Cupcake Catastrophe

I’ve been watching Extreme Weight Loss the last few weeks. I learned something last week that I didn’t know and, actually, have a hard time believing; yet, it must be true or Chris Powell, the professional trainer who hosts the show, wouldn’t have said it. A professional trainer should know, after all, right?

The applicant who got chosen for the show was about ten years younger than I am, but she was about my height: at least she was the same height I used to be.

She was walking on the treadmill and Chris told her that a grade of 1% mimicked walking outside. He went on to say that a 0% grade didn’t do anything for you: that’s basically the belt walking itself. I found that hard to swallow since I’ve been spending most of my time on the treadmill at a 0% incline!

I don’t know what to make of that. Obviously, walking a mile at a 0% incline is better than not walking at all, right?

Think of all those months when I only walked on a 0% grade, though. I know I was not just wasting my time. If nothing else it helped me build up my stamina and got me to where I am now: I’m able to walk faster than I did when I first started out and I’m able to do hills, too.

“It ain’t a dead end if it takes you where you need to go.”

I heard this on a Netflix movie the other night and wrote it down just because I thought it sounded profound. Who knew it would actually apply to a concept I would write about in my blog?

All those months of walking at a 0% grade were not a dead end. It got my legs moving and my heart pumping. Hey, it’s a far cry better than sitting on the couch and eating coconut bonbons, can I get an amen?

After watching that episode I decided that a 1% grade was barely steeper than a 0% and surely I could start doing that for my first five and last five minutes–and then I discovered, to my dismay, that my Nordic Trac doesn’t have a 1% incline! It goes directly from zero to two. Well, crap.

I wasn’t sure I could handle a 2% grade, but I just proved a couple of days ago that I could. It isn’t fun and I don’t enjoy it, but I don’t get off until my twenty minutes are up. I do my other hills, too, just as I normally did when I started out at 0%. I can feel my thighs burning more than normal, but I suspect I’ll get used to it if I keep at it.

We went out to eat at Red Robin tonight to celebrate Cameron’s birthday, which was yesterday. I ordered the Whiskey River BBQ burger and bottomless salad. I did eat three of the chocolate truffles that Chuck ordered for dessert, though, so my dinner wasn’t as on-plan as I had planned for it to be!

Despite the truffles, Chuck is making some real strides in making more healthful choices. For his appetizer he ordered the wedge salad. I still can’t get him to stop ordering french fries, though. And he wonders why his blood sugar was 234 when he checked it later. I have told him and told him and told him, “You cannot eat potatoes! They’re horrible for you!” Do you think he listens to his wife? Ha!

To his credit, we don’t have potatoes at home, anymore, and he doesn’t bellyache about it. It may take him a while to get where I am, but he is trying. He is starting to contemplate which things are good for him to eat and which would probably not be good choices, and the word “carbs” is now in his vocabulary. He is even eating the few broccoli florets I put on his dinner plate sometimes.

For Cameron’s birthday, Chelsea ordered Harvey Wallbanger cupcakes. They don’t exactly sound like the dessert of choice for a Baptist Trim Healthy Mama, but, let me just say, these are in the running for the best cupcakes I have ever tasted.

The first time I had them, she had ordered them for my birthday. Then we had them again for Chuck’s birthday. Are you beginning to see a pattern here?  Guess what Chelsea wants for her birthday. Yep, you guessed it. Harvey Wallbanger cupcakes. Karmin, the owner of the salon where Chelsea works, has a mother-in-law who makes these delectable treats. I just can’t leave them alone.

Chelsea always orders two dozen of them. That means everyone in our family gets six cupcakes each. It took me two days to eat all of mine. In fact, everyone has eaten all theirs except Chuck, Mr. 234 Blood Sugar. He has decided to give Cameron his remaining three cupcakes, since A.) he doesn’t need them (and Chelsea and I don’t, either) and B.) it was Cameron’s birthday.

In the area of cupcakes, apparently Chuck has more willpower than I do. I can turn down bread and potatoes all day long, but Harvey Wallbanger cupcakes? Not so much.

Here’s the best way to handle cupcakes: just say, “No, thank you. I don’t want them. They’re not good for me. I can live without them.” Okay, easier said than done.

The other options are to eat one and quickly give away all the others or eat one per day until they are gone or two per day until they are gone or six all in one day so that you won’t have any left to call your name the next day. Don’t think I didn’t deliberate about that one for more than a minute or two. I mean, once I tasted that sugary goodness I did not want to stop.

I would love it if I could THM-ify these cupcakes and also make them Baptist-approved. I told Ann Marie, my afternoon aide, that I was looking for a vodka-free version of Harvey Wallbanger cupcakes, and she said, “But isn’t that why they’re called ‘Harvey Wallbanger’ cupcakes?” Good point. But still … Boy, I love these cupcakes.

Thankfully, we each only have one birthday per year. The rest of the year we don’t have to think about or look at Harvey Wallbanger cupcakes at all. Now that Cameron’s birthday is over, we’re home-free until July.

Cameron and me out for his birthdayHere’s me and the birthday boy tonight on our way to Red Robin in the city. Cameron said it’s his new favorite restaurant. That’s fine with me: I just get their burgers without a bun, and they are just as good. Tonight that’s even how Chelsea ordered hers, and she said she thought she liked it better without the bun.

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Attitude Adjustment

I had a good day yesterday, doing my treadmill when I first got up and staying on-plan all day. So far I’m having another on-plan day, although I haven’t done my treadmill, yet.

I’m going to make a concerted effort to pray more about my diet. My prayer will be for God to change my attitude about food, to make me satisfied with less, and to change my attitude about water, to make me crave more.

I know I don’t drink enough water, and it’s a no-brainer that the more I fill my stomach with water, particularly before meals, the less food it will take to satiate me. If it’s such a “no-brainer,” why don’t I do that?

I don’t have to wonder too hard: I already know why. It’s because I don’t want to be filled up with water.

The fact is I love to eat! It’s a curse, a sickness, a lust of the flesh. Of course, it’s also a physical need and a gift that God has given us to be enjoyed, but my relationship with food goes far beyond what God intended.

In Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet book, he says that we need to wait four hours in between meals for two reasons: 1) the more often we eat, the more opportunity there is to overeat and 2) we need to learn what legitimate hunger feels like, not just eating because we’re bored or because it sounds good or because we’re angry, upset, happy or whatever else we may be feeling at the time or even because the clock says it’s time to eat. Dr. Phil thinks it’s necessary to give your body time to distinguish true physical hunger from the vast number of other emotional triggers that can be disguised as hunger.

I donated plasma yesterday, and, to pass the time during my 35-minute donation, I read some more of the Trim Healthy Mama Plan. I noticed something new. I had thought, from reading the first book, that we were supposed to eat every three hours; at the very least no sooner than every two and a half hours, but, right there in black and white, the new book says that we are to eat every three to four hours. Wow. How had I not seen that before?

So, yesterday, I ate my chocolate peanut butter shake and Ezekiel toast before I left for the city. I finished my last bite of toast about 9:00 a.m. By the time I donated plasma, went shopping at Costco, dropped by Gordman’s to shop for Cameron’s birthday and stopped by Ross’s to look for a jewelry box for Chelsea, it was well after 1:00. It may have been almost 2:00 (which was closer to five hours than four, I realize), but still I don’t think I was experiencing true physical hunger. I was getting there–don’t get me wrong–but I probably could have shopped for another hour or so without getting a hunger headache or any tummy rumblings. Ha! That should tell you what an adequate job the Piping Rock whey protein isolate does of filling up my tummy!

After struggling with staying on plan for a little while, I think I’ll do myself a favor and rely on God to renew my mind, regarding how much food I eat and how much water I drink. I should be seeking first the kingdom of God and its righteousness, and the other things, like food and water, will be added unto me.

In addition to being thankful, I need to focus more on God and less on my physical wants and desires; so, to continue with the mindset of a recent post: spotlight on blessings instead of problems (being thankful for all God has given me) . . . and spotlight on God instead of me (praying more, giving God the power over my life).

Dear God, increase my desire for You and decrease my desire for food.

As always, let me say how much I appreciate you, dear reader, for stopping by to share part of my day with me, and how grateful I am to you for considering using my affiliate link to order your Trim Healthy Mama supplies! Thank you! May God bless you in your journey, whether you’ve been at this for a while or whether you’re just starting out. We can do this, with God as our strength.

Telling Moments

There are telling moments in our lives, moments that prove to us that our lives have changed so much that our “new normal” is ingrained in the minds of our families and can be brought out instantly, in a moment’s notice.

One of these moments came last week when we had game night. We were playing Catch Phrase, I think. It was my turn and Chelsea was my partner.


“Eggs. . . bacon . . . sausage . . . biscuits and gravy . . . hash browns . . . pancakes . . .”

My breakfast.”


Ding, ding, ding! That’s the word I was looking for!

What an important role that possessive pronoun played in that clue! It makes me wonder why that wasn’t in my original clue–unless we were playing 25 Words or Less where every word not said is critical.

Telling moments are when you manage to walk out of the store with only the things on your list.

Telling moments are when you can sit through an entire safety meeting without consuming even one donut.

Telling moments are when you climb onto that treadmill every morning, even when your feet are begging you not to.

Telling moments are when you begin to connect the dots in your lifetime of food addiction and see things for how they really were. Some of these things in my past are coming to light as I watch My 600-lb Life.

I’m learning new things all the time. For instance, food is not love. One of the patients on the program grew up with a mother who believed that food was love. It’s how she showed love to her children. He said whenever he ate anything out of the refrigerator it would be replenished the next day.

That’s a vicious cycle. How many of us grew up in a family where food was love? I still struggle with that. Even now, I’m tempted to bring sugary treats home for my kids–just because I love them–but food is not love!

When my little sister was born, the rest of us kids spoiled her rotten. We couldn’t wait to get home from school so we could all gather around her blanket on my parents’ king-size bed and adore her like a baby had never been adored before. We would talk to her and play with her and try to get her to laugh and kick her feet with excitement.

We were all old enough to have jobs when she was still small, so we spoiled her at Christmas, and we couldn’t go downtown to buy gas without bringing something back for her. Usually the things we brought back were shakes or candy bars or Cokes. We did that because we thought we were showing our love by bringing her those surprises from town. We each played a role in my sister’s food addiction.

Others have addictions for other reasons, whether the addiction is derived from poverty or personal childhood trauma, such as the loss of a parent or parents’ divorce or sexual abuse.

Everyone on My 600-lb. Life has a story, and they’re not all the same. Sometimes they were raised by single moms and food was scarce. Sometimes they had alcoholic fathers who physically and verbally abused their families.

Many, many times food is used as a coping mechanism. One patient blamed the death of his grandma for his relapsing into bad eating habits. One patient blamed her son’s being in the hospital for her not being able to keep up with her weight-loss program.

As Dr. Nowzaradan says, stress is a part of life. It just is. Life is full of problems: sickness, death, divorce, abandonment, abuse, etc. Whatever it is, unless the patient can find some other way, besides eating, to cope with whatever life throws at him, no weight-loss program or even surgical intervention will be successful.

Just as we need to unlearn destructive patterns, we need to learn new coping mechanisms. Exercise is a good one. It doesn’t cost anything, it burns calories and it releases endorphins which reduce the sensation of pain and stress and trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine, if you can believe that! Exercise brightens the mood.

I’m thankful for my treadmill and for every day that I have the wherewithal to persevere. I may fight it some days, but, when it’s over, it’s a weight off my shoulders. Nothing is worse than having something hang over my head. It’s better to do it than to live with regret later.

Speaking of being thankful, that’s another good coping mechanism. If I can be thankful for every blessing in my life, the spotlight is on the blessings and the problems are downplayed. So it is with everyone. It’s so important to have an attitude of gratitude.

1 Thessalonians 5:: 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Chronicles 16:34: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.




Happy, Skinny Valentine’s Day!

For the first time, today I am attempting to make Skinny Chocolate.

Last year I bought some fun Mizzou Tigers Jell-O molds so I could make some Skinny Chocolate for Chuck as a special occasion treat, maybe for a birthday or Valentine’s Day. Well, today is the day.

I only hope the coconut oil won’t spoil them for him. See, I didn’t use the cooking kind, which I mainly reserve for scrambled eggs and other stuff that I don’t want to absorb any coconut flavor. Chocolate and coconut go together, however (in my book), and, if I don’t use actual coconut flakes, maybe he won’t mind just the flavor.

After putting it off for so long, I decided to give it a go when I read Phyllis Stockstill’s rave review. She, too, had waited a long time to try them. Two years, in fact! She said, “Why did I wait so long???” I’m hopeful that my husband will be asking me the same thing, but I’m not holding my breath.

After reading her post about trying the Skinny Chocolate for the first time, I hopped on Ebay and bought me a new coffee grinder for about twelve bucks in which to grind my Truvia. The book calls for Super Sweet, but I ran out (just ordered some more last night!), so Truvia it is–at least for this first batch.

I read in the cookbook that I could add a little heavy cream to make them more like milk chocolate, but I chose to leave them dark, mainly because I’m not sure the heavy cream I have in the fridge is still good and because Chuck favors dark chocolate. He has convinced himself that dark chocolate is so healthful that he jokingly calls it his “medicine.” That’s his excuse to keep a stash of it beside his recliner. It’s the antioxidants, don’t ya know?

I will be crushed if the chocolate doesn’t make it out of the molds in pristine shape. I want them to be perfect for Valentine’s Day. I only wish I had some black and gold ribbon and cellophane so I could tie them up decoratively. It’s just as well, I guess. Chuck is kind of a no-frills kind of guy. I’ll just put some in a zip-lock bag and call it good.

(I just got them out of the freezer and they came out of the mold beautifully!  Chelsea and I had a taste, and they kind of put me in mind of the chocolate coating on ice cream bars.)

Chelsea said, “I kind of got a coconut taste for some reason.”

Uh oh. If Chuck doesn’t care for them, next time I’ll use the Lou Ann’s coconut oil instead. I may even try for a Reese’s effect and put in some peanut butter or peanut butter flour. For Valentine’s Day, though, it’s the thought that counts, right?

Hey, speaking of Valentine’s Day, did you know that Trim Healthy Mama is having a 24-hour sale? Their Super Sweet, Gentle Sweet, and Baking Blend are all two dollars off the regular price! I got my order in at 8:15 last night! They are also featuring a skin-care gift set. To check out their products and specials, please consider using my affiliate link:

Thank you and Happy Trim and Healthy Valentine’s Day!



Give Yourself Five Minutes

Sometimes safety meetings aren’t so safe. I walked in to my meeting half an hour late this morning and saw a couple of boxes of Casey’s donuts open on the table. Donuts, particularly Casey’s donuts, have always been a point of contention for me.

Maybe you remember my testimony, that I used to turn my thoughts toward Casey’s donuts within mere minutes of getting out of bed in the morning. I used to calculate in my head what time I would need to leave the house to allow myself enough time to stop by and get a couple of fresh, warm donuts and, perhaps, a gourmet hot chocolate and still make it across town in time for my morning route. I couldn’t leave too early or my favorite kind of donuts, the vanilla kind with the translucent glaze brushed lightly across the top, may not be in the case, yet, so timing was everything.

It has been months and months–no, it has been over a year–since I have had a Casey’s donut. Since the bus lot was moved across town I have to drive by Casey’s on my way to work now. It’s no longer slightly out of my way. Only rarely do I think about my previous early-morning stops: most of the time it’s a whole other lifetime away.

Because I have to pick up a little preschool girl from speech therapy every Tuesday and Thursday morning and drive her to the babysitter’s, I’m always half an hour late to our safety meetings, which are routinely scheduled on a Thursday. This is both good news and bad news.

It’s good news because I only have to spend half an hour salivating over the open boxes of donuts, as I see one person and then another leave their chairs and head over to help themselves to a squishy, sweet bit of heaven here on earth.

The bad news is that, since I have the preschooler now, I no longer have time to dash home after my morning route to make me a quick muffin in a mug or smoothie to drink during the safety meeting. I have even brought chocolate peanut butter oatmeal to our safety meetings before. It’s good to have something else to eat while others are indulging in Casey’s donuts.

There are two things that help me “just say no” to donuts. As I watched one of our drivers get back to her seat and lift the donut to her mouth, I thought about how long it would take her to eat that donut. If she really tried, she could possibly draw it out and make it last for ten minutes, but probably it would be gone in five. That’s only five minutes to consume . . . how many calories? Oh, I don’t know, several hundred, maybe.

So, if I had a donut, I would be having the time of my life and thoroughly enjoying every sugary bite for only five minutes. The rest of the day would be spent in either guilt or self-loathing.

What kind of trade is that?

In the grand scheme of things, five minutes is not worth the agony of giving in and thinking afterward that you’d give anything just to have those five minutes back, that if you could just rewind time you’d make a better choice. And what if tasting that one donut just sets you up to have another one? That would be my problem! Eating just one donut is cruel! Eating two is unforgivable.

The other thing that helps me “just say no” to donuts is visualizing what others may think of me as they see me walk to the donut box.

“I thought she was on a diet?”

“Don’t do it, Dirinda! Don’t do it. Think of how hard you’ve worked! You’re going to blow it all now?” See, those are the kinds of things I shout at the TV when I’m watching My 600-lb Life.

The last episode I watched featured a lady who was just under 600 pounds. The camera man must have been sitting in the passenger seat of her car when she stopped and got a box of the most heavily frosted donuts I’d ever seen. After she gingerly took one from the box, frosting dripping from her fingers, she took a big bite and her eyes rolled back in her head. “Oh, this is so good!” she said. Then she said she just wanted to make love to those donuts with her mouth and added that obviously it was almost a sexual thing for her.

Now, a skinny person taking a big bite of a donut doesn’t evoke in us the same emotional response that a morbidly obese person taking a big bite of a donut does.

Case in point, consider the scene in Shallow Hal where his neighbor runs into Hal and Rosemary walking along in front of the building where Rosemary is eating a sticky caramel apple.

It’s cute to watch little skinny-minnie Gwyneth Paltrow eat the sticky apple, not knowing quite what to do when the neighbor extends her hand when she’s introduced, but then the camera shows the fat arm of the real Rosemary in the mirrored glass of the window, tossing the rest of the apple in the trashcan, and then awkwardly shaking the other woman’s hand; and suddenly it’s not cute, anymore: it’s disgusting.

What changed? The apple stayed the same. It’s the size of the arm holding the apple that changed. So our perception changes, too. It’s our prejudice toward overweight people that society has programmed us to have, no doubt, but it’s hard to fight against it. Probably we either feel disgust or pity when we see an overweight person caught in the throes of gluttony or addiction.

I wonder how I was perceived back in the day when I visited Casey’s every morning for my daily donut fix. Did they think, “Here comes that fat lady again for her precious vanilla cake donuts with the sugary glaze frosting”?

On one episode of My 600-lb Life, after her surgery, the patient’s dad said, “You won’t be able to stop and say hello to your friends at the donut shop, anymore.”

She responded, “They’re going to think something bad happened to me.”

Her dad said, “They’re going to say, ‘How are we going to make rent?'”

She smacked him on the arm as they both laughed and said, “That was mean!”

Here’s the thing, if we see a skinny person walking out of Casey’s with a dozen donuts, we don’t think anything about it, but, if we see a fat person carrying a box of donuts, we may think, “That’s the last thing in the world she needs to eat for breakfast.”

Maybe that’s what people said about me as they saw me standing at the checkout with my bag of donuts and my super-sized gourmet hot chocolate, but, back then, the pull of the donuts was too strong for me to care what other people were thinking.

There’s a way around that. The fact is, God always gives us an out. We just need to look for it and take it.

No matter what we may think, it is not impossible to withstand temptation.

Just give yourself five minutes. When you want to give into a craving so bad you can’t stand it, set your timer for five minutes and then go to the bathroom and brush your teeth or get a glass of crushed ice or say a prayer. Go clean a flat surface in your home. Walk around your house. Walk to the mailbox. Check Facebook. It doesn’t matter what you do, but do something until the timer goes off and then think to yourself, “Boy, if I had eaten that ice cream bar (or cookie or brownie or fill-in-the-blank), it would be gone already, and right now I would be hating myself over it or maybe even I would be helping myself to a second one (because giving in to sugar only makes you want more, right?).”

Give yourself five minutes to discover that you are an overcomer.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

You need to look for the out that God has given you–and take it.

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Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed your visit. If I don’t see you again for a couple of days, have a great on-plan weekend!

Happiness Is . . .

Happiness is a full tank of gas in my bus on a frigid day. Happiness went further back in the day, though, when I had a normal-sized tank like the other buses. Now I drive a bus that runs on gasoline, not diesel, and the tank is no bigger than the tank in my car.

I don’t have nearly as long of a route as I used to have, but I still end up having to fuel my bus every other day. In the wintertime, that stinks. Now that I don’t have all of my fat to keep me warm, the bitter north wind chills me to the bone.

I keep telling people I don’t know how I’ll survive the winter next year. As I age (and lose weight) every winter is harder to endure. This winter has been mild, so far, in comparison to others we’ve had, yet some days it still takes every bit of fortitude I can muster just to walk out to my car.

It doesn’t matter how many coats, jackets, sweaters, scarves, hats or gloves I possess: none of them make me feel prepared enough for the initial shock to my system when I walk out the front door. I’m just not cut out for winter.

I’m thankful that I don’t live in a northern state because how would I handle it then? A couple of days ago I googled the top ten coldest states, and Missouri is not among them.

I can understand more and more why older people seem to flock to Florida once they retire, but I’ve also heard the humidity in Florida can be brutal in the summertime–and I get quite enough of the suffocating humidity here in this state, thank you very much.

My first year of college, I asked my snorkel coatparents for a snorkel coat for Christmas. The impending walk across campus on frosty mornings was just another excuse to pull the covers up under my chin and sleep through my eight-o’clock class. Do you remember the snorkel coats? They were insulated army green (well, mine was army green; some of them may have been navy blue) weatherproof parkas with a bright orange interior. The hood was trimmed in fur and it zipped up to my eyes.

Nothing ksnorkel sleeveept out the winter better than a snorkel coat. There were cuffs inside the sleeve that prevented the wind from blowing up the arm of the parka. It was the coat above all coats, not the most attractive, but it was “in” back then, I think–like the CPO jackets were when I was in seventh grade; remember those?–and it was definitely a practical piece of outerwear. My snorkel coat could withstand any wintry blast. Of course, I was younger back then and winter’s chill didn’t find its way into my joints and bones like it does now.

I’ve had a little trouble sleeping lately because of pain in my right hip. I try sleeping with a pillow between my knees, and, even if it helps some, it doesn’t completely alleviate the ache. I’m going to blame it on the winter, not my age. Ha! My hope is that it won’t continue to bother me once spring gets here.

Chuck and I celebrated an early Valentine’s Day last night. We figured it would be a lot less crowded than going this weekend. We went to Jack Stack’s Barbecue for the second time. Our first time there we had to wait about half an hour or more to be seated, even though we got there before the dinner rush.

If you follow Trim Healthy Mama, Jack Stack’s Barbecue is probably not the best place to go if you want to stay on plan. I didn’t see an option for a side salad, so I chose the broccoli and a creamy cole slaw. The broccoli was excellent and so was the cole slaw, but the cole slaw definitely had sugar in it.

Chuck’s Hickory Pit beans were also delicious, but they had sugar in them, too, as did the BBQ sauce for our brisket. Other sides that I can remember were a vegetable kabob, broccoli with roasted garlic butter, potato salad, french fries, cheesy corn bake, cheesy potato bake, loaded baked potato, and roasted carrots.

I asked what was on the vegetable kabob, and he mentioned bell peppers, a small corn cob, zucchini, squash (I think) and maybe mushrooms. I was tempted, but stuck with my original choice of cole slaw.

The first time we went I tried the burnt ends. They were okay, but not nearly as good as the burnt ends at Wabash BBQ in Excelsior Springs. Last night I got the brisket. Again, it was just “okay”: I’ve had better brisket. This was tender enough, but there was more fat than I like. I prefer my meat to be lean and skinless.

The one thing I splurged on was Mom’s Carrot Cake. Our waitress last time recommended it, and it did not disappoint. The first time Chuck and I shared a piece, but last night I had a piece all to myself. It was warm and moist, and the frosting was ooey and gooey and covered with pecan pieces. My mouth thought it had died and gone to heaven.

Chuck got the Triple Chocolate Brownie last night, topped with vanilla bean ice cream, but he ordered his to-go so they put the ice cream in a separate container to keep it from melting all over the brownie. He ate his after he got off the treadmill when we got home.

I jokingly scolded him for not saving me a bite. He said, “It was very rich. It was too much, actually, and I should have split it with you or Chelsea.” When I asked him which he would rather have, the carrot cake or the brownie, he said, “I don’t know. They were both good, but probably the carrot cake if it didn’t have all the pecans on top.” If we ever go back I’ll just remind him to order his with no pecans.

I must say that my very favorite part of the meal, besides the carrot cake, is the mushroom appetizer. Oh, my lands. They are served with horseradish sauce (we ordered ranch instead), and they’re served on a big plate with two wooden skewers of five mushrooms each. I kid you not: the mushrooms are about the size of donuts! The breading on them, of course, is undoubtedly off-plan, but I don’t even care. I told Chuck I would be happy with just the mushrooms and the carrot cake. Forget about the brisket. Just give me the appetizer and the dessert and I would be a happy woman.

I took Chelsea to work just now in her van. Her power chair is messing up somehow and pulling her to the right, so it looks like I’ll be picking her up this afternoon, too. She usually comes home via the sidewalk in the afternoons, since it’s a little warmer then. Getting home normally only takes her about ten minutes, so, even though her battery needs to be replaced, it can hold up long enough for her to go one-way, either to work or home from work.

The wheelchair people will be here tomorrow to replace her battery, and they’ll check her other problem while they’re here. They told her on the phone it sounds like one of her motors is going out. Hopefully, it’s something that will be approved by her insurance company and corrected at least by the time spring gets here. The sidewalk that runs along 19th Street makes it handy for her to go both to Wal-Mart and downtown by herself in her power chair.

It’s hard to remember life before the van. This gift from people we had never even met before was a godsend, and it came at just the right time. We take it to church and, of course, when Chelsea and I go shopping, and to take her to work when it’s rainy or too cold to go in her power chair.

It’s Wednesday. After tomorrow I have a four-day weekend. Of course, I would enjoy it more if I didn’t have a dentist appointment on Friday. Next week, thanks to getting two teeth pulled and two teeth added to my partial, it looks like it’s going to be an oatmeal and smoothie kind of week. That’s another reason Chuck and I went out to eat last night instead of on Valentine’s Day. Outside of running my steak through the food processor I don’t see how it will be possible for me to eat solid food until I get my partial back next week.

I wouldn’t recommend dental work as a weight-loss tool, but it may very well be what I need to give my stall a much-needed kick-start.

There may be something to be said about My 600-lb. Life, too. On Super Bowl Sunday there was a My 600-lb. Life marathon on TLC, and I watched several episodes, even though I had already seen them all. Boy, nothing makes you cluck your tongue and yell at the TV like that show. You see every pitfall as it happens and the enablers make you angrier and angrier. On the other hand, you can glean important stuff off that show, and every tidbit of nutritional information or motivation to exercise helps, amen?



Game Night

Yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday. Chuck decided to order Pizza Hut pizza for the occasion, but opted for the “healthier” thin-and-crispy-crust version. Since they were two for nine dollars–or so the coupon said–he bought a pan crust for the kids.

I hadn’t had regular pizza for so long that I had to try just one piece. Thin and crispy crust had always been my favorite, and there was a day when I could eat a whole medium pizza by myself in just a few hours time.

The pizza was okay, but it wasn’t as good as I remembered it. The truth is, my taste buds are changing, and junk food is starting to taste more and more like junk. It appeals to me less and less. When I succumb to it I feel like I’m trading God’s goodness for Satan’s lies.

What I ended up doing was making my own pizza out of one of those wraps I bought at Sam’s Club. Five carbs, three and a half grams of fat, plus ground beef, cheese, peppers and onions–and had I remembered, it would have had mushrooms on it, too.

I’ve been fixing Cameron a pizza every other day or so. Only I put pepperoni on his. He’s the only one in our family who likes pepperoni, and the only one in our family who doesn’t like mushrooms.

“Does that have mushrooms on it?” he asked, as I was about to dig in.

“Oh, no! I forgot the mushrooms!”

“Does it matter?” he laughed.

“Of course it matters!” I replied. “And I just bought a whole bunch of them. I can’t believe I forgot!” It was still good, but it could have been much, much better. I love mushrooms, and they’re basically a free food. Hungry Girl says they have almost no calories, so they’re a great food “expander,” and they go great with either an S or an E meal (for all you Trim Healthy Mamas).

This is the pizDSCF3223za I fixed myself for lunch today. Notice that I did not forget the mushrooms this time!  It is so good I could eat this every day almost. In fact, Chuck requested that I fix him one of these for dinner tonight. I have to mention again that these wraps contain soy, so Trim Healthy Mama would frown upon these, but, as I said, the carb count is low and the fat count is low, too. They are a much more healthful choice than regular pizza crust.


In honor of the Super Bowl I also made some chicken wings. They were on-plan so I could have tried one, but I chose not to. I don’t care much for chicken wings, or, really, too much of anything with chicken on the bone. Everyone else seemed to like them, though, so I’ll have to remember how I made them.

I liked the idea of one of my readers, so I used baking powder to draw out the moisture, making for a crispier wing002, kosher salt and pepper. In addition, I used a teaspoon of garlic powder and a tablespoon of Cookies Seasoning. I baked them at 375 for about seventy minutes, and they looked delicious. Chelsea thought they were a little spicy, but not overly so. Chuck, on the other hand, thought they were fine, but he used ranch with his and that probably helped.

After I dried off all the chicken wings with paper towels and singed the little pin feathers off with a candle lighter, I put them in my big gallon zip lock bag where I had already mixed all the spices and shook them up. It was so easy, I plan to make them again.

Tonight Cam had a friend over and we played games. Chelsea had gotten Spontuneous for Cameron for Christmas, but ended up giving him other things instead, so she saved that game for his birthday, which is in seventeen days. She thought since we were having game night she would give him his birthday gift early, and we had a blast playing it. It’s a little like Encore, but it has challenge cards which add a twist to the game, either throwing advantages or disadvantages at you when you draw one. We played three or four games of that and then ended with a game of Catch Phrase. We ran out of time before we got around to 25 Words or Less.

I’ve had several good days in a row and I feel stronger and stronger all the time. I can turn down Oreos and Ritz and all manner of other temptations. I could live on Trim Healthy Mama food! What am I talking about?!!  I am living on Trim Healthy Mama food and loving every minute of it!



Saturday Ramblings

Right inside the automatic doors at Wal-Mart today was a table full of cookies. Oreo cookies, one of my favorite cookies of all time.

“Would you like to sample our new varieties of Oreos?” asked the man with the New York accent, as I strolled inside the store. I noticed they were red velvet and some kind of a yellowish kind. (I didn’t look closely, but, if it was the toasted coconut, I’m glad I didn’t know; otherwise, I may have been in trouble!)

“Oh, I would love to,” I said, “but I better not.” My reply was nearly automatic!

Did those words really come out of my mouth?

While I was returning something at the service desk, I kept hearing his cheery voice, asking newcomers if they would like to try the new Oreos. “Hmm,” I thought, “you know, maybe I could double back and change my mind.”

I turned to look at the table of cookies, again, and then I turned my attention toward the new people coming into the store and how many of them were politely shaking their heads and declining the New Yorker’s offer.

“Okay, see? Refusing free cookies is a normal thing. I’m normal. Declining Oreo cookies is my new normal.” Then I put it out of my head and thought of it no more.

I made it out of the store without tasting a cookie or buying any manner of  cookie or candy. I’m feeling strong today. If only a single day could make up for the years and years of food weakness. Well, the good news is that it can. My choices today are what matter. My choices today are what will carry me through this day and ultimately through the rest of my life.

I had dental procedures yesterday, so it has been difficult to eat today. For breakfast I had Ezekiel toast, which I broke off into little pieces and chewed on the right side of my mouth. I also had a chocolate peanut butter protein shake.

For lunch I had sour cream apple pie baked yogurt with a few Always Save unsweetened raisins sprinkled in.

My afternoon snack was a handful of cashews and another chocolate peanut butter protein shake.

Dinner will be an E, Chicken Fiesta Ranch in a crock pot: chicken breast with black beans, corn, diced tomatoes and 1/3 less fat Neufchâtel cheese over brown rice with possibly some steamed broccoli. Chuck and Chelsea don’t care much for it, but Cameron and I love it.

Valentine’s Day will be here next weekend, and I was thinking about making some Skinny Chocolate from the new cookbook. I’ve read some encouraging reviews, so I even ordered a coffee grinder off of Amazon, which arrived yesterday. I am out of Sweet Blend, and I’ve never tried the Gentle Sweet. I do have some THM xylitol, though, and I wonder how that would be. Maybe it will be great. I haven’t even looked at the recipe, yet, so I don’t know what sweetener is called for.

I bought some great Missouri Tiger molds a couple of years ago with Skinny Chocolate in mind, but haven’t put them to use, yet. I would love to wrap a bundle up in cellophane with black and gold ribbon for my sweet hubby. I’m wondering, though, whether I should spray the molds with cooking spray to keep the chocolate from sticking or if the cooking spray would disintegrate the chocolate.

Tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday and Chuck is taking four hours of vacation so he can make it home in time for the game. His plans are to make some chicken wings. I need to look up a recipe on to see if I should soak the wings in buttermilk before coating them in batter–and what kind of batter should we use? Paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder and what else? Would baking blend work as well as flour, do you think? If you have a chicken wing recipe that is simply the bomb, please share. By the way, I will not be eating these wings, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be THM-friendly.

It doesn’t take much to excite me, but I found these great scarf hangers and bought one for Chelsea and one for me. I think I found them on Wish on Facebook. Now I can keep all my scarves in one place and hang them neatly in the closet. Never again will I have to wrongly accuse my husband of throwing away one of my scarves just because it got put into a place it doesn’t belong.

This is Chelsea’s. I’m showing a photo of hers because mine is already loaded up and hung in the closet. She had fewer scarves to take out for the “before” photo.








I think I need to order some THM sweeteners to make my Valentine’s Skinny Chocolate! If you’re running low on sweeteners (or THM anything else), please consider using my affiliate link! Thank you for your patronage!  Finish the weekend THM strong and on plan! Blessings to you!

Banana Shake

Yesterday I made Chuck and me a banana shake. I enjoyed it just as much as if I had had one of the ones from CreeMee Freeze in Concordia–and they have some good ice cream!

I didn’t take a photo, but the instructions are pretty basic:
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 banana
1/4 tsp. banana extract
1 Swanson-size scoop of Piping Rock Unflavored Whey Protein Isolate (or whey protein of your choice)
10 packets of Truvia
1 squirt of vanilla extract or vanilla flavoring
About two cups or so of crushed ice (or however many ice cubes it takes to fill your Nutribullet 32 ounce cup or other blender to the top)

Trim Healthy Mama allows bananas on plan, but only use half a banana for a serving and use them rarely because they’re higher on the glycemic index and can stall weight loss and spike blood sugar.

It had been months and months since I had had a banana in any form, and, boy, did this hit the spot! I used to cut up bananas and store them in Ziplock bags for my morning oatmeal, but there are so many varieties of oatmeal I can have that I don’t miss the banana much at all. As I have said often, the blueberry yogurt is probably my favorite. I’ve had “sour cream” apple pie baked oatmeal, too, with the addition of apple pie spice, and it is wonderful.

After reading Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet book, I also started putting a few raisins into some of my oatmeal dishes. Trim Healthy Mama frowns on raisins or other dry fruit, but aren’t they the ones who say that God made all food so all food must be good? Oh, except potatoes . . . and soy . . . and raisins . . . and milk . . . and . . . and . . .  Honestly sometimes it feels like there’s more foods I can’t have than foods that I can. Most of the time, though, I don’t mind, and it’s definitely worth the trade-off to have a smoking hot body. Okay, who am I kidding? I’ll let you know when I get there. Ha!

So I’ve decided, even though I can live without potatoes and bread and hamburger buns and rolls and cake and pie crust, etc. I will not give up having a few raisins on occasion–especially in my oatmeal. Dr. Phil says I can. So there. And not only does Dr. Phil and his team of nutritionists allow raisins, raisins are one of the foods they list in the group of 20/20 foods, along with prunes.

Dr. Phil says studies show that subjects who eat raisins, along with walk more, tend to eat less the rest of the day. He says this is possibly due to how raisins alter the hormones related to satiety. Additionally, they found that the subjects’ LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) showed a decrease, as well as post-meal glucose levels. Another plus is the antioxidant, anthocyanins, is full of health benefits, including supporting heart health.

I will say that nothing is quite as satisfying as baked oatmeal with apples, raisins and Greek yogurt in it. Kind of makes me want some right now.

I found something at Sam’s Club that a health-conscious aide on my bus recommended. They are wraps that only have five grams of carbs each. It’s a huge stack of about twenty wraps for about five bucks. I bought them, but, when I got them home, I discovered they hDSCF3206ad soy in them, which is not allowed on the THM plan. That being said, I have been using them, anyway, because the whole family likes them, and they’re better for us than bread and tortilla chips and more healthful than pizza crust. I especially like that they have eight grams of protein per wrap. These are great for Chelsea’s prealbumin.

In fact, we have been enjoying them quite a bit!  They make the best personal pan pizzas! My son says it’s the best crust DSCF3217ever. (As fast as he was scarfing it down, I’m surprised his hand isn’t blurry in the photo!) He and I have always been fans of thin and crispy crust.


Chuck has also been taking them in his lunch with chicken, ham, lettuce, onions, mayo and shredded cheese. Soy or not, it’s still a more healthful choice than most breads we can buy, and these wraps are good for S meals, unlike Ezekiel bread, which you can only use for Es.

When It Rains

“This one snuck up on us,” he said with a weary look in his eyes. “First, it was this one,” he continued, jerking his thumb in the direction of his son, who had spent two or three weeks in intensive care before he miraculously rebounded.

He looked like a giant teddy bear, standing there in front of her coffin, and I felt so bad for him I couldn’t stand it. I reached up and grabbed him around the neck, and I couldn’t stop my face from scrunching up and the tears from rolling down my face. When I finally let go, I clutched his forearm and squeezed. “We’ll be all right,” he said. “We’ll make it through this.”

This is why I don’t like to go to funerals. I’m absolutely useless at them. I wanted to be strong and encouraging, but instead I felt like an emotional wreck who surely only made things worse.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. That’s what the Bible says, and the blessing I saw in this was that she didn’t live long enough to have to bury a child or a grandchild. That indeed is a blessing, especially since she lived to be 78 years of age. Neither of my parents and neither of Chuck’s parents had to suffer a loss like that, either. That is a blessing not to be taken lightly because not everyone is spared that pain. The only drawback to being spared the pain of losing a child is not being there to take care of that child if ever he or she needs you.

I remember listening to a sermon once by David Jeremiah. He recounted the loss of his mother and how, on the day of the funeral, his father had patted the ground where she was buried and said, “This has been a good day.” Losing his wife had been grievous, but at least he knew she would be spared the pain of losing him. It helped me to understand that wishing I would die before everyone else in my family is cowardly and selfish. Why wish a pain on them that I don’t think I could endure?

That being said, it just feels unnatural when a child dies first.

Our church will not be the same without Bessie’s warm smile and sweet voice. Even though she and Jim had not been to service for the past month due to her pneumonia, I keenly felt her absence yesterday. She and Jim had sat directly behind our family every Sunday for at least the last several years. It won’t feel right with her not here anymore.

I’m still recording and watching My 600-Pound Life and Skin Tight. I’m hoping they will keep me motivated to adhere to the plan and to get my exercise in. If a lady that weighs 649 pounds can walk halfway down the street, what excuse do we have not to?

I stepped onto the treadmill this morning, hoping to get ten minutes or so in before work, when the treadmill stopped, not once, but twice. I hadn’t even been on it for three minutes. Inevitably we will have to figure out who to call to come out and service it–or replace the motor or whatever needs to be done.

As long as it’s raining, it may as well pour, right? I broke one of my temporary crowns Friday afternoon. It serves me right for grabbing an off-plan granola bar after my route. In a moment of weakness, chocolate, almonds and sea salt sounded too good to turn away. As a result, I had to schedule an appointment for this coming Friday. Bah. Normally I don’t miss work. I just don’t. My appointment was supposed to be on the 12th when we don’t have school, but I don’t want to go without my crown that long. It’s getting difficult to eat because I have a tooth on the other side of my mouth that has also started to give me problems, and I can’t “baby” my temporary crowns and not chew on the other side, either. I was ordered to have nothing crunchy, sticky or chewy. What’s left, mashed potatoes, rice and pasta? All those are off-plan.

For breakfast I tried a new Triple Zero flavor, coffee. I had my first one yesterday afternoon and wasn’t crazy about it. I had my second one before morning route, and it tasted better today than it did yesterday. I probably won’t buy any more of that one, though. The others are just better. I always stir a packet of Truvia into my Triple Zeros, and I think that gives them just the right amount of sweetness, but I have to say the coffee one is probably my least favorite so far. I’m also not a fan of the coconut creme, but the ones I really enjoy are banana creme, mixed berry, strawberry and peach.