I’m Strong to the Finish ‘Cause I Eats Me Spinach

After reading the huge section in the Plan about okra, I decided to give it a go. I couldn’t find it at Costco or Sam’s Club, but I did score a bag at Piggly Wiggly. The problem that I perceived was that it was WHOLE okra, not sliced, as I thought it would be.

Since it was frozen solid, I didn’t see a way of trimming the stems without cutting off my hand, so I put the whole okra in the Nutribullet (two and a half of them), along with my peach, cottage cheese, almond milk–well, you get the picture. I blended it all up, and, I must say, I can hardly tell it’s in there. I am detecting a flavor other than peach, but that flavor may be STEMS. Still, it’s not horribly unpleasant.

To mask even further the taste of okra, perhaps I shall try it with my peanut butter chocolate shakes. I may be able to slip a few past my dear Chuckers as well. We shall see.

In other news, I’ve been deferred twice in the past couple of weeks from giving plasma due to low iron. One of my blog readers said she had been told it may be because of tea consumption. Apparently tea blocks the absorption of iron! Who knew? I looked it up on the Internet, and it specifically mentioned black tea and green tea as being culpable for iron deficiency.

I told my daughter that oolong tea shrinks fat cells. She responded, “I guess you’re going to have to decide whether you want fat cells or money.” That’s a horrible decision to have to make! I do not want my oolong tea to cost me $280 a month!

The other night before a scheduled donation, I fixed big Kansas City strips for dinner, and I single-handedly ate a pound bag of broccoli. Today I picked up two cans of spinach and seriously considered picking up a couple of apricots.

Spinach is one of those foods famous for being high in iron. My gynecologist had told me nothing does the trick like red meat, but there are other foods that certainly help, too: nuts, for instance, raisins, and the aforementioned apricots, just to name a few. Broccoli is my very favorite. I love it, love it, love it, and eating a whole pound bag all by myself is not a hard feat to accomplish.

My hope is that I can amp up my iron and still be able to drink my oolong. Thoughts? Oh, and Matt (at work) said that Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, too, and I’m already taking that. Should I increase my dose to two tablets a day, one at morning and one at night maybe?



Live as if Your Life Depends on It

Chuck decided to get even more serious about his eating after his A1c was higher than last time. He asked me if I would be willing to make him a smoothie every morning for breakfast: that way he wouldn’t have to stop somewhere to get a sausage biscuit.

“Sure!” I said. “But are you sure that will keep you full until your first break? You only drink a fraction of the smoothie, so I’m not convinced you’re getting enough protein.”

He can only drink one of those old-fashioned Coke glasses that McDonald’s used to give away. That’s not even half of the Nutribullet container. I drink the rest of it, and, believe me, I could drink the whole thing, just slurp it right down.

“I can’t drink that much. I get full,” he insists. “I don’t know how you can drink that much.”

“You’re kidding me, right? Come on, you should know me by now. I can suck in ice cream like I suck in air.”

“It’s not ice cream,” he responds.

“Yes, it is. It has almond milk, sweetener, blueberries, whey protein, vanilla, all the stuff that you might find in ice cream . . . ” I don’t tell him it has cottage cheese in it because that’s TMI for him. My goal is to get him to drink it, not turn his nose up at it, and he has been drinking it–all except for about a fourth of an inch in the bottom.

It annoys me that he leaves a little bit in the bottom, but he says that’s only because he has manners and refuses to slurp.

“Take your straw out, then, and just tilt it back and drink it.” But he won’t do it. I guess we all have our quirks.

Since I began Trim Healthy Mama, 1% cottage cheese has become a staple in my house. When it’s on sale I usually buy three cartons. I mean, I go through it! Every single day I squeeze in a shake or smoothie at some point, sometimes two during the course of a day, and every shake has about a fourth of a cup of cottage cheese in it.

For those who do not like cottage cheese, I guarantee, you will not be able to tell the cottage cheese is in there. Just ask my husband. No, on second thought, do not ask my husband because I don’t want him to know.

If you have ever found little curds of cottage cheese in your shake or smoothie than I submit to you that you need a better blender. Early, early on in my THM journey, my Nutribullet was gifted to me. It had been taking me about fifteen minutes to make my strawberry cheesecake shake, and I mentioned my slower-than-a-turtle Oster blender in the THM Beginners group. A very kind friend insisted that she send me a Nutribullet. I was blown away by her generosity. She also sent me my very first tub of whey protein powder (back when Swanson’s was still on plan) and a container of glucomannan.

It was right around my birthday, and I was already down about twenty-five pounds. Let me say, it was one of the best birthdays ever. What a gift! And I use it all the time!! Every single day almost. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

My Nutribullet really put my Oster to shame. It takes me under a minute to blend up a smoothie now.

I didn’t intend for this post to turn into a Nutribullet commercial, but, if you’re serious about Trim Healthy Mama and love to incorporate whey protein isolate shakes and smoothies into your daily meal plan, it would behoove you to get some kind of high quality blender, whether a Ninja or a Nutribullet or even one of those really expensive ones. For my purposes, the Nutribullet works just perfectly.

Where can you find quality whey protein isolate?  Trim Healthy Mama sells it –>HERE<– or you can use Piping Rock –>HERE<–.  I generally buy the Piping Rock, only because I can buy a 1.2 pound tub for $13.99. Unless you can find it on sale, the Trim Healthy Mama is generally $16.99 for a pound bag. (*Post edit: I just checked my link, and, at this point in time, it appears that the Trim Healthy Mama whey protein is cheaper than the Piping Rock: that is not normally the case.)

Yesterday as I was leaving work I happened to look up at a billboard and saw this phrase: Live as if your life depended on it. So simple, yet so profound.

Every choice you make affects your life in some way, whether it’s a food choice or a moral choice–or if you choose safety or recklessness.

I don’t know if it’s just in Missouri or nationwide, but I noticed the department of transportation put up a sign on I-70 that said road deaths were up 6% from last year. I don’t know that this is the reason, but immediately I wondered if it was because of texting.

My son plays basketball and softball (and tennis, too, sometimes) in other towns. Often, to save on gas, he rides with a friend. He told us that one of his friends texts constantly behind the wheel, yet he rides with this friend just to save on gas.

Chuck and I told him we would give him money for gas if he would stop riding with this friend. I would rather pay out gas money than attend my son’s funeral because he doesn’t put as much value on his life as he does a tank of gas.

What you put in your body as food and drink matters. Poor choices lead to poor consequences. This is true across the board, whether you’re talking about nutrition, driving habits, choice of friends, etc.

If you don’t want to spend your life in jail, don’t choose criminals as friends.

It’s pretty basic stuff.

If you don’t want to die early of a heart attack or diabetes, don’t buy processed foods with a lot of trans fats or sugar.

Today is the day God has given you. Live as if your life depends on it.

Motivation, Motivation, Wherefore Art Thou, Motivation

This summer it seems that almost everything has gone by the wayside. I haven’t had the drive to write. I haven’t had the drive to walk. I haven’t had the drive to do much of anything.

All that needs to change. Pronto.

I’m still eating on plan. Most of the time. Still something must be amiss because I’ve been deferred twice from giving plasma in the past couple of weeks due to low iron. They said my protein is fine (of course! with all the baked oatmeal and whey protein smoothies I eat!), but my iron has missed the mark by one point. Twice! What could cause that?

I gave again yesterday, and they didn’t comment on where my iron level stood, so I’m assuming it was completely within the normal range. Had it been borderline low they would have told me, as they did once before.

Just to be on the safe side, on Monday, I fixed Chuck and me a big KC Strip steak, and single-handedly I ate a whole pound bag of broccoli. I’m thinking of picking up a few cans of spinach later to add even more iron.

Do you think my iron is what has me feeling so unmotivated? Actually, “dragging” may be more the word. I feel zapped of all strength. My husband says that’s probably it. Boy, I hope it rebounds soon because this feeling pretty much stinks. I’ve been making sure to take all my vitamins twice daily and have added to my regimen four iron tablets, two in the morning and two at night.

Chelsea has had plenty of problems of her own here of late. Her foley catheter has not worked for about a week. She wakes up soaked every morning, and the mattress pads we use on her seat cushion are wet, as well. They would be worse if it weren’t for the Tena/Options/Poise pads she wears. I kid you not when I say those things will hold upward toward two pounds of fluid!

She starts seeing her new urologist on the 28th. She tried to get in sooner, but they told her since she is a new patient they didn’t have a time slot big enough to squeeze her in. She has been a trooper. I know how frustrating that has to be, and, yet, as always, she has been cheerful, easy-going and patient.

She wanted to hold off as long as she could for a Foley change because our vacation is at the beginning of next month (her birthday week), and she wanted to go with a fresh Foley in hopes that she would have no issues while we were in Branson.

Yesterday was the final straw for her. She knew it just wasn’t feasible to wait for another week to see someone so she decided she would head to the ER bright and early this morning, since Chuck is off work today, to get a new Foley placed. That way she would still be home fairly early to report in for work at the salon to help on a busy day. The ER visit was perfect timing I’d say because the catheter fell completely out as she was transferring from her chair to the car.

I’ve heard from both Chelsea and Chuck and they should be home within the hour. A new Foley was placed quickly and the results from the lab are already back. While she does not have a raging UTI, she does have a slight infection and they’re sending her home with a ten-day antibiotic. They told her if something else grows in the culture in the next few days they’ll go from there.

We are thankful that it has been a long while since her last hospital stay. While they have discontinued her home health, I’ve had no problem with the dressing changes, and we’ve not had to use the wound vac for over a year. Medicaid drags its feet about approving funds for medical supplies, so mostly she has been ordering her own off Amazon. Once in a while the wound team at Centerpoint will throw her a bone in the form of a sheet of Aquacel AG, but, for the most part, she has been buying everything: ABD pads, tape, kerlix, and Aquacel.

People occasionally tell her that she would qualify for Medicare, too, but, even if that is so, she’s afraid some doctors’ offices wouldn’t take her if she wasn’t straight Medicaid.

I guess life just wouldn’t be interesting if it wasn’t one thing after another, huh?

My son had a fiance (of sorts) for a little while. Probably it was her idea. The whole thing bothered me from the beginning because he had hardly known her three weeks before suddenly they were “engaged.” That’s not the only thing that bothered me. She was from a different religious background and has an eighteen-month-old child.

People tell me that at 28 years of age, it may be hard for him to find a girl (okay, woman) who doesn’t have a child (either with or without a previous marriage). With God all things are possible, though.

To my shame I have not prayed every day for my children’s future spouses, even though I’ll be the first to say what a wonderful idea it is to do so. I do when I think about it, but I don’t always think about it. Strike two is that she apparently drinks. Strike three is that she also apparently cusses.

The straw that broke the camel’s back, though, is when she told Cameron the other afternoon–the very afternoon that she met Chelsea and me for the first time–that she went out drinking with some friends and had sex with another guy.

What? Yep, you heard me right. So that was his “fiance.” The fiance who smokes (electronic cigarettes now), drinks, cusses, has a different religious upbringing and a child and apparently is not faithful.

Things have been interesting, to be sure. Something tells me this may not be the girl for him.

On a positive note, my jewelry business is going well. I have been building a customer base and have several orders ready to go out the door. I have to say, though, with my low iron and frequent brain fog, that I’m afraid I’m going to forget something or mess up in some way.

I have already messed up once by sending one lady’s jewelry to another lady’s address. One name was right underneath the other name on my customer spreadsheet, and apparently, even though I had the name right on the envelope, I had written down the wrong address. I couldn’t understand why she never received her package. I remembered distinctly checking her package three or four times before taking it down to the post office with the rest. (I don’t know if being OCD is a blessing or a curse. I always end up checking the shipments three or four times. Finally, I have to seal the envelopes because I know if I don’t I’m going to keep checking it, but, if it’s sealed, I think to myself, “It must be correct, because I wouldn’t have sealed it unless I was 100% sure that everything that is supposed to be in there is in there.”

In light of this, how was it possible that one lady did not receive her jewelry? I started going through different scenarios in my head. Had I dropped it on my way into the post office? Had I carried it with me into the room with my shipping supplies and laid it down somewhere?

As it happened, I had another pair of the earrings I was supposed to have sent her, and my daughter had the exact necklace and had only worn it once. I just shipped her duplicate items and thought no more about it until my other customer sent me an email one night that read: Dirinda….. I received a package addressed to _____________ but with my address. It has a necklace and pair of earrings in it. How would u like to take care of this?

Mystery solved! It would have been solved sooner, but the lady who received it hadn’t checked her mail for a week! I really thought I must be losing my mind. It turned out that I needed to just be more careful when copying addresses from my customer spreadsheet!

I am wanting to find some frozen okra so I can start tossing a handful into my shakes and smoothies, but, so far, I haven’t found any. Of course, I’ve only checked at Costco and Sam’s Club, so maybe Piggly Wiggly has some.

While I donate plasma, I read the Trim Healthy Mama Plan. There are so many healthful foods I want to utilize more. Okra is one of them. I also need to remember to put that teaspoon of ground flax in my baked oatmeal or in shakes or smoothies.

I have to take a small group of kids to McDonald’s today, so I’m having a grilled chicken bacon ranch salad for lunch. I’ll have to take my own cucumbers, celery, egg, extra lettuce and salad dressing–and just maybe a generous sprinkle of ground flax!

For Father’s Day the kids got Chuck a Royals wreath, and I got him a name log for our front lawn. We haven’t done the landscaping, yet, so the log is still in our garage. I want to put in a couple of sedum plants and a rock garden with pavers set up in a rectangle over the stump that was the beautiful tree in the corner of our lawn.DSCF3336 Chuck's Father's Day Name Log 2

The business that made our log is the Wood Den, located in Festus, Missouri, and they even sent a short video (very short, time-lapse-style) of them making it!  Mostly what you can make out is the carving of the Kansas City Royals logo on the right side. The whole thing goes too fast to even make out the letters of our name. 

It’s hard to believe that we’re on our third week of summer school already. One more week after today, and I’ll be ready for a a small break before regular school starts back in the middle of August. Then, next thing you know, winter will bring its chill and Christmas will be here–again.

It’s hard to believe how fast time goes. In September I’ll be 57 years old. Me. When I was seventeen years old, I could never imagine how it would feel to be knock knock knockin’ on 60’s door. Maybe it won’t in three years, but right now, even just three years shy of that mark, sixty feels like such a foreign number.

When Chelsea was born, I didn’t know how long we would have her with us. Obviously, with spina bifida there are lots of health issues: shunt problems, pressure sores, and who even knows what else (we all saw the roller coaster ride we experienced in the last couple of years!).

I didn’t want to think about or talk about the longevity of her life. It just goes to show, though, that nothing is promised or guaranteed because three of her classmates have already passed away. Three babies who were born healthy and “normal.”

One was hit by a truck at the end of his fifth-grade year, while attempting to cross the street on his bike. Another passed away four or five years ago with complications from a cold or flu, and the third passed just a couple of weeks ago, on her thirtieth birthday, from a brain tumor with which she was diagnosed four years ago.

I’ll always remember what I overheard a former Sunday school teacher tell a lady in our church who had been diagnosed with cancer. He said, “We’re all terminal. We don’t know when we get up in the morning if we’ll see the end of the day. Just because you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness doesn’t mean that you won’t live longer than the rest of us.”

If a person doesn’t know the Lord, that’s a serious matter. For the believer, death is just a shadow that can’t really hurt us. For the unregenerate, death is just the beginning of dying every day: an eternity of torture and pain, eternal death with no end in sight.

I often hear these words of seeming comfort when a person passes away: “At least they’re in a better place now. At least they’re not in pain, anymore.”  Really? Unless a person has given his life to Christ, a statement like that has no merit whatsoever. No one knows, except the person himself and God, but we can get a clue from the way a person has lived his life whether he was a true believer or not. We can ascertain from the words that he spoke what was in his heart.

Dear reader, if you don’t know for sure where you’ll go when you die, message me. Email me. Let me share with you how you can be sure of heaven when you die. If you die today or tomorrow, you’ll want to know for sure where you’re going.

Do Alcoholics Earn Drunken Binges?

“I’ve been drug-free for the past ninety days! I have done extremely well, so, to celebrate, this weekend I’m going to stay with some friends and do a few lines of cocaine. I figure I’ve earned it.”

Does that make sense? Of course not. Yet, how many of us do the same thing to ourselves when it comes to sugar or carb-heavy meals?

Am I the only one seeing the damaging cycle we inflict on ourselves when we say these same types of things, only replacing the word “cocaine” with “all-you-can-eat buffets” or “birthday cake” or “cinnamon rolls”?

I remember once when the trainer on Fit to Fat to Fit told his client that the sugar in his cabinet was worse than crack cocaine. While that may sound completely ludicrous to someone who doesn’t struggle with sugar addiction, I get it. I totally get it, and, once you slip up, it’s hard to keep your mind from returning to the scene of the crime. Cave in just once to those caramel coconut stacks in Dollar General and you’ll find your mind wandering there again. Trust me on this one. And, if you’re like me, you can’t make one bag last a week: you’ll keep after them until they’re gone. Just one after another. Then you feel sick.  Oh, not physically sick–unless you’re one of the lucky few whose body won’t tolerate such nonsense– but emotionally sick that you’re such a pathetic, out-of-control, spineless wimp and that sugar has beaten you once again.

It’s better to gain steam and congratulate yourself with pats on the back along the way than to cave in and make half-hearted promises to yourself that you’ll do better “next time.” Four days later you realize that “next time” apparently hasn’t rolled around, yet, because you’re not doing better: you’re still struggling. That’s the kind of beast that sugar is. It takes no prisoners. Just like Satan, sugar is a roaring lion seeking whom it may devour. At least that’s how it feels.

The last time I was on the treadmill, I had to baby it along to keep my speed up. By “baby it along,” I mean that I had to use Fred-Flintstone power to get it to go. The motor really must be on its last leg. And, of course, I use that as an excuse not to do my treadmill.

On one episode of Extreme Weight Loss, Chris Powell had his client use only their own strength to move the belt on the treadmill. That would be torture. I watch these people and it makes my stomach sink to know that I don’t have that kind of fortitude. Even on my best days when I was walking four or five miles, I could not do the things he has his clients doing on that show. I tell myself it’s because I’m obviously older than the clients I’ve seen, but, truth be told, I don’t think I could have done it back when I was thirty, either–or maybe I just didn’t want it bad enough. Does anyone know what kind of magic formula would get me to that place where I want it bad enough?

I walked Chelsea to work this morning. It had been a long time since I took a trip to town on foot, but it didn’t deplete me nearly as much as I thought it would.

Halfway down my street, on the way home, I saw a lady walking behind me with her MP3 player, and she turned into the circular drive of First Baptist Church. I kept walking, but then stopped under a tree to catch some shade (and my breath). I resumed walking, but thought I heard the crunch of small gravel behind me. Suddenly it took me back to when I was well over 300 pounds and walking around the walking track, being passed up by other walkers left and right because I was too heavy to walk at a normal pace, and trying not to breathe hard because I didn’t want anyone to hear my pitiful out-of-shape breathing.

I picked up my pace because I refused to be passed by another walker. I walked just as quickly as I could, reminding myself that at one time 3.3 miles per hour was nothing to me. I continued to walk at a good clip until I reached our backyard, and then I turned to find there was no one behind me after all. Oh, well. At least I got home faster.

Yesterday was the last day of school until summer school starts on June 6. That means I have no excuse not to walk everyday and no excuse not to write everyday. I know I’ve been slacking on both.

I woke up early this morning, before six a.m., to take a shower and fix my breakfast because my plans were to take Chelsea to the emergency room to have a Foley catheter replaced. She had seen a urologist on Tuesday and had a new one put in. Everything was fine yesterday morning when she woke up, but, at some point during the day, something went awry because her mattress protector that we put on her wheelchair cushion was completely soaked, along with her skirt, etc.

This was not good. Something had to be done, but we didn’t think we could get her in to see the urologist again on short notice. Yet, she couldn’t spend her day being constantly wet, either. What she doesn’t need is a skin breakdown or wetness and bacteria in her wound. We decided last night when she went to bed that we’d head to the emergency room bright and early this morning. The earlier the better.

I went into her room to get her up at about seven, only to find that she had about 300 c.c.s in her bag. Now we’re confused. Is it getting kinked somehow?  Apparently it worked fine while she slept. The mattress pad was completely dry.

She decided to go on to work and that if she had problems during the day we could always go to the ER later.

She’s wondering if the catheter she has now is a softer tube than the last one she had and if maybe it’s easier to get it kinked in a fold of skin or by her pad or cushion or something. I can’t see that it is kinked when she raises up, but who knows? We’ll have to wait and see how the rest of the day goes.

I’m having so much fun selling (and wearing!) my Paparazzi jewelry! I have another Facebook party tomorrow night! This hostess is my first from Illinois so she wins another free piece of jewelry for that! I’ve got this little challenge set up for myself to get one hostess from each of the fifty states before the year is up, and I started as an independent consultant on March 4.

Illinois added to party map

Paparazzi is helping me with my food cravings at night. When I have Facebook parties, I am busy, busy, busy and certainly have no time to think about what I could be or want to be eating.

Everyone needs to find a passion or hobby that keeps her hand out of the proverbial Doritos bag, whether it’s a book club or crocheting or knitting or even a gym membership or walking club. You know the old saying: “Idol hands are the devil’s workshop.”

To keep sugar off the brain, fill your brain with something else! Keep Skinny Chocolate in your freezer and Coconut Crack bars in your fridge for emergencies. Remind yourself that you’re just a few minutes away from a healthful sweet treat in the form of a cinnamon roll in a mug or a chocolate muffin in a mug. Do what it takes to satisfy your sweet tooth with appropriate THM sweet snacks, and there are a bunch of them on Pinterest.

I have to show you what I’m wearing today!  This is my new Paparazzi photo of the day 2Paparazzi necklace and matching earrings!  Each Paparazzi necklace comes with a simple set of matching earrings, but sometimes Paparazzi releases another set that is more elaborate that also matches the necklace. I have a lot of this color in my closet, so buying these was a no-brainer for me! (*Post edit: We ended up having to go to the emergency room after all to get Chelsea’s catheter issue resolved, and it actually fell out in the parking lot as she was getting into her chair!  So glad we went. If we hadn’t, it may have fallen out as she was getting into bed tonight! The photo on the left is me in the emergency room, wearing my new Paparazzi jewelry, shown also in the photo below!)

Chuck and the kids gave me another Ross gift card for Mother’s Day. Now that I’ve lost weight, shopping is so much fun, and accessorizing is a delight!The 8th Wonder collage

In case you want to find a nice five-dollar item to go with a special something you have hanging in your closet, be sure to check out my Facebook party tomorrow night.  Here is the link:  Wendy’s Wacky $5 Bling Party!

Here’s my Trim Healthy Mama affiliate link in case you’re running low on supplies to keep you trim and healthy: https://store.trimhealthymama.com/#_l_df.  Thank you so, so much for using my link! It has been a huge blessing to me and my family!

While I’m handing out links, here’s the link to my Facebook jewelry group!  Haha.  It’s Dirinda’s Dazzling $5 Jewelry #45109 (“45109” is my consultant number for the Paparazzi website!).

I had an early breakfast of Baked Blueberry Oatmeal, so that means it’s almost time for lunch! I think I’m having the grilled chicken ranch salad from McDonald’s and possibly a peanut butter cheesecake shake!

So far, so good today! I’ve been 100% on-plan and I got my walking in.  I drank a Mason jar full of unsweetened oolong tea. I generally take two cinnamon capsules everyday, and I was thinking this morning about getting some cayenne pepper capsules. It seems to me that one of my readers had mentioned her husband taking those.  I’m too lazy to think about making more Shrinker, plus I kind of like the idea of drinking the straight oolong without any sweetener, extracts or almond milk. Does anyone know if I can find cayenne pepper capsules in Super Center?

The Food Expander

I don’t know if Hungry Girl comes on, anymore, because it has been at least a few months since I’ve seen it. One thing I remember about that show is how on one episode she called mushrooms a “food expander,” meaning you can use them liberally to put more food on your plate without putting more calories in your belly.

I sat down to write this entry with a generous sized pizza on a Santa Fe low-carb wrap. Five carbs. That’s all this pizza “crust” has in it.

I browned it and took the floppiness out by putting it in a 425-degree preheated oven for three minutes on each side. Then I spread a small amount of pizza sauce all over the surface with a spoon, added a genDSCF3307erous handful of browned and thoroughly rinsed and drained hamburger that I keep in a ziplock in the fridge, enough mozzarella to cover everything, some colorful, diced red and green peppers and onion, half a can of food expander (oops, I mean, mushrooms) and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese just to pretty up the end result.

This pizza works just as well with pesto sauce, but I had a tiny bit of pizza sauce in a jar in the fridge and wanted to use it up.

Can you have too much pizza sauce?  Absolutely. Can you have too much cheese?  Yes, if you want to lose weight, you have to watch how much cheese you consume.  Hamburger?  Um, I’m not really sure about this one, but I know you can’t have too much mushrooms (or peppers and onions, too, for that matter), so I pile them on.

“Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free, and very low in sodium, yet they provide important nutrients, including selenium, potassium (8%), riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D and more.”

A nice article about the nutritional benefits of mushrooms can be found here: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/278858.php

It’s a rainy day here, and that hot pizza was just what the doctor ordered for lunch!  That and a whole pot of coffee.  Yes, I drank a whole pot of coffee by myself since this morning. Suzanne Somers would cluck her tongue at me since she considers coffee to be a “funky food,” but it has zero calories (when you drink it black) and I’ve been dragging lately so I really needed that pick-me-up.

So now I’m wired. I feel like I could leap tall buildings in a single bound. I skipped up the steps to the post office this morning and up the front steps to our house a few times today, too.

Chelsea had a doctor’s appointment to get a refill on pain meds. She can’t take Tylenol or any kind of nsaids because they hinder wound healing, so she has to take something else.

Her appointment was for 10:20, but, when she got there, they told her they didn’t have her down until 12:20. Since the office is filled with nurse practioners, her doctor was the only one who could prescribe her medication, so getting in to see someone else would have been pointless.

She initially decided to wait in the lobby and maybe they could get her in sooner, but then she thought better of it.

“It may have been all in my mind,” she said, “but the longer I sat there the sorer my throat became. Then I thought to myself, ‘I can’t do this. There are sick people here! I shouldn’t be around them.'”  Plus, she said it wasn’t doing any good to sit there and glare at the receptionist, who may or may not have been the one who messed up her appointment time. Chelsea added, “I may at some point make that same mistake at the salon, and I wouldn’t like someone sitting and glaring at me while they wait for their appointment!” So she came back home in her power chair. To her advantage, it wasn’t raining at the time and had just started to sprinkle as she got to the house and as I pulled into the driveway in my bus.

“Wow,” I said, as I hopped out of my bus and starting walking toward the house. “They already got you in?”

“No, I decided not to wait,” she said. “I’ll just have to go back at 12:20.”

It meant a couple more trips for me, but I didn’t mind. As I said, I am wired! At least that coffee has kept me from needing a nap on this dreary, dreary day. In fact, I just may make another pot! I haven’t felt this good in what seems like weeks. It could have something to do with the fact that I refilled all my vitamins yesterday and started taking them again last night. Laziness and procrastination are not my friends, and yet they seem to be my constant companions. Why would I keep someone as a companion who is not my friend?

I’m thankful for how I feel today, and I’m thankful that I have half a day of being on-plan under my belt! My afternoon snack will be oatmeal!  Thank You, God, for good health and Trim Healthy Mama!

Retrain Your Brain

The other day there was a marathon of My 600-lb. Life. There were also a few episodes of My 600-lb. Life: Where Are They Now? One show featured the most successful weight-loss story from that show. She had gone from 600 something to only 137 pounds. She became a motivational speaker for others who were about to embark on the journey she had taken. Because of her obesity she had been unable to conceive, but, after her weight loss, she became pregnant four times, although the first pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage: the baby had no heartbeat after just a few months.

As happens many times with these weight loss stories, the process took a toll on her marriage. A lot of times, the spouse/caregiver feels less and less needed as his wife becomes thinner and more independent. There are times even when the spouse has some kind of fetish for heavy women, as in the case of one woman in particular, and her husband said that if she were to lose a lot of weight, not only would he lose his attraction to her, but she would actually be repulsive to him–and he wasn’t just talking about loose skin.

The loose skin makes me a little fearful that I may become less attractive to my husband, although he assures me that will not be an issue, but it’s hard to wrap my head around men being repulsed by women who are within the normal range for weight.

The lady I mentioned in the first paragraph gained over a hundred pounds of her weight back. She had two toddlers to care for and had just found out at forty years of age that she was pregnant again. She began going to a support group, the same type of support group that she had led at one point when she had gotten down to 137 pounds.

What I got from that program was something she told the members of the group. She was explaining how it was that she had started gaining her weight back after finding success with Dr. Now’s program. She placed her hand on her stomach and said, “The problem is that I had surgery here”–and then moving her hand up to her head she said–“not here.”

There is no magic pill, no magic surgery, no magic plan or program. You still have to do the work and you still have to guard yourself against old mindsets and old destructive patterns. You’ve lived a whole lifetime with negative self-talk and bad coping mechanisms. It won’t change overnight. Finding a little success with whatever program or plan you use does not mean you won’t ever feel yourself slipping back to what you knew for so many years.

You have to “retrain your brain.” Just keep doing what you’ve been doing over and over and over and over again, and never say “die.” Never quit. Never, never, never. Take it from me. I watch these shows and I see what happens. A little laxity here, a little negligence there, and you’re right back where you started, and it’s harder to put the brakes on once you’ve lost your momentum.

The same goes with exercise. You can’t just stop. It’s just as easy to slip back into old sedentary habits as it was to build healthy habits of using the treadmill everyday.

If you feel yourself slipping, just do five minutes of walking. Then in an hour do five more minutes. Do three things before you sit down: clear a counter, empty the dishwasher, clean your mirrors in your bathroom or dust above your door frames. Little things like this will not only keep you off your bottom for a few more minutes, but they will also make you feel better about yourself and kick-start your metabolism.

Get out your THM book. Re-read another chapter. Review your food lists. It doesn’t hurt to review. It never hurts to review. Get your passion back.

The same kind of self-destructive behaviors that got you into the mess you were in with your weight can get you headed back in the same direction if you’re not diligent in keeping it from happening. Take a lesson from My 600-lb. Life.

Ask for support from your family. One young lady on Extreme Weight Loss came home from boot camp to find sugar-laden Easter treats on the counter and sugary cereals in the cupboard. She pulled her family aside and said, “This isn’t going to work. I can’t have things like this in the house. I know you can eat cereal, but, if I eat cereal like this, I’ll have half a box.” Boy, have I been there! I can’t even count the times I’ve had two or three bowls of Cocoa Crispies or Cap’n Crunch. When you’re an addict, that’s what you do. You can’t find it within yourself to just say no.

Today is a day that God has given you to make healthful choices for your body and family. You owe it to God, and you owe it to your family. Only God knows how many years you have left on this earth. Don’t you want your remaining time to be filled with mobility and good health? I do. Retrain your brain.

Today another photo memory came across my Facebook news feed. There was a time when I was so ashamed of my fat face and neck that I used only my eye as a profile picture. One of my political like-minded friends thought my profile photo was some kind of profound political statement that he applauded wholeheartedly. Nope, I just didn’t want anyone seeing my fat face and neck.

One of my very favorite bonuses from eating the Trim Healthy Mama way has been losing my neck and being able to see my ears from the front view. I don’t ever want to go back to that sad individual that I was before when I was so ashamed of who I was that I didn’t even want a profile picture.

I’m ordering THM Collagen today! It’s on sale, and I’ve heard lots of ladies raving about its health benefits!  If you want to take advantage of the sale, please consider using my affiliate link! It won’t cost you a penny more, but it will bless me tremendously!  Thank you!  https://store.trimhealthymama.com/#_l_df

After THM Don't lose heart

I Got a Feeling

“I got a feeling. Woo hoo. That today’s gonna be a good day.” The song actually says “tonight’s gonna be a good night,” but I tweaked it to fit my own circumstances.

I never get eight hours of sleep, but today I did. I was able to sleep in until just after 8:00.

I fixed myself a good Trim Healthy Mama E breakfast, consisting of a banana shake and two pieces of Ezekiel toast.

I worked on the customer spreadsheet for my new Paparazzi business, ordered some new rings and earrings for upcoming parties, got a few pieces of jewelry ready to go out the door, and made plans to go walking to Walmart later with Chelsea.

We’re also going to see the Higginsville youth perform “Peter Pan” tonight. Chelsea’s boss at Uptown Style is directing it, and Chelsea wanted to go to show her support.

The highlight of my day, though, I think, is getting My Luci bagmy new Luci bag delivered that my Paparazzi sponsor shipped to me. It has big clear pockets on the front, so I can carry a few pieces of jewelry with me at all times. A good saleswoman is always ready! Just a few weeks ago in Dollar General this purse would have really come in handy. I had a couple of interested potential customers right in front of me who were oohing and aahing over my earrings and bracelet. “Five dollars, ladies!” I said. Sadly, I didn’t have any other pieces with me that I could sell them. After today that may never be an issue, again.

What My Business CardI really love about my new bag is that, not only does it represent the colors of Paparazzi very well, it really matches the colors of my new business cards which are set to arrive on April 20. I was afraid that the jewelry may scuff up the insides of the clear, plastic pockets and obscure the contents after a while, but Lauren, my sponsor, suggested that I put cell phone screen protectors on the insides of the pockets. What a great idea!

I ordered my business cards from Vista Print after a colleague showed me her new ones in a private message. I adored them so much that I used the same design, only changing my font styles and colors. Don’t you just love them? They even have my Facebook jewelry page, Dirinda’s Dazzling $5 Jewelry, and my website, https://paparazziaccessories.com/45109, on them, too! I am so excited to get them that I just can’t stand it! I can carry those in the front pockets of my new bag, too!

I hope I never lose this zeal for my new business. It gives me something in my life to look forward to besides food. I’ve seen this pattern, not only in my own life, but in the lives of those on Extreme Weight Loss, where we turn to food when we are depressed or bored or tired or angry or a whole host of other things. Chris Powell trains his clients to turn to exercise instead. See, that is the kind of relationship I want with exercise! I could never see myself working out for two or three, let alone eight, hours a day, but, yes, I could amp it up a little. Still, looming in the back of my mind are those horrifying images of hanging, loose skin that I will have if I ever reach my pre-marriage weight. I think those images have played at least a small part in my weight stall. I can be happy right where I’m at–as long as I can maintain and not ever gain back.

Well, I’m excited to get on with the rest of my day! Enjoy your weekend, and make it a Trim and Healthy one!

Can You See God?

Can you see God?
That may sound like something you’ve heard one of your children ask at one time—or maybe a grandchild. There are many opinions about where to “find” God. Some people say that God is in nature, or they think that God is somewhere deep within themselves. But what does the Bible say about finding God?
According to the Bible, God has been revealed to us in the Person of Jesus Christ. For instance, in John, chapter one, we learn that in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Verse fourteen tells us that the Word became flesh and dwelled among us. In other words, God became a man and lived right here on earth. The Bible declares that Man to be Jesus Christ. It was to Jesus that the Father said, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever” (Heb. 1:8). This truth is also borne out in Isaiah 9:6-7, which prophesies of the birth of Jesus and repeats the promise of His eternal kingdom.
In Genesis we read that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Then we read in the New Testament in John 1, Hebrews 1, and Colossians 1, that it was actually Jesus who created all things. How can this be? The answer is a very simple one. As John 1 says, “The Word (Jesus) WAS God.”
Jesus Himself told His disciples, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). And again in John 10:30 He says, “I and my father are one.”
We read in Acts 20:28 that God has purchased His church with His own blood. When did God shed His blood?
In Isaiah we learn that “the First and the Last” is one of God’s titles (Isaiah 41:4; Is. 44:6; Is. 48:12). In Revelation 1:17 we read these words from “the First and the Last”: “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” When did God die?
The answers to these questions are that God shed His blood on the cross and He died on Calvary to pay for the sins of His people. His very name “Emanuel” means “God with us.”
Matthew 1:21 says, “Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” The name “Jesus” means literally “Jehovah saves.”
Only God could pay such a price. The blood of any other would not have the power to cleanse us of our sin. God is the only one who could live such a life, perfect and pure. Jesus had no sin of His own for which to pay. That is why He was able to pay for ours.
The Bible says in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death, but Jesus had no sin—so death could not hold Him. He rose victoriously from the dead on the third day, as the Scripture says. We read in Hebrews that Jesus “tasted death for every man,” yet death has no dominion over the God-man.
Because He rose from the dead, we can be confident that His sacrifice was sufficient to pay for our sins. If we place our salvation squarely in His nail-pierced hands, no one can separate us from the love and forgiveness of God.
It is not by good works that we are saved. It is not by baptism that we are saved. It is by God’s grace alone through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. Jesus cried, “It is finished!” Believe in HIS work on the cross. Revelation tells us that He washed us from our sins in His own blood. Salvation is not found in anything but the blood of Jesus.
This Easter season, my prayer is that you find God in the Person of Jesus Christ. In Him, you will see God. In His resurrection, you will find victory over sin and death. Turn from your sin and seek after Jesus.
2 Corinthians 4:6: For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Cara Cara

A couple of weeks ago I learned something frightening on the prescription warnings that accompany my Lipitor bottle. I found out I must never, ever eat grapefruit while taking Lipitor!  What?! I don’t know how important this is, but if it is of utmost importance why wasn’t I verbally warned when I was given the prescription? I mean, grapefruit is a fairly common food, right? Thankfully, I haven’t had a grapefruit for several years, but . . .  I wonder what would happen. Would it be life-threatening if I were to eat a grapefruit?

I thought about this yesterday and again today as I ate my breakfast (or pre-route snack, whichever you want to call it). For the last two mornings I’ve eaten about a third of a cup or so of 1% cottage cheese and an orange.

These aren’t just any oranges, mind you: these are Cara Cara oranges. When I first picked them up in Costco on Saturday, I thought Cara Cara was the company; you know, like Sunkist or Sun Pacific (which, by the way, are about the best oranges I’ve had to date. I wish I could find some more!). As I examined the bag, however, I discovered that Cara Cara wasn’t a company at all, but a variety.  Sunkist is the company.

“What is Cara Cara?” I wondered. Just now, I re-examined the package and, apparently, Cara Cara is the “power orange.” I don’t even know what that means. I’ve eaten them two days in a row and haven’t experienced any kind of super powers–or even regular powers, that I’m aware of.

I’ve been thinking about my Lipitor warnings, however, because the inside of a Cara Cara orange looks just like a red grapefruit. It’s sweeter, but the appearance is nearly identical. The orange, of course, is smaller than a grapefruit, but never in my life had I seen a red orange like this! As a matter of fact, that’s even a contradiction in terms! Aren’t oranges supposed to be, well, orange? Isn’t that, in fact, why they are called “oranges”?

What do I think of the Cara Cara Power Orange, you may well want to know. Meh, I could take it or leave it. There’s nothing really extraordinary about the taste. It’s drier than the Sun Pacific oranges I had last month and not as sweet. I guess that doesn’t mean all Cara Cara oranges are drier and not as sweet, but that pretty much sums up the bag I got.

I can’t get past the color. If it’s going to be red like that, I think it should taste like a grapefruit. In fact, the color makes me miss the taste of grapefruit, and normally I don’t think about grapefruit much at all.

I had more grapefruit as a child than I’ve had in my adult life. We used to cut the grapefruit in half and then run a pairing knife around the perimeter of each section, freeing the meat inside the fruit. Then we would dig out each bite with a spoon. Does everyone else eat them this way? Is this the standard way of eating a grapefruit? It’s the way we were taught, at least. I don’t know why we weren’t taught to just peel them and eat them like an orange. Like a red Cara Cara orange.

I’ve heard of people putting sugar on their grapefruits, but Mom and Dad always put salt on theirs (and ours) so I grew up liking salt on my grapefruit. It doesn’t stop there, however: I like salt on all my fruit: cantaloupe, watermelon, apples, oranges, pineapple. There is something about salt that just wakes up the taste of fruit! People may think I’m odd, but I can’t help it: I like salt on fruit.

*After morning-route edit: Maybe I need to rethink that whole super power thing. This morning, when I got to the preschool, I pivoted in my seat so that I could stand up and walk to the back of the bus to push my child-check button. I do this every morning; then I turn off my bus and wait for one of the teachers to come out and get Bentley off my bus.

Well, this morning, apparently when I pivoted to get out of my seat my earring must have caught on my jacket. After I turned back toward the front of the bus after pushing the child-check button, I heard something hit the floor. I looked down to see my large Paparazzi Glitz by Association earring, lying near the aisle.

“Oh, no, I lost the back of my earring, Bentley,” I said. I scanned the floor of my bus, but knew finding that clear rubber back would be like finding a needle in a haystack.

I went back and sat in the driver’s seat. Then I took out my other earring to show Bentley what the back looked like and how tiny it was. To my surprise it wasn’t clear at all. It was gunmetal, like the rest of the earring.

I stood back up and went to the back of the bus again.

“Can I come back there, too?” Bentley asked.

“Oh, you want to help me find the back to my earring?” I asked. “Sure!”

So, together, he and I scanned the charcoal-gray floor of my bus for the tiny back of my gunmetal earring. It was useless.

“It may have fallen in one of these holes,” Bentley said. I have tracks on the floor of my bus, and, when I first got my bus, one of the teachers had spilled her peanuts on the floor. Some of those peanuts are still stuck in the tracks on the floor of my bus! The only way to get those out would be with a pair of tweezers or a high-powered vacuum!

“I hope it didn’t fall into one of those holes!” I replied. “We’d never get it out of there!”

It was a lost cause. There was no finding that tiny earring back. “Oh, well,” I told Bentley. “At least I have other earring backs at home. I’ll just use one of those.”

I returned to my driver’s seat. I started thinking that if my earring had gotten caught on my coat, then possDSCF3296ibly the earring back had fallen off before I got out of my seat. I felt around the collar of my jacket and down the front of my blouse. Then I started studying the floor in front of my seat. I thought I saw a shiny glint of something by the accelerator. Was it a screw or a shiny pebble? I reached down and picked it up.

“Look, Bentley! I found it!” I said. “Wow, look how tiny it is. I can’t believe I found it!”

“Me, either,” Bentley said.

Perhaps those Cara Cara Power Oranges gave me some mighty powerful eyesight this morning! I wasn’t even wearing glasses! How I saw that teensy-weensy gunmetal earring back against a charcoal-gray floor with pebbles and dust around the accelerator is mind-blowing!

Maybe I’ll have another Cara Cara Power Orange before my morning route again tomorrow, too.



Kick in the Rear

Yesterday Chelsea and I walked at Confederate Park. My body could tell that it hadn’t been taken out walking in a while. No, I take that back: in recent days I have been to Walmart and back at least twice, but apparently walking at Confederate State Park on April 2, 2016Confederate Park is a whole ‘nuther animal.

We made it back before Chuck got home from work to watch March Madness, but he could tell by the pictures on Facebook where we had been.

Chelsea decided early this morning that we should go again since this afternoon was supposed to be pretty, but, after church and lunch, I sat down to check Facebook and felt my eyes getting heavy.

“If we go,” I said, “it will have to be after my nap because I am tired.”

I got up and fixed my chocolate muffin in a mug for my afternoon snack, after I completely blew the plan with–well, I won’t tell you, but it started with a “whoopie” and enConfederate 5ded with a “pieConfederate 3” and it was plural. I don’t know if I had ever had one before or not, but I can tell you right now it wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t worth it, not one little bit. In fact, just thinking about it now makes me almost ill (or that could be the 1.9 miles at Confederate Park talking. That kind of made me ill, too!  “Water! I need water!” Not only did we walk Confederate Park, we went the “extra mile” and trudged up the hill to the Confederate Chapel and cemetery. Three years ago, I could not have done that!)

Am I insane? How can I do so well and then completely blow it in an unguarded instant in Jim’s Country Mart? I need professional help, I think. Chris Powell, where are you? I’m joking. I’m not dedicated enough to want him to pick me to turn my life around. “Fight or flight”? Find me an airplane, baby, because I am out of here.

I’m still watching all those shows: Fit to Fat to Fit, Extreme Weight Loss Makeover and, of course, My 600lb. Life (Skin Tight is over for the season). I look at the screen with horror and pity, and both of those emotions can be directed right back at myself. Before Trim Healthy Mama, I was on a fast track to out-of-control obesity. I may not have been 600 pounds, but I was still morbidly obese, medically speaking. Even still I’m in that category, but now I’m fighting an internal battle with myself about how much weight I really want to lose. Yes, I want to be healthy, but, no, I do not want hanging skin and triple no, I do not want skin removal surgery. You can say all you want about dry brushing and working out to tone sagging skin, but I’ve watched those shows. I’ve seen those people work out. There is no amount of toning that will get rid of years of abuse to your body in respect to how far you’ve stretched your skin. It can’t be done, and, if it could be done, one of the doctors on those shows would have mentioned it.

When I step in and out of the shower in front of the full-length mirror in our bathroom, I am repulsed by all the dimpled, jiggling skin on my thighs, and I know that the more I lose the worse it will be. Then I’ll have to get those compression garments to tuck all my folds of skin in before I get dressed. So I find myself at a crossroads. No, I don’t want to be fat. I want to be thinner than I am now, but, on the other hand, I can’t imagine what I would look like at 200 pounds. How would I hide all that hanging skin?

When I was going through a storage box/book on the dresser in our bedroom I ran across one of my old driver’s licenses. I do not want to go back to being the person in thaDSCF3288t photo! (I have to confess that I weighed more than is recorded on my license. Oh, the shame. There was no reason to lie, and it wasn’t a lie so much as just neglecting to update the previously recorded information. Call it what you want, but it was still deceitful. And why? Those people don’t even know me, yet how could I tell anyone how much I really weighed? I felt like the lady on that comedian’s tape that my parents gave me for my birthday once. They told her they had to know her weight so they would know how much fuel to put in the airplane. She was thinking, “I’d rather die than let them know my real weight!” Meanwhile, the comedian was saying, “Fill it up!”) So now I find myself in a balancing act, but it’s a balancing act that gives me license to abuse my body further with poor food choices. Am I using my repulsion to loose skin as an excuse to eat more sugar? Again, I think I need professional help!  Dr. Phil, where are you?

I had a good on-plan morning, a rough noon, a nice two-mile walk and a good on-plan dinner. It could have been better, yes, but, oh, it could have been much, much worse.

I’m glad my daughter was here to kick my rear into action. Had she not come into the family room and taken the initiative to go walking, I may never have mentioned it. And now I have 1.9 miles under my belt for today! Thank you, Chelsea!

Confederate 2