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Minus 27 and counting - helps and resources

So, with a bit of traveling and my birthday, I sort of lost track of where I was and then I became confused about where I began, but there's never been a question about where I'm going.

Down, down, down! Charting my Weight Watchers progress, 1988-89.

I normally run upstairs on Saturday mornings for my weekly weigh-in on Katie's scale (because I don't have one of my own). While in the Bay Area the weekend before my birthday, there wasn't a scale in the guest room bath where we were staying, but I discovered one on Sunday morning in a different bath. I'd already eaten breakfast, but I weighed in, anyway, and then I made a note in Evernote.

I was too busy last week to stop, find/remember my benchmark, and figure it all out, but I ran upstairs to Kate's for my weigh-in and updated my note in Evernote.

It has taken me a long time to get on the Evernote bandwagon. I wonder how I ever got along without it. I have it on my home PC, Android phone, and Kindle Fire -- it is with me everywhere! I recently took a phone pic of a clipped recipe that Mom wanted to share and saved it to Evernote -- no paper to lose, it's there when I need it (grocery store). I've saved recipes from websites, as well as keep general lists for groceries, other shopping, things to do/pack/see/remember -- like quickly jotting down my weight so I won't forget -- all in one place that I can access from anywhere! Update a note on one device and it syncs and updates on all. I love it! And I do believe I am saving trees; I don't put pencil to paper quite as often.

Likewise my Kindle Fire.

I'm sure it's because I've purchased the electronic version of so many of the books/cookbooks I've been using most, but I've been printing out far fewer paper recipes and using my Kindle in the kitchen a lot more. The trouble with paper recipes is that I probably have 14 copies each of Vicki's Roasted Tomato Sauce, Chili All Day and Crispy Smashed Roasted Potatoes, but I can never FIND one when I want it and end up printing out another. I am careful to keep the Kindle safe from spills; it does get a little smudged at times, but it cleans up well (I don't even have a special screen protector -- that gorilla glass, or whatever they call it, is amazing). I've also used the "Send to Kindle" feature to upload documents (recipes, knitting patterns) from my PC and so I've been doing that more, too.

Anyway, until that weekend in the Bay Area, I'd recorded a loss every single week since I began keeping track around mid-August. I had never lost weight so consistently before in my entire life -- and I really should make a current graph! That week (on a different scale and after eating breakfast) I was up 0.2. The following week -- BUSY! -- I was down 0.4. This week, with a better grip on things again, I am down 2.2 -- for a total loss of 27 pounds in three months.

I am definitely OK with that! That period around my birthday was crazy -- and, plus, it was my birthday! Yes, I had potatoes with my sand dabs at Alioto's. Yes, I had dessert(s) there and at Ici and a couple of other treats! Yes, I had wild mushroom risotto with my scallops at Mom's birthday dinner treat! I made the best choices and did the best I could, compromising along the way, given whatever the circumstance -- I didn't eat all of the potatoes or risotto, I (sometimes) shared dessert.

I didn't always share dessert!

Those indulgences were completely justified and worth it, in my book; on the other hand, I had complete success in avoiding the leftover Halloween candy having determined that it was NOT worth it (ditto the large candy bowl at work -- I don't even look at it anymore, it's practically dead to me. heh).

Eating out isn't always easy, but at most restaurants (save fast-food chains, which I haven't frequented in years, anyway), there is usually SOMETHING on the menu. The other day, at Field to Fork, I had a California burger and asked them to hold the bun -- most places are perfectly willing to do something like that, and no one's wasting food. I carefully read the description of salads, sometimes asking for thing to be omitted and always asking for dressing on the side -- I use a tiny fraction of the amount usually used. I really stop and think about what's offered, and make informed choices and compromises when ordering.

Planning is key at home and at work. It's especially important on weekends and my days off... as I'm sitting here at 10 a.m. and still haven't had breakfast... damn it, I'm going to fix that right now.

* * * * *

That's better. Days off and weekends usually have far less structure and I end up getting caught up in things -- dyeing, cleaning, knitting, blogging, emails, Facebook, Pinterest -- and sometimes 2:00 rolls around and all I've had is coffee. Not good!

Now, with more travel on the horizon, Thanksgiving bearing down, and the holidays around the corner, planning is more important than ever!

When I cook, which I've been doing a lot, I always try to plan for leftovers -- even for breakfast. I'll admit to possibly relying on eggs for breakfast (quick & easy!) too often, but salmon cakes are also quick & easy and I don't mind them cold. (I'm usually in a rush for breakfast on weekdays.) I never, ever, ever leave work for lunch so I'm used to packing a lunch, but in the past I'd often stock the freezer with frozen entrees for an easy out. Now, my lunch "entree" is made as dinner is cleaned up -- making my own grab & go! Sometimes, though, there's just nothin', so I keep a store of canned sardines for those days. I think I've eaten more sardines in the past three months than I have in the past 50 years. I've had my share back in the day, though, as I remember more than one picnic lunch of sardines + yellow mustard on white bread a la my dad.

Here's the thing. I've been eating this way for three months and I'm not sick of it! I'm thrilled with the results -- weight loss among them, but SO much more -- and I'm not done yet! I know that there are a million other options -- for breakfast, lunch, and even dinner -- I just haven't fully explored them all. I have all these cookbooks & recipes on my Kindle, in Evernote, bookmarked on websites and blogs, and boards on Pinterest with recipes and ideas that I've yet to try! I haven't made a single thing that I didn't like and I'm excited about making more -- there's still so much to explore!

So here are some of my favorite things:

  • Whole30. I signed up for the Whole30 Daily before I really even committed. It was part of my "practicing," testing the waters; it was also quite motivating. There are a lot of free resources on the site, including some very helpful downloads.
  • The book -- a LOT of information with science, resources, and some recipes. No-Fuss Salmon Cakes is one of my stand-bys -- have also experimented with it, using both salmon and sweet potato that I've prepared instead of using canned. This is the first book I purchased on the subject and I think of it as the bible.

  • The second book I purchased was recommended by Janine, and I actually was able first to borrow it on my Kindle Fire (with Amazon Prime). LOVE THAT. Chock FULL of recipes. We devour The Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat every time. That link also takes you to the author's site, The Clothes Make The Girl, where you might learn that she is working on Well Fed 2!

  • Another cookbook that I love is Practical Paleo. Not all of the recipes in this book are Whole30 compliant, but I don't intend to avoid all grain, all dairy, and all sugar for all time. I will certainly be limiting those things for the rest of my life -- and choosing wisely -- but I have made numerous tasty recipes in this book. I also love the meal plans, which make considerable use of leftovers. It's a winner.

  • I have just downloaded a sample of the Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook, having quickly thumbed through a friend's copy the other day. This one may soon be permanently added to "the shelf."

  • Another book I've been using a lot, and that I love for it's planned use of leftovers, is Weeknight Paleo. Very well organized -- by week, with shopping lists, helpful hints and resources -- and with great photography, it's high priced compared to the others, but the electronic version (which I have) (available here - scroll down) is a little easier to take. I made the Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork the other day and it is AMAZING! The website is Paleo Savvy.

  • Chowstalker. A great resource for recipes, all contributed by and linked to food blogs.
  • Pinterest. I have begun a Yummy - Paleo board. You can find all of my boards here (I haven't made use of the "secret" board yet, have you?).
  • Oh, I forgot, also Wheat Belly! It's not strictly "Paleo" or Whole30, either, but is quite informative. Not a ton of recipes, but I recently made Pecan-Encrusted Chicken with Tapenade and it was amazing!

Well, that's pretty much what I've been using so far on this journey. One of the things I did when I began making changes to the way I ate was to simply remove temptation. It's amazing how limiting the assault helps resolve and willpower get stronger and stronger! As do results! When I stopped to pay attention, I was amazed at how many food-related pages were in my Facebook feed -- and they weren't very good ones! I either "unliked" or hid them as they popped up, and eventually replaced them with more relevant feeds. Most of the websites linked, above, have Facebook feeds, and there's quite a community out there.

This is a LONG post, congrats to you if you've made it to the end! If you have, I have no choice but to assume that you have made, or are interested in making, similar changes! I wasn't really intending to do this, but leave a comment. Talk to me! And at noon CST on Thanksgiving Day, I'll choose one at random to receive an Amazon gift card -- so you can maybe try one of those books for yourself. Or something else!

In the interest of full disclosure, I am paid a percentage of any purchases made through following an Amazon link.




Congrats on the weight loss and better yet healthier eating! I love to see that there are other geeky people out there who will actually get out the graph paper to track their progress on something like losing weight. I really need to get myself eating better and exercising more, but the week before Turkey day might not be the ideal starting point. I think instead for now I'll aim for just eating more fresh fruits and veggies rather than trying to restrict the seasonal goodies. If I have an apple or orange first, I'm bound to eat fewer cookies, right?


I'm glad you've had such positive results with this lifestyle change, Vicki. I'm feeling really glad about things, too, and I'm done 33 pounds since June. I don't feel like I'm on a diet and I actually really enjoy going to the gym and running. I don't know where the old me has gone but I sure don't miss her! Keep up the good work, my friend!


Wow...great post! Thanks for all the info and links. Great job on the weight loss. I really need to get committed to a helathier lifestyle.

Cheryl S.

Great job on the weight loss and lifestyle change. Sadly, a Whole30/Paleo-type diet does not work well when you have to cook for a vegetarian.

Cheryl S.

OK, that was weird!
I looked at some of the Evernote videos, and one of them showed a cash register receipt from a local home improvement store a few miles from my house. In fact, I was just at that store a week ago. Now what are the odds of that?


I'm so happy for you to have found success in one of life's challenging areas. And you are so right about removing temptation - I find myself looking at the baked goods while waiting to get my coffee, and remind myself to look out the window or, heck, anywhere else until I have ordered. Now, I gotta go look at that Evernote thing that I keep hearing about....


Congratulations, Vicki, your weight loss and overall feeling better is great news. I keep reading and am making small changes in my diet but haven't made the leap you have. One of these days I hope to do so. I have a husband who is pretty set in his eating ways, doesn't like to try new foods, etc. It is a challenge. It is not an excuse. Anyway, you are inspiring to me. Thanks and I wish you well with sticking with it.
I am grateful for your blog! Happy Thanksgiving.


Vicki, I would like to order some of your Realize worsted weight yarn in the color Rachel red whenever you get to dyeing some. No hurry. I could not seem to find another way to contact you about this.
Thanks. Linda

Dawn in NL

Hi Vicki,
I have been very impressed with your stories about weightloss and general wellbeing improvements.

I have (late onset) type 1 diabetes and other health issues and have been considering trying a new way of eating. I eat mostly vegetarian but probably too many carbs. Just wondering how you manage that.

Good luck


I'm more a Nourishing Tradition girl than all out paleo and better for my limited budget but it sounds like it's really working for you.
I was catering at a wedding last night and had a piece of wedding cake and didn't enjoy it - it tasted much too sweet. The conditioning is working!


Hearing about your use of Evernote has made me all the more curious, so I'm checking it out now. With so many friends thinking about food, talking about food and eating good food it's inspiring and fun to read of their progress. This post is packed full of great information! Thank you for that and for encouraging the rest of us!

Word Lily

I haven't read Wheat Belly, but I've heard a lot about it! (I'm gluten free because I'm celiac, have been completely GF for 3+ years now.) I started getting serious about getting healthy in Spring 2011, since which I've also gotten pregnant and had a baby, and I'm 40+ pounds down from my initial starting weight. I've got a long ways to go still, but I haven't been able to exercise consistently the past 6 months because doing so negatively impacts the little one's food supply. But I'm so eager to get back at it, to again see regular losses.

Robin F.

Well done, you know I'm following your progress and with each post I'm getting more and more interested. I will start my reading with your list above. Good luck
Thanks for the encouragement.


Healthy eating can be a challenge in American culture but it is definitely worth it! I lost 20 pounds this summer after going gluten-free; now the challenge is to keep it off and continue the trend.

Speaking of paperless, I attended a technology session at the tax conference last week, and the speaker advocated setting up some kind of file in the cloud (Dropbox, for example), putting copies of important stuff there (wills, life insurance policies, bank account locations and numbers), and giving your adult kids access to it -- all JustInCaseSomethingHappens. Really a good idea and one I plan to implement.


Great Post! I read every word and I am thinking about it....as my knees are killing me.

Congratulations to you on your weigh to such a healthy lifestyle!


Such great news, Vicki! The key to losing weight, getting fit, and ... staying that way . . . is a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. So glad you're seeing such wonderful results! You are AWESOME!


Congratulations on your continuing weight loss. It seems like a lot of bloggers are using this diet and I've been thinking of trying it. Thanks for the giveaway!

Julia in KW

Bravo! I need to get my own act in gear after reading of your success...being a picky eater means I have to challenge myself to try new things, though in my case I think the bigger impact would be to get my butt moving... (and the rest of me, too!) Thanks for the inspiration and continued success!


Thanks for this! Just the other day I was scrambling through your blog trying to remember what changes you were/are making in your life. Congratulations on your discipline and good health!


I have considered making some dietary changes for myself but keep running into the problem of my husband not being interested in doing the same.

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