Krissie: What doesn’t kill us

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, which makes most women the powerhouses they are. It’s been such a disastrous week, but I was able to hold on to what was important, what I could do something about, and Jenny’s like the maidens of St. Trinians:
“Maidens of St Trinian’s, gird your armour on.
Grab the nearest weapon; never mind which one.
The battle’s to the strongest; might is always right.
Trample on the weakest; glory in their plight”

Even if we didn’t actually go to that cross between an English girls’ school and a reformatory, we have the fighting spirit. And most of us, though more honorable than some of our male counterparts, are willing to fight dirty in defense of our lives and those we love.

My health situation isn’t as bad. Constant pain, and I suppose I could have something inside hidden away that’s out to get me, but basically I’m doing better than Jenny. In fact, when we were first talking about setting this up I told her I was afraid of dying, and mentioned all my danger areas (the huge weight, the brush with ovarian cancer, the high blood pressure) and she countered and raised me a stage three colon cancer, her weight and her blood disease, and I said “okay, you win, you die sooner.” We decided this was not a healthy competition.

In the end, we’re fighting for our lives, and we take no prisoners. Kale? Bring it on. I spit on Kale. (Well, that probably won’t help).

There’s nothing worse than feeling powerless. When we can fight back it makes all the difference. Knowledge is a huge weapon, anger is as well. The “I’m not going to let this get me” kind of anger can be wonderfully effective. Jenny might tell you sometime about what she did to get rid of her cancer, and it wasn’t imagining fluffy clouds and peaceful pastures. Anger’s her friend.

I was feeling overwhelmed by weight and feeling frozen, and hurting. What I decided was two-fold. I remembered how journalling had helped, and then thought a public one would keep me honest, bring in partners in the battle, and Jenny, thank God, said “shit yes” and we were off. The other thing I did was come up with my own food plan.

I’ve lost tons of weight on WW (usually the best), Atkins, Protein Power, South Beach, Scarsdale, OA (which isn’t a diet and everything I learned from that stays with me), and probably everything else one can think of. After fifty some years of thinking I was fat, whether I weighed 129 or 280, I know about nutrition, plus, my husband had a heart attack and has since kept off more than 50 pounds.

So I decided to make my own, obvious plan.
Breakfast is something grainy with protein. I’ve added a few almonds — great idea from someone here.
So far lunch tends to be a Lean Cuisine because I can grab it.
Dinner is whatever inspires me.
No fried foods. No sugar. No white stuff (though there are a couple of recipes that call for white rice that I don’t know how to convert). No fast food. Gone from 8 plus Diet Cokes to a single one in the morning, and I find that I don’t crave other stuff as much without it.
And no seconds, ever. Not even at the Thai restaurant a couple of nights ago when it’s served family style and of course you have more.

Richie handed me a ten pound weight to see what I’d lost, and I was astonished. 10 pounds always seems like nothing, but holding that impressed me. Imagine when I’m down fifty? I’ll be skipping.

Jenny and I will still be fighting battles as we trundle along in our lame-leading-the-blind old lady processional, and we’ll need spiffy new armor for the battle. But we’ll be in the battle together, with all the rest of you maidens of St. Trinians.


36 thoughts on “Krissie: What doesn’t kill us

  1. Krissie,
    God, it’s just one of those days. I woke up to dog shit in my bedroom, from my very smart, passive-aggressive dog Sophie.
    You know it’s going to be one of those days when it starts like that.
    But you are doing so well, in spite of life sending crap your way.
    Keep doing it for you. You deserve to feel well and be happy. You put those ten friggin’ pounds down, and now you’re going to work on the next ten and feel good.

  2. Yes!!! Be like Katniss in The Hunger Games. Be determined not to shut your eyes as you confront your opponents, be fierce, be brave.

    When you truly “see” things, when you’re really aware of your surroundings, you raise your body/mind level of understanding and can make the changes that will soon be the new tracks that your body grooves to, and you’ll get off the old tired worn out rut you’ve been trundling along.

  3. Yes, Liz! I couldn’t agree more. Krissy is an inspiration! Thanks for this post, Krissy–you’ve given me motivation to skip the white stuff today…and last night, I baked the fish and had that and a giant salad that for some reason was unnaturally tasty. We shall persevere, all the maidens…

  4. Some days are pants and some days are a bit goddessy. And some days have a bit of both.

    Today was a goddessy day – there were things that needed to be said and done at work, and I said and did them, and all my colleagues felt the benefit. The teaching went well – my students were on the ball, focused and staying on task, and I was able to build on their work and explain how they needed to use it and they all pretty much got it. And then I got home to two really great Re-fab posts celebrating female friendship and getting stronger.

    Thank you – now I’m going to strong-arm that chicken out of the oven and eat a very healthy meal of ratatouille, roast pumpkin. Yayyyy

  5. Way to go, Krissie. Your food plan sounds like a good, balanced, healthy plan. I actually like kale. I heated some in a little olive oil and garlic and then mixed in some canneloni beans for extra fiber and protein and finished it off with a little lemon juice. Yummy!

    Can you use brown rice instead of white rice?

    A friend of mine throws a handful of mixed greens into her otherwise fruity smoothie. I tried it and found the taste delicious — not at all green and earthy.

    What doesn’t kill us does indeed make us stronger. My fat will eventually kill me, which is why I’m taking drastic measures. Half measures avail us nothing!

    Ten pounds is great progress. You’re awesome!

  6. Courtney says:

    Congrats on the 10 pounds, Krissie. You are a true St. Trinian’s girl:-)

    Thank you so much to you and Jenny for starting this blog. You are an inspiration to all of us.

  7. My husband picked up his twenty pound weight the other day to remind himself how much better he would feel without it. You don’t always realize the extra burden.

    And speaking of burdens…I’ve been in a bit of a rut. But reading your post today, I am inspired to shake off the extra emotional and physical weight I’m dragging around behind me. It’s slowing me down, and there is no one else but me who can cut that shit loose.

    I remember wanting to actively kick my addiction in the teeth. I had a clear sense that it was a battle for my life, and I wasn’t going to lose. I think I need to adopt that mind set again.

    Thanks, Krissie.

  8. romney says:

    I was carrying my boy on shoulders the other day thinking phew! what a weight! And then remembered that he isn’t even as heavy as the amount of weight I lost last year. It was like I was carrying an extra person around the whole time. No wonder I was tired!

  9. The two recipes I’ve got to figure out how to change are a microwave one with shrimp and a pressure cooker one with black beans. With both of those the timing would be off, but I can always experiment.

  10. Reb says:

    Could you leave the rice out, cut the liquid back to compensate, and serve with brown rice cooked separately?

    I’m thinking of cooking masses of brown rice and free-flow freezing it. Then I could just thaw it quick for dinner.

    Yep, I’m the world’s laziest cook.

  11. Egads says:

    I love the idea of you skipping along after 50 pounds off, Krissie. I’m doing my own weight loss/clean-the-house thing right along with you. Thanks for starting this blog and inspiring me.

  12. JulieB says:

    Good for Richie and great for you! When I realized one pound was actually 4 sticks of butter, and actually _looked_ at what 4 sticks of butter looked like, size and texture, I felt a lot better when I’d have slower weeks. Imagine what 40 sticks of butter look like! And it’s gone!

  13. Katherine Peterson says:

    You are doing an amazing job Krissie. If you had ‘super ears’, you’d hear cheering every time you make a good choice. Go you.

    This sounds a bit goofy, but I know from joint pain, and it really helps. Work on your posture. Our bodies are incredibly helpful and they reinforce our habits. So, if we slouch or if some bit of us is chronically misaligned, our bodies add and adjust our fascia to support the misalignment causing chronic pain. Basically, the slump or the torqued knees get cemented into shape. The good news is that it’s reversible. If we practice good habits, our bodies, bless them, reinforce proper alignment.

    There are lots of really fine books on the subject of posture. I would recommend them for your advanced course. As a beginning the book that sticks with me is “The Science of Sitting Made Simple” by Gregg J. Carb. The points are simple and clear, and the illustrations are just goofy enough to be memorable.

    I know this kind of change seems impossible. I thought so too, but it isn’t. Here is the formula. You figure out where proper alignment is, and what it feels like to you (as a guess– weird at first). On the first day you notice you’re slouching and you correct yourself a couple of times. The next day you notice/correct ten times. From there the number of times a day you notice/correct increases geometrically or possibly exponentially until you are noticing/correcting a thousand times a day. At this point the slouching actually starts to feel ‘off’, and the notice/correct thing drops down to a very manageable maintenance level. Voila beautiful posture, and woohoo decreased pain.

    I couldn’t/can’t fight arthritis. Maybe angry at a chronic condition was too tense for me. (Seriously, I’ve been cursed for my ‘infernal optimism’.) I had to forgive my hip joint. It hadn’t betrayed me or let me down, it did the best it could given what it had to work with. Such a simple idea, but felt like a turning point from fighting a disease to working to create health.

    Tomorrow is my new hip joint’s third birthday. There will be party hats and singing to my marvel of titanium and PVC plastic. It is a medical miracle. I made an icon from a scanned image of my post-op X-ray, and every day I look at it speechless with gratitude. And every day I resolve to do everything I possibly can to preserve and keep the biological hip.

  14. I’m honored to witness your process. I read Allen Carr’s little book on not dieting and it’s helped to change my thought processes some. Even when I make bad decisions they’re more conscious now. I think that’s good.

  15. Ms Clever and I are Allen Carr devotees, ever since he helped me to become a non-smoker (easily, no shit). And now, in my own ReFabbing, I’ve lost about ten or so pounds too. It’s encouraging as hell!

    Here’s my Good Food (NOT diet) suggestion du jour:
    wheatberries. Very yummy, used in place of rice, and super cheap.
    You’re welcome. 😉

  16. Micki says:

    I find myself hunching over the computer, and have to correct a lot . . . probably should invest in some ergonomic keyboard and seating.

    I’m looking into Feldenkrais right now — there are some super-simple things on YouTube that I started with, like sitting. But I’m just playing around right now. If anyone has experience w/the Feldenkrais method, I would like to hear more.

  17. Micki says:

    Great post . . . .

    I am just so angry today about the diet thing, and I’m usually a person who Doesn’t Do Anger. My dentist now offers nutritional consultation; I thought it was some sort of survey, and I knew I should have said no . . . but I didn’t. The woman laughed at some of the things I said. And then when I pulled “carbohydrates” and “protein” out of my bag of tricks, she was amazed. (A foreigner who throws around words like carbohydrates and protein is like a talking dog to these people . . . .) Amazed, she told me that Japanese people tend to overeat during the New Year’s season, and when that overeating season is over, I’ll probably lose weight.

    She was being reconciliating, but . . . really? Fucking really? I’m channeling Jennifer Warner’s fat woman . . . .

  18. EllenB says:

    MBF (muscle balance function) has helped me a lot with various aches and pains. I got rid of more or less cronic neck and shoulder pain that gave me migraine-like headaches several times a month, my knee don’t hurt any more and my back stopped protesting about just about everything. It relieved pain in my feet from flat arches, and my balance improved. A 30 min work out every morning for 6 months did the trick. Now I do maintenance once a week. 🙂

  19. Katherine Peterson says:

    The research that I’ve read on modalities that concentrate on very precise movement and alignment like Feldenkrais seems very positive. My guilty secret is that (until I quit my job and devote myself full time to body work), I want my joint work to be more active. If you’re trying to teach yourself, perhaps you would enjoy the methods of Eric Franklin (the Franklin Method) or Yamuna Zake (Yamuna Body Rolling). Books, websites, and props for both are easy to find.

  20. Are wheat berries actually wheat? or something else? Because I’m giving up wheat for a while. Alton Brown and I are at a truce. I’m taking some of his suggestions, but not all of them.

    However I was talking to my brother who is a Doctor of Chinese Medicine and he told me about a doctor of western medicine who believes that the changes we’ve made to wheat in the last fifty years is detrimental to our health. Apparently, It’s been modified from selective breeding to the point it’s not the same thing anymore. You eat it and it get’s converted directly to sugar in your blood. I thought eating whole grain was acceptable, but he said whole grain wheat is not what it once was either.

    So I’m giving it a try. I’m committing to three weeks and from there we’ll see. If I feel better, (I don’t have scales so I can’t see if I’ve lost weight), if my blood sugar has stabilized I’ll stick to it. If not, then I’ll let myself have wheat again.

    Thank goodness my brother has a bunch of wheatless recipes. That will help a lot.

  21. Krissie — I just weighed myself this morning — at the GYM no less — I lurked around in my towel waiting for all the other (thin) women to leave the toilet area so I could weigh myself without anyone seeing me start at the ‘200’ rather than the ‘150’ – as if they wouldn’t know just looking at me. I’ve gained almost 15 pounds since moving — the move happened after a victorious 8 pound weight loss that took me nearly 7 months and I can’t tell you how many gallons of sweat — so basically, as I write this, I am just about back where I was, plus some, when I started a weight loss program LAST YEAR. And I am in shape. I work out a LOT. So, anyway, I actually just quit my Weight Watchers membership – which cost me $40 a month — I’ve been “doing” it (translation: doing it sometimes, not doing it most of the time) for years and years and years — thinking I would do my own program, like you. I am inspired by yours, but I can’t handle lean cuisines. It’s just not enough food! but I like how you broke it down: grainy/proteiny for breakfast, lite for lunch, have what you want for dinner, no white stuff. It’s that white stuff that gets me. Anyway … thanks for the inspiration. I was wishing for a support system this morning, and maybe checking in here can sort of be like that as I follow your journey and get inspired by it.

  22. Ylva Hedin says:

    You are doing a great job and not only do you do it to your self but your plan and writing about it makes more people want a change! I know I do!!!!!! So you are great!

  23. Mermaid Scribbler says:

    Kate George – I’ve been gluten and wheat free for over five years. Here are some favorites: Bob’s gluten free steel cut oatmeal or McCann’s (which is not technically GF, but processed in a separate plant and has never bothered me. I have it with cinnamon and a small dash of maple syrup for breakfast. Chex cereal is gluten free. Masteca makes a corn flour (or meal) that is perfect for tortillas. They take four minutes to make 4, and they are authentic and good. If you love chocolate, try organic raw cocoa powder for homemade hot chocolate or Enjoy Life’s chocolate chips. I love rice dishes, and Aromas of Aleppo is a favorite cookbook. It is the cuisine of the Syrian Jews, and it is good! Madhyr Jaffrey writes the most wonderful cookbooks. Her World Vegetarian has recipes broken down by vegetable. If you look up spinach, she has vegetarian recipes for spinach from around the world. It’s not all wheat free, but their is a Kale recipe from Trinidad that tastes EXACTLY like my grandmother’s collard greens (she was from Georgia so you know they were delicious). Also, she has a pizza from Nice, socca? made from chickpea flour. Fabulous for a gluten free pizza, or as a low carb, protein rich side. You can find Jennifer Cornbleet’s recipe for chocolate mousse made with avocados – it really is good. Just mash the avocados before you put them in the cuisinart! Gluten is hidden in cornstarch (many brands now say gluten free on the label), baking soda and powder, spices (McCormick’s are gluten free), vanilla extract, stamps (I learned that the hard way), the glue that holds the first paper towel on the paper towel roll, and make-up. I can’t even have things made in plants that process foods with wheat or gluten! I use Afterglow Cosmetics because they are allergy free, and they feel good. Check out your local Asian market for lots of fun rice pastas in all shapes and sizes. I love pasta made by Ancient Harvest and Kinnikkinnik. I love corn polenta. Quiona is an excellent substitute for couscous. Look for millet flour and gluten free buckwheat flour. They have lots of uses, especially buckwheat cereal. My best gluten free books are by Betty Hagman and Cybelle Pascal. The
    latter is vegan and allergy free. She has some great cakes and muffins. Sorry for the info
    overload! I’m off to change a diaper 🙂

  24. Michele/Twin Betty/Cherry Squared says:

    Long time lurker, first time poster….

    Try Jasmine Rice or Basmati. Healthier than white rice, but not as “heavy” as brown rice can be. Those are compromises in my house where my DH refuses to eat the brown variety of pasta or rice because he hates the taste.

  25. Kate, I started that by going gluten-free three months ago. I’ve never been healthier and most of my digestive rumbles and grumbles have disappeared. I’ll bet the Dr. is the same one who wrote Lose the Wheat Lose the Weight, (or vice versa…not positive on the title). It was an interesting read and made much good sense to me. I remember it took about three weeks before the true effect kicked in, and there were a couple of tummy aches along the way. : )

  26. Everytime you talk about living in Japan I get green with envy! But the Japanese attitude towards things is almost a polar opposite to me. So I can’t fulfill my fantasy and marry a Japanese rock star — we’d never get along. Besides, Richie would object,

  27. I do love Weight Watchers too but I dropped my membership too. I’ve learned a lot from them over the years, but it was time to … not go it alone, because I have all of you. But come up with something for me. One thing for sure — one diet does not fit all, so I may as well do one custom made.

  28. Micki says:

    (-: Japan is just . . . this place, you know? Great for a visit. When you live there, there are wonderful things and crap things, just like anyplace else. Visit the Japan in your imagination, and you’ll have a wonderful time! (And if you come to Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan, let me know! I know of a fabulous swimming pool in Sapporo with the unusual name of Gateaux Kingdom (aka, Fairy Fontaine).)

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