Sep 8, 2013

Since I've been flooded with requests for info about this new "diet" I've been doing, I decided to post all info in a blog format to same me some time. Please read all the details and links I posted, after you do that, if you have more questions I'll be glad to answer your questions. To clarify, I win nothing by sharing this with you, when you apply to the website, she asks if you know anyone on campus (and you do), but I think that's for her records, because I never won anything by referring anyone to her program.
Here it is! If you've been following my blog you know I've struggled with my weight for a while now. My heaviest weight, was 9 months preggo with baby Jr at 227 lbs. After giving birth I went down to 210 lbs, which is huge for my height (5'2). Started Weight Watchers in March at 201 lbs and lost almost 10 lbs... got stuck again...
While struggling to lose weight I remember, A long time ago (when I was 16 years old) when I spent about 2 weeks in a health spa, as part of my birthday gift (I requested this from my parents). I shed a lot of pounds and was in the best shape of my life. I don't know why, for some reason I was still not happy with myself and continued to diet... and, like every time I dieted before... I ended up gaining even more weight. The health spa was a 24 hour program, consisted of daily walks, lots of juicing (I did 10 days of juicing fast), then progressed to a vegetarian diet. Massages, water treatments and other natural treatments were included. I stayed in that hotel for almost 2 weeks, and lost 10% of my body weight.
Fast forward to arriving in the US, meeting my hubby (my BMI was 28... not too bad)... then I started to diet for the wedding ceremony so I could look really great in my wedding dress... ended up gaining more weight (see a pattern there?). I started a weight loss journal in 2005, and documented every attempt to lose weight. Yes, there was a pattern... I would lose weight for the first weeks, then gain everything back and more. MY BMI went from 28 to 35 in 10 years. At my peak pregnancy weight I had a BMI of 40. Here's a chart of BMI's for reference:

Category BMI range – kg/m2
Low 18.5 and below
Normal from 18.5 to 25.0 (Standard weight is 22)
25.0 to 30.0 - Overweight
30.0 to 35.0 - Obese Class I
35.0 to 40.0 - Obese Class II
40.0 and above - Obese Class III / Morbidly Obese

I looked over my weight in high school and I have no idea why I was so unhappy with my weight back then... I was in the normal range!

Anyway, remembering that my best weight loss experience was with raw foods/juicing, I tried to research a program where I could have support to do this and go back to the weight I was before arriving in the U.S. There were a tons of programs out there and a lot of them are great. I found by reading examples of people that lost weight with raw food programs on Matt Monarch's website (Raw food World). His beautiful wife, Angela, lost tons of weight by switching to a raw lifestyle ( Carlene Jones was listed in the "before and after" gallery in their website here:

There were other ladies in the "before and after" gallery that had coaching programs to help people with obesity, things that attracted me to her particular program were:

1) Fruits x juicing. Carlene is all about doing fruits and veggies and not a lot of juicing. I like that because every time I tried to juice, it was just a big mess. In practical terms, trying to do this for the whole family, while working and taking care of kids it was exausting. Just the thought of having to clean another device, plus preparing (cutting) veggies and added the price of veggies, I don't think I could do it any other way. If you are juicing every day and don't have your own garden, you have to have a LOT of produce to juice to your family (one cup of juice = lots and lots of veggies). If you use only fruits and vegetables in their pure state... you spend less money. That to me was very attractive right there, plus I could just grab a peach, a pear, some oranges and go to work without having to spend a lot of time planning meals when I go to work. Win win.

2) The website has a Forum where you HAVE to check in everyday, or you lose all money paid. That was a huge incentive for me, because I think the main problem with my diets over the years is that I start... but I don't finish them. Since I'm paying this website a huge chunck of money (well, I think it is anyway), I'd be forced to log in and follow everyday... or lose my money! Since the IRS took our refund money this year and gave to someone else (thanks identity theft!), we're pretty tight on money. Anyway, I prepaid 12 weeks, and committed so I'd have no chance of giving up after week 2.

3) Fat brain behaviors. And this is something that I learned while studying the beginner's and getting started guide... the behavior I needed to work the most, was not how much food I consume or how much exercise I do everyday, that was the easy part. The hard part to work (which I'm still struggling with today), is to modify behavious in my brain that leads to weight gain. In my case, I used to eat when: bored, tired, anxious, sad, happy, needing a reward, frustrated, angry. All those emotions were masked, or not expressed properly and instead... I grabbed a bar of chocolate, or a piece of cheese and crackers. Part of losing weight and keeping it off is to work on your brain, and build a lean brain, versus a fat one. It's the not-so-easy part that most people in many programs for weight loss don't get it. So you'll see people on weight watchers, raw food boot camp, Jenny craig, whatever... that lose every single pound... then gain it all again... because their brain is still confused and the emotions and behaviours are not trained to be lean... but fat. She has a book about fat brain behaviours, which I haven't read yet, because I've been getting the tidbits at camp anyway, but if you don't want to sign up for camp you could probably read her book to understand what I'm trying to explain in this paragraph, it costs $9.95

4) No excuses. As I read the "a week of courage" ( discussion she had on the website for free - before starting my program, I realized that I needed to stop the excuses and just get my but off the couch and do it. Get whatever I need done to reach my goal. To be part of a community of people that understand the "no excuses" attitude is very inspiring and everyday I get inspired with people's victories and falls.

5) Price. The price of the program is double the price of Weight watchers. Except it's not. If you follow the program, and sign up for the challenges (I signed up for the 50lbs challenge), you get free weeks, and if you follow everything you're suppose to do and do every single challenge, you'll get the same price of weight watchers. Except you get way more, because your coach will review your food log daily (and kick your butt if you don't eat what you are suppose to), give you a daily audio to listen to which is very inspirational, and you'll have to check in very regularly even taking pictures of your foot on the scale to be accountable to your program. You don't get that on weight watchers... so in my opinion, this is cheapter than weight watchers with their weekly accountability.

6) Boot camp. I love the idea of challenging myself for 12 weeks, I was never in the military, but I always thought boot camp people look so awesome and I'd love to look and feel fit as they do. So, the idea of joining a "boot camp", was very exciting and I'm still stocked about the whole experience. Minimum joining BMI for the boot camp is 33, so you have to be obese, if you are not, you can still join, but not be part of the boot camp, which is an intensive program for the obese.

Now, answering your questions about the details of this "diet". There are 3 types of diets you can follow on the website, "100% raw", 80% raw, or whole foods diet. The easier to avoid cravings, believe it or not is 100% raw, which is the diet I'm on. I'm doing 2 hours of exercise (mostly walking), and 100% raw. She calls that program the Rawk Starz! program. All the "what you can eat, what you can't eat" is here:

1) What is the program about:

2) Introduction to the boot camp (MUST READ BEFORE JOINING), with details on what we eat and don't eat, what proteins and fats are allowed: Basic guidelines are outlined here:

3) List of people that did the program and shared their personal victories:

4) how do I keep track of my food? I enter every bite, on then make a screen shot and give to my coach at the end of the day for her to give me tips or shout at me (I actually get praises many times). I have to keep at least 1200 calories (1400 if I'm nursing), 10 to 15% of protein, and at least 15% of healthy fat.

If I have more questions I'll edit this post and add more info here, so far those are the questions I got. come back later (or subscribe) for a post on how I get exercise done with 3 kids in the house... and what my daily menu consists of...

Feb 15, 2013

Nights like these, when my baby boy sleeps on my shoulder I always wonder what would have been like if my dad was still alive. Would he have enjoyed his grandson? Would he have shared his love of HAM radio? Would he be giving him massages just like his grandpa did to him?

My uncle tells me my dad was born with very weak neck muscles and was unable to support his neck for several years. Apparently his head always hanged to one side even as a teen. His step grandpa helped him with massages for the first few years of his life and he eventually outgrew it but I remember, growing up, several people making (rude) comments of my dad's neck and overall posture. When I went to College and I first started learning about all the different diagnoses and symptoms I tried to put this puzzle together and it seemed to me my Dad's story was likely a birth injury. Since there aren't any hospital records and my grandma is no longer living nothing is definite. We know his muscles were affected, his intelligence was normal or above normal (although my dad told me once that people always thought he was mentally retarded because of his posture). My conclusion, I thought, was that he was born with a mild cerebral palsy.

Never occurred to me that there was a possibility this could have been genetic. I still don't know that. All I know is that my baby's overall tonus is somewhat weak, specially in his neck area. His sister was able to lift her head very successfully at 1 month, and now at 3 months he still struggles... although his birth was very easy and not at all traumatic, his overall weak tonus is causing him to struggle with laryngomalacia (a weak voice box). This causes "stridor" (watch the video bellow), Breathing problems and A touch of reflux, so voila: I haven't slept in 3 months. ENT doctor seems to think he will outgrow this in the next 12 months. Pardon me if his birth story is not on the blog yet. My mind is somewhat clouded and I have little time to write. However I decided I rather write and ignore my grammar and aesthetic mistakes and just put my thoughts on paper again. It just feels so good to do this again.

On the other hand Baby Bee is such a serene baby when he is not struggling with the problems above...his eyes are just so alive, bright and kind....And he makes me think of my dad everyday. It's been interesting to see that somehow my Dad lives in him.

Here's an old post with a poem and picture of my dad

Here's what the stridor sounds like sometimes (it changes a lot). Turn your volume up, it's the high pitch noise:
Baby at 20 days old, sleeping

Jun 3, 2011

cute things of the day...

- Sara, IIiiiiii love you.
- Iiiiii love me mommy.
- Sara, you did stinky poopy on the potty! yey!
- You welcome, mommy.
- Sara, let's pray to Jesus
- Deah Jesus, thank you mommy, thank you daddy, thank you Tessa, thank you night-night, night night at my cwib (crib), play with the toys later. aaaaaaamen. (she went on and on and on for about 2-3 minutes, so cute to hear).
She's my sunshine.

Apr 28, 2011


It's been more than a month now, but I need to register this here. I'm now a new HAM operator! My call sign is AB3MY which is so appropriate and not even a "vanity sign" (meaning it was ramdomly assigned to me by the FCC, I had the option to purchased one from their list of available call signs). I'm so excited about identifying myself as "America/Brazil 3 Mamma Yankee" on the radio. I was born in Brazil and I'm now an american citizen so this call sign is so perfect! In addition, my Dad was PY2PD and growing up I loved hearing the word Yankee on his call sign. It was such an exotic word for a portuguese speaker. I couldn't have picked a better call sign if I were to choose one!

I passed all levels in one testing session (3 exams) and was told that this was a first in the club history (not trying to toot my horn, just really celebrating! I'm so excited about this!). The VEs (Volunteer Examiners) were so nice, there were a couple people that failed the basic exams this month but they kept encouraging them and cheering them on telling them "I know you can do it next time", it was nice to see. If you are not familiar with HAM, here is an interesting article: why HAM Radio Endures in a World of Tweets
I guess most people don't take all 3 tests at once, and even take years until they take the Extra test, but my point of doing this was... I hate tests and I wanted to get it over with. Being an extra would give me all the privileges on all frequencis and I'd be able to communicate not only with the U.S. but most Countries, so I decided to just do it.

Now I'm going to be a little naughty, but just for one paragraph, ok? What makes it a little fun is that HAM is mostly a "boys" club... and I know, feminism is bad (I really don't think feminism is a good thing, really I don't!), but a lot of time when we were little girls we had this whole boy/girl competition going, didn't we? lol. I know I did! There was a couple boys in my class I was always competing with, mmm... let me see if I remember their names. Carlos Eduardo - we would compete to see who finished math problems/tests first... it was so much fun, we would race to see who got the best grade. Denisson & Marlon - we competed in a history and in a religions class "olympics". I won 2 volleyballs as prizes for those "knowledge-based olympics". Good times! Growing up I didn't really had great self esteem, so this was awesome and helped me build courage to keep going at school. So it was fun to do well on a "boy's world" again.

Anyway, maybe the whole paragraph above was not well written, I don't want anyone to think "I'm better" than any boys... it's just feels fun to do something just as well. But I have to be very honest, I have tons of practical things to learn - I have yet to purchase a radio! So I'll need the Elmer's help!

A note about studying for the tests: I studied online, mostly. One of the club members lend me some books, but with work and baby I honestly could not carry the books around with me. The most practical thing to do was to just read/quizz on my phone/internet browser. So there a tip for anyone considering studying... use resources online, there's a lot out there available.

A note about my dad: It was so enjoyable to learn every fact about HAM, I felt as if I was reading about my dad and his history. It was like taking a trip to his brain and putting a puzzle together of all the things I've seen and heard growing up... but had no idea what they were. I always wondered what was HAM about that made him so interested on it. As I get ready to set my first ham shack, I'll do it in memory of my dad, and I hope to follow in his footsteps of being a great HAM. He spoke so many languages and had so much engineering knowledge I know I'll never be as good as he was, but that's my way of trying to understand who he was and keeping his memory alive. I even showed Sara a picture of her grandpa for the first time this week. She gladly called him "my grandpa". It filled my eyes with tears.

Here's a link to my Dad's DX club.
Tupy Dx
A picture of him visiting a fellow HAM:

A picture of March 3/15/2011, also at the club's website:
Bald Eagle Repeaters Association

And finally a note on the newspaper (Press Enterprise) 4/27/2011. I attended their meeting last week and was told by Bob to share about passing all three tests in one session. Since everyone was staring at me, as I was literally mumbling about passing all 3 tests I turned into a red tomato! I didn't expect that as it has been years since my last "red" episode (shrug shoulders) anyways, here's it is:

73s you'll!

Apr 26, 2011

Every Child Can! (sorry long, but when it comes to music, I ramble... I love music!)

Hum... I wrote this last month and never published? Such a procrastinator... ! The date of the post was...3/7/11. All relevant, so I'm just going to press send without editing.


Last weekend I drove my entire family to MA. They are all crazy to go happilly, my husband the craziest of them all. I'm so lucky to have someone that when I mentions a plan just goes: "Ok, when do you want to do this?".

A 6 hour trip later, we're still not there but at the Atlantic Union College in Lancaster, which is about 50 minutes away. We're offered a free stay at the dorms and lunch at the cafeteria since it was open house weekend. The cafeteria experience was great. The dorm... not so much. I'm just going to leave it at this, because I don't want to bad mouth AUC. The only thing I'm going to say is that my family was not impressed and my teen (prospective student), even less.
Brazilian church for worship... then in the afternoon we drove to Boston, and of course, we had to drive around Harvard campus. In Tessa's words "so cool!!", lol.

Back to our hotel, we had a fantastic stay at the Marriott Newtonville, the kids had fun in the pool, and we got to relax before a long day (and no sleep from the previous night). In the morning a delicious breakfast (I just love it when I don't have to cook it... just enjoy it) and then it was time for me to to go my class. The girls stayed behind with dad, they were going to take their time then tour the Museum of Fine Arts.

The only problem was, it was snowing like crazy and the cabs were not even getting close to the hotel, I didn't want to be late. I needed a ride to my class but didn't want to drag the girls with me so early. So I "had" to ride the hotel limo. The driver was a nice man from Haiti, who took me in time to my class, but then "mysteriously" misplaced his ones and fives and had no change. No problem man, I was so excited I didn't care.

Arrived in time for my class. A community center in the suburbs of Boston, an old building, huge and dark. It looked like a public school from the 70s. It took me a while to find the room, but when I did I was the second student there. There was only 2 other students, both violinists. Our teacher was a pianist and did a fantastic job. I'm so excited about studying music again. Did I say that ( oh yes, sorry, I really am!). I can't even put it into words. I feel that all my life I wanted to study music and had to do something else for lack of opportunity. I wanted to be a concert piano player, but my pediatrician said "no" due to my tendinitis. Then I thought about teaching piano, or studying something like that, but didn't have a very supportive family (mom), who kept reminding me you can't have a good salary out of music.

So I got accepted at one of the best universities for a field I like it too... and kept going till I got my doctorate. I'm not complaining, it is a great profession and I love what I do. I work at the field and get paid well. Also, I believe I followed the right path...If it wasn't for pursuing higher education at my current field I'd have never met my husband or have my daughters. But I still miss music and I wonder what would happen "if"... When talking to my husband about this, he is so encouraging. He thinks I should study music and even get a degree on it if I want to. I'm not so sure about paying for more education though!

The trip back was interesting, our car broke in front of the Museum of Fine Arts! But thanks to DH's super powers (his portable battery back) we made it to the car parts store... As soon as we parked at the store our car died again... Praise God! He really watches out for us...One more unplanned night in a hotel, and we were home the next day. What an adventure!!!

I'm preparing for my teacher's audition, there are 2 hard pieces I have to record... wish me luck!

Feb 20, 2011

Audition and other sounds


I have to audition to be accepted in the program to start teaching Suzuki books 1 through 4. You don't need to audition to the intro class I'm getting next week, only for the ones after that.
Just looked up a couple videos online and I remember that the second piece I was able to play fairly well... 15 years ago! I still remember, it was right around the time I moved from being a 2nd violin at the orchestra to a 1st violin. That was a big deal for me.

Sad how I don't even have my music sheets here as most of my books stayed behind in Brazil when I left 10 years ago... I ordered it online with a CD as I won't have anyone available to play the piano part. This is what I have to study:

Seitz Concerto No. 5, I and Vivaldi Concerto in A minor, III

I'm not sure I'll be accepted right away, I'm so rusted...but I'll tell you this, if it does not work for June 2011, maybe for December or next June. It will work one day.

Yes, I'm already planning for the next classes after the one in Boston. I'm having trouble finding any classes that are driving distance (less than 6 hours) or not on Sabbath. Looks like there is one late June, in the Great DC/VA area. If they accept my audition, that is.

I'm still thinking if I want to do piano too... we'll see.


I'm excited and looking forward to the phone conference on Wednesday. I think I'll review the BABY Signing Time DVDs with Sara this week. She enjoys them so much anyway.

HAM Operator-to-be

There are three levels of certification to be a HAM operator. Technician, General and Extra. You need one in order to move to the next one. I found a site online and studied about 7% of the entire program that covers all three categories today. Hopefully I'll be able to get all three of them done on March 8 or 15. There are two HAM clubs nearby (30 minutes away in both directions) and they both offer testing for licensing. You normally start with one level, and you are able to operate on most frequencies... then progress to the next ones, but you can test in all three levels if you wish to do so. After looking at the material, I think I will. All the electronics/simple mechanics I had for Audiology were a good base for this - I think. Although I realize being certified won't give me full knowledge of HAM, at least I'll get that over with that part and then get a cool short Call sign.

But WhY? Why do I want to be a HAM operator? Here it is in one sentence: My dad was one. The last time we talked, I was in NYC and he was in Brazil, he called me through his HAM radio. HAM was his lifestyle, he lived and breathed propagation, electronics. He was an electronic engineer and even won several international contests. I wish he was hear to teach me all that he knew, but I feel that by learning about HAM I'm learning more about him and it will be fun to hear the off-station sounds at night. When I was little, I fell asleep numerous nights to the sound of his radio. I can still hear it: CQ, CQ, CQ, this is Papa Yanke, two, Papa Delta. PY2PD.

Latest news and some cute things

Last night:
- Daddy, kiss! (she gets a kiss)
- Mommy, kiss! (she gets a kiss)
and then after being kissed she says:
- Daddy, kiss mommy! (mommy gets a kiss)...
and after the kiss, she goes:
- Thank you!

We went to Friendly's when my cousin Marina came for a visit. When leaving the restaurant the manager gives her a helium balloon. Unfortunately,as I'm trying to manage carrying her and placing the things in the car the balloon escapes into the Troposphere (or beyond?):
- Oh no, my balloon!
- Say bye to your balloon, Sara, it went up in the sky!
- Bye-bye balloon...bye-byeeeee.
And during the ride home she kept repeating:
- My balloon went up in the high! (over and over).
As she gets out of the car, the bright moon is half-hidden between the clouds. She sees it and screams:
- My balloon!!!! Right there, up in the high!


I didn't make it to the belly class, baby Sara had a rough night and nursed and nursed, by the time morning come, I was depleted of that extra energy I had the night before. Maybe that's why God gave me the extra energy anyway. But, I'm trying two different classes this week (or I want to anyway, we'll see what happens). I found a small studio 30 minutes from my I'm excited.

I'm signed up for the class in Boston (Suzuki), a little afraid of travelling that far with baby Sara. Last time we had a long trip was July, and that's when she had that unfortunate event. It was the summer and she was a little sick though, now she seems to be ok and the weather is much cooler...I guess, having kids puts you in a state of constant worry.

Windy windy night since yesterday, actually. I can almost feel the house shaking with the wind. Whenever there is a storm, or windy day, that means extra work for the hubby. It's almost 1 a.m. and Verizon just called him to work on a pole that is down in Williamsport. I hate it but I know our budget could use the overtime. He's thinking about going back to school, maybe one of those online colleges. His work actually will reimburse him for higher education, so it's a good opportunity for him. I can't complain about Verizon though, the benefits are awesome and the salary is not bad... except, yes, I can complain...the job is dangerous and the hours are hectic sometimes.

Tomorrow I have to be up for my pianist job bright and early at the baptist church, so I better go to sleep!