… little bit of this, little bit of that, a whole lotta about the kids

Category Archives: Health & Weight Loss

Love Hate Computer Keys Showing Emotion Anger And ConflictLet me just say first that I love my husband. He is an amazing person and I am very lucky to be his wife. Having said that, right now I think I could easily hate him. I’ve lost 12 pounds in 7 weeks. With 150+ pounds to lose, you would think I would lose a lot faster, but never mind that. And it’s a terrible struggle. I fight cravings and fight to meet my macros, and avoid sugar and such. My husband, who only had 60-80 pounds to lose has lost 40 pounds in 11 weeks. I won’t say it’s “easy” for him, but he doesn’t seem to have cravings. He just decides to stop drinking soda, and he is done with it. He eats what he plans to eat during the day, trusting me to prep a dinner in the 500-600 calorie range, and never ends up staring into the open fridge looking for something else to eat. I think he is one of those naturally “thin” people. It’s just that he was eating so far over his calorie limit before (an entire bag of Doritos for a snack for instance), that now that he is eating “normal” portions, the weight is just falling off him like Bill from Thinner. And as much as I love him, it makes me want to strangle him in his sleep 😉

What happens when I don’t plan ahead?  Well, its the tired cliché I remember spouted out at every weight watcher meeting I ever attended — if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. Always when I plan an event i ask for help to https://epiceventsnj.com/cinematic-video/.  For me, that mostly means meal planning.  Not just for health and weight loss purposes, but if I don’t meal plan, I often end up floundering at dinner time.

I forgot to take out something to thaw!

Yikes!  What am I going to make for dinner with XYZ?  What do I have that goes with it? I need a store run.

Oops, I took out a roast to thaw, I should have gotten that in the oven an hour ago for dinner in an hour.

Ugh, I am just too tired to deal with it.

Especially the last one; high sugars had made me so lethargic (I didn’t know this was the issue at the time), I would literally be falling over tired; so exhausted that I could not keep my eyes open, no matter what I did.  Even when not quite that tired, the other excuses would weigh more heavily on me, and we either end up with the same boring old dinner again and again, or more likely, hopping in the car to go out to eat or bring home take out.

I never used to notice this, or realize why I was cooking at home so little, but after resuming the habit of meal planning and doing it faithfully for a good 6 weeks or so (even before I started watching my calories), I noticed today that I was floundering at dinner time, and had been for a couple days, and suddenly it knew exactly why.  Ohhhh, my last planned menu was that pulled pork on Saturday. I sat down several times with my meal planning binder to do my meal plan, but something kept getting in the way.  I had the general idea of the week in my mind, and I’d taken out some meats to thaw, but I never got it down on paper with sides and such.

If you find yourself struggling at meal time, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner or all three, I recommend trying meal planning for a few weeks and see how it really reduces the meal time stress.  I personally like the planner from The Project Girl, but even just jotting down my weeks worth of meals on a scrap paper works.

mcdonalds-Frappe-Mocha-SmallIt’s been about 5 weeks since I gave up my Pepsi and at the same time, any other added sugar kind of foods.  When my last A1C reading came back, I realized that if I didn’t get my sugars under control myself, that I would have to start taking more heavy duty medication — and the idea of having to give myself shots is about as appealing as a root canal.  Maybe less appealing; at least they give you Novocain for a root canal.  I can barely stand to hit the trigger on the itty bitty teeny weeny needle for pricking my finger to get a bit of blood to test my blood sugar. It barely hurts; and it’s pain gone in a flash.  Doesn’t matter; I just hate needles, and no logic can combat that.

So today, I took my 10yo DS to his occupational therapy (for sensory integration) at its new location, and now it’s too far from home to just drop off and head home.  I decided to go get some water or something (I should have planned ahead and brought some), so I go through a McDonald’s drive through, with every intention of getting a bottled water, and somehow found myself ordering my old nemesis, the mocha frappe, no whip, no drizzle.  (Yuk, that fake chocolate syrup gets all thick and manky in the cold; leave it off mine, please!)

It’s never been that I can’t fit it in my calories.  Most days I am between 1200-1300 and theoretically, I can eat up to 1600-1700 and still lose 2 pounds a week.  (HAH!) Although, being so calorie dense, it certainly isn’t particularly filling.  Feeling hungry = Not A Good Thing.  Plus, it’s sugar, and sugar is a major issue for me, not just because of the diabetes, but even before, with my insulin resistance, sugars really mess with my ability to lose weight, I don’t care what the laws of thermodynamics say, my body can defy them!  Then of course is the other side effect of sugar and the way it messes with blood sugar, after that burst of energy high, you get the drop and the cravings for more sugar.  Evil stuff, sugar. I still order one, and I start to drink it.  And you know what?  It’s gross.  Really nasty, and thick feeling in my mouth, and so sickeningly sweet that I can’t, that is, don’t want to, keep drinking it.  Now the willful part of me wants to buy a Pepsi so I can see if that is nasty now too ;))

Yesterday I made a tasty (ugly looking, so no pictures!) “relish” to go with our baked chicken thighs.  e-meals calls it “Greek Relish”; I don’t think it seemed particularly Greek.  No lemon, no oregano, no feta cheese, no thyme.  Below is the recipe as presented.  It was intended to be served over deli roast chicken, sliced in the menu they provided.

“Greek Relish”


2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 (12-oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1 (7-oz) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped

1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives


Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat; add onion. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until tender; stir in tomatoes, artichokes, bell peppers and olives.

I ended up leaving the onion raw; purple onion is already so mild and the crunch was nice since everything else is pretty soft.  I added some fresh chopped oregano, thyme and mint as well as a couple cloves of garlic, put through the press so there wouldn’t be any chunks, and then I squeezed in some lemon juice.

With my changes, it’s about 6 servings at a generous half cup per serving:  95 calories, 6g fat, 3g fiber, 3g sugar.

I am back in full  time to get healthy for real mode.  After years of being “insulin-resistant” or “pre-diabetic” which comes with the PCOS, my sugars started climbing a year ago.  First I was just barely in the diabetic range, the next test was higher, and my most recent was really alarming.  I needed to make a lot of changes; I don’t want to end up needing insulin, and so this time I gotta make the changes stick. I’ve started out slowly, adding in new goals as I conquer the one before. I started out with meal planning, getting back in the groove, and cooking again; we were eating out an awful lot.  I was SO tired, which is likely a result from the really high sugars, it was so hard to get up and cook.  I ended up using a groupon for a subscription to emeals at a massively reduced price.  I am not able to really use it as intended to make my life super simple.  They give you a weeks worth of menus (and you have lots of different types of menus to choose from) along with the shopping lists and lists of staples they presume you have, and so on.  But in the clean eating plan I’ve been using, there hasn’t been a whole week where my family would actually eat every meal.  Still, I print them out each week and pick and choose and merge them with some family favorites, so it has made meal planning somewhat less challenging.  I tend to get overwhelmed with my collection of recipes otherwise. After that, I started logging my food.  I’ve been using My Fitness Pal  for that (the iPhone app is great, it lets you scan UPC codes, makes it very easy for things with UPC codes =)). I gave up Pepsi again, and along with that, anything with simple processed sugars, for the most part.    This is STILL hard.  I swear, I felt like I was going through the 5 stages of grieving.  Over Pepsi! Then I added exercise.  I wouldn’t say that I have conquered that entirely.  I am mostly using my treadmill, because it’s what I have in  my home.  I find it hard to walk much longer than 25-30 minutes, not because my energy gives out, or my legs are sore, or my motivation lags, but because my lower back starts to really hurt.  But I am still exercising, the best that I can. Right now I am working towards “clean eating” which is a phrase that I suppose is over-used and thrown around a lot these days.  To me clean eating is eating the best and healthiest options from the food groups, in as natural of a state (before I cook it) as possible. I (want to) choose whole, natural foods and seek to eliminate or minimize refined foods. Processed foods are anything in a box, bag, can, or package, but unrefined foods can also be found in packaging. I am willing to buy packaged foods as long as they have few ingredients, and those ingredients are basically whole, natural foods.  I am fine with unrefined / natural sugars, such as honey and (real) maple syrup, at least for those in my family; I am avoiding sweeteners as much as possible, or using them in a minimal way. When you have been heavy (lets just say it, fat, fat, fat!) for so long and made changes and lost and gained and lost and gained, its hard to pin point what my starting weight is.  I decided to go with my highest most recent weight, which is 30 pounds down from my heaviest, but I’d maintained that loss a long time.   My lap band has been gone for 15 months; so it’s all on me.

Creamy, luscious avocados are such a rich source of vitamins, minerals, healthful fats, and phytochemicals that the U.S. government has revised its nutrition guidelines to urge Americans to eat more of them.

 what’s in it

beta-sitosterol: This compound may block cholesterol absorption as well as reduce discomfort of BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia). It is also under review for the potential to prevent breast cancer.

fiber: The fiber content of avocados is high (one avocado provides 34% of the Daily Value for dietary fiber), which is good news since soluble fiber removes excess cholesterol from your body, and insoluble fiber helps to prevent constipation by keeping your digestive system running smoothly.

folate: Avocados are good sources of folate (one avocado provides 57mcg, or 28% of the Daily Value). This important B vitamin is linked to the prevention of neural-tube defects in fetuses as well as prevention of cancer and heart disease in adults.

glutathione: Functioning as an antioxidant, this compound may neutralize free radicals that damage cells.

magnesium :This mineral may help to reduce discomfort associated with premenstrual syndrome, migraines, anxiety, and other disorders.

oleic acid: A type of monounsaturated fat in avocados, oleic acid has been linked to lower cholesterol levels when substituted for saturated fat in the diet.  

maximizing the benefits  

Avocado flesh turns brown rapidly, so it is a good idea to sprinkle it with lemon or lime juice to prevent discoloration. 

add more to your diet

Make a salad dressing: Puree avocado with plain nonfat yogurt, a pint of CBDa, lime juice, or vinegar to taste, salt, and hot sauce, if you like. 

Make an avocado smoothie: In a blender, puree avocado, milk, a touch of sweetener, and a couple of ice cubes. 

Mash avocado with lime juice and use as a spread on chicken sandwiches. 

Try avocado for dessert: Drizzle cubes of avocado with honey and top with a sprinkling of nuts. 

Mash avocado with a little salt (and perhaps some mustard) and use in place of mayonnaise in a tuna or chicken salad. 

health bites

Some people tend to avoid avocados because they regard them as high in fat. Avocados are indeed high in beneficial monounsaturated fat, which—when substituted for saturated fat in the diet—helps to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and the risk for heart disease.

My lap-band is being removed next week.  I’ve had nothing but increasingly frequent problems with my stomach for the past several months – reflux-y burning esophagus pain, harder time than normal keeping food down, bloated-ness, and abdominal pain, lots of pain.  I couldn’t even drink a sip of water without it hurting to the nth degree a week ago.  A trip to the emergency room, some medication, a mostlly liquid diet, a visit with a surgeon, and I’m now losing my band.

I have a love – hate relationship with the idea.  While I haven’t worked the band in a long time, I have managed to maintain my weight loss without gaining anything back which I mainly attribute to the band.  I’d like to think that I’ve learned some good habits and taught my brain what appropriate portions should be – but I am terrified that I’m going to balloon 100 pounds back on within moments of the bands removal.

Which is ironic since I also can’t stop thinking about the foods that I’ll be able to eat again.  Some many years ago I made a list of my favorite foods that I’d hate to give up.  I did give up over half of them because I couldn’t eat them with the band; anything bready or gooey sticky like melted cheese were impossible for me to eat.

The list as it was — and I can say that despite the passing years, this would still be a pretty accruate list.

  1. Fresh Bread (warm from the oven, slathered in butter; esp. my Gram’s)
  2. Clam Chowder
  3. Cheese (especially melted, on almost anything)
  4. Tacos with Homemade (fried) Corn Tortilla Shells
  5. Rib Eye Steak
  6. Bacon
  7. Reuben Sandwich
  8. Vine Ripened Tomatoes, topped with Mayo
  9. Bennigan’s Monte Cristo Sandwich
  10. Avocados
  11. Fried Razor Clams (NOT clam strips) & herb aioli
  12. Stuffing from inside the Thanksgiving Turkey

Textures could play havoc as well.  Meats were touch and go.  So the only things from my list I could eat reliably were clam chowder (my mom’s brothy clam soup, really), tomatoes, and avocados.

So here I am, worried about the consequences to my weight, but also plotting the best bread to bake as soon as I am well enough to knead.  (And I don’t even like to bake! ;))

So very busy.   I’ve been fighting with my meds, and they finally seem to be getting me close to normal.  I have some motivation and I’m not laying on the couch half the day.  I’m not spending a ton of time on the computer.  About the only thing online I’ve been up to lately is playing with Polyvore.  It’s fun, its like scrapbooking with clothes or playing with paper dolls.  I can browse there on the iPad, so I don’t have to be AT the computer, except to make a set, but can check in with my contacts from time to time while hanging with the kids.

Lately I have been using it to try and organize a capsule wardrobe plan because *fanfare please*, I have started losing weight again.  I’ve been stuck for so long, but now I am inching back down the scale.  I’m at my lowest since before I got married (in ’98), although not quite down to where I was when I met DH in ’96.  Almost though.

When you lose so slowly, its hard to see it, which makes it hard to celebrate.  I tried on my wedding dress though, and while not falling off me, there is definitely some room in there.  I am also able to fit into my “inspiration shirt” that has been hanging in my bathroom (a 3x from coldwater creek).  NSV are the best.

I spent a few days this past week cleaning out my closet.  I’d been wearing the same old clothes that I’ve had forever, even from my highest weight.  I had sizes ranging up to 38.  Pants were almost literally falling off me, and the shirts were like tents.   I’ve continued to wear what I could and put off buying much because it seems crazy to spend a ton of money on clothes that will again (knock wood) be too big in another year.

However, I decided it was time to ditch them and get an interim wardrobe.  They say that keeping the big clothes around makes it too easy to fall back into old habits. Besides, its difficult to feel good about how far I have come when I still LOOK like I weigh 375 pounds because I’m wearing baggy, oversized clothes that only make me look bigger than I am.

My mom was in town for a couple days (DH is gone to Chicago for 2 weeks for work, and she wanted to give me a break), so I had a (relatively) neutral judge on what still looked OK and could stay in the closet and what was ridiculously big and needs to be donated to Goodwill.  I ended up with 5 large black garbage bags full of discards.  My closet is still a little barren, but I think I can get by with just a little shopping, accessorizing with things that I haven’t shrunk out of (ie, bags, shoes, scarves, jewelry, etc!).

Since my old inspiration shirt is now a wearable part of my wardrobe, I have purchased a new inspiration shirt.  It’s an XL from J.Crew.  It’s suprisingly close to fitting.  Once I can wear it, I will be in basically NORMAL sizes. (OK, for all you 2’s out there, it doesn’t seem normal, but from someone that was facing having to shop online because she was bulging out of 38s, the largest found locally, the prospect of being able to get even the largest size of a normal store is liberating).


If you read the old blog, you might recognize “Kristen’s Estrogen Balancing Life Changing Plan”.  It was developed in part through several visits with a dietician, as a way to overcome my estrogen dominance and “symndrome X”.  However, this was pre-band, and I am considering re-visiting, as the portions and amount of food is somewhat unrealistic for me now.  I don’t plan on tackling everything at once.  Right now I am working on the meal planning, the shopping, the water, and the food journal.  I’ll add another task as I get a grip on these.  Wish me luck.  It’s time to get my butt in gear and lose the second half of this excess weight.


Kristen’s Lifechanging Plan


Keep Food Journal

Fluids: 64oz+ non-calorie, non caffeinated fluids daily.

3 meals + 2-3 Snacks daily

Never more than 5 hours between Meals/snacks

Plan meals 1-2 weeks ahead

Grocery Shop 1x/week with list

Emphasize high fiber carbs

Choose soy protein several times a week

Supplements [These need updated for current, so removed the list]

30m Cardio Exercise 5x / Week

Weight Training, 2x / Week

Non-Food Relief: Yoga, Massage, Visualization, Abdominal Breathing


Protein (35-55 calories):  10-14 servings a day

Starches / Starchy Vegetables (80 calories): 6-8 servings a day

Fat & Oils (45 calories):0-3 servings a day

Fruits (60 calories):3-4 servings a day

Vegetables (10-30 calories): 3+ servings a day


(230 – 385) Breakfast: 2-3 Protein, 1-2 Starch, 1 Fruit, 0-1 fat, vegetables as desired

(170 – 190) AM Snack: 1 Protein/Fat, 1 Fruit, vegetables as desired

(265 – 440) Lunch: 3-4 Protein, 2 Starch, 0-1 Fat, vegetables as desired

(170 – 190) PM Snack: 1 Protein/Fat, 1 Starch or Fruit, vegetables as desired

(265 – 440) Dinner: 3-4 Protein, 2 Starch, 0-1 Fat, vegetables as desired

(170 – 190) Evening Snack: 1 Protein/Fat, 1 Starch or Fruit, vegetables as desired


I’m guessing I average 150 calories or so a day in vegetables.

Total: 1420 – 1985



Excellent Choice

Fair Choice (limit)

Not-So-Good (Avoid)



Cottage Cheese

Chicken Breast (whole or ground)



Egg Substitute

Egg White

Fish – Fatty (Salmon, Tuna, Swordfish, Arctic Char)

Fish – Lean (halibut, orange roughy, red snapper, tilapia)



Protein Powder

Soy Products

  Bean Curd


  Revival Shakes

  Meatless Alternatives (burger, sausage, chicken patties)



   Soy Beans

   Soy Cheese

   Soy Milk

   Soy Protein Powder


Turkey Breast (whole or ground)



Beef (lean cuts – eye of round, sirloin steak, ground sirloin)

Chicken, Dark Meat

Ham (lean)



Pork (Lean chops or tenderloin)




Turkey Bacon

Turkey, Dark Meat


I have questions about these to ask at next appointment

Foster Farms Turkey Sausage (mild/hot) Italian


Turkey Keilbasa

Canadian Bacon

Healthy Choice low fat



Ff flavored yogurt


Anything fried

Anything with Skin



Egg Yolk, more than 1 per meal and 4 per week

Fish, Breaded, Frozen

Fish Sticks

Hot Dog

Keilbasa – full fat

Liver & Organ Meats

Lunch Meat

Marbled/Untrimmed Meat


Refried Beans w/ Lard



Mixed Proteins

Excellent Choice

Fair Choice (limit)

Not-So-Good (Avoid)




Milk, Skim

Yogurt, Plain non/low fat 



Cheese Sticks, reduced fat

Chocolate Milk, rf or sf

Peanut Butter

Soy Nuts

Wheat Germ

Soy Chips


Cheese, full fat

Milk, Whole

Yogurt, full fat

Carbs – Starches

Excellent Choice

Fair Choice (limit)

Not-So-Good (Avoid)






  Kidney Beans

  Lentils (even canned soup)


  Navy Beans

  Refried, nonfat

  Soy Beans

  Split Peas

  White Beans



Bread, Whole Grain

Breadsticks, Whole Grain

Cereal, low sugar, high fiber. whole grain first ingredient

Corn (on the cob)

Dinner Roll, Whole Grain

Grains, whole or sprouted

Green Peas


Oatmeal, old fashioned

Pasta, Whole Wheat

Pita, whole wheat



Rice, Brown

Rice, Converted

Rolled Oats

Rolled Rye (Flakes)

Rolled Wheat


Rye Berries



Bagel, ww


Cereal, low sugar, high fiber

Corn Tortilla


English muffin, ww


Pasta, White


Potato, New

Potato, Sweet

Potato, Yukon Gold

Rice, White

Rice Noodles


Tortilla, Fat Free

Tortilla, Whole Wheat


Whole Grain Crackers (like triscuit, Ryvita Rye, rice snaps)





Bagel, white



Bread, white

Breadsticks, White

Buns, white

Cereal, sugary, low fiber

Cereal, puffed

Cream of Wheat/Rice

Flour Tortilla, regular

French Fries


Hash Browns, instant

Jams & Jellies

Oatmeal, Instant


Potato Chips



Soda / Sugared Drinks


Sweet Roll

Carbs – Fruits

Excellent Choice

OK Choice

Not-So-Good (Avoid)



Frozen w/o Sugar

Canned in water, no sugar





Berries (Blueberry, Strawberry,Raspberry, Blackberry, Loganberries, Marionberries)



Dried Fruit (apricots, raisins, figs, dates)

Carambola (“star fruit)


Honeydew Melon

Kiwi (green or gold)







Canned, in Juice







Mandarin Oranges



Passion Fruit




Canned, in syrup

Fruit Juice




Excellent Choice

Fair Choice (limit)

Not-So-Good (Avoid)



Canola Oil

Fat in Fish

Flaxseed, ground or oil










Olive Oil

Peanut Oil

Peanut Butter


Corn Oil
Cream Cheese, lf

Grapeseed Oil

Nuts / Seeds

  Brazil Nut

  Sesame Seed

  Sunflower Seeds


Mayonnaise, lf

Safflower Oil

Salad Dressings, rf

Sour Cream, lf

Soybean Oil

Sunflower Oil 



Bacon Bits


Coconut Oil

Dairy Fats

Fat in Meat & Poultry

Hydrogenated Oils

Palm Oil


Trans Fats


Excellent Choice


Artichoke / Hearts



Bean Spouts

Bell Pepper


Brussels Sprouts





Chinese Cabbage



Collard Greens





Garlic, raw or roasted


Green Beans





Lettuce, all types










Sea Vegetables


Snow Peas




Summer Squash


Vegetable Juice

Water Chestnut



Free Foods



Broth, 1 C.

Club Soda


Cool Whip Free

Cream Cheese, ff, 1 T.

Dill Pickle

Dill Pickle Relish

Drink Mix, sf



Gelatin, sf

Hard Candy, sf

Herbs & Spices

Ketchup, 1 T.

Margarine, ff

Mayonnaise, ff, 1 T.


Non-Dairy Creamer, Liquid

Non-Dairy Creamer, Powder


Pancake Syrup, Sugar Free


Salad Dressing, rf

Sour Cream, rf

Soy Sauce

Taco Sauce

Tea (Black, Green, Herbal)



Worcestershire Sauce

Convenience Foods & Snacks



– Frozen Ravioli (>3g fat/serving)

– Frozen Tortellini (>3g fat/serving)

– Frozen Fish, unbreaded (>10g fat), Mrs. Pauls Healthy Grilled, Gortons Grilled, Some tuna/salmon burgers

– Frozen Meals, >400 calories, >800mg Sodium

Soydance Pizza

– Tofu Classics, Shells & Curry, Mandarin Chow Mein


– Frozen Meal Kits ( >3g sat fat/serving skillet sensations, Create a meal, etc)

– Chili, Chicken

– Ramen Noodles – Westbrae, whole wheat & Baked

– Tumaros Homestyle Kitchen Soy Cheese Burritos

– Soy Boy Ravioli


2x / month max

Candy (under 150 calories)


Ice Cream

Frosted Cake

Frosted or stuffed Cookies


3x/week max

Frozen Juice Bars

Graham Crackers

Animal Crackers

Whole Wheat Fig Bars

Homemade Banana Bread



Baked Chips

Green Foods are ones emphasized by the dietician

Pink foods are additional foods recommended via dr. and research


Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. — Thomas Alva Edison


I got almost everything done that I wanted.  I didn’t get things cleaned up as much as I’d like though.  It’s just still so difficult since Baby L doesn’t want to be set down, even when napping.  I did get my freezers and pantry inventoried and about have my meal plan done.  I think I’ll be participating in Menu Plan Monday over at Organizing Junkie, so will be posting that tomorrow.  I did make it to the farmers market and the asian market (they didn’t have quail eggs grr!  I planned to spend some of my lunch budget on those because they are so cute and fit so well in a bento!) with the kidlet, but since I didn’t have my menu quite finished, didn’t make it to the regular grocery.  For me and my weight loss goals, I think I’ll basically plan a couple of breakfasts and lunches, cook multiple portions and just eat the same things for a week in those meals.

Haven’t posted any kid pictures lately — you can see they didn’t want to cooperate and show thier beautiful smiling faces!  Baby L has been laughing for the past week or so — it’s about the cutest thing you’ve ever heard, an adorable little chortle.  I think she is starting to look more like daddy too.