About Me

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Thank you for stopping in. I am using this space to write about my journey through space and time and share anything I believe may be of value to others in these uncertain times. It is my hope you find something here that will help you on your own journey.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Visit from Dietician

We had a home consultation last night. I felt Paul and Quinn would be more receptive to nutrition information if it came from an expert - don't all families tune Mom out when she gets a bee in her bonnet?

Lindy took down our individual profiles, then asked us questions to see what we knew about nutrition. She told us there are 6 nutrition catagories;protein, carbs, fat, vitamins, minerals and water. There are 4 main food groups;meat, dairy, fuits and vegetables and grains. Lindy then dispelled some myths, like bread, pasta, and rice are NOT simple carbohydrates as I thought. Just anything with sugar in it is. But we do know that not all carbs are created equal, it's better for us (and especially Paul) if we choose ones with a low glycemic index. Lindy wants me to measure carbs out, no more than 3/4 cup per meal. She wants to put Paul on 2000 cal/day, Quinn and myself on 1800. We are to eat six times, our 3 meals should be no more than 500 calories, our snacks no more than 200 calories. This seems very reasonable. We are to incorporate food from at least 3 food groups in each meal and have a carb/protein combination at each snack. She does not want us to cut out entirely anything we like, just as long as we limit the portion. That is going to be my biggest challenge. She is not a big proponent of supplements as long as we are eating healthy (getting enough calcium), we should not need them. Quinn and Paul will help me with lunch preparation, so I don't lose me mind trying to cater to their likes/dislikes. I will have to get the food all out on the counter so they can grab and pack it. More later...
Hormone Woes

I saw my GP on Friday. My TSH level is presently 2.8 and the range is 2 to 6, so she did not change my meds. I am still on 0.175 Synthroid. She agreed that something is not right, though so after urging, she wrote an order for more bloodtests to find out my T3 and T4 levels. I'll go get that done tonight. She has referred me back to my internist. He can't see me until Feb 23. In the meantime I am researching holistic methods. Seems that some hypothyroid patients that can't lose weight have abnormal T3 levels; their bodies don't make efficiently use the T4 to make their own T3. I have a feeling I am one of these folks. Apparently holistic doctors are willing to accept 1-2 as a better TSH level, so by that yardstick mine would still be too high. Also, holistic doctors often prescribe natural thyroid hormone extracted from pigs. So it appears I have options to explore. I just hate the idea of having to fork out $320.00/hr for something that a conventional doctor is most likely unwilling to try. Hoping for a turnaround soon...
Week 3 Report

First a big thanks to our friends who are checking and cheering us on. We really appreciate the support. Week 2 results were lack luster but here they are: Janet lost 0, Paul lost 1 pound and Quinn lost 0. Week 3 was more encouraging: Janet lost 3 pounds, Paul lost 2 pounds and Quinn lost 8! WOOT!!! So that means Janet is still 6 pounds higher that when she started, Paul has lost a total of 14 pounds and Quinn has lost 9 pounds. I am encouraged to finally be headed in the right direction but I will have to get my thyroid hormones under control to make any real progress.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Paul's First Posting
When I first saw this picture I knew it was time to do something about my weight.If being diabetic was not enough I realized that I wasn,t in good shape.
I have now been working out for 3 weeks and have lost 14 pounds.
After cheating on the diet I have been trying to compensate by doing extra work outs at the gym.
The best approach would be to carry on working out 6 times a week and not cheat but no one is perfect.
I have another 35-55 pounds to go to reach my target weight.But I know from past experiance that the last 10 pounds will be the most difficult to lose. Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 20, 2006

Quinn's First Blog Entry

My personal reasons for going on this diet is to lose weight and feel good about myself. I have never been able to wear a bikini and I really wish that I would be able to.

There is only one place in the whole world that I actually feel comfortable in. That is a Lake in British Columbia called Shushwap Lake. I have gone there for at least a week every year of my life. This year I have made my mind up and if this is the last year that I am able to go, I want to make it the best by enjoying it and feeling like I have actually accomplished something in the last year. I want to be able to sit on the dock in a bikini and feel totaly relaxed and to not feel uncomfortable about my weight.

With the help of a supporting family and the right frame of mind, I am confident that I can reach my goal and feel satisfied about my weight.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Graves Disease / Graves Eye Disease

In May 2004, shortly after I started a new drafting assignment, I began to feel unwell. I thought it was the flue. I was achey, short of breath and tired, but after 12 days it was time to go to the walk-in clinic. The doctor sent me for bloodwork and my doctor called me in to tell me I had Graves disease. I had heard of it but did not remember what it was. I did not realize that it was the same disease my grandmother contracted in her 80's. I later learned it is an autoimmune disease caused when the body detects a garden variety virus, but then produced t-cells or lymphocytes with the wrong code. Instead of attacking the virus, one kind attacked the protein on the surface of my thyroid, the other kind went after the fatty tissue behind my eyes. The doctor notice I was having trouble breathing and clammy so she sent me straight to emergency. They call it a thyroid storm. It felt like I had to jump out of my own skin. I was shaking so hard, I nearly fell off the bed. They gave me some IV drugs to slow down my heart (150+/min) and kept me for two days. I was anxious to go home, though, so I left at first opportunity with a few prescriptions. This was a mistake. I was very weak, could barely get to the washroom and Paul and Quinn had to care for me for a few days. I was in bed most of the time for 3 months, only out long enough to get water, fruit, yoghurt and use the washroom. I suffered constant nausea. I lost a lot of weight, most of it muscle. This photo was taken in July. I managed to sit up long enough to celebrate my parent's 50th anniversary. I was off work for about 6 months and had my thyroid killed with radioactive iodine 11 months ago. Now I am on synthoid to regulate my metabolic functions, but my bloodwork shows I am still not stabilized. I am having corrective plastic surgery on my eyes this summer. I think my condition may have something to do with the big weight gain last week. Everyone I have spoken to about it says it is a mystery. Any ideas out there? Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 16, 2006

Menu Planner Website

I spent my lunch hour looking for reliable information on weight loss menus. It's a minefield of misinformation out there, but the US government has a fairly good interactive menu planner/calorie counter. It was perplexing at first to see that nuts were not listed anywhere as a food group, until I remembered that Uncle Sam's nuts are otherwise occupied these days.


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Week 1 Weigh-in

There's good news and bad news today. Paul lost 9 pounds, even though he cheated with his coworker. That's not as bad as it sounds, they just went for coffee on Friday. Quinn dropped only a pound, she probably had a tiny bit too much potato (we decided to swap bread for it) the other night. I gained 9 pounds! James did not offer any explanations for this. This really gobsmacked me because the only cheating I did was brown rice (thrice) instead of bread with the evening meals. The only thing I can think of is that maybe my body has gone into famine mode. This is what my trainer warned me might happen if my caloric intake was too low. I know Quinn and myself will do better next week. James gave us an alternate diet. One look at it and I did not feel it was doable. It had most of the calories at meal 3, meal 5 was chicken and fruit only and there was no meal 6. We are planning to see a nutritionist to get a bunch of menu plans that we can live with as a group. I can live with different portions for each person, but I cannot/will not do three separate menus at the same time. I'm busy enough with just one. In the meantime we are all feeling like we need a break tonight so it's off to a favourite restaurant for a really good meal. I have to admit I am disappointed with my results, but I am not giving up, just re-tooling.

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Stupidest Diet Ever Invented by a Teenager

When I was 15 I lost 25 pounds by only eating grapefruit, cottage cheese, farmers cheese, skim milk, melba toast and raisins! Quantities varied, but there were times when I could eat a pound of raisins in one go. This led to an unfortunate incident at the home of a good friend on a sleep-over. We were banished to the tent trailer by unanimous request. Good thing it was summer. Her family still talks about it. Luckily, I still have my friend in my life and we still laugh about it every time we reunion.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

We Need Carbs!

Quinn struggled through day 2. She was exhausted and hungry. Paul and I felt fine. Today I know just what Quinn was complaining about. Completely depleted of all energy, I could have curled up on the rug under my desk and slept for hours! My trainer thinks we need to see a nutritionist and that 1400 calories are too low, especially in the carbs column. I agree with this. We are in it for the long term and this just feels too drastic. I can't bear the thought of going shopping for more produce and protein powder tonight after putting in a 10 hour day at work, but I have to. We are going to add a boiled potato to the menu tonight, take it off from the gym, get our kitchen cleaned properly, lunches made and a decent night's sleep.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Day 1 was a Pain

The challenges began at breakfast. I could NOT get 5 egg whites down. That's as graphic as I wish to get. By about 9 I was in serious caffeine withdrawl. Dizzy, blurred vision, headdache over my eyes. I have a few other health issues which may have been at play as well, and I will elaborate on my hypothyroidism another time. Regardless of the cause, by 2pm could not focus on my work, so I went home and slept for a few hours. Later at the gym, we negociated with James for some relief. He told us Quinn and I could have a protein shake in place of the egg whites. Paul could have chicken instead of tuna, and 10 almonds in place of the popcorn. That made us all happy again. The headdache I endured without meds all day long finally subsided after I finished 20 minutes of cardio and 20 minutes of fatburning. We are all looking forward to the end of today.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Our Family's Statistics

We had our assessments today at the gym we just joined. James, our trainer had asked us to write down everything we had eaten the day before. In my case I was maintaining my weight at about 2400 calories a day. So that means if I follow the 2-week plan he gave us, I will be down to 1400 calories a day. A 1000 calorie drop should give my body a shock. This diet is designed to cleanse the system. James recommended we drink green tea in the morning and at night as well, to help all that water flush out the toxins trapped inside the fat cells that will be empying their contents into our bloodstream.

Here's the plan we are going on tomorrow:

Meal 1
1c oatmeal with 2 tsp Brown sugar twin, skim milk or soy milk for women of my age is optional
5 scrambled egg whites
8 oz water

Meal 2
Medium bowl of fruit salad or protein blend shake (1 scoop powder with 8 oz water)
8 oz water

Meal 3
4 oz unsalted water-packed tuna
Medium mixed garden salad with low-cal dressing

Meal 4
1/2 cantaloupe
Protein blend shake
8 oz water

Meal 5
4 oz halibut or salmon
Medium portion steamed vegetables
1 slice whole wheat bread
8 oz water

Meal 6
3 cups air-popped popcorn

It was a funny experience shopping for these items. I asked the cashier if she thought it looked unusual, and she said no, she sees people with these types of items all the time! Well, it's the first time I've ever bought 14 cantaloupes, 12 cases of egg whites, 24 cans of tuna, etc. I will have to buy more fruit and vegetables for next week, but the non-perishables were purchased for the entire 2 weeks.

Here are the diagnostic testing results:

Janet , Paul , Quinn
Age 48, 54, 15
Height 6"-0", 5'-11", 6'-1"
Weight 285, 269, 230
Basal Metabolic Rate 2433, 2459, 1857
% body fat 44.5, 35.4, 38.7
Fat weight 126, 95, 82
Fat free weight 159, 174, 148
Body Mass Index 38.7, 37.5, 30.3
V02 score 28, 33, 24
Level Average, Average, Poor
Neck 17, 19, 14.5
Shoulders 54, 51, 46.5
Chest 52, 49, 43
Arms flexed - right 14.75, 17, 15
Arms flexed - left 14, 17, 15
Forearms - right 12, 13, 11.5
Forearms - left 12, 12.75, 11
Waist 50, 47, 38.5
Hips 58, 47, 48
Thigh - right 27.5, 27, 27
Thigh - left 27, 27, 27
Calf - right 16.5, 18, 17.5
Calf - left 17, 17.5, 17
Wall Sit 20, 50, 25

For myself, it is extremely embarrassing to see some of these numbers, and here I am sharing them with the world. I have rarely told anyone my weight, preferring not even to know it myself. What makes it more bearable now is the deep down gut feeling I have that we are all determined to have much different numbers 12 weeks hence.

I am going to ponder these results for a few days and then set some targets I think I can reach. Paul and Quinn can share their own stories, feelings and reactions for themselves when they are comfortable to do so.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Some like it hot!

I have no delusions about looking like a blonde bombshell anytime soon. Even Norma Jean had her own set of challenges. I wonder how she would look today if she had survived? She appeared to enjoy my sense of humour when we shared a cool breeze and a tip to prevent inner thigh chafing one sticky summer day in Madamme Tussaud's museum, London. Taken this past August, it's as much of me as I'm prepared to let you see. Posted by Picasa

Happy New Year 2006!

The focus is better health for our family, hence the name. We invite you to watch us reach our goals!

Welcome, my name is Janet. I'm the one with squinty eyes. I got the idea to create this blog last night and after I explained to my family why I wanted to do it, they agreed this would be a great way to accomplish a few objectives at the same time.

We are not fitness experts or nutritionists, so how can we write on a subject we obviously know so little about? My credentials come from personal experiences through failed attempts like yo-yo dieting, fad diets, and unrealistic goals. Binge eating, laziness, pregnancy and Graves disease are other subjects I have expertise with. I have been overweight since I was a child, beginning school to be precise. I am still struggling more than 4 decades later, more than ever in fact, to figure out the answer to the biggest riddle in my life: is there a health plan out there that I could stick to? My biggest challenge has been to stay on a regime long enough to to reach my goal and maintain my optimum weight. Like most other women I know, that goal keeps getting further away the older I get!

The most recent research I saw said something I had not heard before: tell as many people as possible that you are planning to lose weight. I had never tried that before. To me, that was setting myself up for failure. Only a handful of close family and friends knew whenever I was starting a new diet. This time I am going to go global! There will be a lot to face up to if I fail, so failure will not be an option this time.

A second thing I knew but had never tried before was to diet and exercise at the same time. The most weight I have ever lost at one time was 25 pounds, but that method would win the award for the stupidest diet ever invented by a teenager. I will post it later. When it came to fitness and sport, the longest I ever went to the gym regularly was 3 years, but I was overeating at the time so you could say I was the fittest fattie around!

A third reason why I know this time is going to be different is because I am not doing this alone. Paul, my husband of nearly 4 years and our teenaged daughter Quinn will be with me in body, mind and spirit. And so will you be if you care to offer a suggestion or wishes for our success, but more on that later.

I have heard addiction recovery experts say that it is important to keep a journal. Nutritionists have told me to keep a food diary. Not quite what blogging is meant for in my opinion, but I will share my insights and best practices along the way. I can't think of a more efficient way to do that than posting in a blog! It seems like an ideal solution, and time will tell.

I've been curious about blogs for sometime. Paul asked me the other day to define the word for him. Aside from its longer form of Web Log, I went out on a limb and acted all sure of myself (I do that sometimes, but it's our secret, ok?) as I gave him both a definition and an analogy. Later that day, I decided to check to see if I was right (I was in this instance, but I'm not always, and that's something I'm trying to keep quiet as well).

As we get into this process, I'm sure all sorts of subjects will come up while we are patiently waiting for the inches to melt away. I finally have a soapbox to stand on, even if I am sharing it. Expect to hear some political rants, oh great, I can hear the moans already! Global warming and my sense of both responsibility and guilt (more on that another time) is a popular topic as well. I have begun to delve into the realm of Knowledge Management and how it can be applied in today's business marketplace.

I look forward to hearing from anyone who has a relevant comment to share on any topic that is under my family's careful review. If it's not relevant, go start your own blog! Seriously, though, I am looking forward to you cheering us on from the world wide web. Please keep your comments concise and clean. I am hoping our experiences will be of help to other families that have overweight children. Wish us luck!