Being a Vampire’s GF Ain’t Cheap

You’d think for as much as much blood as I’ve been donating the past couple months, I would start to get some nice dinners, handbags, flowers.  Being a vampire’s girlfriend is so glamorous in the movies.  Sheesh!  All I get is anemia and a bundle of envelopes asking for money?  I swear…

Anyhoot – I’ve been such a blog fail the past few weeks!  Too much going on at once – ramped up marketing campaigns at work, housing madness, shuffling in and out of UT Southwestern’s facilities, etc. etc. etc.  I started this blog as a place to journal about my lifestyle changes, and it’s been cathartic for me to vent about the bad things or share excitement over new quilts, recipes or things I’ve tried.

Most of you following along have seen my frequent flyer status at UT Southwestern.  I’ve been through a zillion labs, two specialists (with one to come) and taken all kinds of tests.  The good news is that the Big Bads were all ruled out – no cancer, no lupus.  The bad news is that my stomach is still a cranky asshole (for no good reason) and my platelet count continues to drop.  And drop.  And drop.  There’s no treatment until I hit a critical place, so the best thing I can do in the meantime is continue my weight loss, take good care of myself, and check back every six weeks for more testing.

At the rate my platelets are dropping, I’ll hit the critical place this year, so I need to be as healthy as I can when I start getting force fed steroids and God knows what else to get my blood in line.  And that’s without knowing what the rheumatologist has in store.

The scary thing is paying for all of this mess.  Well, scary and annoying.  I’ve been squirreling away cash for a new house, so being hit with $2k of lab and hospital bills really stinks.  Sure, I’m happy to have insurance, but let’s be honest – insurance sucks.  Health care is just really expensive no matter which way you cut it.  I dropped down to a lower plan this year because I NEVER go to the doctor, but also because I know I have the financial security to pay up to my deductible.  And lucky me…I already hit the deductible this year.  I’m still a ways from out my out of pocket max, but at least Aetna will pick up 80% of the tab for the next few months before finally committing me to me and going for 100%.  Sheesh.  Worst date ever.

Oh well, such is life my friends.  I’m thankful to be relatively healthy and thankful I can pay for my care.  I know many people aren’t as fortunate as I am!  I was also fortunate to have my momma with me during most of these tests, and she’s been a great sounding board for my freak outs.  Because heaven knows I’ve had them.

More good news – the inspection round for my accepted home offer went well, and I’m just waiting to close!  May 20th is the big day, which also happens to be my Pop’s 65th birthday 🙂  Fingers crossed that the house appraises…one less thing for me to worry about.

  • Health – managed
  • House – in process
  • Quilts – still a go
  • Dating – meh.  Maybe once H & H are done.

Cheers!

Good News, Bad News and the 50 Pound Mark

Good news first, yes? I officially hit the 50 pound mark over the weekend. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around being 51 pounds heavier this time last year. I’m still struggling with how I look and how my body (poorly) functions at this size, so how on earth was I doing it last year?

Oh that’s right…I wasn’t. I was a mess 🙂

I was worried the loss was a fluke, since this weekend was mostly ridiculous, but the scale said the same thing today so I guess I’m in the clear. It’s so great to drop into the next set of numbers too.

On to the bad news – turns out my house had TWELVE other offers. Isn’t that insane? I have no idea if their realtor even shared my awesome cow note, as it wasn’t mentioned with any correspondence with my realtor. I was surprised by that in particular – the last time I got into a bidding war of sorts on a house and wrote a note, the realtor thought I was the cutest thing ever and wanted to set me up with the homeowner. I can’t remember what came of that, but I think I actually talked to him a couple times.

Anyway, I’m not shocked about the house, as I did offer over asking but not by much. The selling agent told us how popular it had been, albeit in a seriously unprofessional way. My cow house with a fireplace and pool was at the top of my budget, so I couldn’t exactly get crazy. I am being kept as a back-up option, so we’ll see.

The search will continue, and I definitely will be looking at places with pools. Since I’ll be living in the middle of Dallas, it’ll be a great way to bring people together this summer, and I love hosting parties. As fun as my house parties were in Richardson, I can’t imagine how great they would be during the day with a pool, especially since so many of my friends now have little ones. Yay for barbecues!

The other piece of bad news I’m still trying to wrap my head around. This whole blog was started as a way for me to journal about my experience changing my lifestyle and adapting to a much more restrictive diet, all in the interest of fixing my random health issues. I’m thankful I found a doctor that I like – she’s my age, accepting, a great listener – and I wish she had better news for me.

I had nine different vials of blood drawn last week, and though the tests haven’t all come back yet, the ones I was most concerned with did on Friday. The one that go all this started, the C Reactive Protein (hs CRP) that serves as an inflammation marker and is used to measure cardiac risk, among other things, has actually gotten worse. My last measurement was 22, where it needs to be under 5. Now it came back at a 24.7!! Alarming!

Where would it be if I wasn’t essentially following an anti-inflammatory diet? Part of me wants to say fuck it and eat some pizza with a side of Chinese food, but an unsuccessful effort at lowering inflammation doesn’t mean I don’t have severe food intolerances. I actually had some gluten over the weekend, tiny amounts, and was rewarded with skin breakouts and severe headaches. Guess that ish is for real after all. Sigh.

I already had an appointment made with a GI to have a scope done before any of my test results came back, so I guess I’ll just keep moving forward. I’m getting kind of sick of the doctor’s office at this point, though. I do feel better than I did before I changed my diet, so I’ll stay the course, but I’ll admit I’m pretty damn devastated that the hard work hasn’t given the results I was after. Losing weight has been great, but it’s just not enough.

The other bad thing was my platelet count. I don’t know if I’ve even blogged about this one, because it’s frankly not as interesting as the whole change your diet thing, but my platelet count came back very low back in October. Normal minimum is 150, and I measured 125. Dr. Brown is pretty unflappable, and she was concerned enough for me to have it retested. November I read 140, still low but better. Now it’s even lower – 116.

New doctor told me not to be too worried, since it’s only gets super alarming when it drops below 100, but I’m still being sent to a hematologist. That’s right, friends. I get to see two different specialists this month. Yay? Hopefully it’ll just be ideopathic and a low platelet count will just be my new normal. I won’t even wrap my head around the things I found on Google.

Bah.

I was so down when I got home from work Friday night, and I’m so thankful for friends and family that distracted me, via text or barstool (I amended Lent to veto vodka and other liquor – it’s still a sacrifice. There are only so many ciders a belly can hold and vodka is my favvvvvvorite.) I was planning to wallow that night in some happy pants, but got pulled into a very fun evening that cheered me right up. More the same the rest of the weekend, and I’m just feeling thankful to be so loved.

I might not have been up for chatting on the phone or FaceTime, but even the sweet texts I got from my bests made a world of difference. From the ski slopes, house hunters, long weekenders and moms chasing their babies, Seattle, Springfield and Dallas, I was feeling the love ❤️💙. You guys know who you are. Xoxo.

Dreary day in Dallas and the city is practically shut down, so I’m going to work on some pretty quilt blocks between conference calls and the usual Monday work day. And I’ll keep counting my blessings until I have more concrete reasons to worry.

Cheers,
CL

Food Hiding, Doctor Visits and Labwork

So it occurs to me as I sit in my truck and sip on my contraband iced Americano, I’ve mentally come a long way. I mean, instead of parking in a fast food lot of shoveling down a milkshake or crunch wrap supreme before someone can catch me, I’m sneaking a ten calorie coffee.

Btw, I had to google my usual thing for Taco Bell. And by usual, what I used to get pre-Seattle for the boozy fourth meal.  I couldn’t remember what it was called!  I’ve been there twice in the last four years, once on a drive to Boise Memorial Day weekend and another in Seattle when it just sounded good. I still love tacos, but I’ll likely never go to Taco Bell again because they have ZERO things I can eat. Even their plain tacos and “al fresca” items all have either gluten or soy. Insane.  Soy does NOT need to be in every little thing, America.

I digress, though. I’ve always been a food sneaker, a food hider. Calories don’t count if no one sees you, right? If you’ve ever seen me pig out, know that you’re probably one of my favorite people on the planet, because it’s taken me years to be comfortable eating around other people. YEARS.  And to be frank, I can’t remember the last time I binge-ate, other than a chip basket at a Mexican restaurant.  I do remember the last time I binge drank, though.  Don’t tell my mom.  Or my doctor.  Damn you, patio days.  Just kidding, I totally told my doctor and her nurse a real answer.  “Christina, how many alcohol beverages do you have a week?”  Me:  “Well, what’s the weather?  Was I sitting on a patio most of the day?”

So when I say I’ve come a long way, I mean it.  The only candy in my presence sits right on top of my desk at work – and I barely touch it.  It’s full of Jelly Bellys, and my co-workers grab them by the handful.  I don’t miss it, really.  The only thing I really seem to miss is cheese, and cheese isn’t something I ever stashed away.  Well, and the coffee, but I don’t think a cup of coffee, usually decaf, will get me if I do it 3-4 times a month.  Can I justify the occasional dairy splurge by saying I need the probiotics?  Guess not.

I mentioned last blog that I was excited to get labs done to test my progress, and I was able to get that completed this morning.  I established care with the fabulous Dr. Barreto, gave her the rundown of my intolerances, inflammation, low platelets, vomiting, etc.  I swear, when I’m giving my life story I feel like the biggest hypochondriac, but I guess labs don’t lie.  I AM anemic, I DO have cardiac risk thanks to my inflammation, I DO have a low platelet count and I DO throw up more than any human I know.

What does that net me?  Nine vials of blood.  Even the sweet lady taking it was like, whoa.  The labels just kept uncurling.  I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture!  Glad I wore a super cute sunny yellow jacket to keep me cheerful.  I got several compliments on both that jacket and my navy and silver polka dot overcoat this morning – yay!  That always puts a little spring in your step, right?

Anyway, here’s what I had done:

  • Comprehensive Metalobic Panel – I had this done in October with Seattle’s fabulous Dr. Brown, but I think she wants to see it all again.
  • Hemogram
  • H Pylori
  • C Reative Protein (Inflammation Marker)
  • ESR (For SLE Monitoring)
  • ANA (Antinuclear) abs
  • Vitamin B12
  • Folate (Folic Acid) Serum – looks like the prenatals I take aren’t enough.  God bless any poor guy I date that looks in my medicine cabinet and thinks I’m trying to trick him into having a baby.  It’s for my  hair and the iron, buddy!  I swear!
  • Lipase Serum

Last but not least, a referral to a gastroenterologist.  Awesome.  Hey Mom?  Maybe we’ll finally get me a doctor who can figure it out and/or does more than shrug their shoulders and tells us to deal with it.  That’s an awesome thing to hear when you’re a child, btw.  It’s only taken 37 years 🙂  Looks like there’s a throat scope in my future.  That should be fun.

I’m also weening off the Wellbutrin and switching over to Paxil.  Dr. Baretta thinks it’s a better match for me since it also deals with anxiety and is gaining popularity for patients with IBS.  I don’t have that as far as I know (maybe these labs will show otherwise) but since my gut, intestines, etc. is so damn sensitive it really can’t hurt.  And my anxiety has been pretty bad lately.  Not panic attack bad, thankfully, but I could certainly be more chill.

She also tells me that losing around a pound a week on a 1600-1800 calorie a day diet is fine, and if I cut calories more I would have to do it under a doctor’s supervision and that I would want no part of it.  So I guess if I want to drop pounds faster, I’m just going to have to do that much more at the gym and also make sure the content of my calories is as healthy as can be.  No booze, less processed crap and more fruits and veggies.  Sigh.  Good thing I just gave up alcohol for Lent.

Thanks for reading through my overshare, friends.  Hopefully I’ll be posting positive lab results in the next few days!

I Bought a Mixer! A Hot Pink Kitchenaid!

Oh geez, so excited.  I think it’s from watching Pioneer Woman all through the holidays with my family.  She has a super snazzy hand painted version that costs $1350 smackers (does that include tax and shipping?) but I can work the fabulous hot pink with a glass bowl!  Does it match my kitchen?  Nope.  Any of my stuff?  Nope Nope Nope.  But it’s PIIIIIIIIINK and I love it.  Excellent price from our friends at Amazon, too.  I’ve been stalking it for a while and when the price dropped to an agreeable level, I pulled the trigger.

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She’s so pretty.  I’ll have to check to see if Anthropologie makes an owl cookie jar with some pink, just to tie it all together.  Three owl cookies jars isn’t enough, right?  Sigh.  That glass bowl.  The shine of the paint.  Love!  One of the guys I work with is a fierce baker in his free time, and he essentially said his Kitchenaid would have to be pried from his cold, dead hands.  He advised that I get one of the beaters with built in spatulas, and after my experiments this weekend, I agree! Not having to scrape the sides during the mix will be very helpful.

First up – pancakes.  PANCAKES!  My mom was a gem and made up little individual baggies of the dry ingredients to make gluten free pancakes.  And can I give you a pro tip here?  If you happen to run out of regular coconut or almond milk, and all you have is the tasty, tasty chocolate?  Oh, it’s delicious.  You will have gorgeous chocolate pancakes.  If you want to mix them with God’s Great Glory of Chocolate ‘Mega Chunk’ Chips (made by Enjoy Life Foods, available at my Target in the ‘hood as well as the regular grocery store in Springfield, MO) then you’ve got something SO GOOD. I might have added the part about God’s glory.

Not good for what it is, mind you.  Just good.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t add syrup.  I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of them.  What’s wrong with me?  I guess that’s how fast they went into my belly.  I just fell into a rabbit hole, didn’t I?  SQUIRREL!   And now I’m thinking about the equally delicious gluten and dairy free chocolate chip cookies mom made.  Again, just good.  Not good for what they are, just good.  It’s those damn chocolate chips.  They’re out of this world.

Anyhoot, here’s what my first batch of pancakes looked like on Saturday morning, right next to my much improved second batch:

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Julia Childs always reminded us to Not. Crowd. The. Mushrooms!  What a mess, right?  Clearly a disaster.  Well, I learned the hard way to not crowd your pancakes.  Also, use medium-high heat.  You’ll all be relieved to know that they were delicious once I figured it out.  I risked a gluten attack and used a tablespoon of my super amazing Woodinville Whiskey Company Maple Syrup.  It’s pricey, like all maple syrup that happens to be put into casks formerly used for making bourbon and rye and bundled into beautiful bottles would be, but it’s a worthy purchase.  Thanks Jason and Ben for introducing it to me!

Pancakes, check.  What’s next?  The three overripe bananas on my counter commanded me to find a recipe for Banana Nut Bread.  I made muffins because I figured that would be easier to portion out, and less risk of a burnt crust and raw inside.  They’re so good!  Here’s the recipe, thanks to the Civilized Caveman.

I had to leave out the cinnamon, which was kind of a miss, but the coconut oil was a great sub for butter and some organic peanut butter I had lying around from my experiment with gluten free bread (disgusting) worked too.  I might try to make my own gluten free bread, but it looks insanely complicated and I’m just not there yet.  Maybe another six months of watching cooking shows will inspire me.

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The crumbled up friend on the right is what you get when you try to dump out the muffin pan too early.  I only have one and wanted to get the next batch going.  I guess I didn’t sufficiently re-grease the pan and got a little aggressive when slapping the back of it. Oops.  I ate it anyway, and it made for a funny pic.

These little guys have been paired up with eggs and Applegate chicken sausage links for breakfast the past few days and it’s as good as can be!  Much more decent on the calorie content than I thought – 174 calories and 13 carbs.  Don’t ask me about the fat content, but you can take a wild guess based on the coconut oil and peanut butter.  At least they’re satisfying?  Plus they’re made and served with egg whites, which helps.  Kind of.

One more cooking discovery this week – Thai food!  Well, I need to explore it in a broader scope, but Target has some Archer Farm dinner kits that didn’t have any of my allergens.  The panang curry was seriously delicious, and God bless coconut milk.  I have dinner plans with a girlfriend on Thursday, so I’m going to check into a few local restaurants and see if I can make that magic happen out and about too.  I LOVE curry.  Both Thai and Indian food use a lot of coconut milk, so maybe if I avoid the paneer I can make it work.

Cheers!

Meal Planning & Going Out

The story goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  That is so true when it comes to me and the kitchen, and it’s always been that way.  I will freely admit I’m not the best at planning my week, and I’ve thrown away my fair share of rotten veggies…big old sad face if they came from Whole Foods and/or were organic.  I don’t mind paying extra, but you gotta use what you buy.

When I lived in Seattle with Jason and Ben, I got a great lesson on meal planning.  Every week, Jason would sit down with his pad of paper and plan our lunches and dinners for the week, and then derive the grocery list from there.  When we were all in town and work wasn’t crazy (never often enough!), we had an excellent system down.  Monday was grocery night, and we almost always had tacos – super quick for a tight week day schedule.  Jason would cook while I would sit at the breakfast counter with wine (and whine.)  Ben and I had clean-up duty, which usually meant Ben was scrubbing and I was packing lunches.  We all got to do the things we liked best, or at least tolerated the most.

BTW, Ben – I’m sorry.  I leave dishes in my sink, sometimes overnight.  I didn’t do it while we lived together, but I’ve gone back to my bad ways  Bad single girl behaviour is real.  I’m ashamed and will look to find ways to improve this terrible, lazy habit of mine.

At any rate, I’ve adopted Jason’s method for meal planning for myself. Lunches on the left, dinners on the right.  Lunch is usually leftovers from the night before, but if it’s something too messy or random to pack for work, I’ll just keep it for dinners.  I even tossed Chipotle on here – I knew I would be running errands all day yesterday. Their allergen menu is fantastic!

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The key to success for me is prep work. By the time I get home, I’m just fried and don’t feel like cooking.  If I’ve already done the work, great!  Prep for lunches this week was easy – chicken sausage with veggies.  The sausage is pre-cooked, so all I have to do is make the veggies, dump it into a container and call it a day.  I keep single serve hummus on hand, so I bundle that up with carrots and celery, bag up some hard-boiled eggs for snacks, divvy out fresh fruit for fruit salad, and all week it’s grab and go.

BTW, why do sausages look so dirty?  I had to laugh when I took this pic.  I know, I know.  I have the mentality of a fifteen year old boy and I’ll admit to it.

Aidells Chicken & Apple sausage paired with sweet potatoes and a kale/quinoa mix:

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No big deal to eat this for three days.  Tonight I’m making tacos (ground beef, Trader Joe’s taco seasoning, a can of rotel) and I’ll rotate between tacos and taco salad the rest of the week.  I’m already planning dinner out on Thursday night, and I know I’ll screw up one night and be off my schedule.  I stock soup for those nights, or I’ll have a Daiya frozen pizza.  I’ve mapped out my other activities as well, so I’ll have an idea of what’s going on when I’m grocery shopping.

The party planned for Saturday is a bit trickier, because I adore the couple hosting and a little one’s birthday party could likely turn into an all day event.  It’s a Saturday, we’ll have great company, cocktails may be poured.  Just saying.  I’ve shown up to Susie and Charlie’s with my own cooler of beer to watch football, but this time it’ll likely be a mix of booze and healthy snacks to help keep my face out of the birthday cake.

Eating outside of my house isn’t necessarily hard, but it requires the same amount of planning on my part.  House parties are the trickiest, though usually I can dig up some fruit and veggies and I almost always have almonds or beef jerky with me in a pinch.  And let’s be honest – I’m not going to starve.  I’ve got some reserves, kind of like a hibernating bear.

Local friends – I promise I can still go out!  I like going out!  I like going to dinner and I love going to brunch!  If you want to go out, let’s go out.  I can always find something, I promise.  PROMISE.  I’ll do the research ahead of time and I’ve gotten the hang of ordering.  Big ups to Anna and Colleen in particular for vetting restaurants and being patient with me in the beginning when I had a hard time figuring it out.  Tito’s Vodka is everywhere and if all else fails, there’s salad 🙂

I am super thankful to have friends and family that are way supportive of my admittedly somewhat restrictive diet, but I know some of y’all worry.  Thank you!  The best comparison I can make is that if you think of me as being on Paleo, or low carb, or whatever whole food diet is out there – it’ll cover 90% of the stuff I can’t eat.  No biggie.

XO

Adventures in Cooking

As my fellow singletons know, cooking is dubious business when you’re cooking for one.  Sure, there’s a hoard of recipes out there to cook for one person, but where do you get 1/4 of an onion?  Last time I checked, they are sold whole.  I know I can cook pre-diced frozen ones and use just a bit, but it’s much easier for me to justify my half-assed cooking attempts by saying it’s too hard to cook from scratch.  Fortunately, I’m not a super picky eater and don’t usually mind eating the same thing for a few days.  I also survive on Aidell’s chicken sausage sold in bulk at Costco and whatever random veggies I’ve picked up.  This is probably why I’m losing weight.

In an effort to find a substitute for that disgusting macaroni and cheese problem I’ve been having, I made spaghetti.  Spaghetti sauce is something I’ve always done well, and I make a kickass lasagna.  Since lasagna is now my nightmare food, full of delicious cheese, mushrooms, garlic and gluten, guess I’ll have to suffer through modified spaghetti. I browned up some organic, grass fed hamburger (thanks, Costco!) and added some roasted red and yellow peppers, two cans of artichokes and two glass jars of spaghetti sauce.  One is from Kroger, one is from Target, and they are both organic, relatively garlic free deliciousness.  One is actually pretty spicy, which was nice!  Plus I got to use my Le Creuset pot, which is gorgeous and always makes me smile.  Thanks, Mom!

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So, call me Sandra of the Semi-Homemade Cooking show fame, but whatever.  At least I didn’t jump warm it in the microwave and call it a day.  I got four lunches out of the leftovers, two servings for dinner because I have no salad stuff here and I’m feeling like a big fatty today, plus six cups for the freezer.  BOOM.  At least I’m still within my calorie threshold for the day and I got a lot of iron from the beef.  Take that, Anemia!  I will kick you in the pants.  Sure, it’s barely 6 pm and I can’t eat anything else today, but I’ll survive.  That’s why God blessed us with fizzy flavored water.

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I used the Ronzoni Gluten Free Penne Rigate.  It tastes pretty normal to me and I like the chunkier noodle with my chunky sauce.  Regular spaghetti noodles seem like they’ll make a mess.  OH!  That reminds me that I bought myself a spiralizer that should be here tomorrow, so along with my salad stuff I’m going to pick up a zucchini and see how that works.  I really like spaghetti squash with my pasta sauce, so hopefully I’ll like the zucchini just as much.  Less mess and chances for microwave explosions (coughMaryAnnecough.)  I’ll post pics of that this week, and I promise it’ll look like a Pinterest fail.

Speaking of Pinterest, my girlfriend Erin asked where I was finding recipes these days.  God bless her, she’s allergic to shellfish just like my Uncle Ray, who I hear willingly almost put himself in the hospital to bulldoze through a famous buffet in NYC back when I was a baby.  Crazy man.  Anyhoot – Paleo has been pretty popular for a few years now, and thank goodness, because anything Paleo normally has none of my allergens, aside from garlic, blueberries, spinach, and the other randomly good for everyone else that walks the planet foods that I can’t eat.  And some of the stuff I’ve been eating for years thanks to Weight Watchers is allergen free too, like my shredded chicken!

That, btw, is just a can of Rotel for every pound of chicken, taco seasoning and heat on low in your crock pot for about six hours, until the chicken shreds.  I normally eat it with black beans and avocado, but it makes great tacos too 🙂

All that said, I think I’m still allergic to tomatoes.  They apparently don’t screw up my blood and exacerbate my inflammatory issues, but I’m typing this blog with a tightened throat and my face feels like it is sunburnt.  Hmm.  Did this with Suzy’s awesome allergen free taco soup the other night too, so I think tomatoes will continue to be in my diet but VERY. SPARINGLY.  Tonight is good since I don’t have any big plans.  Hopefully I won’t wake up with hives tomorrow.  PLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASE.  Hives are the worst.  It could be the spices, though, especially since black pepper in on my naughty list.  Who the hell knows?  Again, just put me in a bubble.  I guess I need to live on protein shakes and oatmeal 🙂  Or just have permanently sunburnt cheeks and perpetually chapped lips.

Anyone got a great lip balm they love?  I’ve tried the Eos (no longer work for me and make my lips worse) and I’m concerned that my honey intolerance makes beeswax an issue, so that rules out Burt’s Bees.  Carmex doesn’t seem to make things worse, but it does burn when I first put it on.  Maybe I’ll save this question for my dermatologist post that I’ve been pondering for a few days now.

Cheers!

Weight Watchers, Food Journals and Weight Issues

Good morning!  First, just have to say thank you for everyone that read my blog yesterday!  I think I had 125 views, and it even found some people that weren’t already my friends.  So cool!  Y’all know I love some statistical data and WordPress has all kinds of charts for me.

So, food journals. I’ve been on Weight Watchers on and off since I was 16, and heaven knows how many thousands of dollars I’ve spent.  That said, I think it was a good use of money.  Any time I’ve kept weight off for any period of time, it’s because I was doing WW. Having weekly accountability for my weight and food journaling really makes a huge difference, and I know I’ve learned a lot about nutrition through them.  (And a bunch of dietician, nutritionists, my BFF Colleen and countless other sources.)

I like the way the new PointsPlus is measured – it’s from fat, fiber, protein and carbohydrates.  What I didn’t get, though, is that there wasn’t any kind of data.  You bank all this interesting info, and then you can’t see the results.  Surely there’s an app for that, right?  And there is – MyNetDiary.

I tried the free app and cancelled my WW subscription within a couple of days.  This thing is awesome.  All the data this nerd could want, and then some more!  DATA!  YESSSSSSSSS!

All the normal stuff like meal tracking, workout tracking, measurements, weights, vitamin intake and a handy dandy analysis graph to let you know where you are totally f’ing it up. For me, it’s in sodium.  It’s never been a big issue for me, but water retention is a hateful snatch and it’s something I’m starting to keep my eyes on.

The best part, though?  You get a total nutrient count for the day, and you can select the things that mean the most to you.  Since I’m severely anemic (this is why I’m always covered in bruises and take a nasty iron supplement) it’s a way for me to check my food-based iron intake.  In this example, I totally screwed the pooch.  And wow, so much fat!  It was healthy fats from avocado, but I also managed to get 24 g from the chicken sausage I had for lunch. I just left the default for calorie ratios, but I imagine I could tinker with it if I were so inclined.  You’re not nearly as worried about carb intake when the majority of your carbs come from fruits and veggies, though.

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Coolest thing ever.  EVER!  There’s more data if you want it, but I just wanted to give a snapshot.

If you’re looking closely, you can add 40 pounds to my current weight and see that I had gotten to a very scary place.  My highest weight came after ten days of NYC market, where my biggest fears were breaking tiny plastic chairs and wondering where the hell I could get a salad.  Salt bloat is a killer when you eat out three times a day!  Well, or twice a day.  Lunch was usually a coffee and a handful of almonds.  #FashionProblems. When I was trying out for The Biggest Loser, some of my friends were baffled and didn’t think I was big enough to qualify.  That’s one of the beautiful things about being six feet tall, but at my heaviest weight, I would have been one of the largest women ever cast on the show.  EVER.  Seriously.

I think that’s a big part of why I didn’t get on there – for one, I don’t have a lot of the self-esteem issues most of the contestants have.  When you’re told you have such a pretty face enough times, you believe it 😉  I was 25 pounds away from a potential contract with Ford Model’s plus size division when I was in high school.  I have a lot of issues, but thinking I’m ugly isn’t one, at least not since I was a teenager.  I’m just extremely overweight, and fortunately lucky enough to have a “thin” face and not all crazy like Honey Boo Boo’s mom.

The second thing is that I’ve been over 200 pounds and near 300 for most of my life. I was a 174 pound sixth grader, and I’ll remember that weight always thanks to the nurse announcing it to the entire room.  Awful.  But I digress…the most successful stories on TBL are from people who were at a normal weight most of their lives, but gained the weight later.  I was at my thinnest adult weight when I started grad school in 2009, but I would still qualify for TBL then too.  I felt amazing, though, and I’m so excited to get another 45 pounds off and get back into my jeans from the Gap!  Shopping goes into another post, though 🙂

So again – this isn’t a weight loss blog.  I’ve been dieting my entire life, and there probably isn’t much new I can offer in that area.  My metabolism is shot, but my bigger issues are truly health related.  And not the normal overweight person health problems – diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol.  I’ve never had any issues there, likely because I’ve always been so active and I’m already a pretty healthy eater.  I don’t want to be anemic anymore, and I don’t want this inflammation issue taking over and hurting me down the line.  And I’ll be honest, diabetes and high blood pressure will probably catch me too.  I’m not that far from 40, and getting older sucks!

Cheers and Happy New Year, everyone!