Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Time Has Come...

Sorry, gang, no recipe today. This has been one crazy week and my kitchen hasn't exactly been usable. 
But today, I'm here with a confession. (I have this image of everybody suddenly leaning in  a little closer, hands clasped around your cuppa whatever :)

This was me only a few short years ago. I'd lost forty pounds and had breast reduction surgery.
I looked great, I felt great...

Then something happened.

Several somethings, actually.

Things like this.

And this.

And this.

Okay, I can't blame it all on sweets. 
There's also stuff like this.

For a while, I was doing okay. Then something happened in my 49th year on planet Earth.
Despite a daily gym routine, my metabolism slowed down. The weight began to creep up. And while it may have leveled out over the past year, it's way higher than I want it to be.

I don't like it. 
I feel yucky (that's a technical term, ya know).
And I have a closet full of clothes I can't wear!

So today I am beginning what I hope is a lifestyle change.

I've always said that 90% of losing weight is in your head. If the head ain't willing, the body will not follow.
I know what I'm supposed to do. 
Lean protein, more fruits and veggies, fewer--way fewer--carbs and sweets.
I just have to do it.

So, whether you want the job or not, you have have been selected to be my cheerleaders and accountability partners. (You look so cute in your little cheerleader outfits :)

What advice can you give me to help me stay on task?
Jan, I know you gave up sugar last October. How did you do it?
Ruthy, you're the queen of low-carb eating. What are some good snack options?

I'm too ashamed to tell you my starting weight but, beginning next week, I will tell you how much I've lost or gained. Whether I made good or bad choices.

If anyone would like to join me on this journey, I'd love to have you along for the ride.
After all, there's strength in numbers. :-)

Until next week...


  1. It's so not fair that good food comes calorie-laden. Sigh. I'll be cheering you on and would love to join you.

    I had a super bug infection in my leg four years ago which took forever to clear up. My foot and leg swelled up like a balloon for years (yes years) afterwards. Bascially I had horrible health care and it wasn't treated aggressively enough. Anyway -- I am left now with nerve damage in the foot and leg and for some unknown reason, in the other foot as well. I use a walker to get around and have had to cut back to working only half days. :-( Since my main weight control technique was mega walking I have gained weight as well which, of course has to aggravate the condition, right? And has me worried about the other health risks that come along with an inactive lifestyle not to mention carving years off my life as the news keeps cheerfully telling me. So count me in. :-)

    One of the things I've started doing now that I'm not working mega long hours is to make everything from scratch -- main courses, desserts, everything. And that has made some difference. I'm trying ot figure out an exercise routine that won't hurt. That's the real challenge.

    1. Oh, Kav, I had no idea. I can't imagine how frustrating it must have been to have that infection for so long. I wonder about swimming/water therapy for exercise. I know a lot of people with joint problems do that.

      And you are so right, it's not fair that all the good stuff has those dreaded calories and fat. I love to cook and I love to eat. I just need to be a little pickier about what I put in my mouth.

      I remember when I lost all that weight before, I wouldn't put anything in my mouth unless it was point-worthy (think Weight Watchers). And I was so good about it. If it didn't satisfy me or taste like I thought it would, I wouldn't eat it. Somewhere along the way, I got away from that. I'm notorious for grazing. When I get bored, I eat.

      You're smart to make everything yourself. It's so easy to grab fast food or premade stuff, but it's rarely beneficial.

      So glad to have you joining me, Kav. Just knowing I'm not alone makes it easier. :)

    2. Kav! I didn't have any idea, either!

      My sister-in-law was born with a deformed foot, so any kind of exercise that involves walking is out for her, too. She loves water exercises, though, like water aerobics. She can also do ballroom dancing - which surprised her, but she loves it.

    3. Oh, Kav, I'm so sorry! This happened to a friend of mine when she broke her ankle really badly. It never healed properly and now she's living a very sedentary life, when she used to be very active. It's so frustrating for her!

    4. yikes! so sorry Kav! I've been off the exercise wagon for a while but there are some that aren't so bouncy and are a little gentler - Classical Stretch with Miranda Esmonde-White is pricey but good (unless you have it on your PBS station), some of Ellen Barrett's are gentler, Lee Holden has some Qi Gong - they very from relaxing to more vigorous..Leslie Sansone has some gentle walks (along with some tougher ones), bellicon and jumpsport make rebounders with bungee cords that are gentle for bouncing (supposed to be good for the lymph system as well) -bellicon is more expensive but really nice and jumpsport is nice too. pilates is tough but not bouncy and some yoga is nice as well - depends on the instructor and the type - ranges from hardcore to very gentle and anywhere in-between. these are the workouts I intend to start back with.

  2. Go! MINDY! Yep. Same issue here. But working part time at the library has been hugely helpful. Without trying I have lost 19 pounds since the end of January. Just by getting my butt out of the chair.

    So I am back on the road to recovery. There are no secrets.

    What goes in must be less than what we burn. And we gotta burn it.

    No eating after 7 pm is a big one.

    Cutting out complex carbs. Sigh.

    Lean meats and more fish and veggies and fruit.

    1. I thought the complex carbs were the ones we were supposed to have. Things like oatmeal. Definitely gotta up the fruit and veggies though. My guys don't eat them, so I find myself not buying them because they go to waste.

      Yay for 19 pounds. Go, Tina! Even better that you weren't trying. The butt in chair thing is the challenging part about being a writer. We gotta write but we gotta move too. I'd love to get one of those treadmill desks. You move slow enough that you can still work, but the point is that you're moving. :)

    2. Check out Allie Pleiter's post on the Craftie Ladies blog yesterday. She has an amazing treadmill desk! I checked it out but it's extremely expensive.

    3. Treadmill desk... I know I should. I know I could. But I really, really don't want to! LOL

    4. LOL. Yeah, you are right on the carbs.

      I have had a treadmill desk for four years. It is a wonderful bookshelf.

      It works when I have something like a TV series to catch up on...otherwise I get bored. Typing on it, it sort of not realistic.

      But watching movies and shows works.

    5. LOL! My mom's exercise equipment was perfect for hanging clothes. :)

    6. I made my own treadmill desk. Husband cut board to fit, attach with cords so it can come off when I want it to. I'll put it on FB for you.

    7. LOL! You make a valid point, Tina.

    8. Missy, every time my husband sees a treadmill he says, "That'd make a nice clothes hanger." :D

  3. Mindy, I'll join you too! My main thing is I need to get moving. Ugh. I need you here in a cheerleading uniform yanking me out the door to walk!

    We can all do this. Like Tina said, it's a basic math equation.

    Kav, I'll be praying for your leg and feet.

    1. Okay, Missy, here's the deal. Let's decide on a time when we can both walk. Then we'll call each other and chat while we're walking. It'll be almost like walking together.

      I had to laugh. Reading your comment, I thought about Bob the Builder. "Can we do it? Yes, we can." :)

      Ditto on those prayers for Kav.

    2. LOL, Yes, I can hear Bob! :)

      I love the idea of walking at the same time! I'll text you about it.

    3. Dogs help with the walking. If Thatcher doesn't get out, he drives me nuts all day! But a couple miles of road work in the morning, and he snoozes while I write.

    4. Now there's an idea! With kids, you can take them to the park and still sit... But with a dog, you must move WITH them!

  4. Mindy! Go to Amazon RIGHT NOW and buy the book "Trim Healthy Mama!" It will change your life.

    I've lost almost 20 pounds - weight that will never come back because I've changed the way I eat. The pounds keep coming off - slowly - about a pound a week - but they're going away.

    I bought new jeans last week...TWO sizes smaller than my old ones.

    And I ENJOY my food :) And I still get occasional treats like birthday cake :) And I don't go hungry, don't drive myself crazy counting calories or points or anything else.

    This is the main rule: Never eat large amounts of carbs and large amounts of fat in the same meal.

    Easy peasy.

    I know you can do this!!!

    1. 650 pages! Are you kidding me, Jan? I haven't read a big that big in...ever! It's not cheap either. And it's out of stock :( Probably for good reason. This is one of the rare times when the paperback is cheaper than the Kindle version, too. Go figure.

      You are definitely piquing my curiosity, though. And if I can't invest in me, well then, I'm a hopeless cause. :)

    2. Wait until you can get the paperback - the e-version is cumbersome to use.

      And it's 350 pages because half of it is full of recipes.

      You can join the Trim Healthy Mama facebook group - lots of information and recipes there to get you started.

      But you have to read the book. It explains the why behind the what.

      And it's a one time cost - much cheaper than joining Weight Watchers or buying the Nutrisystem plan.

      And it works.

      By the way, I had a chocolate muffin for breakfast today :) I shared that recipe here back in January (http://yankeebellecafe.blogspot.com/search/label/Muffin%20in%20a%20Mug)

    3. I read a little bit of the forward and was impressed with what I read, so I guess I'll go for it.

    4. I got the e-book a few weeks ago because I didn't want to wait. I started reading but got sidetracked. Need to get back to it!

    5. I'm reading through it the second time.

      I had a great lunch, too. Chef salad (low fat style) and a couple Wasa crackers with Laughing Cow cheese spread. Yummy.

    6. I love Laughing Cow cheeses. Especially on crackers!

    7. I love Laughing Cow. Love the French Onion.

    8. And the Light Rye Wasa crackers are low carb, so the perfect match with the Laughing Cow. I like the light cheddar, myself. :)

    9. Jan, the book has been ordered :), should have it between April 10 and 16. :( In the meantime, what's for dinner? :P

    10. Chili! The same recipe I shared here in the cafe. I love it when real life and healthy life come together :)

    11. Wait! I didn't share this recipe yet!

      It's a lot like your chili, Mindy. It's a "satisfying" meal, which means lower carbs and higher (healthy) fats. Protein is the center.

      So use fewer beans (they are higher in carbs - so eat about 1/2 of what you usually would in chili, but go to town on the other ingredients. Top it with cheese, sour cream, onions, whatever!

      But don't eat it with crackers or bread. You want to keep the carbs low, remember?

      Add a salad with decadent ranch or blue cheese dressing. But not croutons.

      Isn't this the life?

    12. Oh, an excuse to have blue cheese dressing. My favorite!

  5. Oh, this post is so up my alley! Last year I threw myself into my writing career, but the only time for it was late at night. Imagine, working 10 PM to 4AM, sleeping a few hours, doing house/home/mom stuff in the day and then starting all over. It worked, but I figured out the other day that it cost me about $3,000 a pound. LOL Was it worth it? It doesn't feel like it. I'm glad we don't have to worry about money like we used to but my hands swell in the mornings, my feet swell when I sit, my back aches, and I feel like I aged 20 years.
    This is my year to repair the damage done (and keep the writing career on track with a healthier routine). No more easy dishes unless it's deadline crunch time (which should be rare). More veggies, more fruit, more PLANNING.
    We're all with you Mindy!

    1. Ugh! 10-4, Virginia? Really? I turn into a pumpkin at 10. And did you know that less than 6 hours of sleep can contribute to weight gain? Girl, you is burnin' the candle at both ends. No wonder you feel like you've aged.

      Planning is definitely key to eating right. I have to stock my pantry and fridge with things that won't sabotage my efforts. So let's gather our tools and ready for some repair work. I'm so glad to have some teammates. This is actually starting to sound like fun. Like we're embarking on an adventure together. Whoo-hoo!

    2. Wow, Virginia. I don't know how you did it. I'm glad you're taking better care of yourself this year!

  6. I could turn this around and say you wrote this post to convict me, Mindy, but of course "it's not all about me". Weight has been a life-long battle for me, however, and now that arthritis has stepped in, exercise isn't the answer it used to be.

    When I was about your age (yes, that was long ago) I joined T.O.P.S. and lost over 80 lbs. The secret for me was maintaining a balanced diet, but cutting the portions way down. Before long it seemed my stomach had shrunk and I was very satisfied with the smaller portions. I made sure I always had a container of my favourite veggies washed and ready in the fridge for instant snacks.

    I also kept a graph taped onto the fridge showing the passing weeks and pounds lost, and I rewarded myself at every 10 lb. plateau reached (no, food wasn't the reward!).

    You're right that frame of mind is a huge thing. You have to want to do this enough to stick with it. I had a chat with my family at the beginning and explained how they could help... and it *wasn't* by shaming me if they saw me eating something I shouldn't. They became my everyday cheerleaders in between my weekly weigh-ins.

    I'm proud of you for wanting to take control and do this, and I'll be here among your other cyberfriends, cheering you on. Go, go, go, Mindy!!!

    1. Thank you, Carol. Though I have nothing to do with conviction. :)

      I've always battled my weight, too, Carol. Why can't I be one of those people who loves veggies and could care less about sweets? Right now I'm in the stomach shrinking phase. So when I do feel hungry, I need to make sure I reach for something satisfying, yet good for me.

      80 lbs! Wow! I'm impressed. And you did it the smart way. No starvation or crazy fad diet. That's why I prefer to call this a lifestyle change instead of a diet. Because we all know what the first three letters of diet spells. :)

      But age does have a way of changing things. Makes us less active and our metabolism changes. So why doesn't our taste for certain foods change too? Talk about not fair.

    2. I felt convicted, too, Carol. :)

    3. I can't imagine losing 80 pounds, Carol! You go, girl!

  7. Okay -- it's official -- you inspired me. I've unearthed my two pound hand weights because I know my upper body is at full strength...or at least capable of being at full strength so I'm committing to starting an upper body weight lifting regimen as of today. I'll report back next week. :-)

    1. Whoo-hoo! And Missy and I are going on our first walk "together" this afternoon.

      Let's keep the momentum going, ladies.

    2. We just got back! Poor Mindy could hardly hear me from my huffing and puffing up my hills! :) But we made it. Talked the whole time.

    3. And it made the time pass much quicker. BTW, I could hear Missy just fine. :D

    4. Oh, that is awesome! And I check in here to see 40 comments on a non-recipe post... because we ALL can identify with the desire to be healthier. I think enjoying our food can only really happen when we're not consumed by guilt and despair, lol. So, here's to Mindy's inspiring us to be HEALTHIER!!

  8. First let me say I'm stinkin' proud of you and psyched for you!!!! We girls have to cheer each other on because we scare the heck out of MEN!!!!!! It's us, brutally honest, or nothing!!!!!

    Here are my go-to tips that work for me:

    Snacks: Almonds.... I keep a Sam's size bag of Wonderful Almonds (roasted and salted) on the counter. If I need a snack, I eat those instead of cookies or cupcakes.....

    String cheese. I buy the Sam's size bag, open the bag and dump them in the basket in the fridge. The trick is QUICK SNACK for me because if there's nothing to eat quick with babies and writing, I'll grab the cookies.

    Cheddar cheese in fridge, cut up, grab a hunk as you go.

    Beef sticks and beef jerky.

    Greek yogurt (Mueller) with carmelized almonds: high protein, 20 carbs, and it's a good trade because the other stuff listed has zero carbs.

    I make a double salad a day, then divide it into two bowls. That way if I'm hungry again, it's MADE.... All I have to do is pour on dressing and eat.

    I became a big fan of the European diet model by accident years ago when a restaurant customer was on Atkins.... I thought he was nuts until he told me he'd lost 45 lbs. and KEPT IT OFF by cutting out bread/cakes/cookies/candy.

    But he eats everything else.

    I still eat pasta if we're having it for dinner. I eat potatoes, I'm Irish, it would be sacrilege to give up potatoes!!!! And once in a while I treat myself to something, but you know how I stay on it????

    I remind myself of the 90% of the people in the world who would salivate to have my salad.... my almonds..... my cheese. Who exist on dirty water and some rice. And drawing up that mental image helps me to take responsibility for myself and try to be healthy. Now I'm not fanatic... I'm not big, I'm a size 8-10 depending on winter/spring/summer/fall, LOL! Holidays and January always tempt me off, but I do it on purpose (you have to have fun now and again) but then I put myself right back on the stricter diet in February.

    It's been a huge help. For me, Tex, the trick is to have the handy no-carb snacks where I can reach them and seriously, after day 2 or 3, I don't miss the bread/sweets. Because my body and digestion just plain feel better.

    1. I love your list of snacks, Ruthy. I keep almonds handy, and I like those little Baby Bel cheeses. I make our beef jerky, and it's forever spoiled the store-bought for me.

      I buy plain Greek yogurt, and then dress it up as I feel like it. Truvia for the sweetener, frozen berries, and I'm in heaven.

    2. I love that list. Thank you, Ruthy, for taking the time to write it all down for me.

      I love, love, LOVE cheese. I'm with Jan on the jerky, though. I love jerky, but it's so much better when you make your own. Not quite as dry, not quite as salty, but all of the deliciousness. :)

    3. Jan, I'd forgotten about those Baby Bels. So good. And I forgot to tell you that I finally picked up some Truvia. World of difference. Even hubby likes it. :)

  9. Carol, that is AWESOME. And Mindy, I'm like you, I decided it wasn't a diet... it was a lifestyle change. I want to rock these babies. I don't want to be winded. I want to buy cute shirts and look CUTE. But it's mostly the health thing because God made his people smart... but we get tempted way too easily. And I'm so guilty of that!!!! You know we were always taught that our bodies were vessels of God that if the Spirit is alive within you, respect for your body should come first. So I gave up smoking as a teen, I don't drink, and I try to maintain a healthy weight.... And that's just because I should be doing my best for God. And then I FALL DOWN and get sloppy with it, so I start again, and God doesn't care that I fall down... but I think it makes him happy that we never, ever, ever give up.

    1. Now I'm the one being convicted. You put me to shame, Ruthy. But I love that last line. We all fall. But, Praise God, He helps up back up again!

    2. Oh, there is no shame in this, except in our human normal weakness.... Mindy, I had to come up with that image of those less fortunate, like DIG DEEP, RUTHY!!!! to be able to fight the urge to stuff food in my face. I'm convinced that people have different "switches" when it comes to food. I can't eat a lot, I'm a grazer, so that helps my "switch".... But I've worked with kids who have no switch and I can see that their appetite just doesn't turn off like other kids' do. And the result is a heavier kid.... So I push those kids on healthy choices, on re-directing their energy away from the kitchen and into something more mind-engaging, but I can literally see their struggle. So it's not an easy path, ever.

  10. Hello everyone! I have a confession. As much as I love a good recipe, I was on the verge of stopping reading Yankee Belle Cafe. I started working on the "new me" on Jan. 6th, so I've been at it 11 weeks now. All the yummy recipes have been so tempting but I enjoy the dialogue so I have just kept reading. Then Mindy's post appeared and I feel a renewed sense of kinship with the struggles we women go through as the years pass by. Mindy (and everyone else on new eating plans) you are on the right track, so be encouraged and don't ever quit working towards good health.
    I thought I'd share a little of my own struggles just in case anyone may have encountered similar difficulties. As I said earlier I started in Jan. on a low carb diet, the only plan that really has worked for me over the years. the first 2 wks. I lost 9 lbs. then the next 2 wks., nothing! I came across a plan called the Fast Metabolism Diet (on amazon and a has a website) that explains when a plan that has always worked for you stops working, you may need to restart your metabolism. This is what had been happening to me over the previous months, small improvements but not enough to equal the work I was putting in. So, I gave it a try. The first week was not easy as you have to get used to the plan, what to eat and what to buy, but once you do, I have found it easy to do. It is basically carb cycling in 3 phases.
    Phase 1, Mon. and Tues you eat from a certain food list, lots of fruit on this phase, along with proteins, grains and veggies
    Phase 2 on Wed. and Thurs are just protein and veggies, your low carb days Phase 3 on Fri., Sat. and Sun. proteins, certain grains and fruits, veggies and healthy fats, similar to what Jan was saying about not mixing your higher carbs and fats.
    I have found that the low carb days just 2 days a week are as effective as if I did it the whole week. I can do just about anything for 2 days. The other 5 days are enjoyable enough that I don't feel deprived for the long term and let's face it, to be successful long term you have to enjoy yourself along the way. I like that the plan lets you choose from the food groups what you would like to eat and not what someone else says will work for you, just can't get on board with that type of eating long term.
    Long story short, I have reset my metabolism to start burning fat again and fought off the effects of slow metabolism, wacky hormones and menopause through this plan. I lost 11 pounds in Feb. and 6 so far in March for a total of 26 lbs this year. For me this is miraculous. I was starting to believe I would just have to accept that I was a 58 yr. old women who's metabolism and menopause issues disqualified me from ever getting healthier and slimming down again. Not so! If anyone finds that nothing else is working as I did, this is an alternative plan I highly recommend as it has worked for me and was developed by a nutritionist with 20 yrs. experience.
    I feel blessed to be a part of a group of women I would probably never know outside of this online blog. A group who love God, love fiction and now are working together towards being the best women we can be. Ruthy is SO RIGHT! we do scare men and we need each other for support! :) Thanks so much for the encouragement and as Ruthy said, never, ever give up!

    1. Tracey, congrats on your success! I bet you're feeling so much better. You're an inspiration! We're so glad you share this with us.

  11. Thanks Missy, I do feel so much better. I had fallen into such a sad state of health I didn't think I could change it no matter how much I tried. The verse in Prov.13:12 about "hope deferred makes the heart sick" seemed to be where I was headed, no hope and diminished health. I had minor injuries to both knees that have kept me from much walking for exercise, so I'm very sympathetic to the others who have similar restrictions.. I have read that each lb. lost takes 4 lbs. of pressure off your knees and I believe that's true. I have been able to begin walking some this past month without the pain I usually experienced in the past. Previously, I had no hope of ever being anything "more" than I was right then and it was depressing. But! God does not leave us hopeless! The second half of the verse in the living trans. says "when dreams come true at last, there is life and joy". Oh, gotta love that life and joy! God is showing me everything old can be new again, big :)

  12. Tracy, I am so glad you didn't leave the cafe and I'm thrilled that you shared your story. What an encouragement! Especially to someone like me who's feeling hopeless when it comes to my metabolism. Hopelessness is indeed a sad thing, so I really appreciate the verse you shared.
    We women really do need to stick together. We can encourage others in ways men have never even dreamed of. :)
    Looking forward to bearing more from you and we continue on this journey.