Tag Archive: weightloss

Quick Bits

The past few weeks I have been a little busy as the school year wound down and softball/tee-ball season gears up. I also had a paying job to complete. So I took a little break from the blog. I  know some of you make the effort to write something everyday and I applaud you. Sadly, that is not me. Some days you have to say no to something, especially when that something does not pay you.

Today I am going to talk about this and that.

Black Bloc in Toronto, 2010
Photograph by Oliver Lavery, found on ladyoftheheart.blogspot.com



* A week ago, the city north of us had to deal with the NATO Conference, featuring many world leaders. Mrs. Obama took the wives of these leaders to her old neighborhood to show off a positive-action outreach center. Mr. Obama and others worked out how they will leave Afghanistan by 2014. Protesters abounded in the area.

Some, like nurses protesting the closure of mental health centers throughout the city, had a just cause to bring to the public. But then there were the Black Bloc who were there to fight against the police. Reporters heard shouts of “death to cops” and indeed, these people did not show up until the last day wearing masks or scarves over their faces.

On the same weekend in other parts of the city, two young teenage boys lost their lives to gang gunfire. They were not gang members themselves but people who caught in crossfire or mis-identification. If these Black Bloc people really want to do something about the injustices of the world, perhaps they could do something like volunteer in those tough neighborhoods to give kids a safe place to hang out or learn something new. But that would be akin to real bravery.



* Today I saw a story about a Safeway meat department worker who saw a man beating his pregnant girlfriend in the store. So he did what most of us would not and got between them. He stopped the man from beating on the five-month-pregnant woman and hung on to him until the police got there.

So the pregnant-girlfriend-beater was arrested and got off with three years probation. The meat department clerk at first was assured by his manager that his job was safe. The next day, he was suspended with no pay.  This is going to make life rough for the man with a pregnant wife of his own.

Thankfully the residents of the Northern Californian town let Safeway know that they made the  wrong decision. They inundated the Facebook page of Safeway, picketed the market and had a petition up at change.org. If that wasn’t enough, the police chief wrote a letter of support for the man. And he had the support of the mayor.

In the end, the butcher won his job back. There is common-sense in corporate America.



* When I got dressed today, I put on a tee-shirt that says it is a ‘large.’ The surprising part is that it fits, nicely. Maybe this weight-loss thing is working out after all. I increased my distance for walking, added wheat bread and took out white bread, maintained eating as much fruit and veggies through the day as possible and continued drinking at least eight cups of liquid daily.

Sometimes when I look at current photos, it seems like nothing has changed. It is when I try on a slightly smaller size in clothing that I notice the difference. We take our victories where we can find them. I am taking mine around the block as I walk the dog.

Roses along the Steps



* With this weird warm spring comes early blooming of flowers. My roses are hear before June and a part of my knows I should be worried. But are they not glorious?

BTW, the Chicago Botanic Garden is doing a study on bloom times. It is called Project Bud Burst. They are looking for more people to report the bloom times in their gardens. Great project and I need to sign up.


What is going on in your world?


What I Wore to a Dinner

One of the things I hate doing is shopping for clothes.

Considering the weight I have lost in the past year, you would think it is something I love to do. Granted my tummy is smaller than it was and I am  losing my third chin. It is trying on everything and being mocked by my own image in the mirror that I hate.

I am not the only one; Caitlin of Broadside just wrote about her adventures in clothing shopping as she gets ready for a book publicity tour. (If I wasn’t excited for her I would be really jealous. But I am truly excited) She found great items with the help of three people making her get out of her comfort zone.

Picture by Cohdra

During my last sewing day I learned that to measure correctly for tops you have to do it from the top of the bust. Fourteen inches from left to right is a size 14. Every half inch from there is another size up. And when I learned that I was really a size 20, my heart went to the stomach.

Really? After all that work I am STILL a size 20?

Do you know what is even harder than losing that weight? Finding clothing that is cute and stylish without looking like tent. My last great dress was a size 20. It was a brown wrap dress, a true wrap. I loved it because it showed off my good parts.

As I have dropped weight it began to look huge on me. I could not wrap it tight enough to make up for the extra material. So I gave it away. And I did not have a great “dress up” dress.

This is not a problem as I seldom go anywhere needing that kind of dressing.

Then my husband was given tickets for an event that required dressing up. I needed to look good so the daughter and I went shopping. We went to one store then another. I tried on several dresses that ended up being too tight, no the right style, not the right color. One dress that we both agreed on looked cute on the mannequin and looked awful on me.

Dress from Kohl's, picture by me

Finally, we found one that looked good, accented the right parts of my body without being black or pink.

While black is the background color, it is not the only color. Bottle green, turquoise blue and white are some of the other colors. The night I wore this dress, I paired it with an unpolished turquoise pendant and a black cardigan. In the store it had been paired with a statement necklace of clear stones.

Perhaps I can make a necklace from a clear green crystal to go with this dress. It would certainly add another dimension with a color that is a small part of the design.

The other night the daughter and I were watching Dancing With The Stars (could Kirstie dance away with the trophy?) when we saw a Kohl’s commercial come on and I saw the cutest pair of shoes. Of course, now I cannot find the ones I saw but I did find these.

Dolce by Mojo Moxy Inferno Peep-toe platform high heels, image from Kohls.com

Perhaps, this should be my next shoe purchase.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.
Have you added anything to the wardrobe?

The Answer Lady has great shoes. Picture by J. Dunham


The Answer Lady had so much fun last time that she decided to answer a few other items that come up in the search column. There are some people who love being a font of information and some who are insufferable know-it-alls.

If the Answer Lady can make use of her knowledge acquired during her years of being an insufferable know-it-all, that is just the cherry on top of the hot fudge sundae.

Q. What is the old trick to get rid of belly fat?

A. Well, the simpliest way is to exercise and diet properly. You can read or listen to a lot of these internet ads that promise to make it happen lickety split. Most of them want you to fork over money for their colon cleanser product that is paired with acai berry.

Others tell you they have the pill that will take it all off without making changes to your lifestyle. Really? If you talk to your doctor, he or she will start talking about food intake and how much you exercise. If you eat and eat and eat but never ever exercise, sooner or later those calories turn into fat.

I recently listened to one site that talked about how some foods, even the healthy foods we are encouraged to eat will still make you fat.  At least this person had it sort of right. Isbella’s big thing that keeps us fat is processed food and foods with high fructose syrup. Those yougurts and whole grain breads still have fructose syrup which is very bad.

picture by Orchid

So she wants you to become a label reader as well as make more of your own meals so you can cut down on all of those chemicals that make the body worse not better. Oh, and she has a cookbook and a metabolism calculator and exercise diet plans to help you figure it all out. For X amount.

So if you really want to get that belly fat off, here is the old trick. Eat less, move more. Eat more fruits and veggies, make your own bread (remember that bread machine in the back) and eat less processed food. Start by dropping one bad habit at a time and replace it with a good habit.

I started with dropping soda and replacing it with iced tea. Next I replaced chips with carrot sticks.  Instead of sleeping in, I get up and do a fifteen minute walk. That is on top of the afternoon walk I do with the dog.

That is the only “old” trick to losing that belly. Once you lose 20 pounds, you will be amazed by the way you look and feel.

Q. I need an image of a brick wall.

Picture by Krumdieck

A. There are various content houses on the web. Some of these are free to use. My image of a brick wall was gained from one of these and you really need to find your own.

New Outfits!

 One of the sad parts of this weight-loss journey has been the loss of old favorite outfits.

My swingy black skirt and white denim pants had to go away because they were falling off my hips. This is a great development because it meant I had to get new clothes.

While I was sick in December and spending too much time in bed, I would peruse several clothing catalogs. Monroe and Main would have these great outfit layouts taking five or six building block pieces and create outfits. I looked at them and realized that I had most pieces but could use a few more to create a better wardrobe for myself.

Plus, I have been inspired for several months to start doing a semi-regular fashion post by The Pleated Poppy blog. Lindsey and sometimes a guest poster takes pictures of the worn outfits for the week and puts them up for the rest of us to see. It is an effort on Lindsay’s part to dress better. I like it to see combinations I may not have put together.

So here are a few new pieces in my wardrobe with old pieces to even it out.

Jeans and White Shirt

 Jeans are from Target, bought from the clearance section. My budget that day was $20. I gathered a bunch and then saw jeans in the clearance section. Tried them all on but these straight hips with a boot cut leg is what I bought for $12.00 which allowed me to get a new stretch top as well. That piece is not shown here. However, I pair these jeans with a white blouse and belt it with the shirt tails out.

Black-and-White plaid skirt with white tank and light blue cardy.

I just finished this skirt at my sewing day at my favorite quilt shop. I have been working on it for a little bit at an earlier sewing day. This session Barb helped me out by serging the hem of the lining and the waistband. And then she taught me how to put in a zipper in a much better method. Ecstatic is how I am feeling.

I am pairing it with my light blue cardigan (consignment shop) and favorite white cotton tank bought at Lane Bryant.  The skirt had light blue threads worked in and I thought this would be a good mix for spring.

Dark Tan Sweater and Red Flowered Skirt

I love the color red but my rosacea does not. So I am putting red on the bottom with a skirt I altered to fit the wider waist I have now than when I first made this skirt. The hem hits just under the knees, my preferred length. I have had this sweater for several years and purchased it from Chadwicks of Boston. It is a great neutral with a skirt or jeans. I also wear my jean jacket with this outfit now that a parka is not required outer-wear.

Have you picked up any new clothes this spring?

You eat that much?

Picture by Xenia

Today is Valentine’s Day and you have made the terrible realization that spring is not too far away. March 21 is just 35 days away. That means Spring and the clothing which is lighter and prettier and telling of rolls of fat is 35 days away.

“‘Noooooooooooooooo” is the collective scream being heard across the snow belt despite the joy of warmer weather. How does this happen? Where does all of this fat come from.

You know the answer.


Food loaded with fats and sugars and sodas that have nothing nutritional to give.

I love it, can’t get enough of it. When I am having a bad day, the thought of bread pudding cheers me right up. Chocolate cake, brownies with caramel swirls in it or even a simple frosted cupcake with a raspberry on top can do the same.

When it is my turn to make the Sunday Dinner, I go for chicken in cream sauces or crab cakes.  I like trying new recipes for soups, main dishes and desserts. All of which explains the extra weight I carry. 

That is why I put myself on a diet aimed at improving all-around health along the threat of diabetes. It runs in my family like the Mississippi during a flood. There are days that I feel like a ticking time bomb just waiting for my sugar numbers to explode and make my life miserable.

Today, I am sharing that diet that has helped me drop 30 pounds but be warned. This works for me and the condition I know I am going to have no matter how hard I try. My mother is a skinny woman and she has diabetes. I am 25 pounds over my highest allowed weight (by the insurance company’s charts) and despite making some great improvements, that chronic illness is headed my way.

What I have worked to do is make a diet that is tasty and not depriving me of anything. I also make sure to have plenty of liquid throughout the day.



First thing: 16 oz of water

Breakfast: 2 fried or scrambled eggs, slice of bread or malt-o-meal, 12-16 oz. green tea

Mid Morning: 12-16 oz coffee, 1 serving of a sweet cookie or a sweet roll)




Picture by Johnninbkk


Lunch: Sandwich or soup, starch (bread, chips or carrot sticks), fruit, 12-16 oz water

Mid-afternoon: 12-16 oz. coffee, 2 small pieces of candy (pic-a-snack or 2 Dove squares)

After work: Protein (hard-boiled egg or peanut butter), 12-6 oz tea


Supper: Protein, starch, veggie, salad, 12-16 oz drink




Picture by Karpati

The other important factor:

You have to get up and move. I walk about 20 -30 minutes a day with the dog, every day. EVERY DAY. I also try to do a 20-minute workout in the morning. I am getting a little anxious and want changes to happen quicker.

This is what works for me. Now tell me what has worked for you. Perhaps we can trade secrets that actually work.

Wear Red!

Are you looking around and seeing a lot of red?

But then you think “Oh, it’s Friday. People are getting excited for the weekend.” Considering the snow event we just had, it makes a little sense that people want a little fun.

Rhinestone Dress Brooch ($29.00); picture from http://www.shop.heart.com

Another good look tells you it is mostly women wearing red. Those women who are not wearing red are wearing cute little dress pins.

What’s going on?

Well, it is the big “Go Red” day sponsored by the American Heart Association.

It is an effort to make women more aware that they need to take care of their heart health. I am more than aware of this issue because my paternal grandmother had her first heart attack at the age of 40. Plus, her husband’s family had a history of diabetes that also affects heart health.

The scary thing was checking out the website on the page about understanding your risks. Women make about 60% of the deaths from strokes. Just being post-menopause puts you at greater risk. And women tend to have slightly different symptoms during a heart attack than men and get their health concerns pushed aside.

However, the American Heart Association encourages people to get on the treadmill, start an exercise routine or find a way to be active. Work on a diet that has heart healthy foods with a calorie count no lower that 1200 calories per day.

Then they throw out that great little fact that 1-2 pounds per week is what healthy weight loss looks like and not 20 pounds in two weeks.

For those of us who promised ourselves to move more and eat less, to finally lose those nagging pound it is a great reminder to get back on that goal. I don’t know about you but I have been battling and fighting. My tummy measurement is under (just under but I will take it) 42 inches.

Picture by solrac gi 2nd

Like everything else, it is tough. I love eating sweets and bread. My  coffee must have creamer in it and I like the sweetened variety. But I also like fruit and vegetables. The husband and I are making the effort to eat more salads at dinner time. I am trying to stay on my big liquid intake.

The point I am trying to make is that this kind of weight loss does not happen over night and those of us working on it need all of the encouragement we can get. 

If that means going red for one day, I am doing it.

How do you work on heart health?

New Year, New You?

I have seen you skulking around, checking out some of my weight-loss and food-issue  posts.

Picture by Cohdra

It is a new year and you want that one secret to losing weight, the one secret to losing that tummy. You want to know it because you want to use it. You might have even sat through at least one of those infomercials on the web hoping to hear it.

 I can share a few things with you about my journey of weight loss.

 I topped the scales at 220 pounds although I lied to myself and said I was 210. The clue should have been my waistline which expanded to 48 inches. My waist was bigger than my boobs. My favorite pieces of clothing were not fitting.

 So I did the hard stuff.

I started changing my diet, making sure I ate at least one piece of fresh fruit daily. I made sure to fit some sort of veggie in as well. About this time I gave up soda except for Pizza Night and replaced it with ice tea. Plus, I started drinking more water. McDonald’s stopped being a regular meal place.

Mad Woman, Picture by Mantasmagorical

But the thing that helped most in the last year was losing my job. The work was great; I enjoyed learning and getting better every month. What I hated was my boss, a scattered brain micro-manager who worked to make everyone’s life miserable. When I hear of her these days, I feel sorry for my old boss. She will always be the evil person she is now and feels she does not need to make any changes.

Leaving that toxic situation allowed me some other changes. Like being able to sleep at night. Newer studies are showing that getting your needed amount of sleep helps your body do the work it needs to do.

 Another big change was being able to relax. While I still worry about doing good work at my current job, it doesn’t wear on me like it did at my last job. Plus, my family reports enjoying being around me once again. I am calmer, happier, not ready to jump at every wrong happening in the house.

 I no longer mentally prepare myself for dealing with a stubborn mule who did not believe in communication and treated any brainstorming meeting with me as wasted time. I mean, who wants to take the time to think of ways to improve your product? (yep, still bitter)

 One of the biggest changes was adding in exercise so I could speed up my metabolism and work off the fatty foods I love eating. A 75-pound black Labrador pulling you along for a walk requires energy to keep up.

Picture by Alvimann

 The other big change is no longer stopping off at McDonald’s every other day for a three pack of chocolate chip cookies and a huge sweet tea. Or stopping off at the gas station for a candy bar or a Little Debbie’s snack and can of Arizona Sweet Tea. I no longer require as much comfort food as I have in the past. 

The short of the long is to really get that weight off, I had to leave a toxic situation. Maybe that is not your situation. But if you actually hope to lose weight, you have to work at it. It requires making lifestyle changes in your diet and exercise routines.

 That is what it took for me to lose nearly 30 pounds. That is what it took for my waist to measure just under 42 inches. No whey powder, no yucky shakes or diet pills. There is no magic formula that will keep it off once you lose it other than that.

Picture by Xandert

If that is what you are ready to do, jump on my wagon and let’s see how far you can go.

What are you willing to do to finally lose the weight?

I hate my trainer.

Last week on Facebook, one of my friends made a comment about how tough the new Jillian Michaels yoga workout has turned out to be.

I made a jokey comment that I think the woman must be a sadist, just like my boxing coach on Wii.

Except I was not kidding.

I really think the Mii used as the boxing coach is an SOB. He is mean and tough and makes me crazy. I considered firing him except he is not real and I do not pay him. I feel a little crazy talking about an animated figure like this.

I still hate him.

My quest to lose weight has hit a plateau. I am only 13 pounds from my goal weight and it is the Christmas season. I know I am going to eat any rich and fatty dish put before me. I know I could use moderation and not eat as much.

Instead, I have chosen to amp up the exercise a bit by doing the boxing training modules on Wii in an effort to whittle down my waist. I still do the walk with the dog every day and have added an extra block to up the ante. I am still working the diet with yogurt and fresh fruit. A recent cold has made me up my liquid intake.

I know, I know it is not real exercise. Heck, I could just sit on the couch and do the movements with only my hands. But I am making the effort to sock it to the punching bags and dodge those laser fast tennis balls the trainer shoots at me with what seems like bazookas for hands.

I know there is a benefit to all of that punching and moving back and forth. I need the physicality of this exercise before I jump back into working out with my kickboxing tape. I am trying to make sure I have a good stance and punch that bag as hard as I can. A lot of the tightness that has been in my shoulders is starting to loosen up.

Missed me this time!

But then the trainer has to throw balls at me to make me learn how to dodge punches – the bastard. Just when I think I have the rhythm down, he throws them even faster. And lets not forget the double ball throws he makes every now and again. The beautiful girl who is my Mii should have had several concussions by this time. I would be on the disabled list if I were an NFL player.

Does it get me a break? Not a chance.

What is a girl going to do but just keep coming back for more punishment. After all, my waist measurement has now hit just under 42 inches. With my birthday only a few weeks away it would be great to suddenly be at only 40 inches. That might be a pipe dream but it is my pipe dream that does not involve crack.

Oops. I missed the paddle again.

Just a trainer who seems intent on my destruction. At least I can give it right back to him on the paddle punching excise.

That’s right, coach, I did mean to miss the paddle – a little on purpose.

Slowly, ever so slowly the weight and my big tummy are going away.

This is not me but I hope to be closer to this level of skinniness someday. Picture by Clarita

I think I wrote some time ago that I walk every weekday in the mall. My goal was to get rid of the gut that was going to help me down the road to diabetes. So many stories on research showing the problems with a big belly made me realize it had to go.

So I started doing the sensible things. I read up on what foods help get rid of the belly, looked at what drinking more liquids and a good night’s sleep could do. And then I began to weed out what was crap. I am not falling for the acai berry or the total colon cleansing potions although I really want to do so.

I mean, who doesn’t want to lose the weight and the gut overnight.

The problem is none of that stuff ever goes away over night. I did not get a big belly over one day or one week’s worth of bad eating. It has taken years of bad habits to get there so it might take a while to get rid of all of this stuff.

Here is what is happening. I am noticing every month that my gut is shrinking. Clothes are starting to fall off of my hips. Pants that used to fit just fine require a belt. Skirts and dresses have started to go to the resale shop or being given away. Now I need to be buying new things that fit better.

This is the part in the ad where I tease you with the secret. On one blog I occasionally read, this is where the writer told you all about the magic product she is using.

I am using no magic product.

I have added more fresh fruit and yogurt to the diet. I eat a 6 oz. cup of yogurt as a mid-morning snack and fresh fruit with lunch and for an afternoon snack. I am trying to control my portions and make sure I have a protein source ever three or four hours. I make sure to drink at least 64 oz of liquid – coffee, green tea, water or ice tea but not soda – everyday.

Plus, I have maintained some sort of exercise. Now that school is out, I am only walking the dog in the afternoon. But our town is small enough that I can walk or bike to the grocery store. Sometimes the kids and I ride bikes in the evening after supper or I spend an hour in the garden.

Picture from barnesandnoble.com

What it boils down to is what Julie Hadden, 2nd place winner on Biggest Loser Season Four, says is the key.

Move more, eat less.

It sounds simple. But Julie knows where everyone of us has been and knows it is not. Sooner or later the only secret is move more, eat less. That is the only way to keep the calories from coming in and burning off the fat that is already there.

I read Julie’s book, Fat Chance, last year and was inspired by her story, inspired by her Christian walk. I was inspired by how everything got better for her once she began to appreciate life again and that included her walk with God. While she has a trainer and I do not, I take away her advice. I eat less and control my portions. I move more by walking to the store, parking farther away at a shopping center or doing active stuff with the kids. And it is working for me. This is working for me.

Don’t think that instant colon cleanser doesn’t still appeal. I just know better than to try it.

Karyn Bowman lives in Kankakee County with her outdoor writer husband and four children. Become friends with Karyn on Facebook.