Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


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It’s been a month now

I’ve been Nooming now for one month, and as of today, I’m down 21 lbs. Yup, you read that right. Twenty One pounds in 5 weeks and 4 days.

Thursday I went to the gym on the corner, the one that I pay for every month but never visited (you know how that works), and had a fitness assessment. At my weight and with my physical limits, I knew better than to launch into a full-blown exercise plan without being checked first. I know how to use the cardio equipment and the weights, but the back, sciatica, and foot with neuropathy made it crucial to not be stupid.

They dug up the last assessment I did there, from June 2017. At the time I got on the scale in my socks; this time I stepped on shoes and all. Taking them off is too much work just for a scale. My true reading comes at home; as long as I’m consistent at the gym, it will work. But in any case, I’m down 23 lbs from 2017. My BMI is down 3 points. Percentage of body fat is down. Resting pulse rate is in the “fit” category.

Best of all was the “6 minute walk” test. In 2017, I almost collapsed half way through it. This time I made it all the way through without having respiratory distress. Six minutes may not seem like much, but to someone who mostly sits all day, it’s big.

I now have a 6- week workout plan that is very modest and doable: go the gym 2-3 times/week for 30 minutes, working up to 3-4 times/week. Walk for 10 minutes, do the NuStep for 10 minutes, and the arm bike for 10 minutes (5 forwards, 5 backwards). After that, I’m to check back for adjustments and what to add in. I can do this.

I bought a little clip-on pedometer which is easier to carry around than having the phone in my pocket all the time to track steps. I update Noom on steps at the end of the day. Instead of trying to consolidate steps, I make more trips from one end of the house to another, from one part of the church to another on work days. In fact, I make laps down to Fellowship Hall and back up to the foyer of the church and back again several times during my mornings. So I’m moving more – I was up to 7,500 steps yesterday which was amazing.

Food doesn’t seem particularly hard, though having a box of donuts outside the office door is awfully tempting. But I have grapes and clementines to snack on and have protein, veggies & carbs at every meal. No ice cream, no cookies, no chips, no wine, very little bread. I can have ALL of that if I want to, I just really don’t want them.

I sort of feel like a commercial for Noom when people ask me about it. I’ve hated people telling me about their diets in the past when I wasn’t ready to work on my own eating, so have been reluctant to bring it up on my own. Plus I’ve failed a lot in the past – lost motivation, lost focus, lost energy. But I’m not on a diet. I’m learning to eat like a normal person – because I *am* a normal person, just one that’s too fluffy. But that’s changing.

Off to the gym. Go me!


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Let me tell you about Noom

Almost nothing about a diet/weight loss program surprises me anymore, having been on a zillion of them in my life. Most boil down to being legalistic and rigid, and the second you tell me that I can’t eat something is when it becomes the only thing I want to eat. I don’t really like being in groups or classes and prefer working through this on my own, though I did like the accountability of having someone else weigh me – except when I’d gained.

On the other hand, they didn’t work long-term. None of them, even when I lost over 100 pounds, which I did several times. I’m good at losing when I want to pay attention to what I eat; I’m not very good at keeping it off and maintaining a target weight. Why? Because I was paying attention to the food and not to my inside self and the triggers that were setting me off.

Noom is a different kind of program. It’s app-based so you and your phone become very close. You weigh yourself once a day in the morning and record it in the app, and you also log food in the app. Those aren’t all that different; lots of plans do that, and tracking food is pretty essential to actually being accountable for what you eat. The app also has a pedometer to track your steps; many of you already do that with FitBit or other program, but this was new for me and it was nice to have it integrated.

Food tracking is common to all weight loss programs; each puts its own spin on it. In Weight Watchers, you count points. In others you’re counting carbs or grams of protein or fat. Noom does it with color groups based on caloric density. Foods are Green, Yellow, and Red. But you can eat anything, as long as you account for it, and you do look at the calorie count. Green food has a different caloric density than red food; you get filled up with food that has more water and fiber.

I’m a visual person and thinking of food by color groups makes it easier to picture and then make a choice between a Green Food snack such as fat free yogurt and a Yellow Food choice of 2% yogurt. Chicken is a yellow food; steak is a red food. Grapes are green, raisins are red. Mostly I just pick what I want – but then I use their food analysis tool to give me feedback on the choices. And since I log my food BEFORE I eat it, I can (and do) swap out one thing for another to keep things balanced.

But what’s really different about Noom is the psychology components. Each day has several small little articles on related things, such as mindful eating or breaking habits. Some of the style is a little cutesy but the information itself is sometimes new, or at least presented in a new way. And there are little quizzes to see how much you retain. It’s actually a lot of information in small enough bites that I’m absorbing more than in a lecture or reading a book.

You’re also assigned a goal coach, and after the first 2 weeks, are put into groups with a coach to help work through and respond to the articles. I’m honestly not finding that to be that much help because I found another option that works for me and that’s two Facebook groups for Noom users, a general one and one for those with large amounts to lose. I prefer typing on a keyboard over using thumbs on a phone, and like the more instant gratification of responses to questions from other users.

The thing is, I know my goal and I know how to break it down into smaller bits. I know there will be plateaus and slips as well as progress. I have a realistic idea of where I want to end up and how to celebrate the NSV’s (non-scale victories) along the way, things like behavior changes that become new habits or fitting into clothes another size or in a different store.

For me this is about getting healthier, and as of this morning I’ve lost 18 lbs; my BMI has already dropped 3 points. I got on a scale at the doctor yesterday and saw a number I haven’t seen since I retired. I’m happy with this program, how it’s working for me, and what I’m learning about myself and my habits.

Want to read a more detailed review of Noom? Check out this review in USA Today: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/reviewedcom/2020/01/09/noom-review/4422490002/


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New Year, Fresh Start

This blog used to just be about dieting and my relationship to food. That changed over time, and it was healthy, but then it kept creeping back because, well, so did the weight. It always has. I was on my first diet at age 10 and have done everything I could think of to look normal over the years. Weight Watchers more times than I can count. Medical fasts. Nutrisystem. Grapefruit. Phen-fen. Lapband.

Here’s the thing – they all work as long as I’m motivated to actually workk the plan, whatever it is. The motivation is what falters, because I get scared of success, and I resent being treated differently because I’m thinner. And I’m afraid, always afraid, that the weight will come back, because that’s my pattern.

But it’s another new year, one with nice round numbers, and I’m ready to make some changes. I don’t feel comfortable in my body and every doctor I’ve talked to in the last 6 months (and there have been more than I wanted to see) has started our visit by talking about my weight. I hate it. But they’re right.

So my goal for 2020 is to eat healthy, move more, and be comfortable in my body. And I have a plan for getting there. Maybe more on that later, after I have some time and success under my belt. For now, it’s about starting and sticking to something I’ve avoided.

My fridge is full of healthy things – broccoli (lots and lots of broccoli), grapes, chicken, eggs, raspberries, clementines, yogurt. Well, it always has yogurt – I’m addicted to Fage 2% plain yogurt. There are sweet potatoes and bananas, hummus and carrot sticks, and a plan to eat them in healthy ways.

New shoes will get here on Monday. My feet are ginormously wide and I need to order them online, or at least ones that fit properly. If I’m going to be walking and exercising, I need good shoes. Check. When I’m brave enough to put on a bathing suit, there’s a pool at the gym. I used to love pool walking and exercises, which are good for my cranky joints. But I’m not brave enough for that yet, especially in a community with ton of people who frequent the same gym. I’m not ready to be seen.

But I’m ready to do this. I don’t really care how long it takes; what matters is that I’m doing it. Happy New Year, me.


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52 Ancestors #4 – Favorite Family Recipe

I can’t remember when I first had this or who made it. The recipe was my godmother’s and long ago became our traditional food for family gatherings, either for a holiday, a funeral, or just a visit. I’ve made it so many times I don’t even need to use the recipe card, though I treasure it in my mother’s handwriting. Much to my shock, I recently learned that my godmother’s daughter has never even made this cake! How can this be possible when it’s so essential to my own family??

Peg Myers Jewish Coffee Cake Recipe

I’m not sure why this is Jewish Coffee Cake and not just Sour Cream Coffee Cake or some other title. A quick Google search for “Jewish Coffee Cake” yielded recipes and descriptions that sound very much like mine, so maybe this was a common recipe, and maybe it originated in the Jewish community. I did find an interesting article about the history of sour cream coffeecake, but am still not sure of the Jewish connection.

Even though I used my mom’s recipe, we made it differently and our cakes tasted different, too. Mom used 8 oz. of sour cream and I generously filled a measuring cup instead, making mine moister. I also have a passion for cranberry so make mine with dried cranberries instead of raisins – and also pecans from our yard instead of walnuts.

We grew up eating this cake for Christmas breakfast and on other holidays. It was what we ate coming home from college, when we flew in for Thanksgiving, when my nephew came for a visit. It’s tradition that we’ve shared for over fifty years. Knowing that the next generation sought out the recipe and also makes it for these special occasions makes me really happy and connects us all to my mom and to my godmother, who gave it to us.


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Cooking Again! Okay, Just a Little Bit

I made mini crustless quiches yesterday, a recipe from my WLS blog friend Eggface.  She has about 50 variations of these little bites, as she calls them, but Sunday I made the Breakfast Bites. Each one has 45 calories and 3g of protein, and 3-4 make a serving, depending on what you’re having with them.  They’re full of eggs, swiss cheese, chopped ham, onions and ‘shrooms, baked in a mini muffin tin. It’s nice to have variety for meals and I’ve been getting sick of 2 oz of cottage cheese or yogurt for breakfast.

She also has dozens and dozens of recipes for all kinds of foods that are WLS-safe but equally appealing to non-ops.  (The bites, for example, would be wonderful appetizers for a party.)  Next on my list to try is protein ice cream.    Or maybe the pizza bites. We’ll see.

I also made pudding yogurt, this time with a protein boost. I mixed a tub of plain non-fat yogurt with a box of instant sugar free vanilla pudding, one scoop of vanilla protein, and 4 TB of SF Torani gingerbread syrup.  I’ve made this stuff for years with just yogurt and pudding, but adding the protein powder kicks up the nutrition value without changing the taste.  The Torani syrup takes care of that, in a good way.  I went a little crazy ordering SF Torani flavors that I couldn’t find locally and am eager to try out.

I went out and about late morning to shop for a few things before the cold rain started – toys for the Toys for Tots drive at work, warm gloves & scarf for the Cold Weather Clothing drive, also at work, and some whey protein to give my nephew for Christmas.  It’s not the biggest size tub but I’m pretty sure he’ll appreciate it and at least it does fill up the “under the tree” space.

Most of my shopping is done, though I plan to pick up some things at the Union Square Christmas Fair in New York City this week on a day off.  Holding my breath that the weather behaves coz I don’t really want to mill around NYC in snow, rain or sleet.  Yes, I’m a wieather wimp.