Sunday, November 24, 2013

Just say "no" to green shakes

Pico di Galo Chicken is my luncheon answer to green shakes.
Weaving has taken a backseat to working out these days as my training shifts into high gear.  There are days I go to the gym twice.  My training is in the afternoon and I don't want to get out of the habit of waking up early and going, so I've ended out exercising twice a day.  I lost three pounds this past week, so I think the extra effort is paying off.

I met with a nutritionist this week, and forgot to tell her I was a foodie.  The idea of a shake that includes lettuce, papaya juice and cilantro is gross.  Yes, cilantro is good for me, but doesn't it belong in Southwest cooking?  So I put together a new lunch recipe which I call Pico de Galo Chicken.  It has plenty of fresh cilantro, vegetables and some  quinoa which apparently is better than anything else in the world despite the bitter coating you have to wash off before cooking.  Wheat is apparently "out" in dieting circles.


3 cups of quinoa
12 ounces of roasted chicken breast, chopped
1 cup of cilantro chopped (this is loosely packed)
juice of two limes
One box 12 oz box of grape tomatoes chopped in half.
1 chopped zucchini
pepper to taste
Serve with a dollop of Guacamole

Makes 6 servings.
Lunches ready for the week.

I'm not suppose to eat wheat. Wheat though is not the cause of my obesity.  I am fairly certain it is the sugar that is so often paired with wheat that has caused my problem.  When I saw the YouTube out of the University of California The Complete Skinny on Obesity, I realized the underlying cause of my weight problem. I'm a sugar addict.  And, yes, sugar is addicting and has the same affects on the brain as drugs and alcohol which is why we crave it and can't seem to get enough.  And yes, sugar likes to become fat while being toxic to the liver just like alcohol.  So, I've given sugar up cold turkey.

But, I have to take some of the nutritionists suggestions, since wheat is now "out" I will give up the 12-grain toast that has been my breakfast. I am going along with the nutritionist and returning to oatmeal for breakfast even though it gives me gas. Sorry co-workers.

But I am standing fast against hemp seed.  I mean really, hemp seed? Are you kidding me?  What's wrong with the humble walnut, a yummy and good source of all those great oils we are supposed to have?  Why do you, oh nutritionists, have to come up with hemp seed? Yuck.

I love nuts. I had to give up seeds and nuts years ago when nutritionists were pushing low fat diets. There is no way some green shake drinker is going to get me to replace yummy nuts with rope seeds, now that we are allowed to eat fats again.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Rose gets WIRED!

No product placement--I paid for all this stuff.
Gadgets have been piling up as I try to lose weight.  Just this week, I added a Polar watch and a Tanita scale to my arsenal of electronic gizmos to help me track my progress.  I bought the FT4 Polar, which is fairly basic, but it tracks my workouts so I know how many calories I'm burning.  I also have the basic FitBit which tracks my steps. I wouldn't mind upgrading to a fancier FitBit, but for now it works.  If FitBit wants to send me a free one, I would be glad to rave about it.  Same to you Polar! Yep, I'll gladly test free stuff.  Okay, back to the blog.

I'm not sure if I could upgrade my Tanita scale which I love by the way. I can stand on it several times in a row and still get the same weight and body-fat percentage.  I like that!  So, I am using that to track my progress now.  The earphones are for my MP3 player. It is impossible to drown out the crappy gym music without risking harming my hearing, so instead I play bi-neural beats in my ear that are supposed to enhance inner peace.  I figure inducing some inner peace is a good idea, considering the weird music now popular among someone.  I don't know who, certainly not me.

New tie ups for the Fanny.
The LeClerc Fanny has some new tie ups.  I love them.  Weaving is much nicer now that I've gotten rid of the ones I tried to make.  The loom had been used as a direct tie-up before I purchased it, so, it came with only  four tie-ups. Feeling cheap, I made  my own.  I finally e-mailed The Loom Doctor for some new ones. Yes, The Loom Doctor is an actual person. Not making this up.  He fixes all types of looms and his specialty is Leclerc.  Quite a few looms can be fixed with LeClerc parts, he says.

Weaving has sped up, except for exhaustion from working out.
The new tie-ups have sped up my weaving. The new training regime has slowed it down.  I pretty much ache all over now.  So much for complaining about my trainer.  I had an easy one before and never felt a sore anything and now I'm kind of achy.  Ouch.  I suppose it shouldn't get in the way of weaving. I'm a little tempted to put on my heart rate monitor and see how many calories I burn working at the loom! I have lots of fat to burn, so such information could be useful!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Somber anniversary

This week marks the one year anniversary of my stroke--the thankfully small stroke from which I recovered.  Since then I've worked hard to improve diet.  We are now eating very well, whole grains, lean meats, yummy vegetables, fresh food, reasonable portions--junk food is banned as much as possible.  And exercise!  The hallmark of these efforts has been investing in a personal trainer.

As I mentioned last week, the new trainer has been a disappointment. Her workouts were way too easy and she didn't explain much in the terms of what she was doing or why, or give me important tips. There are other things, but I won't bore you, dear reader. Let's just say she was nothing like my last trainer who taught me a lot. Unfortunately, my last trainer found a better job.

Now, my gym has some phenomenal trainers, mine just isn't one of them.  My husband is on his second and both have been very knowledgeable and helpful, providing him with specific homework for his non-training days and explaining the point of what they were doing--how they were trying to get his arms stronger and things like that.  It's a really nice gym all in all: small and intimate, which I like.

On this one-year anniversary of my stroke I am missing the one goal most dear to my heart.  Getting to the magic "10%" weight loss since my stroke.  Losing 10% of your weight is supposed to have all these heart healthy benefits. A 10% goal over a year's time is modest one and not crazy or faddish. I was 238 at the hospital that fateful day.  When I joined the gym  in March, I was 234 and started losing 3 pounds a month with my first trainer, which was pretty good for me especially with my diet taking time to really get on track. The first trainer had lots of good tips and these took time to incorporate. Plus the gremlin Stress Eating can really mess me up.  But since changing trainers, I've stopped making progress.

As I've mentioned, one of my bosses at work is an Exercise Physiologist.  I like to volunteer as a test subject for the graduate students. I stood on the fancy InBody520 (I ordered it, that's my job) and my weight was 223 and my body fat over 50%.  I was disappointed though not without understanding reality. On October 18, I had hoped to be a bit closer to my modest goal of the magic 214 which would herald the 10% heart healthy loss I've read about. The class also put me through a battery of tests and my fitness level was disappointing. But I learned some important things.  Cheers for higher education!

I will not lose heart!  I went ahead and ordered one of those Tanita Scales from Amazon and a cool Polar heart rate monitor.  They use Polar's in the lab (yes, I order supplies for those too!) and  Tanita scales are reported to be highly regarded.  My boss also recommended I audit the Exercise Physiology course next semester.  I like this idea as I really need to get a handle on what the heart rate is for the "fat burning zone" when I do my cardio. This is why I bought the Polar so I can have an accurate heart rate during workouts and keep myself in that fat burning zone.  I also want to get stronger and I am curious how my heart rate reacts to strength training.

Well, now I am off to see if I can get out of the my modest neighborhood to head north on a short errand. Naperville managed to map out their marathon to block off access to main roads leading north from my neighborhood of modest homes including routes to Edward Hospital!  The ironic part is Edward Hospital is a major sponsor and they strategically placed their booth right at the spot where Washington was blocked so no one could turn north to reach their facility--a public relations tour-de-force! As I love irony, I did nose around and attempt to reach the facility via "the back way." No luck.  I suspect this would not have happened if my neighborhood was filled with the McMansions Naperville is famous for.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Natural New Year

New warp for the loom
November, for me, is the start of the "natural" New Year.  From an agrarian standpoint, the garden is harvested and put to bed (I don't grow turnips) and my thoughts have already turned to what I would plant next year.  The leaves are off the trees--or at least they should be--and things are quiet and waiting for spring to return.  Of course, the leaves aren't off my trees.  They are still green on my suburban plot and they are only just thinking of turning gold. I live in the Chicago suburbs and they should be almost gone by now. Climate change strikes again.  In the past, this time of year was left to the oaks who like to cling to their leaves so they can choke up drains in spring.

Usually, when I am putting my garden to bed, I am thinking of what I can do better next year.  Next year, we will have a garden.  There wasn't much this year because it was tough for us, with me having that small stroke and the DH breaking his arm in spring.  I wouldn't call it a bad year though. The arm healed nicely and my health has improved.  My weaving has improved too and the past natural year brought new-to-me looms.  I just cut off the first project on the loomcraft, and have some glitzy holiday table runners to finish.

Fresh off the loom glitzy table runners.
Since it is the natural new year, I like to reflect on my life in general.  Next year will be better.  Next year, I will go to Paris and wander the streets and stop along the Seine and draw Notre Dame.  I will visit the Louvre and the Musee Dorsay and sit at a cafe and sip cappuccino.  I will also wander the streets of Rouen and visit Chartre.

Next, I will improve my fitness level.  I had been working with personal trainers since March.  I'm not sure the current one is working out.  She likes to use free weights, something I've been doing on my own for the past decade.  I don't find this sort of workout particularly challenging.  Why, I ask myself, should I spend all this money going to a gym for a workout I can do myself at home?  I have DVD's and the internet to teach me all the moves.  In fact, I just learned some new moves as part of a challenge on Ravelry's Anti-Lard Alliance.  I am doing the Complex Challenge for November--which is a big challenge! Now why is it that I learned about a complex from a group on a knitting website and not my personal trainer?  Anyhow, if I am going to a gym, I want challenging workouts that use the cool gym equipment, not just more of the same-- free weights and a chair.  I can do that at home.

Next, I am going to do a lot more weaving.  I went ahead and ordered new tie-ups for the Fanny.  It only came with 4 and has been lagging due to my lousy homemade ones. Why, I wonder, has it taken me so long to do this?  I've had the loom since December! And of course, in January, I will make all kinds of fiber resolutions to go with the traditional New Year.

But in November with the natural year wound down and the days growing shorter to a sort of quiet sleepiness, it is a good time to reflect on life.  It's a time to think on the past, be thankful, and consider the future. With this, I can make each day as I live it peaceful and productive.