New Foreigner Book!


a few hardcovers and pbs available from Closed Circle, signed. Latest: Moonlover and the Fountain of Blood, Jane Fancher short story. Chernevog, part 2 of the Rusalka trilogy co-written by CJ and Jane; and Orion's Children, a tetralogy from Lynn.

Finally down a pound on the diet…that is…

Down a pound from the lowest I’ve been, period. So all the holiday weight is off, plus one. Jane’s aggravated because she’s not losing at the moment, and we have indulged a bit in low-carb (but not carb-free) ice cream—which, let me tell you, is a new product that tastes better than some real-carb ice cream. The buttered pecan is to die for!) but she’s working on the end of a book, and the rule is that the writer who’s on the end of a book doesn’t worry about diets…so yes, she’ll lose it, just not this week or so.

I found that coffee interferes with my thyroid pills—a new study—and while I don’t pay attention to most such if-you-eat-this-you’ll-die-in-a-ditch reports, my thyroid meds are serious. Well, like most people, I do wake up midway through the night pretty predictably, so I just take my pill then, and still get my precious morning coffee on time.

It’s also teasing us with snow this morning. We want a real snowfall.

And we may, depending on where Jane is in her work and what the weather’s doing, go to Home Depot and get someone to come out and measure our fence for a replacement: it’s being held up by board patches in one corner, and the paint is peeling. We’re not fond of this fence, which is rickety, with the posts rotten here and there; and I don’t know its vintage—it’s younger than the house, which is sixty years old; but it’s got some years on it. Every time you open the big gate, you have to get a shovel to lever the right side back so it’ll close. And that whole wall wobbles, not to mention the one in the far back which is now being held by boards I screwed on. It’s not likely they can do this in winter, but we can at least get first dibs on fence replacement in the spring.

40 comments to Finally down a pound on the diet…that is…

  • smartcat

    Ummmm, you can have some of ours, (I’m in NH helping care for my terminally ill brother.) we are getting a big storm that is supposed to be even worse down in RI.

    I have just been diagnosed as being in the early stages of type 2 diabetes… am exploring the world of low-carb… doc feels I can control entirely through diet, weight loss, and exercise…which brings me to your Compact Core thingie. Do you still like it? I know it’s only been a few weeks…..but I’ve found that two or three weeks is the turn around for exercise equipment.

    Is it coffee or caffeine that interferes with your thyroid medicine? If it’s caffeine I have a friend who drinks as much tea as I do who may be clueing in. A little google work may be in order here!

    It’s winter but we also are planning for spring….our next big project is redoing the pool area. Proge has made the pond so beautiful that now we have to upgrade everything else.

    I was/am so glad to read that Jane managed to recover the lost work and is progressing onward. We use that rule too, the person working on a project get to abdicate most responsibilities; I probably would have starved to death before Christmas if it hadn’t been for Proge.

    Congratulations on the weight loss!

    • CJ

      So sorry to hear about your brother. Hugs. And re the low-carb thing, yes, there are a ton-o things that can help. Number one is reading labels, and doing the math: note that most cans are supposed to feed 2 people. Number two is the ability to use Splenda if you can—no blood-sugar rebound; get a Soda Stream for drinks, because it uses Splenda-based diet syrups; you can have wine in moderation (a glass) and likewise you can have an ounce of hard liquor but NO mixed drinks. and go online to Atkins and get one of their kits: it comes with a nice little pocket-sized booklet that lists carb content for common foods. Assuming you don’t want to lose weight, just bring the carb level down, eat meat, cheese, eggs and green veggies freely; avoid red fruits and veggies; avoid breads entirely; avoid white vegetables. If you can keep your total carb intake for the day under 60, you’ll probably satisfy your doc at the next visit. Fear tomatoes in every incarnation: they’re hidden carb. If you have to have chips, go to sweet potatoes; they satisfy you fairly fast—Terra is a good brand. If you have to have sweets, get an Atkins diet bar, or ask us: there are other things. Take vitamins…this diet is low on fruit because of the carbs. But you don’t go hungry on it. Pizza is surprisingly not too bad for you, but limit yourself to two slices and order the thin crust.

      The horse—yes, both of us are still using it; and it’s helping my sciatica. If I start getting that pain, 5 minutes on that equipment is better than painkillers; it realigns the lower back and stops it.

      • smartcat

        Thanks for the tips. I’m glad the horse is working out; I’m seriously considering buying one.
        Corrine T. Netzer’s Complete Book of Counts (not sure that that is the absolute right name, but it can be googles) has just about all the information breakdown anyone could want. She does calories, sugar, fat, fiber carbs….maybe more. She even has McDonald’s, Burger King etc. and boy will those counts open your eyes!

        So! just continue to read! Very cold here, no snow in NH lots down in RI.

    • Walt

      A problem with labels is they have too much wiggle room. As soon as they say “About __ servings” you have to break out the calculator because they’re playing with the numbers to get some number to a Marketing goal.

      Frex: A can of tuna, 50 calories. Could be 54 calories rounded. “About 3 servings.” Serving size 2 oz, container size 7 oz, so 3 1/2 servings or around 175 calories total. The serving size is probably dialed down to get the 50 calories they want you to see on the label. Of course, maybe it’s just me and most people divide their little cans of tuna into 3 1/2 servings.

      A kitchen scale is very useful. Watch out for the ones that use (and quickly burn through) expensive coin batteries. I like these OXOs; I have the stainless one (5 kg/11 lbs capacity):
      It makes life really easy: you just add until you get to the serving size you want; zero it; add the next ingredient; repeat. The 5 pound version is a little too lightweight since you have to add in the weight of the plate or bowl or frying pan or whatever you’re putting the food onto–and the water possibly. If you do big meals, or use a pressure cooker or a crockpot, you might want the 10kg/22 lbs model.

      I drink tea, too, and I’ve used the scale to gently dial down the milk and sugar I add. I don’t notice the change any more.

  • chondrite

    Congratulations on the weight loss, one hopes Jane catches up soon. We’ve been vigilant in our house about losing, although we could be better about portion control (it’s a huge spinach salad, how bad could it be? Don’t ask.) Sadly, we have put back on some of what we lost, and are not that sanguine about more exercise/dietary restrictions.

    Good luck with the fence replacement. Tackle it once the weather is good enough, before the cursed thing blows over on someone!

    FiL will happily send you some of the schmutz that is threatening the East Coast right now.

  • CJ

    Salad is one of the worst things for someone trying to lose weight on a low carb diet, so we avoid it: salad dressing is concentrated sugar and fat in one glorious cocktail: how could THAT be a problem, eh?

    I sympathize. We put on about 8 pounds over the holidays, but we’re fighting our way out of it. I just made it back to level, and Jane will!

    • To be honest, I don’t care for any salad dressings, at all. If it’s available, I put lemon juice on my salad. When I go out to eat, if there’s a salad, I ask for lemon wedges. It gives me the bite of a vinegar, but there’s no oil, no sugars, no fats. At home, I have the small bottle of lemon juice or those squeeze lemons (I don’t use those, not economic).

      • Sgt Saturn

        I had a friend who used to say, “If the salad is fresh, you don’t need any dressing.” Not my recommendation, but it seemed to work for him.

        I sometimes use salsa for salad dressing. Some of my friends think this is a “Texas thing” — it certainly helps to have a better choice of salsa than the usual supermarket varieties.

        • paul

          Likewise, if the tea is really good one doesn’t need sugar or milk. 😉

          The fresh salsa thing is really a good idea too. One thing it can do is give the metabolisn a kick.

          One day at Costco I realized I hadn’t had salsa and chips in a long time. Got some and munched that evening while watching TV. When I went to bed not so very long after I was breathing as though I’d been exercising, and turned down the coverlet. When I volunteered at the rhody garden early on the Dec-Jan mornings, I’d make a sandwich of two scrambled eggs, 2 toasts, and a few spoonfuls of salsa. Kept me goin’. 🙂

  • arethusa

    I know all the instructions say take thyroid pills in the morning, but I’ve taken mine before bed for years. When I was working my mornings were rushed; waiting after the pill for breakfast was just not on, and if I forgot the pill I would not be where it was until the evening. So I made it part of my bedtime ritual. It’s worked fine for me. Morning coffee is Important.

  • Raesean

    It’s snowing heavily in the Boston area right now and they are predicting perhaps close to a foot (less further north on the NH seacoast where my mother is).

    I had an excellent time at the Arisia Science Fiction convention last weekend in Boston. CJ, your books got mentioned as esp. good at creating realistic cultures.

    The semester starts tomorrow evening for me, assuming that my college doesn’t panic over the snow (it’s a commuter college for adults), so I shall likely be less present on the blog comments than the past month. Still, Wed evening it’s the Social History of Food, which is one of the funnest courses I teach, and I am looking forward to it.

    SmartCat, hard times for your brother and your entire family: we’ll be thinking of you all.

  • reading-fox

    Any chance you can link to the thyroid/coffee study? Either here or on FB. I know someone who’s on thyroid pills and drinks a lot of coffee. Thanks

    • GreenWyvern

      There’s a very interesting thing about coffee. You know that feeling when you get up in the morning, and you’re totally fatigued and unable to function, and have a huge craving for coffee? That feeling of fatigue is due to nothing other than coffee addiction itself.

      I saw some research a couple of years ago that people who give up coffee feel far more alert in the morning, and stop needing coffee. (This was heavily denied by spokesmen from coffee companies.) So I tried it.

      I gave up coffee, first switching to decaf, tea and green tea, then giving it up completely. It was hard for a couple of days, but the thing about coffee is that it’s far easier to give up than many other addictions. Your body adjusts in only a few days and then you don’t need it any more.

      Now, I wake up feeling fresh and clear-headed in the morning, and with absolutley no desire or need for coffee. Early in the morning is a good time for me, and it didn’t used to be. So it works. That fatigue and inability to focus is not due to some other cause, which is helped by coffee, it’s due to the coffee addiction itself.

      I used to love that first cup of coffee in the morning, but now the thought of coffee doesn’t even enter my mind in the morning. A while ago someone offered me some coffee and I accepted, but I could only drink about a third of a cup before I had to stop and leave the rest. I don’t even enjoy it any more.

      The simple fact is that on the whole, the body and mind function far better and with more energy and clarity without coffee, than with coffee.

      • Tommie

        That supposes that one has ever awakened bright and alert in the morning. I can remember things back to 1956. Saving out holidays, I don’t remember ever waking up in that condition.

        • when the General Quarters alarm goes off at 3:00AM, you find you don’t need coffee at all…the adrenaline kick will wake you right up. Otherwise, I have to have at least one cup or I’m going to go right back to bed.

        • GreenWyvern

          Have you been drinking coffee in the morning since 1956? That would account for it!

          • Tommie

            I was not allowed to drink coffee at will until I was 13. That would put it in 1968 or 1969. Hot coffee with an equal amount of milk and sugar was for occasions like the day JFK was assassinated. Why they sent me home from school and kept my younger brother and sister there, I still don’t know.

      • chondrite

        I vary wildly in my caffeine requirements. I’m one of those annoying ‘morning people.’ Some mornings, I don’t get my coffee, and although I miss it, I function just fine without it; I like the taste, especially if I can brew it fresh. I used to drink tea in the morning, but found years later that it gave me an upset stomach, which coffee didn’t. Tea is primarily an evening drink for me now.

  • GreenWyvern

    I just posted something about coffee, but it looks like it was eaten by the spam filter. The post didn’t appear. CJ, can you please check if it is there? Thanks.

  • JoeKC6NLX: the squeeze lemons are more controllable for me, and they ARE refillable from the economy-size bottle of lemon juice. It takes a pointy tool to pry the nozzle out of the neck of the lemon, though.

    CJ: which thyroid medication chemical do you take? I’ve been on levothyroxin myself for years, and I also do the AM coffee thing. Now I’m wondering if I should move the thyroid stuff into my bedtime group of pills.

  • CJ

    Levothyroxin, only it’s Synthroid since the sale of the company or whatever happened. You have to have not eaten for a number of hours. I figure the middle of the night is easier to remember than a long wait for my breakfast coffee.

  • CJ

    Oh, I wake up bright and alert, all right, and within an hour I’m willing to commit heinous crime upon random passers-by if I don’t get my coffee. I drink it for the good of mankind…

  • WOL

    I take thyroid medication too, but the doc who switched me to Armour thyroid said that for some patients Synthroid, which is synthetic, does not work as well as Armour thyroid, which contains natural thyroid hormones — although if you ask the people who make Synthroid, they will swear that Armour thyroid is “impure,” “inconsistent in strength” (if this is true, why is it still on the market?) and “old fashioned.” Synthroid is straight T4, which has to be converted to T3 by your liver. Many people whose thyroids are suppressed by stress cannot respond to synthetic thyroxine, T4. Armour thyroid contains both T3 and T4. The T3 present in Armour thyroid is what works for them. If you have decided that you prefer the synthetic hormone, Synthroid, being a brand name, costs approximately 50% more than the generics, Levoxyl and Levothroid, which work just as well. I was on Synthroid for years and it didn’t do jack for me. This doc switched me to Armour thyroid and the difference was immediately noticeable. If Synthroid works for you, fine, but if you’re on high doses of Synthroid and don’t seem to be improving, you might want to try the Armour thyroid. I’ve been on Armour thyroid for over 15 years, and I wouldn’t trade for it. Just saying.

  • chondrite

    Nand’ CJ, have you figured out a way to keep the cats from dumping coffee into your phone jack? Zorro is inspecting some of DH’s homework, a computer with a frizzled hard drive and other issues, which has taken over the desk real estate where she normally parks. Apparently computer guts are fascinating to kittehs, although cat fur in one is contraindicated!

  • CJ

    Lol—at least for winter, I am using a Starbucks super-nice insulated cup with a metal liner and a stopper—which you can put in the dishwasher without ruining, thank goodness.

    I’m on the verge of doing a room makeover. Eushu, as a kitten, took down both drapes by accident and I’ve never replaced them. I like the color it is (an apple green so light it could pass for white) but I want something a bit spiffier than bare windows.

    And it has to be cat proof. Mine is the window from which they see birds. And brains go out the (pardon me) window.

    • I have a couple of stainless-steel thermal mugs from REI. They’re more stable than my (extremely insulated) tall cups from Starbucks. They also have lids, but I don’t usually use one; they’re comfortable to use without a lid, and the handle is roomy and comfortable to hold.

      • paul

        Lamentations and exhaltations: For about 20 years I had a wonderful tankard-style mug with interesting Japanese-esque “naturalistic” glaze decoration. Unfortunately I took it with me to a meeting and coming out must have set it on top of the car while I loaded. I’m sure you know that story. The thing is, though, that wide-bottom shape makes it very stable around computers. 🙂

        I went without, but sorely missed it for years. Then I decided to do something about it. I had a potter throw me a tankard-shaped mug large enough that I can get my hand inside for cleaning. Sooo, it holds ~20oz! That’s not such a bad thing. Then decoration. Just the thing for “right-brain” to come up with! I composed a haiku influenced by the “10 Oxherding Pictures” and Shakespeare’s “Ages of Man” in a very metaphysical way, and did the decorating myself. Another friend who’s a potter fired it for me.

        I don’t think our HTML tags allow for images, so you’ll have to use the URL’s:
        (The oxherd)
        (Look like I have to fix this last one? Gimme a bit.)

  • CJ

    Seishi has a wonderful tail…which is very good, as he turns around on the arm of my chair, at sweeping my coffee cup off the adjacent shelf.

    Unfortunately he’s there because I’m sitting in the chair and I’m sitting in the chair because I’m working, and my coffee is within reach because I’m drinking it…

    Now, you ask, did I invite Mr. Tail to the arm of the chair…well no. But there are birds outside the window…

    Sometimes I’m lucky and get Shu AND Sei at the same time…

    This is why my room has no decor and my last phone blew up.

    • chondrite

      With Thing1 and Thing2 taking up space (#occupydesk) where the writer is supposed to be, well, writing, how does one get work done?? Is there stamping across the keyboard?
      “You will adore me now!”

      I just put in roman blinds in our living room. They are bamboo slats, and you can see through them with a light on the other side, making them light-screening only. Today I should be getting a secondary blind that will fit behind the big picture window that does not have frosted glass. That way we can roll it up during the day when we want natural light, and put it down at night. So far, Zorro has not decided that the bamboo blinds are a wonderful new scratching device, although she wiggles behind them to stare out the window.

    • tulrose

      I had to wipe kitty snot from my monitor the other day. Someone had sneezed onto it.

  • warriorofworry

    Nah. The real treat is the one that sneezes on me.

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