by Christine on March 23rd, 2015

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Well, the month is closing in….and I can say that since my (awful, terrible) doctor’s appointment at the beginning of the month….

I haven’t gained any weight.

That’s terrific! I mean, it’s not LOSING weight–which I want and need to do–but I haven’t GAINED. And hey, that’s something I’m happy to celebrate.

I find that I’m pretty good about following a routine with respect to food at the beginning of the week, but things start to fall apart towards Friday and Saturday, including emotional binge stuff. I wonder why that is?

I got several walks in this weekend, including an hour trudging through the snow along the Erie Canal on Saturday. (No idea of miles…it was slow going in the snow and boots.) Sunday hubby joined me on a walk around a golf course at the State Park near my house. We stopped to watch the kids play hockey in the free ice skating rink in the park. It was another hour+ of walking through the snow.
















(Above, walking along the Erie Canal)
























(Above: Maple Syrup sugar house, and walking at the State Park)


Gastric Band and Belly Button Piercings (Navel Rings)

by Christine on April 9th, 2012

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Exercise, Gastric Banding Surgery

It turns out that getting a belly button ring affects the gastric band. I wouldn’t have guessed that, so it has been a bit of a learning experience for me.

Here are some pictures. Please note that I think my belly button ring is infected. It’s a little red, and it hurts pretty solidly when I bend over and whatnot. I believe this is affecting my band even more than normal.

The main difference is that my band is HELLA TIGHT since getting pierced. This is because the band is absorptive, and I’m most likely retaining water due to a small infection in the band. (Read more about the band being absorptive here.)  I can barely keep any food down…been barfing up nearly every meal I try to eat. Fortunately I can still sip liquids, so I’m holding out on getting an un-fill to see if this will pass.

The second way the piercing affects the band is because the piercing is located very close to my gastric banding port! I’m fortunate that my piercer didn’t actually puncture the port hose or anything like that (note to you: if you’re going to get a piercing, you may want to mention the port and hose to your piercer so you don’t get punctured!) but I realize now that it could have happened pretty easily. The hose comes very close to my belly button, and so when I bend over or move in a certain way, I can feel the hose rub against the piercing. No bueno, and I may have to lose the piercing because of it. I need to talk to my doctor about it.

Of course, none of this means that YOU will be so affected by your belly button ring, but you may want to give it another thought before rewarding yourself for your weight loss, like me!

Here are some pictures. I know, my belly is hideous, especially with those stretch marks. I don’t intend on SHOWING OFF the belly button ring–I got it more for myself, so I know it’s there, as a reward for losing 100 pounds. That being said, you can see a few things from this picture (ignore the stretch marks, please!):

  • You can see my stomach area since my port re-attachment surgery. You can see a little bump off to the side of my tummy where the port is, but it’s not TOO noticeable.
  • Surgery scars: you can see two or three of my surgery scars on my tummy. These don’t bother me at all, but they are there.

In other news, I’m finally getting some exercise again, now that the weather is turning warmer. This weekend I went hiking in the Berkshires. It’s a path that I’ve done before, and I previously deemed the trail to be “easy” but this time I declared it to be “moderate.” In fact, the hike kicked my ass and I was sore for a day afterwards! OY! Must exercise more!!


Fun weekend hiking & enjoying the fall colors

by Christine on October 10th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Exercise

It was a very busy weekend for me, and I got lots of weird exercise in, which is great! It’s my favorite kind of exercise…the kind that happens by happenstance!

Saturday the hubby and I headed off to the Herkimer Diamond Mine. It’s a real working quarry where you bust up rocks and search for diamonds. (They aren’t real diamonds of course–just high quality quartz.) We weren’t overly successful and only found a few super teeny tiny diamonds. Still, the process of hammering the hell out of rocks for three hours was interesting, fun in a weird way, and great for some upper body exercise! Three hours of that burned about 1,000 calories!

Sunday we went for a hike with a group of the hubby’s friends. We went up Buck Mountain, overlooking Lake George. It was a somewhat difficult hike (very difficult for the three newbie hikers in our group), very warm, but with fantastic views at the top!  Four hours of hiking burned maybe 1300 calories for me…not bad! It was just under a 7 mile hike, 2,000 foot elevation. Not one of the tallest peaks in the Adirondacks, but it was a very steady and unrelenting climb.

I was one of the carpool drivers, and man, driving after a long hike is really tough! All you want to do is kick off your hiking boots and sleep a little! I had a five-hour energy and some carrots and tried to make do.

After we went home and showered we all met back up at one of the friends’ house. Everyone had pizza (boo, I can’t have pizza! So I had some cereal at home before going over there) and played board games. I left early because I was pretty dang sleepy!

Today it’s Columbus Day and I don’t have the day off. I’m at work, but I’m feeling pretty tired. I don’t think it’ll be a very productive day at work!

Weight today was unsurprisingly down a little bit! 127.0 today, hooray!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!


Waterfalls & Amazing Food! Weekend trip to Ithaca, NY

by Christine on July 25th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Good morning Revolutionists! Did you all have a good weekend? I hope you were busy, active, and staying away from naughty summer foods!

I had a wonderful weekend away with a friend of mine. We went to Ithaca, New York, which isn’t really known as a “destination location” but turned out to be a fantastic weekend getaway locale! I hadn’t been there in about 15 years (and even then, my trip was brief) and I had a great time exploring new places!


We kicked off our trip on Saturday morning. It was a three-hour drive from the Albany area, but I-88 is a beautiful, scenic highway, so there was plenty to look at along the way. Our first stop, as we rolled through town, was the Six Mile Creek Winery.  The wines were great, the venue was cute and convenient, the views were fabulous, and our bartender was really nice and helpful. It was a great way to start our weekend trip!

Ugh, this weekend I discovered that either my legs are still fat or they have a lot of loose skin that I probably will never loose. Sigh.

Look at those healthy grapes! So lush!

After that we made a pilgrimage to one of the places I was most looking forward to seeing: The Moosewood Restaurant!  Moosewood is famous for its line of cookbooks featuring vegetarian recipes. Oh, the food is so incredibly flavorful! Of course, that doesn’t always mean low-calorie; on the contrary. But it is vegetarian and delicious. I was thrilled to check this place out live and in-person for the first time! (Check out the website for some recipes.)  I had the Bavarian Vegetarian Soup with dill and sour cream as well as some kind of bean/spinach/garlic dish served over rice, a little bit New Orleans style. Delicious and well worth the visit!

After lunch we walked around town and window-shopped to stretch our legs and digest our food. There’s a closed-off, paved section of downtown Ithaca that has some hippie stores. Think tie-died shirts, bongs and glass-blown pipes, and incense for sale, and yup, you’ve got the picture of downtown Ithaca. We passed a family (mom, dad, and two kids under 10 years old) who were chanting some kind of meditation thing and passing out half-dead flowers to strangers. Funny stuff.

When we had enough of that, we headed out to west side of the lake to hit up a few more wineries. We hit up a few….Americana Vineyards and Sheldrake Point and Lucas Vineyards.  I particularly enjoyed Sheldrake Point vineyard. The venue was really lovely (they have three tasting rooms to accommodate all the tour buses, which is really nice) and we shut the place down, being the last people in the tasting room that day. We bantered with the bartenders for a while and enjoyed the old-school Rolling Stones playing on their system. Great group of guys! Americana Vineyards had really delicious cheeses and fudge on sale in addition to the wines.

After getting our tastings on, we decided to check out one of the local waterfalls. There are a lot of parks, gorges, and waterfalls in the Ithaca area.  We passed by Taughannock Falls State Park and drove up to the scenic overlook for a view of the falls.  It was lovely of course, although I prefer Albany’s Thatcher Park/Indian Ladder trail personally to this particular waterfall.

When we got back to the hotel room to clean up for dinner (we were hoping to go swimming at the hotel) we discovered that our air conditioning was broken! BOO!  We had to sit around for an hour and a half while the maintenance people fixed it (meanwhile sweating our asses off in the room…it was HOT that day!). Then it was a frantic shower and dash out the door to make dinner in time. No swimming for us, boo! Needless to say I don’t recommend staying at the Holiday Inn if you have a choice. It wasn’t cheap, either.

For dinner we went to Just a Taste. It’s a tapas restaurant with an ever-changing menu. The restaurant was recommended to us by about four different people, and it did not disappoint. Tapas restaurants are really band-friendly because they offer such small portions! We ordered four dishes and split it: caesar salad, grilled fish, shrimp, and steamed vegetables. The food was delicious! I really wanted desert but couldn’t fit it all in my tummy. We had a drink at the hotel bar when we got back (I had a Diet Coke…I was soooo parched!). The restaurant bar seemed pretty nice!


Sunday we got up early and headed to the Ithaca Farmer’s Market. Oh the fresh veggies looked so amazing! I wanted to buy a ton of great veggies, but knew that I don’t eat enough to benefit from that, nor would they sit well in the car all day. Bummer. We had breakfast at the market though, at one of the little stands. I had an apple streudle thing (it was small; fit in the palm of my hand). It wasn’t very good though, so I took 2 bites and threw the rest out.  What I really wanted were some of the fresh apricots! They were only selling apricots by the pint and half-pint. I asked the woman if I could buy 2 mere apricots for $1 (a huge deal for them) and she refused, so I didn’t get any fresh fruit. BOO!

Afterwards we drove towards Cornell University, which is on the side of the hill in Ithaca. The Cornell campus is huge and lovely, with a strange mix of old-beautiful buildings, new-ugly buildings, and one or two new-modern-lovely buildings.  We passed a beautiful building and I said, “Stop here! I want to check that out!” It turns out that it was the Cornell Arboretum, which is free to park at (on the weekends) and walk around the grounds. The grounds were extensive (we barely saw a 16th of what they had there, and we were there for an hour) and sooooo beautiful! What a little treasure!

After walking around for ages — and oh! It was really warm outside! — we were hungry. We stopped at Subway and picked up lunch to go. (For me: salad with tuna fish on top) and we headed to the other side of town to Buttermilk Falls State Park.  I definitely prefered this park and waterfall to the Taughnnock falls we visited the day before. We parked kind of at the wrong end–on the top of the hill. Parking fee was $7. We ate our lunch and then started on our hike. We followed gorge trail–which is really scenic and beautiful, but hard on the knees. You descend about 600 feet in 0.5 miles, so it’s pretty steep, but you follow the gorge the whole way. There are signs not to swim in the water holes, although it was really warm and people were swimming in every section of water! It was so fun to watch everyone having fun!

At the bottom of Buttermilk Falls is a designated swimming area (with life guards) and about a bajillion people and sunbathers, etc. It was very hot at the bottom of the gorge. Then we realized, oh no! Now we have to go BACK 600 feet up the hill! I’ll tell you what though–the workout felt amazing. I felt so energized and sweaty and ALIVE! We did the trail on the other side of the falls, which isn’t scenic at all but was much easier on the knees (no stairs). I think we went UP faster than we went DOWN, probably because we didn’t stop to take pictures every two seconds!

By the time we got back to the car, I was super-sweaty and gross!! But what a great workout!

Do you see all my sweat? Yucky!

The only thing left to do was head home and…yes! Stop for ice cream! I got a blizzard at a little farm stand, but all I really wanted was a taste. I only ate half and threw the rest away. Wasteful, yes, but they don’t sell blizzard/flurries in teeny-tiny sizes unfortunately, and I didn’t need all those fatty calories! I just wanted a little treat!

It was 3 hours back home, just in time for dinner.  First thing hubby wanted to do was go out for dinner, so we got back into the car and went out to a restaurant. (I would have prefered to cook at home after a weekend away, but we didn’t have any food at home). I had some grilled salmon and some grilled zucchini. nom nom!

It was a great weekend filled with adventure and new sights and great food! I highly recommend a weekend to Ithaca for anyone looking for something to do!


Weekend update! Beer, wine, maple syrup, and more!

by Christine on March 21st, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition, Exercise

Happy spring, Revolutionists! What are your goals for springtime? How will you begin to prepare for the summer that is looming?

I’ll tell you what. This 100 pound weight loss is messing with my head recently. I have been feeling so fat and so bloated lately. In fact, this morning I was laying in bed thinking that perhaps I need to get a tub of “too-big clothing” out from storage to wear, and I also pondered at what point I should go back to get another fill from the bariatric surgeon. Then, when I stepped on the scale, it said I was 127 pounds, which is pretty much within my maintenance range. Why am I feeling so fat when I am not really gaining any weight? I feel as fat and awful as I did when I was 225 pounds; I KNOW my body is different, but my brain is on a different path. Why the discrepancy?

So much of weight-loss is a big head game.

The last few days have been very very busy! Let me recap!

Thursday, St. Patrick’s Day

For St. Patty’s day we did our usual pub trivia at our local establishment. (No, we didn’t win this week!) We had a group of 12 friends join us, so it was a great celebration with friends! It was also a very long evening; I showed up at the bar at 5 p.m. to get the big table to accommodate our group, and we didn’t leave until 10 p.m. That’s a long time to be sitting down! Fortunately I only drank one beer that whole time, so I didn’t overindulge. Hubby and I split an order of chicken tenders. (not the healthiest option, I know, but hubby doesn’t eat healthy food like vegetables. The best I could do was to watch my quantity when eating crappy food.)

Friday March 18th

Friday was my Uncle’s memorial service. I was very sad that I could not make it to Chicago to honor him, but I kept him in my thoughts all day.  After work on Friday I went out with some friends drinking. This night, however, I did overindulge! I had a margarita with dinner (which was 1 small fish taco and some black beans with salsa. Delicious!), followed by three pumpkin spiced martinis. They were delicious, but really, three was a little excessive. One should have sufficed, then I should have switched to water. There is a lot of sugar in martinis.

Saturday March 19th

On Saturday a friend and I went for a beer tour in our local area!  Tomorrow I will post our itinerary (with notes) for anyone local that wants to re-create our route.  First we hit a maple syrup refinery. March is the month that maple syrup is produced, and upstate New York and Vermont is famous for its maple syrup! We ventured out into the middle of godforsakennowhere and talked with a maple syrup maker about how he makes the delicious goodness. Then, for $7, you could have all-you-can-eat pancakes. My friend and I split an order, and man, fresh, hot maple syrup was really delicious! We waited an eternity for our order, but the wait was well worth it.

Photo above: They tap the maple trees and run tubes from the trees to the collection tanks. This whole area has hundreds of tubes running from the trees; it’s a real labyrinth! Can you see them?

Photo above: The tubes run to collection tanks like this one. Pure maple syrup only had 2% sugar; the rest is water. Who knew?

Photo above: Inside the refinery, they boil the maple syrup over and over again. This is steam billowing from the boilers; you can see the steam coiling above the refinery for miles! Before packaging the maple syrup, they add some white powdery stuff to help purify the syrup. And that’s it! Collect it, boil it, package it. Pretty simple.

Photo above: You know you’re in the boondocks when llamas greet you outside.

Photo above: Standing in eastern New York State, looking at the Green Mountains in Vermont. I am so lucky to live in such a beautiful area of the country! Look, our snow is almost gone!

Then we hit two brew pubs (microbreweries) in Glens Falls, NY. We had so much fun at the Davidson Brothers Brewery! Although they had a lot of IPAs and bitter beers on draft, which are not my thing, I had so much fun bantering with the bartender and one of the owners of the place. What a FUN place to hang out!

From there we hit a winery in Lake George, then another winery in Saratoga. After that we discovered a microbrewery in Saratoga that, well, I won’t give away their secret, but it is truly a fantastic gem for us localites!!!

Although we hit a lot of breweries and wineries, and we did samplings and flights at each destination, I didn’t overdo the drinking. After all, I was driving! I sipped and sampled, then let my friend polish off the rest of the drinks at each place. I paced myself, don’t worry.  For lunch I had soup at the Davidson Brothers Brewery, and for dinner we nibbled on some homemade cranberry cheese spread at Olde Saratoga Brewery that was absolutely divine!

Tomorrow I will post our itinerary (with lots of links, information, etc).  Because I seem to be really good at putting together these beer/pub crawls in the New York and New England areas, I will start compiling these tours into a resource on the website, so be looking for it!

Sunday, March 20th

Sunday I went snowshowing with a friend in the morning. Well, he snowshoed and I hiked with small crampons attached to my boots. It was a beautiful day! We hiked for about an hour and a half, which was about 5 miles or thereabouts. A great way to get a workout in!

Afterwards, hubby and I did some much needed errands, such as a trip to the hardware store and a trip to the grocery store. We also stopped at our local gaming/comic book store (Zombie Planet, which is a great store!) to pick up some new board games. We really enjoy a game called Dominion, which is a deck-building game. This concept of “deck building” is a new genre of board games that is really taking off in popularity! We bought “Thunderstone” and “Ascension” and pulled out Thunderstone to play yesterday evening. It had more rules and is marginally more complicated than Dominion, but it seems fun. Hubby tells me that Ascension is easier than Dominion and simpler in terms of game play, but we’ll see. I suspect we’ll try playing that tonight.

Then it was bill paying, dinner (leftover grilled chicken and leftover mushrooms), read a little bit of my book, and before I knew it, the day was over. Man, Sundays just go by too dang fast!

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