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I suck at dieting

or is it just that dieting sucks… Besides my foray with the South Beach Diet two years ago, I have only dieted one other time. Way back when, Weight Watcher’s Low Fat-High Fiber Diet. I lost five pounds, and not a pound more, and was so cold all of the time, I gave up on it. I have done the two-week Phase 1 of S.B. for three weeks–no carbs/fruit/sugar/alcohol, lean protein, non-starchy veg. I lost six pounds the first two weeks and gained one pound back this week. Feels like a BIG FAIL. People will say, it’s because of all the walking, muscle weighs more than fat. BLAH BLAH BLAH. Don’t care–it does not console me in the least–I still can’t wear more than one pair of zip-up pants. Lesigh.

Since I put the salt shaker away, my average blood pressure is 94/69. That’s a BIG WIN. (We’ll see what it is in the doctor’s office…)

I was so desperate to get a jump start this time, that I considered forking out the money for South Beach Diet food delivered to my door. Unfortunately, artificial sweeteners are used. Besides the fact that I can’t stand the taste/after taste of artificial sweeteners and am allergic to some of them, I have never known anyone to lose weight by consuming drinks/food with artificial sweeteners (or non-nutritive additives). In fact, here’s what Dr. Joseph Merkola has to say (take it with a grain of sugar) (wordpress link-er still not working–I’ll get it fixed some day):

For me,  I just avoid sweets and food items with added sugar, which is pretty easy to do if you read labels. Oops–forgot to check the Chobani with Black Cherry on the Bottom (evaporated cane sugar?). I just wanted something portable for when I leave the house–there isn’t much that’s healthy out there if you’re serious about losing weight. SAVING MONEY: HUGE WIN. This was tasty but all I could think was to add in some chunks of high-quality dark chocolate. Can I get a WOO-HOO?  I also throw 100-calorie packets of Emerald cashews/almonds/dried cranberries in my purse–not too sweet and not salty. My blood sugar tends to go in the cellar if I go too long without eating or after a long walk, not to mention getting hangry. You won’t like me when I’m hangry.

Supposedly just losing six pounds means 24 pounds of pressure off of my knees (WebMD, for people with osteoarthritis–why, is there a difference for those of us who have RA?). That’s another BIG WIN. I have routine labs in three weeks–with all the healthy eating and walking I’m doing, the cholesterol and blood sugar better be down in significant numbers. Alright, I’ll settle for any drop in the numbers.

The other reason I suck at dieting is that now, nothing tastes good and I could care less about eating. I force myself to eat because I know I need to. I guess I don’t have to like this to do it, but how long can I stick with something that doesn’t produce more positive results? Color me IMPATIENT.

If you really want to get depressed, watch The Magic Pill on Netflix. Eye-opening as far as government’s thinking on nutrition for the general populace and indigenous peoples worldwide. The difference in a child with autism who would previously eat nothing but junk food was totally amazing after her diet was changed from carb focused to fat focused. We’re talking LARD here. BRAVE PARENTS.

I’ll be back with an update at the beginning of June. I weigh myself on Fridays and Mondays but only haul out the tape measure once a month. A person can only take so much failure at any given point in time. I’m not giving up yet. After being laid up for four months, it’s wonderful to get out and move. My hip is pain free most days if I stretch and walk. Only 55 more pounds to go… Remember, sitting is the new smoking.

Enough of this. I skipped the walk today and have declared it to be Fun Friday in my studio.

QUILTING TIP OF THE DAY (yes, we still quilt here): If you have a small wallhanging and know how to crochet, crochet around a 1-inch curtain ring with single crochets. I had a little ball of #10 crochet thread, Rit-dyed along with some fabric before I got serious about hand-dyeds. Also note my plug for labeling your quilts! Someone may care someday.



Take a few anchoring stitches under the ring (see above) and then sew the rings on the back of the quilt, going through both loops of the single crochets. Leave the top of each ring unsewn.


P1120511Measure the distance between rings from center to center, place two straight pins in the wall and hang your art! VOILA.

NEXT TIME: I’ll be working on some small projects, a block exchange, a mug rug swap, another biscornu pincushion, and a cover for my camera strap. The leather is showing wear and now that summer is here (no collars), my strap is uncomfortable walking in the heat. In the meantime, don’t just sit there–do something, even if it’s wrong.

ART FOR THE DAY: Flowers That Bloom Now, Yoyoi Kusama, 2017, stainless steel and urethane paint, as seen on the North Forest Trail, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Kusama is one of my favorite artists, having learned about her in an online class on Abstract Expressionism from MoMA. She sometimes has interactive art, inviting museum-goers to come in and cover furniture and walls with dots (her signature) in varying sizes. How fun is that!


Back in the land of the living…

or how I almost gave up quilting (and everything else). I live with chronic inflammation and pain from rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Basically everything I do hurts my back, but I was in excruciating, almost constant hip pain for four months. Then one day after pretty much overstretching trying to relieve a spasming piriformis muscle (near the sciatic nerve), I got up and my hip gave a loud pop–and relief. I started doing these exercises which I had found in the Parade insert of the Sunday paper, Move Away Your Pain by Mary Sauer. Go to the links below and remember to consult your doctor before bending at the waist (thank you, Rita Rudner).

Speaking of doctors, I asked to be referred to the rheumatologist who originally diagnosed me in 2008 (he moved away and returned, but after three years, you’re a new patient). I thought perhaps the AS was progressing. My primary care sent two referrals–they didn’t get them. I hand carried the referral myself–still no response. Since I had no response after leaving messages, I decided I will just fix this myself. About the only thing I can do to help myself at this point is lose weight. Four months of being sedentary and eating Lays Wave Potato Chips, Swalty Popcorn and drinking cokes put on another ten pounds. My blood pressure was up. Now I am on a quest to lose 60 pounds. Most people who know me here have never seen me at my normal weight. I was underweight or normal weight until age 45. An underactive thyroid, total hysterectomy and being misdiagnosed started the weight gain. I still cannot walk without my hip going into spasm, but hopefully that will improve. I am going to stick with this South Beach diet until people start asking if I am sick. Right now, as far as I am concerned, you cannot be too thin. I have one pair of zip up pants that I can wear. I don’t eat much bread but I love white potatoes. The first week has not been hard except that I really don’t get enough to eat some days. If I have a headache or feel lightheaded I have carrots (sugar/starch). I have added tortilla chips (carbs) to my salads. I do not feel guilty. Results after one week: lost 2.5 pounds and 1.75-inches. My blood pressure is back down to 117/70 (I also put my sea salt away). It’s a start. And the quilting? I finished quilting my current project, wove in all the ends, and have to decide whether I need to block it. I didn’t get Less is More finished for my local quilt show but I’m going to enter it in the Modern Quilt Showcase at Houston International. Deadline for entry is June 22. I can do that. I am back to #doonething. This week: finish/recycle reading pile and get rid of the last dregs of paperwork. It’s all good.

P.S. I had a large post in draft and last edited it on March 3. Two days ago, I tried to edit it again and it was all over the place so I decided to just start over. I. Never. Give. Up. Next time, I’ll post all about Less is More–back to quilting posts. In the meantime, have a great weekend–it is finally spring here and supposed to quit raining, so I’ll leave you with a new dogwood photo.


The South Beach Diet Continues

As promised, here’s an update on my progress using the South Beach diet.  Phase 2 allows you to add back in whole grain carbohydrates, fruit, and alcohol.   I was still skipping the alcohol until we had company.  Our friend brought us a bottle of Gallo Pinot Noir for us to try.  We now buy a small bottle for the weekend, have one glass on Friday with Friday night steaks and one glass on Sunday with the leftovers.  I’m still going low-key on carbs, eating Udi whole wheat (gluten free) bread once a week and Wheat Chex for my afternoon snack.  After two months, I have lost and kept off over 10 pounds and can wear some of my jeans/pants again.  Last week I added one day of interval walking.  My immediate exercise goal is to continue with Silver Sneakers twice a week, add one day of The South Beach Diet Total Body Workout and do interval walking on alternate days until I have six days exercise each week.  I went above and beyond the minimum for the interval walking because it was such a nice day out and I knew I could handle it but this was the suggestion for Day 1:

Warm-up: 5-minute walk at easy pace

Walk for 15-seconds at moderate pace

Walk for 60-seconds at easy pace

Repeat 6 times

Cooldown: 2-minute walk at easy pace

I took my walk on the Bentonville Trail by Lake Bella Vista.  I noticed that there are about 3000 (more or less) newly-planted bulbs on part of the trail.  The front area of the trail (facing Hwy 71) tends to flood and there is a lot of new dirt added here–not sure what else they’ll be doing to help this situation.  We are in the rainy season which means sometimes we get too much rain in too short a time.  My bonus for the day was seeing both herons on different parts of the trail as well as a huge variety of dogs walking their owners.


Here is the love lock bridge and the low water level; one of the resident herons.


So far there is no danger of bridge collapse from too many love locks.



There is a controversy playing out here over whether to replace the flood-damaged dam (there are FEMA funds now available) or to take out the dam and let the Sugar Creek run free.  The water level has been lowered to relieve the stress on the dam area and make the bridge safer.  It was closed off for awhile, but people kept walking around the barriers.

Just a postscript on dieting.  I never had to watch my diet or my weight until after I reached 45.  I’m not a good dieter.  Right now, I have no appetite for food at all and have to force myself to eat but I’m determined to stick with this and at least make sure I consume healthy foods 99% of the time.  I’ve learned that there is life after white potatoes.  After all, I have a really cute wardrobe waiting for me to wear!  Till next time, may good things happen in your life.  Every day.

The Unpattern Pullover Project

As mentioned previously, I am taking a sweater class at a local yarn shop (Mockingbird Moon), using the Unpattern Raglan Pullover.  The first week, we took measurements, cast on and started increasing.  Our Knit Doctor, Angie, told me about a Reverse C cast-on for increasing.  This gives a smooth increase as opposed to (knit 1, purl 1) in the same stitch or the make 1 (which leaves a hole).  If you knit, this just means using the first cast-on stitch you ever learned.  This is what the loop looks like without your thumb in it.

Reverse C Cast-On Loop

Reverse C Cast-On Loop

Make a loop with your thumb and then place the loop on the working needle.

Reverse C Cast-On

Reverse C Cast-On

Reverse C Cast-On

Reverse C Cast-On

Here is the sweater the first day–we have cast on and started working on the fronts, the sleeves and the back–knitting from the top down.  After another six rows of increase, we increased 14 stitches for the fronts and joined the work.  To join, knit a row even and just continue knitting (being careful not to twist your work) instead of turning your work.  Now you must keep track of your increase rows.  Previously, you worked even on the purl row and increased on the knit row.  Now every row is a knit row as you work in the round and you increase every other row.  I had to rip out 11 rows because I was occasionally increasing on the even rows and it was obvious.  After that I noticed that I had increased at the joining marker once but that mistake will just have to stay there.  I still have a ways to go–increasing until there are 172 stitches on each front by our next class on March 5.  I am currently at 55 and on my third ball of yarn.

Third ball of yarn

Third ball of yarn

I was pondering what to do about this sweater as I have a goal of losing 50 pounds.  The size of the sweater is based on bust size and I’ve already lost some girth there–how much I will reveal on Friday when I re-measure myself.  I am taking no chances here–weighing  in twice a week and measuring once a month.  Anyway, I just watched the Lion Brand 2016 fashion show.  Fringe is queen this year but oversized sweaters are also trending as opposed to figure hugging sweaters so I will still have a new sweater when I am finished.  I need to start looking for some really cool tights, maybe in slime green and purple.

Update on the South Beach Diet.  I am now into Phase 2, reintroducing carbs.  I have some whole wheat bread for an occasional sandwich–I like Udi’s Gluten Free–and have frozen it in baggies of two slices.  Last night we had ground venison tacos with whole wheat tortillas.  The tortillas were awful and I only ate half of mine.  I can do taco salad but next time will try the tomato/basil tortillas.  I can also have fruit.  The recommendation is to start with one whole grain carb and one fruit per day, the idea being not to cause cravings from refined grains and sugar.  We will also be having stir fry this week and instead of white rice, I found a yummy looking blend–Lundberg Gluten-Free Whole Grain Rice, which includes, long grain brown, sweet brown, wild, whole grain Wehani, and whole grain Black Japonica rices.  I’ll let you know how it is next post.  I have now lost a total of 7.5#, which translates to 30# off my knees.  My BMI is also now under 30 which means I have gone from “obese” to “overweight.”  This maketh me happy.  I think I may be able to add a third day of exercise by this weekend–the doc upped my thyroid meds so maybe that will give me a little more energy.

I’ll try to post again this week with some new (to you) art from Crystal Bridges.  I look forward to an upcoming photography exhibit in May.  Photographs of photographs–hmm. Typing is not going smoothly this morning so I think I’ll back out and see if I can get my bank to respond so I can balance checkbooks.  Until next time, here’s a coming attraction of spring.  We are supposed to get rain and possibly snow tonight.  Aw hell, let’s just go with snow with a chance of stir-fry from 2010.


I hate when life happens…

I hate when life happens, but then there’s the alternative. Sometimes I think that I am truly OC—before Christmas I couldn’t quit cleaning, then we tried cleaning grout, and because I couldn’t do it (bad knees), my husband ended up staining all of the grout (kitchen, dining room, foyer, hallway and two bathrooms). I owe him big time. Now you would think that when you move into a new house, someone would tell you that you need to seal the grout. Actually, I think that if you lay tile, sealing the grout should finish the job, but that’s just my lame brained logic.  Regardless, the more you wash your floors, the dirtier unsealed grout becomes.  Save yourself a lot of time and effort: use a grout stain/sealer. One and done.

After that, I finally got sick of cleaning and went into a funk. No I’m not going to have a nervous breakdown online—I just couldn’t bring myself to do much of anything. So I didn’t. Until one day I could not zip up my jeans and popped the button off another pair of pants. So after New Year’s I started my own weight loss program. I quit eating out, I quit drinking sweet drinks, I quit eating salty snacks and mid-month, I started Silver Sneakers (cardio, muscle toning, core strength training) two times a week for an hour. About this time, our daughter lost her townhouse and we were lucky enough to find her another place and break her lease (one month), but moving took up more time and energy. Bottom line: I lost a grand total of two, count ‘em, two pounds. Yes, yes, I know—muscle weighs more than fat, she said crankily, but my clothes did not fit any better and I didn’t feel any better. When I mentioned this to my doctor (who would not renew my Rx unless I came in and did labwork), he told me he had lost 55# in nine months on the South Beach Diet and was still on it after seven years. I made a special trip to town (on a Friday, which I try to avoid) and got the book. On Sunday I made my grocery list, went to Wal-Mart and stocked up on all kinds of fresh vegetables, low-fat dairy and V-8. This is a diet geared for diabetics and heart patients by the way.

EAT sign, Eleven

EAT sign, Eleven, Crystal Bridges

Phase 1 dictates no sugar, no starch, no fruit, no alcohol, good fats, lean meat and non-starchy vegetables. Three meals, three snacks a day.  You can have desert as specified but I can’t do artificial sweeteners (and am allergic to some) and we don’t eat desert since DH is a diabetic.  My husband decided to join me which made life infinitely easier.  I dreaded it all because I’m addicted to spuds (as Weird Al Yankovich would say), but guess what. If you eat all these small meals regularly, you have no sugar cravings and are seldom hungry. My only problem is that sometimes I am just not hungry and if I skip a meal/snack, I play catch up the rest of the day. Grand total weight loss is 6.5# since New Year’s, which translates into 26# off my knees. We have one more week on Phase 1 and then will start adding whole grain carbs. You can even add red or white wine but I think I’ll wait till after I reach my goal.  My new drink is soda water with lemon–refreshing.  The only supplement recommended is Omega 3 fatty acids, to which we are both allergic.  So that is what I have been spending most of my time on.  If I had waited another week to start, I would have read further in the book and realized that you also need to alternate interval walking with total body workouts but I’ll add them if I can ever get more energy.  It’s a start. I have two additional rules—weigh in on Mondays and Fridays and have labs checked twice a year.  I am back on an immunosuppressant and my cholesterol and liver enzymes are elevated along with blood pressure.  Follow-up with doc next week.  I also keep two spreadsheets: weight, measurements, BMI and another with food diary and exercise.  I am determined to lose 50# this year and get back to regular exercise.  In fact my end goal is to get my knees strong and pain free enough to resume Zumba—it keeps my middle section toned and it is F-U-N. It maketh me happy.

I am going to continue to write about my South Beach experience but I will also get back to my normal blog as soon as I start being creative again. Actually, I have a new project to write about: I am knitting a pullover sweater at a local yarn shop.  I don’t even care if it ends up being too big–I can wear it around the house and knit another one.  It’s my favorite color–slime green.  I am using a yarn which I love, Chloe and Spud, a cotton/worsted blend. We have a patient knit doctor who is available by text and most Saturdays, even though we will now meet once a month. Check out these links: (a blog) (the patterns)

If you belong to Ravelry (it’s free), you can find more finished projects. Search “unpatterns.”

In the meantime, next post I’ll have some new photos from Crystal Bridges. Happy Valentine’s Day.  Here’s a teaser by Joan Brown:

Self-Portrait with Fish and Cat, 1970

Self-Portrait with Fish and Cat, 1970

Eat more fish, play with the cat.