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!

Giving Up (More) for Lent

So, every year I give up something for Lent. I’m not Catholic, so maybe it’s a throwback to my Catholic school days. Mostly, I do it to curb some bad behavior. Or to get back on track 🙂

I got my Mardi Gras fun in this weekend, with no vodka soda left behind. I didn’t manage to get a pic with both my beads and my mask, but at least I made it home with both! Such a fabulous time at the Krewe de Roux ball. Plus, I got to wear sparkles.

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I have a few hours left of Fat Tuesday to decide, but I’m pretty sure I’m giving up booze again. Crazy in a year that I’ve already given up gluten, dairy, soy, wine (save a glass or two), coffee (mostly), beer, Mom’s pie, stuffing, blueberries, ginger, honey, etc. etc. etc.

Seriously, what’s left to give up? Why am I even considering this madness?

Well, here are the facts. Alcohol is a big fat inflammatory, and I’m really supposed to reduce my consumption. I’ve done a good job on that front since October, but fabulous Dallas patio weather has definitely increased my boozy treat time. Plus a super fun new drinking buddy. Bad, Christina.

Secondly, my weight loss has stalled. I’ve only lost about six pounds since Christmas, and that’s despite staying pretty steady at 1600-1800 calories a day. Sure, I have a desk job, but I should still be dropping at least a pound a week. Maybe even two. Especially since I’ve also stepped up my game at the gym.

I like what I see when I look in the mirror, certainly more than I have for the past couple of years, but there’s still a way to go before I feel back to myself. Good, bad, otherwise, I don’t feel like me. I don’t feel strong, and there are still days I don’t feel pretty. And that’s not a good way to be.

Besides, alcohol is a depressant, and combining this cold and nasty weather with booze just adds to the dreariness. My wise friend Erin told me back in college after a night of boozing, “Alcohol is a depressant, yo.” Words of wisdom. So when I’m trying to shake off the depression and shake off some pounds, the booze gotta go.

Crap, now I have Taylor Swift stuck in my head. “Shake it off! Shake it off!”

I will reserve the right to have bubbles for two occasions. The St. Patrick’s Day parade, if we go, and if I close on a house before April 5. My lease is up at the end of April, and I’ve been looking!

So here’s to the next 40 days and 40 nights. And mimosas on Easter Sunday. Perhaps a smaller sized Easter dress, too. That’s right – those are Easter eggs labeling the mixers. As God intended.

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Airplanes, Long Weekends and the Little Joys of Life

Oh man, first things first.  Sometimes you can’t see in the mirror that your ass really is smaller, but American Airlines is happy to let you know.  Seat belts are just as good as showing progress as a notch on an actual belt, not that I’ve worn one in years.  When you’re super short waisted and very large busted, there is nothing less flattering than a tucked in shirt with a belt.  You can validate this statement by looking at any picture of me between 1994-1999.  Shudder.  Not okay.

I know the vast majority of people reading this have no idea what I’m talking about, but there is nothing worse than the day that stupid airline seat belt won’t fasten.  Not even with Spanx, not even when you skipped breakfast.  It sucks, and it’s a pretty humiliating experience.  Not the worst one I’ve ever had, but right on up there.  I have had countless experiences in my life that you’d think would humiliate me right into motivation at the gym, but you’d be wrong.  Hell, I’ve been offered a new car if I would get down to a normal weight for my height.  No dice.  The human brain is a stubborn beast.

I can’t remember the first time I needed an extender.  I’m sure I was embarrassed and I was probably flying alone, but like most bad experiences, I just try to block it out and move on.  (Yes, I know I probably need therapy.  Bill my bio-dad.)  I’ve been within 20 pounds of my highest weight just a handful of times, thank goodness, and each time I swear I’ll never be there again.  Right around my high school graduation, my last year at TCU, right around graduation from SMU and of course right around one year ago.  Crazy how fast I packed on those pounds.  Clearly school (and work) stresses me right into the fridge.  When you’re making your way closer to the largest pant size at LB, it’s time for a little talk with yourself.  I’m not sure of the day or time, but an AA flight attendant took pity on me during one of those time frames and told me to just hang onto my extender.  No more asking!  I kept it right with my shoe bags.  For someone that earned status on AA before she started traveling for work, that was GOLD.  Not having to ask every time just brightens your day.

I think it was official the last time I flew, but not only did I not need an extender today, I actually had three extra inches on the seat belt.  I think it was the particular plane I was on, but I don’t care.  Extra inches?  I didn’t have to suck in and pray?  YESSSSSS!  Happiness abounds.

Not as happy was the lack of leg room since I was too cheap to pay the extra scratch for my typical seat in 9E (14B would suffice.)  Life will go on, though, and I can start booking the exit row again.  Did you know you can’t have an extender in the exit row?  I didn’t until one insanely crowded flight had an empty exit row, and I was sympathetically told no when I asked to move into one.  The girl that ended up in that seat looked substantially larger than me, but hey, the seat belt doesn’t lie.  I’ve avoided the exit row for a while because you lose a couple inches of precious ass room, but bah.  The exit row is mine again, bitches.  These long legs can stretch out ALL. DAY. LONG.

I need it, too.  Hard to juggle my healthy, soy/dairy/gluten free oatmeal (thanks Starbucks!) coat, scarf, water and a neighbor with only four millimeters between my knee and the chair back.  I guess that extra leg room up front does make a difference.  I’ll try not to pout that I was number two on the upgrade list and still didn’t get it.  Sigh.  At least the person in front of me didn’t decide to lay back on my legs for his inflight nap.

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So great to see the Nestlerodes and meet their darling baby.  Hard to believe it’s been 2.5 years since I’ve been to Chicago!  Just like my visit a few Februarys back, I was blessed with sunny skies and moderate temperature.  I didn’t even mind the snow – Katie and I walked up to the local TJ and quilt shop and I was happy as a clam.  Don’t mind the puffer coat, I am totally skinny underneath it.  Promise.

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Back to the grind of the week – meal planning before I leave work today and stopping by the grocery store on my way home.  I was a little less strict than I’ve been in the past this weekend, and my foot definitely paid the price.  I had an amazing hostess that let me pick out my own groceries, but I didn’t ask about vegetable oil (soy) at any restaurant, enjoyed the hell out of some french press coffee both weekend days and best of all, had a couple bites of the most delicious butter cake in the world at Mastro’s Saturday night.  That steak!  Insane.  I hobbled around all Sunday morning, but I suppose I can split that blame between wearing heels on Chicago streets and having some of the things I know aggravate my inflammation the most.  Oops.  Worth it, though.

Cheers and stay warm, east coast friends!

Even Though It’s Not About the Loss…

I’ve been really frustrated lately because my weight has hit a wall. Nothing since Christmas, really, and I’ve picked up my exercise and been just as good with the food. At least I think I have – time for some journal review to see where I can make some changes.  I know I’m still getting way too much sodium and it looks like I need to pick up my protein.  But look at that gorgeous calorie burn from today!  Have I mentioned I love this app?  My Net Diary, y’all.  It’s free, so try it out 🙂

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Two big reckonings while I’m here on the treadmill cooling down:  (FYI, I perfected walking and typing when walking to work every day in Seattle.  NO EYE CONTACT!)

  1. I have lost ten pounds in the last month. Sure, it was all in December, but ten pounds in a month is legit. I’ll try not to think about the two weeks prior, because I’ve probably lost ten pounds in six weeks.  I would like to see it come off faster, but the end game is my health.  The best gauge of my progress will be in February, when I retest my hs CRP levels.  For those of you just tuning in, that’s the test that looks at cardiac risk and inflammation, and I was at a 20.55.  3.0 is the max for normal.
  2. I got an email from the casting agents for Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition this morning, inviting me to reapply. I’m happy to say I no longer qualify, as I don’t need to lose half my body weight. YEAH!  They would probably still consider me, as I need to lose more than 100 pounds, but still. This time last year? I needed to lose half my body weight.  Maybe I could have gotten on the cover of People magazine when they feature “Half My Size!”  Sure, the scale isn’t moving, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’ve lost 45 pounds from this point last year. I can beat myself up about not dropping 1-2 pounds a week, but I won’t. It’s one of the reasons I left Weight Watchers when it’s worked so well for me before. I just couldn’t take the discouragement.

I’ve talked a little bit about how I wasn’t in a good place last year, and seeing that sad yet politely encouraging face at a weekly weigh in might have tipped me over the edge. This time I’m going at my own pace, in my own time, and rewarding myself with little things like a jeans shopping spree and opening a tote of old clothes in a smaller size.  I still see the appeal of a weight loss show – free trainers, nutrition help, and surgery to put everything back where it belongs.

I already know a plastic surgeon is in my future – for the perky boobs I’ve always wanted and never had – but also for skin removal. It’s coming my way. I know I need to get out of my own head when it comes to the skin thing, because it’s a bigger issue for me than my actual weight when it comes to dating. When you feel gross, you don’t want anyone to touch you.  I think if I was already in a relationship I would feel better about it, but it’s hard to get excited about starting from scratch.  Dating is the WORST.  Plus, it’s just really f’ing annoying to work hard to get in shape, yet there’s some weird loose skin on your belly.  I’m just not snapping back like I used to when I’ve lost weight in the past.   I’ve heard some of my slim mom friends bitch about it too, but at least they have a little one to show for it 🙂  Stretch marks happen to the best of us.

At any rate, I know what I see in the mirror isn’t as bad as I’m making it out to be, but we’re always hardest on ourselves, right?  I’m sure the right guy would love me even without perky boobs, and they do look pretty fantastic in some great lingerie.  Not that I would ever take a Kim Kardashian or Amber Rose style selfie.  No thanks!  Have I mentioned those will be the first thing I have done?  I already have a couple surgeon referrals to check out when it’s time.

On a lighter note, I picked the worst outfit in the world to put on straight from the gym.  I am obsessed with this sweater and skirt set my parents got me for Christmas, but it is toasty warm.  Just what you want when you actually spent an extra 20 minutes on the treadmill because you were typing out a blog!  At least the locker room has plenty of make-up stations and Kiehl’s in the shower.  I definitely put on my air conditioner for the drive to work, even though it’s 38 degrees.  At least I had the courtesy to make sure no one was around me, unlike the 18 year old blonde girl that no doubt has me in my bathrobe blow drying my hair in the background of hers.  Rude.  Also, it’s too bad I love ivory sweaters, because I’m definitely the same size I was in the pic I posted wearing a grey cardigan, but it’s not nearly as flattering 🙂  The double layer of shirts probably doesn’t help either.

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Headed to Chicago on Friday so I need to find all my snow gear, and I will definitely bring this outfit!  Why do I always find myself up there during the winter?

Cheers!

Christina

Adventures in Dermatology

I think I might have found the best dermatologist in the world.  Well, my friend Rachel found her for me, but still.  She’s amazing.  Several years ago, I started getting bi-yearly body scans to check my four million moles for skin cancer.  Nothing beats stripping down to your undies (just undies) in a freezing cold doctor’s office while a person you hardly know takes a magnifying glass to every square inch of your body while a nurse jots down notes.  I would almost rather go to the gyno.  Seriously.  At least it’s quick.

A few years ago, my then derm found a couple of bad spots on my back, which she excised and sent in for testing, leaving me with 19 baby stitches.  Thankfully, those came back just fine.  Mom took pictures of the entire process, naturally, so maybe if we’re lucky she’ll post them in the comments section.  (Side bar – mom loves being around when I’m getting tortured, whether it’s my very first eyebrow waxing, hair removal, skin removal or using a laser to remove age spots.  She’s wicked.)  Aforementioned Rachel works at a place with a giant laser, which helps with the redness of my scars.  You can hardly see a thing!

I got out of the habit of going to the dermatologist while I was in Seattle, which is bananas for two reasons:  everyone in Seattle is pale and super active outdoors (hiking and skiing), likely making Seattle a market with great dermatologists.  Two, a friend from grad school died of skin cancer.  Well, maybe that’s not what got him in the end, but it’s certainly how it started.  Go get your moles checked, people!

Anyhoot, I’m now back in Dallas and didn’t want to go back to my old derm, who was inconveniently located and had zero bedside manner.  Enter Dr. Kingston.  Super lovely, beautiful office with fantastic views and she stocks pink polka dot dressing gowns.  I was so tickled that I took a selfie and sent it to my mom, who no doubt was bummed to miss the entire process.  I have no pride on the blog, so I’ll post for you guys to see too.  Don’t judge my hair – I promise I fixed it before I went to the office.  Plus, this was in December and I’ve lost a few pounds since then 🙂

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Same process of a magnifying glass and notes being taken, but they did it section by section so I never felt exposed or awkward.  That’s no small thing when you have a boatload of body issues in the first place and your doctor is in Highland Park.  If any of you need a dermatologist, please go see Dr. Kingston and her fabulous staff.  Click here for her website.  She also does the cosmetic side of dermatology, so if you need Botox, laser resurfacing, hair removal, etc. I’m sure they are just as awesome.  And no, she is not paying me to say these nice things 🙂  I was just so genuinely happy after leaving the office I want to let others know.  I should probably write a Yelp review.

I think waaaaay back in my first blog, I told you guys the quest for food allergies all started when my mom told me she didn’t like the blush I was wearing.  Well, I wasn’t wearing blush.  Turns out I have regular old rosacea. There’s a lot of info out there, but it boils down to this: Rosacea is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition which principally affects the face. It causes facial redness and produces small, red, pus-filled pustules (bumps). Rosacea worsens with time if left untreated, and is often mistaken for acne, eczema, or some other skin allergy.  Wow, imagine that!  My inflammatory problems are screwing up my face and my insides.  Lovely.  I always had perfect skin, even in high school, so having breakouts now is not okay.

Plus, it can lead to thickening of the nose, and while I’m mostly okay with my nose as is, it certainly doesn’t need to be any bigger.  So all those cute old men you see with giant noses?  They’ve probably had rosacea forever.  I’ve heard it called “gin nose” which would work too, since alcohol is an inflammatory and inflammatory problems cause rosacea.  Crazy how the human body works.

I’ve got some good medication to work with that, and between the diet change and the medicine, my skin is getting better too.  Hurrah!  I know in the grand scheme of life, my face isn’t nearly as important as getting my blood right so my heart is okay, but I might as well be pretty while I do it.

I also snagged a great sunscreen at the office, which was reasonably priced, has no weird smell and doesn’t feel sticky and gross on my skin.  Now that I’m back in Texas and under the sun (well, not this past couple of weeks) I have to be more diligent than ever to keep my skin covered up and protected.  I’ll take all the teasing anyone wants to give me about how I reapply every 30 minutes, no matter where we are on the river or how many cocktails I’ve had.  Skin cancer isn’t taking this girl down, and even if it tries to creep up on me, I’ll catch it early.

Dr. Kingston added to my collection of scars by removing two more moles, but thankfully these didn’t require stitches.  One came back fine and the other dysplastic, so we’ll have to keep an extra close eye on it.  No shock that I’m having the most issues on my back, since it’s tricky to get sunblock on there…don’t be surprised if we’re out and about and I ask you for help to reapply 🙂  I also bought a sunshirt and have learned where to find the shady spots in the pool, so hopefully I’m covered.

Hopefully next time I see Dr. Kingston it’ll be for a beauty treatment and not because of my weird rashes and patches caused by inflammation.  That would be ideal!

Cheers!  And wear your SPF, friends.

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