Shop Amazon



Woke up this morning and it was not even 30 degrees! Brrr…. It started snowing last night around 9 or so and I was sure we were going to have a bunch of snow on the ground, but it was only in the grassy areas.


That meant no shoveling before Bagel Wednesday!


I decided to try something different by bringing my own cream cheese that was portioned out. I suppose I could ask them to measure it out, but it’s just easier for me to do it myself – especially if they are really busy.  I am reading a book called The Diet Fix by Yoni Freedhof (which I will review at some point once I finish) and he talks about how calories can sneak in more than we expect. That’s not revolutionary, but I figured that there are some things that I can’t control, but I can control this. At least for a while. The cream cheese can vary widely on the bagel depending on which person is behind the counter. Since we do bagels twice a week, this is a great opportunity for me to have a little learning lesson. :D

It didn’t warm up all that much today, but at least the sun was bright and shiny.  I took some breaks with work and did three 1 mile walks in 3 separate intervals.  I got some snow shots before most of it melted and it actually looked pretty.


My bowling ball!


It’s wearing a saucy little beret of snow!

Lunch was my standard yogurt/apple mess. 


I never want to bother with another yogurt other than Fage. :D

You know yesterday I was talking about body image problems. Then there are the things that put it into perspective.  A file I was doing today during work was someone finally deciding to stop their cancer treatments and go into hospice. Makes you realize the important things in life, which is not how one looks in the mirror. Why is that such a hard lesson to learn?

Dinner after I came back from the last walk of the day. This was baked chicken with BBQ sauce and a ton of broccoli!


I portioned some out in the pan and there wasn’t much left in the bag, so I dumped it all in there. :D

Here is my snack ready for later.  Half a protein bar and strawberries.


This is my treat after practicing guitar tonight! :D


From spring back to winter, it seems like! We were almost 80 degrees yesterday with some pretty fierce winds. Today is rainy and colder with 1 to 2 inches of snow expected tonight. Really Mother Nature?

I had a warmer breakfast today. The banana bread pudding with chocolate PB2 on top. First time trying that and it is pretty good.



I worked for a while and then hit the gym. Normally on Tuesdays I like to work until it about runs out and then go to the gym in the afternoon so that I make sure I get enough work in. However, it has been so busy that I knew there was no way it would run out, so I went in the morning (which is my preferred time to exercise).

The lifting:

Exercise Set/rep/weight
Reverse Cable Wood Chop (low to high) 3 sets of 8 each side at 30#
Jackknife on stability ball 3 sets of 8
Step Ups 3 sets of 8 each leg with 30# KBs
T Push-ups 3 sets of 4 each side
Pliet Squats 3 sets of 8 with 30# DB
Alternating lateral raise 3 sets of 8 each arm with 10# DBs
Reverse Row 3 sets of 8
Supine Hip Extension to Leg Curl (SHELC) 3 sets of 8

 I wasn’t sure if I ever explained the reverse row, but here is my setup for it. You can use a smith machine or any barbell cage to set it up.


That’s the stability ball I use for the SHELC as well. All ready to go for that superset. Here is what the exercise looks like as I do it.



Very challenging. You can progress from putting the legs out straight to having them on a stability ball or bench.

I have found using the kettle bells for the step ups is much easier than dumbbells as far as grip strength goes. I think maybe the grip is wider? I am using two 30# kettle bells for this exercise. That is 60# total and each time I step up with that, I think about how I used to carry even more than that weight on my whole body going up and down stairs.  :shock:




It’s funny, I am making great strength gains, but really struggling with body image these last couple months. In navel gazing, I think that it probably stems from a higher level of anxiety between the house closing and job stress (and a bit from the weather).  This has left me feeling fairly unsettled and restless, which in turn makes it easier for my brain to beat on my self esteem a bit.  You know how they say if you can’t change your situation, you need to change your attitude, so that is what I need to do. Only I am having a hard time figuring out how to do that. 

Maybe looking at my roses will help.


Still looking good since Friday – they do make me happy! :D

Literacy Run and Biking!

Saturday had a little running and a little riding, although no running done by me :D  Literacy New York, which is the group that I do my tutoring through, partnered up with hospice to do a 5K to raise funds.  


They asked for volunteers to help out at the race, so I did.  I have never volunteered at a race. I have only been a participant.  My job (along with 4 other people) was to corral the runners and keep them from moving out into the road before the race started. Of course, we weren’t supposed to make people obey, just remind them in a friendly manner that for their safety to not enter the road until the race started.  I asked a couple of guys to come out of the road, they agreed and then just moved further down and crept back in.  :roll:

My fashionable day-glo vest and flag!



I also met someone who had read my blog that lives locally (Hi Linda!).  She was running the race. She has lost weight and become a runner and looked fabulous. There were over 400 runners, which was great as a fundraiser!  Here they are all leaving.


My job was done at that point. Pretty easy.  It felt a little weird, to be honest. Brought back my running days and then I want to try running again. Even though running made me cry. I don’t understand my brain at all.

I stopped and chatted with the literacy coordinator for a bit at the booth.


They had interest from people wanting to be tutors as well. Yay!  We need more tutors.

Then it was time for my sport!



Still working on the distance legs, so I wanted around a 20 mile ride.  The paths were pretty clear of snow, finally.


Now it just needs to get green. I did a large loop, ironically enough riding out to where I had just been in the morning for the race LOL!



After 14 miles, I stopped for a snack:



I also read the paper there and saw a help wanted ad that struck me funny.



This is the tacky part of Lake George (sorry, folks).  Frankenstein hangs around outside and people take pictures with him. At least there are jobs available in the area, though. 

Then it was home. I had more people in cars talk to me on this ride than I ever have before. Seemed like every stop light someone would comment on the great weather. There was even a couple asking me how bad the wind was (it was fairly breezy) because they were on their way home to go out riding LOL!

I tried the unpaved part of the path.


Not smart. It was okay at first, but further in it was soggy and like riding through sand. It was really hard! I got back onto the roads as soon as I could.



All done!  It felt really good.  I think the next step is probably a 25 ish mile ride next weekend.  Not sure I am quite ready to ride to the lake with all the hills, but who knows?



What’s Blooming!

Not much blooming outside.  I am hoping that this stuff melts over the weekend. This is on the north side of the garage where the snow slides off the garage roof and it takes forever to melt.


The garden is all unfrozen now and more things are popping out.  I took advantage today to rake out a lot of leaves from the bed that collected before the snow came. More tulips coming up, although I think I might have lost a bunch of them this year. 



There is a big pile of leaves in the yard and that was the first pass through. Now I have to get in the base of the plants and get those leaves out. Plus cut down some old growth. We will have a very nice weekend for doing that.  Maybe the lawn will even start showing signs of life!

I had a very nice surprise today.  John left town for the weekend to go to Turning Stone and then there was a delivery for me!


Roses!  That’s what’s blooming today :D  John got them for me just because, which is really nice. So nice to see a burst of color, too.

I was able to get out on the bike for a bit today. It was clouding up and actually rained after dinner, so it was a good thing I took a break and rode in the afternoon instead of after dinner like my original plan.  I plan on a fair amount of biking this weekend, too!

Paint colors and carbs

A couple of deeper posts this week, so now time for something a little more fun.  Like my new clock!!  Yesterday John said “So do you want to go to the mall tonight?”  You had better believe my fingers flew on the keyboard to get my work done in a timely manner :D I was looking for picture frames because I got some enlargements made of some of my photos. No luck there, but I did see a clock.  I decided to go ahead and purchase it.  big grin


It’s always coffee time in Casa Radiance!

John and I have also been discussing paint colors for the new house. Here will be the dining room. Merlot below the chair rail, moonlight white above.


The moonlight white is also going to be the color of the kitchen cabinets, so this will bring some flow in from there.

We have been pondering a lot over the living room as well.  Usually it is a good idea to wait until you decide on furniture before choosing a wall color, but with my new chair (LOVE!!!) it gives us something to work with.  I have never worked with a gray color and I am not totally sold on that, but it looks good with the chair. Picking the right shade?


Talk about 50 shades of gray!!  They make it too confusing. There is no hurry, though. This will definitely be a process of putting samples on the wall. Normally I find colors and love them  - then they go up. Gray is a whole new town to me.

And speaking of the house – You know, I am still waiting on an answer to my question on our house from early last week.  I had a simple question. Or what one would think was a simple question.  I asked our lawyer to find out where in the process we were because who knows if the selling bank has even done anything yet, right?  Dead silence. I asked and John asked. Dead silence. So, I talked to my realtor and he asked the selling bank’s realtor what was up. Dead silence.  Hello????  This is a lot of what was making me so upset last week. How freaking hard is it to answer that question? I am not asking for a concise explanation of quantum theory or the meaning of life.  One of my 2 stipulations to extending the contract was to be kept informed of the process (the other was that it wouldn’t cost us any extra money). I am about ready to contact the selling bank myself. I hate being ignored. It would really help me mentally if I had some grasp of the process like if it was waiting for the judge or a response or whatever. This selling bank has already been pretty unprofessional and I am quite underwhelmed with them.

Enough of that, though.  You know one of my goals was to change up my eating. Well, I decided I am going to do lower carb 4 days a week and then just in my calorie range without counting carbs on the other 3 days. When I was doing the Fit Female eating, the idea is to have a fruit or vegetable with each meal or snack. Well, turns out I was eating 4 or 5 servings of fruit a day because I really only have veggies with dinner. Nothing wrong with fruit, but the calories do add up. So, lowering my carbs to 100 grams (note I said lower carb, not low carb) keeps me to 2 servings a day.  Then I don’t feel I have to have a piece of fruit with my latte and just have it by itself. ‘Cause as much as I love broccoli, I am not having it with my latte  :mrgreen:

On the Pixie front, the warm weather has brought the kitties around again.  This particular cat (with a collar) stalks the birds at the bird feeder.  Pixie was huffing and chuffing at the window.



Poor Pixie, she gets so upset and these other cats are like “Whatever…”

Circus fat?

You know how you think if you had enough money to hire a personal trainer and all that and had someone cook for you that weight wouldn’t be an issue? Of course, celebrities prove this wrong all the time. The latest? Kirstie is back at Jenny Craig.

So many things wrong in just 30 seconds.

A. Mocking overweight people. Circus fat. How do you like that? Fat shaming by a weight loss company.   Bravo Kirstie and Jenny Craig, bravo.

B. How about – coming back home? Again, Kirstie learned nothing on her own.

C.  Bringing along her ‘energy drink’? Yeah Kirstie, seeing as how the weight loss company *you* formed based on your formulations worked so well for you, how about foisting them on others? Yay – more magic pills to sell!



I have no problem with using a program like WW or Jenny Craig if done for the right reasons. I did Nutrisystem for 6 months 5 years ago (and glad I did). It was a tool in the journey. I just needed a break from thinking about food for a while. Programs like these are just tools. They are not the answer. You still have to learn to live life on your own. You don’t want have to ‘come home’ to a program all the time. You want to be able to learn from them and then live on your own. There is just as much mental and emotional work to do when losing a large amount of weight. It’s not just a matter of food.


AIM: Are We There Yet?


This month’s topic came from the “Ask Us Anything” files. The question is:

How did you know when to transition to maintenance from loss mode? Was it a number or a size or something else? Did you struggle to not want to lose a little more?

Well, the short answer is that I never really transitioned from loss to maintenance on purpose.  It just happened.


My end goal was kind of nebulous. I sure had a number goal in my head that I wanted to get to, but I honestly had no idea of what I would look like at that number on the scale. I kind of decided on it arbitrarily based on a range of what I was supposed to weigh.  However, I never got there. I just stopped losing.  (And I gained back 15 pounds.)  I consider myself to be an accidental maintainer.  My body seems to be comfortable, even though *I* am not comfortable right now. Of course, I feel a under some stress right now between the house and my job, which for whatever reason makes me focus more on not having gotten to goal yet. Not necessarily a good combination.  But I digress…

I think you just have to decide where you are comfortable being and living in a way that doesn’t drive you crazy to keep up. Do I struggle with wanting to lose more? Yes. Could I eat 1200 calories a day and exercise for 2 hours? Of course I could. Do I want to do that forever? No, I don’t.  I think for me maintenance is a constant thought process of what I am willing to to do versus how happy that makes me.  Even if I lose more weight – it really means nothing in terms of the kind of person I am.  Yes, I have lost a lot of weight, but it doesn’t define me.  

Every person is different. Everyone’s maintenance is different. The only way you really know when you are done is when your body tells you it’s done. It may not be where you want it to be  - or it could be right where you planned. The tough part is accepting it.



Just click here


Make sure you read more at my fellow AIMers’ blogs for their thoughts on this topic!

Lynn @ Lynn’s Weigh

Debby @ Debby Weighs in

Shelley @ My Journey to Fit

Cammy @ The Tippy Toe Diet

AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you would like us to address!

First ride of the year!

Finally!  As John said to me – this ride was a long time coming!  Between too cold temps and too much snow, our first ride has been delayed far too long.  Anyway, yesterday I swapped out my trainer tire and got the bike ready to go for Sunday. Forecast was for sunny and 50, so good enough.  It was about 47 degrees when we left the house, so I was layered up.



And happy :D

We didn’t have too much of a plan for the first ride of the year. It’s mostly for getting the sea legs back, so to speak.  My legs were saying “What is this pedaling with actual forward motion??”

We tried some of the paved parts of the path, knowing the unpaved would be too soggy.  It was okay, but then we hit patches of snow.


So we stuck mostly to the roads.  It was warm enough where John wanted to shed some layers.



After about 14 miles, we stopped at Cool Beans for a snack and actually sat outside!



The sun has also not been seen much lately and it felt so good.



Overall a good first ride.  We did 21 miles, which is pretty far for the first one. My legs feel good. My sit bones were a little tired, but in a couple weeks I should be ready for a 30 mile ride. 




Ride stats:

Total miles: 21.2

Top speed:  22.5 mph

Average speed:  11.9

Calories burned 612  (my cookie bar :D  )

And it begins!!



What’s blooming!

Okay, I am waaaay jumping the gun here, but finally seeing something poke out of the ground other than an icicle!


Of course, some of the garden is still buried, but I will take whatever right now. There is some foliage that was frozen green from last fall, which is cool. That will die off when the new growth comes in. However, it is nice to see a little bit of color.

I think this might be a snowdrop.  One of my fellow garden club members gave me a snowdrop last year. Of course, April is really late for these, but it finally poked through!


And some tulip buds! This is the part of the garden that gets the most sun and the snow melted off it first. I am so happy to see those teeny, tiny buds!


I might shovel the snow off the rest of the garden and free it up this weekend.

We took another visit to Radiance Manor to make sure all was well while waiting for this endless closing. We just signed another 30 day extension on the contract. I had a meltdown about it the other day because I just wanted an update about where we are in the process and no one seems willing to give me one and nobody seems to even understand why that upsets me (which makes me more upset). I really don’t ask for things very often and because of that, if I do ask, I expect a response. On top of work stress and it just wasn’t a very good day. 

Someday the reward will be worth it. Such a beautiful house.


There is a little nook off the kitchen that we are going to use as a breakfast area with a little 2-person table.


We aren’t sure what is underneath that awful red linoleum. Would that it be hardwood, but probably not. If it is not, we will be putting down a dark cork along with the kitchen.

Fingers crossed that we might get the bikes out this weekend if the rain goes away!

SlimPlate Review

I get a lot of offers to review products, but I turn most of them down because they aren’t something that I would use. However, this one caught my eye because it is a product that encompasses things that I already do.  The SlimPlate system is basically a portion control system to use at home (or out if you want).  You eat 3 meals a day and 2 snacks using these cups/plates/bowls.


It comes with 13 pieces plus an instruction booklet, including the meal division plates, bowls, mugs and portion cutters.  The dishware seems comparable to Corelle ware and it is dishwasher safe. There are 4 lunch/dinner plates, which have marked sections for protein (orange), veggies (green), and starches (blue). 


You follow a 4 month plan with these plates. You go through the Inspired, Savvy, Master and Maintenance stages, each lasting 1 month (well, maintenance forever, right?). Basically you portion out your food into the designated wedges without having to count calories or measure foods. The plan is designed starting more lower carb with the Inspired stage. Your dinner plate is divided into 2 sections instead of 3 like the others.  Here is an example of a typical Inspire meal:


As you progress each month, you use the plates with a larger blue wedge and the equally portioned plate is maintenance. Now if you have a mixed dish, say Chinese takeout, you can use a divided plate and would put the rice/noodles in the blue section and then the veggie/protein mix in the other sections, trying to keep it even. A little awkward, but it does control how much you are eating.

Women are supposed to stay on the inside of the colored lines and men can go to the outside of the colored lines. So basically – no food touching for women :D  You all know how I feel about food touching, too.

There are 2 bowls. One is for soups/cold cereal.  Personally, I think this bowl is a bit big for breakfast cereal as you can fit a lot in there.  Here is an example of my normal bowl of banana custard oats in this bowl.


The small snack bowl is for fruit (as seen in the dinner photo above) or if you want a snack of something like potato chips or a scoop of ice cream, you can use this bowl. 

The 2 mugs are for hot and cold beverages. You can fill these up once per day with a beverage of choice, so if you want alcohol, juice or hot cocoa, you can have them.  This doesn’t work for me and my lattes – not big enough LOL! However, the milk portion of my latte actually measures out into the cold cup.

The breakfast plate has markings of where your food should fit.


For example, my banana bread breakfast pudding actually fits neatly onto one of the circles for a waffle:


The cutters are designed to portion out foods like bagels, muffins, sandwiches (because round sandwiches are fun!), pancakes or waffles.


They correspond to the circles on the breakfast plate. These cutters also can be taken out to eat. Here is an example of a Bagel Wednesday and the size of the cutters with breakfast.



The bagel is okay, probably about the size of a Lender’s bagel?  The muffin cutter is really tiny. 2 inches across. You would take this cutter and push it down through the muffin pictured below.


The muffin above is not that big on its own for breakfast and cutting out that portion would be very small, like a mini muffin. Honestly, I don’t eat muffins that often (this is John’s muffin) and I wouldn’t bother with a portion this small big grin  The muffin cutter can also be used to cut a dessert portion of something, like 2 cookies.

Now the website says that people on average follow the system 70% of the time and see success. That seems a low percentage to me to see success, but who knows?  I do like that you aren’t expected to be perfect.

You can also join free web classes for the SlimPlate system. They start once a month. This will give tips and advice on using the system. You can sign up for this to see if the system is something you are interested in purchasing as well.  There also is an iphone app available.

What I like about this is that you eat as you normally do, but just watching portions. Of course, they do give you guidelines on how to eat better, but even just using the plates for portion sizes really is eye opening to see how much you are eating. The nice thing is that you don’t have to buy any special food and you can eat what your family eats.

The system costs $99. That’s not bad for all the items plus the web classes. Plus, the people at SlimPlate also are offering a coupon for readers. The coupon code for  is FINDINGRADIANCE.This will provide $5 off for the kit (not the installment plan).



FTC disclaimer:  I was provided the SlimPlate system for free to review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any other way.