building muscle, and some pretty things

One thing I’m starting to enjoy on a deep level is flour grinding. There’s something so ancient and elemental about it.

I grind in our BlendTec blender and sift and regrind what doesn’t sift

I’m starting the Curves diet again. I’ve lost muscle and gained fat the last two years because I haven’t followed their maintenance plan. Life has been stressful, so I’ve been debating which is more stressful– life responsibilities/events and using eating as a support, or the stress of gaining weight. It stresses me to gain weight.

So I’m starting their eating plan. I had lovely success last time. However, this first week was a total bust– I allowed myself some high-fat but healthy foods–homemade butter in my coffee, coconut sugar in my coffee, coffeecoffeecoffee, full-fat homemade yogurt … you get the point.

So the first week I actually lost weight, but it was all muscle and I gained fat. I’m so glad for this weighing thing that actually measures what is coming and going! Sheesh. Pulling back into strict mode with the diet.

But I just wanted to say that I’m so happy to be doing this again. And I joined their food school– a nine-week group for education, support, camaraderie. It is a lot of fun!

I love cooking in certain ways. I don’t always love it. But it’s a lovely craft that I enjoy and find beautiful, when I have time to approach it that way.

Polish pottery tea cup

losing weight again

So, two years ago, I had accomplished losing a lot of weight– gaining muscle, losing fat. I used the Curves eating plan and fitness center.

I actually started losing weight the year I was 39, preparing for turning 40, the year after I’d given birth to our fourth child.

I lost 18 kilograms– that’s 40 pounds.

Since then, I’ve regained 29 pounds (13kg). I actually gained a little more but then lost it in the last month or so.

Our trip to the States, February-July, 2018, I experienced great amounts of stress. Good stress, but a lot of stress– travel, meetings, constantly changing schedule, fatigue, etc. And gaining weight added a lot of stress to me, too.

So, We’ve been back to Ukraine for 7 weeks. I immediately started exercising again, and I started the Curves eating plan again. But I haven’t been sticking to it very well. But today I committed to it, did bulk cooking so I have food to eat, measured out some portions….

But what helped me re-commit was a thought I had last night: “I hate the process of losing weight, but I love having lost weight.”

This was a key thought because Vitaliy is always telling me, You have to learn to love the process. So I started thinking to myself: How can I enjoy the process of losing weight?

So I started thinking about it, and I made a list of things I love about the process of losing weight (not just the result of having lost it), though this list contains both aspects:

  1. I love organizing food
  2. I love going to Curves to exercise.
  3. I love seeing progress.
  4. I love getting into smaller and smaller clothes.
  5. I love gradually seeing more muscle definition and tone in my arms and legs.
  6. I love shopping, planning, and preparing food.
  7. I love measuring/weighing myself.
  8. I love setting and achieving goals.
  9. I love Vitaliy’s compliments.
  10. I love how clothes fit and that I have a wider choice of what to wear.
  11. I love blogging about the process.

Here is a picture of myself that inspires me

I got my first compliment today about losing weight 🙂

a minor miracle: I made whole wheat bread!

I’ve tried making whole wheat bread before…. But I don’t remember that it ever worked.

Well, today … IT WORKED!

We ground the wheat grains through the Green Star juicer. I sifted it, and ground again the pieces too large to sift through. This was important.


For the recipe, I used this lady’s video on youtube:

It includes a 1/2 cup of regular, white flour, which I think was also important to the success of this recipe.



It’s so beautiful there, like a part of the decor.





20170117_12333120170117_123312I’ve been thinking about how God made foods so perfectly for the human body–it’s so amazing to contemplate. And I’m trying to put more natural foods into my body as a way of caring for myself as I age.

weight loss update, aging, my 41st birthday

It was about 2 years ago now that I started actively trying to lose weight and get in shape. I started at 195 lbs, and I originally wanted to lose to 135 lbs, but with the Curves food school, and other considerations, I changed that to 145 lbs– I’m still breastfeeding, and it’s a healthy weight for me.

I want to note a few things. I’m shifting into the maintaining phase. It’s a change. But here is what I really like: with Curves stuff, the focus is on losing fat and gaining muscle. My body used to have a higher percent of fat than muscle. That has reversed now— I have a higher percentage of body muscle than fat.

So what I noticed is that I gain weight much slower now, like if I’m “holiday eating” for 5-6 weeks (during Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year), and I lose it faster once I go back to their structured diet.

I still workout at Curves 3 days a week, and I really enjoy that time.

Vitaliy bought me a cool gift for my 41st birthday, which is tomorrow. He loves technology. I am OK with technology to some extent. So this gift was a perfect combo of his tech-savvy-ness and my fitness.


It’s a fitness bracelet. …. I am surprised at myself at how much I like it!

For example, one thing I just did: I set my bracelet for 1 hour of walking (around the third floor of the mall). It timed me, constantly measured my heartrate, counted my steps, how many calories burned, and notified me each time I reached a kilometer– I walked 5 kilometers! (about 3 miles)

And since one of my main 2017 resolutions is to pray for an hour a day, and I’m still experimenting how to work that one hour into my life regularly, I prayed as I walked, and it was really a wonderful way to combine spiritual and physical fitness!

I don’t think I’ll do it everyday, but 2-3 days a week would be fantastic.

Anyway, this bracelet thing does a bunch of fitness stuff– measures my sleep hours and what level of sleep, counts my steps all day, etc. It’s pretty cool, and emotionally it helps me feel “official” as a fitness-type person. (I know, that’s corny, but it’s…. how I feel, and that can be important.)

Now, about aging.

You  know, for many years, I took the bull by the horns, researched and studied all this stuff about health and pregnancy and breastfeeding. But I’ve realized that I have a block about dealing with aging. …. I just want to ignore the symptoms and hope they’ll go away.

…. So… I’m trying to help myself deal gently with these news issues cropping up in my life. Like having to switch to non-caffeinated coffee because caffeinated started causing me blood pressure and heart rate issues. Its’ not necessarily aging, but for me it is.

And I keep putting off going to the doctor about some of my aging things. I personally have a complex relationship with the system of allopathic medicine, so I’m not exactly sure what I want from a doctor visit. I’m still in the process of clarifying that for myself. But I ought to go in the next month or two I think, to at least start talking about some of my other health things.

I’m actually looking forward to grey hair. I think it will look good on me.


Oh, I’ve started a morning routine, too, of taking care of my body. It involves body brushing, hypopressive breathing, a face mask, and a few other details. I usually do not have the patience to pay so much attention to my physical being, but surprisingly, I’m ready to do that now.

A day of the Curves diet

OK, not a whole day, but most of it.

A day consists of 3 meals and 2 snacks, eating approximately every 3 hours.

Here is my food journal. In the back, I choose a formula for each meal/snack, and the portions are by weight.



For breakfast, I chose the formula 2 Starches (50grams of oatmeal), 1.5 Fruit (strawberries) and 1 Protein (2 eggs).

Weighed out my oatmeal and strawberries together, then poured hot water over it

Weighed out my oatmeal and strawberries together, then poured hot water over it


I recently tried cooking scrambled eggs on my crepe-making pan,and I love the results!!



By the time I ate breakfast (about 9am), I had drank 1/2 a liter of water (I currently drink 2 liters/day).


At 11, I had my snack. I chose 2 Nuts/Seeds, which for me was 30 grams of natural nut butter (I have peanut, almond, or a great marzipan with caramel).

I also drink sugarless coffee (sometimes with milk, sometimes black).


For lunch (13:00), I chose the formula 4 starches (88grams noodles), 1 protein (100 grams -raw- chicken breast), and 1 Milk (28 grams cheese).

I made up noodles with little hamburger patties of ground chicken, spiced, with cheese. That’s a jar of homemade ketchup Vitaliy’s mom is supplying us with– I put it all over the noodles– it’s so yummy, and didn’t count it as calories. 20161014_133856 My snack (16:00) was again a spoon of two portions of nuts/seeds. This time I had 30 grams of almond butter with black coffee.



I’m eating on the Phase 3 of the diet, the maintainance phase which is 2000-2500 calories. It helps the fat/muscle ratio to keep shifting (gaining muscle, losing fat) and the frequent eating keeps the metabolism working.

Dinner hasn’t happened yet, but … you get the idea ….

making major life changes (i.e., losing weight)

This week, I switched to the third phase of the Curves diet. This is the final phase, where you maintain (or lose) and keep shifting fat to muscle.

I stopped losing on the second phase, the weight loss phase, so that’s a signal that my body needs some change-up. I’m very happy with what I lost during that phase– very obvious weight loss, and very obvious muscular changes– Like I don’t have flab on my underarm any more– that is amazing.

This is me, in October, 2014, two years ago:


Me now: 20160926_081838

I’m also happy that I’m not eating sugar any more. And I stopped frying foods. So we are all eating healthier. I like how my clothes fit and feel, too. It’s fun to shop for clothes now, but I’m trying to control myself there J

I’m at a moment where I’m trying to avoid some traps. Well, one particular trap: Becoming focused on losing weight and getting more and more skinny. That’s really not the point, but it’s an easy road to go down. Oh, I don’t like that place on my leg. Oh, I don’t like my stomach flab that’s still there. Oh, oh, oh….

I have to consciously shut down those thoughts, because those goals take me to the wrong road and the wrong end.

I’m working to just be healthier. To replace unhealthy habits with healthy habits, come what may. To enjoy food for the good it’s doing my body, and as fuel.

This is really good.

Vitaliy’s started thinking about his health, too, which is nice so we get on the same wave together. He’s so fit-looking anyway, and loves outdoor, extreme sports. But now he’s trying to find ways to exercise himself more regularly. He prefers non-repetitious exercise that requires skill that you get more and more advance at, though. But he bought an exercise ladder and installed it in the kids’ room, for them and him. So there you go—we’re rubbing off on each other again.

I’m playing with the idea of going to black coffee. I can’t stand the taste, but I hear it’s acquired. I tried stevia for a while. I’m trying cinnamon and other no-calories things…

God really convicted me of something about this whole thing. I’m reading the Gospels, and I read where Jesus says:

I assure you: If you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you tell this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will be done. And if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.

And I realized that I had stopped having faith that God could change me. My years of experience with my weight and health taught me, not perserverance, but disbelief (that God could change me). So I confessed that to God and asked Him to help me believe, to show me other areas where I don’t believe.

Vitaliy’s new exercise ladder: