Saturday, March 28, 2009

New inspiration

After two months of trying to eat right, I had a tough week last week. Lots of emotional ups and downs appear to really affect my commitment to healing my body. I could tell that Tracie, my nutritionist, was worried about me. My feelings were quickly confirmed on Friday afternoon (yesterday) when I met with her at her office. While on my way to our weekly appointment, I was fighting to keep the tears from starting. After a really tough week, Tim and I had just found out that a business deal we are working on will be delayed at least another two weeks while one party deliberates further. When Tracie called to confirm, I was munching on a Snickers candy bar with a trusty Diet Pepsi by my side! Tracie was sympathetic and admitted that she was worried that I would give up since I hadn't had dramatic weight loss. You know how it goes, a little hug in a time of crisis can sometimes nearly cause you to let down your guard and your emotions can spill over the dam you've so carefully constructed to keep going. "Don't be nice!" I said when I got to the office and she stooped to hug me. I just couldn't afford to let myself cry because then the negative emotions really come in and take over.

Fortunately, Dodie, Tracie's mentor and collaborator in California called, and it quickly became apparent what was going on with me.

I explained my weight history: I had never been overweight as a child and didn't really start developing until I was about 16. Scrawny and self-conscious until then, I started to fill out a bit, but didn't really put on significant weight (or bust size) until I was 18 and in college and starting birth control. I gained a bit of weight then as well—but stayed on birth control and about 160 pounds throughout that time, occasionally dipping down to weigh about 140 (my best weight). I didn't put on weight again until I was about 34 and stopped birth control -- I also had my first bout of depression and really lost energy. At about the same time, it became clear that my thyroid was developing a goiter—becoming enlarged. I was still able to take the weight off and get back down near my usual weight of 160 again until I hit my 40s. Since then, I've never managed to get to a happy weight. My thyroid illness was finally diagnosed at 42 as Hashimoto's Disease, a disease in which your immune system destroys your thyroid. I've never been medicated for it.

"That's great," said Dodie, because medicine for thyroid disease kills the thyroid and puts you on synthetic thyroid medicine. She points out that much of my weight gain is due to hormonal activity: development when I was 16, birth control when I was 18, thyroid illness when I was in my mid 30s and then menopause now. Hmmm.

Dodie, who has a peaceful, caring voice that isn't at all sticky sweet, said that when my thyroid is low, a new hormone cortisol takes over the thyroid's job, and cortisol is catabolic—it tears down the body. So you develop more wrinkles, more stress. You also show more effects of stress such as irritability and weight gain in the stomach. So now I'm going to have to visit a doctor to see if I can get a prescription for a healthy thyroid medicine.

At any rate, Dodie said that it might take me months to heal my body from its thyroid issues, but I will lose weight. First, though, I'll gain energy, quit being depressed and look healthier. The weight will drop once my body heals and recovers enough to start dropping weight naturally.

Initially I was depressed because because weight loss will be so hard, but then I became enthusiastic because it means that I can still heal my body. Dodie, who is about 70, said she started much later than I did and it took about two years to heal her body. Tracie, who is in her late 20s, healed in about two months. It all depends on what has happened. Dodie became quite ill and while I'm rarely ill, I am having lots of negative effects from my thyroid problems: weight loss resistance, lack of energy, occasional depression and insomnia.

By eating more "whole" foods, such as organic meats, bone broth, vegetables, fruit, rice as well as saturated fats (butter and coconut oil) and olive oil, I will heal my system so that it can start releasing weight. I can lose weight by seriously limiting my diet, but my insomina, irritability, tiredness and aging will progress much more quickly. I'm not sure I'm willing to go that route.

How will I do this? First, I'm going to start taking my temperature and pulse every day. Your temperature and pulse rate are indicators of what your metabolism is doing and low metabolism often means low thyroid. So I'll watch and see how the eating plan affects my thyroid by monitoring my temperature. Today, at 10:30 a.m., my temperature is 97.7, a bit lower than normal which is 98.6. My pulse is about 80, which I think is a bit fast, but I 'm not that good at taking pulses.

Second, I'm going to write down how I'm feeling when I eat, what I'm craving and what I eat so that Tracie and Dodie can begin to tell what's going on with me. I should add fats if I'm having a lot of craving and low blood sugar--which is apparent when you crave sugary foods. Yesterday I was craving a candy bar.

Third, I'm going to do a better job of eating fewer PUFAS (vegetable oils) which go rancid in the body. It's best to eat more natural fats like butter, olive oil and coconut oil. It sounds counterproductive, but Dodie and Tracie both swear that it works. I'm going to try it because I've not eaten butter for years and I still gain weight.

Monday, March 23, 2009

My sisters rock!

I am so proud of my little sisters. If I'm not careful, I'm going to be known as "the fat one." As in, "Oh, those Schuetz girls all look alike, but Lisa, she's the fat one."

For a long time, that title belonged to Helga (not her real name), who is five years younger than I. Although not at all overweight as a child, she was always cuddly. As an adult, she's been chubby forever and sort of fat for many of the most recent years. But no more. She's now bordering on thin and is known to run 5 miles. In a row. That is so cool! For longer than I can remember, Helga's primary form of exercise was gardening or walking over to her neighbor's for a chat. All that has changed and I'm really proud and super happy for her. And the only reason that I say she's bordering on thin is that she's almost to her goal and once she's there, we're all going to say "You're so thin!" But let's save that for the big moment, right?

Then there's Lucy (also not her real name), who is nearly two years younger than I. Lucy has always been pretty thin. She's always had the best hair, perfect skin and her body rebounds from babies faster than my do from a fish fry. She's always been super organized, prompt with her schoolwork (or office work) and knows exactly how much is in her checking account. She seems to have the same kind of willpower that my mother has (veeeery German, if you know what I mean). Well, she fell in love and gained a bit of love weight after her marriage to Luis. They have a great time together, and great times often mean celebrating. So after a couple years of relaxing and having fun, she's again buckled down to the very unfun job of taking off the pounds. So Lucy's now on Weight Watchers and heading out to the gym all the time, probably even as she recuperates from elbow surgery. I have no doubt she'll soon be as thin as before.

My youngest sister, Honey, has always been thin. Her version of overweight is weighing 10 pounds more than her super skinny weight. She has beautiful children (but all my siblings do) and always has a little smiley light in her eyes. So, I'm proud of her too, but for different reasons. Honey has Lupus and although she's often in pain, she's really trying to get her life in order. She can't work out and she can't run. Sometimes it's even hard for her to sit for long periods of time. She always tells me she's feeling fine because she knows medical complaints make me crabby. In November, when Oprah had her weight loss show taping and I got tickets, I brought Honey along because getting to see Oprah is on everyone's Bucket List. She had a lot of fun even though we didn't get any free stuff or makeovers.

So, I'm going to dedicate my eating tomorrow to my sisters. When I feel like having a piece of Eden's chocolate, I'll think of Helga running all over town or Lucy lifting weights with her good arm. Or I'll think of Honey, who is trying to feel better than the day before. And then I'll have some snow peas and humus!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hell Week

Well, I know most people have a hard time sticking to their diets during the Christmas holidays, but around our house, it's St. Patrick's Day. The Irish-American holiday also happens to be Tim's birthday and I've found that, while cooking for children complicates matters, going to friends' parties and preparing a birthday meal and birthday pies also adds a new factor.

Friday night, at a celebration for a friend's birthday, I split my meal with a friend who is also food conscious. We were eating at Jolly Bob's and, if you know Jolly Bob's, it's fairly easy to stick to rice and a protein, but the vegetables are hard to come by. Fran and I split the Avo-Cat, a catfish dish with rice. Delicious! But I also had a few drinks, which I think cancelled out my smart food choice.

On Saturday, it was the annual holiday bash at one of my best friends' house. I do a lot of the cooking, which is always corned beef and cabbage, beef tenderloin, baked steak fries with cheese and huge fruit and veggie platters. I didn't eat too much, but it seems that I must have because my weight went up a pound!

I'm frustrated.

Friday, March 13, 2009

How to Support Your Fat Friend

One of my favorite aspects to writing a blog is helping others struggling with the same aggravating problem that I have. But, we need support from everyone in our lives—those hoping to lose weight and those who are already where they want to be.

Most of my friends are supportive in that they're happy to hand out the attaboys when deserved. Others will go out of their way to make sure the meals they serve when I visit fit with my current eating plan. Others just don't comment, thinking that if they don't comment, I won't know that they think I'm fat. And a few area always passing on tidbits from their eating plan that they believe I should take on, regardless of what my nutritionist says.

I have a hard time asking for help. I may subtly suggest something that would help. But, despite my cuff-up-side-the-head method of communicating on most issues, it's really hard for me to express how truly hard it is to address this issue. It's hard to explain the mixture of dread/hope one feels at starting a new eating plan.

Imagine you find a coffin with some sort of breathing tube. You realize that someone has been held in there for a while. You know you need to open it because they could still be alive and if you wait for help, they might not be. But you could also find a moldering dead body that would be really gross and hard to get out of your head. That's a bit graphic, but it's exactly how a dieter feels--especially one who has struggled with weight for a long time. You know you have to start now, or you might never get thin. But you're afraid of who you'll find when you start. A lazy person? A bitch? A failure? It's hard to say who you are when your weight isn't protecting you.

If you're really skinny and have always been very controlled about what you eat, you might think about how you would feel if you put down the low-fat mayo and had a steak with a baked potato, butter, sour cream and vegetables with butter. Or if you had to eat a fish filet sandwich from McDonalds. You would be afraid of what that might do to you.

I hope to be someone in the middle, who can have a little bit of naughty, as long as most of it is nice.

So here's how I think most of us dieters would like to be treated (ladies, hand this to your men as well)!

1. Don't raise your eyebrows at what the dieter is eating. That is not support, that is monitoring. For all you know, that person is eating well within their points. It's also co-dependent, meaning that you believe the other person can't do this without your input. Be interdependent. Offer to help by serving a meal that fits with their food plan and inviting them over.

2. Suggest an outing together that includes a physical activity you know the other person likes. Don't offer to go running if they don't run or couldn't possibly keep up with you. If all of my friends offered to go for a hike, a fast walk, a trip to the gym, canoeing, rollerblading, ice skating, downhill skiing, swimming or biking, I would always say "yes." If they offer to go running, biking a super-hilly route, cross-country skiing, walking in the cold rain, or spinning indoors on a bike, I'm going to say no. So know what your friend likes to do.

3. Only ask how they are doing once every other week or so. Don't ask when they are eating a brownie, etc. This only adds guilt. If they have a blog, read it instead of pointedly acting as if you haven't read it.

4. Don't listen to a friend joyfully revealing a hurdle they've overcome by reminding about another still to be tackled. That's called being a joykill. Don't rain on their parade!

5. When they do start losing weight, don't remind them of how much better they look now compared to their ugliness when they were fat. Believe it or not, that's not fun to hear either. Just tell them they look beautiful without adding the "finally" at the end.

6. Don't invite them over for ice cream, invite them out for all you can eat fish fry, or have "girlfriend" meetings at buffets. Fortunately, none of my girlfriends would do that, but I have heard a few fellow dieters complaining about such.

7. Don't ask how much weight they've lost. If they want to tell you, they will. And don't ask when it's clear the answer is "not much." '

8. And finally, for the men out there particularly, don't come sit on the couch next to your dieter eating a big old sundae or Girl Scout cookies, or a huge bowl of greasy popcorn without offering something within the dieter's scope of eating. That's just mean.

Basically, a big part of weight loss is feeling good. If your name isn't Jillian or Bob (or Tracie in my case), chances are pretty good that you are not going to be the one qualified to motivate them to lose weight. And if you watch the Biggest Loser, it's not done by telling them how bad they are, but pushing them in a positive way. By saying, you can do it.

I'm so lucky to have so many friends who support me, but lots of people out there face sabotage, etc. And sometimes its from those who don't even know they are doing it. Regardless, I'm going to do it this time, even if it takes me a year. I'm getting on track with what I'm supposed to eat and really learning to cut out what I'm not. Keeping wishing me luck!

Monday, March 9, 2009

It's a new week!

What a great weekend!

First, I had a terrific workout with my nutritionist, Tracie, on Saturday morning. I'm still sore. I was horrified to find that I had a really hard time doing the machine-assisted pull ups (no upper body strength), but was thrilled to actually job for several minutes at a time in my fast-slow interval training. I loved it! I had forgotten that I really like being at the gym. Not going to the gym, but being there. There's something horrible about knowing you have to go there and dreading or avoiding the leaving to get there. But once you are there, you always love being there, right?

I also did a great job on my food.

And although I didn't work out yesterday, I had a great time groaning every time I had to use any of my stomach muscles. I forgot how much I like a good muscle-ache from working out. Not to state the obvious or anything, but I really do have to work out to lose weight.

Last night I made lean pork chops with roasted beets. YUM! The beets were phenomenal. Here's what I did. I scrubbed the skin a bit and cut off the greens (left a little stem) and the tap root. I set them in some parchment paper (a pretty good sized rectangle) then drizzled a little butter on them and salted and peppered them pretty good. I brought two opposite sides together and then rolled it down like a paper sack, then tucked the two open ends underneath to make a nice, neat package. I roasted them at 400 degrees for about 40-45 minutes. They were still firm, super moist and really yummy. Tim was amazed.

Here is my menu for the week (I just spent $200 at the grocery store--3 kids are expensive).

Breakfast all week: Fruit and eggs or fruit and organic cottage cheese.
Snack all week: piece of cheese and fruit or gelatin and whipped cream
Lunch all week: either potato soup, peel and eat shrimp and salad or turkey breast and vegetable.
Snack all week: pea pods and hummus or piece of cheese and fruit.
Dinners (here we go!)
Monday: Chicken thighs with olives and red peppers with rice.
Tuesday: Pizza for everyone but me -- I'll be having turkey and vegetables.
Wednesday: Shrimp scampi and spinach.
Thursday: Venison and beets with sweet potatoes.
Friday: Chicken breasts on the grill
Saturday: Party -- beef tenderloin and vegetables.
Sunday: up in the air.

Friday, March 6, 2009


I'm not sure what the latest ruling is on the 8-glasses-of-water-daily thing, but I am now back on the stick with that.

And, my lengthy walk on Wednesday night with Tim up and down vale has my legs a little sore! It feels good. I am going to do it again today. I rode my horse on Tuesday and did my sit ups yesterday, so I am getting closer to my goal.

Food yesterday was not perfect at all. I had very little food in the house. i had an apple and some cheese for breakfast. Then for a snack I had my gelatin and whipping cream, for lunch I had some string cheese while on the run with a little juice. Then, it all started to break down. I let Tim use the cooler, so didn't have one today. I stopped a the grocery store for food and saw a really good chicken sandwich, so I had it, but the bread really tasted yucky. Then I had pizza that Tim made at a friend's house for supper. But I only had four pieces (small squares).

I did pop a roast in the crock pot for food to grab over the next few days and will go shopping for better food. I have pineapple and can have that tomorrow as well as the gelatin, fruit juice, cheese and sugar snap peas and hummus. So I'm good for tomorrow. Now, what to have Saturday . . . ?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Spring blahs

Well, staying off the scale is going to be key for a while here until the weight really starts dropping. I hopped on on Monday, and it looked like I went up about 1-2 pounds! Argh.

Here's the positive side. I have finally stablized my appetite, meaning I'm rarely craving things I shouldn't have (Girl Scout cookies excepted, see below). I also am feeling fairly good.

I have been eating the gelatin in broth and added to juice and I do see a difference in my hair and nail quality as well as my satiety.

The area in which I am slipping is bringing juice to bed with me so that I have something to sip when I wake up in the night. I'm still waking up at about 2;30 or so, but lately it seems dog-related. Hopefully, we can change some routines so the dogs will sleep through the night and not bug us. But when I woke up last night at 2;30 I was starving. I drank a glass of water and went back to sleep, fortunately. But I did have a slip up last night. A friend and I went riding, then had a glass of wine or two (three?) and I had a couple Girl Scout cookies. Now I know it's not the end of the world, but if that keeps happening, I'm not going to lose weight.

So here's my new, new commitment. I'm going to ride my horse every day at lunch, or later if I have a meeting, and I am also going to walk my dog in the mornings from now on--especially now that it's getting warmer. I also am going to do situps every day and pushups every other day. That will do for now. I'll have to step it up later, but baby steps are required. None of these are particularly hard for me, it's just about getting organized.

Wish me luck.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A weekend of entertaining-success!

Whew! It was a great weekend with lots of entertaining. Between cooking for the children and friends, I got a lot of practice learning how to do all my fun cooking, while staying focused on my goals. Right now, that's largely just eating the right foods.

Friday night, was the only tough night. Tim made his fantastic homemade pizza. The crust is what usually does me in. But this time it was extra thin. I did have a few pieces, but not as many as I usually do. Probably equal to 2 regular slices. His pizza has a lot of vegetables on it and not too much cheese, so I think it was alright. Friday nights are my free night anyway. Before bed, I had a little gelatin dissolved in juice, which we are trying to help me sleep through the night. I'm having a lot of sleeplessness.

Saturday I did great. I had made some orange juice and gelatin "jello," with some sugar-free (meaning no sugar added) whipping cream. I have a small scoop on top of the jello for a perfect carb, fat, protein snack. The jello squares are about 2 inches square. Very yummy and the gelatin is supposed to be healing to the system. I had a potato and vegetables for lunch with some turkey and then went to Tori and Denny's house for dinner. Tim grilled venison and I made crab legs, roasted potatoes, roasted cherry tomatoes and green beans for dinner. For dessert we had Colin's favorite, which is fruit with lime curd and whipped cream. It was delicious! It was the kids' first time for crab and they ended up eating all of mine. We didn't even add butter to it.

On Sunday, I had gelatin for breakfast. Then we went Bowlin' for Colons -- fun exercise. For lunch I had chicken Italian sausage and tomato soup. Then we had our friends Lee and Ann and their darling son Ray over for dinner. I was going to make lamb, but Millers didn't have any. So I substituted salmon. We also had roasted sweet potatoes, steamed asparagus, Ann's delicious fruit salad and a organic succotash. The kids had ribs and succotash with a little sweet potatoe and fruit as well. It was delicious. My challenge was not to have seconds of anything that is high calorie. The trick I used was not to have any succotash on the first go round and to take a really little serving of fruit. Then for "seconds" I had the succotash and another small spoon of fruit. I felt satisfied. Then we had the delicious lime curd dessert again. It's almost perfect because it has eggs, lime, butter in it, but it also has about a cup and a half of sugar. Not great. I'm going to experiment on cutting down the sugar, but it is so delicious!

Here's the salmon recipe. I took a side of salmon and put it in a very shallow oval oven baker. Sprinkle salt and pepper on then place it in a bath of water in a large, straight-sided fry pan. The water should not come up over the side of the baker. Put a lid on it and turn the heat on high. I usually wait until I hear the rattle of the baker on the bottom of the pan, which means the water is boiling. Don't remove the lid. Let perk for 7 minutes. The outside will be light pink and the very inside should be a brighter pink. It will be super moist.

The sweet potatoes are peeled (3 big ones are enough for about 6 people) and cut into 1-inch chunks. I toss them in a tablespoon of melted butter and add pepper and salt and a little bit of Italian seasoning (I use Penzey's Tuscan Sunset blend). Put it in the oven at 400° for about 45 minutes to an hour -- it should be pretty soft, but still hold it's form. I usually take it out and stir it around to redistribute the juices 1 to 2 times during the baking. Otherwise, the butter drips off into the bottom and they don't stay moist.

Looking forward to a great week! I started out with a little bone broth this morning and about 1 cup of strawberry smoothie. Yum.