Friday, January 6, 2012

I'm going to start blogging on my website instead of here, I believe...unless it's a pain in the arse for people. Let me know. The new site is: If it doesn't work out, perhaps I can double post material or something. We'll see.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Where does the time go?

It has been well over a year since my last post. That is because everything about my life got really bizarre not long after that last post in 2010 and I'm just now regaining my composure.

In late November/early December 2010 the HypnoBirthing conference was on a Caribbean cruise. I drove down to Florida with my husband. The trip down was 2 12-hour days of driving, as was the return trip. During our time on the ship I spend much of my time in classes. However, we did make an effort to get to the gym and to choose activities that were...well, active...when we weren't at sea.

Even so, I ate the usual cruise fare in the amounts served. I gained 8 lb. in one week.

On the way home from the cruise we were notified that my husband's father had likely suffered a stroke. For the next couple of months either his mother or father were sick, or there were 'end of life' details the siblings had to attend to. Thus, we traveled to and from MI (at least a 6 hour drive each way) about every two weeks or so though the winter.

I had lost 4 of the 8 lb. gained on the cruise in the first week home. Each trip to MI was a gain of 2 or 3 lb. even though we took our own food as often as we could. We just didn't get the exercise we usually do and did eat out at least once each trip. We specifically booked hotels with gyms, but twice the gym/pool was closed for seasonal work and other times we just didn't have the time to ourselves to do what we planned. Each time we came home, I'd be able to shed a pound or two, but then we were on the road again.

At the end of January I got sick with a sinus infection while my husband was out of town and got horribly dehydrated. I didn't move from the couch except to deal with necessities for 5 days. I didn't eat, I didn't drink enough fluids. Honestly, I don't recall what the weight was doing because I was just wishing I'd die and didn't care what my corpse would look like.

In mid-February my MIL passed away. We had another trip or two to MI for a memorial, to help get his father situated at a nursing home and sort through a lifetime of belongings that had to be dealt with.

In April I was asked to fill a slot for a presentation that had opened up at a weekend birthing workshop offering at National University Hospital in Singapore. I was to present on Kangaroo Care for premature babies. It was a very exciting opportunity! My duties at work had expanded to include quite a bit of medical dictation, so between research and preparation for the presentation and my job, I was sitting a lot. In addition, winter in Wisconsin lasted well into May so it was too freakin' cold to be outside at all. I wasn't gaining, but I sure hadn't had the opportunity to deal with the 5-7 lbs. that had accumulated with all of the oddities of the entire winter. Even so, I had a plan to make up for it over the summer.

Singapore was GREAT! I loved every minute of it despite the fact that my right let hurt after the 22-hour flight there. I did get up and move every hour and a half to two hours except once when I fell asleep. When I woke up I had this cramp. But it never went away. Knowing that long trips can predispose one to blood clots, I was concerned, but there was no redness, no swelling. I took an aspirin every day and figured it must just be a cramp.

Most of the time that I was there I was, again, in classes much of the day. On the last day we hiked Bukit Timah, the highest point in Singapore and enjoyed the Botanic Garden...another couple of miles. Then I caught another 22-hour flight home.

Once again I fell asleep for probably 4-5 hours. And my leg got progressively worse all the way home. The day after I arrived home I was very concerned and my doctor ordered an ultrasound, showing several clots in my right leg.

For the next 9 days I received Fragmin shots in my belly and was prescribed warfarin. I didn't move much at all for the first week, afraid that I'd 'throw' one of the clots.

I spent that time researching blood clots & blood thinners.

What I found was that the longer one remains immobilized, the greater the chance of further negative consequences relating to the clots. So I began walking about 2-3 miles per day, slowly and with great attention to how I was feeling.

The problem was the warfarin (rat poison/blood thinner) made me incredibly tired. I had to nap several hours per day in addition to the walking. My employer was wonderful about letting me work around this new variable, but after about a month I knew I couldn't keep doing this. By this time, I had discovered that I have a heterozygous genetic mutation in two clotting factors...Factor V Leiden and Protrombin. This means that I am more likely to develop clots than people who do not have these mutations.

My grandmother has had issues with blood clots her whole life. She's also been on Coumadin (warfarin) most of that. There are a lot of very scary problems associated with this drug, like internal bleeding and stroke. Some have been hospitalized after minor incidents like a nick while shaving because they could bleed to death from something so small. I had already experienced a broken blood vessel in my finger and it scared the dickens out of me.

In addition, food and other medications like aspirin or other pain killers affect how Coumadin works. This means you can swing wildly from having blood that is way to thin and way too thick. Before the lab work came back I was being told 3-6 months was the minimum time I'd be on Coumadin. After it came back, I was being told perhaps a year or more.

In my 5 weeks on Coumadin, even with walking, I had gained 10 lb. That was piled on to the 5-7 from the winter. I had to get off this stuff.

My doctor helped me figure out how to keep my blood thin and dissolve the clots naturally. The Gordon Research Institute provided some useful information as well.

Still, it took awhile to wean (ever so delicately) myself off the Coumadin and onto the natural supplement program. I gained 2-3 more lb. during that time.

Regular exercise was part of the regimen to keep homocysteine levels down. High Homocysteine is associated with hyper coagulation. So I walked. Every. Single Day. I walked 2-3 miles on the days I was feeling dragged out. I walked 5-7 every chance I got. About once per month I hiked the strenuous Devil's Lake loop. I biked 28 1/2 miles once, and several rides of 13-18 miles. All summer long I ate appropriately and moved every chance I got. My weight stubbornly remained exactly the same.

I asked my doctor when it would be safe to do protocol again. A large part of my 'keeping the blood thin' protocol was fish oils, vitamin E oil, garlic, etc. I knew I had to be clot free to even think about doing protocol because oils will prevent protocol success. He said not to even think about it until December.

By November I was getting frustrated and it was getting very easy to justify eating things I normally wouldn't. I still had to move to keep my blood moving, but I found myself saying, 'Eh, f*ck it! If I'm not going to lose weight anyway, I'm eating what I want!' And I did. I gained another 10 lb. through November and December. By the end of December, I decided I couldn't take it any more! A gain of 30 lbs. meant none of my cloths fit, and even as active as I was, the techniques I'd used for so long to maintain my weight were failing me.

Today is my first day of Very Low Calorie Intake (VLCI).

I am still taking fistfuls of non-oil supplements to keep my blood on the thin side, because there is a theoretical risk that Hcg can cause blood clots. Knowing that I have a predisposition means I have to mitigate for that possibility. I have to point out though that I find it significant that I have this predisposition, I've been pregnant twice (making several thousand times more Hcg on my own that is used in protocol) and have done 4 solid rounds of protocol (when I lost the 85 lb.). I also did a couple of half-assed, short lived rounds when I thought I'd try to bump my numbers down a bit, which didn't work and the efforts were abandoned. (Once the Hcg was no good. Once a pharmacy assured me their drops were exactly the same as the injections. They lied.)

AT NO POINT, DURING ANY OF THOSE SITUATIONS, DID I DEVELOP BLOOD CLOTS. I feel it's important to say that because everyone wants to know if the clots were related to protocol. No. In fact, while 22-hour flights are a known risk, I am somewhat amazed that not only did it take that to create clots, but it may have been the entire year of crap to build. Any one of those situations I found myself in all year long could have started the seed of a clot. For all I know my body always has formed clots with long car trips and such, but my body has always had the chance to deal with them before they became a problem. But this particular year, just as my body could get right, I'd be in the car, or on a plane, again.

At the time of my incident, I had not had Hcg in my system for months. I had remained within 5 lb. of my protocol weight for about a year and a half before it went to hell in a hand basket. After the Coumadin (or after the blood clot...who knows?) my body did not respond to my efforts in the same way. I feel I need a 're-set.' I never intended to do protocol again. I figured that while I was 5-10 lb. above my goal, that was where my body might just want to be and I was ok with that. I did get down to that size 4 momentarily, but my body was much happier at a size 6.

But I didn't anticipate that my life could be out of control for an entire year. I didn't realize just how long it can take to recuperate from a DVT. I had no clue that a medication could mess me up so bad.

So here I am to log this round. I did not gain anything the first two days of loading. I gave it that third day because I felt it necessary. I gained 1.5 lb. on that day. Today I've had my two meals. According to my phone app, I've consumed 525 calories. I've not walked yet, but I will. And then I will do a short hot tub. I had two cups of coffee with stevia before lunch, and a diet stevia sweetened soda in the afternoon. Other than that, I've had about a gallon of water.

My supplements include probiotics, vitamins C, D3, E and B complex, triphila, neem, ginger, nattokinase, lumbrokinase and a baby aspirin. The C/E vitamin combo is to keep homocysteine levels down, so I feel I need the E even if it is an oil. I remain attentive to my body and am on the lookout for unusual bruising, in the event the supplements are working too well. I had no issues since I began the natural protocol, but I don't know if less food will change that. Obviously, I also will remain aware of any signs of unusual clotting.

I have no idea if protocol will work for me as it has in the past with all the ways my body might have changed, but we'll see.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I haven't posted a picture in a while, so I thought I'd toss one up.

We went hiking up a mountain (yes, in Wisconsin!). I was sore for a few days, thus up a bit in weight. I also had several days of potlucks and other situations where I was not totally in control of my food selections if I wanted to be polite...and I did.

It wasn't bad, however. It was just more than I wanted it to be.

Today I did a steak day because after that hard hike, I did yoga to try to work out the kinks, and a couple of days this week I walked 5 miles at a '12' incline, which meant I needed another day of yoga to work out those kinks. Combined with the food issues, the way I saw it I had unintentionally ended up with an instance of 'carb refeeding' and figured a bit of intermittent fasting was in order.

I'm not looking to drop a huge amount, just give myself a fresh start.

This week I have a lot of computer work to do, so I will have to actually carve out the time I need to move, which likely will be Wii, treadmill and yoga in preparation to take on that mountain once again!

Friday, October 8, 2010


Last time I wrote about maintaining in regard to food, but I've been asked several times since then how much I need to exercise to stay at a 4/6.

Not much, really.

In fact, as with the food, it's probably not so different than what I did when I was fat, but I enjoy it more. Or maybe I did more before, but I hated it more? I'm not sure.

This week I walked 5 miles on the treadmill one day and happened to bike a couple of miles on the same day. Another day I did 1/2 hour of yoga. Yesterday, I walked perhaps a couple of miles around the neighborhood. That's pretty typical. If I want to undo damage from a weekend of excess or something, I might try to make an attempt to do more. But my job and school tend to involve a good amount of sitting. I have to make time for it.

The difference is that now I see results, which is motivating. I do actually enjoy it. The day I walked 5 miles on the treadmill, it was because I was watching a movie on Netflix. When I was fat, I did the same thing, but I had to make deals with no coffee in the morning until I did at least 2.5 miles. Then I'd do another couple of miles in the afternoon. I may have even walked more later with my sister, or we might have gotten together to lift free-weights. I did this for MONTHS with NO results, despite a healthy organic vegetarian diet of no more than around 1000-1200 calories per day and NO goodies. After about 6 months, I quit putting the effort into it. My life was full of cycles like that.

So anyway, I couldn't have done the entire 5 miles at once. My feet would hurt after about 2 or 3. And I wouldn't break into a light jog, because likely I would be crying at the injustice of working my ass off for no f*ucking reason, because 'they' said I just wasn't working hard ENOUGH and obviously 'they' were the experts. Many of my workout included copious amounts of bad language and tears.

Now I know that for my body to maintain I should eat around 1200-1400 calories, depending on WHAT I eat. What is 'diet' for some is just the way I have to live to stay where I am.

Before I exercised even though I hated every...single...minute of certain things. I enjoyed hiking and yoga...although my feet would hurt after or my belly rolls and thighs would get in the way.

When we got the treadmill we currently have, I was so excited. On some level I really did miss it. What I decided is that I liked exercising...I just didn't like the way it made me feel emotionally (because I was supposed to get smaller and didn't) and physically (because everything was just so much harder than it should be).

Before, I would have deprived myself of the good things in life. Today, I have a glass of red wine and a square of dark chocolate nearly every day with no repercussions. Now, if I have toast on any given day, I'll have to have a 5 mile day. Before, I might have had toast every day. If I was too busy to make something to eat, I might grab a couple of pieces of toast instead of a meal...for all three meals! That's 750 calories or more, all in a fat storing combination of grain and fat/oil. I would gain on that!

The conventional wisdom that says a calorie is a calorie is a lie. It makes us feel like failures. It matters where the calories come from, and there is no one right formula that works for everyone.

Monday, September 27, 2010


I get asked quite often what I eat now; what I eat daily and what I eat when I 'cheat'. I've written about what a typical day looks like, but this weekend I celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary, and if any weekend could be considered a 'splurge' this would be it.

Well, first of all, there is no 'cheating'. I'm not dieting for the rest of my life. I've just changed how I look at food to a certain extent.

So, daily, I may have eggs and bacon for breakfast. I don't sit for big meals as a rule because there are only two of us now, and even when there were three, we often were on different schedules. However, before, I might have had a bowl of cereal OR a bagel with cream cheese OR oatmeal OR yogurt. Now, I focus on protein. We make the bacon in big batches and freeze it so I can grab just 2 or 3 slices and eat it with an herbed egg or two. Or, if I don't have eggs made, I may have a slice or two of hard cheese with my bacon, or I may have the cheese with an apple or pear.

I drink water throughout the day, but I do drink coffee with cream in the morning. usually two cups, but my cups are big, like 1.5 size, maybe two, of what my coffee maker calls a 'cup'.

For lunch, I might have 1/2 cup cottage cheese (full fat) and a piece of fruit (if I didn't have one for breakfast). Before, I would have had a Peanut butter sandwich on whole jelly or honey or anything. I might have had some baby carrots with ranch dip, but often just the sandwich.

Now, I'll probably have a handful of macadamia nuts or almonds as a snack. I probably would have done that before, or I might have had a 'healthy' protein/meal bar. I look at labels now and cannot believe the amount of sugar and/or carbohydrate in those bars I got from the health food store, let alone the ones in mainstream groceries!

For dinner now, I might make a cauliflower crust pizza, or a quiche with the same crust. I might make a spicy peanut sauce to go with grilled chicken and veggies. Now though, I'll skip the rice...even the brown or whole grain...unless I have a very small amount. Before, it would have been a bed of rice as my main portion (like 3/4 cup) with a little veggie and chicken. Now, the I may have a whole chicken breast, a cup of veggies, and little or no rice.

Now, for a celebratory weekend? I don't just toss my new habits. Before, going away for a weekend meant eating the hotel 'continental' breakfast, which is all starch or sweet fruit. I may have taken those protein bars or granola bars thinking that was somehow better because at least it wasn't a sugar-filled cereal. We also would have eaten out for all of our meals, and while we have split the vast majority of our meals for years, still usually it would be more than I'd eat at home. And, we'd eat at the places we never get to eat otherwise, and I'd get the pasta nearly every time.

On a car trip, we might have picked up chips or pretzels or something, or we may have allowed ourselves the fast food that we tried to stay away from in our daily lives.

This weekend, we were gone 3 1/2 days. We ate 4 meals out, all evening meals. We took a cooler with chicken, protein shakes (Jay Robb...low carbs 110 calories), nuts, apples, and Atkins bars. Breakfast, lunch and snacks were all from those selections.

Two meals were very disappointing; not worth the money spent or the calories ingested. For one, I ordered steak, no potato/rice selection and a salad with blue cheese dressing. Broccoli was included, but it was mushy. I had two glasses of wine. No desert. For the other, I had French onion soup and a salad with a pear/vinegar dressing. Meh. I was pissed about this whole dinner. I had one glass of wine and it sucked. No desert here either.

However, both of those nights, we had chocolate later, and we did end up consuming adult, another glass of wine back at the hotel each night. I brought 2 bottles for the 4 nights, but I brought home about 3/4 of one of them. In any case, one of those nights, it was just a regular dark chocolate selection from the machine in the hall, but it was too sweet. In the event we got a chocolate craving again, the next day we picked up a quality 70% cocoa bar and split that later in the evening.

The two good meals were at a steakhouse. I ordered a salad and filet mignon. I skipped the potato selection again. I did eat the bread they put on the table these times as it was really good bread: two pieces both times. Again, I had wine with dinner.

We hiked in the hills/mtns. of the U.P. one whole day, did get out and walked every couple of hours each day we were in the car, and we got in a couple of miles on the hotel treadmill the day it was rainy.

This morning I am up 3.5 lb, however, I know that by going back to the way I usually eat, and by getting 3-5 miles per day in on the treadmill, and perhaps some yoga, I will be back down to where I was before I left maybe by the end of the week. I can pretty much figure that getting back to the daily routine will take me twice as long to take it off as it did to put it on, and I have to work fairly hard at it. For instance, in a regular day, I may get the treadmill OR yoga, but not both; I may get 2-3 miles in, but 4 or 5 is pushing it. It's the price I pay for eating out all weekend, even if I made better choices than I might otherwise and even if I didn't allow myself to just indulge.

And make no mistake, while I don't 'diet' to stay here, every single thing I put in my mouth is a conscious choice. All calories are NOT the same! I probably eat the same or MORE calories on a daily basis as I did before, but I typically stay away from grains and sugar. That's the biggest difference.

I keep close track of my weight, and get right on it when I have a weekend like I just had. The biggest 'splurge' of this weekend was I didn't take the scale. I knew that even if I saw the indicator go up, I wouldn't do anything different, so what was the point? But it was the first thing I did this morning, so I could strategize for the rest of the week. I needed to assess the damages right away so it doesn't get out of control.

This program is not magic. People cannot go back to eating the way they did before. What made them fat before will make them fat again, there is no question about that. They cannot use food for reasons other than nourishment. This program gives them the opportunity to cultivate new habits, techniques for dealing with emotions or stress, and ways to socialize that don't always revolve around food...but it is UP TO THE PERSON TO USE THE OPPORTUNITY PROVIDED THEM!

If they look at this like a 'diet', but don't address ALL the ways they gained, they may or may not stabilize, but even if they do, they likely won't keep it off long term. This isn't because the program doesn't work, it's because THEY AREN'T WORKING THE PROGRAM. If someone starts asking me 'when can I have...' I lead them into dialog about changing their perceptions and habits over and over again, but I know they are the ones that will gain it back. It's not that they can't ever have those things again, but that if they are so focused on when they can get back to those old ways, it's probably an issue for them.

I enjoyed this weekend. It was worth a bit of extra work and due diligence regarding my food selections and workout habits for a week or two. It's part of my new life to take care of myself in a way I know works. Conventional wisdom about nutrition and weight management are just plain wrong, and as long as people remain stuck in those perceptions, we will continue to be an obese nation.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Well, we just returned from 6 days of 'vacation'. It wasn't so restful, but this blog is not about that, so other than the fact that no sleep/constantly interrupted sleep contributes to weight gain, I'm only logging my stabilization progress...or lack thereof.

We took our own stabilization-friendly food, and ate that MOST of the time. During the six days we were gone, we ate out 4 times. During those 4 outings, I still made decent selections for about 80% of what I ordered. In that week, I had the equivalent of perhaps one potato (several entries included some sort of potato, and I did take a few bites), an average of a little less than piece of bread per day, and one full desert (a very small piece of keylime pie at one place for our anniversary dinner, and bites of a desert I shared with my husband.)

I drank a glass or two of wine most nights.

I did not eat the dips and chips and brownies at the family gathering Saturday night. I did not eat the pizza on the tall ship cruise Sunday night. I did not eat the very tempting baked goods at the bakery/breakfast place we ate at on Sunday morning. I chose scrambled eggs.

I ate more beef (the form of filet mignon) than I usually do in a month, because it makes me gain. I was hoping to get a good one at least once, but was sorely disappointed.

The first time, it was at Mission Table. This place used to be called Bower's Harbor Inn, and it was elegant with THE most superb food. It was a special place we'd go to for our anniversary and New Year's Eve. It was worth the drive (it's WAYYYY out on the end of a peninsula) for special occasions, because while it was expensive, it was a special treat. Now, it's just expensive and WAYYY out on a peninsula. The new owners have removed all the 'special' from it. Sad. Our server, Raja, who has been the one constant over the years was still there, that was the one nice thing. The food wasn't bad, but it wasn't special. It was almost worth the splurge, but not the build up.

The next place was billed as an 'elegant, gourmet dining experience'. It was so NOT. My steak was very overdone and nothing about the dinner was anything but ordinary, except the bread. That was good. I kicked myself that I actually didn't say anything so that at least it would be worth it.

The next place we've eaten at before, and everything about it was good...I will go back...but I DID send my steak back, because this time, it wasn't even warm in the middle and was mushy. I just couldn't eat it unless they actually cooked it. So, I sat there waiting for food while my husband ate his dinner.

As for exercise, it was chilly and we didn't get beach walks. We did get 2 miles on the treadmill at the hotel two of those days, and about 1/2 hour of yoga one day, and the hot tub/sauna I think 4 of the 6 days.

Now on to the important part. In six days, being 'good' at least 80% of the time and not having any one dining experience worth a gain, I gained FIVE POUNDS.

I had someone comment a week or two ago that it's not fair that others can eat what they want while some of us can't. I tried to be the 'rah rah' support team, but frankly, right at this moment, I'm thinking it sucks eggs too!

So, while I'm still at the 'normal' line on Wii, I'm right AT the line. I'm back up to the place I really don't mind being at, but I was sooooo excited to be 5 lb. lower! I hope it doesn't take me a month to get back there!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I never thought I'd say this: I LOVE MY SCALE!

Years ago, we splurged and bought a scale that was supposed to be super accurate. As a matter of fact, my dad has the same scale, and he says it is exactly the same as his doctor's scale, and the scale at the physical therapist's office.

I have not been on said scale in oh, perhaps 10 years.

The last time I was on it, I had placed a marker at 180 (where I was) and 124 (where I wanted to be). At some point it went up above 180, I got frustrated and depressed, and I banished the scale to the garage.

My husband just dug it out and tested it, thinking we could clean it up and at the very least take it to Goodwill if it was in good working order. We have the Wii, so we figured it was pointless to keep moving the big monster of a scale around. He said it looked like it was still pretty accurate, so would I clean it up.

So I tested it. Wii has me at 126. The other put me at 121!!!! I got off and on and off and on, moved it to carpet, re-calibrated, tried again. 121. This morning, 119!!!! I brought it upstairs and put it on tile...119!!!

So, I officially love this scale.