Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Not the Biggest , But Still a Loser

So, I've lost about 25 pounds since September. Since people have asked, I thought I'd blog about how I did it. One of my co-workers lost 40 pounds on the Flat Belly Diet last year. Another friend of mine, a woman, lost 30 pounds. Both have kept it off, but basically changed their eating habits for life.
The photo above was from last August. I didn't start this Flat Bely thing thinking I was going to make a lifelong change, or I probably wouldn't have gotten anywhere. But, I have to say it's not that bad and I will probably keep going in some fashion. Here's the deal:

Four meals of 400 calories.
Eat every 4 hours during the day.
Eat a monounsaturated fat (MUFA) with every meal
Most meals have a moderate amount of protein and starch and larger portion of vegetables or fruits

The diet also advocates exercise, but does not dictate what to do. I work out 3-5 times a week. I do a half hour of cardio each time and weights at least 3 of the days. I make sure I have a fun book with me that I only allow myself to read at the gym. Right now it's Can you Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella. You can see why I feel I need to be in shape anyway... Hana never stops moving.

The diet has been harder than the exercise, especially in the beginning. I was really, really hungry the first couple of weeks. But, now I'm accustomed to eating smaller meals and more often. I try to drink a lot of tea or snack on veggies and fruit, when I just need something. The calorie count is designed for a woman who is about 5 foot 4, so my co-worker modified his portions. I'm not sure if I buy the book's theory that MUFA's fight belly fat, but I do like those foods (nuts, avocados, olives, peanut butter) and they help me feel more full.

The diet does take some pre-planning, but you get used to it. I carry snacks with me and make my lunch. That's a pretty big deal, since I loved going out to lunch during work. Cooking can be a pain, but I've tried to streamline it with my own frozen meal components. I freeze my small portions of ground turkey when I get home from the store. I also buy individually packaged chicken breasts and fish that I freeze as well. I throw my protein together with some frozen or fresh veggies and some rice, tortilla, or pasta. I keep half cup portions of cooked rice in the freezer too. There are a ton of recipes in the Flat Belly Diet book and cookbook. I used some of the ideas, but I really haven't tried the recipes. They do look tasty. So, that's my story. I've made to 129 pounds. I want to lose about ten more pounds and then I'll be the weight I was when I got married in 1998. Wish me luck.

Things I really like:
Crafty Givers: Here's a link to the etsy store of crafters donating to Doctors Without Borders for Haiti Relief. If you're on ravelry, there are a lot of designers there doing the same. Thanks to my friend vegancraftastic for sharing all this. She has more info on her blog.

Arc Value Village thrift stores. I like all thrift stores, but Arc is one of my favorite organizations as well. They recently opened a store on the east side of St. Paul and I don't think a lot of people know it's there. It's big and bright with a lot of room. There are always deals. At the Brooklyn Center store, my friend found a sweater she saw at Nieman Marcus a few years ago for about $300 for less than 10 bucks.

Podcasts: This is how I catch up with my favorite NPR shows like Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, This American Life, and Radio Lab. I also listen to a variety of knitting podcasts. Don't laugh, doesn't it make sense to listen while you're doing something with your hands? If you didn't know, one of my favorite radio stations the Current 89.3 has a free download of the day as well as a review show called Musicheads. Good way to keep up with the latest music.

I've heard people talking about:
Hyland's Homeopathic Teething Tablets. Some parents I know are giving it a big thumbs up. They have products for adults too.

Things I've learned recently:
How to join a sweater as you knit. Pretty cool technique I found in Lily Chin's Knitting Tips and Tricks. I also darned some socks after watching a youtube video. They didnt' look so pretty, but I guess it did the job. I wasn't about to let my handknit socks go down without a fight. After all, I spent probably 16-20 hours making each pair.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Christmas in January

We celebrated Christmas with family a little late this year because a blizzard kept the Fargoans off the roads. But, we had the added bonus of Auntie Sherry and Cousin Hailey joining us from the Milwaukee area when we got together a week later.

As you can see, it was a Rock Band Christmas. The kids (big and little) had a great time jamming together.

Hana enjoyed all the attention, but didn't quite understand the present opening ritual. Next year should be much different. She received many wonderful books, clothes, and toys from relatives and a cool easel from Santa.

Hana is still more interested in walking and climbing, but at times she shows interest in scribbling. She's also starting to put objects inside of things. This is, however, unfortunate when when she hides her sippy cup of milk.

I'm going to try to blog more often this year (let's see) and discuss the various things I learn about and run across, which will probably be mostly parenting and craft related. If you're interested in WCCO-TV news stuff, you can follow me on twitter (mnishi) or on facebook (Maya Nishikawa Wcco) or go to this link.

Things I really like:
18 year-old balsamic vinegar. I found an olive oil store in Mendota Heights called the Olive Grove just before the holidays. You can taste all of their various olive oils and other specialty oils and vinegars. They will bottle what you choose. It's a lot of fun to try out all of the oils and the traditional balsamic (18 years-old) is awesome. I put it on everything from bread to chicken and broccoli. It tastes like a very sweet wine. I'd eat cardboard with this stuff.

Things I learned recently:
Norwegian Purling: I doubted my friend Jen when she said how fast this technique is, but once you get the hang of it, it's really speedy. Check out this youtube video.

If an adult tooth gets knocked out, rinse it with liquid (preferably saline or something with salt like gatorade) and put it back in as soon as possible. Leaving it out for half an hour will mean no chance of re-attaching it. This came from a dentist who visited our ECFE class.

If you sell stuff on, they'll charge 15% commission plus a sale closing charge. Be careful you don't sign up for a merchant account without realizing they will charge you $40

Things I hear people talking about:
Nurtureshock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman Good advice or more hype?
A year's worth of slow cooker recipes at

What's off/on the needles:
Lots of gifts:

Just finished four doggie sweaters for Christmas from The Gift Knitter, various cat themed dishcloths, and fingerless mitts (Humanity pattern available for free on for a cold co-worker.

Next up: more baby knitting and finishing the Central Park Hoodie I started two years ago.