2020 Progress Report

2020 is at an end, and for me (physically speaking), it has been pretty good.

15.8 pounds lost in 2020

I am actually looking forward to what 2021’s final graphic (like the one above) will be.

Pluses for the year: weight loss, walking 2+ miles regularly, ups and downs for emotional health because of Covid, but overall, I’m in a better place both physically and emotionally.

I have established some healthy routines during 2020. I eat a mostly healthy diet without totally foregoing treats. I have a bedtime routine that helps me sleep better – I drink a cup of herbal tea late in the evening and go to bed earlier than before (still late, though). I’ve stuck with a skin care routine for several months now. In the past I’ve taken my good skin inheritance for granted. However, at 71, even great genes can’t keep away the wrinkles and dark spots forever.

I read something (don’t know where or what) about putting oneself first, which is hard for me. I’m accustomed to taking care of chores and responsibilities before doing what I know is healthy for me – like walking at the park. Now I do my walking first. Then I handle other responsibilities. That’s a definite plus. It’s important to making self-care a priority.

I also talked with my doctor in April and got a prescription for an anti-depressant. I had taken one years ago and saw no difference at all. So I stopped taking it, and I saw no difference when then either. I went about 15 years without anything. However, I now realize that I probably would have been helped if I’d requested a different anti-depressant all those years ago because I can feel a change with this one. Nothing major because I don’t need anything major. However I’m able to function in a better state of mind as opposed to a stressed state of mind.

So here’s to 2021 – may we see Covid become no big deal (ha ha!), the USA be led by the person who legitimately won (whoever that might be), may travel be safe and easily accomplished again, and may we all be healthy and grateful for our innumerable blessings.

Natural and Whole foods – Looking ahead to lifelong habits

One of my challenges in losing weight is battling my tendencies to get more food for each point in the Weight Watchers food plan. Those zero-point foods become more attractive, and that’s the way WW intended it to be. If we focus on lean proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables, we will become healthier and lose weight.

However, a problem arises when we start manipulating foods with artificial flavorings and sweeteners in order to stretch out those WW points. When we start doing that, we aren’t learning to be satisfied with smaller portions, and we aren’t learning to rely on whole, natural foods.

17 Best images about Fresh & Healthy Food on Pinterest ...

A few days ago I bought a diet lemonade (sweetened with Splenda) from Chick Fil A. Within a little while I had a headache. I’ve noticed that several times recently – a headache and usually stomach upset not long after drinking or eating something with artificial sweeteners. Yesterday I made a dozen muffins using a sugar-free cake mix as the base. “Sugar-free” typically means “sweetened with artificial sweetener,” and that was the case with these muffins. I ate one of the muffins for lunch, and all afternoon I’ve had digestive issues as a result. The rest of the muffins are going in the trash.

When I consider the fact that I started this WW health, fitness, and mindfulness journey in order to become healthier, then I don’t want to eat or drink anything that doesn’t foster that. Every now and then, I will still enjoy a Diet Coke. However, rather than a multiple-times-a-day thing, it is now something I consume maybe two or three times a month.  And that is okay for now. I may cut them out entirely at some point.

Cartoon thinking man with question mark in think bubble ...

My mother is 97 years old, and one of the reasons (I believe) that she has led such a long and mostly healthy life is that she sticks to healthy food: lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and whole grain bread. She almost never eats pork, and she has lots of meatless meals.

No major insight for this post – just a reminder to myself of the importance of natural, whole foods. That will continue to be one of my focuses for my daily life.

Review: Lakanto Drinking Chocolate

I saw an ad online for Lakanto Drinking Chocolate. Since I like the Lakanto Monkfruit sweetener, I decided to give it a try. I found it on Amazon and ordered a package. It was delivered this morning. Instead of brewing a cup of herbal tea, I decided to try the drinking chocolate. I made it using boiling water. Made with water, it is 0 points (WW Blue). It is sweet and chocolatey. Too sweet, actually. So I poured it out and decided to try it with unsweetened almond milk instead.

I heated a cup of unsweetened almond milk (1 point per cup – WW Blue) and it was much better. Still super-sweet, though.

I give Lakanto Drinking Chocolate 6 out of 10 stars. It’s good – a little too sweet for me, though. However, for those times I want something chocolatey and sweet, it might just hit the spot.

Now I’m trying to decide if I want to finish my cup of drinking chocolate made with almond milk or brew a cup of herbal tea.

Weekly Weigh-In – October 30, 2020

It was a good week. I went WAY over my weekly points but it was mostly from two splurges. The rest of the week I stuck to the plan fairly well.

I’m still not moving as much as I’d like – and still not drinking enough water.

This week was good for catching up on medical appointments. I had a telehealth appointment to go over the blood test results from last week. Two things: A1C results were elevated. I need to cut out sugar. Uric Acid level was elevated (thus my two gout episodes). The doctor changed my BP meds to eliminate a diuretic that can cause higher uric acid levels. I added a magnesium supplement to my daily meds too. However other numbers were much improved – cholesterol and LDL and HDL.

I also had my yearly skin scan – and the doctor found ZERO concerns amongst all my moles and spots!

And finally I had my yearly mammogram. I don’t have the results of that yet, but it seemed evident that the technician didn’t see anything of concern.

It wasn’t a great week for weight loss, but it was a good week. I feel happy that I took care of medical appointments and those appointments ended up with mostly good reports.

Recipe: Pigs in a Blanket

I wanted a hot dog – particularly a pig-in-a-blanket. And I knew I needed two things to make them: bread dough and hog dogs. First, the dough.

My Bizzy Kitchen has a pizza dough that can be used in many ways, and I like it much better than the 2-ingredient dough because it doesn’t have the strong tangy taste of the Greek Yogurt. You can find the recipe here. It’s quick and easy to put together. Make a batch of the dough, divide it into four equal portions. Put three of the portions into individual zip-lock bags. You can use those portions for individual pizzas or bagels or whatever bread product you’d like. The dough will be good in your refrigerator for at least a few days.

You will use the other portion (1/4 of the recipe) for these pigs-in-a-blanket.

Next, the hots dogs. Hebrew National has great hog dogs, and they have two that can be confusing – a “reduced fat” and a “97% Fat Free” version.

NOT THIS ONE!
THIS IS THE ONE TO BUY!

Get the HEBREW NATIONAL 97% FAT FREE BEEF FRANKS. They are only 1 WW Blue point each – and they taste really good!

Take four hot dogs out of the package. Take your dough (which is 1/4 of the recipe) and divide it into four equal portions. Take one portion and roll it into a long snake-like shape and wrap it around one of the hot dogs. The dough might be sticky – use just a little extra flour to make it workable

Sorry, but I forgot to take photos of the four pigs-in-a-blanket ready to go into the oven. However the other three looked just like the one shown above.

Note: I THINK that you could probably get away with dividing the dough into six portions and making six Pigs-in-a-blanket instead of four. It would bring down the number of points each, too. I intend to do that next time.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes – until bread is nicely browned. The hot dogs are already fully cooked, and so you have to worry about whether they are done. As long as they’re hot, they’re good to go.

POINTS (WW Blue Plan)

1 Pig-in-a-blanket = 2 points (hotdog-1, dough-1)

2 Pigs-in-a-blanket = 5 points (hotdogs-2, dough-3)

3 Pigs-in-a-blanket = 7 points (hotdogs-3, dough-4)

4 Pigs-in-a-blanket = 9 points (hotdogs-4, dough-5)

October Goals

September has come and gone, and a new month has begun. Here are my goals for October:

  1. Make a list of meals that work for me. I want to plan ahead so I don’t waste so much food. Those plans will be food that I like.  I started on this last night – writing out meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with snacks and desserts. I plan to convert them to pdf and post them on this website.
  2. Build on the exercise routine I started in September. That means doing circuit work in my exercise room, along with having the goal of at least 5K steps each day.
  3. Continue with self-care routines – skin care, bedtime herbal tea, prayer and meditation time each day.

I will stop there. My tendency is to go overboard on plans, but the reality is that they need to be kept small and do-able.

Small Steps – 3rd Month

Another month – more weight gone. September has been the “hump” month. July and August were the beginner months. I was full of enthusiasm and there was no temptation for me to stray.  I had the beginner’s energy and motivation. September came, and some tedium set in. I am pleased that I persevered. I kept at it. After all, I reasoned, this is what I plan to do the rest of my life – track my food and be mindful about eating. So I tracked it all – even the days I used lots of weekly points – even the two weigh-ins during the month when I gained weight.

With the month being such a challenge, I’m thrilled that I ended up with a loss at all.  I had some NSVs this month (non-scale victories), as well. 

  1. I worked more on self-care. I started a skin care routine. Since the first of September, I’ve had a nightly ritual of washing my face with a good quality cleanser, using a toner and night cream on my face. I spent my 71 years taking my good skin for granted. I have always worn makeup every day, but I rarely took it off before going to bed. I’d take off the old makeup immediately before putting on fresh makeup each morning. No more. 
  2. Part of my self-care has been another nightly routine of sipping a large cup of herbal tea prior to going to bed. That’s actually rather funny because I had a box of herbal teas that sat on my kitchen counter for a couple years, and I never drank any of it. So I gave it away a few months ago. Now I’m drinking it every night. That’s okay, though. A new box should be delivered today, and I already have the teas the fill it. 
  3. I have been exercising more. Not a lot, but I’ve made a start, and that’s good. We have a great exercise room with all the equipment I could ever want. So I have no excuse for not exercising. 
  4. I’ve gotten back into reading the Bible and having a morning devotional. That’s something I’ve done off and on for a long time. I’ve been consistent with it the past month.

So, even with the challenges, I am pleased with how September ended.  The total weight I’ve lost since I began on July 19th is 8.4 lbs. Slow and steady . . . .