Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in: I wanna be the Bob Ross of something!

Well, good morning, everyone. Happy Monday! Let’s get right to the Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in, shall we? Ready? Here we go!

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All right!! I’m pretty happy about that. See, last week I stumbled across this YouTube video by this guy named Steve Gamelin, who’s perfected a method of baking bread called “No-Knead Turbo Bread.”

Now Steve G.’s not the only one who has videos about this concept, but in our nonstop, 24/7, media-saturated world, it’s all about image, amiright? And the thing about Steve G. is, he’s basically the Bob Ross of bread baking!

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And as soon as I watched one of Steve G.’s laid-back, super-comfy bread baking videos, my imagination was stimulated: “Hey,  *I* could do that!” So I rushed out to the grocery store, bought a big sack of King Arthur Flour and some yeast, and got to work. And it was FABULOUS! The best loaf of bread I’d baked in … oh, let’s see … at least five years (which was the last time I baked bread, so logically speaking, that works, right?).

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Unfortunately, it was so good that I wound up eating the whole thing myself over a couple of days. And frankly, I worried that my weight would go up today. But all’s well that ends well! My weight is down (at least a little), a fresh loaf is in the works, and this time I’ll share it with my husband. (Maybe!)

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Just watch your hands – Bread Kitty’s very protective!

That’s it – have a great day, everyone! Thanks for reading!

Calories DO count – so there!

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I may not be an officially certified and licensed Diet Guru, but I’m reasonably conversant in the science relating to how weight loss actually occurs, what works, what doesn’t work, and what’s, excuse my French, total BS.

Like you, I saw those ecstatic headlines in the news earlier this week about how a new study supposedly “proved” that calorie counting is a big ol’ waste of time! Just check out these headlines:

and a multitude of others, triumphantly crowing the sensational message that YOU – yes, YOU! – no longer have to worry about the tiresome task of keeping track of your daily calorie input! Rumors flew that MyFitnessPal, Lose It!, Sparkpeople, and other heretofore popular calorie-counting apps had conceded defeat, and were converting to Game of Thrones fan sites.

Well, not so fast, folks. I’ve been around for a while – almost 60 years (hence the name!), and I can pretty much guarantee you that right now, somewhere in the world, there’s ANOTHER scientist out there doing a mega-study that will prove exactly the OPPOSITE of what this gentleman’s study supposedly proved. I GUARANTEE you that within a few months there’ll be another round of sensational headlines to the effect that “Calories DO Count After All!” and you and I will be left befuddled, once again, as we usually are when we rely on the 24/7 news cycle for our diet information.

Maybe it would help if we separated “calorie counting” which is, after all, a mechanism we use to determine how many calories we’re consuming, from “calorie deficit,” which is the undeniable, bottom-line TRUTH about how we human beings lose weight:

A. You take in a certain amount of calories every day (by eating).
B. You expend a certain amount of calories (by moving, breathing, etc.).

Subtract B from A, and you get your calorie deficit. It’s that simple.

“Calorie counting” is just the way you keep track of what calories you take in (A) or expend (B). And there are LOTS of ways to do this.

  1. You can just count them yourself, either by using one of the aforesaid apps, or just jotting them down on a piece of paper.
  2. You can pay some big corporation to convert them, by some elaborate proprietary mathematical formulation, into “points” or “magic beans” or whatever.
  3. You can pay some big corporation to supervise your entire daily food allotment so you don’t have to worry about counting anything yourself, ever (other than your checking account balance).
  4. You can do some mega amounts of exercise (B) such as hiking the Appalachian Trail, which burns @ 500 calories per hour.
  5. You can quit your job so you won’t be tempted by all the vending machines and daily birthday cakes, move into your mom’s basement, and shun the outside world completely. (There are probably some other problems with that, though – what if your mom’s house doesn’t have a basement?)

Anyway, my point (and I do have one!) is that there are all sorts of ways to create a calorie deficit without necessarily “counting calories.” I personally choose to do that because it’s the easiest and most flexible method I’ve found so far. It lets me eat pretty much anything I want, so long as it doesn’t make me go over my daily calorie allotment. Some of those other methods work for other people.

But bottom line: no matter what this or similar studies say, if you read the fine print, you’ll see that the people who lost weight did so because they were eating foods that were lower in calories than what they’d previously been eating – thus creating a calorie deficit!!

So calories DO count – always have, always will! It’s just a question of how you choose to count them!

Mother Jones has an even better response to this study than mine: What’s the Real Takeaway From Yesterday’s Big Low-Carb vs. Low-Fat Showdown? in which they point out that if you read the fine print from that big study, it really just reiterates what calorie counters say as well: “If you cut back on something with lots of calories, you’re cutting back on calories.”

There you go. Read the fine print on these studies, go beyond the headlines, and you’ll always find the truth buried deep inside the hype.

 

Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in: French Toast edition!

Wow, what a nice Saturday we had! As I explained Friday, my husband took me on a little private railroad car excursion on the Silver Splendor Dome Car, down to San Diego, where the weather was picture-perfect and we ambled nonchalantly along the waterfront, communing with the ocean, the ships, and the multiple henna tattoo stands.

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And as promised, on the train ride down, I had my one cup of CAFFEINATED coffee, y’all!

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Note the logo on the cup – “Currently Caffeinated” – so appropriate!

The rest of the trip I switched to decaf, but then when we were on the way back, I had a slip – oh noes! and had a glass of Diet Coke, and no, it wasn’t the caffeine-free version. And believe me, I paid the price next morning as I staggered around the house in a fog. So I’m either gonna have to stick to “no caffeine EVAH!” or use it medicinally, like one cup per day. Of course, the problem with that is I can never stick to “just one cup a day,” so it’s probably gonna have to be the stricter alternative.

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Sigh! Oh well, speaking of being in a fog, I really should get to the weigh-in, huh? Okay, let’s get to it toot-sweet!

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Look what’s on my plate!

And what was on MY plate (and my husband’s) for our brunch on the train was a delicious serving of French toast, sausages, and fresh* fruit (strawberries, melons, etc.), as well as real butter and maple syrup! (*okay, the fruit was probably frozen at first, but still, it was yummy!)

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This was definitely a SPECIAL special treat, since (a) I gave up high calorific breakfast foods when I started this diet and (b) um, remember all that stuff I wrote about Meatfare and Clean Monday? You know, Lent? But we decided to jump through a couple of self-created loopholes: “It’s Saturday,” and “it’s a special occasion.” Which, technically speaking, aren’t loopholes so much as they are rationalizations. But hey, whatever works!

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(And btw, we’re definitely not the only Christians who make these compromises: see here and here for some other amusing confessionals!)

So all in all, it was a very special day! And if you’re in Southern California, I definitely urge you to check out LA Rail and book your own private rail experience – it’s really a lot of fun! I’ll finish with a few more pictures from the trip … enjoy!

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The Silver Spendor (left) and a Pullman car (right) also run by LA Rail, waiting at the San Diego station

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John Caestecker, owner of this particular rail car – he and his family restored the whole thing themselves! Note the turquoise color on the walls – that was inspired by a blouse his wife Heidi was wearing!

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Hubby Steve at the beautiful Santa Fe train depot in San Diego!

Friday Five: Surprise, there isn’t one!

Yikes! Well, even though I was up with the crack of dawn this morning, I’m embarrassed to say I don’t actually have anything useful or interesting to say at all. (And for those of you saying, “Yeah? What else is new?” I say,

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So let me just tell you what’s going on. See, tomorrow morning, my wonderful husband and I are getting up super early in the morning, driving down to Union Station in L.A., and climbing aboard a really interesting, historic, private rail car called the “Vista Dome Silver Splendor,” for what they call “Brunch on the Beach” in San Diego.

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It’s our belated Valentine’s Day celebration, and we’re really looking forward to it. Only the thing is … I can’t stress this too strongly … we have to get up SUPER EARLY tomorrow morning. So this morning was a “practice run.” Let’s just say this is the first time since I gave up caffeine that I’m kinda sorta missing caffeine!

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So I’ve made a major life decision: Tomorrow morning, when we get on the train, I’m going to allow myself ONE cup of REGULAR coffee. Just one! After that, I’ll go decaf for the rest of the way!

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Seriously, though, this is in the nature of a “special treat” type thing. There’s no caffeine in the house right now, and I’m not planning to buy any to bring home with me. I just think it’ll make the day more Valentine’s Day-ish if I don’t fall asleep for the entire trip.

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Anyway, long story short, the reason I don’t have a Friday Five today is because, frankly, even though I’m the one who’s usually the “morning person” around here, today my husband put me to shame by getting out of bed, taking his shower, getting dressed, and going to work an hour earlier than usual. Not to mention feeding the cats! Or did he? Maybe I woke up in one of those alternate universes in “Rick and Morty” or something.

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Who knows? Anyway, I’m gonna sign off now, go brew a cup of my herbal coffee substitute, and see if anything happens.

Have a great weekend – see you Monday!

(Unused pingback: Rube)

Mid-week interlude: Ash Wednesday and book quiz

Happy Ash Wednesday, everyone!

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Not to mention that “other” holiday:

 

Anyhoo, Amy over at Bibliophile posted this interesting quiz on her blog a week ago, the “This or That Book Tag,” and at first I thought she’d tagged me on it. Then I went back and reread her comment with my eyes a little wider open and saw that, no, she’d tagged three other bloggers and just gave me a shout-out.

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Which I appreciate, believe me! It’s nice to be noticed! Thanks, Amy! But meantime, I had already filled out the quiz, so since I have it right in front of me, and it’s all ready to go, I thought I’d just go ahead and post it. If that’s okay. Is it? I don’t want to make any unfounded assumptions or anyth…

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Okily dokily then!

  1. Reading in bed or on the couch? Depends – if it’s a real (i.e., print) book, couch, definitely. If it’s on my Kindle, bed, for sure! I’ve tried reading printed books in bed and just have trouble balancing them.
  2. Male main character or female main character? Female, usually, but then again, my all-time favorite novel is “David Copperfield,” and David was definitely a guy, although his best pal Steerforth called him “Daisy,” so who knows? Hmm.
  3. Trilogies or quartets? Actually, I prefer septets, like “Harry Potter” or the “Narnia” books.
  4. First person POV or third person POV? I personally prefer the first person POV; however, Christine thinks the third person POV is much more objective.
  5. Sweet snacks or salty snacks? Popcorn, which can be either sweet OR salty, depending on what you dump on it!
  6. Reading at day or night? Daytime, as I’m usually busy at night. (Sleeping!! Get your mind outta the gutter!)
  7. Libraries or bookstores? Until recently I would have said bookstores, but since I started walking regularly, I’m enjoying my visits to the local library. Plus, virtually every library I’ve visited recently has its own used bookstore, anyway, so win-win!
  8. Books that make you laugh or cry? Sometimes you can get both in the same book – hilarious Mr. Micawber’s in the same book with David’s poor tragic mother.
  9. Black books covers or white book covers? I have to confess I don’t really understand this question. I just looked at one of my many bookshelves, and didn’t see any books with only black or only white covers. A lot of them are green or blue. I’m so confused!
  10. Character driven or plot driven? Again, it’s possible to do both – and do it well – Again, Dickens! “David Copperfield!” They don’t write ’em like that any more. (Hmm … maybe I should read something else … )

Since I wasn’t *officially* tagged in Amy’s post, I won’t *officially* tag anyone else, either; however, if you’d like to answer the quiz yourself, please do, and let me know – I’ll link to it in a later post!

That’s all for today! I’ll leave you with a photo I took on a hike through Griffith Park over the weekend. See you Friday!

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Unused Pingback of the Day: Suspicious

Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-In: Clean Monday edition!

Well, good morning, everyone, and happy Monday! Time for another weigh-in … and as you may remember, last week I had a small GAIN. But as Homer Simpson once said, “hope springs internal,” so let’s step on the ol’ scale and see where it lands. Ready? Here goes:

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Hey, that’s great!

Nice! I think that actually takes me a little lower than I was two weeks ago, so I’m happy. I think the walking I’m doing almost every day is helping a lot – not only with weight loss but with my overall health. If you’ve got a few minutes, why not take a walk yourself, today? (But not till you finish reading my blog, of course!!)

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OK, so today is Clean Monday. In case you’re not familiar with it, that’s the first official day of Lent in the Eastern Orthodox/Eastern Christian world. As virtually every Eastern Orthodox (EO) will tell you, I, by virtue of being Eastern Catholic (EC), am NOT in any way, shape or form, “Orthodox.”

However, we ECs do our best to irritate both the EOs and the RCs (Roman Catholics) whenever possible. For example, we irritate the EOs by copying everything they do, like their liturgy, their prayers, their eating habits, etc. etc.

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And we irritate the RCs by insisting that we’re fully, totally, 100% as Catholic as they are, even though we don’t (officially*) do ANYTHING they like to do, like for example, Ash Wednesday. Now mind you, it’s not that we have anything against Ash Wednesday – it’s actually a lovely tradition, and it’s nice to see so many people who never ever EVER set foot in a church the rest of the year go in to get their annual reminder that they’re skating on thin ice.

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However, we have our own tradition on the first Wednesday of Lent (which we start two days earlier, nyah nyah nyah!) which involves a liturgy every Wednesday evening till Holy Week. There’s always a confused Westerner who stumbles in off the street looking for ashes, and we have to gently explain that we don’t have any, other than whatever’s out in the garden, which they’re certainly welcome to. (I’ve suggested we just keep a container of ashes by the door with a sign reading “Help yourself!” but that never seems to go over too well.)

But that’s okay, we all have our different traditions and practices and that’s what makes religion so much fun, right?

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One thing we ECs DO have in common with the RCs this year is that our Easter falls on … are you ready? … April Fool’s Day! That’s right, Easter is on April 1st, and as you can imagine, the memesters are having a field day with THAT!

And of course, Ash Wednesday is on Valentine’s Day, so even though we ECs don’t join in with the ashy stuff, we can certainly commiserate about the fact that we’re BOTH supposed to abstain from CHOCOLATE on February 14 OMG why why why??? Although I’m sure St. Valentine himself isn’t too upset.

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Oh well, we’ll muddle through somehow.

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And after all, there’s more to Lent – Eastern OR Western – than just giving up stuff. As our priest pointed out yesterday, “The Great Fast isn’t about losing weight. It’s not Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers. It’s about getting closer to God.”

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So whether you’re Eastern, Western, or even just an interested bystander – happy Lent to you!

Unused Pingback Word of the Day: Conjure 

Friday Five: Way too many cat memes

Welp, good morning, all, and happy Friday, for those of you who actually work for a living!

You know, I got up this morning and briefly considered getting a few things done before I wrote my post. Then I realized that if I did all of them, I probably wouldn’t write this till around, oh, I dunno, midnight. So I decided to simplify my life and just get this done first.

I’m sure you’ll appreciate the effort it took me to postpone:

  1. Making breakfast. Actually, making breakfast is the easiest part of my day. My hubby rarely wants anything more substantial than a Trader Joe’s cereal bar and a glass of water. Occasionally I’ll surprise him with some bacon and eggs (mainly when I want some too), but for the most part, breakfast is easy to postpone.
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  2. Cat maintenance. This one includes feeding them, letting them out the back door, letting them back in (we have a cat flap, but they like that personal service), checking the litter boxes, checking the treat stations, flea combing, catnip application, peacock feather waving, and other miscellaneous attentions as required. I’ve done a couple of them already (I have to, or they’ll beat me up), but at the moment they’re sleeping off the catnip, so I’ve got a little window of time.
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  3. Shoe shopping. Bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you? Normally I buy my shoes, clothes, books, and other necessities of life online, as you do. However, I was looking at some Skechers “Go Walk” shoes on Amazon last night, and they looked really comfy. However, I realized from bitter experience that I probably should buy at least one pair in (shudder) an actual store, just to make sure they’re as comfy as they look in the photos. I’ve been burned before. (Literally as well as figuratively – I’m not that handy around the stove.)
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  4. Laundry. I’m actually pretty much caught up on the actual human being laundry. This goes back to #2, because most of the laundry I need to do now involves the various things the cats sleep, shed, sneeze, and deposit their various and sundry bodily fluids on. Every piece of clothing I own, if it were sentient, should tremble in the fearful knowledge that it could wind up as a cat bed. Fortunately, clothing isn’t sentient, although who knows? It’s a funny ol’ world.
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  5. Transcribing. Heh … yeah, this is my ACTUAL WORK that I am theoretically supposed to be doing when I’m home, to make money. You know, money really helps vis-a-vis cat stuff, shoes, and future cat beds aka clothing. I suppose I could ask Purina or Friskies (are they even different companies? who knows these days) if they’d throw me some free cat treats in exchange for mentioning them in my wildly popular blog, but that’s probably not gonna happen any time soon. (If it does, I’ll let you know.)
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So once I’ve finished writing this post, and applying all the appropriate memes and formatting, I guess I’ll pick one of these things to get done. Probably breakfast, ’cause I’m hungry.

Unless, of course, the cats wake up first.

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