What to do when you’re dieting and your spouse makes toast

sourdough loaf 900


It’s a dilemma for sure…

Diet in full swing.

Hungry spouse.

Don’t want to break the diet….

But hungry spouse.

It happened to me.  I was on the third day of a dieting contest started at work, and about $400 of prize money is on the line.  (In dieting, motivation is important.  Money motivates me pretty well, which is why I chose to take part.)

I was doing pretty well, too.  I was a little under my caloric goal (a modest 1800 calories a day), had limited my carbs, increased my protein, and made sure my fats were healthy.  I was even pretty on track with fiber.  Eggs for breakfast, salad for lunch, ample low calorie vegetable snacks, protein shakes when needed.  I’d had a good dinner with mixed vegetables and chicken breast, and I was feeling satisfied.

Then the spouse says… “I’m still hungry.  I’m going to toast some bread.”

This bread, by the way, was lovingly baked a few days before, by me, and I happen to know that it’s lovely and slightly chewy and soft and everything homemade bread should be.

I knew that the minute that wonderful, tantalizing aroma hit my nostrils I’d be a goner, and nothing but pure carbs would fill that void.

So what was I going to do, balancing on the horns of that particular dilemma?  After all, I didn’t want my spouse to be hungry, and the bread needed to be used before it went ad.  But I didn’t want to increase my food intake when I was doing so well.

Enter the mint oil!

Beyond beneficial effects to those sniffing it, peppermint oil also does a great job of preventing you from smelling anything else.  I applied a bit around my nostrils, being careful to do it so it didn’t burn.


Barely any delicious toast smell intruded, even though we were sitting near each other.  And I went to bed, still satisfied, having dodged a bread bullet.

Now it’s day four and I”m still on track.  I’ll share my principles in case anyone’s curious.  I’m not using gimmicks this time, just solid strategies that people have used with success over and over again.  I’m combining several strategies because I WANT THAT MONEY.  Of course, what I really want is to feel better and look better, the money reward is a tool toward that.

My Simple Diet Plan

Write down everything you eat, tracking carbs, fat, and protein.  (Fiber and sodium are good to be aware of too.)  I’m using MyFitnessPal for this.  It’s free.   This makes you aware of exactly what you are eating, how much, and what it’s giving you.  Just doing that alone has been shown to help people lose weight just through awareness.

Cut 500 calories a day from what you normally need.  Again, tools like MyFitnessPal are good for this, although there are plenty of other apps/sites/charts that will help you.  Usually you will take your weight, activity level, age, gender, and weight loss goal, plug them in to a calculator, and it will give you a target.  I do like MyFitnessPal because it lets you also set goals for how much protein, carbs and fat you want to eat.  To lose a pound, you need to use 3,500 calories more than what you are taking in, so if you cut 500 calories per day (or exercise enough to burn that off) you’ll lose a pound a week.

Do both cardio and strength training.  Cardio burns fat, strength training grows muscle, and muscle burns more calories than fat does.  In my case I’m doing some fairly heavy weight lifting three times a week and supplementing that with stretching, calisthenics, and walking.  The weight lifting seems to be helping to improve my skin and hair, which can happen because a female body naturally releases human growth hormone after weight training.  It’s our answer to male testosterone when it comes to growing muscle.

Do exercise that you like:  Whether it’s bicycling, swimming, walking, weight training or whatever, try your hardest to find a way to do whatever it is that you like the most.  That’s the only way you’ll stick with this unless you have way more willpower than me.

Cut out stupid crap.  I’m talking things you don’t really need – like white sugar, empty starches, junk food.  Think of calories like money and you only have so much to spend.  you want to get good food value for the price, right?  If you are doing step 1, you’ll see that, and think things like “wait a minute, is that bag of chips really worth it when it doesn’t give me any fiber or protein and I’ll just want more after I’m done?”

Eat Clean.  More vegetables, minimally processed meats, swap whole grains for white, cut down on preservatives wherever possible.  Cook for yourself when you can.

Make it easy for yourself.  Convenience is key here.  If you’re busy, and who isn’t? then make stuff ahead and portion it out.  For example, I needed chicken for lunch.  So I baked several breasts of it.  Then I boiled a dozen eggs at once.  Now I can carry those with me and just cut some chicken when I need it, throw some mini bell peppers in with them along with a piece of fruit, and off I go.  If I had to individually prepare everything I probably would have quit by now.   Similarly, make sure whatever you need to exercise is accessible and conveniently placed.

Start with protein in the morning.  This comes from a multitude of sources and helps stave off that carb-cycle that has you hungry long before lunch.

Basic food principles:

More Protein.  This keeps you full, builds muscle.  Eggs are cheap, and a great way to start.  Hard boiled eggs are easy to pack, and a simple mushroom scramble is tasty and nutritious too.  Yes, egg yolks have cholesterol but your body needs that to make estrogen or testosterone and keep your brain healthy.

Less Carbs.  Yes, carbs are the body’s fuel, but we usually eat way too much of these.  Especially from really awful sources.  I know, I’ve done it most of my life.

Eat good fats.  I’m not going to eliminate fat because as above I need a certain amount to keep my brain healthy.  Nuts, eggs, olive oil, coconut and flax are good sources.

Cut down on sugar.  Eliminate white sugar, and limit honey or molasses.  It’s not a very good “value” nutritionally and it always makes you want more.  Most of your sugar should come from fresh fruit.

Drink lots of water.  Coffee and tea are fine too if they don’t have sugar.  Green tea is amazing.  Water, water, water.  “Bathe your cells.”

You don’t have to be rich to lose weight.  Healthy foods like beans, lentils, vegetables, fresh fruit, and sometimes even lean meats can be relatively affordable.  It pays to shop around.  Also check out ethnic stores, sometimes they have really good deals on things that are expensive at the supermarket.  Shop sales, use your freezer, stock up.  Buy big amounts, make things in batches.  Eat less.  That saves a lot.  Also, those dollars saved when you don’t buy chips and soda can really add up.

Have a positive attitude.  This can be the hardest part of any diet.  It’s easy at the beginning.  Then stress piles up, you start thinking the goals are far off and unattainable, or you think “I was ‘good’ today, I can ‘cheat’ a little…” and you step off the wagon with one toe.  Then another, and another, and pretty soon your whole foot is off, and your’e falling off the wagon really hard, right into a Boston Cream Pie.

Things that will help your attitude:

A support structure, even if it’s just one person who encourages you online.

Reminders, whether they are pictures, book, a computer wallpaper, or music.  Have something around that reminds you of why this stuff is important for YOU.

Pay attention to small victories.  This can be as simple as feeling less creaky in the morning, or noticing your jeans aren’t as tight, or even just being able to walk a little further.

If you ‘fail,’ you can stop ‘failing’ any time.  Failure is never final.

Planning.  If you know your motivation is likely to be low at a certain time of day, do something to distract yourself.  Or if you know, like me, that your nose will cause you to be really hungry even when you’re full, be prepared.


You’re not alone, I’m doing this right now.  All this stuff.  And it’s really not so much once you see how it fits together.  Do what works for you – so far, though, this is working for me.  And it worked for me before, too, but I kept forgetting that last reminder.

The next time my spouse wants toast, I’ll be breaking out the mint too.  Or, if I have enough carb grams left for the day, I may join her.




Horse Isle 3 – finding the elusive Nightshade

It was months until I even saw my first Black Nightshade, despite a diligent search.  Normally I wouldn’t have cared but I needed it for a particularly tough quest that demanded I pick 3.  I searched Decay Biome after Decay Biome, never finding even one.  I asked people for advice.  I used one of my Ranch Planters to display one for me so I could see what I was looking for.  I even traveled 1.5 kk away from Center so I could make sure I was in a Biome nobody had even visited!  My quest taught me a lot and I’m passing these tips on to you.

What’s this stuff good for, anyway?

Most of the time people just use Nightshade for making dyes and for quests.  It’s also a flower you can photograph to get points.  If you just want black dye, a simple and easy recipe is 10 blackberries, though there are plenty others.  Quests require that you pick the nightshade yourself, not buy it, trade it, or find it in a Pitcher.  Unfortunately, Black Nightshade is the rarest item in the game!

Best Tips for finding Nightshade

If you just need it for dyes, visit a Shopping Board (found at most Clubs) and look for it.  There are plenty of people selling.

If you want to find it yourself, you are better off opening Pitcher plants (found in most Swamp Areas) as they are a random item you can get.  You can find up to three at one time in Pitcher Plants.

If you need it for a quest, though, you have to pick it yourself.

So that means finding a Decay Biome.  That’s the one that’s mostly tan, filled with dinosaur bones and opalized wood.  Keep in mind that not all of them contain Black Nightshade.

You can ask others for a nightshade location – but be careful here.  Don’t go and pick the nightshade they’ve shown you.  Use your Map and mark a place a ways off from the original nightshade, and stay over there.  You now know this particular patch of Decay has it, so you can search everywhere EXCEPT where the original flower was.  After all, they may need that one later.

If you just find one flower, you can save a Travel location for it, pick it, and come back.  In roughly three to six days the flower grows back and you can pick it again.  I’ve tested them and they do grow back in generally the same spot.

Try searching from overhead.  This can sometimes filter out the meh plants.

Try looking around Brain Mountains.  The contrast is better, so you can see them a little easier.

Try searching the shadows.  Black Nighthshade have been known to hide in the shadows of bones.

Remember they are rare – but they are there – especially if you search a Decay Biome where flowers have been known to grow before.

That said, don’t search highly traveled spots, as they are likely to be picked over.

Here are pictures of Nightshade so you can see what all the hullabaloo is about.

(But first)

If you’d like to join this awesome game, make sure and use this link or place my ID, 1023, in the box when you join.

That way, if you ever decide to buy a subscription, even for one month, you’ll get a bonus 1000 essence, plus 10 Esroh Essence to help you get started.  A subscription costs 500 Mobia per month and you can buy Mobia from other players in-game if you don’t have cash to spend.

Nightshade 1
A black Nightshade Flower
Nightshade 2
From Overhead – try searching this way
Nightshade 3
From a distance
Nightshade 4
From horseback

Horse Isle 3 – Photography!

This is a fun new feature that not only lets you take pictures of wildlife, plants and geological formations around the Infinite Wilds, it also allows you to earn Essence and Quest Points as you snap!

For each unique photo you take, of the items listed in your Profile, you earn 10 Essence and 10 Quest Points.  Each photo needs a Film kit, which can be crafted.  There is also a Trophy to be won at different numbers of photographs taken.

Interested in becoming an intrepid photographer?  Here’s how to do it.

First, you need to unlock the camera.  It’s a one time unlock through the Equipment menu but it needs 1,000 Essence with 250 of that being from the Volcanic Biome.

Next, you’ll need Film Kits.  These can be made five at a time at your Crafting Shed, or you can buy them from other players.

For each Film Kit you need 5 Paper, 3 Caribou Moss, 2 Red Algae, and 1 Silver Ore.

Silver Ore can be bought at Importers.  TigerTon’s Importer sells them, for example.

Red Algae is found by digging in those pink pools you find among the geysers.

Caribou Moss is a white, branchy looking stuff you can find in Tundra.

Paper is made at your Crafting Shed and takes 2 papyrus each.  Papyrus is found in the rare and elusive Fertile Oasis, which is usually in the middle of massive dune seas.

Here are pictures of what everything looks like, and a couple example photos at the end.  To take a picture, have at least one Film Kit, and press N to open the camera.  Once you have your cross hairs over something that is on your photography list, it will tell you.  Left-click to take the shot.  After that it will give you your reward and also save a copy of the picture on your computer’s hard drive.  If you take a second picture of the same animal/plant/feature, it will replace the image and use up another Film Kit.

Picture below!  But first:

If you’d like to join this awesome game, make sure and use this link or place my ID, 1023, in the box when you join.

That way, if you ever decide to buy a subscription, even for one month, you’ll get a bonus 1000 essence, plus 10 Esroh Essence to help you get started.  A subscription costs 500 Mobia per month and you can buy Mobia from other players in-game if you don’t have cash to spend.

Red Algae
Found in Volcanic Biome, this is a Red Algae Pool
Caribou Moss
Caribou Moss in Tundra Biome
Reindeer Moss Close Up
Close-Up of Caribou Moss
Oasis Wide View
Fertile Oasis, where you find Papyrus
Papyrus Close-Up
Meteor Crater photo
Taking a Photo

HI3PhotoAnimal-White WolfHI3PhotoGeology-Meteor Crater


Horse Isle 3 – Sailing

I’ve promised to write about this for a while, and now I’m doing it.  Sometime back there was a huge update where sailing was introduced.  If you’re still unsure about whether it’s worth it to spend 10,000 Esssence, or maybe have a little trouble doing it, or are unaware of the feature, read on.

Sailing is really handy for crossing the huge oceans in Horse Isle 3.  The speed will vary depending on wind direction and how you set your sail, and it can be a lot of fun trying to sail as fast as possible.  Some players have even created ocean courses that have to be completed in a sailboat.

Your sailboat requires Essence to  unlock.  You’ll need 10,000 of it.  The colors are based on the ones you’ve picked in your appearance settings.  If you decide to do a Ride-Along, up to four players can travel together in one sailboat, including the owner.  The owner is always Captain.

J is the shortcut key to activate the Sailboat, and X or J puts it away.   How fast you go depends on the wind direction, which is represented by a blue arrow on your Compass.

There are two components to moving the sailboat – the sail, and the rudder.  The rudder helps you turn and the sail can be moved to catch more wind.  Arrows superimposed on the water show you your current speed and direction, generally the longer the arrow the faster you are going.

Sailboat 3
Arrows show wind direction and speed.

Controlling the sail is done with Shift plus A and D, or Shift plus left arrow and right arrow, so you can use either hand.  The rudder is handled with the same keys without shift, and W or up arrow is used to centralize it.  You want to do that when you’re going in the proper direction.  Without centralizing the rudder, you’ll just keep turning.

For those times when the wind is in the exactly wrong direction, you can either try tacking, or do what I do – put the boat away and use either swimming or a kayak!  Be aware, the sailboat will run aground if you are in water that’s too shallow.  Like so:


Here are some images showing various views of the Sailboat!

sailboat 6

Sailboat 5
Note the arrows and little blue arrow on the compass, near South.
sailboat 2
View from the cockpit

(If you’d like to join this awesome game, make sure and use this link or place my ID, 1023, in the box when you join.

That way, if you ever decide to buy a subscription, even for one month, you’ll get a bonus 1000 essence, plus 10 Esroh Essence to help you get started.  A subscription costs 500 Mobia per month and you can buy Mobia from other players in-game if you don’t have cash to spend.)


Horse Isle 3 Update – Holiday Frolic!

The holidays have reached the Infinite Wilds.  Along with some great updates, like being able to catch rare purebreds in the Wilds, and those long awaited pony carts, now we have a holiday tree and Santa hats!

The Santa hats can be had for 1,000 Mobia.  This price is designed to keep them relatively rare.  They look like your standard Santa hat, except that the red part can be redyed to any color you want.  Once you own one, it’s yours forever unless you give or trade it away.

The Club holiday trees are a bit more transitory.  They take up one decor spot at a club, must be built on flat ground, and will disappear on their own sometime after January 1.  They are quite large and impressive looking, and lack any particular religious imagery as they are meant to include all players in the fun.  They also react when someone plays an in-game musical instrument near them!

Under the tree you may find presents, they are to be opened on December 25th.  Buying a present for the Tree costs 50 Mobia, but the great thing about them is all club members get to open them on the big day.  So if you have 20 presents under the tree, every single club member gets 20 for their own.

The presents are similar to what you’d get by dropping a Wishing Coin into a Fountain, with the added possibility of getting Coal or an Esroh Essence.  It’s not established exactly what Coal is good for yet.  I’ll be saving mine, just in case!

Here are a couple pictures of what the Tree looks like, as well as a few new pictures of local wildlife.


(If you’d like to join this awesome game, make sure and use this link or place my ID, 1023, in the box when you join.

That way, if you ever decide to buy a subscription, even for one month, you’ll get a bonus 1000 essence, plus 10 Esroh Essence to help you get started.  A subscription costs 500 Mobia per month and you can buy Mobia from other players in-game if you don’t have cash to spend.)

Holiday tree day 1
Tree on first day at night
Holiday Tree Club TigerTon
Tree with lots of presents!
Fennec 2
Fennec in Desert Biome
Coyote in Mesa
Coyote in Mesa Biome