Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A is for...

Stolen from Skinnier and Saner, Mostly
by way of Through Thick n Thin

Animals: Wow, we have lots! Chickens, parakeets, cockatiel, dogs, cats... WOW!

Best Friend: My husband, who works harder than most to keep us in house and home!

Cohabitants: Most of the time--just me and my daughter. Hubby is only home every other weekend and on those weekends, our oldest daughter and her hubby are here too.

Desires: I want to get back to full-time teaching this year.

Eye Color: I say green, others tell me hazel... Who really knows?

Favorite Foods: Steak... Steak is the food of the gods! And, just about anything with cheese in or on it!

Games: Most years we spend the months of April, May, and June (and sometimes into July) at the softball field. Not this year though as my daughter isn't playing.

Habits: My worst is spending toooooo much time on the 'puter!

Interests: reading, cooking, surfing the net

Job: I am a parent trainer for the parents of kids with special needs.

Kitchen: The kitchen is still somewhat my favorite room as I love to cook and bake. I hate, however, cleaning up!

Languages: Just English, though I did take two semesters of Spanish. I just never used it enough for it to really "stick" if you know what I mean!

Most Valued Possession: Wow, hard to say...

Named After: Both of my grandmothers--Ovie LEE and Martha ANN (hence me being Lea Ann)

Outfit You Love: I am loving being able to wear jeans after 20 years of not doing so. I'm also loving being able to go just about anywhere and find something that FITS me!

President: I'm thinking McCain as I'm not sure America is ready for Obama or Hillary.

Quote: 'If it makes you happy than it can't be that bad' - Sheryl Crowe.

Religion: Baptist

Shoes: anything with an open heel--just bought a pair of imitation Crocs at Walmart and have been wearing the heck out of them!

Television Shows: The Biggest Loser, House, ER, CSI (any of them), Law & Order (any of them) and can't wait for the new season of Army Wives and Burn Notice!

Unsavory characteristics: hmmmm, I'll let you know!

Video: as in what do I like? drama and comedy...

Webpage: well, there's THIS one! And, there's also THIS ONE...

Xbox or Playstation?: none of the above...

Year Born: 1967

Zodiac Sign: Leo - Roar!

Garden Progress--rows hoed!

Over the weekend, my daughter and son-in-law were here. Hubby was also home. Between me, my daughter (not the married one--she's prego!), and my son-in-law, we got the rows hoed! While my original plan was to get at least 10 rows, we ended up with 12 the full length of the garden and then 2 more that were about half the length of the garden. SO, now i have to revamp what goes where! The garden is about 27 feet across the end closest to the camera in that pic. It is about 47 feet long on the left side and almost 50 feet long down the right side. The two short rows are in the back, right--along the woodline. I think that is where I'll put the pumpkins!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Finally bought a new sewing machine...

I used to do some sewing for my business. I made little 4 x 6 drawstring sachet bags with ribbon drawstrings. They sold pretty well for me, but they were hard on sewing machines. So, when I started losing weight, I was without a machine as the one I'd been using was worn out. I've wanted to replace it for like 2 years now but just have not had the money. Today, I stumbled on a cheap, Brother machine at Walmart for $69, so I picked one up. It is basically the same machine that used to sell for like $87, but it has had a couple of price "rollbacks" and is now $69. I will be making some maternity clothes for my daughter and will make myself some shorts. I need shorts badly for this summer!

I also did a lot of shopping for patterns for baby stuff. When my youngest was born, I made her crib set--quilt, pillow, bumper pads and such. I picked up a pattern today to make a set for the baby. I've got plenty of time since he's not due till late July! I'll be sure to share pics as I finish items!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

TOO many cinnamon rolls...

So, lately I have had the most powerful craving for cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing... The other night (Friday), while in Krogers, I found some at the bakery. Well, not really AT the bakery, but rather on a table in a main aisle. I'd been avoiding the BAKERY! LOL SO, as I'm big on caving in to cravings and getting past them, I bought the danged things. BAD move! So, I had one Friday night. Then, another Saturday morning. And one on Sunday... Monday... Well, yesterday the scale caught up to it all! 201! While part of it is that Aunt Flow is due early next week, it is only PART of it! Another element in this gain is that I've been eating too many of those sugar free bread & butter pickles and the sodium has me retaining water again.

Now, I am back to focusing on protein and getting away from carbs again. I'm on day two of it and I can already feel the carb cravings backing down. But, the scale better start backing down again as well! Momma is NOT happy! LOL

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Garden Progress Update 3

Today's progress is meager, but progress no less! I got seeds started for my cherry tomatoes and for cantaloupe plants as well. I have about 75 cherry tomatoes started and about 35 cantaloupes. I also cut a couple of barrels in half for strawberry container gardens. Now, I just need to figure out how many plants I can put in each of these and whether or not I have enough! I put about 100 pounds of potting soil in each half-barrel...

100 posts...

I've only been blogging here since the fall of 2007, but this post is my 100th post! My, how time flies! I'm 20 months postop now. I've lost 213 pounds to my lowest weight of 197 pounds. I've lost over 175 inches from all over my body. My WLS journey has been a wonderful ride and it is not over yet!

April 22--Earth Day

Today is Earth Day. What does that mean? Well, if you go to http://www.epa.gov/earthday/ and read, you find the following:

Celebrate Earth Day

On April 22, 1970, 20 million people across America celebrated the first Earth Day. It was a time when cities were buried under their own smog and polluted rivers caught fire. Now Earth Day is celebrated annually around the globe. Through the combined efforts of the U.S. government, grassroots organizations, and citizens like you, what started as a day of national environmental recognition has evolved into a world-wide campaign to protect our global environment. Learn about the history of Earth Day.

The EPA site lists some things you can do in your home and community as well as at school and work to help make a difference. Here's a few ideas:

reduce, reuse, and recycle wherever possible!
compost your yard waste instead of bagging it up to go to the landfill
be aware of the chemicals you use
make energy efficient choices when buying appliances, light bulbs and such
conserve electricity and water

There is also a list of Earth Day events and volunteer opportunities...

But, when you stop and think about it, what are you already doing to help the earth?
Have you bought any of the reusable cloth shopping bags?

Have you stopped using paper/disposable dishes, utensils and cups?

Do you reuse any of the plastic grocery bags you bring home from the store?

Are you recycling your plastics, glass, and newspaper items?

Are you a member of your local Freecycle group?

Do you keep your car tuned up properly and
walk or ride your bike at times to save gas and automobile emissions?

Have you taught your kids the REAL reason why we should turn off lights when we leave a room? why we don't run the water the whole time we're brushing our teeth? It is about conserving energy/water, NOT about keeping the bills lower...

When you shop for groceries, are you mindful of items that use lots of fancy packaging versus items that are more conservative and more earth-friendly in their packaging?

What about water bottles? Are you using a refillable bottle OR are you buying tons of single water bottles? Have you seen the commercial now by Brita--30 minutes on the treadmill, a lifetime in the landfill... It is in reference to a plastic water bottle... Those things don't break down! If you are using the single use water bottles, PLEASE recycle them!

We must all do whatever we can to help keep our earth healthy. Without a healthy earth, we can't have healthy bodies!

Recipe: Ricotta Fluff--MY way

A while back, I posted a Ricotta Fluff recipe that was from Val, an OH member. Val uses whole milk ricotta cheese and the big tub of it (32 oz). I did not care for the taste with the whole milk ricotta. I might add that I don't like the taste of cottage cheese either, so maybe it was just me! BUT, I made ricotta fluff for myself again this weekend and changed the ingredients to make something that I thought I'd like the taste of... Here's what I used:

15 oz tub of part-skim ricotta cheese
8 oz tub of sugar free Cool Whip
1 box sugar free cheesecake flavor Jello pudding mix (just the powder)

With a hand mixer, whip the ricotta cheese and Cool Whip together till smooth. Pour in the pudding powder and continue to mix till blended. Serve with a fruit topping for added flavor.

I've been eating mine with strawberries on top. Krogers has a frozen strawberry slice that is sweetened with Splenda and is yummy! I put a spoon or two of that on top of the ricotta fluff and man-oh-man is that good! I've also used fresh strawberries and thawed, frozen strawberries. I just love strawberries!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Garden Progress Update 2

I continue to progress towards my garden for the year... Today, I picked up seeds for
cherry tomatoes
green beans (another variety)
yellow squash

I also got strawberry roots and yellow onion sets. And, I got a flat of lettuce (9/10 of it was romaine and the rest was iceberg).

I still need seed taters and green onions. I think that is it!

I decided to put my strawberries in containers. I have some 50 gallon plastic barrels here that I'm gonna saw in half and use as 25 gallon planters. So, I picked up 15 bags (40 pound) of potting soil as well. SO, time to start working up the rows in the garden and cutting down those barrels!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Recipe: Burrito Bake Casserole--TAKE 2!

So, I made my burrito bake casserole again... If you didn't see it the first time, you can check it out here... This time, though, once it was all layered up in the casserole dish, I got out my Cotija cheese that I bought for an Eggface recipe a bit back and crumbled it over top of the dish after I had the shredded Mexican cheese blend already added. Yummo!

Garden progress update

I spent Weds afternoon pulling stalky weeds out of the area where my garden is to be. Then, later Weds afternoon, the guy showed up with the tractor to plow it for me. I went on Friday and picked up some of my plants. So far, I've gotten the following:
peppers--sweet/bell, chili peppers, and jalapenos
tomatoes--roma and regular

I also got seeds for the green beans (tenderette) yesterday. This week, I'll pick up some romaine lettuce plants (they had them at the grocery store on Friday, but I was waiting to see what the nursery had). I will also pick up seeds for cantaloupe, corn, yellow squash, and cucumbers. I still need seeds for either cherry or grape tomatoes (LOVE those babies as a snack or in salads). And, I've got to get some onion sets too and get those in the ground ASAP.

I'm still up in the air on whether or not to do the following:
strawberries (because of needing to order the plants and the struggle to keep the critters away)
carrots (we feed a lot of carrots to our rabbits)
potatoes (don't eat many)
pumpkins (probably both a jack-o-lantern type and kershaws for pies and such)
gourds (for bird houses next spring)

I thought about some sort of herbs but haven't a clue where to start. I don't use a lot of herbs in cooking, so it would mean being able to explore what I could DO with them if I grew them... I welcome suggestions on that one! (hint, hint--leave me a comment!)

Goals: Let Your Life Soar

This post is a response of sorts to a post by Cathy titled "Let Your Life Soar." In this post, Cathy writes:
As you think over your life, what are the things you’ve done that you’re proud of? Aren’t you glad that you did them than if you held back and didn’t?

For the future, what are your dreams? What are your hopes? Don’t live with regrets…..go for what you want! Boats aren’t meant to stay tied up at the dock. They’re meant to sail. Your life isn’t meant to be stagnant, tied with fears. You’re meant to soar!

So, I must ask myself--What ARE my goals? I mean, I put goals up on my OH page, but are those really my LIFE goals? My goals over there include things like losing 200 pounds (done!) and riding rides at amusement parks with my kids... But, is that all that I aspire to do in the rest of my life? I mean, I am only 40, so that could be a LOT of years to come! LOL Time to do some deep thinking and decide what I really want out of the rest of my life, right?

I want to get back to teaching... I went to college, did my student teaching, and got my teaching degree back in the 90s. Then, we moved to another state which really threw a wrench in my plans to go right to work that next school year as a full-time teacher. Once we got settled, I began working as a substitute teacher as there were no openings here in my area of teaching certification. Then, little by little, my health began to deteriorate and I was less able to BE a teacher and stopped even doing the substitute gig... Now, thanks to my WLS and the changes that brought about, I've turned my health issues around and am able to teach again. SO, I took the classes I had to take to get my certification renewed and have received my renewed certificate to teach. Next step was a job application--done! Now, I'm waiting to hear about interviewing to go back on the list to substitute till I find a position open that I can apply for with my certification. It may take time as you sometimes have to wait for someone to retire from a position before you can find something. But, in the meanwhile, I can sub and at least be a part of the profession I trained for!

I want to take control of the clutter in my home and life. During the years when I couldn't teach, I was doing an internet retail thing from home. The "stock" for this business overtook my home. My hubby said it (still) looks more like a warehouse than a home. Now, with that part of my life seemingly behind me, I still have all this STUFF here! The business was supplying raw materials and packaging for folks who made soaps, lotions, and other body products. SO, there isn't a huge local interest in these items. I need to get a thorough inventory of what I still have on hand (ugh) and start eBaying the stuff to get it gone! At the same time, while I was sort of incapacitated by illness, the clutter of life took over most surfaces in my home. So, as if the business related stuff wasn't bad enough, there's lots of other clutter too. Little by little, I've been trying to tackle that aspect of it. One weekend, I cleaned out a closet and got rid of a bunch of crap. Then, I was able to clean another area of the house and properly store (in said closet) items that were cluttering the house. I've cleaned out drawers and put away clothes that were piled in the laundry room. I've gone through boxes and bags and drawers full of old receipts and such and determined what, exactly of that stuff needed kept for tax records or record of purchase for warranty reasons and then destroyed a major portion of the stuff. BIG bunch of paper garbage removed from my home! But, the biggest factor is still the remaining business inventory... I've made it sort of a challenge for hubby to identify things I've gotten done each time he's home. The bad part about that is that there is still so much to do that he rarely can tell what has already been done... Bummer!

I want a YARD! We have 10 acres here. Part of that is filled by the house, obviously, and part of it is used for farm animals. But, I have this huge grassy area that I mow--probably 3 acres. I have no flowers. I have no yard decorations. I have no fruit trees.... I want to start making a yard out there. I want something that people slow down to look at as they drive past. Landscaping was a BIG deal where I grew up in Florida. Around here, some folks think "landscaping" means getting rid of the junk car they took the motor out of two years ago and taking their collected aluminum cans to the recycling center for the cash rewards! I want to create an enjoyable place to sit and relax. Once I have a yard worth looking at, I want a porch swing on my front porch to sit, relax, and admire what I've created!

THEN, once the yard is under way--We have this awesome porch that goes all the way around the house with the roof of the house going all the way out over the porch (it was built that way to begin with rather than being added on later). Including the porch, the house is 64 feet long and 42 feet wide and the porch is the outer 8 feet of that all the way around the house. What do we use that porch for? Storing more junk! And, yes, some of it IS from my business! LOL Some of it is tools and such of hubby's. There are bikes and weight lifting stuff... There's yard tools and such (that should be in a storage building). But, we don't ever just sit on the porch and enjoy having it! I want to do that!

I'm about to be a grandma for the first time this coming July. I want to be able to spend time with that grandbaby and be a real part of his life (supposed to be a HE anyway!). My own mother could never be bothered to spend time with her grandbabies. She did NOT babysit. She didn't dote. She rarely ever wanted to even spend time around them and she has TEN grandkids who now age from 7 to 19. She spent those last 19 years being single and doing her own thing. I don't really even see signs that she regrets not really getting to KNOW her grandkids... My own girls have no other grandparents. Hubby's folks passed away. My parents divorced when my girls were still very little and my Dad passed away in 1995. Our (mine and hubby's) grandparents were all deceased already... So, my Mom was it for my girls in the grandparent category and she has only been the sort of grandma who buys you stuff for your birthday and Christmas, not the sort whose house you want to be at all the time 'cause you just love to spend time with them! I want to be THAT grandma--the one who does stuff with you and makes sure you know how much you mean to them... And I want it to be ALL year long, for all their life, not just on holidays and birthdays or at high school graduation...know what I mean?

What else? Well, I want to pay for our home and get out of debt a bit... I want to have a retirement fund. I want to travel a bit. I've never had a real vacation. We never had a honeymoon. I've never been on a cruise or been out of the country. All of these things rely on funding... So, that brings me back to getting back into teaching! I've come full circle here! So, that is my number one goal and where I'll be putting all my energy!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Product Review: Green Giant Healthy Weight Vegetables

I found these in the frozen food section at Krogers... I had a coupon for $2 off of $10 in frozen food (one of those discount card generated coupons from the store's Kroger Plus system). So, I'm walking along the rows of frozen food cases looking for something new to try and I spot these. Green Giant Healthy Weight Vegetable Mix. It is a mixture of black beans, shelled edamame, carrots, and sugar snap peas in a very light butter sauce. It is delish! The box says, "Healthy Weight--diets rich in foods naturally containing fiber can help you maintain a healthier body weight."

Apparently, they are part of a new line from the Giant... From their site:

NEW! Healthy Weight, Immunity Boost, and Healthy Vision

Now Green Giant offers you a delicious way to meet your health goals - Healthy Weight, Immunity Boost, and Healthy Vision. Each is a variety of premium all natural vegetables uniquely blended and lightly tossed with a great tasting sauce to provide you with specific nutrients to help you feel your best:


Healthy Weight - Diets rich in foods naturally containing fiber can help you maintain a healthier body weight.

  • Sliced carrots, sugar snap peas, black beans and edamame lightly tossed with butter sauce.
Immunity Boost - Naturally rich in antioxidants vitamins A & C to help support a healthy immune system.
  • Broccoli florets, julienne carrots and red and yellow sweet pepper strips in a garlic-herb infused extra virgin olive oil seasoning.
Healthy Vision - with natural antioxidants luetin & vitamin A to help support eye health.
  • Sliced carrots, zucchini quarters, and sliced green beans lightly tossed with rosemary butter sauce.
Conveniently frozen to lock in nutrients and easy to prepare. Simply steam in the microwave for 3 minutes for a fresh, crisp, and deliciously wholesome side dish or snack that will help you meet your health goals.

The Nutrition Facts:
These measure up pretty well! A 2/3 cup (cooked) serving is only 90 calories and has 5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein! Only 14 total carbs and lots of taste... These make a tasty side dish for dinner or even a great snack option. Ease of preparation is nice. I set the frozen packet in a bowl and microwaved it for 4 minutes. Then, you just split the packet open and dump it into a dish. Bing, bang, boom! How easy was that? LOL 90 calories, 9 net carbs, and 5 grams of protein... Can't ask for a more WLS friendly side dish!

Ingredients: Carrots, sugar snap peas, cooked black beans (water, black beans) and shelled edamama (soybeans) in a sauce containing water, enzyme modified butter, salt, modified corn starch.

How's it look to you?

Product Name: Green Giant Healthy Weight Veggies

Product Type (meal replacement, protein bar, snack, etc): snack, side dish

Where Can I Get/Find It? most grocers in the frozen food section

Cost: $2.00

Pros: tasty, good fiber content, low calorie, low fat, fair amount of protein with reasonable total carbs

Cons: I can't really think of any!

Overall Rating: Yeah Baby! This veggie mix makes a very tasty addition to a meal and would make an awesome snack too. It has a very light butter flavor but not an actual "sauce" to it. I'll definitely buy more of this one!

Link to a thread at OH about this item/review

Recipe: Crunchy/Cheesy Chick Peas

We're going to start out with a recipe from my website... If you click that link, there are lots of protein snack recipes on that page! There are like 14 different protein ball recipes too!

Crunchy Chick Peas


1 can chick peas

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp oregano


Drain chick peas, rinse, and shake excess water out.

In a bowl, mix chick peas, olive oil, oregano, and salt.

Spread on a baking pan/cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour.

Then, we're going to think about what ELSE we can do with it! In my email files, I saved another crunchy chip pea recipe that was passed along on a YahooGroup I am on. That one was submitted by Bush's Beans to a recipe collection site. It looks like this:

Bush's Crunchy Garbanzo Beans


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 (15 ounce) cans BUSH'S Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Rinse the beans in a colander, drain and dry well with a paper towel.
  3. Add the oil, salt and pepper to the beans and toss evenly to coat.
  4. Spread beans in an even layer on the baking sheet, and place in preheated oven. Bake for 30 minutes, until crunchy, stirring and shaking the pan midway through baking.
  5. Sprinkle the rosemary evenly over the beans, and continue to cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until beans are crunchy. Some will be slightly soft in the center. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the beans to a serving bowl. Sprinkle the cheese over the beans, and stir to evenly distribute the cheese.
SO, what else could we do with these lovely little beans??? Are there other spices that would be good on them? What about other cheeses that would be good to stir in? No matter what you do to tweak them, these sound like great snacking recipes!

Stalling away....

Sing it with me... "Come stall away, come stall away, come stall away with meeeeeeeee..." (sung to the tune of the Styx hit Come Sail Away) I guess I really should be used to it by now... I stall for LONG cycles of time! My last stall was about 15 weeks. No weight loss at all from about Dec 1 till mid March. Then, suddenly, I dropped a few pounds. Now, I'm stalled again. Since 3/14/08, I have been drifting around between 197 and 200 pounds. I must say that while I am totally okay with this even as a final resting point and a maintenance area, I wonder at times whether I will lose any more. I see parts of my body that look as if perhaps I've lost fat or replaced it with more muscular tissue. I don't have a muscular appearance, but I certainly look better (baggy skin and all) than I did at 410 pounds! How could you NOT? LOL And, I feel sooooo much better too!

I rode a bike for the first time in 20 years yesterday... I'm talking about a real BIKE, not an exercise bike or stationery bike... If I had understood how the gears worked on the danged thing so that I didn't feel like I was crawling along on the hill, I might have rode it further than I did. But, I RODE A BIKE! 1987 or 1988 was, quite literally, the last time my butt rode a bike. And, even then at about 275 pounds, I did it in the evenings after dark. I was lucky to live in a neighborhood where this was safe to do and I was so much less self-conscious about my appearance in the dark! I've got to figure out the levers for the gear system on this danged bike (it is my hubby's and he doesn't have a clue either!) so that I can make a habit of this. I absolutely HATE riding an exercise bike.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Product Review Followup: Detour Lower Sugar Caramel Peanut Protein Bars

Well, well, well..... Back a couple weeks or so ago, I reviewed this protein bar...

Product Review: Detour Caramel Peanut Protein Bar (both the regular and lower sugar versions)


They say it takes a big person to admit when they are wrong. Well, I WAS WRONG!! Melting Mama reviewed this same protein bar and said it tasted like licking the bottom of a 1973 bathroom floor tile--mildew was what she AND Mr. MM said it tasted like. Though tempted to pass it on to my kiddo after that review, I tried it anyway as I'd already bought the durned thing and was curious to see for myself. I must say that with THAT bar, I didn't have the experience that she did and I wrote the review linked above.

Then, as they were okay and pretty cheap AND I had a couple of buy one, get one free coupons from their website, I bought SIX more of them while in Walmart the other night... Six bars for about $4...not a bad deal, right? A few days go by and I need a bar for lunch and I grab one of those. O M G!! NASTY!! I so very truly know now what Beth experienced as I got it too! And, crazy me thought that it had to just be a fluke since I'd had that one before that was okay, so I tried ANOTHER today and, yep--you guessed it--MILDEW again!

SO, being the corporate complainer that I used to be many years ago, I called their 800 number to complain. Guess what I was told.... "I'm sorry, but we no longer make the Detour bars. I can give you the company info for who DOES make/market them now though..." So, she did and I called THEM only to get a danged voicemail system because all lines were busy. Hmmm, maybe busy taking complaints from folks who got these mildew tasting protein bars??? Ya think??? I left them a message and told them just what I thought of the bar and my name and phone number. The system promised a call back within 48 hours. I'm guessing that is business days though, so may not hear from them before Monday or Tuesday since this was Friday afternoon... I'll edit this if/when I get a response. I imagine that the only thing they'll have to offer to make up for this "inconvenience" (ugh, my poor abused tastebuds!) will be a coupon for a free bar. If they DO offer this, it certainly won't be THIS bar I buy with that coupon! Maybe I can use it towards one of the coconut almond Detour/Joyride bars... Otherwise, I'm not interested! Never again will one of these Caramel Peanut Lower Sugar Detour bars see the inside of MY shopping cart!

For anyone interested in the info, the company now making/marketing Detour bars was Forward Foods and the number is 800-203-3877. Maybe you'll get a real, live person to take your complaint. If you don't get a real, live person, be sure to leave them a message! LOL

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

More info from BL site--Feeling Good

Yep, I'm still cruisin' the Biggest Loser website! LOL Not sure what drew me over there as I sure can't sit and watch the many video clips on this awful dialup hell connection! But, there are some articles to be found that contain some good info for even a WLS postop! This latest example is one on the Feeling Good page by the show's psychologist... This particular piece is called "Long Term Weight Loss Success." There are other articles there as well. Some titles include "Social Sabotage" and "Coping with Cravings."

Long-term weight loss success

The one question that people often ask me is, "What are the psychological factors that lead to long-term weight loss success?" Clearly, there is not one answer, nor is it the same for every person. However, my clinical experience and observations made from my work with contestants last season have led me to believe that there are many psychological similarities amongst the successful losers. As you read about these psychological factors I encourage you to examine your strengths and weaknesses. When you notice an area of particular strength, take a moment to assess how this has helped you in attaining a healthier mind and body. It is helpful to acknowledge what you are doing well and what is working. When you notice an area of particular weakness, notice how this may be limiting your success or contributing to unhealthy behaviors. How can you begin to build or strengthen one of these areas?

The top 5 psychological factors that contributed to long-term weight loss success.

1. Stay connected to personal goals
What is your intention? To stay on course you must first know what the course is and what the finish line looks like. If you were running a race, wouldn't you want to know how far you had to run, the course map, how to train and what equipment is required? It is important that your goals be realistic, clear and measurable.
Successful "Biggest Losers" write or look at goals daily.

2. Create and expand support.
If our social environment resembles a dry, hot, barren, desert, we will have a difficult time growing and developing. We need a rich and fertile environment to grow. We are social beings that require social connection and support to maintain our health and vitality.
Successful "Biggest Losers" developed and nurtured their social network.

3. Gray thinking
Most of us think in black and white. I am "good" or I am "bad". We divide our world into nice and neat categories. (This behavior reduces an overwhelming amount of information and processes it into more manageable pieces). This is a set up for disaster, in that one small mistake becomes a failure.
Successful "Biggest Losers" don't interpret a small slip up as a failure; they get back on the horse right away.

4. Utilize resources
If I told you that you were about to go on the longest journey of a lifetime, you would want to pack your bag and make sure you had enough clothes, water, food, etc. Resources are anything that contributes to your success and wellbeing. There are no extra points awarded by doing this alone. It is necessary to establish what resources will be needed for success. Do you need a nutritionist, fitness instructor, support group, food journal, online support, recipes, or psychotherapist?
Successful "Biggest Losers" utilized and developed new resources.

5. Identify problems early
What is getting in the way? Is it emotional eating, depression, anxiety, recent losses, work stress. Do you want to address the big roadblock right in the middle of your path, or continue to walk over and around it? What do you gain by continuing to avoid what might be sabotaging your success? This is an opportunity to make real life changes.
Successful "Losers" identify emotional roadblocks and ask for further support, referrals to mental health professionals, or referrals for medication.

This list is meant for you to begin acknowledging what has contributed to your success and celebrate the gains you have made. If you notice there is an area that you believe needs further attention, don't beat yourself up about it. This is an opportunity for you to expand and enrich your life.

Great Sweet Tooth Solutions from Biggest Loser Participants

While surfing the Biggest Loser website today, I stumbled across a page from the season 4 shows that lists 20 Low-Cal Desserts to Die For, also known as Tips for Tricking Your Sweet Tooth... These sound GREAT! Many of them are very WLS friendly and would work well for us postops. Heck, a few of them are good enough that you'd think you were reading EggFace's blog! The article is available for viewing at
and the full text is below! They must have gotten good feedback on these ideas as they turned several of them into a list for the season 5 website with no credit given to the past participants who suggested them here... For example, number one below is now known as a "ricotta fruit cup."

Top 20 Low-Cal Desserts to Die For
Biggest Losers Give Tips for Tricking Your Sweet Tooth

You don’t have to give up treats in order to lose weight. Just make some adjustments. These Biggest Losers tell you how.

1. Steve Tofanelli — I fill a wine glass with mostly berries, a little fat-free ricotta cheese, and a crumbled amaretto cookie on top.

2. Ryan Benson — Skinny Cow brand ice-cream sandwiches are delicious and only 130 calories.

3. Mark Yesitis — Sugar-free pudding snack cups are only 60 calories. Mmm!

4. Lisa Andreone — A really great dessert is sugar-free hot chocolate (the 25-calorie kind) with a dollop of fat-free whipped topping (the 5-calorie kind).

5. Ryan Kelly — I love a sandwich of fat-free chocolate graham crackers with sugar-free whipped topping in the middle. Put your sandwich in the freezer for about 1 hour, and it will taste just like an ice-cream sandwich with hardly any calories!

6. Heather Hansen — I call it my apple treat: I core half of an unpeeled apple and put it into a small microwaveable bowl. I cover it with plastic wrap and microwave it for a couple minutes and then drizzle it with sugar-free maple syrup and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Sometimes I also add a dollop of fat-free vanilla yogurt.

7. Kathyrn Murphy — I like to stir a teaspoon or two of peanut butter into a sugar-free, fat-free chocolate pudding cup. It tastes just like a peanut butter cup!

8. Kai Hibbard Martin — I love a bowl of sliced fresh strawberries with vanilla soymilk. Sometimes I add a little Splenda for extra sweetness.

9. Susan Tofanelli — When I have extra ripe bananas on hand, I peel them, cut them into 1-inch pieces, and freeze them. I blend the frozen chunks in a food processor or blender, sometimes adding a little water and maybe a drop of vanilla extract. It’s really creamy and tastes rich like ice cream. I figure 1/2 cup probably has about 50 calories and no fat.

10. Tina Meyers — I like having melon because I can have a bigger serving size than some other fruits. Frozen yogurt goes well with it, but sometimes I just have plain melon with a little fresh mint and a few sliced almonds sprinkled on top.

11. Suzanne Mendonca — I like to spread a graham cracker square with fat-free cream cheese. I usually put fruit spread or fresh berries on top of it.

12. Tammy Senti — If there’s extra coffee in the kitchen, I’ll ice a glass of decaf with a little scoop of fat-free vanilla frozen yogurt, with nutmeg or cocoa powder on top. It’s more like a dessert than a drink.

13. Edwin Chapman — I like to make homemade rocky road by topping sugar-free chocolate ice cream with a couple of miniature marshmallows and a few chopped pecans.

14. Gary Deckman — I make “croutons” of toasted angel food cake. I put a few in a glass with diced fruit and a spoonful of fat-free frozen yogurt or sugar-free ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

15. Nick Keeler — My weakness is sugar-free raspberry sorbet. I like it with tangerine or orange slices and top it with a few almonds.

16. Lael Dandan — I like fat-free vanilla or strawberry frozen yogurt with fresh blueberries.

17. Toniann “Toni” Sapienza — I buy the super jumbo fresh strawberries and dip them into a few tablespoons of fat-free chocolate sauce.

18. Steve Rothermel — I like to grill fruit on kebabs; sometimes cantaloupe, honeydew, or a little pineapple in chunks on skewers. If it’s a special occasion, I have a little sugar-free ice cream with it.

19. Ruben Hernandez — A pudding parfait is one of my favorite dessert recipes. I layer sugar-free, fat-free chocolate pudding with fresh blueberries, raspberries, unsalted pistachios, and fat-free whipped cream . . . yum!

20. Kelly Minner — I like poached pears with a little honey and chopped pecans.

Copyright Biggest Loser Club 2007

Biggest Loser Season Finale and How It Affects ME

I will admit that I am a fan of the TV series The Biggest Loser. I watch it most weeks of the season and will catch reruns of previous season's shows on cable. I don't Tivo it 'cause I don't have one! If I did, I would as at least one week per month I'd miss the show completely. I LOVE that this year's winner is a woman... Only took FIVE seasons for a woman to win! Not only did she win, but Ali also lost more weight than ANY other woman on the show--EVER. She lost a whopping 112 pounds!

I know that many people won't watch it as they think it is demeaning to overweight folks, etc. Many think that the ONLY reason these folks are successful is their ability to use a dietician and having their wonderful trainers to kick their asses. And, many feel that it is just a matter of time before they regain it all when they no longer have that same level of support. I did, however, see a note on the Biggest Loser website that stated that all 14 of the season four participants have supposedly maintained their weight loss to date.

I enjoy watching these folks work towards this common goal of weight loss just as we WLS postops are doing. I like seeing the things that the trainers have them do. I enjoy watching them compete in challenges each week. I especially enjoyed the triathalon they did a couple of weeks ago. I find it empowering to see these folks who are making a comeback from morbid or super-morbid obesity do things that they'd only dreamed of doing before.

And, who wouldn't LOVE to have the muscles they build during their loss! Some of those bodies at the finale were freaking AWESOME for someone who'd just 20 weeks prior been obese at any level. Like Melting Mama, I'd SO like to have Bob or Jillian come live with me! I have lost 212 pounds now (down to 198 from 410). That is more than ANY of them lost! Heck, it is more than some of the teams lost including both partners' weight loss amounts! But, I don't have muscles! I want muscles! But, alas, it hasn't worked that way for me. Now I'd like to say YET, but who knows! I have been seriously lacking in a weight training program. I live too far from a gym to use one regularly (25 miles each way to a small town "fitness center" that is in NO way a true "gym" for someone seriously intent on bodybuilding), so I can't get my money's worth out of a gym's monthly membership. I have a few exercise tools/items here at home that I could make use of, but I lack the true motivation to do so. Perhaps this "muscle envy" that I am currently suffering will do it for me? Hey, it could happen! What I really need is a PLAN. I need someone to take a look at my list of available workout tools and help me come up with a plan that will work... Volunteers are welcome!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Product Review: ISS Oh Yeah Bars--Vanilla Toffee Fudge

OMG! Those things are good! Toffee...Fudge... What a combo!! Then, add in some peanuts and a wonderfully creamy vanilla coating and you are in heaven--vanilla toffee fudge heaven!

This protein bar is a large one at 3 ozs, but can easily be cut in half and used for two individual servings OR chop the bar into bite sized pieces and eat as a snack sized treat now and then when the craving for something sweet hits you! For a real treat, chop it into slices and put them in a baggy in the fridge to take a bite of when you are just in the mood for a teensy bit of something and would otherwise grab something not nearly as good for you! Mmmmm, what a treat!

From the ISS website:

No pain, no gain should define your training - not your protein bar! So reward your workout with the gooey, sweet taste of OhYeah!®. Containing 26-28 grams of muscle-building protein, heart-healthy fats, low sugar and absolutely no trans fats in a bar that's nothing short of amazing.

More than just another flavorless brick, OhYeah!® looks and eats like a real candy bar that's so good you'll know how it got its name. OhYeah!® - It's that good!®

OhYeah!® Vanilla Toffee Fudge
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 85g (1 bar)
Servings Per Container: 1
Amount Per Serving
% DV*
Calories 370

Calories from Fat 160

Total Fat 18g 28%

Saturated Fat 8g 40%

Trans Fat 0g

Polyunsaturated Fat 2g

Monounsaturated Fat 3g

Cholesterol 5mg 1%

Sodium 115mg 5%

Potassium 100mg 3%

Total Carbohydrate 30g 10%

Dietary Fiber 4g 15%

Sugars 10g

Sugar Alcohol 13g

Protein 27g 54%
Vitamin A 0%

Vitamin C 0%

Calcium 15%

Iron 10%

Phosphorus 10%
* Percent Daily Values Based On A 2,000 Calorie Diet.

Ingredients: Protein Blend [(OhYeah!® Blend Consisting of Whey Protein Isolate, Soy Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Concentrate, Calcium Caseinate), Hydrolyzed Gelatin], White Coating (Maltitol, Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil, Milk Protein Isolate, Nonfat Dry Milk, Soy Lecithin, Distilled Monoglycerides, Natural Flavor and Sucralose), Toffee Flavored Soy Nuts (Soybeans, Sugar, Natural Flavors, Sunflower Oil and Salt), Peanuts, Chocolate Caramel [Corn Syrup, Sugar, Cream, Cocoa (Process with Alkali), Fructose, Water, Palm Oil, Soy Lecithin, Salt and Natural Flavor], Glycerine, Cocoa Powder, Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Sucralose and Potassium Sorbate Added as a Preservative.

Allergen Alert: This product contains peanuts, milk, and soy and is produced in a facility that processes soy, dairy, egg and wheat ingredients, peanuts, and tree nuts.

SO, if you eat half of this large bar, you get just 185 calories, 15 grams of total carbs (2 fiber, 6.5 sugar alcohols--net carbs of 6.5!) and you also get 13.5 grams of protein in a proteinalicious© taste treat! I noted NO protein taste in this bar either. This bar does well on my rules for protein bars and tastes great too! And, when used to soothe those sometimes savage sweet tooth cravings, it is a real winner! This bar is candy-bar enough to be loved, heck even fought over by the kiddos. My 16 year old says that this bar is "a great way to get a teenager to eat a healthy snack!" LOL Of course, if you are buying them by the bar, that could get expensive! I paid $2.89 per bar at GNC, but found a box of 12 for $25 at Vitamin Shoppe. SuperTrition offered them for $20.12 for a box of 12. So, they can be very affordable though not at local purchase sites. While I don't buy a lot of things online, this is one that I will be ordering more of on a somewhat regular basis!

And, as I've commented on package pics versus actual appearance before, let me say that this bar's picture on the package DOES do justice to what you actually get! And, if I hadn't already finished the bar, I'd give you pictorial evidence! LOL Ah well, maybe when that new box of them shows up later this week I'll get a pic taken and posted??? Who knows! It could happen!

Product Name: ISS Oh Yeah Bar--Vanilla Toffee Fudge flavor

Product Type (meal replacement, protein bar, snack, etc): protein bar

Where Can I Get/Find It? locally, probably only GNC but several online sites carry them and offer low cost, flat rate shipping

Cost: single bar at GNC is $2.89 but boxes of 12 online are $20 to $25 at MANY sites

Pros: great taste, measures up to my rules for protein bars, even the kiddos will eat it

Cons: even the kiddos will eat it! LOL not readily available from affordable, local sources/needs to be ordered from online sources

Overall Rating: OH Yeah Baby! This bar has already found its way into my online shopping cart and has won a place in my short list of protein items I eat regularly!

This bar is also available in other
© flavors! The creamy vanilla & caramel is particularly good too! My kiddo loves the peanut butter & caramel as well as the chocolate & caramel. But, what ISN'T good with caramel? I mean I only own one flavor of DaVinci sugar free flavor syrups and guess which one it is...Caramel! Here's links to the ISS site's info on the different flavors!
Chocolate & Caramel Nutrition Facts
Peanut Butter & Caramel Nutrition Facts
PB & Strawberry Nutrition Facts
Creamy Vanilla & Caramel Nutrition Facts
Vanilla Toffee Fudge Nutrition Facts

I happen to know that Melting Mama liked this bar AND Melting Mama liked the creamy vanilla & caramel one too! It came up in the Google search when I was looking for the nutrition info for these bars! LOL

And the winner is......

The winner of the contest for the box of protein snacks and goodies is Stephanie B! Stephanie, you won a box with no less than 10 items inside (the number of folks who commented). Please be sure to get me your shipping address so I can get this off to you right away!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Recipe: Burrito Bake Casserole

Sallbu posted a burrito bake recipe to the mini-challenge YahooGroup. I made something similar and thought I'd share it with you guys! It worked out really well and enabled me to use up some leftover taco meat sauce I had in the fridge!


2 whole wheat tortillas, burrito size

1 can refried beans

about 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (4 cheese Mexican blend)
1 cup prepared taco meat sauce

4 tbsps salsa

non-stick spray

I used a round casserole dish that was about 9" wide. A whole wheat tortilla just filled the very bottom of the dish.
I sprayed it with generic non-stick spray. Then, I laid a whole wheat tortilla in it. These were the LaTortilla Low Carb whole wheat tortillas. I'm going to review them on my blog soon. Anyway, I put one in the bottom of the dish. Then, I spread half a can of refried beans over the tortilla. Then, I spread around about a cup or so of leftover taco meat sauce I had in the fridge. I spread about 1/2 a cup of shredded cheese (4 cheese Mexican blend) over that and then put on another tortilla. Next, I spread on the other half can of refried beans. I put about 4 tbsps of salsa over top of that and then about a cup of shredded cheese.

That is it! I baked it at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or till the cheese was all melty and gooey. I did the numbers too! I can eat about a fourth of this dish, so that is the serving size I used--1/4 of the whole pan. I can, however, eat between a cup to cup and a half of chewed-consistency of food in a meal and this was my lunch, not a snack. Your serving size may vary, but to figure it out easily, multiply each of the numbers below by 4 (as I had 4 servings) and divide by the number of servings YOU make...

The numbers for 1/4th of this recipe were

calories: 320

fat: 14 grams (6 sat, 0 trans)

sodium: 850 mgs

cholesterol: 52 mgs

total carbs: 27 grams (10 fiber, 1.5 sugars)

protein: 23 grams

And, a pic courtesy of Martalinda:
You can view Martalinda's comments about the dish at OH by clicking that link!

NOTE: "Taco Meat Sauce" as I use it is the following:
Brown 1 pound ground beef and drain away the grease/fat. You can rinse it, but it is not required. Next, add 1 packet of taco seasoning mix and about a quarter cup (1/4 cup) of the salsa of your choice and the water that the packet of seasoning calls for. Mix this all together well and simmer it till done according to the packet of seasoning (4 or 5 minutes maybe). I just simmer it on a low heat till the water all cooks away and you're left with the seasoned meat.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Contest ends SUNDAY!

Hi all!
The contest mentioned in the post directly below this post will end on SUNDAY--4/13/08. I'll draw a winner Sunday evening and post it by some time on Monday! Thanks to everyone who took time to post comments!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

How do you lose 20 pounds? Contest!

Most of the folks who will read this post have done this many times over--lose 20 pounds. 20, 40, 80, heck 200 pounds! But, another WLS postop friend and I have been discussing how you lose that LAST 20 pounds...

You can probably remember times in your past when you'd been to Weight Watchers and seen those folks who had just 20 pounds they wanted to lose... And, if you can remember those times, then you probably also remember thinking--if only! LOL If only 20 pounds was all you had to lose, you probably wouldn't have been at WW... You may even remember thinking that you could probably lose 20 pounds just by having a good bowel movement... LOL Many WLS postop folks have lost hundreds of pounds and some have done it more than once. Some of you have lost 100 pounds several times over via Weight Watchers, Atkins, or some other diet. You dropped and subsequently regained that 100 pounds at least once. You may even have thought that losing 100 pounds was easy. But, now you are SO close to goal. You have just 20 more pounds to lose to get to your final goal weight and the weight just isn't budging! You eat right. You keep your carbs low. You exercise. You get your fluids and protein in each day. You shake things up from time to time in both your eating and your exercise. Nothing seems to make a difference. So, HOW do you lose 20 pounds?

We're having this discussion this weekend in my mini-challenge group from OH. I've also posted this same discussion over on the main messageboard at OH. Check it out and comment if you choose!

BUT, if you comment HERE to this post, I'll enter your name in a drawing for an assorted box of WLS friendly snack/protein items! Each comment gets an entry in the drawing AND, the more people who comment, the more goodies I'll put in the box!

Karen, another postop at this last-20-pounds point, surfed the Weight Watchers boards for clues and scavenged the following info:
1. Staying on track over the weekend is HUGE... Many of us have been there and understand the issue. Down time often means bored time and we tend to eat more when we're bored...
2. If you only have 20-30 pounds to lose, you really have to be diligent--no matter what "plan" you follow.
3. EXERCISE! She said it seems to come in all capital letters a lot! Most folks seemed to be doing SIX days a week of cardio/weights combined. Many people were what she said she would call obsessive about running/cycling for MANY miles each day.
4. The Weight Watchers folks were adding calories to their daily intake (points in their language) for this added exercise. It seemed to be in the form of dairy/protein or (get this) protein shakes...hhhmmmmm

Here's a neat concept Karen sort of "borrowed" for us... It's called the 21 day plan (21 days to form a habit). You decide what the habit is you'd like to start/break. You begin counting each day you meet that goal. At the end of 21 days of success you begin the cycle again to ensure the habits become embedded in your lifestyle. If you "fall off the wagon," you reset your count and start over. So, for example, if I wanted to stop eating something--let's say chocolate, I would make that my goal. If I managed not to eat chocolate for 4 days, I would be at C1, D4 (cycle one, day four). If I then ate a Hershey's kiss, I would have to start again the next day at C1, D1. The day after C1, D21 is C2, D1 as we start a new cycle after 21 days of success... Same thing/concept works for maintaining an exercise program, getting in your fluids or protein, etc.

This was an interesting list for a maintenance program plan:
1. EXERCISE (there's those caps again)
2. Attend support meetings
3. Track your food
4. Try something new (recipe, exercise, etc.) to shake things up and keep them interesting
5. Deal with gains and off-track behavior quickly

None of that is new, right? But, how often can you say you do all 5? Not just how many DAYS, but how many weeks or even months?? This is a level of diligence that most can't report for a prolonged period...

Recipe: Meatloaf, but better--Cheesy Spinach Stuffed Meatloaf

This one will be a revision of a recipe I got from a daily recipe email newsletter. I didn't like their core meatloaf recipe... Sorry, but it wasn't working for me! So, what you are getting is basically my favorite meatloaf recipe and the addition of the filling idea... Here goes!

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 medium to large eggs, slightly beaten
1 packet dry onion soup mix (I prefer the Lipton onion-mushroom)
1/3 cup ketchup of your choice (regular or low carb or no sugar, whatever!)
1 or 2 slices of yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup tap water

10 oz package frozen chopped spinach (defrosted and drained well)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

additional ketchup for coating top of finished meatloaf

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Put meatloaf ingredients into a bowl and mix lightly but thoroughly with fork or fingers.
3) Combine filling ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside.
4) On waxed paper, pat the beef mixture out into a 14" x 10" rectangle.
5) Leaving a 3/4 inch space around the edges, spread the filling mixture out over the beef layer.
6) Working from a short end, roll the meat/filling layers up jelly-roll fashion.
7) At both ends of the roll, press the beef layers together over the filling to close the loaf up.
8) Place seam side down in roasting pan (can place on a rack in a meat roasting pan).
9) Bake about 1 hour and then pour off any fat/grease in bottom of pan.
10) Coat outside of loaf with the ketchup topping and place back in oven for about 15 more minutes (till completely done).
11) Remove from oven and can sprinkle with about a 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese if available.
12) Slice into 1 inch slices and serve!

Friday, April 4, 2008

How DID We Ever Do It?

As I scanned OH today, I see a post from Kelly who asks if anyone ever wondered how they ever carried all the weight that they've lost... Well, YES, I have! How in the h&ll did I do it? I mean I have lost 212 pounds (to 198 from 410). That is FOUR fifty pound sacks of dog food and then some. How did I carry 212 pounds around day in and day out--up steps, over long distances, etc. That is like putting another ME on my back and going about your daily business... LOL

We have animals at our farm. I purchase and move about 400 pounds of feed a week for said animals. That is 8 or so fifty pound sacks of feed. Yeah, they load it in the pickup where I buy it. BUT, once I get it home to the farm, it has to be unloaded and carried up 5 steps to the storage area. UP five steps, not down! So, you grab a sack of feed, toss it up over your shoulder and head towards the feed storage area. It is about 30 feet from the tailgate of the pickup to the steps. You brace yourself and start up the steps. There's only FIVE steps for goodness sake! But, about the 4th or 5th time you make this trek carrying yet another bag of feed, you start to think about that 200+ pound weight that has been removed from your daily treks! I should be able to toss 4 bags of feed over my shoulder and go! Heck, that is a 100 pound sack over each shoulder or across each hip... How in the h&ll did I do that!?!!!? It just doesn't seem physically possible anymore. Yeah, I can manage it with ONE bag--50 pounds, but if I try it with two bags (100 pounds total), it is like I'm trying to move a ton! My poor bone-on-bone knees know it is SO not going to happen!

My surgeon says that this is why I will never see a "normal" BMI. Those BMI tables are very antiquated. And, I have a much more dense/heavy muscle core due to carrying around 200 extra pounds every day for about 20 years. SO, while I'm not quite down to what the BMI tables cal "overweight" yet, that is probably where I'll end up. It will be much better than the super morbidly obese body I used to live in though! Heck, the "obese" body I live in these days is a heck of a lot nicer than that was! I can do so much more and am willing to try so many more things than I ever would have considered at 410 pounds...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Product Review: Detour Caramel Peanut Protein Bar (both the regular and lower sugar versions)

Apparently Beth (AKA Melting Mama) and I are of somewhat like minds these days while shopping... We both picked up the same protein bar to try--Detour's lower sugar Caramel Peanut Protein Bar. This bar appeals to the WLS postop due to its nutritional counts--just 15 net carbs, 15 grams of protein and only 170 calories. If it tasted as good as the nutrition facts read, it would be a winner! Looking at the wrapper, you are hoping it will be like a Snickers bar with bennies such as high protein and low carbs!
Melting Mama reviewed this bar on her blog and posted about it on ObesityHelp.com as well. It wasn't a good review. She compared it to licking the bottom of a bathroom floor tile circa 1973... You can imagine where that went!

SO, after reading this review and conversation thread, I must admit that I was tempted to give this one to the kiddo and see what she said... If she gave it an okay (remember, she won't eat a protein bar that tastes like protein), then perhaps I'd consider buying another and trying it myself. But, I bit the bullet and tried this one after all. I have considered trying this bar for many months now (each time I stand in Walmart or Sam's Club contemplating the protein bar array) for many reasons. First, it meets my "rules for protein bars" with at least one gram of protein per gram of net carbs (15 of each in this case). The lower sugar bar has just 170 calories. Not many bars will meet that protein versus carbs rule AND still have less than 200 calories. It just doesn't happen often! But, this bar does both. AND, it was only about a buck to purchase! So, what could I lose, right? Well, I bought it. Actually, I bought it AND the non-lower sugar version to try both. The NON lower sugar version actually has just 14 grams of net carbs, still has 15 grams of protein, and has 180 calories. It does, however, have 6 grams of sugars versus the 3 in the lower sugar version.
After trying them both, I must say that if given a choice between these two bars and nothing else for an entire day, I would choose, ugh, the lower sugar version. While they both have a distinct protein taste to me, the regular version has a stronger protein taste despite the higher sugar content. Both give me a nasty after-effect in proteinalicious burps... Ugh again! I hate, hate, HATE protein powders and the way they taste and smell. I also hate protein bars that distinctly taste like protein bars... If I'm eating a bar, I want it to be more of a treat than a protein item. So, that protein taste (whether during or after) is a joy killer for me. Fortunately, despite the protein taste, neither bar gave me the vision of licking dirty, mildewy floor tiles like it did for Melting Mama. Sorry Beth... While I didn't really care for them, you are alone on that one!
I will add though that the truth-in-advertising factor comes into play here too. The pic on the package is a bit more attractive than the actual bar. See above my shot of what it really looked like inside. There is a thin layer of nuts/caramel above a thick layer of nougat. But, if you scroll up and look at the wrapper pics (particularly the regular, not lower sugar one), you see lots of nuts and gooey caramel pictured. As you can see from this pic, that is NOT what you actually get...

They have a buy one, get one free coupon offer on their website right now. The coupon comes by email. Go to http://detourbar.com/coupons.php to request one.

From the Detour Website:

Original Detour – the #1 Whey Protein Bar

Detour is #1 for a reason. It starts with the core of every Detour product - whey protein, the highest quality protein available. And whey protein has never been more delicious! You’ll love our candy bar flavors, like Caramel Peanut and Chocolate Crunchy Peanut Butter. Of course, our bars are made with only the finest ingredients:

  • 15 – 30 grams Protein
  • High-quality Whey Protein
  • Award-winning candy-bar taste
The candy bars they are thinking of may have won awards, but these protein bars aren't winning any awards from me! Just my opinion (and Beth's I suppose), but I'd rather tell ya'll what I really think!

Product Name: Detour Lower Sugar Caramel Peanut protein bar and Detour Caramel Peanut Protein Bar

Product Type (meal replacement, protein bar, snack, etc):
protein bars

Where Can I Get/Find It? many grocers, Walmart, Target, Sam's Club, etc... Pretty much anyplace that sells protein bars!

Cost: single bar is about a buck, box of 5 is about $5

Pros: cheap, readily available, good balance of protein versus carbs, less than 200 calories

Cons: Distinct protein aftertaste to the lower sugar version, distinct protein taste while eating with regular version, proteinalicious after-burps!

Overall Rating: Lower Sugar version--Maybe Baby! I just might eat this bar in a pinch where I couldn't get one I'd rather have.
Regular version--No Way Baby! I might just go hungry if this were the only other option!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Recipe: Mozzarella & Red Pepper Turkey Burgers

After a bit of humpday blogsurfing, I stumbled upon the following recipe. It sounds wonderful, so I thought I'd share it with you all and give credit where credit's due! LOL I learned about the recipe/blog while scanning Elastic Waist's blog... She posted about these yummy sounding turkey burgers in such a way as to woo me into clicking over to read more at the source--Lazy Susin's blog! The direct link to this recipe post is http://lazysusin.blogspot.com/2008/03/twist-on-turkey-burgers.html
Consider yourself warned though--this is NOT a WLS postop blog! This is a blog by someone who loves to cook/bake and can provide you with other temptations! LOL SO, click over and read, but don't blame me if you leave with the distinct craving for buttercream cake icing or banana nut bread! In the meanwhile, here's her food porn of those turkey burgers to get your tastebuds watering!

This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe from Ellie Krieger as in Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger on the Food Network...

Is it all about eating and food?

Is it all about eating and food? Looking back at previous blog postings, it sure seems like it! It seems like a blog about food at times... Recipes, food product reviews, food logs... LOL But, is that what it is all about? Is life after WLS just day after day of thinking about food?

There are times when life seems "normal." What is normal? Normal is getting up, going to work, doing your "chores," spending some time with your family, catching up on email, surfing the net a bit, and yes, whether we like it or not--eating! The difference after WLS? We eat to live instead of living to eat... Food is now fuel to keep us going physically instead of that mental motivator/comforter that it used to be for so many. I know folks who go through their work morning salivating over their lunch plans or evening dinner plans. They "plan" these meals and anticipate them with a fervor that is just not a part of my life anymore. Food is still good and I crave flavor when I eat. But, I don't crave FOOD the way I did at one point. I still, 19 months after WLS, feel no true hunger. Sure, I get a food craving from time to time and I often indulge the craving just to get past it. But, true hunger is a thing of the past for me (at least at this time). I don't get the tummy rumbling churn of the past and I don't miss it. I do miss the cue that I should eat as I often forget for hours now that it is lunch or dinner time and find myself way late for scheduled meals which can often leave a WLS postop behind on their protein for the day. But, I don't miss the hunger rumble that lead to over-indulging on a regular basis. I don't miss feeling the need to eat in that sense.

As I said though, when I do eat I crave FLAVOR! Food needs to be savory and flavorful. When you eat such small amounts of food, it should be good, right?? LOL My hubby has enjoyed this after-effect of WLS. He tells me often that I was a good cook before surgery, but I am a GREAT cook since my surgery. I've learned more about spices and use spices and fresh ingredients more often now. I want to maximize the flavor of things so that each little bite is something to savor and enjoy. I look for recipes everywhere and I don't look only for WLS friendly recipes as I'm pretty good at modifying things to be better suited to the WLS postop lifestyle and hubby's diabetic needs. Hubby is a lover of food and the good food he gets when he is home has to keep him till he makes it back. Remember he is a trucker and is on the road for about 2 weeks at a time. During those two weeks on the road, he has to make do with truck stop cafes and fast food--sometimes a real chore for a diabetic... He calls me those last few days that he is on the road and asks, "So, whatchya gonna cook for me when I get home?" And, not only do I plan great meals for the days he is to be home, I also have yummy leftovers in the fridge for lunches! Lately, my oldest and her hubby have been staying over a few days while daddy is home. Maybe that is about the good food too? Who knows! LOL

For those days when hubby is home, I find that I sort of obsess over food--what I will prepare, the ingredients I use and shopping for them, how much to fix, whether it makes a good leftover/lunch item... Then, when he is gone again, food loses its appeal for several days. I go back to protein bars and Egg Beaters...again, eating to live instead of living to eat!

Recipe: Beef & Asparagus Stir Fry

This one isn't mine and isn't from my website. I got it from a newsletter and it sounded so good I had to share with you guys!

Beef and Asparagus Stir-Fry
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons lite soy sauce
2 teaspoons MAGGI® Instant Beef Bouillon
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
12 ounces boneless beef sirloin, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 small yellow, red or green bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup carrot strips
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
2 green onions, sliced
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Hot cooked rice for accompaniment
  1. Combine water, soy sauce, bouillon and cornstarch in small bowl.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet. Add asparagus, beef, bell pepper, onion and carrot; cook, stirring frequently, until beef is no longer pink.
  3. Add mushrooms and green onions; cook until tender.
  4. Stir in soy sauce mixture; cook, stirring constantly, until sauce comes to a boil and thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve over rice.

Makes 4 servings.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Do we get too comfy?

I was SO persistent... I tried SO hard... Till I got my weight below 200 pounds, I was SO determined to get there. My goal weight is actually 185 pounds (I have a good amount of excess skin and I'm just a hair or two shy of 5'8" tall with a medium to large frame). Why, with a goal of 185, am I suddenly so complacent at 198? I told people for months that I'd be happy at "anything that started with a ONE." By that, I meant a clothing size and a weight. I got into size 18s way back last fall. That wasn't good enough then... But, I got to 198 back on March 14th, 2008 and suddenly don't seem to care if I never lose another pound. Why? Am I truly that happy at anything starting with a one? Is it really that great after getting as high as 410 pounds (my starting weight July 2006)? I literally have been very complacent and could care less about further loss as long as the scale doesn't go the OTHER way! I can honestly say that each morning when I get on the scale, as long as it says 198 or less, all is right in the world. Whereas, prior to seeing that 198, each day it needed to say something less--even just a tenth of a pound less!
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