Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ke'e Beach

Ke'e Beach is the last beach you can drive to on the north shore, because the road ends before the wilderness area called the Na Pali coast. You can see the first cliffs of the coast in the background. What a sweet cuddly boy. See, he does like the beach! He has been adjusting to the new setting and sleeping much better than he did at first. In fact, he has finally learned to sleep without being swaddled! It just kind of had to happen, since it is too warm here to be wrapped up so tightly. So, hooray!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Anini Beach and a sunset

These pictures are from yesterday. We took it pretty easy today, but did get to the beach for a few minutes. Maybe I will put up some more pictures in the morning when the baby gets us up at 6 a.m....or maybe not, if we decide to hike down to the beach for an early morning swim. :)

Our condo isn't right next to the beach, but we found a way to get to Anini Beach on foot. It's a pretty steep hike, but the scenery is cool.

Ready to go to the beach! Hanging out with mom on the beach. Falling asleep on the hike home. I don't know how to take a good picture of a sunset. Probably need a more expensive camera. This is the best one I got.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hanalei Bay

After going to the Princeville branch for church this morning, unsuccessfully trying to get Dorian to take a nap, and sitting through a 2-hour attempt to sell the grandparents more timeshare points, we finally made it to the beach this afternoon.

I wish we had gotten Dorian's first dip in the ocean on video...he hated it. You can see he didn't really love playing in the sand, either. He was still a pretty good sport about the whole thing, but I could see in his eyes that he was just hoping it would be over soon. The sand, the ocean, and the sun finally wore him out enough that he gave in to his tiredness and took a nap. On the beach. Russell and I took advantage of the chance to leave him with grandma and go play in the ocean. Cute sleeping baby feet. The gorgeous view of the mountains across the bay. It was awesome.

Flying to Kauai

Dorian stole his dad's headphones so he could rock out to some tunes. He really did surprisingly well on the 6 and a half hour flight. Of course, when else does he get the undivided attention of both his parents and as many snacks as he wants, all day long? Here is Russell looking hot (duh) at the airport in Lihue, Kauai. Dorian isn't wearing pants because, well, it's too warm for pants here, and he's a baby, so he can get away with just taking them off. I had to keep mine on.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dorian's New Stroller

We got him an umbrella stroller for Hawaii. I guess he doesn't know he's supposed to ride IN it.

We have had a couple of friends offer to let us borrow push-walker toys for him, but I guess this is just as good. My favorite part is that his jeans are falling off.

So yes, we decided to take Dorian with us to Hawaii. We leave this Saturday! I plan on posting pictures periodically during the trip, so you'll still hear from us.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Healthy Meal Ideas

Here are a few healthy-ish things we have been eating over the past couple of weeks that have been really yummy:
  • Pasta with pesto sauce, cannelini beans, and red peppers (follow the link and reference Sunday night's supper)
  • Pita sandwiches (whole wheat pita pockets with lunch meat1, cheese, spinach, tomato, avocado, salt, and pepper)--for a second course, we each had a sandwich made with just the veggies, which was completely delicious in a whole different way.
  • Wraps (whole wheat tortillas with many of the same fillers as the pitas, but we also like to add cottage cheese and a light vinaigrette2 dressing to our wraps)
  • Chicken marinated in balsamic vinegar and seasonings. Actually I think we ended up using the chicken in some more pita sandwiches, because they were just so yummy. But we have had this chicken on its own before, and it tastes really good by itself.
  • White chicken chili3
  • Salad bar (romaine and/or spinach, tomatoes, ham1, cheese, avocado, red pepper, broccoli, salt and pepper, light dressing)--this was really just an attempt to use up all the veggies in our fridge before they went bad, but ended up being really yummy and I think we'll make it a weekly event.
Many of these meals incorporated a lot of veggies already, but we had steamed zucchini4 with the pesto pasta, and steamed broccoli5 with the balsamic chicken. The corn bread we had with the chili wasn't quite as healthy...but very yummy... :) We also had canned peaches and pears with the salad, and probably should have had more fruits with the other dinners (we are trying to eat apples and other fruits with our lunches). Of course, we also had nights where we ate spaghetti with garlic bread, grilled cheese and tomato soup, and cookie dough. So, like I said before, we are changing the way we eat, but...not to an extreme. :)
1. Lunch meat is not a universally healthy thing, but if you read labels, you can find some that is better than others. When we compared all brands at our local grocery store, we found the Buddig Deli Cuts and the Land O'Frost DeliShaved meats to have the fewest sugars and other unnatural ingredients.
2. We used a Kraft light balsamic vinaigrette dressing. I prefer the "light" dressings over the fat-free dressings, because the light dressings have very little fat or sugar, and often the fat-free dressings compensate for the lack of fat by adding a lot of sugar.
3. My mother-in-law's recipe:
In crockpot combine:
3 15-oz cans great northern beans
2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken (or canned)
1 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 cans chicken broth
Cook on low 8 to 10 hours or high 4 to 5 hours. Thicken with flour/water paste if desired. Serve with grated cheese.

4. I steamed the zucchini with a little bit of chicken bouillon, which added a lot of flavor but not a lot of fat (probably too much salt, if you're worried about that...)
5. I steamed the broccoli with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bath Time

Monday, April 13, 2009

Healthy Eating

As I said in my hCG weight loss post, Russell and I are making some big lifestyle changes in order to maintain and improve our health. Probably the biggest change, of course, involves changing the way that we eat.

I am sharing this with you because it has been a difficult journey for me, and I am still figuring it out. When we first got married, I had no idea what kind of meals to make (as a single person I had been used to eating frozen burritos, macaroni and cheese, and quesadillas for dinner most of the time). As time went on, I developed menus based on this system:

  1. choose a meat
  2. prepare it with a yummy sauce or in a creamy casserole, usually with lots of cheese
  3. supplement it with a fruit or veggie on the side (on a good day)
As I have recently learned, this system is flawed in several fundamental ways:
  1. Meat, while it contains protein and other good nutrients, also contains a lot of fat, and we eat much more of it than we need. A serving size of meat is about 4 ounces, or half of a medium-sized chicken breast. And we can get many of the same nutrients from eating beans, whole grains, nuts, and fish.
  2. Vegetables, on the other hand, are loaded with nutrients, and have very few calories. A serving size of vegetables is much larger than what we usually eat (for instance, there are only 3 servings in one of those big pre-packaged bags of spinach). Our meals, instead of being meat-based with veggies on the side, should be vegetable-based with a little meat.
  3. A good portion of the fat and calories that we eat comes from the sauces and condiments that we use. If we flavor our foods with spices and vinegars instead of creams and oils, we can cut down significantly on the calories and fat content of our meals.

So, I am in the process of redoing my menus. I am searching for healthy and tasty meals--hopefully ones that won't cost an arm and a leg, or take hours to prepare. I will share my finds with you (later...this post is already too long), and I would love it if you would share yours with me.

Now just in case you think I am as fanatic as this post makes me sound, I must admit that I still put sour cream on my burritos, and I still eat chocolate on a regular basis. We go out for cheeseburgers sometimes, and we eat ice cream when the urge hits. The difference is that we used to eat like that all the time, and now we are trying to shift the balance so that the majority of what we eat is healthy.

I have said before that I think we often focus too much on losing weight, and we are too hard on ourselves about the way that we look. I hope you don't see my efforts toward healthy eating as hypocritical in view of that statement. Rather, I hope you can see that I am concerned for the health of my family, and I am searching for realistic ways to stay healthy while still enjoying food, because I do think eating is one of the great pleasures in life.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He eats!

Well, sometimes he does better than others. Yesterday he thought the sweet potatoes were pretty yummy.

I put that last little clip in there so you could see his little squinty-eyed courtesy laugh when he doesn't want what we're offering. Like, nice try, but you're kidding, right?

Dorian has been sick off and on for about 8 weeks now. He had a fever, a runny nose, a cough, another fever...and then an allergic reaction to an antibiotic and a bad ear infection. Throughout all this, he stopped eating well and lost 8 ounces. Fortunately, he is now almost done with his second antibiotic, the cough and the ear infection are gone, he is eating much better, and he has regained the weight he lost. Unfortunately that still only puts him in the 1.5th percentile for weight. Should we all just keep our kids home all winter? And ourselves? Or is this really "good for their immune systems," like we all keep hoping?

Monday, April 6, 2009

hCG Weight Loss

Remember when Russell and I publicly declared our weight loss goals, and vowed to give you weekly updates? Holy cow, that was clear back in September. We figured posting it would give us accountability and keep us motivated. Well, it did, but I'm sure it's obvious that we got a little discouraged. We were exercising almost daily. We were trying to watch what we ate. In two months time, Russell lost 4 pounds, and I lost 2 and a half. We didn't really give up, but we stopped advertising our weekly weight on the chart.

Well, I have updated the chart, and moved it back up to a semi-visible spot there on the right...down a bit...see it? You will notice that over the last 6 weeks, Russell has lost 40 pounds. Wow, right? As he was designing and programming a website for one of his clients, Trielle Hormone Balance Centers (cool website design, huh?), he learned about a weight loss program that utilizes the hormone hCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin) to facilitate weight loss. Though it seems counterintuitive that the pregnancy hormone would cause fat loss, somehow it does. I asked Russell to write an explanation of how the diet works, and what his experience was like:

There are 2 parts to the hCG diet protocol:
  1. Administration of the hCG hormone. The most effective way to administer this is by injection. I gave myself a shot for 40 days (6 days a week) in my leg (rotating injection sites). The shot didn't hurt, but it was weird to inject myself.
  2. A very low-calorie diet. 500 calories a day. 100g of meat, 100g of veggies, a fruit, and a melba toast--that's a meal. I'd eat 2 meals a day. Oh--and drink a gallon of water.
Now before you freak out and get all concerned about starvation, let me explain how and why this works. There are 3 kinds of fat in your body: structural, normal reserves, and abnormal accumulations. When a person tries to lose weight by eating a lot less calories than they are used to, the body first gets energy from muscle (which isn't good), and then from normal fat reserves (they're easy to access). Only after you've lost about 20 pounds does the body start going after the abnormal fat. Which is why most people can lose 20 pounds easily, and then they hit a wall. It is also why when they stop dieting, they gain all the weight back--their body is replacing the fat that it NEEDS in order to function normally.

hCG teaches your body to burn ABNORMAL fat. While on the hCG protocol, the body actually burns about 4000 calories a day from abnormal fat reserves. You consume 500 calories for a net loss of 3500 calories a day--1 pound. The body is getting all the nutrition and energy it needs from the fat in the body (and the small amount of carbs, protein, and vitamins you are consuming--I actually ate a lot more fruits and veggies than I had ever been used to eating before). As a result, your body never goes into "starvation mode"--I never got shaky, I never felt weak, I never got a headache. Rather, I felt energized, healthy, and happy. I did get hungry (my stomach was mostly empty most of the time), but I actually grew to like this hunger, because I knew it meant I would be 1 pound lighter the next morning.

My weight loss wasn't consistently 1 pound a day--I had plateaus (especially at the end), but overall, I lost 40 pounds in 40 days! And it feels great!

I would like to add that the hCG protocol should be administered by prescription and under the close supervision of a licensed medical doctor. It's not for everyone, but we are grateful for it. Russell has been happier the last several weeks than I have seen him in a long time, and I can tell he feels really good.

I have been thinking a lot about how much we beat ourselves up about our bodies and our weight. I believe that maintaining our health is important, and sometimes that means we need to lose some weight. But there are times when a little extra weight is okay, and it is not necessary to feel guilty about a bowl of ice cream here and there. My mom always told me that if I breastfed my babies, the pregnancy weight would just melt away, but actually, my body seems to be hanging on to the extra weight, as if it is worried I won't have enough calories to feed the baby. I have lost 5 pounds since November, and I feel good about that, even though I'd still like to lose about 15 more. I can do it in a few months when I'm no longer supporting another life with my body. (Although I would like to look a little better in my swimsuit for Hawaii, darn it!)

Obviously, Russell and I are making some pretty big lifestyle changes in order to maintain the new level of health that he has achieved, and hopefully help him lose even more weight, as well as improve my health. I will be posting more about what changes we are making, and how we are learning to make healthy eating a regular part of our lives.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Computer Time

Dorian loves to watch his daddy work on his laptop. But mostly, he just wants to start designing his own web pages. He doesn't get this opportunity very often...I guess we'll have to get him his own laptop in a few years.