April 27, 2010


I've been thinking about limitations lately. And, what the difference is between being able to do whatever we set our mind to and being stupid and not knowing/accepting our own limitations. I haven't reached any genius conclusions, except that limitations only speak to time frames....sometimes. 

There is nothing in the world, NOTHING IN THE WORLD that I want to do more right now than to run every day. NOTHING. Unfortunately the muscles in my feet are tighter than Alcatraz back in the day and it appears that the key has been thrown away. This not only makes running VERY painful but really impossible more than 1-2 days/week if I want to use my feet for anything else in life.

I've been to physical therapy, and now I stretch out my calves like a mad woman. My calves are more flexible than Gumby, seriously. I've been to the chiropractor, and now press a baseball into the bottom of my feet at key pressure points by stepping on it to break those muscles down and MAKE them do what they're told.

So, now I have really loose calves and baseball indented feet! Have to say, though, there has been a small improvement, but we're probably talking another couple of months AT MINIMUM before I get my regular feet back. And, of course, losing weight would help which is easier to do when you run. 

I figure I'll be ready to run right around the time that winter returns.


I admit, I'm tempted to ignore doctors orders, ignore the pain and just run. Ice. Baseball torture. Stretch. Ice. Baseball torture. Stretch. Run.

So far I've kept my rebellious, I-can-do-whatever-I-want-set-my-mind-to self in check. And, accepting that other forms of exercise are my lot right now. But, I am not a happy camper. Or runner. Or non-runner.

What limitations do you have, and how have you handled these annoying rascals?

Running on the inside,

Photos sources:  Limitations, Gumby, Grrr

April 16, 2010

Let's Hear It For Sunshine!

It's been a rough couple of months for me on my weight loss journey...I have tried all kinds of different things, stuck religiously to recommended programs and calorie counts, and worked my little ass off at the gym. For what? Sometimes a loss, sometimes a gain on the scale, but at the end of 6 weeks, NO NET LOSS.


So, before I switched up my program, I decided to make sure there was nothing going on medically that would be keeping the pounds from dropping off...i.e. underactive thyroid, etc. Blood work was ordered and as I waited for the results, I found myself feeling very low, discouraged. Never in my life have I wanted something so bad, worked so very hard to get it and still have it be outside of my reach.

Just because something is difficult doesn't mean it's impossible. 
If you find yourself in a similar situation, 
regardless of the dream you are working toward, 
do NOT give up!!! 
{I guess this was actually a center note, ha}

As it turns out, my thyroid is absolutely fine but my vitamin D is on the lower end of the normal range, and is in need of a big boost. I asked the doc if he thought my D levels could be contributing to my weight loss challenges despite my efforts and he said absolutely yes! So, I've been supplementing with extra vitamin D3 and in less than two weeks, I am beginning to see my energy resurge, my weight loss resume and my attitude improve! Yahhh!

A simple remedy for a common problem....maybe you should get tested too.

There are an abundance of physical issues that have been connected to deficient vitamin D, such as:
  1. Low immunity against colds, viruses and the flu.
  2. Trouble with blood sugar regulation and insulin resistance.
  3. Stalled out weight loss despite strict adherence to a sensible program.
  4. Lower muscle mass and weakness.
  5. Psoriasis (this one surprised me ALOT!)
  6. Depression and other neurological disorders.
  7. High blood pressure......and congestive heart failure!
  8. Abnormal thyroid conditions
  9. And even cancer.
  10. Even more conditions you can read about here.

Old thinking is that vitamin D deficiency was only a problem for children, resulting in rickets. However, the topic is now one of the hottest in the research field, and with a remedy as simple and inexpensive as over-the-counter supplementation, we are wise to request testing from our medical professionals.

And, don't forget, the most natural way to increase and/or maintain our vitamin D levels is sunshine! I LOVE THAT!

Yup, 15 to 20 minutes a day without sunscreen will often boost our levels. Foods that are rich in this all important nutrient are salmon, whole eggs, soy milk or mackerel. The natural route is always the best I think. But, if you find yourself on the low low end of the spectrum, supplementation may be necessary.

So, with that, I think it's time to go for a walk out in this Minnesota sunshine! 

Hope you all are well,

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor nor any other kind of medical professional. This blog reports on my own experiences, research that I have done and advice I have received, and should not be used as a replacement for consulting your own medical professional. 

April 15, 2010

Is A Little Sugar So Bad?

We started the week off with announcing a fun giveaway featuring the all natural diet soda called Zevia. If you missed that post, you can view it here and get yourself entered to win!

Now I wanted to share what I've learned about sugar and artificial sugar substitutes, which makes it a whole lot easier to let go of regular soda and typical diet soda. You'll have to let me know what you think.

Most folks working at losing weight understand why regular soda is so bad. Besides all the artificial ingredients that God only knows what effect they have on our innards, the sugar is just the devil. I read this week about some of the scary truths about sugar and what it does to our bodies. Here's just a couple of the warnings I read about:
  1. Drinking two cans of soda provides about 24 grams of sugar and reduces the efficiency of your white blood cells by 92%!!! This severely compromises your immune system....and that effect can last up to 5 hours!! That means while you're sipping a soda in a crowded restaurant or bar, and for 5 hours following, you better not be exposed to any nasty viruses or bacteria because you may not be able to fight off the invasion.
  2. Refined sugar also overworks the pancreas which can lead to adrenal exhaustion (think: fight or flight instincts). When this happens, early menopause, type 2 diabetes, hypoglycemia and chronic fatigue are standing at the door. Yikes.
Okay. That's why so many of us have opted for diet sodas, knowing in our hearts that it's probably still not good, but better than the sugary versions.

Think again.

Diet sodas aren't much better. Though you won't get the sugar problems, the artificial sweeteners might make you wish you had the sugar problems instead:
  1. Aspartame containing products have such a high concentration of naturally occuring amino acids that they disrupt nerve cell communication and have been linked to headaches, seizures, mental confusioin and balance problems. And, that's just the tip of the iceberg.
  2. Saccharin containing products, the lesser of these two evils, is a derivative of petroleum!!! I didn't find any proof that saccharin is currently classified as a potential carcinogen...but seriously, petroleum??? We're talking some serious detoxification that your liver must do every time this PETROLEUM product is ingested.
But, we like our bubbles. Or the flavors. Or the way the coldness feels going down on a hot day.

Zevia is one all natural diet soda that won't have your liver writhing in chemicals...since my post on Monday, I've learned there are other all natural diet sodas too, like Blue Sky Soda (they have a REALLY cool website, too!). I'm sure there are others, too. I, for one, will be choosing one of these all natural options instead of the others that contain, ummm, really bad stuff.

If you wanna try Zevia too, you might be able to do it for FREE!! Hop on over to Monday's post and read how to enter, I've kept it very very simple. And, three lucky readers will win some free product!!

What have you heard about the bad effects of sugar and/or artificial sweeteners? The more knowledge we have about this stuff, the more we are armed to make really good decisions for our health, so I'm hoping you'll share what you've learned in the comments. :)

To our health,

April 14, 2010

Elvis-Style Buckwheat Pancake Sandwich

This morning as hubs and I sat eating our breakfast, we flipped on The Early Show just in time to see three fun, quick and EASY healthy breakfast ideas! And, the last of the three ideas was an innovative way to have a breakfast sandwich without the wheat or flour.

My ears perked up because a good friend told me just the other day that she has been diagnosed with a wheat/gluten allergy. If you've ever tried to go gluten free, you know (while much more doable these days) is not an easy task. Plus, these cakes are a GREAT option for my new "grains-as-a-condiment" practice. Double win.

Whether you need to eat gluten free or not, this looks like a fabulous recipe...make up a bunch of these cakes on the weekend, pop a couple in the toaster during the week and you have one quickie healthy breakfast to kick start your morning!

2 c buckwheat (this is a plant, NOT a grain)
2 T sugar
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
2 1/2 c low fat milk
1 egg PLUS 1 egg white
1 T flaxseed

  1. Mix all dry ingredients together.
  2. Whisk milk with eggs and stir into dry mixture until just combined.
  3. Pour 1/3 cup batter onto a preheated griddle and cook about 2-3 minutes on each side.
  4. Spread almond butter onto a pancake.
  5. Top with sliced banana and another pancake. (I would add a bit of cinnamon too!)
  6. And, eat a healthy breakfast, even on the go.
Bon appetit!


Recipe adapted from The Early Show.

April 12, 2010

It's A Giveaway ~ A Zevia Giveaway!!

I'm very pleased to announce that Zevia, Nature's Answer to Diet Soda is sponsoring a giveaway of their delicious all natural soda through this here blog! Last week they sent me a free mixed case to taste test and review . . .  AND to give three of my readers a chance to try it for free too!

So, first the review, and then the giveaway details.

The Review

I honestly LOVE this soda. I do admit to you that I am NOT a soda conoisseur, but in my opinion this bubbly beverage is tasty, fresh and light, and I feel good both while I'm drinking it and afterwards.

The 7 flavors they offer are Cola, Root Beer, Twist, Orange, Ginger Ale, Black Cherry, and Dr. Zevia.

My absolute favorite is the Orange, though the Root Beer and Ginger Ale run very close in the runner up positions. The flavors are distinct but not overpowering or strong....I find the soda very refreshing and thirst quenching. Hubby loves them too and he doesn't typically drink diet soda. There aren't ANY of the flavors that I disliked....I would suggest, tho, that if you are really tied to your equivalent soda flavor, keep an open mind. Zevia might taste a bit different, but the difference is not a bad one. At all.

So, I give Zevia a solid thumbs up! And, I'm willing to bet most of you will like it too.

Soda ~ We Love It And Hate It

I find that us soda drinkers have kind of a love/hate relationship with soda. We hate it because we know it's bad for us, and we love it because, well, why DO we love it?  One brand claims their product has "no caffeine, no sugar, no sodium." So, exactly what IS in there?!

Bubbles. We LOVE our bubbles. Maybe a little sweetness. And maybe a little bit of flavor. But, mostly bubbles.

So, if it's bubbles we're really after, lets drink some healthy ones and just make it all about love! Zevia says they have produced the first truly all natural (read: nothing artificial) diet soda. It contains zero calories and zero sugar....and is sweetened with the stevia plant.

Stevia is an extremely safe herb that is not only an excellent sweetener, but it actually lowers blood sugar levels in diabetics by helping to regulate pancreatic function. And unlike sugar which weakens the immune system, stevia has antimicrobial properties and actually helps the body fight off colds and flus.

So, now your soda can keep you healthier! Maybe your company will even supply it to reduce workplace illness. Imagine the possibilities! ;)

The rest of this week my posts will be devoted to the other stuff found in soda, i.e. sugar, artificial sweeteners, etc. and the effect they have on our bodies. And, why Zevia is such a GREAT soda option.

Now, the fun GIVEAWAY part!! 

Zevia will send three of my readers free Zevia soda to try for yourself!
  • Two readers will receive a mixed 6 pack!
  • And one lucky reader will receive a full mixed case!!  
And, all you have to do to enter is leave a comment below about why you love AND hate soda, and include your Twitter handle. That's it, nothing complicated.

You can also receive extra entries by one, tweeting out this post (making sure to mention @LosingMyBehind so I know about it), AND yet another by hopping on over to my Facebook Fan Page and becoming a fan!

The giveaway runs all of this week, ending on Sunday, April 18th at 9 pm Central Time. The winners will be chosen in a random drawing and announced on Twitter next Monday, April 19 in the morning. Make sure you follow me on Twitter if you aren't already so you don't miss the big announcement! You'll have 24 hours to claim your prize by emailing me through Twitter or Facebook at which time final details will be exchanged!

Okay . . . GO!


April 11, 2010

Wheat Berry Goodness

Have you ever seen a picture of food, like on a restaurant menu or in a cookbook, that has you salivating and almost catching a whiff of the heavenly aroma....but, somehow when its on your plate it just does not, umm, compare? {Raising my hand quickly and emphatically.}

Well, that is NOT the case with THIS picture! {Photo from Tosca Reno's Clean Eating Cookbook.}

Wheat Berry & Cauliflower Salad 
with Sesame Dressing

I made this salad yesterday, my very first experience with wheat berries. Wow, these little, delectable, terrific packages of nature not only taste yummy but they pack a giant nutritional punch too!

A wheat berry is comprised of all three parts of the grain; the germ (or seed), the bran, and the endosperm.
The process of milling removes the germ and bran layers, and leaves behind the endosperm. Although there are still trace amounts of vitamins and minerals found in the endosperm, it's the least nutritious part of the grain.

Consuming wheat berries in their original state provides our bodies with higher concentrations of vitamins A, E, B1, B2, B3, magnesium, phosphorous, selenium, zinc, and iron. WOW! When consumed whole, wheat berries are an excellent source of dietary fiber. Even bigger WOW!

And, since they are just so tiny, its easy to incorporate them as a condiment in my meals...my new way of treating grains! That means a scant 1/8 cup either added to a mixed veggie salad or just by themselves, how easy is that?

Here's the recipe for the salad, adapted from Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Cookbook. While a healthy serving of this salad would not constitute a "condiment" quantity, for special occasions you can't beat the nutrient value. It's also a FABULOUS vegetarian/vegan meal~so much yumminess and a complete protein to boot.

1 head cauliflower, trimmed and broken into florets
1 1/2 c wheat berries, soaked for 90 minutes
1 cup green onions, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
Sesame Dressing (see below)
3 T black sesame seeds
  1. Steam cauliflower until just tender.
  2. Remove cauliflower, saving cooking water, to a colander and rinse with cold water.
  3. Bring reserved cooking water from the cauliflower (adding more water if necessary to equal 3 cups) to a boil and add drained wheat berries.
  4. Cook wheat berries for one hour or until berries are chewy-tender.
  5. While wheat berries are cooking, chop the green onions and red bell pepper and prepare the sesame dressing (see below).
  6. When wheat berries are done, remove from heat, drain and cool by running under cold water in a fine mesh colander.
  7. Combine cauliflower and wheat berries. Add chopped green onions and red bell pepper. Toss with Sesame Dressing and chill for one hour.
  8. Transfer salad to decorative serving bowl and top with black sesame seeds.
  9. Get your taste buds ready for a delightful, delightful experience!
Sesame Dressing
3 T rice bran oil
3 T rice vinegar
1 T tamari
2 t sesame oil
Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
1 garlic clove, grated or pressed
1 T tahini

Place all ingredients in a small jar, secure lid and shake well.

Bon appetit!


April 9, 2010

Keep It Simple Sweetheart


I have always loved the acronym K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, sweetheart. Think about it for a second. When we succeed at simplifying our life, we are being kind to ourselves, being affectionate to our soul. Yes? :) And, simplicity is what Losing My Behind is all about....I just don't do complicated anymore.

So this post is a simple treatise on simplicity itself. Especially when it comes to food and being healthy. And, because it just shouldn't be so hard to love ourselves.

Truth is simple.

First, we all want our weight loss to be permanent. And, there are lots of "experts" out there, devising their proven plans, popular programs, and savvy systems . . . and I honestly believe that for most of them their intentions are honorable and good.

But, some of them are sooooo complicated. I love a good challenge, but nothing irritates me more than unnecessary busy work and making something simple into something complicated.

Second, no ONE way of losing weight is right for everyone. We have different affinity's for the method to our madness....DNA if you will. Nobody should ever deny their own natural bent. There is simply too much tasty food in this world to live our lives eating stuff we don't like.

This is why I find it difficult to subscribe to any ONE program out there. It's not that I'm not serious, I am EXTREMELY determined to reach my goals. It's just that nobody knows my body better than me.

And third, we all lead very busy lives...careers, family, home, friends, recreation, community...and the last thing we need is a diet program that requires hours of training! It's one thing to learn what constitutes a healthy diet, and quite another to have to learn point values, percentages and grams of this or that.

I've tried all that, and honestly, I have never thought about food so much as when I am engaging in all those food activities. Obsession is what it is. At least for me.

The goal in getting healthy, both physically and mentally, is to NOT be obsessed with food, and yet so many programs require such a sharp learning curve that all you do is think about food. Somehow that just doesn't seem right to me.

So, I subscribe to the K.I.S.S. philosophy.
Keep it simple sweetheart. Here are some phrases I've heard around the food world that help me keep the highway to healthy eating simple, sane and ultimately doable:

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." - Michael Pollan
"If it doesn't come from the ground or have a mother, don't eat it." -unknown
"Stop renting weight loss." -Pat Barone
"If hunger is not the problem, then eating is not the solution." -unknown
"Moderation in all things." -unknown

What do you think of these statements? And, what simple, to the point, easy to implement food advice have you heard or, better yet, implemented in your own life? Please share your sage advice in the comments!

Simply me,

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

April 6, 2010

Turtles and Hormones

Does anyone know exactly how slow a turtle moves?

According to The Physics Factbook, in a speed test a giant male tortoise could only move 15 feet in 43.5 seconds despite the allure of a female! That is one motivated turtle, but he's still VERY slow!

One adult wood turtle covered a distance of 450 feet in 25 minutes. No curvy sweet smelling shell waiting to reward him.

And, a migrating bog turtle traveled just 56 feet in a day and took two weeks to cross a meadow 600 feet wide. That's a lot of rose-smelling, don't ya think?

Okay, why the fascination with turtles? Because, evidently, I have morphed into one, at least where weight loss is concerned.  Thirteen pounds down in 3 months...not exactly what I was hoping for. But, giving up is simply NOT an option. Even if I move like a migrating bog turtle, the journey is reaping rewards all along the way, and by golly I am determined to enjoy every last minute!

One very probable cause of my new turtle speed is that my female hormones are playing around instead of doing what they've always done, work hard in the background without me noticing. Estrogen is dropping sharply, I haven't had a period since mid-January, and my body is doing exactly what it is supposed to do in that environment...hold on to fat in order to protect my bones. Who knew?

So, after doing some research on how to battle through lower estrogen production and win this battle with fat, I've created a new plan. Whether or not you are in the same age bracket as me, these are ALL very helpful and healthful tips to train our bodies to cooperate with our weight loss efforts and goals.

Reduce Sugar.
Not just the white or brown granules, but also foods that turn to sugar at a speedy-as-a-hare rate....white bread, white flour, and anything made with those substances. Also, cutting way back on any grains, even healthy whole grains because when you look at the glycemix index chart, whole grains are still one of the quickest carbs to metabolize into sugar. And, sugar causes insulin to be released. And excess insulin makes us fat and keeps us fat.

This doesn't mean I can never have sugar or whole grains. It just means that they need to be treated differently. I love how The Zone program handles whole grains....like a condiment!  Since totally eliminating sugar and whole grains is a DRASTIC move (and since turtles don't do anything drastic), I won't be doing that unless some medical condition demands it. (After all, I'm a turtle, right?) But, I CAN begin to look at them like a condiment.

Eat foods that balance estrogen.
Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts. I can handle the first three, but you won't be smelling brussel sprouts in my house anytime soon!

Also, though there seems to be controversy surrounding it, soy-based products historically have been shown to balance progesterone and estrogen. I will be doing more research on foods that can actually act like medicine to help with this very normal stage of life I'm in right now. Any ideas or sites I can start with?

Nothing terribly intense or over the top...30 minutes of walking/jogging/running each day and 20-30 minutes of strength training 2-3 times a week. Strength training, while so very important for women at any age, is particularly essential for women over 50 when muscle and bone density naturally decrease. Exercise can help, interestingly enough, to replenish.

The experts agree that we should be drinking the equivalent of our weight divided by two in ounces of water every day. That means if someone weighs more than 128 pounds, the typical 8 - 8 oz glasses a day is simply not enough. The benefits of drinking adequate water is well documented, and there are a couple of those benefits that women over 50 definitely need:  improvement with our metabolism, lubrication of our joints and regulation of body temperature.

Pretty simple stuff. I love that it's so simple. Turtles like simplicity. :)

I know there is much more to learn, and would love to hear what you all have heard and learned. Even if you are under 50 (and many of my readers are), what advice would you give me to get my weight loss moving again?

Still workin' it,

April 5, 2010

The Foundation of My Life

Can it be said any more beautifully than this?

Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the sky of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry!
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky.

The love of God!
How rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints and angels song!

This love grounds me, gives me hope, motivates me to keep going, strengthens me at my weakest moments and cheers me when I'm down. Describing how God loving me does all this....honestly I don't know.  All I know is that every morning when I open my eyes, the Maker of the universe has His eye on me. Me!



April 2, 2010

How To Get Things Done

Shiny object syndrome.

Also known as SOS. Easily excited about a new idea. A strong pull towards the "next" thing.

Its a common trait (some would call it an issue!) among creatives and visionaries and is usually what makes people love us. And hate us.  We can often see a long ways down the road, what the future could be, but the steps in between there and where we stand, well, we aren't always too good at following through on those or even knowing what the steps are. We are simply caught up in the excitement of the new and shiny.

This syndrome, as you may have guessed, can have devastating consequences for a person like me who is desperately working at changing her body and regaining her health. Its not that I lose interest, but there are so many other things to do and places to go that I have to constantly remind myself of my priorities. Stop, Cheryl, what is your mission? What do you have to do to get there? Will this new and shiny idea get you closer or is it merely a bunny trail. (A bunny trail seems so appropriate today.)

Shiny. Objects. Distract. Me.

I write today as a "sufferer" of a very bad case of SOS. It's fairly familiar territory for me, so a couple of years ago I posted a small slip of paper in my work area with helpful reminders and practical steps to keep me on track. I share it with you today, simple, to the point:

How To Work Better
Do one thing at a time.
Know the problem.
Learn to listen.
Learn to ask questions.
Distinguish sense from nonsense.
Accept change as inevitable.
Admit mistakes.
Say it simple.
Be calm.

How do you stay on track?