If diet and exercise were all that there was to being thin . . .

If diet and exercise were all that there was to being thin . . . Well, okay, so it's diet and exercise . . . I kid! I kid!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Friends, meet Fire Truck, my new Kitchen Aid Professional 600 Series 575 Watt MIXER:

Ain't she a beaut? Why "Fire Truck"? One, obviously, because she's red. Two, my pug dog howls at sirens, so whenever one goes by, we always good-naturedly tease him about the fire trucks. Well, when I turned it on for the first time, Oliver howled at the mixer.

My inaugural recipe? Pumpkin spice muffins. See previous post.


Hello, friends! Yesterday the Kitchen Aid Mixer – promptly named “Fire Truck” – arrived via my w00bie UPS man. Preeeeeeeeeeeeecious, yes, preeeeeeeeeeeeecious! I mean, yes. I am thrilled. So to break in my new mixer, I made perfect pumpkin spice muffins:

(Double Batch)
4 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 scant tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 29 oz can of pumpkin puree
⅔ cup melted butter
1 cup evaporated milk or half and half (I've used milk before, or vanilla-flavored yogurt)
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
4 tsp vanilla

Combine ingredients in large mixing bowl. In separate bowl combine wet ingredients. Fold wet ingredients into dry; stir until moistened. Do not overstir/mix. I only mix enough to moisten the ingredients. The baking powder and soda will start activating the gluten in the flour pretty quickly, so the batter will start getting puffy/fluffy -- this is good! Add raisins or pecans if desired. Spoon ½ cup batter into each muffin tin; tin cups should be almost full, but not quite. Sprinkle top of dough with cinnamon sugar prior to baking.

20-25 minutes in a 375° oven, or until toothpick or knife tests clean. (I use a metal kabob skewer to test my muffins -- bigger than a toothpick, but not as big as a knife)

Perfect muffins, inside and out! The texture should be moist and fluffy on the inside. Comparable to: pumpkin muffins at Starbucks, but not sickly sweet. Just the perfect amount of sweetness!

I thought about going to the gym this week. I could have gone. I chose not to. I know if I just go, I will fall back into a routine. Why am I not going? I have enough workout clothes. I have new Saucony trainers. I have socks that don’t irritate my feet (Old Navy plain white anklet socks – most comfortable socks IN THE WORLD). I am not physically incapacitated. I can’t even say that I hate exercising because I don’t. In fact, I feel accomplished after a successful workout. Okay, so my plan is to go to the gym Monday, November 29th, following a doctor’s appointment I have scheduled for that morning. That will give me enough time to do a workout and to check out the gym. Previously I set a goal to just walk into the gym, but I feel like that would make me look nutty, if I just walk in and then turn around and walk back out. I do not want to be fat and nutty at the gym. 

Part of my aversion to going to the gym – especially a huge gym like 24 Hour Fitness – is that I have a medical condition called lymphedema, which causes swelling in the lower legs. One of my maternal aunts has the condition, too – it can be genetic. People stare, which I guess I understand. I expect that some people are thinking, “Damn, girl, lose some weight! Get rid of those cankles!” Unfortunately, lymphedema doesn’t respond to weight loss; it’s a dysfunction of the lymphatic system. You can look it up on the Wiki if you’re interested. That doesn’t mean I can’t lose weight, but it does mean that my legs won’t ever look totally normal. It’s easy to hide with pants, but not with workout clothes. And since people obviously don’t understand at first glance what it is they’re looking at, many decide that it’s a weight loss issue. I mean, don’t get me wrong – I have weight loss issues! It’s just that I have another issue on top of needing to lose some weight. It’s hard to not be self-conscious of the lymphedema. I suppose I could always wear track pants: LIKE SUE SYLVESTER!!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Hello, friends! I accomplished ¼ of my goals for Monday. I did not go to the gym because my son [H] was home sick unexpectedly. He’s too old for the childcare room and too young to be allowed onto the gym floor and I’m not comfortable leaving him home alone at his age (12). Anyhow, he was sick, so it’s not like I’m going to bring him out to have him share his germs with the general public. Yes, dear readers, I am an overly protective mother. I seriously try and do it in a cool way, although I doubt there is any way I can accomplish this in his eyes. I was discussing with an old high school friend recently that my son is seemingly the only kid in his school of 900 who does not have his own cell phone, and that this is not going to change anytime soon.
When H moved to middle school this year, I was obviously aware of the changes in store and felt a little bit wibbly about it – mainly because of how early kids are sexualized nowadays. Within two weeks of school starting, H got into the car after school one day and announced that he had a girlfriend—a girlfriend! – code-named Lolita, who sits next to him in their citizenship class. The texts this twelve-year-old girl ended up sending were just really age inappropriate, like talking about how “hot [H] looks in his skinny jeans” and calling him “babe” and “honey.” As well, after a bit of confusion regarding our texting plan, the boy managed to run up a $347 phone bill texting with Lolita, so I put the ixnay on that quite quickly. What’s truly sad is that Lolita “broke up” with H because he wasn’t responding to her requests for him to kiss her or to engage in PDA, and probably just for being a dorky twelve-year-old boy, who is happy to stand around looking cool with his buds, but who also doesn’t mind spending an afternoon playing with his Nerf gun collection. ‘Tween is so true.
I was going to insert some kind of feminist statement here about women and their right to their sexuality and the expression of such, but frankly I just feel weird and kind of badly that Lolita is so overtly sexual at age twelve, and while I understand why that happens . . . I kind of, well, slightly mourn her childhood on her behalf, for it is clearly over after only eleven years.
No, I am not trying to change the subject from my epic fail regarding the gym and having fruit and yogurt for breakfast. On Monday, I came downstairs having completely forgotten about the fruit and yogurt pledge I had made. Instead, I had a crab cheese wonton from Wok Uptown (best Chinese food in Denver, I swear) and some rice and an egg. I realized with horror my mistake and so substituted the fruit and yogurt for lunch. I didn’t like it and it was completely unsatisfying. I have to be careful with milk products; since my gastric bypass, milk products have been the easiest to give me dumping syndrome. I don’t drink milk as a beverage anyway, but I can’t really even have a bowl of cereal without getting severe nausea and the pounding heart. What is dumping syndrome? From the Wiki:
Gastric dumping syndrome, or rapid gastric emptying, is a condition where ingested foods bypass the stomach too rapidly and enter the small intestine largely undigested. It happens when the upper end of the small intestine, the duodenum, expands too quickly due to the presence of hyperosmolar (substances with increased osmolarity) food from the stomach. "Early" dumping begins concurrently or immediately succeeding a meal. Symptoms of early dumping include nausea, vomiting, bloating, cramping, diarrhea, dizziness and fatigue. "Late" dumping happens 1 to 3 hours after eating. Symptoms of late dumping include weakness, sweating, and dizziness. Many people have both types. The syndrome is most often associated with gastric surgery.
Dumping is really uncomfortable. It’s like having an acute onset of the stomach flu; it lasts from twenty to thirty minutes, but you are miserable the entire time. Even though I am careful, I dump at least once per week, if not more frequently. It’s a side-effect of my gastric bypass, and it’s horrible when it happens at a restaurant or somewhere away from home. As I type this, I am having minor dumping from eating half a biscuit – too many carbs. My heart is pounding, but fortunately I am not nauseous. I also get very sleepy when I’m having a dumping episode, so often I will nod off for twenty minutes or so and wait for it to pass that way.
I want to share about the reality of having gastric bypass surgery. You can’t really know how truly altered your body will be following gastric bypass surgery until you undergo the procedure and live in its aftermath. Dumping syndrome is definitely a problem. Sometimes the stoma (the opening from the stomach to the intestines) gets blocked, which is unbelievably painful. The way you have to take medications changes; you cannot take sustained release medications any longer, because the portion of the intestine where sustained release medication is typically absorbed has been bypassed. So now, instead of once in the morning, I have to take my medications four times per day, which means I have to carry them with me at all times. Some people suffer intense and chronic diarrhea or constipation from gastric bypass; I am fortunate that I myself do not. The rapid weight loss that occurs from gastric bypass often causes an excessive amount of gallstones to be produced, which typically leads to removal of the gallbladder. I had to have my gallbladder removed eleven months post-op. On a scale of one to ten, with one being no pain at all and ten being childbirth, gallbladder pain is like a fifteen. After the gallbladder is removed, many people have to take bile salts for the rest of their lives. Gastric bypass also can cause pernicious anemia, due to vitamin B deficiency. I have to go in for a vitamin b shot every single month to avoid pernicious anemia. You cannot take NSAIDs (Advil, Alleve, etc) post-gastric bypass. When I was nine months post-op, I did take ibuprophen and I suffered a massive GI bleed that was life-threatening. I was hospitalized for five days and received four transfusions, and for almost one year following the GI bleed, I had to receive weekly IV iron supplements to counteract the severe anemia that the GI bleed caused. I never intended to harm myself by taking ibuprophen – I merely was experiencing some ongoing pain and I wanted to alleviate it! And because I had taken ibuprophen all my life with no problem, I rolled the dice and lost. Again, not on purpose. But a bit recklessly in the end.
I have been asked if I had it to do over again, would I still have undergone gastric bypass surgery? Yes, I would have. But I would have gone into it with a clearer picture of what to expect. All those side effects I just listed? I can live with those. I am not thin and I never will be, but I am mobile and healthier and happy. Because the list of side effects I was experiencing from obesity? It’s just about as long as the list above. Tit for tat; ying for yang; this for that; six of one half a dozen of another. Someday I’ll post my “before” pictures and some current pictures. I don’t even look like the same person. Nevertheless, I’d like to take off another 35-50 pounds, to ensure my continued good health and well-being. So, speaking of dieting, I went ahead and changed my username at MyFoodDiary.com to FatAtTheGym. I refuse to give up good food, though, so taking off weight is going to be even more challenging for me than for the average dieter who is capable of eating a lot of “diet” foods that I myself am not (i.e. yogurt, cottage cheese, fish, etc).

Sunday, November 14, 2010


So one thing you really ought to know about me is that I love to shop. Specifically, I love to shop online – I’m not much of a crowds person; the mall isn’t a soothing place. I love being able to get whatever I need via point and click; I love not having to drive around to multiple stores because my local one is out of the color I want; I love shopping in my pajamas. 

Besides, it’s lovely to receive packages in the mail, isn’t it? Sometimes enough time passes between ordering an item and its delivery, that I forget completely what I’m expecting – it’s a whole new surprise! Our UPS guy is insane, but I adore him. He squeals that brown truck around the neighborhood as if he owns it, and let me tell you: the man could parallel park that big brown truck in a space the size of a smart car. Oh, adoration! He’s about 6’2”, well-built, and good looking, and every week I get to hear the familiar screech of the truck as it stops in front of my house, and then the soothing thud of the box hitting my front door as UPS guy wings it onto my porch from the sidewalk. Then, he runs up to the door, hits the bell, and calls out, “UPS!” From here, I listen to him deliver the neighbors’ packages via my porch. What you have to understand is that my neighborhood is over 120 years old. It’s called the Ford’s addition to the Cole neighborhood in Denver, so all the houses are very old and very close together. Close, as in I can touch my neighbors’ houses if I reach out my windows; our roofs touch; my dryer blows laundry lint into my neighbor’s bedroom. Mrs. O’Leary’s cow and whatnot. 

But! But but but TODAY! Today I received three boxes with items in them that I am using to re-do my kitchen. No, my kitchen isn’t getting a typical make-over. My tile counters are fabulous and I have no need for granite (I did, however, have need of an ostentatious wedding set, so let’s not pretend that I’m noble). No, I can’t justify remodeling my kitchen when everything works perfectly as is. And as is traditional in Victorian homes, each room in my house is painted a different color. The kitchen doesn’t even have a pronounced color scheme going – there is a lot of royal blue, but there is also pumpkin/marigold, brick red, white, cobalt blue, terra cotta, and almond. And we have light maple cabinets! I almost want to say it’s slightly patriotic, but truthfully the schemata is just too eclectic to pin down.

Anyhow, so I have decided to reorganize instead of remodel. I’m bringing in all kinds of new things -- in bright red! Red is an auspicious color; it’s a color that makes me happy. I have a red microwave oven and I just ordered a Kitchen Aid stand up mixer in Empress Red. Other red accessories are on their way, too – measuring cups, a kitchen twine holder, a spatula set from Le Creuset. But what came in today’s boxes are . . . cookbooks! That’s right, I’ve decided to reorganize my kitchen with cookbooks – not a stretch by any means. I mean, it is a kitchen. I expect on Monday my UPS guy will be winging a box containing a new bookshelf for my new cookbooks – it’s a tall, thin little bookshelf in a strange size for a strange place in my house - a little corner niche just outside the kitchen in the dining room, next to the piano. My friends, let me show you what new – classic, really! – cookbooks I now own:

The Joy of Cooking – 75th Anniversary Edition by Irma Rombauer
Mastering the Art of French Cooking – Volumes 1&2 by Julia Child
Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child
How to be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking by Nigella Lawson
Better Homes and Gardens New CookBook – 15th Edition
The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook – 3rd Edition
How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
The Fannie Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham

Two more cookbooks are outstanding and I hope they arrive on Monday:

Cr̬me de Colorado Р25 Years of Culinary Artistry by the Junior League of Denver
Great British Cooking: A Well-Kept Secret by Jane Garmey and Calvin Trillen

So, I am reorganizing my kitchen so as to redecorate myself and the way I feed my family. I think it is entirely possible to eat well (read: eat good tasting food, lush food) and still maintain one’s health. Auspicious! So what is my grand, brand new appliance? That Kitchen Aid stand mixer I mentioned before – I’ve already decided my first tried recipe is going to be Julia Child’s French bread. Simple, lovely, and delicious! I’ve always been rotten at making yeast breads. With a stand mixer with a dough hook, let’s see if I can change that shall we?

So my goal for Monday is to actually walk into the gym. That’s correct-a-mundo - I just want to walk inside. It’s been nearly two years since I’ve worked out regularly, and while I’m  pretty savvy when it comes to the gym, I just have not been able to make myself get started. I have everything I need: my bag, my shower supplies, a bath towel, hand towels to mop up the sweat, my exercise journal, my iPod, my iPad with iBooks, my water bottles, and my workout clothes. 

I was very responsible about choosing a gym – I chose this 24 Hour Fitness because it’s blocks away from my kids’ school and I figure I can get to the gym around noon, have time for cardio, weightlifting, stretching and cooling down, a shower, and a quick change of clothes before I have to pick up the kiddos at 2:30. When I’m doing well at working out, I can easily knock out an hour of cardio. I like to take my time at the gym – I always allow myself two hours. I must admit that I’m mourning the loss of my prior gym, which was the gym through the City and County of Denver, in the Wellington Webb building. After leaving my job in July, I obviously cannot use those facilities any longer. Such a shame! It was a spectacular little wellness center. Anyhow, my goal for tomorrow: walk into the gym. 

Also, my 24 Hour Fitness is right next to a Super Target, and you already know how I love me some shopping *nodnod* Just being in the general vicinity of a Target is enough of an excuse to stop in. 

Second goal for tomorrow: For breakfast, yogurt and fruit. You’ll hear about my whack eating habits as we go along. But, yes. I have to make it an actual goal to eat yogurt and fruit for breakfast.