Feb 24
Busy Times
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 A Little of This, A Little of That | icon4 02 24th, 2011| icon33 Comments »

Time has been very tight this week.  For starters, at work, we are finalizing everything for all the companies we manage for tax returns, and still have the time to keep up with current financial statements, billing, paying bills, filing and any other thing that crops up on occasion.

In the morning before work and at lunch it has been work on March’s Fiber Binder Club, which we are now 90% done.  Also, we have our annual spinning retreat this weekend (woohoo!!!!) and there has been lots of work to be done getting ready for that.  This year, Sandy and I are taking a car load of stuff to sell at the retreat, including tons of tie-dyed stuff, carded batts of every color and description (some you haven’t seen), naturally dyed yarns and FBC binders for people to see and join.

And then there’s the fiber I intend to spin while there.  With all the work that’s been going on both at the office and at home, I haven’t even had the spinning wheel out of the bag since SOAR, so I want to get that blue Polworth spun and, maybe, plied with the Wensleydale I want to pair it with.  That’s all I am taking to do.  If I need something else to spin on, I can buy something or grab one of my own batts.  Sandy and I won’t be the only merchant there. 

And, I am hoping that Charlotte Wolfe brings more of her fleeces (Hint, Charlotte!) especially that wonderful ivory Romney/Columbia/Corriedale X Shetland ewe fleece that she brought last year.  I get dibbs on it!  All the test spinners loved it and I don’t have much left, just enough to play with some dyes and card up into something.

So, if you don’t much from me until Sunday night or Monday sometime, don’t worry about me – I’m just busy and having lots of fun.

Feb 23
Keeping it together
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Diet and Fitness | icon4 02 23rd, 2011| icon37 Comments »

I  know the subject of diet and nutrition won’t interest a lot of you, so I thought I’d contain my rantings and praisings to one day a week (Wednesdays), so you’ll know which ones to skip if you want to. 

For those who read my Middle-Aged Nutrition Rant from last week, you know that I have been struggling with a 3+ year long plateau.  I’ve tried this and that, different diets, different workouts, lots of that and a little of this, but I still am wandering around in the 160’s like Moses and the Israelites in the desert – and it’s been about as dry and frustrating.  After an emergency trip to the hospital and a talk with my cardiologist, I am talking the bulls by the horns, and doing exactly what it takes to finally lose this weight.  I am going to eat even less and exercise even more, but with very close tabs on how much, what and listen to my body when it needs a break.  Also, his three words that stuck with me are: Consistence, Persistence and Patience.

Dr. Corey told me that if 1200-1400 calories a day isn’t letting me lose weight, then cut it to 1000-1200 calories per day.  So I have.  This is what this week’s rant is about.  I looked at a couple of average days in the food diary, and they averaged about 1280 calories.  Okay, I need to cut at least 200 calories out of each day and be consistent with this each day.  Here was an average day’s menu before the cut:

Breakfast: Hot green tea (0 calories), Oatmeal made with ½ cup old fashioned oats, 1T honey, 1/3 cup crasins, cinnamon and water – 340 calories.  ½ smoothie made of fat free milk, banana, yogurt, and frozen fruit – 139 calories.  Total calories – 479.

Lunch: Green Giant frozen veggies – different each day and about 2 services.  Also a lean protein and a starch – averages about 370 calories (from 330 to 400 depending on what I eat) – Total calories for the day so far – about 849.

Afternoon snack – some sort of fruit like an orange or frozen grapes or something.  I need something sweet in the middle of the afternoon and fruit works.  I really love frozen grapes!  Averaging about 65 calories.  Total for the day so far – 914 calories.

Supper – Sandwich with 1 slice flax or whole wheat bread – 100 calories – 1 serving of lean deli meat – 45 calories – 1 slice aged swiss cheese – 65 calories – 2 pickles slices – 50 calories – and another piece of fruit, lets say a banana at 105 calories (I don’t buy the big ones, but the smallest ones I can find) – Total meal – 365.  Total for the day – 1279.  That’s pretty close to my average as stated above.

Now the changes are as noted.  Breakfast:  keep the oatmeal as is except lower the craisins to ¼ cup – savings of 33 calories.  Delete the smoothie and add in ½ serving lean deli meat – Less 139 and plus 22.5.  Savings at breakfast is 149.5 calories for a total of 329.5.

Lunch – no change – total is up to about 699.5.

Snack – no change – total is up to 764.5.

Supper – keep the banana and the slice of flax bread.  Reduce meat to half a serving for a savings of 22.5 calories, use half a slice of cheese for a savings of 32.5 calories, and use one pickle for a savings of 25 calories.  Savings at supper – 80 calories.  Together with the 149.5 calorie savings from breakfast, I’ve cut 229.5 calories from my day bringing my average down to just under 1050 calories. 

I have eaten this way each work day since then, and I am not getting hungry like I was.  If I think I’m getting a wee bit tired, when I tend to lose control the most, I’ve been getting a cup of hot tea in the afternoon, and that seems to be helping. 

The weekends are a little different, but I monitored everything very closely and have averaged 1100 calories for both days.

Have I lost any weight?  Well, actually, I have.  2.4 pounds since last Wednesday, which has me, finally, below the obese range and into the over weight range.

My only concern is the lack of dairy on a daily basis.  I know I can take calcium supplements, but I’m the type who would rather get my nutrients from the food I eat rather than rely on more pills.  Heck, it’s the pills I’m trying to get off of here!

Starting today will be further alterations.  I talked with my chiropractor yesterday and he gave me a couple of suggestions that will greatly increase my potassium, as well as lower the calories.  I’ll let you know how they go.

Comments?  Suggestions?

Feb 21
Productive weekend
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Work-in-progress | icon4 02 21st, 2011| icon34 Comments »

Did I mention that Sandy and I would be tired after a day of tie-dyeing?  Who-boy!  We certainly were that.

When Sandy got here, we safety-pinned 40 pairs of socks and put them, two pairs of show laces and 5 T-shirts into the washer.  Then I introduced her to Wendy Wii and showed her how it worked.  She played a game of table tennis, she and I bowled a game (where I got my highest score ever of 203 and made 4 strikes in a row!) and I set her up on the plane and let her fly around the island.  She loved it!

Then we buckled down to work.  Not only did we do the socks, T-shirts and laces, we had 7 drawstring back packs, 4 or 5 tote bags and two pairs of undies already prepped in the soda ash solution and dried from last time when we ran out dye, time and energy.  So we dyed them all today.  I can hardly wait to get home tonight and wash everything out.

It’s an good thing it is still cold enough to wear long-sleeves.  My forearms are pretty with their spatterings of multi-colored dyes, but I don’t think it’s the type of professional look for the office.

I hope all of you had lovely weekends!

Feb 20
Woohoo!!! I’m Overweight!
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Diet and Fitness | icon4 02 20th, 2011| icon36 Comments »

Yes, I know most people wouldn’t celebrate bring overweight, but when you’ve been obese for years and years, being merely “overweight” is a real cause for celebration.  As of this morning, I am .7 of a pound below that nasty obese line and I am so proud of myself.

Rather than do a traditional workout yesterday, I cleaned my kitchen, including getting down and scrubbing the floor with a scrub brush.  Getting all that winter grime off was great.  I love my Shark, don’t get me wrong, but there are times when the floor just needs a scrub brush and yesterday was one of those times.

Today, Sandy is coming over for a day of tie-dyeing.  This will be fun, and we’ll be tired tonight.

I’m overweight!!

Feb 18

What a huge difference between last week’s picture and this one.

This week:

And last week:

It was 62 degrees when I was out for lunch yesterday, and with the gentle breeze, there definitely a feeling of spring in the air.  It’s supposed to cool off a bit toward the end beginning of next week, but the start warming up again.  I think Old Man’s Winter’s bottom has been thoroughly kicked and he’s off sulking somewhere.  He may try a couple of attacks, but Ma Nature is firmly in charge and she’ll see to it that his influence is gone until late next fall.

Here’s to hoping that the spinning retreat is ice and snow free this year, and that it is actually warm enough for some walks around the lovely grounds.  I’d much rather take my morning walk outside than on the treadmill.

Feb 17

Since I switched over to non-plastic needles, the knitting is going much better.

If you notice, there’s one wooden needle in there – well, the only set of metal needles I could find came in sets of 4, and I like sets of 5 best, so I improvised.  Actually, it’s rather interesting watching the wooden needle advance around the mitten one side at a time, and when I’ve done 4 rows, it’s back to where it started.  🙂

Spring is arriving more each day.  Yesterday it got up into the 50’s and today, the high is supposed to be 65!  Bring it on, I say! 

My walking partner and I started walking outside again yesterday, first time since last November sometime, and it feels so good!  The birds are singing, we get to watch the sun rise, and all that fresh air – we just breathe it in and rejoice.  We still aren’t walking the full circuit due to the mongo piles of snow in our path, but round and round the parking lot of the two office buildings.  It takes half an hour to walk five of these laps, whereas, the same half hour will get in only two of the full laps.  I just love it when I have over 5800 steps in before 8 in the morning.  Starting next week, I hope to get in a half-hour of treadmill time before coming to work and getting in another half hour.  Then we’ll see how many steps I get in before 8.

I’ll get this week’s picture taken at lunch today and show you how much the snow has melted here so far.  In fact, I was able to pull Bettie in about halfway along the drive and even with the back of the house.  Sure beats that long trek to the road over that slippery snow and ice each morning.

You all have a lovely day!

Feb 16

If you aren’t interested in a monologue about weight loss and nutrition, then you can skip today.  I’ll have more fibery content later in the week.

I am totally frustrated today.  My weight is the cause.  I have been bouncing around in the 160’s for over three years now.  Oh, a couple of times I’ve seen 159, only to rebound right back up again to above 160.  So, I bought a food diary, one that breaks down the foods you eat by calories, fat grams, carbs, protein, and fiber.  Then I bought a Wii and the Wii Fit Plus package.  And I started using them.  Slowly the weight began to creep ever so slowly downwards, so I upped my workouts and made them harder.  My muscles complained, but I ignored them.  I mean, no pain, no gain, right?  Wrong!

What most of you don’t know, and I hadn’t intended to tell you, was that I spent part of a week ago yesterday in the hospital.  The night before I had really pushed myself on the step aerobics part.  On the Free Step section, they want you to do 800 steps in 10 minutes.  Well, I did 1250.  My legs burned and my calves were killing me, but I rejoiced in this because I thought it was good.  The two days before this I did hour long workouts each day, plus play some table tennis with Scott.

Tuesday morning, I got up and went to work sore but not feeling bad.  About 10 minutes into my morning walk with my walking partner, I got light headed and shaky, so I sat down (we have been walking indoors due to the weather).  After about 5 minutes, I decided I felt okay enough to go back to my office, where I sat at my desk.  I drank some water, but the longer I sat there the worse I felt.  My body began having a buzzing feeling all over, I was having troubles breathing, and when I felt my vision closing down, I called to a co-worker to call 911.  Then I laid down on the floor, because if I was going to pass out, I’d rather already be on the ground.

I don’t remember the EMT’s arriving although I have some memory of them asking me if I could get onto the gurney.  I remember bits and pieces of the ambulance ride, mostly of the EMT not being able to get an IV started and him asking questions like my birthdate and such while he entered them on a laptop.

At the hospital, it took the technicians 5 more tries to get an IV started.  Okay, I have really bad veins and I was not feeling well at all.  I was shaking like I had bad chills and my teeth were chattering, but I wasn’t feeling particularly cold.  They said it was like I was dehydrated, but my lips were moist and my eyes and skin looked okay.  (I have quite a few bruises from their attempts with the needles.)

Finally they were able to draw blood and the results came back that my potassium level had dropped to 2.3 and it should have been between 3.5 and 5 something.  In fact, the nurse said it was so low she was surprised I wasn’t cramping.  It accounted for the buzzing and shaking, though.  They gave me two doses of oral potassium (saltiest stuff I have ever drank) and within about 20 minutes, the shaking and buzzing had gone and I could feel myself relax.  But I was very tired.

Basically, what had happened was that I had been over doing the workouts without replenishing the potassium and salts in my body.  So, those sore and tired muscles?  Those were warning signs that my muscles were crying out for help.  Now I know.

Now fast forward to yesterday.  Since I already had an appointment with my cardiologist scheduled, they didn’t make me see him sooner.  My cardiologist is one of the top ones in the city and I am very lucky to have him as my doctor.  I had not worked out much since last Tuesday, although I had started back to walking on Friday.  And the weight I had so painstakingly lost crept back.  I asked what I could do.  I am tired of this 3+ year long plateau and I want to lose the weight necessary to reduce or eliminate most of my medications.

His answer?  Go back to working out, but be careful and listen to my body.  Drink lots of water, but drink something like Gatorade or Powerade with it to replenish the sodium I lose during a workout.  I hate both of them because they are way too sweet for me.  He also suggested tomato or vegetable juice, but my system cannot handle all of that acid.  So now what?  I am eating bananas and am adding other higher potassium foods to my diet.  I hope that will take care of that.  It seems that if you drink tons of water with nothing in your system to help it be absorbed, then it does you no good.  With sodium (and we aren’t talking just table salt here), your body actually absorbs that water rather than just wasting it.  I did not know that.  I was dehydrated even with drinking tons of water.

Also, he reminded me that I am a middle-aged, post menopausal, female office worker (which means my life is pretty sedentary most of the day).  He asked about my calorie intake and I told him I’m keeping it between 1200 and 1400 calories per day, but closer to 1200 most days.  His answer?  Well, if that isn’t doing it, then cut it to 1000-1200 calories per day.  I need a 500 calories deficit per day in order to lose 1 pound per week.  I know that, but I was hoping that he would give me more advise on exercise other than keep it up and be careful.  He said that if I’m consistent, persistent and patient the weight will eventually come off.  Great.  Thanks.

So, today, I am looking at my food diary and seeing where I can cut 200 calories out each day.  My breakfast has been oatmeal with honey and craisins at 340 calories, and ½ a smoothie at 139 calories.  So, I cut out the ½ smoothie and added in half a serving of ham for both the protein and the sodium.  Of course the craisins counts as a fruit, so that’s one serving in.  The second serving will be my banana tonight.  So, that’s a bit over 100 calories cut right there.  I’m really going to miss my wee bit of smoothie, but there you go.

I am cutting out my afternoon serving of fruit.  That’s another 60-70 calories.  My half sandwich for supper will have the second half of the serving of ham and half a slice of cheese rather than a full servings, and that will account for the rest of the 200 calories.  But, what a BORING food plan.  No pickles on my sandwich.  No snacks, nothing extra or different.  That’s the consistent part of the eating part.

Now about the exercise.  I’m back to walking half an hour with Sherri each weekday morning, and 1.2 an hour on the Wii, just not pushing it like I was.  Beginning tomorrow, I will walk another half an hour on the treadmill before coming to work and walking with Sherri.  That will be an hour and a half each day of constant movement.  I’ve been averaging between 7000-10000 steps each day, so this should boost me to between 10000 and 13000 steps.  On the weekends, I’ll do the treadmill for half an hour and an hour on the Wii, ½ an hour hard and half an hour gentle.  And make sure I get my banana in afterwards as well as drink lots of water.

I’ll do this with persistence, and that leaves patience.  I am not a patient person when it comes to me.  I’m patient with other people, but not myself.  Obviously, that is something I have to work on as hard as the other two parts.  I’ll be seeing him next year on February 14th.  Let’s see if I can actually be the 35 pounds lighter I need to be to change how I need medicines.

End of monologue.  If you actually read through all of that, thank you.  If you have any suggestions for additional sodium replenishment that doesn’t deal with super sweet chemical or high acid drinks, I’d love to hear them.  Obviously the lower the calories content the better because I don’t know what else I can cut out at this point.

And, yes, I’m still very frustrated, but I am more determined to make this weight loss thing work for me.

Feb 14

I pulled out some other newbieish handspun, some gray wool with red and blue splotches in it for interest, and decided to knit Scott a pair of partially fingerless gloves (about an inch up on each finger).  So, I got out the book I recently bought from my LYS (Homespun, Handknit), looked for a good, basic glove pattern, and started knitting one written by Rita Buchanan.  No, I did not swatch. 🙁

Well, I got the cuff done, and thought it looked a bit small for Scott’s hands and wrist, so I tried it on.  It was snug on me.  Well, rats!  So, these, instead, will be mittens for me and the next pair will be on larger needles for Scott.

It’s not wasy to see the colors in this picture, but it is pretty yarn, and I have enough for two pairs of hand coverings easily, so we’ll have matching sets.

The problem with these is this:  See those needles?  They are stickier than wood, more flexible than wood and I’m having a devil of a time knitting with them for long before my wrists start hurting – like less than a row.  Since I’ve already had one surgery for carpal tunnel and am trying my best to avoid getting the second hand done, I think I’m going to have to break down and purchase some size 3 metal needles.  This is pretty thick yarn for this project and I think metal needles will save my hands while knitting with it.  I used size 1 metal needles for the cuff, and that was much easier going then this has been.

What do you guys think of flexible, plastic needles like these?  I think mine are going to find a new owner.

BTW, it really melted quite a bit yesterday, but all that slush froze solid over night and it was a nightmare trying to walk out to my car this morning.  It would have been easier if I had had ice skates.  As it was, I walked very carefully as I was loaded down with boxes for the PO and my lunch bag.

Feb 13

We are quickly approaching the half-year mark with the Year of Seasons.  We started this out as summer changed into autumn, will we see winter change into spring at week 26?  Between you and me, I sure hope we see the change from winter into spring far sooner than six more weeks!

With all luck, this next week’s pictures will have very little, if any, snow in it.  Temps are supposed to be in the mid-40’s and we have some rain coming through, which really ought to melt the snow and the layer of ice under it.  Today has a feeling of spring in the air, despite the snow on the ground.  I’ll be welcoming Spring with open arms!

Feb 10

I am officially sick of winter!

It was -9 degrees F this morning when I got up, and I don’t even want to know what it was with the wind chill factored in.

But, I think this is Old Man Winter’s last big push.  After today, it is supposed to get warmer and next week the highs should be in the mid 40’s and the lows around 30 degrees.  Ma Nature is about to give the old man a slap on the face and send him on his way.  I’m sure he’ll try to make a few come backs, but I feel certain that Ma Nature has woken up and is as sick of all this white as we are.

Today is clear, sunny and cold, though, with the highs in the teens.  What is it like where you are?

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