Saturday, December 25, 2010

A White Christmas in St. Louis!

After the 7:15 AM morning Mass on Christmas Eve (Friday), it began snowing in St. Louis and continued all day. It was great! And today, it is beautiful here on the banks of the Mississippi!
For the first time in almost 35 years, I had no special Christmas duties – no Masses (other than my own), no homilies to deliver, no liturgies to prepare for and… and… my Christmas shopping was done, online and early!) so I took advantage of the situation.
I went to bed early on Christmas eve, and we had a quiet Mass this morning at 8 AM in the La Salette Chapel. There were 5 of us – 4 priests and 1 brother. It was peaceful and lovely.
I celebrated my Christmas Mass for you, my friends, supporters, family and benefactors. I find myself surrounded by cards and letters and thoughtful remembrances and generous gifts.  I am very grateful!
May you and yours experience a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

Monday, December 20, 2010


Monday means weigh-in-with-Martha-day. I did it (finally). I broke the 320 lb. barrier – which was my immediate goal.  This morning I weighed 318.4 lbs. – a loss of 3.8 lbs. from the previous week and a total loss of 44.3 lbs!
I feel better.
Thanks be to God.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My "Real World" Diet

I don’t think I ever mentioned that I never did go on that strict Medifast diet (cf. Lettuce Rejoice, below). The medical team feared complications given my diabetes (diabetic ketoacidosis). So it was decided I would go on a “Real World” diet.
That consists of a carefully planned, balanced diet of three meals and three snacks daily. I can have up to 8 portions of meat/protein (1 portion = 1 oz. lean meat or 1 egg); 2 or 3 dairy (8 ozs. skim milk or 1 light yogurt is a portion); 2 to 3 fruits (a banana is considered 2 fruits!); 4 portions of vegetables (1 portion = ½ cup steamed veggies); and 5 grains/starches/cereals/breads.
It’s a diet that gives me a great amount of flexibility, but it requires that I keep a detailed log of my intake which is reviewed weekly with my dietician.
For breakfast the "gold standard" is 1 cup cheerios with 8 ozs. skim milk (and possibly a banana or even just ½ banana.) But with proper planning for the day (and enough time in the morning – or even in the evening) I can make a wonderful veggie omelet.  I use Pam spray to sauté the veggies and cook the omelet. I use one whole egg and up to 3 egg whites. Add a little salsa and toast, perfect!  So the omelet breakfast counts 2 meats, 1 veggie, 1 grain with plenty of room to eat for the rest of the day.
For lunch, I usually pack a sandwich (2 or 3 ozs. of lean deli meat is great) and a salad with an apple or a yogurt. Martha, my dietician, lead me to discover Sarah Lee's 45 calorie bread, two slices of which counts as merely one grain which makes a sandwich quite good!
And for dinner, I imagine the plate quartered: 1 quarter for meat (2 or 3 ozs. – the size of a deck of cards), 1 quarter for grain (a small baked potato or ½ cup rice) and 2 quarters for veggies (salad or steamed veggies) and I could have a yogurt for dessert.
My snacks between meals consist of a piece of fruit (apples are a miracle food!), a 100 calorie yogurt (never used to enjoy them, now they’re part of my life!) and for my salty/savory cravings the 100 calorie mini-bag of popcorn or an ounce of pretzels (that’d be a generous 48 pieces of the small stick pretzels!)
My diet is quite satisfying. I don’t find myself hungry. It takes some discipline, some thinking and some planning, but it’s working for me – at least so far!
And here’s the fun part: with proper planning, I can go out for a steak (a 6 oz. filet rare), baked potato, salad and even… a martini!  Isn’t God good!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sadly Something of a Setback

I weighed in Monday with high hopes.  My goal was to have broken the 320 lb. barrier. Instead, I hit the scales at 322.2 lbs. That's down only .2 of a pound for the entire week. (For a total loss of 40.5 lbs.) I was disappointed and frustrated to say the least.
I felt that I kept to my diet something like 98%. Plus, I’d hit the gym four times that previous week and increased the time spent on the exercise machines by more than 20% per day. I was confident that I had reached that 320 lb. goal.
Martha, my dietician, urged me not to be too disappointed.  She said she's seen this before, that something’s going on in my body, that it feels like it’s being starved and is rebelling by trying to hold on to its fat.  She believes that I will make significant progress by next weigh-in next Monday.
I hope she’s right.
She also pointed out that at least I did not gain weight and that a loss is a loss, that I’m getting in the exercise component and now’s not the time to slack off.  Others have echoed her.
More later…

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bowling for Pounds

40 pounds plus!
That’s my good new today. I weighed in with Martha this morning and am pleased to report that I stand at 322.4 lbs. which means I am now down over 40 lbs. from where I began this journey – 40.3 lbs. to be exact.  That is the equivalent of two large bowling balls that I’ve lost. Imagine hauling two big bowling balls around!

I am pleased, but I know I have a long way to go – actually many more bowling balls.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Way of Lights

Last evening I visited the famous National Shrine of Our Lady of Snows just across the river in Bellville, Illinois and the famous “Way of Lights.”

The Way of Lights started as a way to keep the grounds maintenance staff busy (and employed) during their slow time in the late fall.  It consists of Christmas-themed light displays along a mile and a half drive with some 1.7 million lights. There were large crowds – some in buses and vans.
I went with Fr. John H. from Iowa, who also lives here at the La Salette’s residence with me. We had dinner at the shrine’s impressive restaurant (Salad with low fat dressing, (6 oz. cooked) strip steak, green beans, red wine).
At the gift shop, I purchased a beautiful three-paneled icon of the Nativity of the Lord so I’ll have some small seasonal decoration in my room.
Icon of the Nativity & USB LED Christmas Tree

Had a wonderful evening!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Where's my blog?

I apologize for neglecting my blog. Several of my gentle readers have reminded me that I have been remiss.
So here’s the quick update: I survived the Thanksgiving challenge in fine fashion.  I had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner about noon with the La Salette priests and brothers here in St. Louis. I tasted everything, in moderation. And when I got up from the table, for the first time in many years, I did NOT feel like a stuffed turkey!
The following Monday’s weigh-in showed a loss of 2 lbs. (only!) But after all it was still a loss – and that’s why I say I survived the Thanksgiving challenge. (My official weight is 326.7.)
This week I’ve tried embraced my “athletic self.” I’ve signed up with the “YPF” program (Y Personal Fitness) at the Carondelete YMCA, which means I’ve committed to getting to the gym at least 3 days a week for the next 12 weeks. I have to make getting to the gym a part of my regular routine, a part of my life from now on. If I am to stay healthy, I have come to realize I simply must get exercise; and the only way that’s going to happen is if I make it a priority.
So this week I’ve already been to the gym Tuesday, Wednesday and today, Thursday.  I am hopeful to get there a couple of more times before the week runs out.
Things are going well.  I feel good. I’m working hard. And I really do have lots more to tell you. But it’s bed time and I am weary. God bless! Good night!