Blood Drive

Today we’re driving to give blood; plasma, more specifically. BioLife is having a Black Friday special. For the second donation this week, we will receive fifty dollars. You just can’t pass up money like that!

I credit BioLife with my push to drink more water. The more hydrated I am, the faster I’m able to complete my bag of plasma. My record time is thirty-three minutes. I don’t mind getting fifty dollars for lying on a recliner and reading a book for thirty-three minutes!

I only wish BioLife were closer. It’s okay, though, because we’ll just kill some more birds with the same stone today. I need to pick up some more Fage Greek yogurt from Costco and more Fuji apples from Sam’s Club. While I’m there I may as well pick up two big containers of unsweetened Hershey’s cocoa. It’s not like I won’t use them.

We also need to exchange a Christmas gift for a different size. Better safe than sorry, I guess. It looked like it would fit to me, but Chuck said I should have gotten a larger size. After checking the size of Cameron’s last jacket, I have to agree with him. It’s better to have a jacket just a little too roomy than one just a little too snug.

I imagine we’ll eat out tonight as well. Chili’s is Chuck’s favorite, and at least I can eat there and know that I can stay totally on-plan. I will either get their smokehouse burger or their sweet and smokey burger and a side of steamed broccoli.

So far it has been a 100% THM day. I did my mile on the treadmill with my usual hills, and I did my baked oatmeal. At the last minute I decided to do pumpkin instead of blueberry, and I’ve learned that pumpkin and yogurt aren’t a great taste combination.

I’m just happy to be back on the treadmill. My knee didn’t bother me at all today, but I did find it a little more grueling since I’ve been slacking with my routine.

I need to start implementing the things Dr. Phil outlines in his book to program myself into believing that I am a winner and that I will succeed at losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. One of those things is to do 30-second boosts of extreme activity. That seems manageable. He says to make sure you get off your duff every hour and walk around for a while. He also says that standing burns more calories than sitting. See, these little things are completely doable.

The one important area where Dr. Phil deviates from the THM plan (that I can see so far) is that he says to eat every four hours, three or four times a day! I’m not sure I’m willing to wait that long for my next meal! Therefore, I will not be following everything Dr. Phil suggests, but I’m finding many, many things that I can add to the plan I’m already doing.

One of these pointers I read just this evening in the lobby at BioLife while waiting for Chuck to finish giving plasma. Helpful tip #1 (and these will be in no particular order: stay tuned for more of these in the future): During a moment of weakness, when you just don’t see any way out of succumbing to temptation and having that bag of chips or slice of pizza or bowl of ice cream, go brush your teeth. When your mouth is all minty fresh, somehow food does not taste all that whoopee.

Before I forget there are also foods that he says increase the appetite, one of them being artificial sweeteners. Some of them did not surprise me, but one of them, xylitol, is a THM-approved sweetener.

Because I live in Missouri, as I’ve said, I can’t participate in the Amazon affiliate program, but, even so, I have to recommend Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet book. I paid considerably less than the cover price for my copy on Amazon or Ebay (I can’t remember which). You just have to comparison-shop.

If you’re trying to lose weight, even if you’re following Trim Healthy Mama, you will benefit from his book, too. There are many helpful tips in there.

I’m soaking up every Christmas movie I can to try to get myself into the Christmas spirit. Ah, Christmas. It isn’t the same as it used to be. I guess everything changes when parents and grandparents die. Or children, for that matter. I’m thinking, again, of that poor family that lost a son/brother in a car crash just a couple of days ago. This will be an especially hard season for them. We have been praying for God’s comfort, peace and strength.

Life is so fragile and uncertain. I heard a man in our church once say that we’re all terminal. Someone who has been given six months to live may end up living longer than someone who has not been diagnosed with a terminal illness. This young man was twenty-seven years old and completely healthy. Only God knows the number of our days.

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Thanksgiving is upon us and I have so much for which to be thankful. This year Chelsea is home. As you may remember, last year she was in the hospital. My brother and his wife brought her Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday last year, and Chuck, Cameron and I brought her Thanksgiving dinner on Friday.

We are overjoyed that her wound is healing–finally! I don’t know if it’s the Endoform or what, but it’s doing markedly better than ever before. The wound bed is certainly more shallow, and I don’t think the tunneling is as deep, either. Slowly but surely it’s filling in.

Cameron had a girlfriend here for Thanksgiving, and she’s a very sweet girl. After dinner we enjoyed playing Apples to Apples and 25 Words or Less.

The dinner was traditional fare: ham (okay, maybe not as traditional as turkey), chicken and noodles (not as traditional as the noodles my dad used to make from the turkey broth), cole slaw, mashed potatoes (gasp!) and gravy, green bean casserole, corn, deviled eggs, yams with marshmallows, stuffing, rolls, and pumpkin pie (that we bought at Hy-Vee on Wednesday).

There were many, many foods that my parents used to have at their feast that were missing at ours: rice pudding, bread pudding, five-cup salad, Watergate salad, Salad Delight, and about eight or nine different pies and a cake or two. Is it any wonder that I weighed 313 pounds at one time–and possibly 325-350 a few years back! They usually also had a relish tray, which featured pickled beets, olives, bread and butter pickles, and I don’t even know what else.

Yesterday I ate off plan. Yes, I did. Today I had off-plan leftovers. Tonight I will probably do the same. I’m okay with that because I know that Thanksgiving doesn’t last forever. Day by day I am gaining the tools I need for weight-loss success.

I will not deprive my family of foods they grew up on just because I decided to change my life.

I did try this yesterday–and again this morning–and it is a keeper. If I may suggest something, try using only two or two and a half tablespoons of Truvia. Yesterday I used less. Today I used the full three tablespoons, and it was too, too much.

I’m sorry I can’t give full information and credit because I can’t find the origin of the recipe or a blog (if there is one). All I know is the recipe apparently originated with someone named Toni. Toni, you did good! I loved it! (*Post edit: someone noticed that this recipe calls for baking soda. I did not see that! Twice I made mine with baking powder, and mine turned out just fine. In fact, mine turned out so well that I’m afraid to try it with baking soda! I’ll have to ask around to see if anyone else has. I tried looking up pumpkin pie on, but the pumpkin pies I saw called for neither baking powder nor baking soda.)

pumpkin pie for one

It was a nice day to be all together, but our happiness was darkened by events that transpired at 2:15 yesterday morning.

One of Chelsea’s classmates and his wife had their first baby, a daughter, last Monday. This was their first Thanksgiving with the new baby. Yesterday morning his twenty-seven-year-old brother was driving to his parents’ house for Thanksgiving when he missed a curve and overturned his car several times. He was ejected from the car and landed in a field. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The accident happened about a mile from his parents’ home. They were likely awakened by sirens. How horrible that those sirens were for their son.

First Thanksgiving with their new granddaughter. First Thanksgiving without their youngest child. I can’t wrap my brain around what kind of heartbreak that would be. I have a pretty good imagination. I think I know what that would feel like. But I don’t know. I don’t want to know.

Except for the recipe section I finished Suzanne Somers’ Eat Great, Lose Weight. She completely lost me with the recipes. There’s no way I would fix that stuff. It doesn’t even sound good. I mean, fennel?  And I’ve never seen celery root in a store, yet she purees that to make a substitute for mashed potatoes.

Not to mention that I refuse to eat my carbs without protein. I like meat, and THM lets me have meat. All the time. The only thing I started doing differently was having an apple without protein before my morning route. That seems to work well for me. I’m thinking of buying some grapes and switching off. Or watermelon when it’s in season. Or cantaloupe. I know that with Trim Healthy Mama, watermelon is to be eaten in limited quantities. I went all summer without eating any watermelon at all. No, I take that back. I had a few watermelon balls with lunch after my aunt’s funeral. I didn’t buy any watermelon, though, and I usually buy at least two or three before summer is over.

I’m still reading Dr. Phil’s book and still enjoying it. I’ll keep you posted as I learn and implement some tools and concepts into my life.

Chuck and I got up dark and early on Wednesday and headed out to an early morning plasma donation appointment. Then we did a little Christmas shopping. In Target I found The Plan. It was 20% off the cover price, so I bought it. I wanted it, anyway, and the first third of my original Trim Healthy Mama book has been lent out to a friend for a while now. I could use a refresher course.

On Wednesday I got my two temporary crowns. After the first of the year, when my insurance starts over, I’ll get the permanent ones. I hope they’re not as much of an ordeal as the temporary ones were. He kept nicking my gum with his dremel tool. When I kept flinching, he asked the nurse for some lanocaine. He gave me about five shots, and–maybe it was the placement of the shots–but they really hurt and made my eyes water. It was hard for me to sit still. In fact, I’m pretty sure I didn’t.

After working all night and only sleeping about four hours this morning, Cameron decided to go to Warrensburg to play basketball at the Community Center on this cold, miserable, rainy day. At his request, I fixed him a big plate of Thanksgiving leftovers, but then I proceeded to beg him not to go. After what happened to that other family early Thanksgiving morning, I just want to hold my babies close and not ever let them leave the house again.

I know he’s twenty-seven years old; I know he’s an adult, but no matter how old he gets I’ll still be the mom. Moms worry sometimes: that’s kind of in our job description. I don’t care if he’s eighty; he’ll always be my baby.


Quirky Is as Quirky Does

OCDMy son comes by it honestly, I’ll say that much. I don’t know when his OCD started, but he was pretty young. I remember his taking my purse into his room every night so that if someone broke into our home in the middle of the night, they wouldn’t be able to steal it. He had one phase where all the chairs had to lined up exactly straight under each desk/computer center before he went to bed. Another phase had him gathering up everyone’s shoes and putting them in the corner of the room.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is laughable to almost everyone except the person who has it. (We’ve all seen OCD manifested in movies like As Good As It Gets, where the main character can’t step on a crack on the sidewalk or a line in the pavement and has to use five fresh bars of soap in his daily routine of washing his hands with scalding hot water.)

My OCD is not as severe, but it’s there. (Long, long ago in the land of music there were things called “45s” or “singles.” These were hit songs that sold independently of other things called “albums.” Albums were a throwback to today’s compact disc, and I would venture to guess that most of today’s youth have never seen one. My 45s were once upon a time kept in our storage unit, along with my albums, but it was broken into and all my records were stolen. I was at first devastated. They represented many years, events and emotions of my life. As Trisha Yearwood once sang, “The song remembers when.” Then I realized that had I really needed or wanted all those records they wouldn’t have been in a storage unit. Then, there’s the possibility that, after being subjected to summer’s sweltering heat and winter’s frigid temps while residing in an eight-by-ten metal room, they may have been ruined, anyway.) All the time I had my 45s living in the same house with me I always had to make sure they were each in their correct paper jacket before putting them away. Had I put an RCA record into a Columbia House jacket the world surely would have come to an end. If I had several stacks of records decorating my entertainment center and needing to be put away a grand matching game would ensue. Albums, of course, were far easier, since the name of the group was more easily matched with the name and photo on the album cover.

My OCD doesn’t affect me much, anymore, however, at least not to the extent that my son still struggles with his. I do notice that I have to have the volume turned up or down to an even number when I’m listening to the radio in my car or bus or watching a television on which the volume corresponds to a number. The TV in the living room just has a solid neon bar at the bottom of the screen which lengthens or shortens as you turn the volume up or down.

I’ve noticed my OCD bleeding over into my exercise regimen. That’s not a bad thing. I’d rather be obsessive about exercise than not doing it at all. The sad fact of the matter is, over the course of the past three or four weeks, I’ve hardly done it at all. When my knee went bad and it hurt to walk I took a sabbatical. Coincidentally that happened about the same time as I had that mechanical malfunction on the treadmill that night. There was kind of a squeaking noise and the treadmill wasn’t keeping up a constant speed. I was afraid it was done for. The next time I was on it, it seemed fine, but it was either the next day or a day or two after that I somehow injured my knee. My guess was that I had somehow slightly jammed it as I was bowling one Sunday afternoon, after many years of not picking up a bowling ball.

Before that, though, I was obsessing over the treadmill. At first it was fifteen minutes on the treadmill at a certain speed. Then I would increase the speed as my stamina increased. Then I increased the time. It was generally at the same time every day, but I added other sessions here and there. The point is that I couldn’t not do my treadmill: it had become an obsession of sorts.

When my knee started bothering me I gave up the treadmill and started walking outside once in a while, so that I could walk at my own pace. Now the weather is getting cooler and rainier and walking outside doesn’t have the same appeal. I need to get back on the treadmill, but I don’t want to. My procrastinating, lazy self has shown up again. My knee is hit and miss. When I was fueling my bus at noon yesterday, it was painful to step up on the cement step with the card-swiping machine. There was definitely a painful catch of some kind in my knee. Just as quickly as it appeared, though, it vanished again. Today I have felt it again a few times while climbing up steps and even when walking. It’s not excruciating, but it is still quite uncomfortable.

With the addition of my Fitbit into my life, I no longer feel compelled to do my mile before breakfast. I know that no matter when or where or how long I walk, the Fitbit tracks everything. It takes a little of the pressure off to record every single mile in my blog–when I decide to do my blog. Lately that has been hit-and-miss, too; some days it’s mostly miss.

If I weren’t so incredibly uninspired and lazy I would make some of that Singing Canary to see if it helps my fatigue. One thing that I know would help is getting to sleep at a decent hour. Nowadays I almost always get up before my alarm goes off at 5:15, and it’s a rare night when I can fall asleep before midnight. I’m tired, but I can’t sleep. I’m having trouble shutting my brain off, as my dad used to say. A couple of nights ago, I finally got into my nightstand and took a couple of Melatonin. I fell asleep while waiting for them to kick in.

I wonder how much of my eating is OCD-related. If I could pinpoint it, maybe I could change it. For my son, it’s easy to see. He can’t have just one Icebreaker: he has to have two because he doesn’t do odd numbers. If I offer him a piece of chocolate or something I need to be prepared to part with two of them.

M&Ms have shown me my OCD. I eat them in groups of six. I have even gone as far as to sort them into groups on my plate. The last six I put in my mouth are one of each color: blue, orange, green, red, yellow and brown. If I have an extra number of greens and blues, though, I have to make groups consisting of those colors until I have an equal amount of every color. Thankfully, M&Ms and I aren’t really on speaking terms right now, so I don’t currently have an issue with that.

I have to see what I’m eating, I’ve noticed, if it’s a group of differently colored foods. Just as I wouldn’t be able to eat M&Ms in the dark, I also can’t eat the butter mints I keep in my nightstand in the dark. Well, now I can because I have made sure all the green, pink and yellow ones are gone. The only ones left in the bag are white ones. For some bizarre reason I had to know which color of mint(s) I had in my mouth. Keep in mind that they all taste exactly the same, as far as I can tell, but it’s one of those things I just have to know; don’t ask me why.

For similar reasons, I separate mixed nuts when I eat them, too. The order may vary from time to time, but I always devise a plan before I start eating them. Usually, I eat all the peanuts first, after carefully making sure there are no cashew pieces hiding in the group because peanuts are the common peasants and are easily dispensable. They are like the soldiers in the can because they are so numerous, and the more expensive nuts are like the colonel and sergeants. They are fewer and tastier and are saved until last so I can savor them more fully. Usually I decide that the last taste I want to have in my mouth is a pecan or a Brazil nut, so I save those for last.

I’m hoping Dr. Phil can help me get to the bottom of all this before I reach the end of his book. I promised I would share with you the twenty key foods in his 20/20 Diet book. The first three I have run across are apples, yogurt and almonds. Yay! I love all those! I can’t wait to see how he ties everything together and gives me the best plan for squelching my cravings! I’ll keep you posted!

Today I tried doing a writing exercise, since I’ve been slacking on my blogging lately . My question of the day was: What is the quirkiest thing about you. I didn’t have to dig too deep to find it. If I come up with any other loony traits about myself, I’ll be sure to let you know. Brutal honesty. That’s how I roll.

Stats for 11/19/15:
Weight: N/A
Pre-breakfast snack (5:30): Fuji apple (Suzanne Somers style, no protein)
Breakfast (8:45) S: chocolate muffin in a mug (I’ve been sprinkling about eight Hershey’s sugar-free chocolate chips on top before putting it in the microwave and then topping it off with Redi Whip when it’s done)
Lunch (12:15) E: Two pieces of Ezekiel toast with Happy Farms cheese and Smuckers Simply Fruit and a chocolate peanut butter shake
Afternoon snack (4:00) E: Fuji apple maybe and Triple Zero Greek banana creme yogurt
Dinner (7:45) Crossover: I’m thinking chili, but maybe pizza casserole, in which case that would be an S.

We Don’t Know What God Knows

After my husband was diagnosed with diabetes a few years ago, I started talking about making some changes in our diets. I would say stuff like, “Don’t you want to live longer?”

“God already knows when we’re going to die, so what difference does it make?” he said.

I said, “Yes, but maybe God knows that we’re going to change our diets and live longer than we would have otherwise.”

On the surface, this sounds like an accurate statement: You can’t change what God already knows. Here’s what’s wrong with this statement: We don’t know what God already knows.

That sounds complicated, but I was thinking about it yesterday and it’s easier to understand than one might think. The thing is, we don’t know what God knows. If God knows we’re going to die of a heart attack, then God also knows that we’re going to squander away every opportunity He has given us to reclaim our health. Maybe God knows that we’ll live until we’re ninety-one years old. Maybe He knows that, at the age of fifty-five, we will change our diets and begin to exercise every day.

Having a fatalist mentality takes all responsibility out of our hands. I’ll say again that I am not a Calvinist. I concede that God already knows who will and who will not receive Christ as his Savior, but it isn’t God who makes the choice! It is God who gives us the choice!

It was Adrian Rogers who said that God looked down through the annals of time and saw little Adrian Rogers believing on His only begotten Son, and He said, “That one’s Mine.” He said this before Adrian Rogers was even born. He said this before Adrian Rogers’ parents, grandparents and great-great-great-great grandparents were even born. God saw that Adrian would choose for Christ, but God didn’t force him to do that. God set before him a choice.

God is omniscient. He knows all things. He is also omnipotent and omnipresent: all-powerful and ever-present, but He doesn’t cause things to happen. That would make God the author of sin. That would make every sin that we commit not only God’s plan but God’s fault, and we can’t lay our sin at the feet of our Holy God.

I know there’s a flip-side. There’s always a flip-side. It is God who causes the sun to rise every morning. It is God who causes the rain and allows the drought. It is God who is the cause of every beat of our hearts and every breath we draw through our nostrils. It is also God who allows rape and murder and lies and adultery and stealing, but He doesn’t cause it.

If God is all-powerful, why did He not stop 9-11? Why did He not stop the Holocaust? Why does He not prevent car crashes and cancer from consuming little children and babies from being born blind or deaf?

I don’t know the answer to all these questions, but if I had to guess I would say that He loves us and wants us to come to Him. If He uses a national tragedy to get people to seek Him and not be lost in eternal flames, then isn’t that a good thing?

The Bible says that God uses all things for good for those who love God.

“What about the unbelievers who were killed on 9-11? How is that a good thing?” we may ask. God already knows who will and who will not ever believe on Jesus, no matter how many opportunities they are given. He doesn’t cause them to not believe–that would make God a monster–but He knows.

God wants us to come to Him, but He doesn’t force us. The Bible says man will be without excuse. That means we can’t lay our bad decisions or our indecision at God’s feet. No one will say, “It isn’t my fault I didn’t believe. I would have believed if You had called me to believe. You called others, but You didn’t call me. How am I now being punished for something I had no choice in?”

One day, as we were riding in the car, talking about Calvinism, I remember this paraphrased question (paraphrased because it was a few weeks ago and because I don’t remember who said it, whether it was Chelsea or Cameron): “If Calvinism is true, what good is preaching?”

Good question. It’s no good at all, and neither is praying. Nothing would matter. We would all be robots, players on the grand stage of life, using only a script that was written entirely by God, no ad libbing allowed. Every thought in our head, God put there. Every word that comes out of our mouth, God formed. Every doubt, every complaint, every murmur and dispute would be from God–even though God tells us in the Bible to do all things without murmurings or disputings. Would He tell us not to do something and then not give us any other option but to do the thing He forbids?

Is that the God we serve? I think not. I know not. I know God, and He is a good and holy God. A just God. A loving God.

These are pretty deep thoughts for 5:30 in the morning, but let me just encourage you not to let God’s omniscience give you a license to eat your way to an early grave. That’s a cop out. Don’t mistakenly think that since the number of your days is already ordained that you can’t change what God already knows–because you don’t know what God knows. God may see a change that you haven’t yet made. God may see a victory you haven’t yet experienced.

Stats for 11/17/15:
Weight: N/A
Blood sugar: 79 (5:30 a.m.)
Pre-breakfast snack (5:30 a.m.): Fuji apple (Suzanne Somers style, no protein, just an apple)
Breakfast (8:30) S: c̶h̶o̶c̶o̶l̶a̶t̶e̶ ̶m̶u̶f̶f̶i̶n̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶a̶ ̶m̶u̶g̶ cinnamon muffin in a mug with cream cheese frosting. One of the drivers brought in cinnamon rolls after the morning route. I didn’t have one. I consider this a small victory. I would have considered it a major victory had I not entertained the thought of sinking my teeth into one four or five times before I got back to the bus lot. (I didn’t measure everything out, but this is basically how I made it: 1 1/2 TBL of organic coconut oil, 1 egg, 1 1/2 TBL of almond flour, 1 1/2 TBL of ground flax meal, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, a few squirts of vanilla extract, six packets of Truvia. I microwaved it for a minute and then twenty more seconds for good measure. For the frosting I used about two TBL of 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened in the microwave, two packets of Truvia and a couple of squirts (or a few drips) of vanilla extract. After I spread the frosting on top of my muffin I also sprinkled it with cinnamon. It was delicious. Chuck said it wasn’t as good as the real cinnamon roll would have been, but what does he know? He didn’t taste either one! He is only assuming it wasn’t as good. I’m telling myself it was pretty wonderful [I’m sorry I didn’t think to take a picture until I only had two bites left], and now I don’t have to hate myself for the rest of the day for throwing my day off plan first thing in the morning. That’s what nights are for! I mean this as a joke, but, unfortunately, more days than not, this proves to be true.)
Lunch (12:15) E: two pieces of Ezekiel toast with Happy Farms cheese and blackberry Smuckers Simply Fruit and a chocolate peanut butter shake. Either this or I will have an S chocolate muffin in a mug, since I didn’t have one for breakfast.
Afternoon snack (4:00) E: Fuji apple maybe and Triple Zero banana creme Greek yogurt
Dinner (7:30) Crossover: I’m thinking chili. It’s rainy here, and I have all the fixings so I may just go for it.

A Life Saver

A couple of nights ago, Cameron was sitting in the chair beside me, eating a Ring Pop, as we watched television. As he finished it, he got strangled on the sourness of the sour apple and began coughing. I looked over at him and asked if he was okay. He kept coughing and then said, “I can’t breathe.”

His face wasn’t red or anything and, because he could talk, I figured he was able to get air in and out of the passageway, but what he said concerned me and my face must have shown it.

“Stand up!” I said.

Cameron stood up, and, before I could do anything at all, Chuck bounded out of his chair and was across the room in an instant. He threw his arms around Cameron’s midsection and started doing the Heimlich maneuver. After two or three violent jerks applied just under Cameron’s rib cage, Cameron sputtered, “I’m okay now.”

I still don’t know if he was in any grave danger, but just the fact that he thought he was scared me enough to attempt to do what Chuck ended up doing. It may have been the look on my face that bolted Chuck into action, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen him move with such intensity and decisiveness.

See, I had always been told that, if the person choking can talk, he’s able to get air and probably is not in grave danger, but it’s best not to take any chances. Besides, a situation that isn’t serious in the beginning can quickly become serious if during the coughing and gasping more saliva or food is sucked into the windpipe.

Less than an hour later, a post from Cameron’s timeline showed up in my Facebook news feed: I wanna give a shout out to my dad for saving my life.. Thank you Chuck Lacen! I was choking and you sprung into action. smile emoticon

Chuck is kind of in the business of saving lives now, since this is his second time (actually his third, if you count the time he stopped our car from rolling down the hill with Chelsea in it–but that was kind of his fault to start with, since he probably didn’t properly engage the emergency brake before jumping out of the car to buy a newspaper).  See, several years ago he saved mine, as well.

We had taken his parents out to eat at Golden Corral (that was back when it was still a pretty good restaurant).  I got a steak that had a little too much fat and gristle on it, but, because I was with his parents, I didn’t want to take a piece of meat out of my mouth just because I couldn’t chew it. Listen to me carefully here: that is exactly what I should have done. Instead, I tried to swallow it, anyway. It was too big of a piece of meat to swallow, and my throat closed in around it.

The steak was lodged in my throat and I could neither breathe in nor out. I felt other food that I had already consumed rising up in my throat, like caulking on a window pane, sealing in the piece of meat. I was foaming at the mouth with Cola and mashed potatoes. I felt like a mad dog.

As I worked to swallow everything back down, I could see I was getting nowhere at all. Every second that clicked by made me panic even more. Chuck’s dad was sitting across the table from Chuck and me and his mom was at the buffet. I was past the point of embarrassment now: I was about to die.

I tried to speak, but no words would come out. As I was saying, there was absolutely no air getting in or out. To get Chuck’s attention, I either grabbed his arm or pounded on the table–I don’t remember which–and mouthed the words “Help me!”

Waitresses had started to gather at our table. One of them said, “She’s choking,” and another said, “Get her a cool cloth.” What? A cool cloth? I’m not in labor; I’m choking to death!

I don’t know what I looked like, but I must have been a sight. I was sure this was how it was going to end for me, choking to death in a restaurant, being gawked at by strangers. I started to wonder how long I had before I would lose consciousness. I was about to become one of those sad stories where people would comment at the end, “Well, at least she died doing what she loved.”

While I’m on this topic, let me just interject what an idiotic response that is, no matter how a person dies. I’ve heard that so many times. People said it when Dale Earnhardt died in a fiery crash while racing. “At least he died doing what he loved.” Really? He loved burning alive?

People said it when Steve Irwin died. Really? He loved getting pierced through the heart by a stingray under water?

When Chuck found out I was in trouble he jumped out of his chair and did the same thing he did for Cameron a few nights ago. Nothing dramatic happened, like the piece of steak flying across the room, but he did dislodge it apparently because I was able to draw in some air finally, even though it took me a few minutes to compose myself. My eyes were watering, my nose was running and I had that strangling feeling still in my throat, but at least I was able to breathe again.

When the crisis was over, someone at the next table reached over and patted Chuck on the thigh and said, “Good job!”

Later Chuck said he was initially worried that he wouldn’t be able to get his arms around me. It was a legitimate concern. Even if he was able to get his arms around me, would he be able to clasp his hands together and get enough leverage to be able to pull his arms backward with enough force to do any good? He knew he had to try. He said all he could see were Chelsea and Cameron’s faces and how they wouldn’t understand if he let me die without at least trying to save me.

All the way home from the restaurant that night, I was still in shock. I couldn’t believe I was still alive. That’s how sure I was that I was going to die. The shock lasted for the next two weeks. As I recounted my experience to everyone I knew, I kept saying, “I can’t believe I’m still alive.”

I sincerely hope that never happens to me, again. Now if I get a piece of meat that is too tough to chew, I take it out of my mouth and wrap it in a napkin; I don’t care who is sitting at our table. Having someone possibly think you have poor table manners is a better alternative to dying.

If it ever does happen to me, again, at least now, thanks to Trim Healthy Mama, my husband won’t have to worry about not being able to get his arms around me! If I hadn’t died from choking, I would have died of embarrassment if that had been the case! Can you imagine? I can see the headlines now: “Obese Woman Chokes to Death at Restaurant because No One Has Long Enough Arms to Perform the Heimlich on Her.”

A dead woman can’t die twice, but can you imagine how embarrassing it would be if no one could wrap their arms around you to do the Heimlich maneuver? If I could have died twice, the first time would have been from choking and the second time from embarrassment. Praise be to God that I lived to tell about it! I’m thankful that my husband loved my kids enough to not let me die!  Haha!

Stats for 11/13/15:
Weight: N/A
Exercise: 1.9 miles so far
Blood sugar: N/A
Pre-breakfast snack (5:30) E: Just a Fuji apple, per Suzanne Somers suggestion (no protein).
Breakfast (8:30) S: Chocolate muffin in a mug.
Lunch (12:00) started off an S, but ended off-plan (Hey, weight-loss is a journey, not a destination): I went out to eat with my daughter and my boss and had grilled chicken salad at the Mexican restaurant. That was a good decision. The bad decision came when I tried the Sombrero dessert my daughter raved about. She was right, it was delicious. It was some kind of apple tart with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top. I’m assuming it was named a Sombrero because of its shape.
Afternoon snack (4:00) FP: Shamrock shake.
Dinner (7:45) S: Kansas City Strip steaks with a side of green beans, mushrooms and onions–and hopefully simmered in chicken broth if I can get to the store!


Books, Books, Books!

I’ve never been the kind of person to read more than one book at a time, and, yet, here I am, trying to do six!

I still haven’t finished My Big, Fat Greek Diet (my second time through) or The Dark Side of Calvinism or The Other Side of Calvinism (the dry one, but I decided last week that it’s only the history portion of it that is dry. The theology part is fine. If you happen to enjoy history, with lots of names and dates, you wouldn’t have a problem with it. I picked it up again the other evening and read it as I donated plasma), and now I’ve added to the mix Margin, after hearing Dr. Richard Swenson on Focus on the Family way back in the 90s when the book first came out (that’s how long it had been on my wish list!), Suzanne Somers’ Eat Great, Lose Weight, and brand new to my reading group is Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet that I just got in the mail a couple of days ago.

As I wrote last, Eat Great, Lose Weight has many, many, many similarities to Trim Healthy Mama, so much so, in fact, that I’m considering following a little of her stuff to see if it will jump-start my weight-loss again. The thing I’m having trouble getting past is no protein with carbs, but the fact is she counts cottage cheese as a carb, for instance, and not a protein when, in fact, it is both.

Whereas THM allows five grams of fat with an E meal, Somers insists that the fat in a “Carbos” meal is only 1/2 gram per serving. Somers is more restrictive when it comes to mixing carbs and fats, but not as restrictive as Trim Healthy Mama when it comes to breads. Anything made with white or semolina flour, of course, it forbidden, but she has lots of breads/crackers/etc. on the approved list: amaranth, barley, bran, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgar, kamut, millet, oats, rye, spelt, wheat, wheat germ, wild rice.

Here is a little pearl from Suzanne’s book:  Question: “What happens if I skip a meal? Don’t do it! Whether you’re eating at home or dining in restaurants, make sure not to skip meals. Your mother always told you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? In many ways, she was correct. Your body has been fasting while you sleep, so when you wake up in the morning, you have gone for some eight to ten hours without food. If you skip breakfast and don’t eat until lunch, your body has gone for twelve to fourteen hours without food. When you finally eat lunch, your body’s survival instinct kicks in. It doesn’t know when you’re going to feed it again, so it hangs on to every morsel instead of properly processing the food. Remember to eat at least three meals a day–or as many as six mini-meals throughout the day, if you prefer.”

So, see? Suzanne Somers said it before Trim Healthy Mama did, and probably someone else said it before Suzanne Somers, too.

When someone said that Trim Healthy Mama’s idea of separating fats and carbs was not a novel idea, they were right. That’s the whole gist behind the book Suzanne Somers wrote in 1996, and she got the idea from someone else, only researching it out for herself. The science of separating fuels and combining certain foods has been around for a long while.

I’m just thankful that I finally found out about it. It seems to work. To be completely honest, though, just by giving up sugar, white flour, potatoes, bread, white rice, pasta, milk and bananas, you’re going to lose weight! There’s not much science in that, just a lot of common sense. And if you couple exercise to that you have even more of a chance to get your life back to a healthy state.

Now. Dr. Phil. Where shall I begin? I love his book. I feel like he’s sitting right here beside me, talking to me. Reading him is like listening to him. It’s refreshing to find authors like that, authors who can write like they talk without throwing grammar and punctuation to the wind. I was so impressed with his use of quotation marks, in fact, that I checked the front of the book and the first few pages to see if he had a ghost writer. Nope, it was all him. He definitely has a commendable working knowledge of the English language. Either that or he had a bead on a great editor. Granted, I’m not very far into it, but I haven’t found a mistake, yet, and generally punctuation and grammar errors slap me in the face as I’m reading.

When I went to college I had some friends with whom I corresponded regularly by mail. One of my friends, a former coworker, told me, “I love your letters! You write like you talk.” In my lifetime, I consider that to be one of the best compliments anyone has ever given me. Well, look: almost forty years later I still remember it.

Sometimes Dr. Phil annoys me by announcing before a commercial, “When we come back we’re going to start putting some verbs in our sentences.”

Invariably I groan and yell at the TV, “Dr. Phil, all sentences have verbs in them!” Of course, I understand exactly what he means, but I disagree vehemently with the way he says it. “Procrastinate” is a verb. “Stagnate” is a verb.  “Stall” is a verb. There are all kinds of verbs that do nothing, but they’re still verbs. In doing nothing, they’re still doing something. That “something” is nothing.

Even though I just got the book a couple of days ago and am not even halfway through it, yet, already things have jumped off the page at me. He is saying some things that have been revelations to me this past year and so many months on my weight-loss journey. In fact, some of the things he has written are things I have written myself, either in my blog or in THM Beginners.

The first one I saw was “The next year of your life is going to go by whether you’re doing something about your weight or not.” I said this exact thing in slightly different words to a sweet lady on the Beginners page who was waiting for some magical future date to begin her journey.

Time is passing us by, hour by hour, day by day, month by month, and year by year. We may as well be losing weight while this happens, instead of not losing weight and getting possibly even bigger. One thing I know for sure, the longer we put it off the harder it is once we get started.

Another golden nugget from his book is this: “. . . you’re going to have to stop using food for anything other than nutrition. You cannot continue to use food to celebrate, or as a companion, or for entertainment, or comfort. You cannot medicate yourself, your mood, or pain with food.”

How often have I said that? I know it’s true, Dr. Phil. I venture to guess that we all know that’s true, but it is certainly easier said (and understood) than done.

Old habits die hard, and I’m convinced that 75% of food addiction is psychological. I’m hoping that Dr. Phil is just the right person to help me unravel the tangled mess that is my inner psyche. I’ll keep you updated.

I’m happy to report that I was able to continue my treadmill today. My knee is almost completely back to normal. I experienced no pain while I was on the treadmill, but I did slow it down to 3.0, after starting out at my traditional 3.3 m.p.h. Still I got in the same time and the same hills.

I had asked Chuck to go walking with me, but he said, “I’ve got too much stuff to do. Besides, I’ve already been on the treadmill today.”

“Oh, really?” I responded. “Uh huh. Okay. You were on the treadmill.” I glanced over and saw the treadmill was on an incline, so I knew he wasn’t just messing with me. He had been on the treadmill, because when I’m on it I always set the grade back on 0% before I get off.

He said his blood sugar had been a little high so he got on the treadmill to bring it back down.

“Okay,” I responded. “I guess I can do that, too.” I hopped up on the treadmill and did my mile and my hills, and in just twenty minutes I felt so much better about myself.

In other news, Chelsea’s wound is still doing very well. Maybe there hasn’t been much improvement this week over last week, but in the course of the last month or so we have seen considerable progress. Her home health nurse is ecstatic with how it looks now, and Dr. James was also pleased today when Chelsea went in for her followup. It may be the new Endoform that makes the difference. Basically, it’s collagen that dissolves into the wound. The main thing is now that I don’t spray wound cleanser into the wound and wipe it out. I just take out the old dressing (I rarely have to do this because generally it falls out on its own) and put in a new Aquacel AG (I make a slit down the middle of the sheet with my scissors and tuck each end into the wounds “tunnels”) and put on a fresh ABD pad. In any event, it seems to be getting better and better.

In other news, I am so thankful for the opportunity to help save lives and make money at the same time!  I just looked up my BioLife account and so far I have made $470 for donating plasma!

With my plasma money and my Trim Healthy Mama affiliate link I have made almost a thousand dollars! I’m blown away by all the ways God has chosen to bless me. I am so grateful to you ladies who have ordered through my affiliate link. I appreciate it so, so much.

Oh, how I wish I were eligible for the Amazon affiliate program, but I’m not, just because I live in Missouri. I would have all kinds of books and products to recommend. Hey, I can still recommend them, right? I just don’t get paid commissions for my recommendations.

I will still recommend products I believe in, whether I get a kickback or not.

Piping Rock whey protein isolate powder is a product that I do get a kickback for. I use it regularly, as does my daughter. I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t think it was a good product. Not only is it an acceptable whey protein isolate for Trim Healthy Mama, it is also reasonably priced! I’m all about staying on plan while not breaking the bank! And don’t forget to check out the other products they offer while you’re there!

Stats for 11/12/15:
Weight: N/A
Exercise: So far, 3.15 walked, including a mile on the treadmill
Blood sugar: N/A
Pre-breakfast snack (5:30) E: Fuji apple (I tried a Suzanne Somers trick and ate my fruit by itself, no protein. I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat for another three hours when I returned home from my morning route, so it didn’t really matter if I got hungry or not; I wouldn’t have an opportunity to “cheat.” It turns out the apple snack without protein worked out just fine, and, according to Somers, it’s important to give that fruit a head start to break down before introducing proteins/fats or carbs. We’ll see if I can tell a difference in how my body reacts to this, either in metabolism, digestion, elimination or weight loss.)
Breakfast (9:00) S: Chocolate muffin in a mug from the old book.
Lunch (12:15) E: two pieces of Ezekiel toast with Happy Farms cheese and strawberry Smuckers Simply Fruit and a Shamrock Shake (so good and nutritious I had two today!)
Afternoon snack (4:00) E: Fuji apple and Shamrock Shake.
Dinner (7:45) S: Either left-over chicken alfredo with Dreamfields pasta or a sirloin burger.

Thank you for reading my blog!  <3



Somersizing vs. THM

I think I told you in an earlier post that I ordered Suzanne Somers’ book, Eat Great, Lose Weight, after reading a review about Trim Healthy Mama, saying the two books are basically the same thing.

I can see several similarities, even in some of the language used, but I can see some differences, too. At first glance, I could see how a person might be under the impression that Trim Healthy Mama is just Somers’ book with a fresh cover.

I was alive in the 90s. How could I have not seen this book? On the other hand, maybe I did and just thought it was another fad diet book.

I’ve not even gotten through half of it, yet, but it’s easy to read and pretty entertaining, too.

Let me point out a few differences that I have found. Like SUGAR BUSTERS!, Somers says to stay away from carrots, corn, beets, and potatoes. Trim Healthy Mama says you can have beets, carrots and corn (in moderation). Somers goes a step further than SUGAR BUSTERS!, though, and says to also avoid sweet potatoes, pumpkin and butternut squash because these are starchy vegetables.

Basically, Eat Great, Lose Weight and Trim Healthy Mama say the same thing. Avoid white flour, all sugars, white rice, pasta made with white flour, and bananas. Trim Healthy Mama will allow you half a banana every once in a while. Somers (and my doctor) says not to eat them.

Trim Healthy Mama says you may have caffeine. Somers lists caffeine as a “funky food” to be avoided.

Another difference is in the meal combining. Trim Healthy Mama says to have protein with every meal and snack. Somers says not to mix proteins with carbohydrates because they use different enzymes to break down. Proteins are to be eaten with fats only, and fruits are to be eaten by themselves either half an hour or an hour before meals or two hours after.

One thing that piqued my interest was that, in Somers’ book, she says she loses more weight when eating less carbs. One of my readers once suggested that maybe I need more S meals and less E meals, since I have been experiencing a rather lengthy stall.

I just finished blueberry yogurt baked oatmeal for dinner. Before my morning route, I had the rest of my scrambled eggs with green pepper, green onions, mushrooms and cheese that I had left over from dinner last night, along with a cup of black coffee. That was an S.

Drinking coffee regularly is a recent thing. After reading in Somers’ book that caffeine is a “funky food,” though, I’m wondering if I should give it up or at least go from putting two tablespoons of coffee per pot to just using one.

I got home from my morning route and had the chocolate muffin in a mug, which was an S.  I’ve made several of these lately. They satisfy a chocolate craving and they’re ready in just a minute and twenty seconds, whereas my baked oatmeal is in the oven for forty-five minutes.

For lunch I had two pieces of Ezekiel toast with Happy Farms cheese and some peach Polaner All-fruit and a chocolate peanut butter shake. That was an E.

I had another E for my afternoon snack when I had a Fuji apple and a Shamrock Shake, made with cottage cheese, a handful of spinach leaves and peppermint extract.

A friend and I walked about two miles around our school campus and the walking track. Altogether today I have walked 4.19 miles.

All things considered, it has been a good day so far. I feel like I should go to bed now so I don’t mess it up!

What Coffee Won’t Cover, Maybe a Nap Will

Apparently what’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander. The rules of the house, that Chuck established, are that we go to bed together, at the same time.

When he has to work the next day he always enforces that rule. If I linger on Facebook, he is relentless in his prodding and coaxing to get me moving in the direction of the bedroom. He must have been an Australian Shepherd in his previous life. (You know I’m joking: I don’t go in for all that stuff.)

Last night my plans were to retire early, especially after Chelsea was in bed at an earlier hour and her wound had been changed, but good intentions postponed are negated. Before I knew it, it was 10:30.

“Come on,” I said. “Remember your rules. We always go to bed at the same time.”

But Cameron had come over before work, and Chuck is still on a World Series high since our beloved Royals clinched the title on the fifth game of the series (he and Cameron attended the parade on Tuesday). I could not persuade him to switch off the TV and call it a night. By the time I had him rounded up, it was after 11:00, and, after we had recounted the events of the day in short form, as we often do once we’re in bed, it was nearly midnight.

I woke up at one something and was thrilled that I still had four more hours to sleep, but at 2:30 Chuck was up and “flick”–suddenly the ceiling light was on.  Groggily I turned over to see what was going on.

He walked back to the bed and handed me a square of toilet paper. “Here,” he said. “I’ve got something in my eye. See if you can get it to stick to this and get it out. It’s a pretty big flake, so you should be able to see it.”

I couldn’t, though. It hurt so bad he couldn’t open his eye, and I was having trouble seeing in there, even after he retrieved a flashlight.

My bright idea was to flood his eye with eye drops, but initially all I found were ear drops. “I know we have some eye drops in here somewhere,” I said. I found them, but they expired in 2010 and I was afraid to use them. I got my glass of water and tried to drop some water into his eye with the straw, but I missed and dripped cool water down his side.  Oops.

I was not successful in my feeble attempts at fishing the pebble out of his eye. Yes, it started out as a flake, but, by this time, he was saying he had a pebble in his eye. His eye was watering so much that eventually the foreign object came out and he was able to settle back down and go to sleep.

I got up before my alarm went off because sometimes it’s kinder (to myself) to get up a few minutes early than to chance falling back into a deep sleep and not wanting to get up fifteen minutes later.

As I sat reading my Bible and drinking my coffee an hour later, Chuck was up, too, talking about the rock that had been in his eye during the night–or, should I say, early morning. Thankfully it’s his weekend off and I have no preschoolers today, and we can probably both score a nap later today (and hopefully a walk, as well!).

Chuck told me last night that I appear to be slacking with my treadmill and that he doesn’t like it. He said, “You’re still eating pretty healthy. You just need to get started back with the treadmill.”

Oh, if he only knew.

“I’m not,” I replied. “I’m not really eating that healthy.” Well, I am, but I’m not–if that makes sense.

I’m still separating my carb meals from my fat meals, but I have tricked myself and treated myself to half-price Halloween candy. I won’t make you stumble by mentioning unmentionable items, but, not only did I fall off the wagon, the wagon took off and left me. In a puddle of pity and guilt.

My faulty line of reasoning is “I’ll just go ahead and eat all these packages of candy today. That way it will be all gone and I can start fresh tomorrow.”

I can’t trust myself to have a small cheat. It’s the same with any addiction. Cold turkey is always best. An alcoholic can’t just have one small drink with dinner or just one nightcap. A smoker doesn’t do himself any favors by “trying to cut back,” and a sugar addict can’t stop at just one package of soft, sugary, marshmallow-y Peeps.

Faulty thinking is my nemesis. The other day was National Sandwich Day and Subway ran a special. If you bought one sandwich and a medium drink you could have another sandwich free.

I decided that would be a good dinner for Chuck and Chelsea, so I ordered them both a footlong. I also ordered two Dr. Peppers because I thought the second one was free. I had misunderstood the special. Now, Chuck didn’t need the Dr. Pepper (in fact, we have both given up pop almost 100% except occasionally at the movies), but it’s hard for me to leave a free medium soft drink unclaimed.

I need to retrain my thinking. What I need to tell myself is: “It’s not okay to pay for poison, and it’s not okay to let someone give me poison for free, either.” The same goes for Halloween candy. Poison at full-price or poison for half-price is still poison. Leave it on the shelf.

My knee is better! While I have not gotten on the treadmill for any length of time, I have not given up my walking altogether. On Sunday afternoon I walked to Walmart with Chelsea. Three days ago I walked a mile and a half around Veterans Cemetery with a friend, and the day after that I stopped off and walked two laps around the walking track before my afternoon route. I didn’t do any extra walking yesterday, but I must have kept myself busier than usual because I still tracked over four miles for the day, just grocery shopping and doing stuff around the house, checking the mail, etc.

If you don’t feel like doing treadmill or walking around your neighborhood, just walk to your mailbox and back. Go early so you can walk back later when you discover the mailman hasn’t been by, yet!  All walking counts. All walking adds up.

I’ve not shared this before, but I’ll share it now. I saw a man’s story once about how he had lost over 383 pounds (that’s the name of his group now: Team 383. They are people he has inspired to reclaim their lives through exercise and more healthful eating) just by walking in place for five minutes at a time because he was too heavy to do any more than that. Watch this. You will enjoy it, I think.

In other news, I ordered Suzanne Somer’s book to compare it with Trim Healthy Mama, since one of the THM reviews I read said they were the same thing. I am also kicking around the idea of ordering Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet book, too. While I’m at it, maybe I’ll look around for books on food addiction, particularly sugar addiction, in case any of you have suggestions.

Thank you so much for continuing to order through my –>Trim Healthy Mama affiliate link<–! While I didn’t do as well as I did last month, I have done very well in just the last couple of days! Truly, I am grateful!

Don’t forget that you may also order Piping Rock Whey Protein Isolate or other Piping Rock products through me. Here’s my –>Piping Rock affiliate link<–. In my opinion, you won’t find a better whey protein isolate powder for the money. My daughter and I have been using Piping Rock for the last several months, and my husband ordered some kelp through them, too. They have good supplements that are reasonably priced.

Stats for 11/06/15:
Weight: N/A
Exercise: I think Chuck is going with me today!
Blood sugar:
Pre-breakfast snack: just coffee today. Next time I’ll think about having a Wasa cracker with Happy Farms cheese and Smuckers Simply Fruit along with it. I know how important it is to eat within half an hour of getting up, but have skipped my pre-breakfast snack a few times this week.
Breakfast (8:15) S: Chocolate muffin in a mug
Lunch (11:45) off-plan: Reuben and broccoli cheese soup at the restaurant on Hwy 13.
Afternoon snack (4:00) E: Fuji apple and Triple Zero Greek yogurt
Dinner: Don’t know, yet.