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Obsession Thursday: New habits

I am a fat girl, and have been so for much of my life. I’ve also been thin a few times. It never sticks. I accept my size.

But last weekend at Rhinebeck, something changed. I saw myself in pictures and video and I wasn’t even me any more. I scared myself. The past two years’ worth of divorce-based-new-life stress eating has caught up with me. I also have IBS*, and my GI tract that weekend made me feel a drastic change in my food consumption was in order.

I’ve done everything from Weight Watchers (smart but exhausting) to Optifast (doctor-monitored and crazypants). I know what works, but what works for ME isn’t the same thing. So I did some research and invented my own program.

Keep in mind that this is what is working for me now, and you should do what works for you.

This is the stuff I'm eating for 2/3 meals every weekday.

This is the stuff I’m eating for 2/3 meals every weekday.

Breakfast and lunch every weekday is a glass of this stuff: Orgain Chocolate Protein Powder. I am experimenting with different recipes, but so far have enjoyed it mixed with unsweetened coconut milk and frozen fruit. (I tried it today with 1% Lactaid and strawberries, and it’s the best so far.)

For lunch, I tried it as a chia pudding but it was much too much food and not so great. Kind of grossed me out. So it’s 2 shakes right now. I also have an iced latte every morning with 1% Lactaid milk and sweetener. It makes me feel normal and keeps me full till past noon.

Orgain also comes as a premixed shake, but it’s a totally different formula. It tastes strongly of fermented legumes (or something else gross) and is just ICK. Powder stuff is vegan (!) and tastes much better. 

For dinner, I eat dinner.  That means it includes bread, rice or pasta if I want it to. It means I don’t weigh or measure, but I also don’t go nuts. The first week, my dinners were larger than I think they should be (probably by about 30%), and I’m not surprised by that. I’ve got to adjust from eating much too much, all day long. So I’m cutting myself some slack.

If I’m hungry during the day or at night, as much fruit and veg as I want. Popcorn, of course. No crap, period. I have always found it easier to say no to an entire group of stuff rather than picking which to say yes to. Remember, I have decades of Weight Watchers-based experience.

This allows me to go out with friends for dinners. It allows me to not think about what to eat for breakfast or lunch every day, which always was a bit of a pain and ended up with me making bad choices.

I’m writing this on Sunday at lunchtime, just after deciding that I get to have a normal lunch on the weekend as well to maintain sanity. I don’t want to get sick of the shakes. So today, lunch will be steamed rice and edamame and some sort of sauce and sesame seeds on it.

In this first week, the first two days, I went mental with cravings for candy and chocolate. Later in the week, I realized they had passed. The Orgain powder is about as decent tasting as any sort of drink like this could be (read the Amazon reviews to see what others say). And it helps quell the chocolate cravings.

After just under a week doing this, inches are starting to drop off. I hate the scale but will be going to my GP’s office to let him weigh me and just announce if I’ve lost or gained. Hearing my actual weight will likely derail me and it’s not the point anyway. The point is to get back to where I feel good again, can move again, fit into my clothes again.

Regarding how this stuff reacts with IBS, so far, so good! Having less bread is probably a huge part of that, in my case. Of course, YMMV. But I’m encouraged. And already am feeling pleased with myself as I ignore the crap in the stores that I was living off of for the last year or 2. I just walk the perimeter of the grocery store instead.

PS It’s my birthday today, Thursday. Yay me!

(the links to the product are affiliate links, which support Knitty.)


*ETA: It’s now November 1, and my IBS symptoms are almost completely gone. I’m thrilled. I realized that the corn maze I walked through on the weekend is something I wouldn’t have done 2 weeks ago…how the hell would I get to the bathroom in time if I needed to? This is a huge relief. Life changing, actually.

 

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Obsession Thursday: Rhinebeck 2016 recap!

As I haven’t been to Rhinebeck in years, this was an exciting trip for me. It’s hard to sum it up in paragraphs of prose, so I’d rather go with photos, and I think you would, too. Enjoy!

I set off very early, in time to drive into the sunrise as I neared the US border.

I set off very early, in time to drive into the sunrise as I neared the US border.

 

The first morning was deliciously cold and fog was everywhere.

The first morning was deliciously cold and fog was everywhere.

 

The fall colors were as beautiful as always.

The fall colors were as beautiful as always.

And then I went into the A and B buildings. The lighting for photography was best in these buildings, and I was able to get in before the crowds came. I loved so much in this year’s show, but couldn’t possibly feature everyone’s work, as much as I wish I could! These are just some delicious highlights.

Into the Whirled.

Into the Whirled.

Into the Whirled

Into the Whirled

Loop

Loop

Loop

Loop

Neighborhood Fiber Co.

Neighborhood Fiber Co.

Neighborhood Fiber Co.

Neighborhood Fiber Co.

Neighborhood Fiber Co. I loved these swatches in embroidery hoops!

Neighborhood Fiber Co. I loved these swatches in embroidery hoops!

Hansen electric wheels (now with the new Pro model!)

Hansen miniSpinner (now with the new Pro model!)

Look at that sexy wood!

Look at that sexy wood!

Miss Babs

Miss Babs

Miss Babs

Miss Babs

This is THE Lisa Souza, freaking out as we finally meet since working together for probably 12 years online!

This is THE Lisa Souza, freaking out as we finally meet after having worked together online for probably 12 years!

Lisa Souza

Lisa Souza

Lisa Souza

Lisa Souza

Windsong Farm Originals

Windsong Farm Originals

Windsong Farm Originals

Windsong Farm Originals

Lanart

Lanart

Lanart and the nice man in their booth

Lanart and the nice man in their booth

Stephen Willette Fiber Art Tools

Stephen Willette Fiber Art Tools

Trunk Brooklyn

Trunk Brooklyn

Trunk Brooklyn (I think)

Trunk Brooklyn (I think)

Wild Fibers Magazine

Wild Fibers Magazine

Wild Fibers Magazine

Wild Fibers Magazine

trying on hats at Sankow's Beaver Brook Farm

trying on hats at Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm

Golding

Golding

Golding

Golding

a happy spinner trying out a Lendrum wheel

a happy spinner trying out a Lendrum wheel

Jillian and our friend Erica check out the fleeces

Jillian and our friend Erica check out the fleeces

As always, a crush at The Fold for Socks that Rock

As always, a crush at The Fold for Socks that Rock

The Fold

The Fold

Dragonfly Fibers and their Vote! colorway

Dragonfly Fibers and their Vote! colorway

Sheepses

Sheepses

Knitting Garage

Knitting Garage

Knitting Garage

Knitting Garage

The Sheep Shed @ Mountain View Farm

The Sheep Shed @ Mountain View Farm

Nicky Epstein!

Nicky Epstein! (she gives good hugs)

naturallyinspiredbaskets.com

naturallyinspiredbaskets.com

naturallyinspiredbaskets.com

naturallyinspiredbaskets.com

Katrinkles

Katrinkles

Loop of the Loom

Loop of the Loom

wool or maple cotton candy? which is which?

wool or maple cotton candy? which is which?

Fiber Optic Yarns

Fiber Optic Yarns

Fiber Optic Yarns

Fiber Optic Yarns

New England Felting Supply

New England Felting Supply

New England Felting Supply

New England Felting Supply

Chameleon Colorworks

Chameleon Colorworks

And then it was time to go home.

And then it was time to go home.

I can’t possibly compute realistic numbers, but what you’ve seen here is just a tiny fraction of what you’d see at Rhinebeck over the weekend. I had proclaimed on Twitter that it wasn’t going to be sweater weather (sweata-weatha!) during the weekend, based on the weather forecasts, and was delighted to find myself completely wrong. It was perfect sweater weather.

Saturday was, as usual, a crazy crowded day with so much browsing, eating and friend-reunioning, and Sunday was quieter and filled with catching up with those we missed the first day, and the booths we wanted to go back to before going home. There is never enough time to see it all, and this year, I was okay with that. I sat in front of the view above Sunday afternoon, and I watched people go by. Saw my first baby-manbun (omg, New Yorkers, you are so silly), met the nicest knitter/gardener (hi, Jane!) and we talked for a long while, and then Jillian and I sauntered back to the car and left before the traffic crush hit.

Not many pics of friends, because I’d rather talk to them than shoot them. But I saw so many, and missed many more. Till next time, Rhinebeck!

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Obsession Thursday: #rhinebeckpiechart

I haven’t been at Rhinebeck since 2008. Eight years! Until recently, I was in the UK most Octobers, so it just didn’t work out.

rhinebeckpieThis year, my friends got themselves super-organized and rented a house nearby. Which means staying for reasonably cheap with people I love. How could I not go?

So I’m driving 7+ hours to Rhinebeck tomorrow while the housesitter watches the Squeezle again (bless her). I have planned a stop at Sonic for some diet limeade to fuel my drive (i may buy two so I have enough for the whole trip). Have you never had Sonic’s diet limeade? It’s very good.

Twitter user @oharethey started a thing I rather like: the #rhinebeckpiechart. Here’s mine —>

It’s probably more complex than this, but it feels like friends first and everything else is a bonus. That’s worth driving 7+ hours for, right? Hell, yes.

If you’re going to be there, our first-ever Rhinebeck Knitty meetup is on the hill at 2pm on Saturday. I’ll have knittybuttons to give away until I run out. Come give me a hug!

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Obsession Thursday: The smell of woodsmoke.

Long beach on Vancouver Island. Photo directly out of my phone, really. No filters or adjustments of any kind. I can't make this stuff up.

Long beach on Vancouver Island. Photo directly out of my phone, really. No filters or adjustments of any kind. I can’t make this stuff up.

I am in Tofino. I got here by getting on a train in Toronto and riding in my little sleeper bunk all the way to Vancouver, then grabbing a rental car and taking the ferry over to Vancouver Island.

Tofino is a tiny little surfing town that sticks out of the west coast of Vancouver Island all by itself. It’s a 3-hour drive from reasonably urban Nanaimo (home of the bars), going up and down and through wiggly bits, over mountainy terrain, through rainforesty bits that occasionally open up to give you vistas I only wish I had photos of. Diamond-clear lakes that tend more to green than blue, and mountains covered with so very many trees (thankfully, still covered, not clearcut), and fog and little boats and omg I am so much in love with this part of the world. If you want to see what my trip has been like so far, you can find my photos here.

I’ve been lucky enough, thanks to being able to teach knitting, to have travelled to a lot of places. I get this ache often, this I HAVE TO LIVE HERE ache. Sometimes it passes as soon as I get to the next place; sometimes it stays with me long after I’ve returned home. Places that stuck really hard with me are Portland (the Oregon one), Hawaii, Brighton AND Yorkshire, in England, and now here. Tofino. This is the first place I’ve gone to purely as vacation. No work, except blogging. It’s been relaxing, refreshing, enlightening, and so enjoyable. I’ve made myself not be miserly and have booked the Whale Watch, instead of just wishing I had once I got home. I get on the boat in a few hours.

I’m reasonably freshly single after being married a long damned time. I could move anywhere I want, thankfully, as long as there’s a decent internet connection and a good rabbit vet. Every time I walk out of my little inn and smell the woodsmoke, and feel the dampness from the ocean against my skin, I realize that this kind of environment is the one that touches me most deeply. Woods and ocean. So maybe I could move somewhere like this.

Maybe I will. Or maybe I’ll book another trip here or somewhere like here. A longer one.

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Talking to a friend makes work feel like not-work!

unnamedI’m lucky enough to have made many friends in the knitting world since starting this magazine almost 15 years ago. One of the first people I met was the delightful Vickie Howell. She is one of the most skilled interviewers I’ve had the pleasure of talking to over the years, whether on podcasts or on her legendary TV show, Knitty Gritty.

Vickie and I sat down together (so to speak) over Skype earlier this week, and you can hear the result in her latest Craft•ish Podcast. Some of the topics we discussed might surprise you…but then again, if you know me, you won’t be surprised at all.

 

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Obsession Thursday: reclaiming my Ukeness.

One of the many things I had to stop doing, when my Carpal Tunnel Syndrome got really bad, was playing ukulele. It was gradual and then all of a sudden I realized I hadn’t played in months. And then a year.

Waterman glow-in-the-dark ukulele

Waterman glow-in-the-dark ukulele

Thanks to my CTS surgery, I’m back, people. And I am so damned happy about it. Tonight, I got to teach some basic chords to a lovely fellow who wanted to learn. Watching his light bulb turn on as his fingers started to remember where G, F, A and D are located reminded me of how much fun it was for me to learn.

I am planning a big cross-country train trip at the end of next month, and so I treated myself to a new travel uke. It’s plastic (like the popular ukes of the 1950s) and, get this, IT GLOWS IN THE DARK. Because can’t you see me in my little train cabin, playing my glowy uke in the dark as we chug along through the prairies at night?

It’s a delightful instrument that’s waterproof and plays like a dream. I love how it sounds, and I am veritably smitten. You can get one for yourself here. They come in tons of colors, and I am unreasonably tempted to buy the clear one and fill it with cool LED lights. But I think that would mess with the acoustics.

Are you interested in learning the uke? My (I’ve been told) quite-useful post on how to choose your first ukulele can be found here.

 

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Obsession Thursday: Finally knitting again!

FInally! Progress on my After the Rain in Rowan Revive.

Finally! Progress on my After the Rain in Rowan Revive.

The saga is coming to a close, at least for my right hand. (Catch up with the story here.)

It’s been 4 months since my surgery. I’ve tried to knit during the healing process, but haven’t found it very enjoyable. Which worried me.

Last week, I went on a road trip with a friend, and got to sit in the passenger seat for the first time in a while (being single means you’re the one driving all the time). I started to knit. It ached as the muscles aren’t even vaguely as strong as they used to be (or NEED to be), but I kept at it, with little breaks. In a while, I noticed it was less achy. And then it was easy.

What was the difference? Keeping at it? No. Up till now, I’d been continuing to try to knit combination, which is still new for me. On the road trip, I switched back to my autonomic knitting style: throwing. And poof, my mojo is returning.

I left the knitting down for the last week, and, picking it up again, it’s kind of like starting over. I used to knit every time I sat down to watch TV. With the pain I had, I broke that habit, and now I have to retrain myself.

This will be fun.

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Knitty Friday: A refreshing design!

Or, rather, refreshing our design!

One of our first stated goals with our Patreon campaign was to pay our staff and contributors better. Thanks to our Patrons’ enthusiasm, we were able to do that almost immediately. And so we moved on to the second goal: bringing our website up to date.

We launched our first ever responsive issue last week. What’s responsive? That means the site is coded to automatically resize to fit every screen from cellphones to huge monitors. It’s about as fresh from the code monkey as is possible…and we’re releasing it in Beta. That means there might be bugs to fix, and things might change in appearance from day to day as we fine tune how the site looks and works. We beg your indulgence during this time. Wanna report a bug? Write to me with the subject heading “BUG REPORT”. Thank you!

simulation...the best way to see how this issue works is to view it on your different devices!

simulation…the best way to see how this issue works is to view it on your different devices!

The back issues in our Library will be getting a facelift as well, though a much more subtle one. We want our whole Library to be updated so that the back patterns are still useful to you, and so we’ll be continuing to responsive-ize issues until they’re all done. It’s going to take a while. We’re talking about 55 back issues. But now we know where we’re headed and it’s exciting!

Also long overdue is the addition of metric measurements to patterns. This is now standard operating procedure going forward.

This redesign project has been a huge undertaking in partnership with Philip Chatterton of Marblehead. We’re thrilled with what he’s done for us. (Need something like this done for your website? Drop him a line.)

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TNNA: the knitting industry’s trade show…UPDATE!

Jillian and I have just returned from our annual trek to TNNA’s trade show, this time in Washington, DC. Jillian used to live there a very long time ago, and I’ve never been, so it was an interesting venue for us to explore.

Every year, we gauge what’s out, what’s in and what’s growing in popularity. This time, without question, the most popular trend was gradients. Gradients in every form, from sets of single-color skeins that make up the gradient to super-long-color-change skeins (first popularized, I believe, by Tina Whitmore of Freia Fibers).

Here’s a sampling of the new products released this year:

Indigo-dyed yarns at Ancient Arts

Indigo-dyed yarns at Ancient Arts

 

Adorable sheepies from Kraemer Yarns

Adorable sheepies showing off the color range at Kraemer Yarns

Really cool laser-cut tapestry looms at Purl & Loop

Really cool laser-cut tapestry looms at Purl & Loop

Delicious colors of Manos Alegria

Delicious colors of Manos Alegria

A soft rainbow (timely!) of Gems, from Louet North America

A soft rainbow (timely!) of Gems, from Louet North America and Fresh Stitches

Another delicious rainbow from the folks at Wonderland Yarns

Another delicious rainbow from the folks at Wonderland Yarns

And finally, the new speckled yarns, Splatter Shot, from our friends at Lorna's Laces

And finally, the new speckled yarns, Splatter Shot, from our friends at Lorna’s Laces

There was also a lot of this going on…which helps you understand that, although it’s a work event, we also love seeing our fiber friends. There is a lot of hugging at TNNA.

Jillian, Stefanie Japel and Liz Gipson

Jillian, Stefanie Japel and Liz Gipson

Clara Parkes, Jill Draper, Miss Jillian again and Laura Nelkin

Clara Parkes, Jill Draper, Miss Jillian again and Laura Nelkin

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Obsession Thursday: continuing to heal

Last time I wrote, I told you about my upcoming surgery of a womanly sort and how that would affect Knitty’s next issue.

Since then:
– surgery went off very well
– took 2 hours longer than expected because my surgeon needed to consult during the procedure to make it as minimally invasive as possible
– I believe I asked the recovery room nurse to marry me after she gave me 4 perfect orange popsicles, one after another…just what i needed after having that tube down my throat (ack)
– some very lovely people visited me in the hospital (I just stayed overnight) and I felt very loved
– home the next day, feeling surprisingly good, but moving slow
– the usual post-general anesthetic symptoms gone in a few days (yay!)
– soon feeling almost zingy!
– and then the real zinger: a pinched nerve in my neck from all the proneness (since sitting up was not very comfortable the first few days)

So that last bit, that was actually probably the worst part of my recovery. I took myself back to the ER when I started to feel severe pain in both my arms, 5 days after surgery. All sorts of tests confirmed I hadn’t had a heart attack or stroke, and they sent me home. With no idea what was wrong. Oh, joy.

Cervical radiculopathy. I'll say...it's radiculous!

Cervical radiculopathy. I’ll say…it’s radiculous!

And then, Dr Mom diagnosed me. Pinched nerve. It was exactly that. Stretching my neck in a specific direction reproduced the pain. So gentle long stretches in the same direction finally relieved the pain. I’m continuing to do the stretches and the pain is gone, but my neck STILL feels like I let a tractor run over it. (I didn’t.)

For those who told me that a hysterectomy (total, laparoscopic, btw) would be an easy recovery, I thank you. You were right. It definitely was even easier than when I had my gall bladder removed. I find that surprising and a huge relief. Yay, modern medicine! Boo, neck nerves.

Anyway, Knitty production has resumed, albeit slower than usual. We will be bringing you a fabulous First Fall issue around the middle of June, as we predicted. Jillian and I are heading to TNNA in Washington, DC, next weekend (already? holy cow).  If you have a yarn shop, please stop us if you see us on the floor. We have a little something to give you.

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