Sunday, November 4, 2012


Hi All!
I know I haven't posted here (or anywhere) for awhile, but thought it might be good to update on my progress.

At this point, Nov 4, 2012, I have spent the past 5+ months tracking what I eat through Weight Watchers, monitoring my portion sizes through that program, as well as aiming for 300 minutes of exercise each week.

With great success!  I've lost 36 pounds since then (and almost 50 since the summer we got married in 2010).  As of last weigh-in on Tuesday, I'm at 172.8 pounds. Crossed over from obese to overweight at the end of July, and have about 13 pounds to go until I'm within the normal BMI range.

I've also been maintaining a gluten-free diet, which has translated, for the most part to fewer carbs, and the carbs have focussed on whole grains, mainly rice.  Most of my "fun" food has come in the form of non-fat yogurt.  I've been mixing it with lovely things like prickly pear tea and stevia, or organic canned pumpkin and stevia and pumpkin spices.

Recently, a nutritionist/nurse practitioner alerted me to and reminded me of the inflammation that can be caused by dairy foods.   She also started me on Zylflamend for inflammation.  In the back of my mind I've known this was coming, and am doing lots of research and taste-testing for a fine substitute base for my yogurt "treats".  Unfortunately, my trips to the froyo shops may come to a screeching halt unless I stumble upon a shop that offers non-dairy options, or I become excited about sorbet (not so excited about the sugar in these products).

I know it was quick... but I will try to keep posting here.  I'll post some more recipes as I come across them, modify them, and try them out!

Thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Liver Cleanse and Detox

It has been over three weeks since my last check in.  I have barely given any of this a thought in this time, except for continuing to eat as well as possible, get a walk in when I can and do the liver detox.
Pharmacy school took over once again, but now there's a little extra time for getting back on track with the daily stint on the elliptical plus a walk in the evenings with my dear and patient hubby.  I haven't weighed in, although sometime during last week I had a strong urge to, thinking I could easily be under 200 lb now.... but I didn't, I guess because I didn't want to know and think about it anymore, in case I was still just at 200 or had gained any.  I had way too much more on my mind to accomplish and study and I didn't want to be distracted as I would have felt compelled to write about it.

I am going to wait until this coming Monday morning to weigh in, but I wanted to take some time and describe the liver detoxification I am doing.  It's pretty low-key compared to some I've done in the past.  I figured since my diet is quite non-toxic as it is, that I needn't let go of even more things and that I could let the medical food do its thing.  I have started with the UltraClear medical food that Metagenics produces, and added their product AdvaClear to help promote the detoxification process.  I mix the UltraClear (2 scoops) with a mixture of 1/2 to 1 cup organic apple juice and 2 cups filtered charged water.  I shake it in a cool shaker bottle I bought at Vitamin Cottage.  At this point I'm at two servings of this each day.  My routine looks like this:  

Wake Up

Cruise Moves for core, belly-flattening (eventually!) work

Breakfast with Richard before he goes to work, very low sugar, little carb plus our supplements

Work out for 30 minutes on elliptical or walk around the "block" a couple of times, around 30 min.

Drink a full glass of filtered and charged water with 2.5 tablespoons of psyllium husks

About an hour after that I drink my first UltraClear drink of the day.  The other is in the middle of the afternoon.  

Lunch is light, usually hummus and almond thins, or a salad, or sometimes 2-3 ounces of grain-fed, hormone free beef.

Snacks are generally nuts, or a string cheese, , blue corn chips with salsa, or sometimes a nibble of organic dark chocolate.  It depends on what I'm studying or working on.

Another snack is a mix of unsweetened chocolate Almond Breeze mixed with a scoop of Jay Robb's chocolate protein drink. 

Dinner tends to be quite light with a protein, maybe a carb and lots of vegetables.

We try to walk before dinner, at least around the mile long block.  Some nights we have a yummy no/low fat, sugar-free treat made with non-fat Greek yogurt mixed with matcha green tea powder and Barlean's flavored sweetened fish oils, either lemon or orange creme.    I will post this recipe soon.

I honestly have not been very hungry lately, and/or my attitude about food has shifted a little, maybe a lot.  Last week we barely had any solid food in the house, it seemed, and I was mostly ok with that, maybe because I had far too many things to do and take care of and was happy for the convenience of my liquid drinks and meals.

Anyhow, the things I have noticed while doing the UltraClear detox system is feeling calm, feeling clean, sleeping well most nights.  I feel as though my liver and gall bladder are getting the attention they've needed.  One of the main goals for starting it was to help with my monthly cycle at the suggestion of the acupuncturist I visited in August.  I would have to say that *maybe* it has helped, there was less pain, a bit more regularity, but this is the topic of a different blog.  I am going to continue the liver cleanse in this manner for at least a few more weeks to see if it will help further in this regard, but I feel, in terms of dietary cleansing it has served its purpose and I feel pretty darned good!

It's kind of interesting that in my latest order of Metagenics products as a practitioner that yesterday I was offered a special to purchase several liver detox packages for patients/customers, a $110 value for $80 (including the UltraClear medical meal plus the AdvaClear and a bag and nifty shaker bottle, and information pamphlets).  I went back and forth wondering how popular this would be with my current clientele and declined for the time being, however if I hear that people are interested, I will jump in and get several sets to provide to those who are interested in detoxification.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Random Check In: Sept 12

I decided to weigh in this morning with the thought that maybe I'd be under 200 lb.  Alas, I was at 200.4!  I'm not sure that scale knows how to register under 200 lb.  Seriously!  Anyhow, it DID give me hope that with a bit of extra effort this week that I could actually see a "1" rather than a "2" at the beginning of the number. 

I've been feeling pretty good, walking, and working out on the elliptical, eating well, although a lot of last week was a "cheat" week now and then.

I went to the doctor last week for a physical, and all of my "numbers" (cholesterol, liver enzymes, glucose, C-reactive protein, and anything else I have been concerned about in the past) were well within the normal ranges.  I was VERY happy about this.  I told the doctor that the food I eat is very healthy and I am very aware of it, and I exercise, etc.    She wondered if my frustration with not being able to get below 200 pounds might be a portion control thing, and since I'm over 40 my metabolism may have slowed WAY down.  Then she asked me about pharmacy school and how it was going, and she said that it could also be that the stress of school could be pumping cortisol and making me hang onto the weight, and that it is good to relax now and then (which I think I'm pretty good at, actually).  *sigh*  Anyway, I am not too dismayed.  I'm actually encouraged, somehow... and only 10 more pounds to lose until I'm not considered "obese".  I can smell it, I can feeeeeel it... (This was the main thing listed on my medical report last week.  I'd like to make that not an issue.) The doctor said that even an additional 10% loss will make a difference, and that will take me to a BMI of 28.  Right now I'm at a 31.3.  Obese.  The 10% loss since last year has already made a difference. Less Obese!

I have started an Ultra Clear liver cleanse to assist with the other issues I'm contending with - which could also be contributing to my hanging onto weight- (My Experiment in Healing), so have additional motivation to keep my diet clean-ish.  Today I've done 40 minutes on the elliptical, walked an extra mile, done a set of Jorge Cruise's Cruise Moves for abdominal work, and did 9 reps of each of the Five Tibetans.  

Onward ho!  
I'll be checking in next week with great results!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Results of the One Week Challenge

Weigh in: 200.8lb; total pounds lost this week: 3.0
Waist measurement, the Jorge Cruise way: 41 inches, so minus one inch.

I did not quite get under 200 lb, but that will be soon.  At one point this week I was at 200.4lb, and was hoping....:-)  Alas, that is the pitfall of weighing more often than once each week, is seeing the natural weight fluctuations.

Despite the weight loss and inch lost, I cannot see the extreme of this diet being practical for brain usage and overall energy.  Not once this past week did I feel a huge energy burst, or a day where my muscles didn't feel fatigued.  Some days were better than others, but no day was super-charged.  Plus we were sleeping 9-10 hours each night.  Richard is ecstatic to be able to have carbs and "free" vegetables and Zevias.  In fact he just strutted in, with a big grin on his face, holding a Zevia, and announced, "Look what's FREE!"  Now he's sucking it down.  Happy boy!

We are planning to keep our sugar grams under 20, which will naturally reduce carbs for me, and our fat grams under 60 for me, and 85 for him.  We are also tracking our protein to make sure we get enough.  I have to keep it simple, as my time is going to be very limited for focus on this as classes begin this week.  We also decided, and I'm not sure if I mentioned this yesterday, that we are planning to have one meal each week where we don't have to track anything.  We are going to continue the "Cruise Moves" (the 8 minute workout each morning that is for toning and strength training), and continue our walking and my elliptical-ling. 

I fully expect to be under 200 pounds next Monday morning.  It's time, and on this plan, I'm sure it is more than possible. 

So, now,

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day 7, Most Importantly: LAST DAY of the One Week Challenge...

...also known as "Sugar Awareness Week".  

We are already stoked for shifting our eating plan tomorrow to include more natural sugars and carbs, especially Richard who dearly needs them.  My oldest son (a PhD student/candidate in neuroscience at Harvard) reminded me today, too, that the brain can only use glucose for energy, and if it's not there, that could cause a problem.   He thought it was crazy to count the sugars in vegetables, that cinched it for me.  With full time pharmacy school starting in three days, glucose is back in. 

We have a plan, that yes, involves counting total sugar grams (maximum 20 grams), but we are not going to count the sugar or carbs from vegetables (or psyllium!!!)  We are going to return to our healthy carb regimen we were on before, and with more awareness of how much we are eating.  I am going to be more aware of my serving sizes with the carbs, limiting to some extent, as I am still working to reduce poundage, and Richard will be free to eat what he feels is right for him.  We can breathe a sigh of relief.  Ahhhhhhhhh.

I developed a check list for each of us, because our dietary goals are different from each other, as are our diets (with my eating (grass-fed, hormone-free and lean) red meat, in fact now prescribed by the acupuncturist/nutritionist and Richard's (pesca)vegetarianism).  We can each check off 20 grams of sugar each day, up to 60 grams of fat for me, and 85 grams of fat for Richard, and AT LEAST 80 grams of protein for me, and 100 grams of protein for Richard.  

We ARE going to continue with the morning toning exercises for abdominal, upper body and lower body Monday through Friday, because we think that's a good thing to add in, and seems reasonable to put into our morning routine.  And we plan to continue walking (and I will do my elliptical), and meditation, and living peacefully.

Today's menu looked like this:
Breakfast:  Mediterranean Omelet (as in previous posts), no carbs
Lunch:  Roasted chili pepper bake (with egg beaters and mozzarella), I had a piece of gluten-free toast with olive oil
Snack:  Matcha green tea frapuccino (protein powder with stevia, matcha green tea, unsweetened Almond Breeze) and strawberries with nonfat plain yogurt with stevia.
Dinner:  Me: hormone free steak; Him:  Fish?  tofu?  and something to fulfill our remaining carb serving(s) of the week, some arugula salad with shaved Parmesan and homemade dressing (red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic) .  It looks like we will be splitting the remaining Almond Butter Cup (unless I make some more tonight - this was another good thing to come out of this experiment!)

Tomorrow is the official weigh-in for the One-week Challenge, and I'm sure I've lost weight; we will see about the inches.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Days Five and Six of Sugar Awareness Week

Yesterday went smoothly, although we did not do our four mile walk.  Neither of us has had abundant energy since beginning this One Week Challenge, and after all of the body and energy work I'd had the previous three days, it was time to take a break.  Today I moved my middle son into his dorm, which involved lifting and carrying on a day that is supposed to be a "break" day from the 8 minute exercise plan - oh well.

Yesterday's menus looked like this:
Breakfast: Chili Relleno Bake (essentially home-roasted Anaheim peppers sprinkled with a bit of low-fat Mexican-style cheese and a combo of whole eggs and egg whites whisked with some baking powder and salt and pepper).
Snack: Chocolate Protein Powder shake with unsweetened almond breeze
Lunch:  More Chili Relleno Bake
Snack: low-fat, hormone-free mozzarella cheese stick, and 2 Almond Butter Cups since I could spare the carb servings (Recipe for Almond Butter Cups)
Dinner: 4 ounces of delicious pan-fried steak (Richard had marinated tofu), spring greens with a bit of parmesan cheese and homemade red wine vinegar dressing, and some strawberries and blueberries with an ounce or two of nonfat plain yogurt sweetened with stevia.

Breakfast:  2 blue cornmeal pancakes with stevia-sweetened maple syrup
strawberries and blueberries with an ounce of non-fat plain yogurt with stevia
Snack: Chocolate whey protein powder shake with unsweetened chocolate Almond Breeze
Lunch: (out with son at Egg & I) veggie fritatta (no mushrooms, no green peppers, no toast, no English muffin, and no potatoes - this made it is "free" Sugar/Carb meal, and it was very satisfying this way.
Snack:  Matcha green tea frappuccino (Match green tea with stevia blended with unsweetened plain Almond Breeze and Vanilla protein powder shake (Jay Robb- sweetened with stevia).
Plus we cannot forget our daily Almond Butter Cup allotment!
Dinner:  looks like it's going to be some roasted Anaheim peppers, mixed with some combo of cheese and corn tortillas (enough to make our carbs count, but not over-count), and probably a salad, too.

I do have to say, that on this diet, we have increased our saturated fat intake (cheese, a little bit of cream in the first frapuccino (Day 1), which can be tough on cholesterol levels, so I/we are thinking when we come to modifying our intake in light of sugar content of foods, we will be searching for a happier intake of types of fats. 

Having said all of that, I did sneak a peak at the scale this morning, and am at 200.4 pounds, which means that I've lost 3.4 lb in the last five days following this eating plan and doing the 8 minute exercises each morning.  We'll see on Monday what the grand total is and the difference from last week's waist measurement, and maybe I'll actually be under 200 lb, probably for the first time in several years.  That would be pretty cool (as would seeing it decrease more and more!)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day Four: One-Week Challenge aka "Sugar Awareness Week"

"Challenge" is a good word.  When four spears of asparagus (yes, that is FOUR SPEARS) count for two of your daily SIX allotted Carb servings, and 1 of your 15 Sugars, then that's a serious challenge.  

As Richard and I walked this morning, we agreed that after this "Challenge" week is over, that we needn't count any of our vegetables as Carb servings.  He is really feeling the lack of carbs, as he has always had a fast metabolism, and naturally needs more food.  I keep offering for him to increase his carbs, but he insists he's going to complete the challenge "as is".  I even just offered him my last Carb, and he rejected it.  

I made a visit to a new (to me) acupuncturist, who, after a thorough intake and constitutional assessment, highly suggested that I eat grass-fed, hormone-free red meat (which will work well with this Belly Fat Diet, thankfully), but she also recommended greatly restricting the gluten-free breads and processed foods (which we've also been doing anyway due to the carb and sugar content of all breads, we clearly have to make every carb count with this).  She suggests following more of a "paleo" type diet, restricting refined carbs and keeping fat intake moderate.   Obviously that is going to take a bit more research and planning.  She was very much "for" my becoming sugar-aware, and was in agreement with the craziness of the nitpicky details of the Belly Fat Cure.  

Having said all that, we trudge ahead, even with our lower energy levels.  We like the protein shakes and reducing our sugar intake, and will likely take those two aspects with us into our future plan.  The acupuncturist also encouraged strength training, which we have introduced into our daily life through the Belly Fat Cure, so will likely move that forward and increase it with our new plan as well.  She is very much for our starting up tai chi and/or yoga again to help with daily life balance and keeping our energy flowing.

We are past the half-way point, just days 5, 6, and 7 to go.  We will see what results come from this week.  As of today I'd lost 0.8 pounds, so I have a way to go to the 4-9 pounds in one week "promised" with the Belly Fat Cure.  Perhaps if my diet was completely horrible and I didn't move regularly, this 4-9 pound loss would be attainable in one week.  But a big part of me is thinking that rate of weight loss is simply unhealthy.