Thursday, March 31, 2011

Jumping Hurdles

Yesterday I was at a social event where there are usually a lot of good sandwiches and some sort of other goodies to be had. I was determined not to get into that stuff, and luckily some nice person also brought along some red grapes. Red grapes are an acceptable food on the 17 Day Diet, and a great treat, so I didn’t feel that I missed out on anything.

I woke up this morning to discover I had lost another pound. That’s 5 pounds in five days. Amazing. But I had another challenge ahead of me. I happen to be Queen of the local Red Hat Society Chapter, and I had arranged for our group to gather for lunch today. Going to a restaurant for a meal could prove to be rather difficult with the current limited food choices.

A funny thing happened the moment I entered the establishment. One of the waitresses greeted me with an expression of amazement and said, "Aren’t you on a diet?" Clearly that meant, what the heck are you doing in here! I admitted that I was, and wondered how she knew. Facebook, of course. Our lives are open books to everyone these days, between Facebook, Twitter and Blogs like this one. I had to laugh, but told her I’d manage, but might be calling for some extra vinegar for the salad I planned to have. She agreed most of their dressings seem to have sugar in them, and oil and vinegar would likely be my best choice, under the circumstances. I was lucky today as their soup special was a chicken leek, which has a clear broth, so I had both soup and salad. The soup, of course, came with the usual crackers and a lovely fresh bun, that had just come out of the oven. Tempting, but I never touched it, or the crackers.

I made it through two days of minefields and never strayed off the prescribed course. Mind you, no matter how careful I am in a restaurant, there is something about their food that tends to make me weigh more the next day. I’ll just have to wait and see if I made it safely over the hurdles.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Not Hungry Here

Yesterday I thought I’d make things easier on myself, and just roast a chicken. That way I’d have some for a few days. Well, around here, I usually eat the dark meat, and my hubby gets the white meat, so that probably wasn’t the best idea. Because of The 17 Day Diet all the special things about roast chicken went out the window. Of course, this bird didn’t get stuffed, since I can’t have bread yet. Then it almost broke my heart to have to dump out all the lovely drippings I would normally make gravy out of, and I really hated to have to pull the lovely skin off the bird too. You can bet I licked my fingers every time I did that though.

We had cooked carrots as our vegetable last night, as well as a salad. When I was younger, I hated cooked carrots. My mom used to say even if I didn’t see it on my plate, if I got even a little bit accidently, like in stew, I’d be sick to my stomach. I hated them that much. Well, hey, I haven’t had any form of starchy food for just a couple of days and I can tell you, I really enjoyed those carrots! In fact, I somehow managed to get some of my hubby’s share.

I mentioned previously that I didn’t care for the PC yogurt I bought even though I usually really liked strawberry banana flavoured things. Well, today I discovered, that what I had eaten and not cared for turned out to be the strawberry flavour, and today I had a banana one, and it was really good. The flavours come separately in the same carton, not mixed together as I had thought. Funny though, as I usually like strawberry yogurt a lot, and I really didn’t like this one at all.

I can honestly say I have not had a moment of hunger, though yesterday I did actually crave some crackers and cheese for a little while. That’s more habit than hunger and I got over it pretty quickly. This morning, after only 3 days of eating this way, I’m down 4 pounds total, and have lost 2 cm around the hips and waist.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Off to a Good Start

I woke up this morning weighing 3 pounds less than yesterday. That means I’m off to a good start on this 17 Day Diet plan. I know that’s likely just water weight, but it took me a whole week to lose that on Weight Watchers when I first joined that several years ago.

I didn’t even get any exercise yesterday. It was my day to sit in front of the computer for several hours of the painting webinar I’m enjoying so much. Today I did better at the exercise though, as I had to walk the kilometer to the medical centre, and then back again this morning, and I also walked to my painting class this afternoon, carrying my heavy bag of art supplies. The diet is supposed to give you energy, and it must be doing that as I actually washed the kitchen floor when I got home.

There is always yogurt in the house since my hubby takes it in his lunch every day, but if I was going to eat it too I needed to buy some extra. They recommend the probiotic kind. Actually, I’m quite fond of Dan Active, and it has probiotics, so I went looking for that. It wasn’t on sale though, and the store brand had some actual probiotic yogurt on sale so I took a closer look at that. They had a strawberry banana flavour. I’ve always liked strawberry banana jello, and I like the strawberry banana Crystal Lite (though I think there’s orange in that also) so I decided to try this stuff. I’ll finish the package....maybe.....but I won’t buy it again. It tastes almost medicinal, somehow. And besides, it has more sugar and more calories than the other yogurt in my fridge. Way more. There are 90 Calories and 12 grams of sugar in the PC Pro Advantage, but only 35 calories and 3 grams of sugar in the Silhouette 0+. Normally I’m good at looking at the nutritional information, but in this case I guess I got carried away by the probiotic buzz word and the super low price. It seemed like a good time to try the product. Well, I tried it. They can keep it.

Note to self.... put some fresh berries on the shopping list for next week.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The 17 Day Diet

I was lucky enough to win a copy of The 17 Day Diet by Dr. Mike Moreno, from Simon & Schuster publishing house recently.  Just in time too, as my winter weight gain may otherwise interfere with me fitting into my springtime clothing.  I admit I was not as active this winter as I have been in the past, but as I mentioned in a previous blog, I've fallen three times in the past year and I simply wasn't taking any more chances.

I did a test run of this diet on Friday, and discovered that I was down 2 pounds by the following morning.  I say test run as my food supply needed to be restocked and Saturday I ate things like bacon and fried eggs for breakfast, a lovely big biscuit with my soup at lunch time, a muffin for a snack and a big plate of spaghetti for supper. Oh, and let's not forget the cheese ball that went with the wine and cheese while we observed Earth Hour by candlelight last night.  This morning I weighted 3 pounds more than the night before. 

I did get my shopping done however, and made sure I had lots of fresh vegetables and an abundant supply of both chicken and fish.  The chicken breasts were on sale, thank goodness, and were much cheaper than the turkey breast I spotted and considered.  I had kind of hoped to find some ground chicken or turkey also, so I could add bit more variety to the type of meals I was about to prepare.  My nice big grocery store didn't happen to have such a thing however, but perhaps I'll find that some other week.

I'm not going to tell you exactly what my menu was for today, as I'm sure the publishers would rather you go buy the book, but I'll give you an idea of how the day went. 

For breakfast, I didn't need to eat all that was in today's menu and I was quite satisfied anyway.  I really enjoyed my lunch, and supper, which consisted of ample portions of both protein and vegetables.  My biggest problem seems to be getting all that water in me. Like most diets, they tell you to drink 8 glasses of water. That's more fluid than I would normally take in during any 24 hour period, no matter what I tend to drink.  Normally I'm a tea drinker, and I can have that, but I cannot count it towards my water intake.  Well, it's now 7:04pm and I've had only three glasses of water so far today, and can only imagine maybe getting one more in before bedtime. That's half what they suggest, and four glasses more than I would normally manage to drink.   

I'm taking an online painting course these days, and while it's supposed to run from 3:00 to 5:00pm, you have to get in there about an hour early, in order to get a spot. Then the instructor carries on until he's finished, so we're seldom done before 6:00pm.  Somewhere in there I have a dinner to prepare, and I've managed to do that both Saturday and Sunday every weekend for the past nine weeks.  Tonight, of course, we were having chicken breasts, which I wanted to grill.  Well, you can roast chicken while in another room, but you can't exactly stick it under the broiler and then wander off.  However, it is a quick way to cook poultry, and I was able to prepare, and cook, the rest of the meal during the time it was in the oven.  Of course it is necessary to add some extras to my hubby's version of the meal, but that wasn't difficult this evening, as I had some left over rice in the fridge.

I still have a snack available for later this evening. I say later, as right now I'm quite full and don't feel the need for anything else.  Of course, that could be the water.  What ever it is, I can't claim to have been hungry today.  This could be an easy diet, especially since I only have to follow it for 17 days.  If I decide I want to lose more after those 17 days are up, I can actually add other food into the diet for the next 17 day cycle.  In other words, it gets easier as time goes on, and you are not so likely to get bored. 

Wish me luck. I'll fill you in on how things go.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Probiotics Is Not a Dirty Word!

I'm a BzzAgent. It seems the best form of advertising is word of mouth, and since I like to talk, I decided to give this a try a couple of years back. The idea is that I will join a campaign to tell my friends and family, and anyone else who will listen, anything and everything about whatever product I have been lucky enough to be asked to buzz about.

Being an aging female, one would think they would happily get me involved in some campaigns dealing with cosmetics, or other creams (oh, oh). Or since it's spring now, maybe a cleaning product of some sort would be appropriate. But no. I have had 3 campaigns so far, and every one of them involved putting something in my mouth.

First there was the Ontario Pork campaign. They sent me a sample of something to sprinkle on pork to give it a nice flavour, or to tenderize it. I like this stuff, but I have no idea what it's called. Too bad as I'd happily buzz about that! But I did enjoy talking to people about pork and that was certainly easy enough. Everyone likes to eat, after all, even if some of them don't like pork.
The second campaign was for Dan Active. Now, this was something new to me, but I had some coupons, both for myself, and to give away, so I got some strawberry flavoured Dan Active to try, and found I really liked it. I still buy the product from time to time. I did have more trouble having discussions about Dan Active, or even giving away the coupons. The minute people heard the word Probiotics, they shut me down. They told me their system was fine. They almost seemed offended that I would offer them a chance to try this product. Another common response was, "I already eat yogurt, so I don't need that!"  Hmmmm.....

Now, this latest campaign is for Multibionta Probiotic Vitamins. There's that word again. I'm having even more trouble with this campaign. The coupons I have are for a free month's supply and I'm not having much luck at giving them away at all. There is even a line on the coupon that says the company is so sure you will feel better that they guarantee your money back! That's a funny thing to put on a Free coupon, but I'm sure they still meant they stand behind their product, even if you paid for it. It's that probiotic thing again, I think, since many people I've offered these coupons to admit they do take mulivitamins. Still, they turn me down.  Yesterday I was in a room with about 20 people, and only managed to give away two.

Well, hey people, I just won a book called The 17 Day Diet, and you will likely be hearing more about that as time goes on.  It came just in time for me to try to lose some of my winter weight. In this book, written by a Dr Mike Moreno, it says probiotics are good for helping you lose weight. It seems there is lots of new evidence that part of the obesity problem might be caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the intestinal tract. So, if you have a set of very efficient bacteria, as you would get from probiotics, they would be more efficient at extracting calories from what you eat and help you manage your weight. At least that's what this book claims. Now that should get some folks excited. I'll be passing on that tidbit next time I try to tell someone about this new product.  The probiotics in Mulitbionta not only help improve you digestive tract, but they are also supposed to improve your immune system.  At this time of year, with all the nasty flu around, one would think people would be happy to get all the help they could, especially since I'm offering to let them try it for free.

I doubt I'll sign up for any more campaigns for products that are supposed to be good for you! 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I Could Use Some Company!

Somebody should come to visit me. Of course, it would be important that they called first. That would spur me into action. The house needs a good tidy up. As you can see, it's very easy for me to find other things to do rather than housework. So maybe what I need is a once a week visitor.

Actually, I had one yesterday, but I also had a very social day out of the house, so other than getting the dishes done and the bed made, I didn't get much else done around here all day. Luckily I did dust and sweep the floors the day before. The main two rooms are not all that bad. They are the ones that give you your first impression when you come in here, so I tend to start there when I'm picking things up or cleaning surfaces. Just don't look in any drawers or cupboards, for heaven's sake!

This room, where the computer is, and where I spend much more time than I should, has piles of stuff everywhere. I have a nice organizing shelf, which likely could use some organizing (especially the drawers). And I bought another desk for under the window so that I would have a clear surface for my painting projects. Surfaces around here are seldom clear for long though, so it has it's own piles now.

Computers were supposed to reduce paper, but as far as I can tell, I have more paper now than ever. Mind you, some of that comes in the form of books. If I'm addicted to anything, it's reading, or at least buying the books to read and then stacking them up.

I just called a friend to see if she wanted to come over. That's a self imposed kick start, but it didn't work. She's busy for the rest of the week. I'm going to have to find a way around this procrastination some other way. The problem is, when I know someone is about to arrive, I don’t think. I just start grabbing stuff and putting it where it belongs. When I'm not in that kind of hurry, I guess I think about it too much. There are too many things to do, and I'm not sure where to start anymore.

Oh wait, I had a plan that used to work. Follow the perimeter, pick up stuff in each room for 10 minutes, put what doesn't belong in that room in a box to be deposited in the right room when you get there (as opposed to running back and forth and getting distracted). Of course, when I get to an actual pile, I'll end up there for more than my allotted time, I'm sure, just sorting, let alone putting anything away. Of course, according to this particular plan of action, you are supposed to make a list of things you want to accomplish and then assign a day of the week for each room. After you have done your 10 minutes per room pick up, you then go to the room for that particular day, and do something on that list. In between the picking up and the assigned room jobs, there is another half an hour when you are supposed to do the actual regular household chores (dusting, washing floors, watering plants, etc). You make a list of all the things that should be done at least once a week, and you start at the top of the list and work your way down for just 30 minutes. At the end of that time, you know you will start where you left off tomorrow. In no time at all, this method works so well, you no longer need the 10 minutes per room, that starts the day. After all, there will only be what you left out since the day before. Yep, that system always works well for me when I'm following it.

So, let's get started.

Oh, wait. Here beside the computer is a pile of income tax forms and receipts from various family members. I have to get those done, and back to them, as there is a time limit on taxes, you know.

Also, I have homework to do for the course I'm taking. I should get that in by tomorrow, and I have not started it yet.

Yep, I apparently need a time limit in order to get things done.

The housework, will just have to wait. Maybe someone will be kind enough to decide to visit me next week, so I will get around to the tidying. But please, do call first.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Twitter success

Apparently I'm not doing as poorly at Twitter as I thought I was. It seems I've had a couple of recommendations, during Follow Friday, when we all get to tell each other who you should be following. That's cool.

Further to that, here are my Canadian and English speaking rankings:

And although my rank doesn't seem very high to you, there are over 460,000 new Twitter accounts ever day. On Twitter, I'm known as Yabut.
Follow me. :)

Hmmmm....I just made an interesting discovery. The top picture is live and reflects how I'm doing in real time. It's actually much better now than when I originally posted this.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Chatelaine Test Recipes

For those of you who read my previous posts about testing recipes for Chatelaine, I will now pass along the links to the recipes I tested.  (while reading the link above, follow a link there back to a previous one too)
Upside-down Shepherd's Pie
Chicken and Dumplings
Classic Lemon Tart

Enjoy.  And do tell me if you make any of these, and what you thought of them.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Local Rambles

Part of the idea of this blog was to let you in on some of the other things I do, besides geocaching . I guess I haven't been very good at that, since I've been on several interesting outings since I started this. There's no sense trying to go backwards too far, as that's what caused me to stall out on the other blog, so I'll just give you a bit on the most recent activities.

On February 16th, a group of Red Hatters came up from Ogdensburg to celebrate the anniversary of their group, and they invited my group (yes, I am Queen here) to join them for lunch at a local restaurant. They even hired a musician for the occasion, though we were likely all so busy visiting we didn't really pay that much attention to him playing in the background.  The Ogdensburg Mad Hatters are a lovely bunch of women, and I understand they come up this way quite frequently, so I do hope we can get together again sometime.

On February 23, the New Horizons Club held a Medieval Festival. We were encouraged to dress up for that, and while it was clear everyone had their own idea of what era they were supposed to be in, a good many of them did take part.  There was a tax collector who set about relieving those who didn't dress up of some of their gold. There was food and games and a lot of good fun.

Yesterday (March 5) we attended the annual Soup Fest in Winchester Ontario.  Many of the restaurants from miles around that area gather in one hall, and offer samples of their best soups all for one low admittance price.    This year there were 16 restaurants represented. That's down somewhat from last year's line
up, but still enough to fill you up and test your sense of adventure.  There was everything from a cold cucumber avocado soup, with a kick of jalapeno peppers, to a very popular Mexican offering that was more like chili than soup.  It's great fun to attend this fundraiser for TLC (True Love in Christ) Ministries, especially if you go with others, so that you can discuss and compare your views on the various offerings. Amazingly, we don't always agree on what we like, but we all get to vote on our top three favorites. There are official judges too, including some very prominent chefs and other celebrities.  Chef Michael Dunn, for instance, was once the Royal chef to Queen Elizabeth.  We like to take this opportunity to gather other family members for a good chat while tasting. It's becoming an annual family event, and we're already looking forward to it again next year.