Sunday, October 9, 2016

Weight and Garden Update

Hi everyone!  Are you all enjoying these nice crisp autumn days?  Apples and crunchy leaves and maybe a log in the fireplace?  I love autumn; it's my favorite time of year.  It's especially nice this year because it was such a hot summer, and now it's finally cooled down. 

I had to go out tonight and gather all the sensitive produce from my garden.  The weather forecast says it's only going to be 36 degrees, but my yard gets just a little bit cooler than the prediction, so I figured I'd better get out there and get as much as I could.  It's not the last harvest of the year for me; I still have sugar snap peas, cabbage, and rutabagas out there, but for the most part my garden is done.  So I thought you'd all enjoy knowing how much money my garden produced/saved me this year.  Welp, it was my best year ever, by far.  Almost twice as good as my second best year.

I made $545!  Wooh! 

My cool mini green house did superbly.  I grew 8 pepper plants (most of them with mini peppers), and I got about 18 pounds of peppers!  Which is about 40 times the amount I usually get. 

I'm in a bit of a rush tonight, so I won't post any pictures right now, but I do have a bunch to share later.  The other reason I wanted to post was to let you all know that I'm down to 203 pounds, which is awesome.  I decided that I want to take a break from losing weight, and I'm trying to maintain now until next spring.  I'm not sure why, but I feel like it's a good idea to add in some more carbs for a while.  So far so good; I've been eating more carbs for a few weeks and haven't gained or lost anything.  Plus I get to eat apples and squash again! 

That's all for now.  I hope you're all doing great!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

End of Summer Update

Well, I guess now that summer is almost unofficially over, I should really post something here about how I'm doing.  What a huge difference a season makes!  My life feels like it's going in a very different direction than it was just three months ago.  In good directions, thankfully.

First, the weight news, since this is more or less a health blog.  I have been doing a pretty low carb diet with a carb night now for a little over four months.  I went from being 236 pounds when I started, to being 206 pounds when I last officially checked my weight.  Yep, I lost 30 pounds!  I'm really proud of myself for that accomplishment, and I feel so much better.  My knees don't hurt anymore, I'm not having issues with my teeth and gum inflammation like I was, I can actually fit into a lot of my old clothes!  I'm really excited.

Within the last week, I decided to stop tracking my food.  I'm still eating low carb and we're still doing the carb night once a week, but I decided that I'm just too busy to continue tracking everything I eat.  I don't want to do that for the rest of my life, afterall.  I still have another 26 pounds I'd like to lose yet, so I hope that this won't put a damper on that.  I'm going to try it for a couple of weeks and see how it goes.

Chad has lost a lot of weight, too.  It's surprising how much we both packed on last winter without even trying.  He's lost about 16 pounds so far, and now he's starting to add some carbs back in.  Potatoes and some carbier fruits.  He may add another carb night in as well, but I'm going to leave that up to him.

I would like to reach my goal by Christmas, but I guess we'll see how it goes.  I'm not worried about if if I don't.  The fact that I've made it this far is just amazing to me.  I usually have a hard time losing weight through the winter, so I'll be happy if I can just maintain this until next spring, when I'll pick it up again.

The thing that really has helped me the most, I think, is the carb night.  We allow ourselves to eat some things we wouldn't normally eat, like ice cream or pizza or crackers, whatever we're craving, but only for one meal a week.  Then the next day, we throw away anything that's left over and go back to our low carb diet.  Not only does it keep me from caving into cravings (because I know I can have whatever I want on carb night), but it really does help regulate my weight loss.  I'll gain a couple of pounds the day after a carb night, then by mid week I'll lose what I had gained, and by the time the next carb night comes around, I'm usually down another two pounds. So far, I haven't had any plateaus, which is pretty amazing for a four month weight loss journey.

Now on to other things!  I've been heavy into a new creative excursion this past month and a half.  I don't know what got into me, but I suddenly decided that I wanted to be a craft designer.  Like, designing patterns to sell to people.  And I probably chose to design plastic canvas because I'm always drawn to things that are less popular for some reason.  My taste in music is, shall we say, a little obscure.

It's been a fun challenge.  It takes longer to design a pattern than you might think.  In a month and a half, I've so far created three good sized pieces.  That includes designing it, actually making the piece, and then putting together a pattern.  It's a challenge, but it's also something that gets me excited to get up in the morning.  I can't wait to start working on it every day.

I have my patterns available on my Etsy shop and also on Craftsy, but I haven't yet sold anything.  It's a little disappointing, but I know it takes a while to get noticed.  I've also managed to get the contact info for the three major buyers of plastic canvas patterns and I've actually submitted a couple of my projects to big companies.  I got rejected my one company and I'm still waiting to hear from the other one, but I'm hopeful.  I'm gonna make this work.

Here's the patterns I have up in my Etsy shop right now. 

Country Apple Coasters
Country Apple Coasters Pattern
Country Apples Tissue Box Cover Pattern
Country Pears Coasters Pattern
Country Pears Tissue Box Cover Pattern  
Halloween Wall Hanging Pattern

And here's a pattern I just finished today.  It's not up yet because I want Chad to proofread it first.  It should be up tomorrow sometime. 

I'm pretty happy with the designs so far, and the cool thing about it is, I have more ideas than I actually have time to make, so I should be able to keep creating for a while.  I don't have a specific goal in mind; I don't want to be rich or famous or anything.  I just want to create something that maybe other people will enjoy. 

So that's what I'm up to.  Life is an enjoyable ride these days.  I'm sure eating better has given me a better attitude and more energy, which is why we're going to keep eating this way. 

I hope everyone enjoyed their summer.  It's sure to be a lovely fall.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Low Carb Journey

Hey guys!  It's kind of been a while since I've posted.  Part of that is because I'm pretty busy this time of year because of all the gardening and house maintenance stuff, and part of it is because my computer pooped out on me for nearly a month there.  I was living off an ipad and it's hard to do anything but read the news on one of those, at least for me.

I thought I'd better at least drop a short note letting you all know how I'm doing.  I'm still doing a low carb diet to help me shed the weight I gained over the winter.  If you recall, I started at 236.6 pounds.  This morning I weighed in at 221 pounds.  Which is pretty cool!  Here's my weight chart if you're interested:

The yellow line is how they predict my weight should be going if I were to get to my goal of 180 by next May.  I did some figuring and decided that the path that I'm on will actually get me to my goal around Christmas time.  Of course, the goal weight is just arbitrary.  I would of course like to lose weight and be able to fit back into my old clothes, but I'm actually just happy to be living this way again.  I feel great.  I have a lot more energy, I'm rarely hungry, and I've only been sick once since I started cutting my carbs low again.

I also got a Garmin Forerunner 235!  A gift from my cool hubby, who also has one and loves it.

I got it in frost blue, but that's not exactly my color.  So I looked around on Amazon and found a pink replacement band for it:

That's much more me.  I wear it face down because it's comfier for me that way, and plus that way it doesn't look like I stole my boyfriend's watch.  The face is huge and definitely looks like a dude's watch.  I've only had it for a couple of days now, so I don't have a lot to say about it, other than it has gotten me more interested in getting active again.  It's funny how knowing what your numbers are can motivate you to increase them.

I have a lot more to say about what's going on in my life, but I have a lot of catching up to do now that my computer is working again so I'll leave that for another day. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

I Scream for Ice Cream!

I love ice cream.  I eat it all year long.  We live in western NY, and I believe our heater runs about 8 months out of the year and the AC perhaps a single week, but that doesn't stop my ice cream love affair.  I eat it when there's four feet of snow outside my door and I'm shivering from the cold. 

That's usually my downfall with eating low carb.  There's a lovely little ice cream shack in the next town over, that serves fairly locally made ice cream (that's very good), and Chad and I frequent it at least once a week in the summer.  Sometimes three times a week, because we love ice cream.  And I've been known to get two giant scoops of the melty goodness, which as you can imagine, probably has a billion grams of sugar in it.  Especially the kinds with pieces of cake or bits of brownie, or ripples of caramel (aka browned sugar).  I know if I want to stick to this diet for any length of time, I'm going to have to get serious about making my own ice cream. 

Thankfully, I discovered that Carolyn over at All Day I Dream About Food has a pretty impressive list of low carb ice cream recipes.  Last night, I tried her recipe for peanut butter fudge ripple ice cream, and it was pretty darn good.  I haven't tried it now that it's fully ripened, but even if it's still kind of hard and icy, it'll still be delicious. 

It does call for some things I don't normally have in the house, like Swerve sweetener and almond milk, but I have a trick up my sleeve.  My mom and I frequently go to a discount grocery store run by some Amish folks.  They go around and buy short dated items and stuff from stores that are closing, and resell it for amazing prices.  I got seven bags of Bob's red mill almond flour for $1 a piece!  That's a savings of about $60, no kidding.  I put it in my big freezer so it'll stay good longer.  The other day, I was lucky enough to run across two bags of Swerve sweetener for $2 a piece (it's usually $11 online), and some cartons of almond milk for 69 cents.  I love that store!  It's funny to listen to other people walking through the store, telling their friends to watch out for outdated food!  Folks, the expiration date is a suggestion, not a hard and fast rule.  It's almost always still good to eat for a long time after the date (with the exception of certain fresh food and things like nuts and grains, which can go bad/rancid, but you'll definitely know by how bad it smells).

I probably should take some pictures of my ice cream, but it's all the way downstairs and I'm happy right where I am. 

I'm thinking about buying some cake/wafer type cones to eat my ice cream on.  It's made of starch, but it's practically nothing but air.  I believe a whole cone is around 3 carbs.  And ice cream just isn't as fun when you eat it with a spoon. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Low Carb Thing

Well, it's been two week now since Chad and I decided to go back to serious low carbing, so I thought it was time I gave you an update.

I feel great!  Why does this surprise me so much?  I know that low carb makes me feel great, but here I am, shocked by my merry mood.  It can't exactly be the weather that's making me feel good; it's been kind of cold and wet and icky.  Hormones might be playing a part in this, but I don't think it's the whole reason.  I've been happy for a change, and looking forward to my day (except for laundry day, blargh!).  I find myself singing a lot randomly, usually about how happy I am.  I even took a walk today just for the pure joy of it, which is pretty amazing.

I've decided that I'm going to weigh myself for now, and if I start to obsess over what it's seeing, I'll stop.  And I also decided that it's ok to want to lose weight; I know the limits of my body by now, I'm not going to try to get down to 130 pounds or something silly for my body shape or push it to be super strong.  I just want to fit into my old clothes and be able to do the things I love (like biking, hiking, gardening) without it wearing me out.

I feel pretty ashamed to say out loud what my starting weight was.  I'd be ok admitting this to strangers on the internet, but my husband also reads my blog, and somehow it's much more shameful to admit it to him.  I try to tell myself that it's just a number, and there's no reason to feel like such a terrible failure about gaining weight under the circumstances, but it's no use.  I just feel bad.

So maybe that means I need to just say it and get it over with.

My starting weight two weeks ago was 236.6 pounds.

In my two weeks of low carb dieting (somewhat induction/keto style, though probably higher in the carbs, maybe 30-40), I've lost 7 pounds.  That's really good!

I've been reading my old Atkins book.  I actually never read the whole thing through when I first got it; I had done so much reading on the internet and of other books, that I mostly got it for my mom and for the recipes.  It's a pretty interesting read, if you've never had the chance to yet.  I like Dr. Atkins style of writing; it's mostly pretty laid back and very engaging, like he's talking to you.

I realized, reading his book, that Chad and I have never actually tried a pretty low carb diet despite being into low carb stuff for about four years now.  We've always been on the higher end of the spectrum, more 70-100 carbs, when we were seriously low carbing it (which, to be honest, didn't happen as often as I'd like).  I wonder if that's why I wasn't able to lose more on it.  Or perhaps it's because I'm just not meant to be lower than 180 pounds.

I bought some unmodified potato starch so we can start getting more RS into our diet.  I plan on buying plantain flour next week and start mixing them up a bit.  I stopped drinking my water kefir, but I eat yogurt almost every morning and we have homemade sauerkraut in the fridge too.  I don't want to hurt my gut bugs eating a low carb diet, not after working so hard to get them in shape.  I need to look into other fermented foods I can try making that's lower in carbs, like cucumber pickles or beet kvass.  Or maybe I should look into probiotic pills.  That would be the easiest way to make sure I get what I need, but probably the most expensive.

I'm still not sure if I want to live my life totally low carb; I've read so much about how starches actually are good for you when they're the right ones.  But it's clear to me that I'm not going to lose weight eating that way, and it might be worth giving up the good starches for a while to get my body back in balance.  Like Dr. Atkins said in his book, if your body is unbalanced, you need to eat a died unbalanced in the opposite direction to find balance.  The picture explained it better that I just did, sorry.

Wish me luck!  I'm going to try getting my body back to health.  It feels so much easier to stick with this now that my mood is so much better.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Jaffa Whip

So as I said the other day, I'm going low carb again.  My biggest weakness is always sweets.  You'd think that I would be able to give them up after all the times they've made me sick, but I just keep going back.  I guess I like hurting myself.

I'm not a big fan of artificial sweeteners, but I understand that they have their place.  For me, when I'm cutting out sugar, I need something to replace it for a little while until I've gotten over the initial withdrawal. 

Thank goodness for Linda over at Linda's Low Carb!  I love her website.  I probably visit it at least once a week, even when I'm not eating low carb.  The recipes are just good and easy and usually pretty healthy.  I don't know what I'd do if her website went down; I actually asked Chad if he thought it was crazy to print all her recipes and make a kind of book (he said that yes it would be crazy). 

The latest recipe at Linda's is called Jaffa Whip.  It's a recipe she found from someone else's website that isn't there anymore (see, I'm not paranoid; it could happen!).  Thankfully, she saved it and posted it for all of us.  It's supposed to taste like a Jaffa cookie, which I've never had but that sounds delicious.  It's a little bit of work to make it, but I have to admit that it's the most delicious thing ever!  Here's a picture from Linda's website:

It's extremely hardy, though.  Linda says it makes four servings, but I'm going to say it'll probably be more like 6-8 for us.  I personally can't eat very much of this in one sitting since I don't have a gallbladder.  Usually fat doesn't bother me these days, but this is pretty much a fat bomb, so I have to be careful.  But that's ok, because a little really fills you up.  Plus, you get your chocolate fix!  

Thanks for saving and sharing the awesome recipe, Linda!  

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Prayer In Spring

(For some reason, this didn't post when I scheduled it a month ago.  What's up, blogger?  So here it is now!  It's still relevant!)

I'm a big Robert Frost fan.  But then again, who isn't?  I have a nice little book of his poems sitting on my art desk, and once in a while I pull it out and read one of my favorite poems.  It usually cheers me up, because a lot of his poetry is so down to earth and lighthearted.

One of my very favorites is a poem called A Prayer In Spring, and I like to read it when the flowers start blooming and the bees are out.  It helps me to remember to slow down and enjoy spring while it's here.

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;

And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.
For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

 I got some nice pictures of a couple of the early flowers coming out in my yard.  They're so early this year! 


Snow crocuses
Don't forget to stop and smell the flowers sometime.