cook the sausage thoroughly. Set aside. Saute the apples and 2 tsp cinnamon sugar. I used a nonstick pan so I didn't need butter. Cook the apples for about 5 minutes until tender. Combine apples and sausage. For the record, I only used about half of the cooked sausage. Sprinkle apples, sausage, and raisins over the sauce. Top with a handful of shredded coconut. Bake at 425 for 15 - 20 minutes. I ended up having to reduce the temperature to 400. For some reason, the top oven seems to cook faster.

The Verdict
Seriously yummy! The only thing I would change is to add something crunchy like walnuts or pecans. Since my kids don't like nuts, I didn't add them. Next time, I will add them to one half of the pizza. The dough also came out thick and chewy. Maybe next time I'll try it with a thin crust. Go ahead and make your own breakfast pizza. Be creative and don't be afraid to experiment. I'll stop short of saying the possibilities are endless!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Letting Go - Part 2

I made another trip to the Goodwill yesterday, this time to donate instead of to shop. It was time to get rid of all of the size 14 and 16 pants along with the XL shirts. For the record, I kept a couple of the T-shirts as workout shirts. I also kept some of the dressy shirts because for some reason they tend to run a bit small and aren't as stretchy as T-shirts. It was still a weird feeling getting rid of my shirts because I've been an XL for so long. Now I wear a size L in shirts and a size 12 in pants. Still, I automatically look for XL when I'm shopping for shirts. I need to retrain my brain, "I'm only a Large now, I'm only a Large now." (eye roll)

Despite this success, I'm feeling a little ambivalent because I've hit a plateau. My body is fluctuating between 168 and 170 and it feels very comfortable there, plus I'm retaining water as the weather heats up. I knew it would happen sooner or later despite my best efforts to prevent it. Last time I was losing weight and hit a plateau I got so discouraged that I gave up. I ended up gaining the weight back. Although I'm disappointed, this time around I'm determined not to get discouraged and give up:

  • Like empty-nesters who downsize their house so the kids can't move back in, I've given away the larger size clothes so I can't grow back into them.
  • Everyday I remind myself of the 40lbs that I've lost and don't want to gain back. 
  • It's time to step up my exercise plan: instead of walking the entire 5 miles, I've decided to jog part of the way. I also signed up for a 5k in July - maybe I'll actually run.

Disappointment and setbacks are a part of life. The biggest lesson that I'm learning is that nothing is permanent. Onward and downward.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Our Own Backyard

OK, so technically, San Francisco is not in my backyard. However, I consider anything within a 2 hour drive to be in my backyard. Since we aren't planning a real vacation this year, we plan on doing day trips so we can show the boys all of the fun stuff that's close to home. It's easy to forget all of the cool stuff that's located in our home state.

The boys were out of school last week and my youngest son doesn't start summer school until next week; so, this week was entirely free. We decided to spend the day in San Francisco. Although I grew up in the Bay Area, I had never walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. I figured that now was as good a time as any and I could drag the kids along so they wouldn't have to wait until they were in their 40s to do this. As is typical for San Francisco, it was chilly and foggy, but what a rush it was to walk on that bridge! There were of course some somber reminders that some people come to this famous bridge in a pit of despair: there were phones with a direct line to suicide prevention counselors if anyone wanted to talk before making a final decision. Fortunately, and I don't want to sound insensitive, my oldest son did not notice these as he was too enthralled with the bridge.

We left the bridge and headed toward the famous tourist trap, the ever-kitschy Fisherman's Wharf. Lunch was at an Italian seafood restaurant called Cioppino's. My husband had the cioppino and I had what else, fish and chips. The kids had the usual pasta and grilled cheese from the kids' menu. After lunch, we headed to Ghirardelli Square for some chocolate. I'm partial to See's Candies, but Ghirardelli makes some pretty good chocolate bars. Afterwards, we went to the Hyde St. Pier, which is part of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. There was a small fee to tour the ships, and as my husband went to pay he noticed a sign advertising the different passes to the national parks. One of them is the Access Pass, which we got last year at Yosemite for our youngest son. Having this pass allows the card holder and up to four adults to gain admission to any national park for free. The downside, is that you have to go to your nearest national park to get one. To me, it's worth it. If you have a special needs child and you want to enjoy visiting our fabulous national parks, I recommend that you pick one up. All in all, a great day in the city by the Bay.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Thanks for Noticing

For some reason, I was taught that it was rude to comment on someone's personal appearance. Don't ask me why. Other than making generic comments like, "That's a pretty blouse" or "That dress looks nice on you", my mother told me that commenting on someone's personal features was rude. I guess I can understand that some people might be extra sensitive about their appearance. Perhaps my mom went overboard in trying to teach me some manners in order to ensure that I would not be one of those people who blurted out things like, "What's up with your hair? It looks like s#!t?" Okay, I get it; a little restraint is necessary.

However, when one is working on improving one's personal appearance, it's always nice to hear compliments...like when one is losing weight. Ordinarily, I don't like alot of attention. But, I have to admit, I really appreciate it when someone says to me, "Wow, you've lost alot of weight!" Yes. Yes, I have. I can understand how easy it would be to get offended - after all, I'm still the same fun-loving person with the same sense of humor (cough)...I'm just 40lbs lighter. People shouldn't love me or hate me any more or less because of my weight.

If I actually cared what others thought I'm sure I could send myself into a tailspin; but, I don't. I'm doing this for myself and not for my appearance or the compliments. I'm doing this primarily to change my relationship with food, the result of which is a better looking appearance and peace of mind. Although people might compliment my outward appearance, it's good to know that I know that I'm changing on the inside, too. So thanks for noticing. I really do appreciate it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lawn Gone

Like many water conscious Californians, we decided to rip out our lawn and replace it with rocks and flowers. OK, maybe we're not that overly concerned with water consumption, but we did get tired of caring for a lawn during the summer when it can be well over 100, and during the winter when it can dip down to the high 20s.

After the lawn's near death experience in early May, my husband decided that this was the year to rip it out and move on to something new. I had been looking at various front yard makeovers in Sunset where the common theme was to do away with the lawn. I liked what I saw. So did my husband. The thought of no longer wasting water on an insatiable green sponge was very appealing. Finally, I was going to get my stone pathway lined with cute solar lights. Yay!

As with many home improvement projects, some of the details had to be made up as we went along. Like what to do with the sod once it was ripped up. (We don't have a truck.) We called one of those haul away companies and were quoted an estimate of $750. Um, no. We finally got the brilliant idea to just do it ourselves and rent a truck from Home Depot for $70 per day. We made three trips to the landfill where there is a sod dumping area. The per load charge ranged from $15-$24. The total cost for renting the truck and sod dumping fees was $127, and our neighbor paid for the last load because we offered to haul away his old carpet. How cool was that? So, we "saved" over $600.

Do I miss the lawn? No. No I don't. Admittedly, a rock-filled landscape is not always my favorite. But rock combined with planter boxes is a nice touch. This morning, I woke up to one of the daylilies, Purple Galaxy, in bloom. No, I don't miss the lawn.


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