Showing posts from 2008

I Found My Goldilocks Zone

Well, I think it's clear I've found my personal diet Golidlocks Zone. I've been logging less than 1400 calories and less than 30g total carbs since mid-November and the weight is coming off at a nice even pace, an average of about two pounds or more a week. Not bad for most of that time period including two birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

It's not too much where I don't lose, and not so little that I can't maintain the lifestyle. A lot of that has to do with and I admit it. Without my subscription to the Low Carb Menu plan, I'd be lost. Instead I'm eating marvelous low carb meals with side dishes like Turnip Fries and Faux-tay-toes Deluxe. Sure, I have to cook an extra carb loaded side dish for DH and Dante, but I don't mind that one little bit.

Funny thing is, DH occasionally looks up from his devouring of the dinner to ask, "Are you sure this is healthy stuff? It tastes too good to be diet!" Now that's a compli…

Delicious Kale Recipe

I admit, I had my suspicions about kale. Sure, it looked like spinach, but all I remembered was the ornamental stuff in a garden and the bitter garnish. Still, this recipe shocked me with how very good it was.
Because I'm allowed bacon, I opted to enjoy the flavor. I think it made a critical difference. However, I did substitute Splenda for the sugar with no ill effects. For 1/2 cup of cooked kale, there's only 55 calories and 11g of carbs. For that much flavor, I'll "pay" extra for the delicious taste.

Twas the Week before Surgery...

...Lena was doing her best not to eat the whole house.

Okay, that's an exaggeration. Fact is, I'm okay with the extreme low-carb diet, even with the new instructions the doc included last I saw of him on the 22nd.

When I saw Dr. Baptista on Monday (12-22-08) I'd hoped for a private session, and was disappointed to learn it would be another group session. Just how in the hell are you supposed to ask about your particular surgical situation in a group? However, they made it clear you could ask him for personal time afterwards, and I did. We negotiated and worked out a way to get around my particular problems with IV's and needles.

Dr. B apparently doesn't care for PIC lines and specifically called them "lazy." He is concerned about infection, and in a case like mine where we must be concerned with not only my blood thinners but also my sleep apnea, a PIC line is not ideal. Instead, he would prefer a central line to be placed in my aorta or clavicle. Even his b…

Anticipation (singing) AKA the Pre-Op Hospital Visit

Today is my pre-op visit at the hospital. Am I scared? You bet your bippy. I had a long talk with the representative of the anesthesia department. She called to verify information and fill out her paperwork with a pile of questions. Here are some of the highlights of that conversation in no particular order:'

She strongly suggests I talk to the doc about having a pic line established because I'm such a hard stick for IVs and blood draws. Being a violent needle phobic, I'll agree to just about anything that keeps me away from the lab rats. It's not their fault I'm a hard stick and they're not trained for that.

Only problem with a pic line is the timing. I'm supposed to arrive for surgery prep at 0-dark-five-thirty (The O stands for Oh MY GOD it's early!) the day after a holiday. Do I want a hungover anesthetist who gets called in after only an hour or two of sleep to put a tube in my veins? Uh, no. The alternative is for me to come in one day early on New …

South Beach Diet Eggnog

South Beach Diet Eggnog (Phase 1)

Makes 6 servings
1 1/2 cups egg substitute
2 tablespoons artificial sweetener
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 (12-ounce) cans evaporated skim milk
3 cups fat-free half-and-half
1 tablespoon brandy extract

Pour 1 1/2 cups egg substitute into a bowl. Add artificial sweetener and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually blend in vanilla, evaporated skim milk, fat-free half-and-half, and brandy extract.
Chill for 24 hours to allow flavors to blend. To serve, stir well and sprinkle with nutmeg.

Nutritional information
181 calories
0 g fat
3 g cholesterol
22 g carbohydrate (Not bad for Eggnog!)
15 g protein
0 g fiber
299 mg sodium

I have THE DATE!

My lap band surgery will take place on January 2!! Yes, I'm thrilled. The round of doctor and lab visits has already begun, with happy results.

If ever there was a case for getting a new bathroom scale, yesterday was it. My bathroom scale says I weigh 280 lbs in the morning. Yesterday at my pulmonologist's office --I'll go into why I was there in a minute-- I used their fancy calibrated scale and it read 275 lbs in the afternoon! Who am I to argue with that??? I've lost 11 pounds!

My own diet, which I call The Goldilocks Zone diet, is working for me. It's hell on earth and very restrictive, but it works where all else has failed. I'll chatter more about it when I get time to type on Sunday.

Why was I at my pulmonologist's? Because of the surgery. I'll take blood thinners for the rest of my unnatural life because I have the genetic predisposition to DVT. This means to have any surgery, I have to stop the Warfarin pills and use a subcutaneous shot in my bel…

Amazing what a Good Anger can do

I stepped on the scales this morning. My poor old bathroom scale may be three days older than God, but it works. It says I've lost a few pounds.

I may have finally found the system that will allow me to lose the weight to please the surgeons. Whereas before I dutifully counted only the carbs without counting calories as recommended, I seemed to not lose weight.

These past few days I began meticulously logging everything that went into my mouth that had a scrap of carb or calorie. I've managed to stay below 1400 calories and 30 carbs, but it hasn't been easy.

I still feel it will be impossible to avoid falling off the wagon on Thanksgiving. The best I can do is lessen the damage by controlling what I can, such as eating across the plate. By starting with the lowest carb items like the turkey, then the veggies, and "saving a sliver of room" for one small sample of dessert, perhaps I can avoid being a pig on stuffing, mashed potatoes, and six different kinds of pie. I …

Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Vegetables

NOTE: This is a "Do Ahead" recipe. You must marinate the beef in the ziploc bag to get the juiciness and flavor correct. I recommend putting the beef in the bag the night before, or early in the morning. I separated out the potatoes and carrots, placing them at the opposite end of the roasting pan from the brussels sprouts. When I removed the meat to rest, I also scooped out the sprouts and put them in another microwave/oven safe serving bowl and placed that in the oven at 200F. I served myself my portion of the meat. Then I called in the hyenas-- er, sorry, starving menfolk. When I'd "eaten across the plate" (as my dietician taught me) and finished my meat serving, then I went back and retrieved my sprouts from the oven. They were, of course, warm and delicious. By avoiding the vicinity of the potatoes and carrots, I saved myself the temptation.

Is Humiliation Part of the Treatment?

Just how much humiliation am I supposed to take? Today was a group session at the surgeon’s. You know what I learned? What an ass one of the surgeons is. That’s it.

After the weigh in, in which I gained a whole half-pound, we had the usual and repetitive lecture on how important it is we shrink our livers. I was feeling pretty good about my weight, actually. I’d had a full bladder and heavy winter clothing on, but the scale said only half a pound. I could live with that. I knew also I’d had a few too many macadamia nuts over the past few days and vowed to cut them out.

Finally, the surgeon appeared. He was as handsome as rumor had claimed. I had a hard time understanding his accent, since he was from South Africa. The Afrikaners I’ve known can seem to mumble a bit to our American ears. I’d had an Afrikaner teacher back in real estate school and I’d adored him, so I was prepared to like the surgeon, Dr. Cywes. How wrong I was.

After introducing himself and matching faces to files, he imme…

Basic Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Wow!! Only 13g for a pumpkin pie!! I found this in DiabeticLiving magazine just last night and just had to try it.

Polenta Triangles

This is "bread-like" enough to satisfy the craving without totally blowing your diet. Polenta responds well to many variations of sauces, but sometimes a simple homemade salsa is all you need.

Mock Mashed Potatoes

I also posted this one as part of my Depraved Duchess blog, I think. Well, no matter. This is a good basic recipe for getting over the resentment of having that big, fluffy pile of mashed potatoes. Instead, you can have a big, fluffy pile of "fauxtatoes." Hey, don't look at me like that. It's pretty darn good.

Smothered Pork Chops

This recipe is so easy!! Basically, all you do is brown up the chops, put them in the oven on 200F to keep warm, throw in the soup, scrape up those delicious brown bits off the bottom of the pan, add the mushrooms, and serve the sauce over the chops. Yes, that's all there is to it. I've been known to skip the soup and just add a bit of rose wine (Rose-aye wine, that is, since I can never get that little symbol over the "e") and use that to scrape up the bits. Then again, plain old chicken stock works, too. Keep this around. Change around the veggies and the liquids. This one really helps keep the low-carb life from being boring. Lena

Cut Out Cookies

While these show Halloween cutouts, think outside the box to all holiday cookies!

The Tantrum and the Carb Cabinet

This first part is the same as what I posted at

I’m doing the happy dance! After weeks of no weight loss results because my willpower was weaker than a kitten, I finally had a temper tantrum. I was tired of being sabotaged by my darlings, who do not have to watch their carbs. While Randy is thin as a rake and Dante not so thin, both have the right to eat as they please.

Before my tantrum, they’d eat their carb-loaded goodies right in front of me, leave the food out where I had to look at it, desire it, and eventually snitch some of it. Worse, they’d actually encourage me to cheat by offering to share or whining when I made healthy meals.

I absolutely must shrink my liver. If I don’t shrink the liver, the surgery must be cancelled. Therefore, it’s imperative that my weak willpower must be shored up with something.

Finally, I had a breakthrough and a tantrum. After I “explained” to Randy how he and Dante were unconsciously sabotaging my diet, he wo…

Grilled Beer Brined Chicken


Italian Style Meatloaf

Meatloaf! We can have this down home comfort food! Yaaay!

Liver Shrinking Diets

I feel as if I could beat my head against a wall. I'm trying oh so very hard to be a good little pre-bandster and shrink my liver as I was told to do. I'm on and I just want to shake some of these women out of sheer envy. They must live alone or something. If I were able to muster the willpower to stay on diets, I'd weigh much less than I do, okay? There. I've admitted it. I have no friggin' willpower.

(Breathing in and out to dissipate anger)

Okay, I've re-read my notes from the visit with the dietician. If I wrote things down correctly, staying at 30g of carbs a day is optional right now and won't be mandatory until about 7-10 days before surgery. At that time, I'll be forced to go on the 30g/day with no margin for error. Then, two days before surgery, I'll go on a liquid diet.

While I'm still wondering at my sanity, at least I feel I can maintain this level of dietary restriction with less stress and guilt when I fail. It's s…

Flavor Boost without Working at It

1. Marinate-- marinate meat in a resealable plastic bag. The easiest marinades have an acid (like citrus juice or a vinegar) and an oil, then add a bit of herbs for flavor. I like to add onions (green, yellow, or red) as well. Throw in the meat, whisk together the marinade, pour it in the bag, remove the air and seal. Mush it around and throw it in the fridge. Discard the marinade before cooking.

2. Rub it in-- Rubs are herb and spice mixes. I recommend making your own. Purchased versions are high in salt. I use a mix of kosher salt, italian seasoning, sage, garlic, and black pepper.

3. Add high-fat flavor in low amounts-- a little cheese and bacon go a long way.

4. Wrap it-- Foil and parchment seal easily and this seals in juices and flavors without adding fat.

5. Roast it- Roasting brings out the sweetness in vegetables and mellows harsh flavors like onions and garlic.

All of these are low-carb alternatives to boring food. Live it up!


I think I'm doomed

Where am I in this journey? Somewhere between the circus poodle still jumping through hoops (Arf!) and the dysfunctional machine laying on the gurney for repairs. I saw the shrink yesterday. Nice woman. That marks the end of my visiting specialists.

My appointment with the surgeon for a group session is next week. If I understand the process (doubtful) then they'll submit the packet detailing how my weight affects my health for final approval from my insurance.

This will be the third approval from the insurance. I have visions of some bean counter at the insurance office typing up a fax saying, "Yes, I'm sure!! Geez, you're worse than my computer!"

Just like HysterSisters, everyone tells me the waiting is the worst part. I don't think it's the waiting so much as the long time span from decision to doing it. This is especially true since I learned how few daily carbs I was allowed, and that I needed to start that diet immediately. The fact that it would be a …

Autumn Casserole

Meatless money-saver!

Fauxtatoes Deluxe

This is delicious! Try it! While plain fauxtatoes are simply boiled cauliflower you whirl in the food processor, this goes well beyond the ordinary to sublime.

Pork Medallions with Marsala

Again, this is easy!

Chicken Marsala

This is fast and easy! I love this, and I serve it over Fauxtatoes (for rice) or peeled and quick-cooked zuchinni strips (to substitute for pasta.)

Granny's Standby Casserole

This is delicious! Go easy on the spaghetti squash. I do recommend adding spices, peppers, and other things to liven up the taste.

Eggplant Caviar

I've not tried this. Someone let me know?

Low Carb Life- Confetti Frittata

Did you know a frittata is an Italian omelet without the folding? That's it. Your only special requirement is an oven proof skillet, and cast iron skillets are available in Wal-mart for cheap.

Confetti Frittata (4 servings)

1/4 lb. bulk pork sausage
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup sweet red pepper
1/4 cup sweet red onion
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. Mrs Dash, original (or substitute your own favorite Italian spices)
8 eggs, beaten

1. In large, oven-proof skillet, brown and crumble sausage over medium heat. When there's enough fat cooked out, add the peppers and onion to the skillet and cook thoroughly. Drain the fat off. Spread the meat and veggies to cover the bottom of the skillet evenly.

2. Beat the cheese and spices into the eggs and pour the mixture over the meat and veggies.

3. Turn the burner to low and cover the skillet. If your skillet doesn't have a cover, you can use aluminum foil or a round cookie sheet weighted down with another skillet. Let the frittata cook…

Low Carb Life- Cauliflower Rice

This is easy! I recommend making this in advance and keeping it in a storage container in the fridge. Because I'm the only one required to be on a low-carb diet, I just dip out a cup (5 g) or a half cup (2.5 g), depending on my needs. Remember, I'm not allowed to subtract fiber to get net carbs. A carb is a carb where my dietician is concerned.

Cranberry Orange Bread Pudding

This is a bit more complicated than a plain old bread pudding, but it's a bit more festive.

Low Carb Life-- Spicy Pork Medallions

Do make the sauce, despite the added carbs. I served this on top of faux rice (made from cauliflower.) I'll post the Cauliflower Rice recipe tomorrow. I make this ahead of time and keep it in the fridge.

Low Carb Life- Cherry Almond Supreme

IMHO, it's better to *reasonably and with restraint* give in a little to a sweet craving. The trick is to keep within the limits of your low-carb lifestyle. Everything is a little give and take. On days where my sweet tooth is screaming, I try to make something like this dish or a cheesecake and include a serving in my meal plan. So I have to eat more bacon or other no-carb foods to make up for my indulgence. It's worth it...once in awhile. I'll bet you could even switch out the fruit to the lower carb berries and the fruit to a sugar free berry flavor. I'll have to give it a try. Maybe with chopped macadamia nuts? Lena

Low Carb Life- Balsamic Dijon Chicken

Start the marinade in the morning. I baked my chicken because it's a little too chill today for grilling, but don't think I won't make this again come warm weather!

Low Carb Life- Beef Pot Roast

Who says you can't live large and still live low carb? Even gravy!

Low Carb Life- An Appetizer Worthy of the Holidays

Could this be any easier or simple? You've got to bring something to the party, and if you're smart it's something you can have with no guesswork. This is easy and cheap, as well as elegant.

Low Carb Life- Easy Baked Eggs

Same as poached eggs for taste, but easier!

You'll need:

cooking spray
2 oven safe custard cups for each person
Spices: Salt, pepper, creole seasoning, your choice
herbs: chives, onions, peppers, whatever
2 T. shredded cheese for each person served
Optional: vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc. cut fine. (I used leftover veggies.)
Optional: meat like crumbled bacon, cut up spam bits, leftover meats without sauces
1 oven safe baking dish (I use an 8x8 for one to two persons)

Generously spray all the custard cups and place them in the baking dish. Preheat oven to 325F.
Carefully break an egg into each cup. You may wish to beat them with a fork if you prefer your yolk completely cooked. Sprinkle with herbs, spices, vegetables and cheese. Pour hot water in baking dish to a depth of one inch. Try not to get any in the custard cups.

Bake at 325F for about 25-35 minutes, depending on your oven and the degree of doneness you like for your eggs.

Carb count without the veggies or meats: 2 pe…

Impossibly Easy Cheesecake

Impossibly Easy Cheesecake

3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup Splenda Sugar Blend
1/2 cup Original Bisquick® mix
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, cut into about 1/2-inch cubes and softened

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray.

2. Place milk, vanilla, eggs, Splenda and the Bisquick mix in blender. Cover and blend on high speed 15 seconds. Add cream cheese. Blend 2 minutes longer. Pour into pie plate.

3.Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean; cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Cover and refrigerate any remaining cheesecake.

Topping: If desired, make topping and spread over top of completely cooled cheesecake. Stir together 1 cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons Splenda and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Serve with fruit.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Bake 45 to 50 minutes.

Normally when made with sugar, this recipe has a whopping 43g of carbs per serving. OUCH. However, using the Splenda Blend or even Splenda significantly r…

A Lesson Learned about Snacking

Sometimes it's better to give in to a snack craving than fight. Today, I craved a sweet the way a man in the desert craves water. Yeah, I know that was my carb addiction talking.

I could have shut the craving up with a small bit of cheesecake, if I took the time to make it. Instead, I foolishly tried to follow the old Atkins system of taking a serving of peanut butter (11g) to 'hold me over' until dinner. No dice. In fact, I was stupid enough to leave the jar sitting here on my desk next to me. Another spoonful followed the first. Then the guilt set in. I've now consumed a whopping 22g of carbs when a bit of cheesecake would have been a mere 11g, and I'd be more satisfied.

So, to circumvent this problem from going any further, I'm going to go make that cheesecake and wrap individual servings up in ziploc bags. That way, when I get a serious craving, I'll have something on hand to appease the monkey on my back.

So, I posted the recipe first. Now to go make it.


Cookie Monster and I agree...

Dieting requires a certain morbid sense of humor. Now that I understand WHY I have to go low carb and how important it is, I'm more willing to stick to it. Still, I can sympathize with the blue guy. Dammit, I want my sugar fix. Time to make a batch of the low carb peanut butter cookies or something. Lena

Low Carb Life-- Lemon Chicken 13g Carbs

Okay, so you marinade the chicken in the morning and serve it that night. No complaints here. I'm thinking this is tomorrow's dinner, with Cauliflower Supreme and maybe some Green Beans on the side. Lena

A Visit with the Dietitian

What I learned today? Quite a bit actually. I learned that Xenical is a fat-affecting weight loss drug. I learned that I will be on two days of the liquid diet just before my surgery and it will be all clearly liquids including bouillon. I can use the carb counter book that I already have to determine that I do not exceed 30 carbohydrates-excuse me, non vegetable-carbohydrates. Strangely enough, these non-vegetable carbohydrates include corn, peas, cheese, fruit, and dairy.

The dietitian did give a wonderful piece of advice that I have already begun to employ called "eat across the plate" which is to eat your protein first, your vegetables second, and anything that might contain carbohydrates dead last. This technique works! Because the only thing on my plate originally was my pork chops, I consumed them first and was less hungry by the time I started working on my vegetables, which did contain some minor amounts of carbohydrates.

I also learned where I was making my mi…

Another visit with Lap Band Doc

(sigh) Warning: This is a rant as well as a report on my latest visit to the surgeon.

Lately, I began to resent the weeks or months of time I spend jumping through hoops like a circus poodle. ("Arf! Jump through the fiery hoop? Arf! Are you nuts? Arf? Okay, okay! Arf! Arf! Shit! My tail's on fire again!")

Today was another doctor visit with the surgeon's office on the other side of town at 10:30 AM. Thank goodness I'd already gone through the hassle of finding out they moved so I had the correct address this time. Yes, I'm still pissed off about them forgetting the new patients' seminar folks. Made me feel oh-so-very-unwanted.

Today wasn't much better. I filled out the paperwork in the waiting room. Good name, waiting room, but wasting room would be better. Waste of time is more like it. I did balk at the idea of their using my photos for their website. Yes, I object to that. Gimme a break. If I don't like the way I look so much I'm willing to go…

Finally! A date with the surgeon

The bariatric surgeon's office finally called on Friday afternoon. Yes, I've been approved for surgery. Now there are four -plus hoops to jump, and some will not be pleasant.

My next step is to visit the surgeon on the 15th of October. I'll sign medical releases, get Rx's for blood and x-rays, and I have to turn in a list of medications I take and surgeries I've had. There will be a diet history sheet to fill out, and a letter to my insurance stating why I feel the surgery will benefit me. (Yeah, like the bean counters care how the surgery will benefit me.) Oh, and I have to fork out $200 and my co-pay of $12. (No plastic, please. Cash or check only.)

At that point, I'll be allowed to make my next appointment to see the shrink. This ought to be interesting. LOL!

Recipe: Beef Bourguignonne

I did not flour the cubes, nor fry ahead. Sorry, I just dumped everything in the crock pot and turned it on. HOWEVER, do not cook this more than 8 hours. It dries out.

Cuban Lime Pork Chops

You don't have to make the salsa to have a great dish! This is delicious with just the marinade. I was surprised at how moist and flavorful the chops were. I baked the chops at 375F for 45 minutes.

I was just reminded today of a wonderful way to get recipes and whole menus sent to you for very cheap, and last I knew they had a low carb option. Saving Dinner is just wonderful! Every week you get an email with your meal plan and grocery list all in one! I highly recommend this website. They even have some of the best holiday recipes, no matter what your restrictions.

Smashing Pumpkin Soup (from Saving Dinner by Leanne Ely—Ballantine)
Serves 6
1 onion -- chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups pumpkin puree (sometimes called 100% pumpkin)
3/4 cup green onions -- chopped
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
2 cups milk
salt and pepper -- to taste

In a soup pot, heat oil over medium high heat and saute onions. Cook till very soft and add remaining ingredients, except milk. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Add milk and continue to cook (but not boil--it will break) for another 5 minutes.

Per Serving: 131 Calories; 6g Fat; 7g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; 3gDietary Fiber; 11m…

Mock Mashed Potatoes

My friends, you have just got to try this. I didn't believe them when they said it tasted like mashed potatoes, but it does!

Great TV Show on FitTV

Wow!! I just discovered a great TV chef who is a low-carb dieter. What a great website and great recipes!

Cheesecake? Peanut Butter cookies? S'mores? Souffle? This is a diet? This man rates right up there with Alton Brown in my book!


Recipe- Easy Tiramisu Cup

Easy Tiramisu Cup

1 box instant sugar-free vanilla or French vanilla pudding
2 cups milk
½ tsp instant coffee granules
12 vanilla wafers
8 Tbsp Cool Whip Free Topping

Whisk together pudding and milk in a medium bowl. Add coffee granules and stir to dissolve. Put in refrigerator to set for 15 minutes.
Scoop out ½ cup measures into four serving dishes. Put 3 wafers with each, standing them on end along edge.
Top each with 2 Tbsp of Cool Whip. Serve.

Serves 4.
120 Calories
22 net carbs
6 g fat

Permission Granted! OMG!

Yesterday, I went to my pulmonologist with a chip on my shoulder. I was tired of trying to lose weight without eating green vegetables -- a nearly impossible task, let me tell you! I was determined to get her to agree to up my Coumadin dose to compensate for my new Atkins diet, since the bariatric surgeon ordered it.

As usual, doc was late. I expect to spend time in the waiting room and more time in that exam room every time I visit. This time wasn't so bad. She was only about 30-45 minutes late. I've waited twice that in those claustrophobic rooms.

After the usual preliminaries by the nurse, doc finally arrived. She was very pleased with me. My CPAP machine for my sleep apnea reports I have no incidents while using the machine, making me a model apnea patient. I sing the praises of a CPAP machine to anyone and everyone who'll listen, so this is no surprise.

The big shocker came when I explained the conflict between all my doctors and the need for green veggies. Doc nodded an…

Cynnara's Solution

Okay, I'm gonna bitch a minute about doctors and their seeming inability to communicate with one another.

My pulmonist put me on Coumadin, a blood thinner. I was told to never have green vegetables again, and therefore gained forty pounds without my salads, broccoli, and brussels sprouts. Yep, I love my greens. Later, this was modified that I was allowed a salad or maybe a helping of something green on weekends. Is it any wonder I gained forty pounds?

Naturally, my PCP (primary care physician) freaked at my annual checkup. My cholesterol was through the roof and I walked the thin line to being a pre-diabetic, not to mention my BMI was now in the "dangerously obese" category. (No shit, honey. Go talk to my pulmonist.) After one year of seeing a dietician, the cholesterol nazi they have in their office putting me on a low-fat and low-cholesterol diet (still no greens), and more sticks with a needle than I care to dream about, I've lost only twenty pounds. Did I mention h…

Recipe: Caribbean Coconut Curry Shrimp

Better enjoy this one while I can.

Recipe: Broiled Scallops with Honey-Lime Marinade

If you haven't noticed, I'm posting recipes. These are mostly low-carb recipes for two reasons. One, after my bariatric surgery, carbs are limited. Two, many of my friends are on the Atkins Diet.

Stopping Smoking- The Preparation

I got the American Cancer Society booklets in the mail today.

Book One-- Lame. Like I can't figure out all the reasons to quit on my own, especially with society bombarding me with the messages about what a foul, evil person I am? DUH! Tossed that one aside after dutifully reading it from cover to cover. One important point: Set up a Quit Date. Did that when I called for the info. Check.

Book Two-- This one's all about getting ready to quit and setting yourself up for success. Helpful, but clearly written for the Lowest Common Denominator intelligences in our society. Here's the summary in a simplified nutshell.

1. Know what your trigger situations are that cause you to smoke. For me, it's stressful situations, sitting here at my desk (Yes, I'm jonesing right now, in case you're wondering), and while watching TV with the hubby at night. I already arrived at a solution. I keep my cigarettes out on the back porch, where I have to stop what I'm doing to go satisf…

Recipe: A Better Baking Mix

If you haven't noticed, Bisquick has a low-fat version. However, it's still packed with preservatives and lacking in fiber. This version is delicious and easy to make at home. Do heed the warning about keeping it in the freezer, though. I can't wait to try the cookies.

Recipe: Beef Bourgingnon

Who says dieting has to be boring or dissatisfying? This is delicious and filling.


Another Hurdle to Jump

Thanks to my friend Cynnara Tregarth, I watched an online presentation about lap-band surgery called EMMI. Got several of my questions answered, and I feel reassured.

The only thing of concern is that most doctors ask that you quit smoking. That's a big one for me. While I quit after my hysterectomy, as soon as my nerves got bad I lit up again. I'm willing to try again, and called a quit line. (1-877-UCANNOW) This won't be easy, but I can try. I don't qualify for the free NRT patches because I have ongoing clinical depression. (Darn) Well, I didn't have the patches last time, either. Fine. I've still set a quit date for Sept 6. I'll ask the doc for a prescription for the patches when I see him on the 8th.

Other than that, EMMI gave me quite a bit of info I needed to know, like what the after care will be about, how long I'll be on liquids and soft foods before I eat normally, and what foods will be unwise to eat like rice. I won't miss most of them.


The Long and Winding Road

An email conversation with Mary Winter has reminded me of my diet journey.

I recognize myself as a borderline bulimic. I can and have deliberately gone into the bathroom just to chuck up what I ate as a way to control myself and my diet. No justifications, no excuses. I am what I am. Ironically, my bulimia was never serious enough to actually cause me to lose more than twenty pounds, tops. That behavior continues to this day, upon occasion.

Unfortunately, for me Weight Watchers was a complete and total bust. The only thing lighter was my wallet after going to those $25 a week meetings and standing on the scale in front of God and everybody with no weight lost. The humiliation was more than I could stand, so I stopped going.

Believe it or not, the Richard Simmons Food Mover did work. In fact, it worked very well. Was it the fact that I had Dante doing the diet with me? I'm positive of that. He'd come home from work and we would immediately go into a cheerful game of one-up-man-shi…

Today I've joined

(Waving to the friends at Incredible Shrinking Authors)

Today I teamed with I hope the companionship and shared information will keep me on track as I make my way through the process toward better health.


The Referral Arrived

We forgot to check the mail on Saturday, so this afternoon I went to the mailbox. Inside was the long-awaited referral from my insurance. The letter gives me permission to call the bariatric surgeon, and I'm trying to be grateful that he's on Beach Blvd instead of in Ocala or Gainesville. Beach Blvd is across the river from here, and I've not been to that area of town since I was a girl of 21. Mapquest says it's a mere ten miles from my place.

I'll call this another challenge-test of my resolve. Can I get in the car and drive all the way to a place I've never been in a town that is increasingly unfamiliar? This once was my hometown, but I swear it's morphed and changed into unrecognizable. Ironically, I grew up on that other side of town. My father lives there.

The doctor's office is only a few blocks from Baptist Medical Center where I was born, and where I spent most of my childhood while my maternal grandmother slowly wasted away from cancer. Perhaps t…

Waiting and Walking

I do believe this will all be worth it in the end, but as I sit here waiting at 6:30 AM to drive over to my friend Karen's house to walk, I cannot help but envy those who can slurp down lattes and munch on potato chips without consequence.

I am more physically fit and prepared for my surgery when it finally comes, but the waiting and sweating in the Florida heat is difficult to bear. Sometimes I think Karen and I fight our battles with only each other for support.

I cannot count on my husband's support. He's admitted outright that he'd prefer I remain overweight, because he remembers what I look like when I get close to my medically correct weight. He's terrified someone will steal me away. Doesn't say much for his opinion of my loyalty, not to mention over 25 years of marriage, but I forgive him. That's his lack of self-esteem talking, not a low opinion of me.

I bought a bikini pattern for myself to sew. Not that I'd wear such a thing in public! I don'…

My Inner Shapeshifter??


More on the Food Mover

I don't know if anyone is even looking at this blog, but just in case I'll post more about my beloved Food Mover. This is a plan that makes sense, because it's based on what diabetics have to do --manage portions and overall intake. That's it. No weirdness, no trying not to eat carbs.

Here's how it breaks down. I'm 5'7", and so I should weigh between 135-172. Since I weigh 279, that means I have at least 100 pounds to go. (Frightening, isn't it?)

The little chart in the instruction book says that I should be using the 2000 calorie card in the Food Mover, so I know how many windows to close every day. EAch window represents one selection from a particular food group. There's another little booklet that contains my choices, separated by food groups. If there are four windows with chicken legs in them, then I get four selections of proteins a day. My choice, as long as I also do portion control. (C'mon, this isn't rocket science.)

When all th…

Done with the First Set of Hoops!

Hooray!! When I stepped on the scale at the doc's, I've lost 5 pounds since July 3. I still have a BMI of 40+, but anything I can do to be healthier is worth the trouble. All I've done is keep walking with my friend Karen and drink more water. I'm trying to stick to my old tried and true Food Mover but I'm not beating myself up when I have an extra ounce of meat. The Food Mover was the *only* weight loss plan where I lost more than 50 pounds, so that's the plan that worked for me. (More on that tomorrow.)

At last, my doc has ordered the referral to a bariatric surgeon. (Happy Dance) First set of hoop jumping completed. What a relief.

Now I know I'll have to jump through the surgeon's hoops. It's understandable that he'd want me to see a shrink to make sure my head is screwed on straight, that I'm committed, and he won't have a failure if he can help it. I get that. I'll play along.

At least I possibly won't have to have another frig…


I stepped on the scale this morning. I've *gained* three pounds despite the three times a week walking, all the gardening, and rearranging three rooms of furniture.

It's enough to make me sit down and cry. And they wonder why I want bariatric surgery?


A Change of Subject: The Plan

The Plan! You gotta love Robin Williams...Even if he's nuts! Leave it to Robin Williams to come up with the perfect plan. What we need now is for our UN Ambassador to stand up and repeat this message.

Robin Williams' plan...(Hard to argue with this logic!) 'I see a lot of people yelling for peace but I have not heard of a plan for peace. So, here's one plan.'

1) 'The US will apologize to the world for our 'interference' in their affairs, past & present. You know, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Tojo, Noriega, Milosevic, Hussein, and the rest of those ' good 'ole' boys', we will never 'interfere' again.

This I can agree with. I don't feel we need to apologize, but the point needs to be made that our "interference" has saved a lot of butts from tyranny. But, hey, if they don't want our help anymore, we can politely apologize and stop interfering.

2) We will withdraw our troops from all over the world, starting with G…

Diverticulitis Maybe

Just so you know what I'm talking about...
What is diverticulitis?
Diverticulitis is a condition in which diverticuli in the colon rupture. The rupture results in infection in the tissues that surround the colon.

What is diverticulosis?
The colon (large intestine) is a long tube-like structure that stores and then eliminates waste material. Pressure within the colon causes bulging pockets of tissue (sacs) that push out from the colonic walls as a person ages. A small bulging sac pushing outward from the colon wall is called a diverticulum. More than one bulging sac is referred to as diverticula. Diverticula can occur throughout the colon but are most common near the end of the left colon called the sigmoid colon. The condition of having these diverticula in the colon is called diverticulosis.
A patient with diverticulosis may have few or no symptoms. When a diverticulum ruptures and becomes infected, the condition is called diverticulitis. A patient suffering from diverticulitis wil…

They Lied...Again

...So why am I surprised the medical folks lied again? Why do I keep this wrong-headed belief that there are upstanding and truthful professionals in scrubs somewhere out there?

When my PCP's assistant ordered a CAT scan of my belly to ascertain the reason for my intermittent stomach pains, I asked specifically, "Is this the CAT scan where they use a needle?" (Hah! I've been suckered before, haven't I?) I referred to the iodine injection used in conjunction with the barium.

The two different persons both threw up their hands in the classic gesture of innocence and said, "Oh, no! This is just the circular array taking pictures of your stomach with barium in it. Here's the berry smoothie flavored barium. Just follow directions."

I followed directions and swallowed the barium as ordered. I'll even give the berry flavor a kudo for being much more palatable than the old banana flavored crap they used to sucker you into drinking. At least I didn't th…

The Cost of Losing Weight Escalates

Okay, riddle me this Batman -- Why does the insurance industry refuse to cover known and proven diet medication but yet covers the results of obesity like cholesterol treatments, high blood pressure medications, diabetes treatments, etc? Is someone not paying attention?

Because it's part of the rules of making sure the bean counters of my insurance company know I *tried* to lose weight, I researched recommended diet medications and asked my doctor about Meridia. That particular drug is known to reduce appetite, increase energy, and was developed for weight loss specifically. My doctor's PA agreed it was a great idea, and wrote me the prescription.

I just tried --note the word, tried-- to pick up my new bottle of Meridia at the drugstore. The girl at the window informed me it was ready, but my insurance wouldn't cover the cost. So, the bill was --get this!-- a whopping $120 for one month's supply! That's my entire grocery budget for three adults.! I told her t…