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Monday, April 4, 2016

Monday's Goals

1. Continue sugar fast
2. Eat 4 times a day at three hour intervals
3. Clean out a shelf, cupboard, or drawer before shopping for anything, including groceries

Walked 3.5 miles with Nancy

Breakfast 9 a.m.
Greek yogurt
raisin toast with butter and sugar-free jam

Lunch 12 p.m.
Beef jerky
Hot dog on bun with condiments
Atkins, protein bar

3:30 p.m

in and out burger
6 ritz crackers
1 graham cracker

Clean out bathroom drawer,
Did laundry
Finished editing Dad's book
Lowered price of Highwayman to .99
Scheduled promo with I Love Vampires

Julia Quinn at Yorba Linda Library

A Sad, but True, Story and a Challenge

It’s been almost five years since I started the Losing Penny and Pounds blog. As a family, we’re doing great financially, but I know that’s only to my husband’s credit. As a business, my books are diddling along. If I make the same as I made this  month for the rest of the year, then I'll make about the same as I made last year.
And my weight? Even with all my good intentions, I'm ten pounds heavier this year than last. My weight is up, my income is down. Everything is backward.
This is coinciding with the publishing of my what I'm calling my blog books. Here's the intro to Blog Book One and Two:
Book One
When I was eight-years-old, I wrote in my diary, a paperback book embellished with pink flowers, that I wanted to be a writer. I have never wavered, although I’ve often felt discouraged. There is an adage that goes something like this: a writer is someone who writes. I started writing around age eight, as my early diaries will prove, but I didn’t start writing a blog until much later, 2010 to be exact. What follows is a snap shot of my writing through the past five years. I would love to capture all the years before that, but I lack the patience to wade through my collection of diaries and journals, and I also suspect that no sane person would wish to read them.
I’m dissembling my blog and its posts into a few key areas of my life—family, health, writing. There may be more as time goes on—travel, money, retirement. Just like I couldn’t predict where my life would take me when I was eight years old, I can only imagine and dream of what my future holds. Since I plan to live longer than a century, I’m only smidgen past my halfway point.
This particular book is dedicated to my writing, and the chasing down of my dreams. I suppose for the reader and aspiring writer, it would have been nice if I’d had lumped the posts into chapters of relevance, but since this is more a diary than a how-to book, I’ve left the posts in the order that I wrote them.
I don’t pretend to be an expert on anything. Nor do I pretend to have had rousing successes. Kipling told us that we should meet Triumph and Disaster and treat them just the same. I agree. I’m not suggesting that anyone follow my career path. If you want to make money, sell real estate. If you love to tell stories, write books. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.

Book Two
Like the first book in this series, A Writer’s Story, An Indie’s Memoir, this is a compilation of blog excerpts from 2010 to the end of 2015. I first felt the desire to publish my posts when I realized something dire could happen to Blogger, my website provider, and it would all disappear as I don’t have them saved anywhere else.
I hope my writings will prove helpful, entertaining, and a smidge enlightening to others. As I read through my posts, I enjoy them, but I’m also full of doubt—worried that maybe I take pleasure in them the way a child likes looking at herself in the mirror. I also worry that by writing about my own experiences, I’m exposing my introverted-self to ridicule and scorn in a new way. When a critic leaves a poor review of one of my novels, they’re criticizing my fictional work, but a review of my life experiences will be much more personal and painful.
To write one such book seems egocentric, but to write three seems like excessive narcissism.  But the posts on writing alone were more than 600 pages. Knowing that no one would want to slog through it all, I scaled them back. I found the slow and steady upward climb of my writing career interesting, I hope others will, as well. This book is mostly about life lessons, delivered, I hope, with humor. The third book will be random advice on finances, health, and managing—the sort of guidance I wished someone had told me before I became a grown-up and had to bungle my way through sticky situations.

But here's the thing--I can't publish these books, especially the third one, until I feel I've successfully met my goals. So, I'm giving myself a challenge. 

Before the end of the year, I will:
Double my book income. Last year I made about $7,000. This year, I will make $14,000. (Actually, $15,000 since I like to round up.)
Double my weight loss (I gained ten pounds since last year, so now I must lose twenty.)

And I will capture it all on this blog.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

More on My Sugar Fast

At the end of day 5 I got a message from a friend whose husband has a medical condition. She wanted to know more about my sugar fast. So, here's more info:

I try to eat food in it's most natural forms. If it's something prepackaged, I check the nutrition label to make sure it has less than 5 grams of sugar. I can eat all the fruits (which has lots of sugars) and vegetables I want. If I want something sweet, I eat protein bars (many have 1 gram of sugar), sugar free pudding, and you can buy sugar free chocolate chips at Walmart. 

I try to avoid white flour, white rice and white potatoes. Also, I don't drink: alcohol, soda, tea or coffee. I'll take a pain killer about once or twice a year. 

If this seems really overwhelming, try taking it in baby steps--find one small change and focus on it for a week or two. Don't be surprised if you get headaches in the beginning, but I promise that by the end of the first week, you'll feel so much better. 

I know this is supposed to be about your husband, but I also know husbands can be really frustratingly hard to change. From my experience, it's better to change myself and hope he jumps on my bandwagon. Sometimes he does. Here's a picture of me with my husband. I think my expression says a lot. Despite my scowl, I really do love him.

I'm throwing this picture in because I think it's funny.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sugar Fasting

Day three of my sugar fast. Already, I'm sleeping through the night. (Hooray!) And I've lost a pound. I have friends that have been wildly successful with their sugar fasts.

Nancy: age 53. Lost 15 pounds
Claudia: age 75. Lost 20 pounds
Janet: age 52. Lost 50 pounds
Skeet: age 57. Lost 120 pounds

But weight loss shouldn't be the motivating factor. Each of my friends gave up sugar as a way to combat different health issues. I think it's interesting that three different health concerns were all addressed by this one (simple/ not so simple) remedy.

 Last year I went without sugar from my birthday in January until Valentine's Day, and I learned some things.

1. Going without sugar is actually easy if you can survive the first horrendous, no-good week. Why is the first week so hard? By about day three I went through withdrawal and had a massive headache, but if you can power through until about the fifth or fourth day, you should lose your craving for sugar.

Counter Attack: Plan a reward. On day 5 I'm going to buy a gizmo that will count how many calories I burn when I walk/run.

2. When I don't eat sugar, I sleep through the night. I can't tell you why I sleep better without sugar in my diet, all I know is that I do. It might be because I don't have that afternoon sugar crash around 2 or 3 p.m. where all I want to do is nap. Maybe because I don't need to nap, I sleep better at night. And I can't even begin to tell you how much better I feel after a good nights sleep.

Action Plan: Keep a journal of your sleep patterns and see if it works for you.

3. Without sugar, fruits and vegetables taste better and sweeter, and refined sweets lose their draw.

So, why did I quit my sugar fast last February? Because it was hard. Everyday something delicious comes my way. I'm confronted with birthday cakes, morning donuts, and treats at every writers' group meeting, every church social, and every get-together.

Counter Attack: I'm going to take a picture of the treat with my phone and use it as a symbol of the temptation I was able overcome--a trophy, if you will.

Is it reasonable to give up all treats, always? Probably not. But a warm peach sprinkled with cinnamon can satisfy even a raging sweet tooth.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Diet Destiny Decision(s)

Each time you look in the mirror, see your body as your temple. That truth—refreshed gratefully each day—can positively influence your decisions about how you will care for your body and how you will use it. And those decisions will determine your destiny.

A pivotal spiritual attribute is that of self-mastery—the strength to place reason over appetite. Self-mastery builds a strong conscience.

When we master our appetites within the bounds of God’s laws, we can enjoy longer life, greater love, and consummate joy.

Each day is a day of decision, and our decisions determine our destiny. Choose wisely each day’s decisions for eternity.

Russel M. Nelson
Typically, I don’t see my diet decisions as symbolic of my spiritual/physical strength. Usually, I’m not considering the eternal implications when I make the decision to eat of forego the cookie. Almost always, the decision is about this cookie at this moment. I’m not thinking about the next time I step on the scale, let alone eternity. I’m just thinking that I want a cookie. I’m sure if I looked at each cookie decision as a representation of my strength or weakness I would eat less cookies.

Addictions rob our freedom. Everyone knows that. But so do restrictive diets. Then again, the diets are actually easier. By turning over the reins of our diet to someone else, we give away our decisions. We don’t have to make decisions. Someone else, some diet program, has already decided for us. And it’s great. And it’s easy.

Until it’s not.

Very few of us can afford to stay “on program” for a lifetime…and eating is a lifetime activity. Every day we are all faced with the decisions of what and when to eat. Dieting/living isn’t about a program or a plan—it’s about daily, small decisions. When we give away those decisions to a counselor, coach, or personal trainer , are we really saying I’m too weak and incapable of making these decisions for myself? What does this do to our own sense of strength?

Maybe by looking at each decision as a way to not only feed our bodies, but also as a way to feed our strength (as opposed to feeding our weakness) we can reach not only optimal physical health, but also optimal emotional health and confidence in our ability to decide.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Anti-Spread Spread Sheet

Eat Breakfast
No Soda
3 cups of vegetables
1 Treat
(or less)
1 slice of pizza (or less)
Drink 70 of water
30 min. exercise
100 push-ups
100 ab workout

This diet plan was designed by son, who is as handsome and as sleek as a rock star. Always health conscious, he wants to rocket his body to some new runners' high. I tweaked his plan just slightly. I replaced his no burgers rule with 3 cups of vegetables, because I eat burgers about once a month...if that. If you want to modify something, do so. For example, no sodas is easy for me since carbination makes me sick. I should change that to something more challenging, but since I'm sort of weanie, I'm letting it stay. We're very loosy goosey so feel free to join our challenge on your own, or if you'd like to participate with our group, e-mail me at

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Taste of Summer

I was introduced to the protein, carb and fat rule. I like how it’s working so far. The goal is to eat every three hours, keeping hunger at bay by following this simple rule. At every mini-meal eat:
A carb the size of your fist
A protein the size of your palm
A fat the size of your thumb
It’s just that simple and yet not. Technically, a vegetable is a carb, but not all carb-vegetables are created equal. Be wise.
This rule translates really well into most of my favorite meals.
 A sandwich
Bread= carb
Chicken breast= protein
Mayo or avocado= fat
Yogurt parfait
Yogurt=protein and fat
Beans and tomatoes=carb
Ground turkey=protein
Dollop of sour cream= fat
Breakfast Burrito
Eggs= protein
Tortilla and salsa= carb
Cheese= fat
I’m very excited about how easily that simple formula can be applied to everyday meal choices. Except for brownies. It doesn’t work for brownies…or pies. But that’s okay. I have a weekly two dessert allotment. Because brownies can’t be ignored.
For more helpful and healthly tips, be sure and check out my book romantic suspense novel, Losing Penny, featuring Penny Lee a cooking show diva who loses 50 pounds and gains a stalker. A delicious novel with all the right spices!

Here’s my new favorite food, stuffed peppers.
Peppers cut in half
Half a pound of ground beef, browned, rinsed and drained (rinse to wash away fat)
Add to meat:
1 can of corn
1 can of black beans
Half cup of cooked brown rice
1 can of stewed tomatoes
Half cup of medium salsa
Simmer meat mixture for about 20 minutes
Fill peppers and top with:
Sprinkled parmesan and cheddar cheese
Bake until the cheese is golden.
Serve with avocado and sour cream.