2018-02-18 Sunday Status Update – Ugly, Uglier, and Ugliest

Oh how I have missed you, my sweet, beautiful elliptical machine. I know I’ve been gone for a few days but I promise you there were no other machines involved.. just people, work, wine, and a successful visit to the Red Cross (not in that order of course).

The stat at the top of my Sunday lineup is my hemoglobin. 12.9 and over the threshold of the 12.4 required for donating blood. That was yesterday and now I can put that on the back of the shelf along with my iron supplements. At least for about 6 or 7 weeks.

(Ugly – The return of the daily headache)
Noteworthy in the supplement department is the fact that I ran out of Curcumin (a turmeric extract) which I’ve been taking daily for several months now. I’ve been on my soapbox on this topic several times so I won’t repeat myself. However, the supply ran out and as the consulate analyst and experimenter I decided to take the opportunity to see what effect not talking it would have.

I’m not kidding.. a couple days and my daily headaches returned. It could be other variables like hormones, too much or not enough caffeine, not enough sleep, alcohol, stress, but it is too much of a coincidence to dismiss. A few days of that and turning back to Tylenol and ibuprofen had me running my fingeres to that “one click” feature in Amazon to replenish my supply. I’m day 3 back on it and despite drinking too much wine last night, I woke up headache free. Huzzah. I’m a believer.

The quickest jump from that is to take inventory on my other analytics.

Steps are back up this week.. 20K average per day but jazzercise class counts are still down because of other commitments.

(Uglier – The human garbage disposal)
Healthy eating was literally not on the table this week. I over indulged in just about everything I fancy and I’m going to go ahead and blame the deprivation caused by that Whole 30. Cookies, chocolate, fried appetizers, cheeseburger and fries and onion rings dipped in ranch dressing, fried rice, fried potatoes, and bread. All that was in addition to my new found, high calorie, favorite breakfast. Eggs, guacamole, salsa, potatoes, with or without bacon. Oh and did I mention the alcohol? 🍷 🍸 🍹

I’m in need of a serous course correction… on that AND sleep. I had an average of 5 hours and 50 minutes a night. That’s terrible. I guess making bad decisions was a theme for the week. My time in on my studies was shit too.

I should be spending 20 hours a week minimum on writing, revisions, and reading and I bet I only spent 4 at the most. I currently have no way to gather official stats on that. I could record it like I have to for my job I guess. But manual time cards? Ewwww!

I worked 22 hours which is right around that sweet spot and I have no excuses for not reading more for school. I guess I spent too much time texting with my new crush. Can I really have spent that much time texting? Not possible.

Oh yeah.. relationship status. Still single. Surprise, surprise. I cancelled my meet-up with Simon Tuesday and met him Thursday instead and it felt very much like meeting with someone you just have no desire to talk to. I was nice and the conversation was very much one-sided as I expected. I followed up later that day with a book of an email I felt compelled to write so I could say (almost) everthing I’m too chicken shit to say in person.

I didn’t say “hey, I don’t want to be friends”.. but my hope is that a person who is as perceptive as he says he is, could read between the lines. I honestly didn’t care if he responded, but I underestimated his instincts to counter my observations in an attempt to maintain his superiority. Ooops. There I go again saying something not nice.

He wrote back quite a bit and his disappointment in me and what I wrote came through loud and clear. There were a few things I could not let go, so I did reply back standing my ground on two main points. I picked my battles and I will not back down on either of them.

One was about my daughter and just don’t even try to fuck with me about my teenage daughter and our relationship and my parenting. Just don’t. The second was about his inability to define our relationship and not owning up to the fact that he used it to release himself from any responsibility to another persons feelings.. MY feelings. That’s total crap and he needs to know it. I sent that back last night and as of right now have not yet received any response back. Perhaps I will have the last word on it. I really hope so, but we shall see.

(Ugliest – Negative Self Image)
Related to my status on all fronts.. I’m just feeling generally not great about the way I look right now. I’m feeling sort of unwell and tired and bloated and frumpy. I’m definitely in need of some positive reassurance. Valentines day alone doesn’t help. Seeing couples holding hands everywhere doesn’t help. Don’t get me started on the affect of media, social or otherwise. I just want to turn it all off. Add to that the fact that I’ve gained some weight recently and don’t like what I see when I look in the mirror. OK, I’m a thin person by nature, but that just means that any fluctuation at all and my clothes start to become too tight and uncomfortable. I suppose the binging on food this week did not help and the fact that I’m still thinking about loading up on ice cream before this day is through is also not going to be good. What is a girl to do? (first world rhetorical question).

I need to put some hours into the schoolwork today and snap out of my funk. I just have to.
Time to Be Like Lee Nails, and Press On,
~Miss SugarCookie


2018-02-01 Welcome to February.. Seriously

It’s one day closer to spring and I just can’t wait. I guess that’s why they say patience is a virtue. I have virtues when it comes to some things, but patience isn’t one of them.

I don’t like to wait. For anything. I’m all about instant gratification. If I get a craving for chocolate.. I just want to go for it. That’s part of what is making this Whole 30 so challenging. It’s also part of why I’m doing it. I’ll be curious to see if I slip back to all my old behaviors when it’s over and done with.

Now that I’m nearing the end, ive started thinking about how I might alter my permanent eating behaviors. Ive thought about staying gluten free or dairy free or sugar free. (Haha.. just kidding on that last one 😂)

Seriously though. One of my goals was to tame my sugar dragon. 🐉 I didn’t make that term up.. it’s actually what they call it on the official site and chat boards. If dragons were rated like earthquakes mine would probably pop off the Richter scale at a solid 5. If Charles had enough sense in 1935 he’d probably design a 10 point scale to try and curb some of that decimal nonsense. No self respecting rating system operates on a 5 point scale anymore. Well except maybe girls that evaluate Cheeseburgers on their anonymous blog. 😉

Seriously though. I guess lots of rating systems still operate on a 0 to 5 star selection. I just don’t find it easy when you’re the person who has to choose and you don’t have half stars to choose from. With 5 points, there’s a huge difference between 5 and 4.

Think about it. 5 is like saying something is 100% and let’s be real, there’s not a lot of things that are just THAT good. I almost never rate anything a 5 because there’s always room for improvement and I reserve that for some instance where I’ve been so blown away by whatever it is. Like “BAM – That’s a 5!”

Then, just one tiny little star away from that is a 4. That’s 80% which is arguably a C grade. In some peoples eyes, this is like a B, but then what happens when you get to 3 and that’s 60% which is a very low D.. almost an F and so then your left with 2 and 1 which are 40 and 20 and both clearly F’s. I know it’s not really comparable, but I think that is part of the problem with a 5 point scale. Theres just to wide of an interpretation. You might see 2 or 2.5 or 3 as average, but someone else might not.

Anyhow, I met this guy on Bumble recently and he actually does reviews of places (and specific food) around town and he’s got this rating system that judges the food on five categories and each category the top score is 10. What you end up with is a score from 0 to 50 and that’s pretty legit. Perhaps I should rethink my whole strategy for rating Cheeseburgers. Because I know that is of monumental importance to the universe. Ha!

But Seriously. I need it to be spring already and I need to get to February 7th already and I need to figure out what is going to happen after that. I know the whole point of this thing is a reset of the system, but since I don’t feel better or look better or weigh less or anything, my inclination is to say screw it. That would probably be a bad idea, I am sure. After depriving ones self of one of their favorite things for so long, it is hard not to think about that being the very first thing you go for again.

Failing at Being Serious,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-01-08 Today is a Good Day to Start

This is one of the tag lines on the blog I started in 2010. I think it’s a thing I tried to tell myself more than saying it to anyone else because I often use excuses why I’m not doing something.

* it’s not the start of the week or month.

* I’ve got all this food in my refrigerator I don’t want to go to waste.

* I won’t have time.

* I can’t afford it.

* I’m afraid of what people will think.

The biggest hurdle I have is getting out of my own way. Sometimes those excuses are valid, but most of the time I just need to strike through all of it and say to myself.. “Today is a good day to start”.

As we enter a new year I find myself more open than ever to the possibilities of life. I just started a new job. I just started back to school and on top of that, I’ve also committed to starting something else.. 30 days of eating only Whole Foods.

That’s right. I’m doing the whole 30 diet which will not require too much extra time aside from planning meals and grocery shopping, which I have to do anyway. What it will require is willpower.

This way of eating was totally meant for me because I’m a meat and potatoes girl at heart. However, I am addicted to sugar and love cheese. Not having alcohol will not be a problem but the whole thing will make social events, lunches out and such, a challenge.

I think doing something like this is only possible with the support from the members of your household and close family and friends. Not only are they there to encourage but also hold accountable. My sister and I are doing this together and now my friend Becky is making it a trio. I wish more people would join us but nobody at Christmas events seemed all that interested.

I think it’s also important to have rewards and celebrate success. I have yet to define that because I’ve pretty much put myself on serious monetary restriction for the foreseeable future. I need to find something I can reward myself with that doesn’t cost money. That’s going to take some deeper consideration for sure.

Today is Day 1. We wanted to wait for things to settle after the new year to start. Now, here it is, Monday. The start of a new week and essentially my first day wearing my big girl pants again. I’ll be working on turning in my lecture notes from residency and my kids are coming back home after a long break apart. But I can’t let any of that become an excuse not to start.

On the contrary. I want to propose the opposite.. today isn’t just a good day to start. It’s a great one!

Cheers to new Beginnings (with water of course),

~Miss SugarCookie

2017-12-10 Where Did the Weekend Go?

I’ve definitely eaten too much this weekend… and almost none of it was healthy. I’m not sure, but I think my body is trying to gear up for new years resolutions by making me suffer through sugar craving and junk food rampages. The sick part about all that, is that it is kind of making me sick.

Yesterday I participated in Christmas Cookie Chaos, which is simply a bunch of girls getting together to make cookies for about seven hours. It’s all snacks and pizza and hot chocolate for party eats/drinks topped with trying about ten different batches of cookies while they were still fresh out of the oven. Sugar, and gluten, and butter, oh my! Today I tried a few, and honestly thought they were too sweet. The one I like the best was probably my own.. gluten free molasses cookies sprinkled with coconut sugar.

Perhaps if I feel sick enough, those cravings will go away?? I’ve already promised my sister we would do the whole 30 starting in January (after I return from my “retreat”. My body really needs that right now. I would start now, but I know the next few weeks is just going to be hell trying to pass up on all the holiday goodies. Usually I’m not one of those people who would make an excuse like that, but this time around, I’m pretty sure I would cave at the first sign of something tempting.

I did make it eight and a half days being gluten free. I know I can do this whole 30 thing, but for the whole 30 days, my whole heart has to be in it. I’m ok waiting.

Today I spent almost the entire day working on advent calendar fun stuff for the kids who are returning tomorrow after school. I took a break in the middle of the day to go visit Simon who needed my help with a few things at his house and had been promising me a burger (which he made himself).

At this point, it’s pretty late so anything else can wait until I am well rested and back in action tomorrow. I’ve already started my to-do list for the week, so I should be able to hit the ground running.

~Miss SugarCookie

2017-12-03 Sunday Status Update and Reflection

Some days I feel so positive about my progress and some days I just feel like a follow through failure. Braeaking it all down with statistics helps me realize the reality and take feelings out of the story. These “pulse checks” are therefore very helpful. It’s also helpful to compare one moment in time to another. That way I can truly see if I’m making progress and meeting my goals.

Here’s today’s snapshot…

Exercise/Steps: My average steps for the last 7 days was just shy of 20k steps per day. This is on par with where I was two weeks ago but about twice as much as I was getting at the start of the year.

I went to about 6 Jazzercise classes for the week which is also about the same as last week but I’m doing more of this now than at the start of the year as well. I’m still using 8 pound weights but don’t think I can go any heavier because 8 pounds is pretty taxing on my joints.

Sleep: My 7 day average was 6 hours and 50 minutes. This is worse than the last four previous weeks which were all 7+ hours average per night. My goal has been 8 for so long but I’m feeling that’s unrealistic. I’m going to adjust accordingly and shoot for 7.5 hours. I’ve still felt rested and energized for the day when I wake up and I think that’s the important thing. I’m now able to sleep through the night which is HUGE! A year ago I was so far from that it’s crazy and was even still struggling six months ago. I’m attributing my improved mood and energy to this one factor and therefore know for certain the changes I’ve made in my life were not just good ones.. they were absolute necessity.

Eating: It was a tough week and my willpower was low. I had too much junk with sugar in it. I’ve decided I’m going gluten free… and I started a couple of days ago. If that seems familiar, it’s because it is. I just copy/pasted that from two weeks ago. It’s exactly the same. I caved on the gluten free thing a few times and broke down and had too many sweets. But a few days ago, on December 1st, I re-committed myself to being gluten free. It’s time to get serious. I’m not going to try and fool myself into thinking I can also cut dairy or sugar at the same time. So this month I’m going to focus on just that one change.

Employment: Still None. My MFA residency starts this month and I’m now actively engaged in looking for a job.

Relationships: I now have a backlog of writing to do on this subject.. for romantic relationships and new things regarding family, but I’ve not found dedicated time to do so because of other priorities. Of course I’m still single and unsure what to do about these of my life, but it’s not like it’s a thing you can set goals around and make “progress”. Am I Right?

Looking forward to:

1. Monday – Pounding the world wide electronic superhighway for a job. (Yes.. I’m actually excited about this).
2. Tuesday – An evening in or out with my lovely sister. .
3. Wednesday – Showing my HVAC who is boss and filing away the final episode of that saga.
4. Thursday – Lunch with Leah.
5. Friday – FriYay!
6. Saturday – Christmas cookie chaos!!

Life is Still Good,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-08-09 Isn’t it Ironic

Today I went to the Red Cross blood drive just down the street. I have a long history of attempting to donate blood which is really great for several different reasons.

First and most obviously, you are doing something good and helping people and that gives me a nice feeling. They say that every time you donate blood, you are potentially helping up to three people who need it. The Red Cross is always saying that supplies are low, but right now they are in dire need and my in-box is getting bombarded with requests. My selflessness ends there however.

It’s really also kind of a free health screening. They check your temp and blood pressure and hemoglobin. I think they test you blood for several icky things which would normally cost money at a clinic or lab.

The third reason would be a slight departure from my normal routine which is kind of nice. I used to schedule around lunchtime and it takes a little time so it was an extra few moments of something different to just sit back and relax. That sound strange, but that is how I feel about it. And nobody is ever going to question my long lunch if they know that is my intent. What kind of a person would harp on someone for doing something good like that? Not many.

So today I went to donate and was rejected, for the second time in one week. I was rejected due to my hemoglobin being low which is iron in the blood. You can’t donate if you are a female and your count is less than 12.5. Today mine was 12.1 so I was turned away. I think it was last Thursday or Friday when I tried at the library and it was 11.5. This is why I say I have a long history of “attempting” to donate. My iron is often low.

For several years I took a supplement every day. I first started doing that not because I was not able to donate, but because I had seen my PCP and my blood work showed like 9. something and he suggested it. That’s not low enough to be a serious concern but he stated it could be a contributing factor to why I was so fatigued all the time. So I started taking some every day. My levels came up but I don’t think the fatigue ever really went away. I think my body just naturally has low hemoglobin.

Durning those years, I was always right around the threshold. Sometimes I would make it and sometimes I would be turned away. My grandfather donated regularly and I wanted to follow in his footsteps in giving back in some way. I never did a ton of research into why my iron would be low or what I could do to boost it naturally, I just accepted that the pill was sort of working and that was good enough.

It did, however, yield another unpleasant side effect that I did not even realize until this year. I would have really heavy periods with lots of blood clots. I came to this conclusion because someone suggested I stop taking the iron and see what affect that had on my system. Magically, after about a month or so, my period returned to normal. So that was it, I was done with that supplement for sure. Except it meant that I also had to give up donating. Damn.

I began researching natural ways of increasing the iron in your diet in the hopes that eating foods rich in iron would have a positive impact on my numbers, yet keep those nasty once-a-month episodes from being too terrible. What I found is that some things I like to eat already are high on the list of foods rich in iron. Hamburger number one, spinach and leafy greens and broccoli, dark chocolate, molasses, whole wheat bread ,quinoa, apricots and strawberries and raisons are among the top. Beans too, but gross, I don’t eat beans.

So I made sure I have something every day. I love cheeseburgers so that’s like a top win. It might even be part of the reason I like red meat so much. My body is craving what it is lacking. People say it does that, and seeks out what it wants. Perhaps there is some truth to that. However, the science of increasing iron in your system does not stop there. One has to consider absorption. With my levels still being too low last week, I began looking into this as well.

I had done a quick search at one point and found out that calcium inhibits the uptake of iron into the system and that vitamin C actually increases it. So the easy take away from that is stay away from dairy when you are having an iron meal and also pair it with something like orange juice. When I was taking the supplements, I always took it with orange juice anyway, so now that I am making my own juice, that works out perfectly.

To make matters a little more complex, though, just eating spinach may not have been doing me any good. Apparently there is another thing in spinach, called an Oxilate which prohibits the intake of iron. So spinach becomes a net zero for trying to increase the iron. Same thing with the strawberries and whole wheat (though that is because of phytates and not oxalates – oh my).

I’ve been doing more and more digging into this and have several sites that confirm that absorption is just as important as what you are eating that contains iron. In fact, about a quarter of the things on the list of foods high in iron were also on the list of foods to avoid if you want to absorb more iron. How ironic (pun intended). Iron from animals such as beef and fish are more easily absorbed that that from plant sources.. but there is apparently no perfect pairing to maximize the benefit.

Anyway, after I was turned away today from donating, I was so angry. I don’t want to give up because I am not a quitter, nor am I willing to let go of the benefits I get from donating. I have a feeling that my body is the way it is naturally, and that my iron will always be slightly low and I intend to continue to try and sort this out. I just find it so ironic that this one tiny thing that I want to do is something I can’t do and it feels so outside of my control. Grrrr.

I’ve made another appointment to try again Sunday. So between now and then, I guess it’s all cheeseburgers and orange juice for me. I guess if there is a silver lining, that would be it. 😉

Isn’t it Ironic.. Don’t you think?
A little too Ironic..
Yeah I really do think.
~Miss SugarCookie

P.S. Thanks Alanis for the Complimentary Close

2017-07-23 The Mantra Cheeseburger.. 3.5

There’s this restaurant on Maple street I’ve driven past dozens of times before. They have a tree out front that is artificial and lights up year round (not a Christmas tree). I’ve never looked up the name or thought to stop before to see what it was like, even though I have thought about it. Last night that is where my date suggested we go for dinner.

When he suggested it, I googled the place and looked at their menu and it reminded me of more of an upscale bar and grill. I mean anyplace that has crab cakes and escargot on their app menu isn’t just your average hole-in-the-wall bar. I was immediately challenged by the fact that they had both crab cakes and a cheeseburger on their menu and I have a rule about ordering both of those if they are offered. But of course I had to go with the Cheeseburger because that’s my thang.

My date asked me how adventurous I was about different food, and I said I wasn’t too adventurous but willing to try whatever so he ordered the escargot. I’ve had that one time before but this was smothered with butter and garlic and cheese and very tasty. It took the wait staff a long time to take our order because we were apparently enjoying ourselves so much with our drinks and conversation and the snails. Eventually I got around to ordering the “Mantra Burger” which is one “half pound” patty served on a pretzel bun with whatever extras you want on it plus a side of fries. I ordered it cooked medium with cheddar cheese.

First of all, there is no way the patty was 1/2 pound of beef, probably more like a quarter. Secondly, it was pretty flat and well done. Not a lot of juice. I had not had a pretzel bun before so that was different, but good and there could have been more cheese, but it was an acceptable amount. I put a few onions on as everything was on the side when it was served (I like tomato but always eat that separately). It came with some house made asian style bbq sauce which was also on the side and I actually liked that better then I thought I would.

The taste of the burger was OK. Not a lot of flavor to it without dipping in the sauce. It was good, but not great. My expectations were high and I was underwhelmed. I think I enjoyed the cocktail and the escargot much more than the burger, and that is making a statement. Still, it was not bad, so I would have to go middle of the road on this one and give it a 3.5.

I’d probably say the same thing about the date itself. I would see him again, but can’t see myself choosing that as my only meal for a long period of time. I would definitely go back to Mantra though but the next time I am going to try the crab cakes!

Cheers to Too Many Choices,
~Miss SugarCookie