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April, 2013:

The Smoothie Diet Recap

I’ve been on a smoothie diet for the entire month of April. It’s been really convenient not to have to worry about what I’m going to eat this month and what I need to pick up at the store.

Photos taken on 3-31-2013, weight = 121.5

Photos taken on 3-31-2013, weight = 121.5

This post is coming out on April 30th, but I’m writing this on April 26th. So far, I’ve lost between 9 and 10 pounds, and according to my last weigh-in, I’ve lost 2.5% body fat and my BMI is down to 19.7. One thing I’ve learned on this diet that’s really interesting is the fact that my bathroom scale says I’m 1-2 pounds heavier than the official scale at Dr. Terry Simpson’s office.

My smoothies all consist of almond milk and nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt. In the morning I add coffee that’s been frozen into ice cubes and sugar-free pudding and/or unsweetened cocoa powder. For the rest of my meals, I add frozen fruit and maybe some spinach. I learned the hard way that I tend to have more energy when my smoothies have banana and spinach in them. The spinach tends to turn my smoothies kinda gray or green depending on what other fruit is in it. If I get too hungry or tired, I get to have black coffee or a sugar-free gelatin cup.

Photo taken on 4-28-2013, weight ~ 113.5lbs

Photo taken on 4-28-2013, weight ~ 113.5lbs

I’ve been keeping track of my calories and my average intake is 1077.40 calories per day. I try to stretch my smoothie calories out by keeping my smoothies in the freezer and every 15-30 minutes I go to the freezer and eat the newly frozen portion. That can make a smoothie last for 2-4 hours. That’s definitely helped me stave off hunger, which was my biggest fear about doing this diet.

Of course I’ve been having weird craving, especially as the month’s been going on. Lately I’ve craved tortilla chips, a gyro with tzatziki, red velvet cheesecake, a toasted bagel with butter, glazed doughnuts, and pasta with cream sauce and bacon. As of this writing, I have no idea what my first real food is going to be. I have a feeling I should go easy on the fat and sugar at first, even though part of me would love to start my return to real food with dessert or pizza.

It’s been really easy to set up both my blenders with ingredients and let them defrost in the fridge at the beginning of the day and then blend them up when I get hungry.

Here’s my favorite breakfast smoothie that I’ll probably make on a regular basis once the diet is over:

  • 1 cup Almond Breeze original almond milk
  • 5oz Lucerne nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 3oz sugar-free chocolate pudding cup
  • 1 cup of coffee, frozen into ice cubes

Put all the ingredients in the blender. Let it stand for ~15 minutes to let the ice cubes melt a little. Then blend until the ice cubes are broken down and the ingredients are blended.

I hope I keep off some of the weight I’ve lost, but given how low my calorie counts have been, I know I can’t/won’t keep it all off.

If you want to see how my dieting counterpart, Evo Terra, has been doing on his beer and eggs diet, check out The Beer Diet page.

Ruth & Rosie – 1 Year Later

I’ve officially had my rescue basset hound Rosie for a year! I love my dog.

Pet me pleaseAnd can I just say that I won the dog lottery when I got this creature? She’s so sweet, well-behaved, and just a good dog. Her worst habit, which I find endearing, is the fact that she howls when the phone rings. When she wants attention and you’re sitting down, she walks up to you and puts her head on your knee or the chair – whichever her head can reach.

She’s a basset, so she’s a bit stubborn by nature. When we go walking, she’s not an alpha dog, so she doesn’t like it when people or other dogs are walking behind her. She just plops her butt down and waits for you to come to her, hopefully give her attention, and then follow you after you pass. At 60 pounds, she’s quite an anchor when she wants to be.

I’ve tracked her likes and dislikes on Facebook this year. It’s been pretty fun to see what turns her crank:

  • Rosie Likes: rawhide bones, tennis balls, belly rubs, fish, beef, chicken, rice, apples, mango, pineapple, peanut butter & butternut squash.
  • Rosie Dislikes: squeaky toys, stuffed animals, strawberries, lemon, carrots, & celery.

Rosie BoneI love my baby girl. I nearly cry every time I have to travel and leave her at the kennel (or “camp” as I call it). I can’t sleep when she’s having medical issues – like when she got a lung infection. I was up every couple of hours to make sure she was breathing. Then there was the time I learned the hard way that she’s allergic to fabric softener. She was wheezing until I ripped the recently-washed sheet off her bed at 1:30 in the morning.

Did I mention Rosie’s smart? She knows she’s not allowed on the couch, so she doesn’t do it when I’m around, but occasionally I’ll find a throw pillow on the floor from when she knocked it off while finding a place to snuggle in. She also knows where the UPS Store keeps the dog treats and will help herself to one if the box isn’t kept out of her reach.

So here’s to my baby, Rose Louise Carter, and to many more years together.

Belly Rub Please

Why I Love Deadliest Catch

The ninth season of Deadliest Catch starts tonight!

I don’t have much time to watch TV, but this show is a staple on my calendar and the only one I make it a priority to watch.

I’m not a fan of fabricated reality shows – things like The Bachelor, Dancing with the Stars, The Real World, and anything involving the Kardashians where we’re watching real people but it’s anything but real life. These people are in irrelevant competitions and you can tell a lot of them are hoping to become famous for doing nothing or get their own show out of the deal.

Me with Captain Keith - Summer 2011

Me with Captain Keith – Summer 2011

Deadliest Catch has real people doing their real jobs fishing on the Bering Sea. They don’t need to fabricate drama because the risk that every day you could die is drama enough. The relationships between the people real, which I think makes for much better TV because we actually care what happens in their lives. And according to the reports, everyone acts the same on camera as they do off camera. They’re there to do a job first, not create good TV. (That comes in the editing.) Apparently there’s at least one guy we almost never see on the show because everything he says contains profanity.

I love watching the captains on all the boats, well except Captain Elliott. They’re hard asses when it comes to pushing their crews, but these big strong (sometimes scary-looking) guys each have a compassionate side. We’ve seen them all shed tears when another boat is in trouble or loses a crew member and they feel guilty when a guy gets hurt under their watch.

And I love that they’re real people. I follow a lot of the captains on Twitter and I saw a panel at SXSW that featured Captain Sig, Captain Keith, and Captain Jonathan talking about how they use Twitter. (Captain Andy was still fishing.) I also got to the hotel before their panel and invaded their coffee time on the patio next to the hotel. They were totally sweet and let me sit with them for a few minutes. I thought about asking them for a picture, but I wanted to treat them like normal people too and respect their down time.

Captain Sig was the best during the panel. His first tweet was “Twitter rhymes with shitter.” He also said that when he gets home from being on the Bering Sea for months he doesn’t want to tweet, “I want to screw my wife.” They all do a good job of interacting with their fans online and letting us be part of their lives. It was fun when Captain Keith was getting his boat ready for crab season and tweeted a picture of the receipt from Costco and let fans guess how much it was.

SXSW was the second time I got to meet Captain Keith. The first time was an appearance he did in Phoenix two summers ago. Props to him for coming to Arizona in the middle of the summer. He was a total sweetheart and signed an autograph for me and one for my friend Stacee who was serving in Afghanistan at the time. I lived with her during my 1L summer with the JAG; we watched a lot of Deadliest Catch because we were living in the middle of nowhere.

I’m looking forward to the new season of Deadliest Catch. For one hour a week I get to feel a sliver of the exhilaration and exhaustion that comes with working on the Bering Sea.  I will definitely have that time blocked on my calendar so I can be sure to see each episode when it debuts if I don’t have other obligations.

Every so often I think it might be fun to be a deckhand for a season, but then I remember that I’m freezing when the temperature drops before 70 degrees, I’m so accident prone I’d be injured the first day, and I’m so small they’d have to put a leash on me to make sure I didn’t blow overboard. Maybe I’m better suited to work on a boat in the summer.

Minimalism Project Update – One Month Later

I started my six-month Minimize-My -Life project four weeks ago and I’m three weeks ahead of schedule. By the end of last week I was supposed to have my closet finished but two weekends ago I got on a roll and finished my closet and two drawers in my dresser in one weekend. Don’t get too impressed just yet. The two drawers I did were my socks and underwear. I cleaned those drawers out last year during my Week Without TV so there wasn’t much to clean out or organize there.

North wall of my closet

North wall of my closet

I don’t think my closet has ever been as clean as it is right now. It feels so good to have one space in my house that is completely organized and clutter-free. When I find myself needing to clear my head, I often walk in there because I know the clean environment helps me to settle down and focus on what I need to do next.

East wall of my closet

East wall of my closet

You can see from the pictures of just a portion of my closet, I still have a lot of stuff. I didn’t get into this adventure to become a hard-core minimalist. I just wanted to get rid of things that didn’t add value to my life. I have a lot of things that have simply accumulated over the years that need to go. For the clothes that I’m keeping, I’m still using the flipped hanger method to determine what things I’m not wearing. My plan it to get rid of any hanger that holds a garment that hasn’t been worn by the end of the year.

Cleaning out my life has been a lot of fun for the most part. Whenever I find myself waffling on whether I should keep or get rid of an item, I think of what my friend Chad tells himself when he’s cleaning out his stuff: “Just let it go.” Sometimes it’s a little painful to add an item to the growing pile of stuff on the couch that will be given away, but by the next day, I have no problem with it.

I find myself jumping ahead in my clean out schedule. Sometimes I’ll be looking at a bookshelf and see something that I know I don’t use and I’ll snatch it off the shelf and add it to the pile of stuff for charity, even though I’m not scheduled to clean out that space for weeks.

Part of the pile that's going to charity

Part of the pile that’s going to charity

It’s even been easier to get rid of things I’ve been holding onto for sentimental reasons. I am keeping some things that only have a sentimental purpose, but I’m being much more selective than before. One of the best things I learned at the minimalism seminar at SXSW was that objects are not a substitute for memories. Getting rid of the thing does not make a person or an experience any less special.

One of the byproducts of cleaning out my life, is I have to get the stuff that I’m getting rid of out of the house. Right now there’s a growing pile of stuff on the couch in the den and the hall closet is equally full. My parents are visiting soon so I’ll have to get what’s leaving out of the house before they arrive. I’m curious to see how I feel once these things are out of my life officially and forever.

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Thirty Days of Smoothies

My friend Evo Terra has successfully done a month-long beer-and-sausage diet. Oh yes, he lost weight and got healthier eating sausage (and whatever came with it) and drinking beer. (I know – it doesn’t seem logical, but it’s true.) He recently announced that for the month of April he would be doing a beer-and-eggs diet.

Evo & Ruth

Evo & Ruth

Whenever Evo does a crazy diet, he is supervised by bariatric surgeon, Terry Simpson, who is an expert on weight loss. I asked Terry if he could design me a diet around desserts. He said, “Of course.” I was so excited by the idea of eating ice cream and pie for a month. Then he came back and said he could a month of smoothies. That’s not exactly milkshakes, but I was already committed to the diet idea. So Evo and I are going head-to-head for 30 days to see who gets healthier (as determined by Terry).

So for this entire month, I will be drinking my calories. My smoothies will have a base of almond milk and Greek yogurt, and I can add virtually any food I want to it. I’ll probably start my day with a mocha smoothie and have fruit-and-spinach smoothies midday in the midday and evening. My expected total calories for each day will probably be between 1,000 and 1,250. I’ve already declared I get one ice cream smoothie for PMS purposes. I also get to have water, carbonated water, and black coffee.

For anyone who is freaking out because I’m already small, calm down. According to the fancy scale at Dr. Terry’s office, I weigh 121.5 and my BMI is 20.9 (my bathroom scale said I was 123.8 that day). A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24. I’d have to drop below 108 pounds to be considered underweight. I’d be surprised if I drop below 112 on the fancy scale (114 on mine).

Photos taken on 3-31-2013, weight = 121.5

Photos taken on 3-31-2013, weight = 121.5

Why am I doing this? I like challenges. It’s the same reason I ran half marathons and trained to climb the seven mountains in Phoenix in one day. And I want to beat Evo.

I will be documenting my daily intake on my Google+ page. Feel free to add me to your circles if you want to keep up with the daily update on what I’m drinking, how I’m feeling, and what I weigh.

I’m looking forward to having a month where I don’t have to think about what I’m eating or what to get at the grocery store. And I won’t really have to do dishes except for my blender, measuring cups, cutting board, knife, and cup.

I think this will be fun once I settle into the new routine. I have a feeling I’ll be sipping on something most of the day rather than drinking large quantities at three separate times, but we’ll see how it goes.

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