Archive | September, 2013

Couch to five k

29 Sep

Finished w1D2. Kicked my behind. I wasn’t quite sure I would make it but I did. I told myself I wasn’t going to allow my mind to beat me before my body did. So much of it seems to be a mind game. I can’t get over the thought of me, as a middle aged, fat woman running. Okay that’s too strong. Wa-jogging. Really more walking than jogging so wa-jogging.

I pass thin people on the trail and runners just hoofing it up there and I feel self-conscious and I wonder if they’re thinking, “Really? She thinks she’s going to be running some day??!”

Then again, if I had always done what people thought I should, I wouldn’t have left my country at 20 years old with $20 in my pocket so we’ll see.

Still not able to see myself running 5k but having fun trying.

High-Protein, Paleo, Gluten-Free Fish Masala Curry

28 Sep

Sleevers Masala Fish Curry


As many of you know, I’m not a professional cook so there’s a lot of trial and error going on for me. One of the hardest things since being sleeved, is knowing how much to cook and getting the proportions right. I struggle with this, and this recipe is a classic example of it.

You’ll note that I made twice as much of the “masala” as I should have. Since the masala is the most time-consuming part of this recipe, and since it keeps very well, I thought I’d leave the recipe as is, and let you save half the masala as I did. Tomorrow, I will show you how to re-purpose that into something else.  So here goes.


1 lb firm-flesh fish (I used a combination of halibut, shrimp, and scallops because that’s what I had!)

1 small onion

3 cloves garlic

2 in piece of ginger

1 medium tomato

1/4 c of shredded, unsweetened coconut (if unavailable, use some coconut milk instead of water)

3 tsp oil

2 tsp ground turmeric

1/8 tsp mustard seeds

1/8 tsp cumin seeds

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp garam masala

salt to taste

1 c water

4 tbsp chopped cilantro for garnish and flavor


1. Marinate the fish with 1 tsp oil, 1 tsp turmeric and 1/4 tsp salt

2. Meanwhile, pulse the onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor or chop finely. Do not liquefy.

3. Heat 2 tsp oil in a pan. When it starts to shimmer, put in the mustard and cumin seeds and let them sputter. This sounds like popcorn popping.

3. Add in the onion/garlic/ginger mix and cook over medium heat. This is a labor of love so do not rush it. It may take 10 minute and that’s just the way it goes.

Sleevers Masala Fish Curry


4. Add in the chopped tomatoes, all of the rest of the spices and the coconut and mix well.

Sleevers Masala Fish Curry

5. Add in half a cup of water and let it cook slowly, until all the water has evaporated.

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6. Realize that you have no idea how to make small quantities. Take out half the masala and save it in a tupperware container.

7. Into the remaining masala, add in half a cup of water, and the fish that has been marinating.

8. Cover and let it come to a boil. When it boils, take it off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes so that the fish cooks gently. This keeps it from over-cooking.

9. Garnish with cilantro and enjoy!

While the rest of your family might enjoy this over rice, we gave ourselves two pieces of fish and a little sauce. Then we shredded the fish and ate it semi-moist. It was moist, but not soupy and therefore not a slider.


Even if I can’t make it all the way through….

28 Sep

….I started. And that’s better than I’ve done before.


Comparing yourself to others–Why?

28 Sep



I’m on a vertical sleeve forum where people are constantly complaining about stalling, not losing weight, not losing weight fast enough, not losing as much as others, etc. I too complain from time to time on the forum, but I hope I never complain about not losing weight as fast as do others.

So many things impact our weight loss. Part of it for me, is wondering how “clean” others were eating before they had the surgery. I read about “food funerals” and binge eating, eating junk before etc. and those were demons that I either did not have to battle, or had battled long ago and won. 

Even before the surgery, we ate very healthily. We tried to eat at least 1 -2 lbs of fresh veggies daily which doesn’t leave that much room for junk. We didn’t eat fast food, we didn’t eat fried stuff, cokes, chips, junk, nachos and other crap. Our downfall was cake once a week on bad weeks–not even every week and only 1-2 slices, not the whole cake. I felt bad when I ate 3 slices of thin crust veggie pizza with only half the cheese (our standard pizza order). There was never any question of eating a whole pizza.

Moreover, I mostly ate at or close to 1200-1300 calories. And I had less than 100 lbs to lose from the surgery.  Add to that low thyroid and inflammatory auto immune disease which slows weight loss, plus that I’m 47 years old and female. 

Put all this together, and logically I know I won’t lose as fast as someone who was eating a lot more, is younger, not hormonally challenged, not inflamed, and had lots of room for dietary improvement. 

My 23-year old, naturally thin son in contrast–you know how he loses 10 lbs in 2 weeks? He stops eating fast food. That’s it. If I didn’t love him I’d slap him for how easy it is for him. I’m not a healthy 23-year old male. It’s stupid to compare myself to him. 

It drives me mad when I see threads on the forum saying “August sleevers, how much have you lost?” Or whatever. All that does is make some people feel bad. 

I wish we could all just compare ourselves to our former selves, not to each other. My former self had NEVER lost weight this fast. My former self could NEVER have been satisfied or felt nourished with 600-700 calories. My former self NEVER felt in control and hopeful that this finally, was my lifetime change that I could work to maintain. 

I’m grateful every day that we could afford this surgery for both of us. I’m grateful it exists, and that we have a chance to live longer, easier lives as a result of it. 

And I hope I never lose that sense of gratitude no matter what the scale says on any given day. 

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

26 Sep

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

I wanted something fresh-tasting but high protein. This fit the bill! The beauty of this is you can make it all from scratch, or if you’re in a hurry, buy some pico de gallo and get boiled shrimp and make this in a jiffy.

Makes 4 half-cup servings.


For the Pico De Gallo:

1/2 small red onion

2 ripe tomatoes

1/2 large cucumber

1 small jalapeno pepper

3-4 tbsp cilantro

1 ripe avocado

For the Sauce:

1/8  c ketchup

1 tsp cholula sauce or other mexican hot sauce

Juice of 1 big fresh lime

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp salt or to taste

For the Shrimp

1/2 lb shrimp peeled, devined and tails taken off

1 tb salt


1. Chop all pico de galo ingredients (except avocado) into small cubes of uniform shape and size. I totally cheat and use this to chop everything including the tomatoes. Just be sure to put the tomatoes skin side down and it will go through your onions, tomatoes, cucumber, jalapeno and yes even the cilantro.

2. Mix all ingredients for sauce.

3. Mix sauce with chopped vegetables and let it sit.

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4. Meanwhile heat 3-4 cups of water in a pan. Add 1 tbsp salt to the water and let it come to a boil. While you are waiting, get a small bowl ready with ice water.

4. Once the water is boiling, put your shrimp in and set the timer for 2 minutes. When the timer goes off, pick out the shrimp and dump them in the ice bath to stop them from cooking.

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5. Cut cooked shrimp into bite size bits and mix with the sauce and vegetables.

6. Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit.  Score like so. Then use a spoon to gently scoop out the cubes. Mix these in with the rest of the dish gently so as to not break the delicate avocado. Enjoy!

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I suppose I should have let them mix and mingle for a while but I was hungry so we ate it right away. Felt like summer in my mouth.

Today I want to….run

26 Sep

kelly 158


Yep. You heard me. I want to run. No bear chasing me, no sudden attack by a swarm of mosquitos. For no reason at all, I want to run like the wind!

In my case that’s probably a very, very, slow wind. A barely discernible breeze more like, considering I haven’t run in years. I mean, I’m an overweight 47-year old woman, not some kind of elite athlete that is agile and limber and whatnot.

But I’m so full of energy that me and my energizer bunny just want to take off.  I went for a mile walk today and although my RA-riddled knees hurt, I was still happy to be out and about and able to walk.  You’d think that would have been enough for me, but it hasn’t been.

After the walk, I wanted to go to the grocery store and ended up walking all around it. Now I’ve been home for an hour, and I want to go walk again. I have to be careful not to overdo it and cause a flare-up, but I’m having trouble sitting still.

Maybe I’ll go ride the stationary bike for a few minutes so I can settle down a bit.

What is happening to me?? Whatever it is, I love it.

My new NSV: My husband doesn’t know me anymore

25 Sep



So we go to the grocery store yesterday. My husband and I split up to divide and conquer the pesky grocery shopping. After a bit, he starts to look for me. I was standing in front of him, just down the aisle.

He didn’t recognize me right away.

I think he likes my new body. I suspect it makes him feel like he’s with a brand new woman.   🙂


Photo courtesy of graur codrin/

Getting rid of baggage

25 Sep


Yesterday I went through my closets and boxes to start to get rid of some of my clothes. You know, the ones I’ve been saving but hoping I never need (the too big sizes) as well as the ones I’ve been saving hoping I need (the ones I “outgrew” as I put on weight).

So we start this, and we get going, and going, and going. I empty out two huge plastic bins, I empty out half my closet. Large black bags sit ominously in the hallway, waiting their turn to be taken out of the house.  I put back into my closet at least as much as I took out of it, by replacing the larger sizes with the smaller sizes.

And I start to panic.

It’s not just that my old friends are about to leave the building. It’s not just that I paid a lot of money for those clothes. It’s not even that I have great memories in that pink dress, or that looking at the black skirt reminds me of the time I tore it at the office and we all burst out laughing like it was the funniest thing to ever happen right before a client meeting.

It’s that I cannot believe that I won’t ever need them again.

In fact, I don’t believe that at all. I am quite sure I’m giving away these clothes but that I could well be one of those who fails with this surgery and gains it ALL back and it’s scaring me. The reality is that statistically, I am likely to gain some of the weight back unless I watch myself like a hawk. But the chances that I will gain all of it back are actually somewhat low, because I was fortunate enough to not have a serious, clinical-grade eating disorder before I started.

But I’ve failed so many times despite my best efforts, that I don’t think it’s sunk in that I might well go the rest of my life and not need these larger sizes that I now need to wish goodbye.

As I started this journey, I told myself I’d keep clothes 1-2 sizes up from my goal weight, but no more. Well, it’s time to start to put my money where my mouth was.

I’m taking deep breaths, and visualizing the ladies that will benefit from my suits. I hope they help someone get a job. And I hope to heck I never, ever need them again.

I guess I’ll just have to trust that I can get rid of the clothes, but that the memories I created while wearing them have now become a part of my own fabric.

Photo courtesy of Keerati/

Today…I have lost this much

24 Sep

2013-09-24 10.47.01                   PLUS   Tasty_Pineapple

yup, as much as a 30-lb of dog food and one pineapple, or 32 lbs for the uninitiated 🙂

I cannot believe I was carrying around a bag of dog food all day. So thankful for the surgery.

Ethiopian Ground Beef (Minchet Abish)

23 Sep

sleevers minchet abish

I love Ethiopian food and after driving miles to the only good Ethiopian restaurant in town, my husband and I decided to learn to make it ourselves. This recipe calls for Berbere. You can either make it yourself, which I highly recommend, or you can buy it at Penzey’s etc. Make it.


2 tablespoons ghee

1 small onion peeled and roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic peeled

2 tablespoons berbere spice mix

1 tsp salt or to taste

1 lb lean ground beef

1/2 c water


Pressure cooker:

1. In bowl of food processor, pulse onion and garlic until roughly chopped, scraping bowl as necessary.

2. Set electric pressure cooker to  brown and pour in ghee. When lightly smoking, add onion/garlic mixture, berbere, and salt.

3. Saute well until the mixture is fairly dry. Do not skip this step. Ideally we would have made spiced ghee (niter kibbeh) but we didn’t because today we are lazy/efficient. This step allows the spices to lose their raw smell, to infuse the ghee with the spice flavors, and cook the onion down to a nice base for the beef. Put in the ground beef and smash until there are no lumps.

Berbere, onions, garlic, ghee

Berbere, onions, garlic, ghee

5. Add half a cup of water, set pressure to high, and cook for 10 minutes. Let it come off pressure naturally. For an electric pressure cooker, turn it off and let it rest for 10 minutes before releasing pressure.


Follow steps 1-4 above. Add a little more water, cover, and let it simmer gently until the meat is cooked through.

Serve and enjoy!

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