December 31, 2011

Top 11 of 2011

Since I have no plans tonight, and I'm sitting home on New Year's Eve, I decided to go back through my blog and write a list of eleven of my favorite things that happened to me in 2011. This year has been a really big year for me--some exciting things have happened!

11. I started the year off in January by getting my arch bars removed. After breaking my jaw in November, I had to wear the ugly things for about 7 weeks. Getting them off was one of the most horrifying experiences of my life, but I was SO HAPPY to have them gone! ;)
Not one of my most flattering pictures... ;)
10. In February, my kids went to Florida with my parents, and Jerry and I had a "staycation" at home. It was so much fun! We felt like we were married without kids for five days, so we went shopping, made "adult" food for our meals, went to a comedy club, and slept in every day.

9. I started my Runs for Cookies blog in April. After blogging on Open Diary from 2000-2011, it was a drastic change! I'm still amazed at how much the blog has grown in just eight months. As of today, I have 299 "followers" and 653 "subscribers". That seriously blows my mind! I cannot imagine my life without Runs for Cookies now :)   Here is my very first entry I wrote on this blog.

8. Also in April, I went on an AMAZING vacation with my family--my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, my brother Brian, Jerry, me, and the kids all went to Tennessee and stayed in a cabin in the mountains. I went zip-lining, which was completely out of my comfort zone, but so glad that I did it! I also went on a run through Cade's Cove with my brother, despite tornado-like winds, hills, and a downpour of rain.
Zip-lining in the hills of Tennessee
7. In May, I ran the Indy 500 Festival One America Mini-Marathon! This was a HUGE accomplishment for me. I walked this in 2008, 2009, and 2010. I never, ever, imagined that I would one day run it. I finished in 2:10:40, a respectable time, and I loved every second of the race.

6. In June, I bought a hybrid bike as a present to myself for maintaining 100+ pounds lost for a year. I've never owned a "nice" bike before, and I was so excited to get this. It took a couple of tries, but I had to conquer a fear of going into a bike shop first.

5. In July, Jerry, me, and the kids went to Illinois to visit my sister. She kept the boys overnight and Jerry and I went to Madison for a night. It was one of my favorite trips I've ever been on, even though it was short. We loved Madison!

4. Also in July, I went on a super fun overnight girls trip with Renee, Jessica, and Rachael. We spent 24 hours drinking wine, laughing hysterically, and hanging out on the beach. So much fun!!
Rachael, me, Renee, and Jessica
3. In October, I flew to Arizona to be matron-of-honor in my friend Sarah's wedding. I was terrified to fly, but the trip made the flight totally worth it. I loved seeing Sarah's house and seeing Arizona. Her wedding was fun and beautiful.

2. In November, I was a guest on The Dr. Oz Show! One of the most exciting moments of my life. I flew to NYC all by myself, and had my hair and make-up done by celebrity stylists/make-up artists, and stepped waaaay out of my comfort zone onto national television. I still can't believe I actually did it!

1. In November, I also had a lower-body lift, something I've dreamed of for at least a decade. I've never had a flat tummy, and now I absolutely love it! My doctor removed 2-3 pounds of excess skin, and it has made a world of difference in not only my appearance, but my self-confidence as well.

Some fun facts of 2011:
*I ran 679 miles.
*My longest run was 13.1 miles.
*In September, I ran the most miles I've ever done in a month--106.2.
*The food I consumed the most of was probably peanut butter.
*My most memorable meal was a pasty from Teddywedgers in Madison, WI.
*I conquered my fear of flying twice--once to Arizona and once to NYC.
*I'm finishing 2011 at the exact same weight that I started it.
*My most memorable run was a scheduled 12-miler the week before my half-marathon.
*I quit drinking coffee.
*My longest binge-free streak is 48 days (and counting).
*I ran a minimum of three times per week every single week (except for the four weeks after my surgery).

And finally, a few goals for 2012:
*Maintain a weight of less than 135 pounds.
*Run a minimum of three times per week.
*Stay binge-free.
*Pay off $5,000+ of credit card debit.

December 31, 2011


I took a break from the computer yesterday to spend some quality time with Jerry. He only had to work a half-day (midnight to 6 AM), so we had the afternoon and evening to hang out together. But first, I went to lunch with my mom, a couple of my aunts, and some of my cousins. My cousin Kaitlin just graduated from nursing school, and we went out to celebrate.

We ate at TGIFridays, and I think I only ate there once before--many, MANY years ago. I ended up ordering "Wildfire Chicken", which was just okay (I really wanted the Wildfire salmon, but it was like $4 more than the chicken). The sauce tasted exactly like the sauce from my General Tsao's Chicken, which I love. I ended up scraping most of it off, though, because they sprinkled cilantro on top--and I can't stand cilantro!

We ordered two desserts with 12 spoons, so that everyone at the table could have a couple bites of dessert--a great idea, I think. We had an Oreo dessert and something called a Brownie Explosion. The Oreo dessert wasn't anything special, but the Brownie Explosion was ORGASMIC. Warm, gooey brownie with ice cream and whipped cream.

Later, when I told Jerry about the dessert, we started talking about the best desserts we've ever eaten at a restaurant. I will never forget the Chocolate Chimichanga from Rio Bravo (who is no longer in business, at least around here). A Hershey bar, wrapped in a flour tortilla and deep fried, topped with hot fudge and vanilla bean ice cream and whipped cream. SO GOOD.

When I got home, it was about 3:00. Jerry and I took the kids to Wal-Mart, because they wanted to spend their Christmas money that they got from my brother Nathan. I also had promised the kids that one day over Christmas break, we'd have ice cream for dinner. I was freezing and ice cream didn't really appeal to me, but the kids picked some out for themselves, and then Jerry and I checked out the bakery for something else. We ended up buying two carrot cake cupcakes.

When we got home, the kids played their new game on the Wii, and Jerry and I played cards and then Monopoly--which we haven't played in YEARS. I always enjoy Monopoly until people start building houses and hotels--then I quit when I don't have enough money to pay rent. I never mortgage property or anything. I just look at my cash, and if I don't have enough, then game over for me. It annoys the heck out of Jerry ;)

While we were playing, we decided to eat our cupcakes and have a glass of red wine. Bet you can't guess which cupcake is mine:

BAHAHAHA, of course it's the one on the left, because it has the most frosting. I'm like a child when it comes to cake and frosting. I like about a 50/50 ratio of cake and frosting, so when I eat a piece of cake, I will usually eat the frosting and the top half of the cake. I eat cupcakes a little strangely, too:

I pull off the bottom half of the cake part, and flip it upside down onto the frosting, so that the frosting is sandwiched in the middle. That way, I don't get all the frosting on the roof of my mouth where I can't even taste it. It's just less messy that way, I think.

So it was interesting to read the comments about the new blog look. Some of you think it's incomplete; some of you think it's boring; and some of you like that it's clean and easy to read.  I'm so glad we're all in agreement ;)

I was going for "clean and easy to read" and maybe a little more professional looking than before. While my blog will never be "professional", I just want it to look a little more adult and not so teenager-y. Does that make sense?

I like having a white background, and a simple header. I'm not so sure about the gray on white though, so maybe I'll change the gray stuff to a brighter color to be less boring. I'm totally open to suggestions about the whole thing but obviously I can't please everyone. I feel like I have too much clutter in my sidebars, but I don't know what to get rid of without deleting information that I feel is very relevant to my blog.

My food log from yesterday:
Breakfast- jamocha/banana protein shake
Lunch- TGIFriday's Wildfire Chicken, couple bites of dessert
Dinner- chicken stir-fry, toast with peanut butter
Snacks- cupcake, two glasses of wine, two spoonfuls of Cookie Butter, spoonful of peanut butter (yup, I really need to quit eating the "butters" right out of the jar--or at least limit it to one spoonful a day!)

December 29, 2011

Simple Changes

My cats have found a new favorite place to hang out...

Estelle (the ugly cat) is usually right ON my lap, but she doesn't like Paolo (the white fluffy cat), so she is ignoring me at the moment.

So yesterday, Sarah and I went to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The movie was actually much better than the book, in my opinion. I don't think I've ever said that about a movie before!  The rape scene at the beginning was hard to watch because it was so brutal, and I kind of stared at the wall for a minute until it was over.  I had forgotten about that part of the book.

I managed to forgo Mrs. Fields while we were at the mall. I thought about getting a cookie to have for my treat at night, but I realized I didn't REALLY want one. I thought that if I was going to have a cookie, I want to make homemade oatmeal cookies (really big ones) and have one of those instead. I know, I don't know what's wrong with me--no buttercream frosting?! But I love love LOVE my homemade oatmeal cookies. The ones I almost barfed up when I binged on them and then went for a run. Maybe I'll try and come up with a single serve oatmeal cookie recipe.

I have been on a salad kick lately, for some strange reason. I normally can't stand the stuff, so I don't know where the craving came from. But I've been eating a salad every day for lunch. It's always the same--romaine lettuce, French dressing, ranch dressing, diced chicken, and cranberry/almond granola. (And yes, I use a combo of both dressings).

I've had this same thing for lunch every day for the past week. I'm sure I'll be sick of it soon, and go another ten years before eating another salad!

I made another change recently too--I was at Target for something when I remembered that we needed mayonnaise at home, so I checked out Target's (very limited) selection. The only mayo they had was the Hellman's full-fat mayo, which I never use. I usually buy the Kraft Olive Oil mayo or the light mayo. Even when I was fat, we used light mayo. But while at Target, I asked myself, "How often do I really use mayo?" and the answer is probably about twice a month. I only ever use it if I'm having canned tuna.

So I bought the full-fat stuff and tried it in my tuna the next day, and it was AMAZING. I never really realized what I was missing out on. I didn't even need bread or crackers with it--just the tuna with mayo and relish was delish.  The next time I had to buy sour cream, I did the same thing--I usually buy fat-free (because I really do like it, and it was a change I didn't mind making in the beginning). I bought the full-fat sour cream (since we don't use it very often anyway). And when I had some chili with a couple tablespoons of sour cream, it was heavenly.

I KNOW that "light" and "fat-free" stuff is usually more processed, and therefore not as healthy as the "real" stuff; but I think there is room for EVERYTHING in one's diet--including processed stuff. And eating the light and fat-free stuff helped me stick to my calorie goals, so it helped me in the long run.

Yesterday's food log:
Breakfast- jamocha/banana protein shake
Lunch- salad with dressing, trail mix, and chicken, Dr. Oz brownie
Dinner- scrambled eggs with ham, cheese, and ketchup; toast with sunflower seed butter
Snacks- two spoonfuls of Cookie Butter (my favorite way to eat this is right off the spoon!), graham crackers with peanut butter and chocolate chips, 1/2 a Dr. Oz brownie

Today marks 46 days binge-free!

December 28, 2011

The clothes that $9 can buy

When I went to my favorite consignment store yesterday, I was super excited to see that all of their marked-down clothes were $1. Normally, they mark them down to 50% off; and once every quarter or so, they do a $1 sale.

Since it's a consignment store, the clothes are more expensive than Goodwill, which is another place I buy my clothes. But I had brought some clothes in to consign recently, and I figured I'd just use that money to buy a pair of jeans or something (most jeans are around $10; most shirts about $6-7). I had $14 in my consignment account, so I happily shopped the $1 racks and found some goodies:

Purple sweater by Ann Taylor Loft, $1

Pink/red striped sweater by American Eagle, $1

(Super cozy!!) Pink sweater by Gap, $1

Plaid button-up shirt by American Eagle, $1

Blue t-shirt by Abercrombie, $1

Black terrycloth hoodie by Moda International

Brown hoodie sweater by Ruff Hewn, $1

Blue long-sleeved t-shirt by Aeropostale, $1

Jeans by Abercrombie, $1
I'm wearing the pink Gap sweater right now, and it's SO cozy. It's a medium, which is a little big (especially since Gap seems to vanity size their clothes), but I made an exception because I love how comfy it is. So I'd say that the $9 shopping spree was successful. I bought a few things for my boys with the other $5.

Some of you were asking for an update on where my Garmin is now... Jen has it in Texas right now, and she just wrote a blog about it. I was so surprised to see the notes that everyone has been passing along with it--I can't wait to read them! I think there are about 5 or 6 more people in queue for the Garmin right now, so it'll be a while. I'm glad that everyone seems to be enjoying trying it out, though!

Today was my Wednesday Weigh-In, and I'm happy with the results this week:
Weight is 134, down 1 pound from last week (and only 1 pound away from goal!)

Body fat is 19.8%, which is up 0.2% from last week
I'm not worried about the body fat percentage being up by 0.2%. So many factors have an effect on that reading (hydration levels, water retention, etc). If it was a large amount or if it keeps going up, then I'll worry about it. (For those of you asking about my body fat reader thing, I made a "Favorite Things" tab on the blog where you can find it--along with a few other things that I get asked about frequently).

I'm only one measly pound from goal weight right now!! I'm so happy to be maintaining the weight loss that I've had--and I know from experience that the longer I am at a particular weight, the easier it is to maintain it.  I've now lost 10% of my weight since the beginning of November. Maybe (hopefully?) I'll be at my goal weight next week for my weigh-in.

I still haven't binged even once since my surgery 44 days ago. There were a couple of days this week that I ate for emotional reasons (boredom, loneliness) rather than hunger, but I was aware of it at the time and I didn't turn it into a binge. I'm okay with that. I think even "naturally" thin people eat for emotional reasons once in a while.

I did a slow and easy 3-miler on the dreadmill again this morning. I'm afraid I'm never going to pick up my pace back to what it was prior to surgery. A 10:00/mi pace is hard right now. I'm not even going to worry about adding distance until I start training for the half-marathon. I'm just doing three 3-mile runs per week until February.

 Since my boys are at their Holiday Camp all day, Sarah and I are going to the movies. We're going to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I read the book, and thought it was pretty decent, although I didn't like it enough to read the sequels. Hopefully the movie is okay.

And hopefully I can avoid the pull of Mrs. Fields at the mall.... ;)

December 27, 2011

RECIPE: My Dr. Oz Brownies

I call these "Dr. Oz Brownies" because they were a food prop in my segment of The Dr. Oz Show. I gave them the recipe and they had a food stylist make them. You can see them on the far left of this picture...

Some of my mom friends said that they make brownies by taking a boxed mix and adding a can of pumpkin to it and half a bag of chocolate chips.

Since I LOVE peanut butter, I changed it a little to exclude the chocolate chips but add some yummy peanut butter. When I told the producers how I like to make them, they decided to use it as part of the show (which was later cut out, unfortunately). I don't doubt there are a thousand different versions of these online, but here is how I make the super simple brownies.

These are extremely dense and fudge-like--not cakey at all. And they're rich! Which is why I love them :)

My Dr. Oz Brownies

1 box of brownie mix (I use the Betty Crocker family size one)
1 (15 oz.) can of pure pumpkin
3 Tbsp. peanut butter

Just combine the brownie mix and pumpkin in a bowl (nothing else). It takes a while to mix, and the batter will be very thick, but don't add anything else to it. Spread it in an 8x8 or 9x9 pan. In a small bowl, melt the peanut butter in the microwave (about 30 seconds). Drizzle it on top of the brownie batter (and swirl it around to make it pretty, if you like).

Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees. Let them cool completely before cutting (if they are warm, there is a strong pumpkin taste... once they cool, you don't taste the pumpkin). Cut it into 24 pieces (the pieces will be small, but because it is so rich, a small piece is satisfying).

December 27, 2011

Six Weeks Post-Op

Yesterday marked six weeks since my surgery--which meant I could ditch the compression garment! I woke up at around 6:15 and decided to run on the dreadmill to get my run over with early. I left the garment on while I ran (and I'll probably continue to wear it while I run for about six months). I just did three miles.

After showering, I got dressed without the compression garment--and it felt so weird! When I pulled my shirt on, it felt so strange to be able to feel it drape across my stomach. But it felt very freeing, which was nice!

My kids are doing a holiday camp at a rec center near our house this week. It's Mon-Fri from 8:30-4, and they play lots of sports (kickball, flag football, soccer, ice skating, etc) and games and do crafts. My mom paid for it as a Christmas present for the kids, and she got 50% off from a coupon, so it was only $50 per kid for the week. That's a pretty good deal! Almost eight hours a day for each kid for five days, and only $100.

So I drove them to their camp, and talked to the woman who was in charge (I wanted to make sure I felt comfortable leaving them there). I told her that if they didn't want to stay, just let them call me and I'd pick them up.

I came home and cleaned the house because my friend Sarah and her new husband were coming over (Sarah is the friend whose wedding I was just in in October). I was moving around a LOT and after a few hours, my belly was really swollen. I probably should have taken it easy or just worn the compression garment for another day.

I picked up the boys at 3:45, and Noah kept saying how much fun he had. Eli said he "hated" it, but when I asked him if he wanted to go again tomorrow, he said yes. Eli's kind of pouty, and when something doesn't go his way, he thinks everything is just terrible. I talked to the teacher and she said he was upset because he wanted to play with Noah and ONLY Noah. She asked him over and over if he wanted to call his mom, but he said no. Today he was really excited to go ;)

The boys spent the night at my parents' house last night. Sarah and Ne came over and we ate dinner (chicken taco soup that I made in the slow cooker).

Then we played four games of Euchre (a card game). Euchre is definitely a Michigan thing, because most people from out of state have never heard of it. Sarah is from Michigan, so she knew it, but Ne didn't have a clue. (Are any of you Euchre players??)

We taught him how to play, and him and Jerry were teamed up against me and Sarah. Sarah and I were all about strategy, and doing well--but Jerry and Ne kept getting really lucky! And they won the first three games, which was so annoying ;)  We won the fourth game, and then we were satisfied. Sarah and Ne left at around midnight.

I probably should have taken at least one picture last night, but I am kind of a bad blogger  in that sense. When I'm doing something fun with other people, I much prefer to just live in the moment instead of taking pictures of each moment for the blog. So you'll have to use your imagination :)  We moved the dining room table into the living room, and Sarah and I were looking totally pissed every time the boys took another trick by pure luck.

It would have been so easy to overeat last night on snacks alone. I made hummus and I had tortilla chips and veggies to dip; I bought Doritos for the boys, because they like to eat them with Tapatio (a hot sauce). We had chips and pretzels, and I had my Dr. Oz Brownies in the fridge. But I ate a small bowl of chicken taco soup, some veggies and chips dipped in hummus and one brownie. I had one glass of wine, and then a few cups of tea. I went to bed slightly hungry, which meant I didn't eat too much.

Since yesterday marked six weeks post-op, I took some more pictures. There are barely any changes from week to week now, so I'll just start doing monthly comparisons for about a year. Maybe I'll start showing my scar, to see how that changes too.

Before surgery, then post-op weeks 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6

Before lower body lift
6 weeks after lower body lift
I really AM going to post the promised post all about the surgery. There are actually two posts, because it is so long! I'll probably be finished in a day or two.

Right now, I'm going to the thrift store to get some new clothes now that I'm out of my compression garment! :)

December 25, 2011

A perfect, uneventful Christmas

It was so nice to just relax today and not have to go anywhere! Jerry came home from work at 6:30 this morning, so when he got home, the kids opened their gifts. We decided to get them each just three gifts this year. In the past, we have always gone overboard, focusing on quantity over quality, and most of the stuff just winds up in the back of the boys' closet.

So this year, we focused on things they really wanted, and bought them each three gifts. One of Eli's was a set of books called Junie B. Jones. His teacher read them one, and he loved it--he kept asking me if I could buy him the Junie B. Jones book that his teacher has. So I went on E-bay and found a gently used complete set of them. Eli was THRILLED when he opened them. I have never seen a kid get so excited over books!
He kept telling me thank you, over and over again. They're chapter books, and he's only 5 years old, so I have to read them to him. But I totally don't mind doing that--I'm just thrilled that he wanted books for Christmas :)  We already read one of them today.

Noah's favorite gift was an iPod touch. He's been begging for one for a long time. We told him we couldn't get it, because it was too expensive and he would have to save his money for it. So he was very surprised and excited when he opened it.
After they opened gifts, I made a breakfast that I only make once a year (on Christmas morning): biscuits and sausage gravy. We used to eat this all the time when Jerry and I were fat, but once we started losing weight, we stopped having it (except for Christmas). It was delicious! I had one biscuit and about 1/3 cup of gravy... when I was fat, I would have eaten about five biscuits and half the pan of gravy!

Speaking of breakfast, I got to make something yesterday that I've been wanting to make ever since I first tried Cookie Butter ...Oats in a Cookie Butter jar!  I made cinnamon-raisin oats (cold) and put them in the almost-empty Cookie Butter jar, scraping the sides as I ate it. It was heavenly!
On second thought, maybe it was a little more than "almost empty"  ;)

Kelli, a reader of my blog, wrote me an e-mail saying that she found something I just "had to have"... and she sent it to me in the mail. It's an adorable ornament, and so perfect for cookie-loving me!!

Tomorrow is the big 6-week mark since my surgery!! I get to stop wearing my compression garment :)

Well, Eli is waiting for me to play Go Fish with him... Merry Christmas everyone!!

December 24, 2011

Signs that I've eaten too much

Yesterday was probably the hardest "binge free" day I've had in the last 40 days. I'm not sure why, because it wasn't like I went to a party and was tempted with all kinds of foods. I was home all day, and I just kept wanting to eat. And not just eat a little, I wanted to binge.

I didn't. I kept reminding myself that I've gone 40 days without bingeing, and if I do it now, I'll never stop. I know that one binge ALWAYS leads to another. I didn't binge, but I did eat for reasons other than hunger--boredom? Loneliness? I don't know.

I did overeat, though. And because of that, I've learned a little more about my body, which is interesting. When I overeat, I get these subtle signs that I never used to notice before. The main one being swelling. My hands get puffy the next morning. Not horribly, but just enough that I notice my hands are a little swelled up.

Also, food stops sounding good at some point. Once I've eaten enough, or just a little more than enough, I don't have intense cravings anymore. You would think this would make it easy to stop eating, but that's not always the case. Last night, even though I wasn't hungry after dinner (and a snack after dinner) I still had my daily treat before bed. I knew I was overeating because the treat didn't really sound that good.

My food journal from yesterday:
Breakfast- jamocha/banana protein shake
Lunch- tuna salad, Ezekiel bread with peanut butter, spoonful of Cookie Butter
Dinner- spaghetti pie, side salad (normally I don't eat salad, but I wanted it yesterday for some reason!)
Snacks- 2 half-slices of apple walnut bread (one with peanut butter); 2 slices of a chocolate orange; graham crackers with peanut butter and chocolate chips; another spoonful of Cookie Butter

When I write it all out like that, it actually doesn't seem as bad as I thought. I could have done with just one half-slice of apple walnut bread, skipped the second spoonful of Cookie Butter, and probably only had half the amount of graham crackers (I had 4 squares).  But I don't feel guilty, because my main goal right now is not bingeing, and I didn't binge.

I love that I'm picking up on clues that I've eaten too much (like the swollen hands). And I love that I was able to stop myself from bingeing. Today I'm going to pay extra attention to how my body is feeling.

I bought some seasonal tea from Celestial Seasonings, called Sugar Plum Spice. It's fantastic! I add 6 drops of stevia liquid to it, and it's a sweet calorie-free drink that helps take my mind off of food between meals.

Last year, my friend Courtney brought me the kind called Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride after I broke my jaw, and I loved that one too. They also have a gingerbread one, which I didn't care for, and a peppermint one, which I haven't tried. I'm definitely going to stock up on this Sugar Plum Spice one though. It's a seasonal tea, so I won't see it again until next Christmas.

Today I'm supposed to make something sweet for Jerry to take in to work for all the guys he works with. I'm trying to think of something to make that won't be too much of a temptation for me to pick at all day. Why couldn't he have volunteered to bring in rolls or some sort of meat? I can pass up rolls and meat any day. I'm thinking about making peanut butter cookies. They're not nearly as tempting as oatmeal cookies or chocolate chip cookies.

I have no plans for today or tomorrow, and I'm so relieved about that. Merry Christmas everyone! I'll probably write tomorrow too, unless I have absolutely nothing to say.

December 22, 2011

An early Christmas present

I cannot believe the weather here in Michigan--it's 43 degrees today! Normally we'd have tons of snow and wind and it'd be freezing cold. With the weather being so nice out, I was inspired to give my kids one of their Christmas presents early.

They don't believe in Santa, so I didn't have to explain any of that. I talked to Jerry about it and he agreed that it would be a good idea. They've been begging for motor scooters (Razor scooters that run on a motor) since the summertime, so we got them each one of those. We were worried that it would be a dumb gift, because they wouldn't be able to play with it until the snow melts. But since we have no snow, and they are out of school starting today, we thought it would be fun to give it to them early.

They were SO EXCITED. Eli told me at least a dozen times that it was his favorite present he ever got. Then when he was riding past the house (Jerry and I were sitting on the porch, watching them), he stopped to say, "Mama, I really hope this isn't a dream!"  Hahaha, he's so cute :)
We live on a street with very few houses, and cars RARELY drive down our street... but when they do, they're usually driving way too fast. I'm always worried about my kids playing out there, so I'll sit on the porch and watch them, giving a shout to them if I see a car.  Today the cats were watching too, from inside. Bonus points if you can spot Estelle:

Well today, there was a gray Grand Am that I saw turn the corner onto our street, going really fast--and showing no intention of slowing down. I ran out into the street in front of the car, yelling to Eli to get in the grass. I looked at the car and motioned with my hand (nicely) to slow down.

Well, that apparently pissed them off. They put the car into reverse and floored the gas, then slammed on the brakes. Then they put it drive and slammed on the gas again, peeling out and driving about 50 mph down the street (speed limit is 15). I was FURIOUS. Who the hell does that?! I wasn't even being rude! I just motioned for them to slow down because there were kids playing outside.

About a year ago, there was a hit and run (of a woman) on a street near here, and my little brother thinks he witnessed the car that did it. He described it to the police (a gray Grand Am with blue running lights). The police found pieces of the car at the accident scene, and believe it was a gray Grand Am. Nothing ever came of it, but I always think of it when I see that car. It belongs to a pretty trashy family. I'm going to try to get the township to put speed bumps on our street.

I also went for a run outside this morning. My knee was hurting after my last run, so I took it easy today. I'm so sick of my knees bothering me! It's making me think that maybe I shouldn't do a marathon next year after all.

 Yesterday I went to Curves to see my old boss and friend, Del. I was so happy to see her, and she looked fantastic. I saw a lot of the women that used to exercise there while I was working there in 2003-2005. It was fun visiting with her, and I definitely want to go back and do it again.

Oliver, modeling a scarf I made.
I learned something funny too! We used to have a dog named Oliver, a Brittany Spaniel. We had him from February 2008 to October 2010. He was EXTREMELY hyper (as in, he-would-make-Cesar-Milan-cry-and-quit-his-job kind of hyper), and I was honestly the only one who liked him. We found a good home for him about a mile and half away, and he's very happy there (we called to check on him).

Anyway, as I was talking to Del, she mentioned that her daughter is living with her boyfriend in his parents' house. After some questions, I discovered that it was the house where Oliver lives! Without me even telling Del about Oliver, she said, "He's a VERY hyper dog!"  LOL, yes, he is.

Del also reminded me of a funny story about when I worked there. I already had Noah, and I was talking about having another baby. I said I wanted them to be close in age, and Del told me, "You should start trying now, because it usually takes a few months to get pregnant once you start trying--especially after your first pregnancy."  (I got pregnant the first try with Noah, but I figured that wasn't the norm).  So I listened to Del and of course, a few weeks later I called her to tell her that I was pregnant... a few months earlier than I would have liked! ;)

After I left Curves, I met Renee for coffee, and she gave me some goodies for Christmas: some chocolate/walnut/cherry/ginger bark that she made, and a little satchel of spices to make mulled wine that she put together (can't wait to try that!), along with a little hors d'oeuvres plate and spreading knife. I forgot to take a picture before I ate the bark, unfortunately.

I got a very exciting package in the mail from my Cookie Butter dealer... Three Two more jars of Cookie Butter! Unfortunately, the post office did not "handle with care" and one of the three jars she sent broke, despite the bubble wrap :(  The worst best part was, my car smelled like Cookie Butter until I got home.

I forget who asked me this, but someone asked if people just randomly send me stuff or do they tell me first... Lindsey had e-mailed me and asked if I could make a special-order Gocket for her with her own fabric, so I said sure--and along with the fabric, she sent the Cookie Butter.  And I'm SO glad she did--I love the stuff!

Food log for today:
Breakfast- jamocha/banana shake
Lunch- tuna salad, orange, apple cinnamon bread with peanut butter
Dinner- 3 eggs, scrambled, with a turkey sausage, onions, and cheese; waffle with butter
Snacks- spoonful of Cookie Butter, hot cocoa, wine

December 21, 2011

RECIPE: Infamous Glazed Carrots

My family hated these, but I happen to love them! You can read the story of how these became "infamous" on my blog.  You can make glazed carrots with pretty much anything that contains sugar. When you heat it, some of the liquid evaporates and it reduces down into a syrup-like glaze.

The first time I made these, I used frozen carrots. I've also made them with canned carrots. I'm sure I'd like them with fresh carrots as well. Just make sure that the carrots are cooked until fork-tender before you add them to the glaze.

Infamous Glazed Carrots

1 can sliced carrots, drained (or fresh or frozen, but make sure you cook them first)
1 Tbsp. orange juice concentrate
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. dried cranberries (Craisins)

In a skillet, combine the orange juice concentrate, the butter, the cranberries, and the maple syrup, and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes until thick and syrupy. Add the carrots and brown sugar and toss to coat, keeping over the heat until the carrots are heated through.

Makes 4 side-dish servings (approximately 1/3 cup each)

December 21, 2011

When weight gain isn't a bad thing

Just as I expected, I did my Wednesday Weigh-In and I gained weight this week. I started running regularly again (4 weeks post-op) and as I mentioned, starting an exercise program ALWAYS makes me either gain or maintain my weight for a couple of weeks. Which can be frustrating, if you're only looking at the number on the scale!

However, we all know that exercise is GOOD for us... and as long as we're not eating like pigs, we're not going to gain fat from exercise. I took an A.C.E. personal training course years ago, and one thing that really struck me was that our muscles retain water when we start an exercise program--and they hold onto that water until we stop our exercise program. (Which is probably part of the reason why I dropped 9 pounds the week after surgery--I stopped exercising, and my muscles released all that water). So if you're a regular exerciser, your muscles are probably holding onto some water at all times.

When you see the number on the scale go up after starting an exercise program, you may have lost some fat from exercise, but gained water weight, and that's why the number on the scale kind of sucks. (At least this is how I understand it, from the class I took). This was clear to me today when I recorded my weight and my body fat percentage.

My weight went UP (just half a pound, but it was up nonetheless) and my body fat percentage went DOWN. Meaning the weight I gained had to be the water weight I was talking about.
Weight is 135, up 0.5 pounds from last week

Body fat is 19.6%, down 0.8% from last week
The reason I mention all of this is because if any of you notice a small gain or you're having a hard time losing weight when you start an exercise program, it's not necessarily a bad thing. If you're doing everything "right" (meaning you're eating well, not gorging yourself, and you're exercising) then you shouldn't have anything to worry about.

Keep in mind that every BODY is different, so this may not be the case for everyone. It's just something I noticed over my (many, many, many) years of yo-yo dieting. It usually takes me about 2-3 weeks before I start noticing a good drop in weight again (and that was when I was very heavy, so this is new territory for me right now). I'm only two pounds from my goal weight, so it should be interesting to see how long it takes me to get there :)

I've been binge-free for 5 weeks and 2 days now!! I'm much prouder of that accomplishment than I am from the weight loss I've had over those weeks. I still struggle with urges to binge, but I keep reminding myself that once I do it ONE TIME, it'll be so much easier to get back in the bingeing habit, always promising to start a new streak "tomorrow". I'm determined to beat my last binge-free streak!

(By the way, if you've sent me e-mail recently and I haven't responded yet, I'm not ignoring you--I've been putting all my spare computer time and focus on switching the blog to WordPress--but since I gave up on that, hopefully I'll get caught up on e-mails this week).

December 20, 2011

What a fantastic run!

I was SO frustrated this morning. I decided that today was the day I was going to make the switch from Blogger to WordPress. I've been reading non-stop about doing it all week long, and decided it'd be best to do while the kids are in school and I can have some peace and quiet to think. I signed up for a hosting account (after TONS of research on what one to use). And then I was clueless.

I had tutorials all ready to follow... but all the things the tutorials showed were not what I was seeing on my screen. I was completely lost. After about an hour, I called customer service and canceled the account for a full refund. It was just too complicated for me.

I really felt like ripping my hair out and screaming at the computer before throwing it into the fire pit in our backyard and lighting it... but instead, I pulled my Cold Gear pants out of the hamper (unwashed, because I'm that on-top of my laundry) and put them on to go for a run.

Immediately, I felt like this run was going to be much different from my last one. With the exception of a small twinge of soreness in my left hip, my body felt almost back to normal (as in, before surgery). I didn't get that horrible burning in my lungs that I did last week. And I was moving pretty quickly, compared to my other post-op runs.

It was about 32 degrees out, but not windy at all and it felt so good! After about two miles, I started to feel fatigued--but I kept pushing myself to keep my pace under 10:00/mi. I was so glad that my lungs weren't burning, that I didn't mind fatiguing my muscles. Once I hit 3 miles, I stopped my Garmin and walked the rest of the way home (about 1/8 of a mile). Normally, I run until I reach my driveway, but I was tired enough that I just wanted to walk after reaching 3 miles!

I was so happy to see that my pace improved drastically since my last run:

My last run (which I still have to upload) was on Friday and it was the exact same distance. I finished in 32:58 (11:00/mi), and it was ROUGH.  So I've knocked 1:14/mi off my time since Friday!

Yesterday marked five weeks post-op for me. I wasn't going to post new comparison pictures, because my belly truly does look the same as Week 4 post-op--but I noticed something when I was looking at the pictures. Remember how, right after surgery, I was concerned about my belly button being off-center?

See how it seems to have migrated over to where it should be? Awesome!

I read that swelling can cause it to look off-center, but I didn't really believe that (your belly button actually stays in place after a tummy tuck--so if it's off-center, that means it was off-center before surgery). Now I can see it very clearly for myself! I'm very happy with my belly button--I don't like the belly buttons that end up looking like a little slit after a tummy tuck.

Tomorrow is my weigh-in day, and I have a strong feeling I'm going to have gained weight this week. It NEVER FAILS that when I start an exercise program, I gain (or maintain) weight. Since I started running again this week, my muscles are going to be retaining water. I haven't binged or eaten in a way that I feel ashamed of, so if I have a gain, I'll be totally fine with it--knowing it's from the exercise.

Speaking of exercise, the four weeks post-op that I wasn't exercising definitely made me realize how much I need it! Not just physically, but mentally as well. I couldn't sleep for shit, my body felt antsy and anxious all the time, and I was extremely moody--for FOUR WEEKS. This past week, I've been sleeping again (even having a hard time waking up in the morning!), I've been in a much better mood (with the exception of the blog issues I had this week), and I have that oh-so-good fatigued feeling in my muscles. I always used to think exercise was overrated, but now I realize just how helpful it is mentally and physically.

My food log for today:
Breakfast- jamocha/banana protein shake
Lunch- salmon fillet, sweet potato wheels
Snack- cinnamon almonds
Dinner- pork chop, creamed peas, infamous glazed carrots
Snack- spoonful of Cookie Butter, hot chocolate, graham crackers

Tonight, my boys are spending the night at my parents' house... and I have the house to myself! I'm not sure what to do with myself. Normally I watch The Biggest Loser on Tuesday nights, but now that it's over, maybe I'll read a book. With hot chocolate, of course!

December 19, 2011

Family Christmas party (and post-op sex!)

Yesterday was my family Christmas party. My grandma used to host it every year until she died in 1999, and my mom took over after that. My mom's side of the family is pretty big (she has 5 brothers and sisters) and I don't see much of the family through the year--so the Christmas party is when everyone gets together. Of course I forgot my camera at home, so I don't have any pictures to share.

Every year, it's ALWAYS about the food. It's a potluck, and the whole family loves to cook, so everyone brings their favorite dishes to share. The desserts are always a huge temptation for me. Yesterday, I just decided to eat a "normal" plate of food--the things I REALLY wanted--and then pick two desserts.

The party was at 12, so I didn't eat everything at one time, but I had a peanut butter cookie with the Hershey kiss in the middle, and a piece of cake (with buttercream frosting!!)  Then later, I ended up having a third dessert--a dump cake that my mom made. I was tempted to drink wine or beer, but decided to just stick with tea and decaf coffee since I was splurging on the food.

I'm horrible at taking compliments, which was very evident yesterday. So many people came up to me to talk about how well I did on Dr. Oz or to say how "skinny" I am or how "amazing" I look... and I don't really know what to say other than "Thank you". My lower body lift really did make a huge difference in how I look in my clothes. I've been very open about the surgery (obviously), so I didn't feel like I was being deceptive by accepting compliments.

TMI:  I wasn't sure if I should write about this, but since some of you were curious... I finally had post-op sex for the first time yesterday.  Jerry has been SO patient ;)  and we were cuddling on the couch yesterday after the kids were in bed, and I just decided it was time. I'll spare you the details, but the surgical "lift" made everything feel AMAZING--it's hard to explain without going into too much detail, but let's just say that there was nothing in the way anymore. Jerry was still talking about how great it was all day today, lol.

My doctor didn't say that I had to wait a certain amount of time before having sex, but I just figured I'd at least wait until six weeks when I didn't have to wear the compression garment anymore. While reading the tummy tuck message boards, I was surprised how many people start doing it again the week of surgery.

I'm STILL trying to find a web host in order to switch to WordPress. I was planning on using Bluehost, but today when I was reading the terms and conditions, I saw that Bluehost doesn't allow profanity. I'm not a very profane person, but if I let one slip now and then, I certainly don't want them to remove my blog. There are tons of web hosts to choose from, but I have no idea how to choose.

I was planning on spending today working on making the big switch, but Eli was complaining about an earache when he woke up, and I ended up keeping him home so that I could take him to the doctor. I took him in and they said that both of his ears are infected, one of them pretty badly. Poor kid. So we went to the store to get his antibiotic filled, and browsed around while we waited.

We were walking through the deli section, when a man came up to us and said to Eli, "Hey, I just heard on the radio that Santa's getting his sleigh and reindeer all ready to head out--are you excited for Christmas?"  Eli is shy around strangers, so he just looked down. I told the man that Eli was home sick from school and we were waiting for his medicine. He said, "I know what might make you feel better" and he pulled out his wallet and gave Eli a dollar bill. (Then told Eli to make sure that he doesn't take money from strangers unless his mom is with him--good advice!)

Eli was pretty excited, because I told him he could pick something out to spend the money on. He picked out some candy when we were at the checkout lane. I thought it was super nice of the man to do that.

Oh, and I walked past the bakery where they sell the monster cookies I'm obsessed with (like the one on my blog header)... and they don't have them anymore!! I was actually really relieved to see that. :)

Fear Factor is on tonight! Did anyone watch last week? I let Eli watch it on Jerry's computer, and watching his face was SO funny--it was the part where the contestants had to eat scorpions:

My kids love stuff like that, haha.

My food log for today:
Breakfast- jamocha/banana protein shake
Lunch- two salmon fillets, sweet potato fries
Snack- pistachios, string cheese
Dinner- salisbury steak, creamed peas, spoonful of Cookie Butter
Snack- graham crackers with peanut butter and chocolate chips, wine

December 17, 2011

December Winers Meeting

I had a bad day yesterday. I went for an easy 3-mile run, but it felt SO hard. My hips are sore. I feel so slow and sluggish still--I did 11 min. miles, and it still felt tough. I can't wait to get back to feeling how I did pre-surgery.

I was tempted to skip my wine club meeting last night, because I was feeling down, but I'm SO glad that I went--I had a blast with my friends!  Before Rachael picked me up, I had Eli take a picture of Jerry and me in front of the Christmas tree... He's only 5, so all things considered, he did rather well!

A little off-center, and missing the top of Jerry's head :)
Oh, and how cute is this suede coat?! I forgot about it. I actually bought it at a garage sale last summer--the woman said she paid $350 for it. Normally I don't spend more than $5 or so at a garage sale for a coat, but for THIS I made an exception. I paid $50.  It's SO SOFT and cozy!!

Heather hosted the meeting, and she chose a theme of Wine & Chocolate Pairings. YUM!! I was totally looking forward to tasting all the chocolate along with the wine. And really, what could reverse my bad mood better than chocolate and wine?!

She set up the pairings in stations:
#1: Barefoot Chardonnay with Lindt white chocolate
#2: Yellow Tail sparkling wine with Lindt milk chocolate
#3: Mirassou Pinot Noir with Green & Black's Espresso chocolate
#4: Blackstone Cabernet Sauvignon with Lindt dark chocolate
#5: Chocolato wine (wine made with milk and cocoa)
#6: cheap crappy wine with Hershey's milk chocolate (this was to basically see how bad the Hershey's and crappy wine tasted after trying all the good quality chocolate and wine!)

I'm normally a dry red wine drinker and a dark chocolate eater. However, my favorite pairing of the night was actually the first one--Chardonnay and white chocolate!  The two went SO well together--creamy and buttery tasting.  My favorite of the chocolate alone was the Espresso chocolate; and my favorite wine alone was probably the Cabernet.

I was hoping to post pictures, but nobody put them on Facebook yet, so maybe I'll have to edit this post later. Bummer.

A lot of people commented on how skinny I looked, which was fun (but kind of embarrassing, because is that a compliment? I think so...)  When I was losing weight, I was used to hearing that at all the meetings--"Katie, you're skinnier and skinnier every time I see you!" But now that I've been at the same weight for over a year, everyone was used to it. So to hear it again yesterday (post-lower body lift and I've lost about 14 pounds) was different--in a good way.

We had a white elephant gift exchange that we do every year for Winers. I was planning on bringing these ceramic bunnies that I took home from the exchange for the last two years (they've become a running joke among Winers now, because they're SO ugly and the perfect white elephant gift). But at the last minute, Jerry suggested something else that I thought would be hilarious...

This is something Jerry bought online for me for our anniversary a few years ago. It's hideous, right?! And so random. A wine bottle with rose petals and a "message in a bottle"--a cheesy poem that he copy and pasted. And a random key--to his heart? Who knows! All inside this wooden box with a plate engraved with "Punkin Pie" (his nickname for me). I wrapped it up, and threw the bunnies in the gift bag as well :)

I drew #10 to pick a gift, and I ended up stealing a gift from someone else--a hand-knitted scarf that Rachael brought. But it was quickly stolen from me :(  I wound up with some stationary and notepads that Renee brought, and I actually rather like them. They'll do perfectly for shopping lists!

I ate a few snacky things (see food log below), but I didn't gorge myself.

My food log for yesterday:
Breakfast--Snickers protein shake
Lunch--homemade cream of mushroom soup; Kashi Go Lean Crunch with milk; orange
Dinner--salmon fillet, 3 parsley potatoes, more cream of mushroom soup, spoonful of Cookie Butter
Snacks--(All at Winers) chocolate (about 2 ounces?), wine (about 10 ounces), 1/2 piece of cheesecake, one cracker with cheese and salami, one cracker with cheese spread, one mini cream puff

I'm going to tweak the cream of mushroom soup recipe a little, and post it after I do. It's delicious!

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