Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Brace Faces

I have some semi-exciting news to share! You will notice on the right-hand side of my blog, my younger sister Andrea (AKA Andi) is now a contributor on the blog. For the next little while, my sister will be helping me to blog our way through the process of getting braces.

Lisa needs braces...

We have both been wanting to get braces for awhile, and finally decided to go for it together. I thought it'd be fun if we blogged about it since it's something a little different, and seeing progress of just about anything can be interesting (in my opinion, anyway). Our situations will be a little different due to severity of tooth crookedness, insurance (and lack thereof), personal opinions, etc.

Our plan is to each do an intro post about our current smile, our expectations, fears, and wishes for the experience. Every month or two (probably 2) we'll do a progress update with how things are going. We will also blog about the consultation experience, since we are getting 4 of them (each).

We're excited and hope we can make it interesting to read about! We'll be sure to keep adding relevant Simpsons stills (we'll post 'em 'til we run out...which may be soon.)

Next up: Jaime's Intro and Andrea's Intro

(P.S. Next week I'll be posting my 2 month weight loss progress update, so check that out November 6 or 7!)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Low Carb, Low Guilt Peanut Butter Cookies

Okay so I'm not reinventing the wheel here or anything, but I thought I'd share my low carb peanut butter cookie recipe. I used a few different recipes to make mine. I did this exact recipe yesterday and just warning you: it's hard to eat only one.

1 cup peanut butter (as I have learned, do not use low/no fat PB, they will not bake properly)
Sweetener equivalent to 1 cup sugar (I use Truvia)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 egg
2/3rds cup oats (or up to 1 cup, if carb count is not an issue to you)
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
Chocolate chips (optional)

Mix peanut butter, sweetener, egg, vanilla, and oats in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. You may want to use a spatula to scrape off the dough from the sides of the bowl later on (can't let any of the dough go to waste!).

Lay a sheet of aluminum foil on a cookie pan and spray with cooking spray.

Drop rounded spoonfuls on the pan, and criss-cross flatten with a fork. I can get 20 cookies out of this amount, but I like my cookies a bit on the small side (3" diametre or so).

Sprinkle with sea salt, and bake at 350F for 10-11 minutes.

Take aluminum foil sheet off (with cookies attached) and cool on a baking rack immediately to avoid burned bottoms (unless you're like me and love burned cookies).

Monday, October 7, 2013

Getting Fit, Progress Update #1

Alrighty! It's been a full month of my low carb thing, you know, the thing I've always said I would never do? I'm going to try and do these progress updates in the same format each time. In the future, I'll post some (likely fully clothed) photos of myself. Any progress I've made is hard to see in photos just yet, anyway. After all, it's only been a month.

Sorry this is long, it'll be shorter in future months.

October 7 September 7Total Lost
Weight140lbs148lbs10 lbs*
Muffin top38"39"1"
Upper thigh23"24.5"1.5"

*I started trying to lose weight on August 26, but I didn't start going low carb until September 6.

THE BASICS (this section will only appear this month)
As I mentioned, I'm doing a low carb, high fat and protein diet. I'm eating 1200 calories a day, tracking calories in a great app (and website) called MyFitnessPal. I don't have a specific number of carbs I'm trying to stay within per day. Less than 60g, preferably. I've gone totally gluten and starchy food free. The main things I've cut out are: fast food, candy, bread/bagels, flour, cake, rice, pasta, and potatoes.

I keep active by using the various elliptical machines at the gym, usually for 30-60min 2-3 times a week. I play indoor soccer, just started hockey for the first time ever, and will continue curling at the end of the month. I want to keep playing sports long-term, I'm not just doing the new stuff (soccer and hockey) for the sake of losing case you were wondering.

Brie (god bless brie), other cheeses, salmon, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, celery, carrots, nuts (mostly almonds), hard boiled eggs, chocolate soy milk.

-Pants are fitting better
-Stomach looks flatter
-A few people have noticed I've lost weight


  • Gluten: Everyone loves to yap on about how much better they feel going gluten-free. Maybe I'm the first person in the world to say I don't actually feel any "better" being gluten-free. I'm certainly less bloated and gassy (TMI!) but I don't have a new lease on life or anything.
  • I've had only one "cheat treat" that I felt was actually worth it, considering how gross I feel afterwards. Sugar and starches sit like bricks in my stomach.
  • Sweetened things, even artificially sweetened things like Diet Pepsi, taste extremely sweet.
  • Numbers game: One thing I want to curb is how often I check my weight on the scale. Since I check it first thing in the morning, the number I see ends up setting the tone for the whole day. That's not a healthy way to be. Ideally I only want to check my weight once a week. Doing is a lot harder than saying, though.
  • I'm realizing that the main thing about eating carbs is that it's convenient. They're cheap, they're filling, and they generally taste good. I have to eat quite a bit more than I previously did, just to eat enough in a day.
  • I want/need to make different and/or more complicated recipes, e.g. casseroles. I'm sure I'm going to get tired of eating the same basic stuff. Unfortunately I don't really like salad, but I'm confident I can put something together I'll like.

    Bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers
    Low carb peanut butter cookies (I added oats for better texture)

    Check back November 6th or 7th for my next progress update!

    Thursday, October 3, 2013

    The Burden of Autumn AKA Autumn Anxiety

    Before I begin, let me just say that I'm not writing this so you can see how neurotic I am. I'm writing this in hopes that I've identified something other people are feeling, too.

    Every year when October 1st rolls around, scores of people celebrate the beginning of fall and all the lovely things that come with it. Pumpkin everything! Halloween! Leaves! Changing colours! Sweaters! Thanksgiving!

    Every year when October 1st rolls around for me, a ridiculous sort of anxiety starts to overtake me. In the past, it's manifested itself as a baking frenzy. I start reading Pinterest and I start wanting to make things. I've felt antsy unless I'm in the kitchen (Anthony never complains about this).

    This year since I'm doing the low carb thing and baking is mostly out of the question, I feel a bit at a loss. Every day since September 21st, I've felt increasingly anxious about it being autumn. You see, I feel like I am never doing enough to enjoy autumn. While everyone is praising pumpkin spice lattes and decorating for Halloween, I feel trapped by the idea I'm not doing enough to enjoy autumn while it lasts.

    Replacing your bed with a pile of leaves in order to enjoy autumn is not recommended.

    I drive by signs for pumpkin spice lattes and the internal battle begins: "Oh I should get one of those...but they're so sugary and never as good as I think they're going to be. Ugh, but they're only around for a short time. Can I really budget the sugar today? It's also expensive. But Jaime, pumpkin spice latte!"

    I drive by houses with bales of hay, pumpkins and other decorations and I feel jealous that I don't have a house to decorate for the seasons. I secretly vow that once I move into a house, I'll go all out. I'll really do autumn right.

    I drive by trees changing colours and I feel downright guilty that I haven't taken the time to stroll in the park, breathed in the autumn smell, and immersed myself in autumn. I tell myself that I'm wasting autumn if I'm not fully immersed in it.

    I see cute sweaters in the mall and I wish knit sweaters looked any good on me. How (superficially) perfect it would be to buy a beautiful cardigan and go for a walk in the park, sipping a pumpkin spice latte and planning what pies I'm going to bake that evening. That would be the textbook definition of enjoying autumn.

    The truth is, I love autumn but dealing with the constant guilt of not enjoying it enough is getting to me. What a ridiculous problem to have.

    This year I decided to create a fall bucket list. I thought if I made a list of the things I wanted to accomplish by November 1st, my anxiety would subside. Most of my list doesn't have anything to do with autumn and so the guilt and the anxiety is creeping back up as October inches forward. Maybe I need to revise the list to add more of the cliche autumn activities.

    I talked to a friend today about this and he agreed he feels some anxiety about not enjoying autumn enough. I feel like I may be onto something here. How have we gone from simply liking this season to feeling immense pressure to enjoy it in some kind of LL Bean catalogue spread-approved way? Just to show you what I mean, I wrote that last sentence without even looking at the LL Bean website. Here's their front page right now:

    See what I mean?

    I don't have the answer to my questions. I don't know why I feel so much anxiety to enjoy a season I get to experience every year. I don't know why I feel like I have to enjoy it in such a rigid, pre-decided way. I don't know why just enjoying it simply and being happy it's October isn't enough. Why are we so focused on getting as much out of autumn as possible? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

    (Non-sequitur P.S. from Jaime: I'll be updating again on Monday or Tuesday about my weight loss progress, so keep your eyes open for that.)
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