Sunday, November 29, 2009

Goodbye, Internet Explorer!

Been a PC/Windows fan for as long as I have had a PC. Tried Macs and actually have an iPhone, but the platform just doesn't feel like home. Moving on up to Windows 7 here in a few days. Alas, Mr. Gates, I am dumping Internet Explorer. I poo-pooed people who told me to venture to different browsers... thougts of AOL buried deep in my psyche. But when a simple Image Uploader was blocked for no reason the other day, I realized that I was in a bad relationship. IE8 and I needed to part ways. Locking up, shutting down, taking forever to load... I blamed it all on my poor little laptop. Well, no longer. I am now with Firefox by Mozilla. I am pretty crazy happy with it, particularly the spell check setting that will give me suggestions not matter where I am (blog commenting and the like). The install was easy, transferred my bookmarks, favorites, home tabs, etc. No crazy toolbars every 5 seconds. And it's free. Yes, I will still be a Windows user... PC all the way, baby. Just not Internet Explorer. Sigh.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Faking out my stomach, Installment #1

Rather than denying my body what it craves, I am trying to find ways to fake it out. When I find successful ways, I'll post them here.

Installment #1: Yes, it is apple cobbler.

Cut an apple into 8ths (use your typical apple cutter).
Wrap it in aluminum foil with the pieces together, leaving a cylinder in the middle where the core was.
In the center, place a few Craisins, a Tbsp of Splenda brown sugar, a sprinkling of cinnamon. Sprinkle oatmeal on top.
Bake for about 20 minutes... 350 works well.
Take out carefully. Sprinkle with Splenda sugar (not the brown sugar).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Weight Watchers

The journey begins again! A few weeks back, I had some bloodwork done. Why? Well, I had gained a lot of weight in a little time period (without the womanly assistance of being pregnant), I was depressed (clinically, not just feeling sad), and I was fatigued to the point that getting out of bed was a Herculean activity. I went to see my doctor, fearing a "chronic fatigue syndrome" type of discussion. After bloodwork, I learned that my cholesterol is way out of whack, as are my triglycerides. The doctor prescribed medication, stating that just diet and exercise don't typically lower cholesterol when it is over 100 points higher than recommended.

It's good to know at this point that I HATE taking pills. I have a sucky gag reflex, and even the smallest pill is a chore, as opposed to my husband, who can swallow a mouthful of vitamins without water. The prospect of having to take a pill every day was, apparently, enough for me to take a GOOD, HARD look at what I was (and wasn't) eating, and what I was (and wasn't) doing. So, two weeks ago, I joined Weight Watchers Online... again.

Weight Watchers is a system I have used three times prior to this. It really does make sense, and when you do what you are supposed to do, you really do lose weight. It is the most realistic system I have used to manage my weight. Some may say, "Yeah, but look how many times you have started and stopped..." Well, there are some solid reasons about me that have very little to do with Weight Watchers that need to be taken in to account. So, I will not badmouth the program.

I have motivation issues as far as weight loss is concerned. I know what it takes. I have done it many times in my 40 years o' life, even when I clearly didn't need to be worrying about my weight... like when I was 12 for goodness sake. I typically see results, and then I slip. What is key with any program is that one needs to embrace a long journey, and it needs to be about behavior management/changes. Weight Watchers allows me to eat like a real human, as everything has a point value, even if it is 15 points a serving (BTW, that's a really high point value for those that may not know). It also accounts for days when you will eat more points than allotted (35 points a week are there for flexing), and it rewards activity efforts (activity points can be earned and used as flex points as well). WW has also recently started its Momentum program, which allows you to see and choose foods that may be more filling. That's where I liked Jenny Craig's program and the idea of Volumetrics... if you are eating a lot at a sitting, your body can convince your mind and stomach that you do not need to eat a lot of garbage. Anyway, the Momentum program relies on this principle as well.

I started taking a multivitamin with some trepidation. They have a tendency to upset my stomach. Without a whole lot of overthinking, I found One-A-Day Women's Active Mind and Body... and the difference was almost instantaneous. I have energy. The fatigue and lethargy is practically gone. I haven't taken my antidepressants in almost two weeks, and I have had NO physical setbacks from that at all. I attribute this in a large part to this vitamin. Yes, it has caffeine, but it's also loaded with B vitamins, as well as other vitamins. I will gladly take something like this every day, despite the gagging that may ensue.

I have also been trying to incorporate exercise into my week. I would be lying if I said I work out every day. However, I have been trying to not let two days go by without some type of formal exercise. I have taken to very much liking Zumba. It's a great time, and is based mainly on dancing... but you don't have to be a "dancer." You just go with the intention of having fun. It's typically a great cardio workout, and a good time to boot. I also try to incorporate some muscle-building in my week, as it can't be all about cardio. I mix in some Slim in 6 when I want to work out at home. When I am in a little better shape, I would like to incorporate P90X again, because I LOVED that workout for strength building. You cannot jump in to that program lightly, however, and I do not want to fatigue myself the way I did last spring when I tried following it to a T.

So there you have it! Counting points, trying to balance my week, and having energy that I did not have before. That's my story. In January, I have my bloodwork again. If changing all of this does not lower my cholesterol, then I will take the meds. Until then, let's try the old-fashioned way...

Friday, November 20, 2009

DC Concert: Rock on!

Previous David Cook blog postings: David Cook, Eating Crow, Obsessive escape from reality, On this blog (I actually tagged these!)

And now, the latest...
Last night, I went to the Peoria Civic Center with Karen to celebrate my birthday. We began with a delightful Ruby Tuesday dinner. Then, with two ISU students in tow, we traveled to Peoria.
Upon arrival, Karen found out what a rip-off Ticketmaster truly is. Lesson learned: do not pay for a preferred parking pass, as it was $5 more than it would have been had we just paid there. Mmm hmmm.

When we entered the Civic Center, we immediately saw the "Concert Memorabilia" area. I got a David Cook concert shirt (thanks, Jessie and Karen!), and we kept seeing this stuff for a band called The Script. We even texted them to see if we could win a chance to meet them after the show. We had NO idea who they were. They had some cute concert shirts, however, and Karen was tempted to just buy an adorable hoodie, none the less.

As we entered the concert area, we noted that there really was no bad seat in the house. It was much smaller than I thought it would be, which was a huge advantage. We were in aisle U, but we were DEAD center... terrific view.

A band called Green River Ordinance was playing, which completely confused us. Was The Script the name of their album or something? They were pretty good, and they seemed to have a little groupie following there. After the show, the band was outside selling their CDs, which I, for one, thought was pretty cool... I bought 2 CDs just because I was impressed with their work ethic. :)

We got all pumped up thinking they were the opening act, and the crowd was getting ready for David... or so we thought. Out comes The Script. {Insert confused faces here} Well, holy crap. It was The Little Band from Ireland That Could! They rocked, and we all ended up being groupies. Another CD and Tour Booklet purchased. Karen is busy deciding how to incorporate a song or two into her Zumba repertoire. Can't wait!

Finally, a bit after 9 (we got there at 7:30), the main act hit the stage. I was euphoric... truly. David put on the show I imagined he would. He opened with Heroes, one of my favs. OK, so I like all of his songs... good point!

He was so real... very down to Earth. He found Peoria's reaction to him worth a few laughs... perhaps he didn't expect a bunch of Midwestern 20-50 somethings to get into his performance this much? Dunno. He also singled out an eight0year-old boy in the audience and climbed over seats and people to talk with him. That definitely was endearing, but who brings an eight year old to a concert on a Thursday night? Or to a concert that will leave his eardrums humming for days? At that point, Karen and I were both thinking, "If only we had brought Max and Maddie... who knows what might have occurred?" Nah, let's get real.
The bad came on for two encores, one being Bar-Ba-Sol (yeah, baby). Can't recall what the last song was, but I know I left with a GREAT feeling. We stopped at the Steak-n-Shake in Morton for a much needed way to cap off the night (I got fries and a Cherry Coke... yeah, my WW points went through the roof!).
In all, a very memorable night! More photos and video on Facebook!