Saturday, December 30, 2006

Target Heart Rate

Since the fancy new treadmills in my gym measure your heart rate pretty easily, I thought it would be good to look up some info on target heart rate so I have an idea what I'm looking at. Here's a chart and some info from the American Heart Association about target heart rate ranges for different ages. My target range is 95 - 162 beats per minute, so it seems like I was doing a pretty good job today with an average rate of 142 and a max of 148. Good to know!

Motivating Tunes

Y'all know that I'm still very much a beginner at the gym. Heck, the hardest part of exercise is forcing myself to go to the gym in the first place!

But, today I did it. And it was a little bit of a worst-case scenario, cuz when I got in there it was really crowded and all of my favorite machines were being used by tiny little fit twentysomethings.

I soldiered on, though, and pushed myself to do the most I've done in a long time - programs on both the bike AND the treadmill. Go me!

Part of the reason I was happy to stay down there was.... you guessed it! A new iTunes playlist! Here were today's motivating tunes, both from the warm-up all the way to the cool-down:

- Another Saturday Night - Cat Stevens
- Complicated - Avril Lavigne
- Desert Rose - Sting
- An Englishman in New York - Sting
- Extraordinary - Liz Phair
- Mr. Brightside - The Killers
- Rock DJ - Robbie Williams
- Sex-O-Matic Venus Freak - Macy Gray
- SexyBack - Justin Timberlake
- Some Fantastic - Barenaked Ladies
- The River is Wild - The Killers
- Used to Love U - John Legen
- Where is the Love? - Black-Eyed Peas

Good stuff! Nothing helps keep you moving like a few good songs....

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Well, It Could've Been Worse

So I'm down all of 2 pounds total. For the year. Bah humbug.

The good news is that I didn't gain anything over the last week at my parents' house, which is hard to do considering the way that they eat. (Platters, not plates.)

Watch here soon for more discussion of what I plan to do differently in 2007, but I'm not giving up. It's another year with new challenges!

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Season is the Reason

It's been a few weeks since I weighed in..... but this morning, the scale told me I'm up 2 pounds. :-( It could've been a lot worse, actually, because the last few weeks have not been stellar in terms of my self-control. But I've been a little better in the last few days since the 1-2 punch of having 2 doctor's appointments, and thus 2 doctors' lectures, mid-week. And all the great new groceries I have should help.

So, while I will participate in holiday festivities responsibly, my challenge will be to avoid all the cookies and candies sitting around the office for the next 2 weeks. And maybe I'll switch to tall lattes instead of grande for a while....

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Warm Potato Goodness!

I have Onyah to thank for this great idea:

Take a regular old russet potato, cook it in the microwave oven on high for 7-10 min (based on the power of your microwave and the size of the potato). While it's cooling, zap one of those little Green Giant low fat broccoli and cheese packs. (I used the single serving size, but you could use the regular size with a big potato, too.) Then cut open the potato, pour the broccoli and cheese all over, and start shoveling it into your mouth. BIG YUM!

And potatoes are crazy-good for you. Plus you get your veggies from the broccoli and the cheese sauce is a good lowfat source of dairy. This one is a big-time winner! And it's so hot and comforting, it's perfect for a cold winter's night.

New Ideas

I recently shelled out some dough to purchase The Biggest Loser cookbook, hoping to find some inspiration for some new healthy meals I could make at home. And guess what? There are actually a bunch of great, EASY recipes that could help get me out of the boring frozen-entree and pasta routine I've been stuck in!

First up, it's such an easy idea.... but I'd never thought of it so to me it's truly revolutionary: WRAPS! The cookbook had a simple recipe for a turkey-and-cream cheese wrap, but I've jazzed it up a little bit with some fresh produce. (Thank you, Mr. Safeway Delivery Man!)

I used a Mission brand heart-healthy, crazy low fat whole wheat tortilla. I then spread about 1 tbsp of light garden veggie cream cheese and topped it with 4 slices of Healthy Choice low fat honey roasted/smoked turkey. Then, a whole pile of alfalfa sprouts and about 1/2 of a vine-ripened tomato.

I took a bunch of pictures to share, but apparently Blogger's being a b****tch today and won't let me upload them. But I learned 2 tidbits for next time when making this wrap -- first of all, cut the tomato into very thin slices, otherwise the wrap won't roll and things will fall out; and secondly, use a little dab of cream cheese as the "glue" to seal the sides of the wrap together once it's all rolled up. Important things to know!

This was such a super-easy yummy lunch! Oh yes, there will be more wraps in my future!

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Wow. Nothing is quite as motivating as buying a great new pair of jeans that are just a wee bit too tight.....!!!!!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

No Foolin'

Well, kids, I was reminded today that this really isn't just fun and games. I got the lecture from my doctor about needing to lose weight and exercise more, but this time she had some evidence to back up the lecture. My blood pressure is higher than it should be for someone my age - and that's not a good sign. :-(

So I have to officially declare war on sodium. And I really do have to get back on track with what I've been trying somewhat unsuccessfully to do here.

And I hate that I was told this during the holidays! There will be so many temptations over the next few weeks.... but I'll try to be strong! I want those numbers on my chart to go down.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Bah Humbug

The holiday season is upon us. Which means lots of parties, lots of treats, lots of warm comfort food and hidden bites of chocolate throughout the day..... aaargh.

It's also been event season at work lately. I have had more catered food than I care to admit - including several days of fine cheeses (mmmmm....roquefort....mmmmmm.....goat cheese!), several days of bagels and carb-heavy breakfast platters, several days of multi-course meals and little finger food desserts.

And I'm feeling yucky for it. Tomorrow, I'd really love to just eat some soup.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Only By the Grace of God and Clementines

Holy cow! I stayed the same weight this week! That was a gift, for sure. And I plan to be more diligent this week - as we all celebrate the fact that Thanksgiving is only once a year. Can you imagine trying to eat another meal like that this week? Nope, this week is about fruit, veggies, and making my way through all my good groceries!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I Couldn't Take It!

What would you call the food version of an earworm? You know, something that gets stuck in your head and you just can't get rid of it? Well, I had that happen with food this weekend, and the power of suggestion proved much stronger than my will.

Friday night, Onyah and I saw the movie "Stranger than Fiction." It was really sweet - and there was a key scene that involved the baking and eating of homemade chocolate chip cookies. I leaned over and said "Wow, now I really want cookies." And from that moment on, I couldn't stop thinking about them.

I was really good today and ate a lot of fresh, fiber-rific stuff. But by tonight, my tummy was a little upset and I felt in need of comforting. So I just decided "what the heck!" and went downstairs to the basement store. I bought a package of Nestle Tollhouse break-and-bakes and turned on the oven.

The package is cut into 24 squares. I fit 18 on a cookie sheet and popped them in the oven, then proceeded to eat the raw dough of 3 cookies while I waited for the buzzer. Ah, sweet evil cookie dough! Then when they were ready, I totally basked in the gooey, chocolatey goodness. Mmmmmm. But so bad!

I guess the only good news out of this is that when I found myself feeling full, after about 5 of the baked cookies, I threw all of the rest away. So there's no chance of eating the rest of the batch tomorrow. Really, cookies are only that heavenly straight out of the oven.

Well, at least now that movie no longer has evil power over me! I'm just very afraid of tomorrow's post-Thanksgiving AND post-Tollhouse weigh-in!

Saturday, November 25, 2006


I have a new love: sweet potatoes. I had a fantastic s.p. as a side dish in Charleston, and Mom gave me tips on how she eats them all the time at home. So I got a giant 1+ pound s.p. in my grocery delivery today and went to town:

I cooked it in the microwave for 10 minutes, whole with no piercing of the skin, then topped it with a little I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Light and some ground cinnamon. HEAVEN.

And the nutritional benefits? Well, a little searching on the Internets will tell you that the sweet potato is just about the most perfect food ever. It has more Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and dietary fiber than you can shake a stick at, it's filled with powerful antioxidants, plus a whole lot more.

Now my new mission is to find lots of ways to incorporate sweet potatoes into my regular diet. It sounds like there are some great recipes out there - let me know if you have any favorites!

Monday, November 20, 2006


We had a 9 am staff meeting today (yes, 9 am on a Monday!) and I SHOCKED myself with the level of restraint I was able to display. Early on in the meeting, people brought in two platters filled with donuts. Glazed, cinnamon, and these incredible-looking chocolate iced devils. These platters were set up around the table and a huge jug of orange juice started going around. One platter of the chocolate iced evil sat in front of me for the whole meeting. And guess what? I didn't take anything!!!! It helped that I had a friend right next to me who was also trying to be good, but we both refused the donut's evil stare and made it through the meeting calorie-free.

Then she and I went to Starbucks (yo, a 9 am meeting = caffeine required). I was hungry, but still wanted to be good. Their selection was a little picked over, but they did have a bunch of muffins out that weren't labeled. I asked if any of them were of their low-fat varieties. They were not - the barista told me that they were all the regular kinds. So I didn't get any Starbucks treats either! Just a skim latte to go.

Woohoo! That's TWO major temptations I've faced down already, and it isn't even lunchtime yet!

No More Vacation from the Scale

Well, I took a few passes the last few weeks from paying attention to the scale. But now I'm back and taking it into account again. And when the dial stopped wavering, it appears that I've gained 2 pounds. Ah, heck! Well, I did eat A LOT of really rich food on vacation. So now that I'm back it's time to pay more attention to what I'm eating. Except for this Thursday, of course!

The good news is I worked out THREE TIMES this weekend! Hooray! Once at the actual gym, and twice at home with on of my pull-out Self magazine routines. It felt good.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Nutritionists' Top Ten

WebMD has an article detailing nutritionists' nightmare foods - all of the common things that are just so bad for us. It's worth a read for reminders on paying attention to snacks, portion sizes, restaurant options, etc.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Good and The Bad of Vacay

I will soon post on my other blog about all of the great things I sampled in the restaurants of Charleston. But here, I'll give the WW highlights:

The Bad:
  • I had dessert twice, but both times I split it with my mom. And she's aggressive about making sure she gets at least 50% of what's on the plate!
  • I ate a lot of rich cream-based stuff and a lot of really salty stuff. So I'm sure my fat and sodium intake was way up over the last few days.
  • It was restaurant food all the time, so portions were big and I wasn't as great about balancing fruits and veggies. Oopsie.

The Good:

  • Fish! Lots of fish!
  • We did A LOT of walking. I felt like a lot of the rich stuff I was eating had to be balanced out by all of our walking tours.
  • Mom is an early diner and an early-to-bed person, so I usually was done with dinner by 7 pm and didn't eat anything again until breakfast the next day. So NO SNACKING.

I have no idea how this will affect the scale. I missed today's weigh-in. I'm going to try it out tomorrow, but I may give myself a vacation free pass and work hard this week to counteract any gains.... stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Revenge of the Grease

So I declared last night a non-diet night, cuz it was a very tense evening all around. And I indulged way too much - I had about 6 boneless buffalo wings with bleu cheese dressing, then 2 pieces of pepperoni and mushroom pizza, then a dish of full-fat Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Plus 2 beers and some Fresca. Yeah, pigging out.... although, I have to say, in earlier days I probably would have even gone for MORE of all of it. But.... here's the good news. My stomach rebelled. I felt awful all night long, with my tummy doing somersaults. I regretted every bite of the bad food I ate. (Well, maybe not the ice cream, but definitely the wings and pizza.) Even though I indulged, I learned a little lesson out of it.... the good news is I just can't indulge in the bad stuff like I used to!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Get Out of Jail Free

The scale was wavering this morning. I may be up a little bit, I may not. But, since I'm not feeling great and since this past week was incredibly stressful - both mentally and physically - I've decided to just give myself a pass on the scale this week.

I'm staying home sick today and plan to spend most of it in bed, sleeping, or eating things that help soothe my throat. Luckily I'm all stocked up with sugar-free pudding, since that's a much better option than Ben & Jerry's!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A Busy Saturday at the Safeway

I got some good deals today, and this trip was very needed since I haven't bought groceries in 2 weeks! So hooray for having good stuff in the kitchen again!

Today's Safeway Sales:
Safeway brand pink lemonade drink mix - $2.50, reg price $3.60
Bush's Homestyle Chili - $1.75, reg price $3.14
Starkist tuna 3-pack - $2.59, reg price $2.79
Lean Cuisine, select varieties - $2.20, reg price $3.49
Green Giant boxed frozen veggies - $1.50, reg price $2.00
Jell-o Sugar Free Pudding 6-packs (wheee!) - $3.00, reg price $3.99
Fresh Express bag salads - $3.00, reg price $3.79

Happy cheap eating!!!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Good Dinner from the Freezer

I keep reading articles that say you should eat fish 3+ times a week. That's a lot! But I am trying to increase my overall fish intake, and those bags of fresh-frozen fish fillets from Whole Foods are a great solution. Tonight I made a very satisfying, light, low-guilt dinner straight out of the freezer. First I thawed out a cod fillet, then drizzled it with olive oil and black pepper and baked it for 10 minutes at 425 degrees. Once it was done (with the pan filled with sizzling fish drippings and oil, ick), I spritzed it with some lemon juice and voila! A tasty, light fish dinner. I paired it with a package of Green Giant frozen broccoli in the low-fat cheese sauce. Yummy and filling, and I got in some fish, some veggies, AND some dairy. Hooray!

FYI - just a note in general. I'm no longer posting point values for things on the site, since it's now somewhat of an ethical question. I'll spare you the full details, but WW asks its members to refrain from sharing point values since it's a proprietary formula. Etc. But I'll still share all kinds of advice on calories, fat, sodium, and healthy choices in general.

Grocery Advice

Looking for good suggestions on healthy things to pick up at the store? Well, HungryGirl has a great list of groceries in all categories that are worth checking out. I was happy to see that she mentions several of my favorite items!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Holy Cow!

I guess a whole weekend of intense housecleaning really does the trick!!!! I lost 2 pounds this week, hooray!!!!!

Part of it was being a little better about food choices, part of it was all that cleaning, and all of it is appreciated!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Doggie Style

No, not that.....! I am so excited to report that I did something very unusual for me not once, but TWICE, this week! Again, not that!

I had dinner plans with friends at 2 different restaurants during the week, and for a nice little change I actually found myself deciding NOT to finish everything and getting leftovers wrapped up to take home. Woohoo! See, normally, I would feel compelled to clean my plate no matter how full I felt. But instead, I got a huge bowl of noodles wrapped up from the Asian place on Tuesday, and so I had another filling meal of soup at home for dinner on Wednesday. And I ordered the chicken skewers with rice at a Greek place on Thursday, and only ate 1 kabob. I had the other and more than 1/2 the rice for dinner at home last night.

Wow -- these choices not only helped prevent me from pigging out, they also helped stretch 2 meals into 4 nights. That saved a pretty penny or two! I may just have to explore the doggie bag option again!


This is an awesome post from a woman who's accomplished something amazing, and is very philosophical yet realistic about it. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I ate eel!

I had a great big sushi feast last night! Thank goodness for such a healthy option for restaurant eating, cuz I do love to socialize with friends over meals. So I can do sushi just about anytime.

And, as a coinkydink, HungryGirl's email today was all about sushi... here she gives the scoop:

Sashimi is VERY low in fat and calories (FYI - sashimi is just sushi without the rice). And it's good for you, too. The average 1/2-oz. piece of fish (the standard sushi/sashimi size) has about 15 - 25 calories and a gram or so of fat. Some types of fish, like salmon, are fattier than others -- but fatty fish is healthy. The good news is, you can go out for sushi and eat a LOT of sashimi and not take in too many calories. While you're out, enjoy some miso soup (about 50 calories) and sunomono salad (just some sliced cucumbers and rice vinegar). Both are low in calories and very filling.

Plus, HungryGirl has a a whole sushi guide on her website. Check it out!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Focus on the Good

So I've been feeling like I haven't been paying as much attention to the diet lately, but then I reminded myself of some good habits / choices I've been making. So here's a list that help reminds me to stay motivated:

- Over the last few weeks, I've had *several* nights where I've been craving delivery dinner, whether it's pizza or Indian food or sushi, what have you. In one case, I even started to dial the phone to a pizza place! But I stopped myself each time and found something tasty to eat in my kitchen instead. Hooray!

- You know how ice cream is one of my favorite things? Well, I haven't had any in the house in WEEKS! I'm still enjoying those little Weight Watchers toffee crunch bars, and they're satisfying my ice cream craving. So I haven't even felt the need to buy any Ben & Jerry's!

- No popcorn at the movies this weekend! It helped that we'd just eaten dinner, but that hadn't always stopped me in the past...

Same Old, Same Old

The dial on the scale was wavering again this morning, but it eventually ended up on the same weight as last week. So that's okay, but I don't feel great about it cuz I know I haven't been as good this past week. I haven't made it to the real grocery store, so I'm eating a lot of packaged foods and not a lot of fresh stuff. I think I have to remedy that with lunches this week....


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Restaurant Eating....

This is one of those news flashes that just confirms the obvious. But the warning is still there... dieters, beware: Chefs are not focusing on your diet when they are making your meals. Caloric content is just about the last darn thing they're thinking about when they put your meal together, according to recent surveys. So that just confirms it's up to all of us to watch what we eat wherever we eat....

Monday, October 16, 2006

Steady Going

This was not a great week overall -- while I was pretty good about getting lots of fresh fruits and veggies, I also splurged on a couple of big meals. (Mmmmmm, pancakes and bacon....) But, good news! I stayed the same on the scale! Hooray!

I definitely want to start paying more attention to sodium intake, though. I know that since I eat a lot of prepackaged foods, I probably take in way more salt than I should. So I've got to work on that. It's good that the weather is getting colder and we're easing into fall, cuz that's when I'm better about cooking at home. I'd welcome any advice on reducing sodium!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Better Than Candy

I totally splurged at the store earlier this week with a produce purchase that almost seemed to cost its weight in gold.... I got a big bag of seedless green California grapes, which weighed in to be $6.22 of my total grocery bill. Yikes, financially. But yum, fruitastically! (Yes, I know I make up words.)

Seriously, these grapes are just delicious. In our industrialized, internet-ized, "get it when you want it" culture and economy, I've somewhat lost track of what produce is actually in season when. So I really have no idea if these grapes are in season or if they are unusually good right now... the latter may explain why they were so darn expensive.

But it's worth every penny, as each individual grape is just bursting with sweet, juicy goodness. It is so darn easy to get 5+ servings a day when the choices taste this good!

Thursday, October 12, 2006


I hit the Penn Quarter Farmer's Market today. Yummy-licious, even though the wind was starting to pick up and things were blowing around.

I hit one stand with good zucchini and squash. Three zukes and 1 yellow squash made their way into some pasta sauce over spaghetti for my dinner tonight. Lots and lots of veggie goodness, sauteed in olive oil and minced garlic.

Plus I bought a few fresh apples and a quart of fresh apple cider. Guess what I'm having for dessert tonight? During a Grey's Anatomy commercial break, I'm gonna heat myself up some cider and shake a little cinnamon on top. Can't wait!

I really should try to explore the Farmer's Market more often. What a treat!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Columbus Day at Safeway

I'm so glad to have today off. Sorry for all you non-Federal-related types... but I'm reveling in it!

And there were some good deals at the store this morning:

- Rice-A-Roni mixes - reg price $1.39, sale price $1.00
- San Giorgio boxed pasta - reg price $1.50, sale price $1.00
- Crystal Light lemonade large canisters - reg price $5.05, sale price $4.00
- Lean Cuisine entrees, pizzas - reg price $3.29, sale price $2.00!!!
- Lean Cuisine panini sandwiches - reg price $3.29, sale price $3.00
- Dannon Light & Fit yogurt - reg price 80 cents, sale price 50 cents
- Amy's organic bowls - reg price $4.99, sale price $4.25
- Brown & Serve lite sausage links - reg price $1.66, sale price $1.25
- Perdue fit & easy chicken breasts - reg price $6.19, sale price $3.71

Woohoo! Overall, I saved $11.33 and got a lot of great meal options for all week!

Good Times

I lost another pound this week! Hooray!

That's good news, especially since this week was a mix of good days and days with some bad choices (hello, ice cream and halloween candy). But so far it seems my new strategy is working out okay. I'll work on adding in a little more exercise this week and we'll see how it goes....

Saturday, October 07, 2006

More Organized!

You might notice something new on the blog these days... I have switched to Blogger Beta and I'm now addicted to creating the little labels/tags. So at the bottom of my posts, you'll now see that I've labeled them by various categories. Click on a label to see all the other posts I've written on that topic. I hope this blog is now an even better resource for anyone who needs it... most of all me! :-)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Here's What I'm Doing

So I'm trying a new approach here.... Weight Watchers always promotes itself as "it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle..." And over the years of being off and on and off and on of WW, I've learned a lot about what that healthy lifestyle should be. I've also learned a lot about myself and the way I behave naturally.

Putting all this together, what I'm trying now is to use that "lifestyle" approach. I know I'm not good about the discipline of tracking all my points every day. I'll be really good on recording things for like 2 days, then life gets busy and suddenly 2 more days have gone by and I haven't recorded things. But, that should not mean that I'm suddenly "not dieting" just because I'm not tracking the points. Instead, I'm focusing on making actual healthy choices every day - picking healthier, more nutritious food options and learning to incorporate more exercise into my life.

This way, I'm not setting up myself up for being a "bad dieter" just because I'm not tracking the points. Nope, I'm still making the good choices based on all that I've learned. And I'm still focusing on things like fat and sodium intake, as well as the need for fiber and balances meals. And so far it seems to be working... I did a little "sneak peek" step on the scale this morning and it still looks good. :-)

Monday, October 02, 2006

That's What I Like to See

Hooray, hooray! I lost one pound this week! The scale was good to me this morning.

Now let me see if I can figure out how to make the hula girl dance...

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Clip 'N Save

I just tried a workout that I pulled out of SELF magazine. It's the first time I've actually ripped out one of those perforated pages with different exercises on it, and I'm glad I gave it a try.

This workout focused on your mid-section, but instead of crunches it was all standing exercises. You can check it out here, and even watch a few videos to learn how to do them.

I really liked each one of these different moves, and they were a lot more comfortable than crunches. I can already feel it in my upper abs, especially, but I don't feel like my neck is out of whack like I sometimes do after do floor ab work. So this was a good workout to clip out - I'll keep doing it!

Full of Flavor, With Less Salt

Today I tried a new soup - Campbell's Chunky Healthy Request in the grilled chicken & sausage gumbo flavor. The "Healthy Request" label means it is 98% fat free and has 40% less sodium than regular Chunky soups.

Usually, the labels low sodium and fat free on soup means that it's also very bland in flavor. But this is a good one, as the goodies in the soup are so full of flavor that you don't miss the bad stuff. It's a gumbo with lots of rice, carrots, celery, and chunks of chicken and andouille sausage in a tomato base. The sausage in particular is packed with smoky, spicy flavor.

The 18.8 oz can has two servings, so with a combined total of 280 calories, 5 g of fat, and 6 g of fiber, that makes it 5 points for the whole can. Not so bad for a spicy, filling bowl of soup!

Today's Safeway Blow-Out

I haven't bought groceries in 2 weeks, and you know that's a bad thing. I've been eating the dregs of what's in the fridge and freezer, not really liking much of it. Plus, the last time I did go shopping it was at Whole Foods. So I had fancy stuff, but I was totally understocked on the staples. That's why today's trip to Safeway resulted in a huge tab (yikes, 73 bucks!) but I got a lot of good stuff, and I really hit the sales!

Today's deals - most of which are good thru Tuesday, Oct. 3:
- Hamburger Helper - $1.25, reg price $2.59
- Safeway brand mini-rice cakes - $1.50, reg price $1.69
- Safeway brand reduced fat wheat crackers - $1.50, reg price $1.99
- Safeway brand lite pink lemonade mix - $2.60, reg price $3.60
- Campbell's Chunky Healthy Request soup - $1.25, reg price $2.79
- Barilla pasta - $1.00, reg price $1.50
- Green Giant single-serving broccoli & cheese 4-pak - $3.14, reg price $4.19
- Dannon Light & Fit yogurt - 50 cents, reg price 80 cents
- Fresh Express bag salads - $3.50, reg price $3.79

So even though I bought a lot of stuff, I actually saved $9.18 with all the sales. Hooray!

And although I didn't take advantage of it cuz I already have plenty, y'all should know Jello Sugar-Free Pudding is on sale, too. Mmmmm.

My Theory

So, I have this theory that may be somewhat cockamamie, but it's what I've been going by.

Sometimes, even when I know I'm going to be eating a big, non-point-friendly indulgent meal, I will decide to start off with a small salad and then still eat the full big meal. Why? Because sometimes that's what it takes to ensure that I'm eating fresh, leafy green veggies. With as often as I eat restaurant or deli food, that house salad is often the best way to get in some fiber-rific veggie goodness.

I do this knowing full well that it means I'm eating MORE food instead of less, and that it adds to my calorie and point intake, and that I'd be better off just eating the salad and not ordering the big meal. But, like I said, this is my theory and every once in a while - like this week, when I had a delicious but non-diet margherita pizza for lunch - I feel better knowing that I've started off with a plate full of nice mixed greens.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Not as Bad as Last Year

I just weighed in and I'm at the same spot as last week, 4 pounds down overall. That means I gained back 3 pounds during the ramp up to the Gala. Which isn't great, but considering that I gained something like 15 pounds in those 2 months last year, it's not so bad.

Being down only 4 pounds for this nearly-whole-year of effort doesn't sound all that impressive, but I'm okay with it because this year has helped me refocus on diet and exercise. Even if I'm not always following it, I'm thinking about it a lot more and paying attention to my choices.

And as I wrote over the weekend, I'm now working on a new goal.... so stay with me and let's watch that little hula girl dance!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Um, Yeah

I have virtually no ab strength. Tamilee's 15 minute "I Want Those Abs!" beginner work out just kicked my butt. Seriously, I've tried to avoid crunches since gym class in high school. All her talk of "long levers" and such now just has my tummy muscles groaning with what I'm sure will be even more soreness later.

But with all that I'm reading about strength training and the need to build your core strength and such, I think this is a workout I need to keep coming back to. I'm watching the intermediate level one now, and it's gonna be some time before I'm ready for that!

A Tale of Two Soups

I'm in full-on fall food mode, which means it's time for lots of soup. I think I've mentioned before that I think soup is pretty much the perfect food and I love it in just about every variety possible.

This weekend, I've had soup for lunch 2 days in a row, sampling 2 different beef varieties from Progresso.

Yesterday: Traditional Beef Barley. This soup had a good beef & tomato base (the broth was leaning more towards the red side) with lots of barley and chunks of beef. One can = 2 servings. Each serving has 140 calories, 3.5 g of fat, and 2 g of fiber, for 3 points a serving and 6 points a can.

Today: Rich & Hearty Beef Pot Roast. I think I liked this one even better, as the broth was thicker and it was more like a stew. There were lots of chunks of beef, plus potatoes, carrots, beans, and pearl onions. Yummy. Reminds me of Au Bon Pain's really good stew, just the canned version. Here, each serving as 130 calories, 2 g of fat and 2 g of fiber, for 2 points a serving and 4 points a can.

On the surface, this all sounds pretty good. But the really troubling line on the nutrition info is the one that lists sodium content. Yesterday's soup, with the higher points, has 650 mg of sodium per serving, 27% of your RDA. Eating a full can then gives you 1300 mg of sodium and 54% of all the salt you should have in a whole day. Today's soup has a whopping 830 mg / 34% per serving, so that means that in just that little bowl of soup I had 1660 mg of sodium, 68% of what I should have all day.

Yikes!!!!! I need to start buying reduced sodium canned soup - or better yet, making my own!!!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A New Goal

Well, y'all know I've had my ups and downs on WW this year. On *and off* of WW, if I want to be accurate...

But now I have a new goal in mind that I plan to work towards, and it's a long-term goal so I actually think it might be achievable if I stick to my guns.

One year from today, I will be a bridesmaid in the wedding of a very good friend, surrounded by a few other very good friends. My goal is to get to a point where I will be happy with the way I look. I know it will be a wonderful day no matter what, but I would be that much more excited about it all if I could reach a point where I'll like the way I'll look in a dress.

So, I'm now setting an actual numeric goal. Yikes! I would *LOVE* to get back down to the "skinniest" I've been in my adult life. That would be back to where I was 6 years ago, when I first did WW and was really smart and disciplined about it.

What is that number? (Holding my breath.) 42 pounds.

The number's pretty scary, I'll admit. But I've done it before, and that was just over 4 months. Let's see how well I do over 12 months. Really, that's only 3 1/2 pounds a month. That doesn't seem quite as scary, now does it?

Friday, September 22, 2006

That Was Not Good

If you value taste, texture, aroma, and any of the other things that go into making a meal tasty.... DO NOT buy the Amy's Organica Mexican casserole bowl. It is just plain gross. It's corn, beans, cheese, some kinda tomato sauce, and a weird, spongy meat-like substitute that does not blend in well with everything else. It tastes kinda gross, the texture feels weird in your mouth, and it's a whopping 10 points. So why bother?

Consider yourself warned!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A Cheap Target Find

Okay, let's not talk about how many fast food combo meals I ate this weekend. Suffice it to say, I said "meals" and not "meal."

Instead, let's talk about this new snack I'm adding to the repertoire... Weight Watchers makes a pretty decent variety of little snack cakes. They've got lemon cake, carrot cake, chocolate cake, plus different muffins, cookies, and the ice cream treats I've posted about before.

While at Target yesterday, I spotted an endcap (yay retail background!) filled with these WW snacks, priced at only $2.99 a box. I've seen these before in the grocery store but never tried them out. At such a bargain, though, I couldn't resist. After much debate (actually only about 30 seconds) I decided on the chocolate snack cakes with chocolate icing.

The little cakes are pretty tasty. They're not as good as a big old double-chocolate Duncan Hines, but you can't expect them to be. The cakes are really little, only about as long as my thumb, but they do serve as a pretty filling bite-size snack. And the best part....? They're only 1 point each!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Skeletons Need Not Apply

Spain is cracking down - no sick-skinny models on their runways in fashion week! Wow, that's an interesting turn of events. This article covers both sides of the argument - by the by, I don't think the "discrimination against models" angle will, ahem, carry much weight - but I think it's a good sign overall that at least some people are starting to really worry about the image that the fashion industry promotes.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Status Quo

Is fine with me! The scale was looking pretty good this morning as I stayed the same for yet another week. I'm not really doing much to reduce my caloric intake these days, but I'm glad to know that my metabolism and my activity level are pretty much in check at the moment. I'm doing pretty well with eating well-balanced meals (thank goodness for my grill pan and veggie sides), and I'm working on holding steady for another week to get me through the Gala and Board stuff.

But.... a major development this morning.... it's back! The most tempting Starbucks seasonal item ever, the pumpkin cream cheese muffin. I had to have it, cuz I didn't have any breakfast and I wanted a treat. But I don't even want to KNOW the nutritional info on that. I just have to learn to refuse it for the rest of the fall. It's gonna be hard, though, cuz that sucker is darn tasty!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

'Tis the Season

It's Gala season for me, folks. That means it's my most stressful and busiest time of the year at work. Usually, yes, this is the time when I gain the most weight each year from the stress-eating and the lack of a normal schedule. I'm trying to be better than I normally am this time of year, but I'm still recognizing that life is challenging enough right now and I'm not forcing myself to worry about food. After the Gala, I can get back on track and start hitting the gym again start leaving work at a normal hour and all of that.

For now, though, it's all about prepping for the event. Which means that I went to the tasting earlier this week. Trust me, if you love food and if you ever get the opportunity to go to a caterer's tasting, DO IT. :-) I got to sample so much yummy goodness... 12 different kinds of hors d'ouevres, two different first courses with different fancy bread sides, two different main courses with all the veggie and starch sides, and two different delectable dessert courses. MMMMMMMMMMM. Sure, I got sick that night from having way too much rich stuff, but it was still so worth it. I probably won't eat food that well-prepared again for another year!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Wavering Still

The dial on my scale for the last two weeks has been wavering, but still close enough to the -7 pounds point that that's where I am claiming it to be. And I'm okay with that, cuz it's been a rough few weeks health-wise.

My money situation is not very good right now, so that means I'm going to have to be scrimping on lunches and dinners this week and eating things out of the freezer, so that usually has a good impact on the scale. We'll see how it goes...

Thanks again, everyone, for all your encouragement!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

When Will I Ever Learn?

Walking the 3 miles from my apartment to the movie theater? GOOD.

Eating a small butter popcorn once I get there? BAD.

Seriously, it's just cuz I was hungry. If they had healthier options at the theater I would buy them. How hard is it to get a little hummus and celery sticks?

I keep hoping there's some kind of karmic balance that makes everything okay in the end. Hey, it's better than eating the popcorn and NOT walking, right???

Saturday, September 02, 2006

A Perfect Rainy Day Dinner

There's just something about rainy days that makes soup a perfect meal. And luckily it can be a pretty darn low-point meal! Tonight I had Progresso's French Onion Soup. It's made with chicken broth, and it's hearty and oniony and salty and just hits the spot. At 50 calories, 1.5 g of fat and 1 g of fiber per serving, that makes for a 2 point can of soup. Mmmm!

And I just have to ask... if every can of Progresso is 2 servings, does anyone ever really just eat 1 serving? I mean, has anyone ever warmed up 1/2 a can of soup and put the rest in the fridge for later? Or do people split a can of soup? Come on, you know there's just one bowl in that can!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Daily Dose

I've just signed up for this new daily email from the web site Hungry Girl. I'm really enjoying it! The email comes with all kinds of tips on ways to lose and/or manage weight. She (I'm assuming there's still an actual "she" writing these) does honest product reviews of different diet foods, and she'll lay it all out when she thinks something is gross. Plus she'll give tips on new gadgets or news about weight loss science. And I like that all the emails are brightly designed and just plain fun to open up in your mailbox. Check it out - I bet you'll like it! :-)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Smoothie Stats

Fruit smoothies have become my latest summertime addiction, and since I'm now drinking a couple a week I thought it might be a good idea to investigate the nutritional value of smoothie offerings around town. I've noticed a wide variety in the kinds of smoothies you can get - some seem to be very dairy, while others seem a lot more sugary, and others are like the smoothie equivalent of Juicy Juice (ick, not so much).

Cosi - The Cosi web site includes nutritional info on all their beverages in each different size. Good for them for giving so much info! I tend to order the Wildberry Blast smoothie, which is fat-free. The grande size is 248 calories and 58 grams of carbs, which you've gotta figure is a heck of a lot of sugar. (Tall, the smallest size, comes in at 186 and 44.) Well, I like that it's fat-free but I'm thinking it's not so great to get so much sugar. Eeeep. In a comparison of the tall sizes of all of their flavors -- they are all fat free, but four of their flavors are all the same as far as calories go (Mango Mangia, Peach, Strawberry Banana, and Wildberry Blast) but the Strawberry Lemoade has more than 100 more calories. So avoid that one!

Everything Yogurt - This is one of the places in the food court at the Old Post Office Pavilion. Their smoothies seem a little less sugary than Cosi's, and they are smooth without being too thick. But darn, I can't find any nutrition info online. I'll have to ask next time I'm there.

Potbelly's - While the Potbelly's site includes info for their sandwiches, I can't find any on their smoothies and shakes. Their shakes are made with regular ice cream, and I'm assuming that their smoothies are yogurt but can't be sure. I'll have to investigate further the next time I'm there.

Ben & Jerry's - The B&J web site includes nutritional info for all of their pint flavors, including both the low fat and regular frozen yogurt. I don't see any info for smoothies themselves, but I think it's safe to use the fro-yo stats to calcuate the approximate value for the beverage form. I don't actually go to B&J very often, cuz it's WAY too tempting... but it's an option nearby my office, so I imagine I might sample their smoothies at some point.

Olsson's - I also don't have any info on my favorite smoothie, which is offered by the Footnotes Cafe in the Olsson's Penn Quarter. It's very creamy and tastes like there's a lot of dairy in it, but I also know they use a banana, which could make for a thicker consistency too. And it's a pretty big serving of yumminess. I'll try to ask how they make it next time - but I'm a little afraid to find out cuz it's so darn good!

So what have I learned here? Well, mostly that places don't keep nutritional info on beverages... and that I need to do a little more digging to see what exactly it is I'm getting on my afternoon smoothie runs. But I'm still guessing that Cosi has the lowest-point options but they're way too high in sugar, and that Olsson's may have a higher-fat version that is actually better in nutrition. We shall see...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

What to Order?

I have another business-woman's lunch coming up soon, and I'm not sure what will be the healthiest, most diet-friendly item to order. Their menu has all kinds of fancy-shmance options. I'm leaning towards either the seared salmon or the grilled chicken breast entree, but I just know there are all kinds of hidden dangers in every menu item on there. Which would you choose?

And yes, it makes me laugh every time I see "lime air" on there. What, do they bottle air???

A Garden Isn't Lunch

Today I knew I needed to get some veggies in at lunchtime, cuz I haven't been eating very balanced meals lately. I'm still doing pretty well on eating less / better stuff overall, but veggies are always hard for me to work in. So at my usual deli, I went with a different option than normal and had them make me a wrap version of what they call their "Avocado Dream." This included tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, avocado, and sprouts, with a little cream cheese and a cucumber sauce, all bundled into a green tortilla wrap. (What flavor is a green wrap, anyway???)

It looked very healthy and abundant - but messy. Which it was. After I took my first bite, I said to my lunch buddy "Wow, this tastes like a garden." It really did. Not like a garden salad, mind you, but like an actual garden with a wee bit o' the taste of dirt. I enjoyed it, but I wasn't even able to eat the whole thing cuz it got kinda messy.

And now, 2 1/2 hours later, I'm hungry again. All I had for lunch was that wrap and some Baked Lays. My lunch buddy just chimed in again by saying "A garden isn't lunch!" (hence the title of this post), so I think we're going to head out for a quick walk and for me to pick up some kind of yogurt smoothie to tide me over.

So I got my veggies in, which is good, but you sure do need some protein or something to fill you up!

Monday, August 21, 2006

A Pretty Good Way to Start the Week

My scale was wavering a little bit again this morning (the curse of still having the dial-a-weight kind, vs. digital), but it was enough for me to officially claim that I've lost another pound. Woohoo!

I have plans to be pretty good this week, mostly due to my intimidating budget issues, so we'll see how much of a difference that makes. I only have plans for one dinner out, and that's tonight, but then I'll be staying in at night until the weekend. And staying in is what makes it so much easier to be good, so here's hoping the scale creeps down again next week!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Weekend Safeway Deals

I hit a few good deals today, which I'm happy about cuz lately it seems my theme is "spend less money!" in every aspect of life. So you've gotta love grocery store sales....

Safeway Card Specials:
Nabisco 100 calorie pack snacks - $2.50, reg price $3.19
Starkist lite tuna in water 3-pack - $2.69, reg price $2.79
Dannon Light 'n Fit yogurt smoothie 4-pack - $3.69, reg price $4.15
Healthy Choice entrees - $2.00, reg price $4.19
C&W brand frozen veggies - $1.66, reg price $2.89

And bonus.... while Lean Cuisine is not on sale this week, I did have a checkout coupon for $1.00 off. Score! :-)

I also bought a lot of cleaning supplies that were on sale, cuz I've decided I need to spend at least part of this weekend mopping, disinfecting, and deodorizing in general. How many activity points for that???

Not Bad in New York

I did pretty well on my New York trip, diet-wise. I would guess that I walked about 2-3 miles each day, and my food choices were pretty decent. I really only had one splurge-y meal, dinner on Wednesday night. The rest of my food choices were pretty much dictated by availability and budget. As I said on my other blog, I stuck to a strict cash-only budget, including on all food options. So that means I couldn't really indulge too much in terms of portion size or richness of food. Not a bad plan!

Breakfast - I ruled out my usual McGriddles combo breakfast at Union Station (so good but a heart attack in a paper sack) and went for a cinnamon bagel with cream cheese and a bottle of water instead. It's not the best diet food ever, but it was bulky enough that it kept me full and I didn't buy any train snacks the whole way up.

Lunch - I was really hungry by the time I finally got lunch at about 1 pm. I ate at the little cafe in the International Center of Photography, which had all kinds of gourmet options. I went for the roast beef and horseradish sandwich on a dark brown bread (pumpernickel?) baguette with a glass of ginger iced tea. I wanted chips, but was watching the budget so I didn't get any. Phew.

Dinner - This was at a little Italian place on Restaurant Row. All of these places had 3-4 course prix fixe dinners for the before-theatre crowd, and I couldn't resist sampling such a good bargain. For $24, I got a 3-course dinner with hot tea. You could choose any of the items off their menu, and I went with fairly decent choices diet-wise - not the best, but not the worst either. I had a basil, tomato and mozzarella salad; a filet of sole sauteed in lemon, butter and white wine with veggies and rice sides; and a delicious piece of tiramisu. Somewhat indulgent, but I'd done a lot of walking that afternoon and felt it was worth it!

Snacks - I did get a little Cheerios cereal bar to eat mid-afternoon, before I walked down to the river for the harbor cruise. That was a sugary/carby fix, but it was actually only 3 points. Better than expected.

Breakfast - There wasn't any restaurant or room service option in my hotel for breakfast, and I didn't want to spend too much money on this meal. So I grabbed a Power Bar and another one of those Cheerios bars plus a bottle of water to eat while I was walking around Central Park. By pacing myself, those actually did get me through until about 1 o'clock for lunch.

Lunch - I ate at Penn Station while waiting for my train. I was actually okay with this, cuz I'd been looking forward to this meal ever since I got off the train the day before. Walking around Penn Station, I had been reminded that one of the best sandwiches I've ever had in my whole life came from Zaro's Deli, which I'd gotten when coming back from NYC on a business trip in March. So, woohoo! I was so excited to get that sandwich again! It's a curried chicken salad with cranberries and this great honey-mustard spread on pumpernickel. Mmmmm. I had a Coke Zero and a bag of salt & vinegar chips, and I was so happy. :-)

Snacks - I was really hungry by about 5:30 on the train, and I knew I wouldn't be home for a good, normal, diet dinner until after 7. So I did break down and use some of the very last of my cash on the cheapest snack option in the cafe car. Unfortunately, the cheapest item was a gigantic chocolate chip cookie. Which I ate, but didn't love cuz it was so sugary sweet. I downed a whole bottle of water pretty quickly to try and get rid of that sugar. Ick.

And then by Thursday night I was home for dinner and life is now back to normal.... we'll see if I have any change on the scale this week. I hope so!

Monday, August 14, 2006


That's what the dial on the scale was doing this morning. While I was able to balance just so so that the scale said I weighed the same as I did last week, I know that I haven't been very good and that I'm in danger of inching back up again. Yaargh.

So I'm back to recording my points on the WW tracker, and my goal is to bring my lunch all the days that I'm at work this week. That helps with my wallet, too.

I made it through the whole day with just the healthy snacks at my desk and my Lean Cuisine lunch, and I supplemented it with a fruit smoothie. But my goodness I was starving by the time I got home!!! Luckily I have some ww-friendly snacks, like hummus. Danger avoided - phew!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

These Are Pretty Tasty

Last week, Onyah and I happened to be running an errand together at Safeway and comparing some of our favorite household cleaners, facial scrubs, and diet food items. I forgot how much fun it can be to be in a grocery store with a friend! :-)

Anyway, she tipped me off on one of her favorite dessert treats - the Weight Watchers brand English Toffee Crunch Bars. They are yummy little ice cream bars covered with a hard shell of chocolate and English toffee. It's a bargain at only 2 points per pop, and Onyah was right - you get a ton of them! Would you believe they come 12 to a box? Good deal!

Some Interesting But Kinda Gross Science Stuff

The NYTimes Magazine this weekend has another good article about the science of weight. It talks about a few new directions of research into what causes obesity. Some of the info is a little creepy - as it focuses on all the microbes, all the little organisms and viruses that live in our bodies - but it does show that scientists are continuing to work on finding out the various factors that make some people thin and other people fat - other than just rice cakes or double bacon cheeseburgers. If scientists are able to pinpoint other biological reasons, it will be interesting to see in the future what new treatments there are to help people battle their weight. Of course, this research won't come up with any miracle cure in time for me to wear a cute little dress at our Gala next month, but it's still something intriguing to think about.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I Did So Well Today!

Hooray! It's still possible for me to have a really good day. Since the bride-to-be talked me out of a big sugary, buttery Starbucks treat, I can actually say that I did well in both food and exercise today. Now, i'm not starving myself or anything, but everything I had today was a good decision:

Breakfast: Non-fat yogurt at home, a granola bar when I got to work

Lunch: A Lean Cuisine Pizza

Snack: A grande skim chai, and a big veggie tray with about 1 teaspoon of lite ranch dip

Dinner: Tom yum chicken soup, a huge feast of very low-point sushi, two lite beers that were only 95 calories each

After Dinner: A mile-long walk home

Dessert: A 2-point Healthy Choice ice cream bar

Good stuff! Yes, I was STARVING when I finally got to the sushi place, but I still didn't lose control. I ate well AND I still had a pretty good day. :-)

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Horror of Formal Wear

Remember how excited I was that my Gala outfit still fits? Well, today I learned that it's not quite appropriate.... my boss said that I really need to wear something that's full-length since it's a black-tie event. Damn. I love this outfit! But I get her point, cuz it's definitely more of a sassy outfit than a formal outfit. And you know DC's fashion scene - we're more conservative than sassy. So I've got to go with something longer and a little more buttoned-down.

What that means is that I have to find a new full-length dress or skirt. And that's the length that looks TERRIBLE on me. Trust me, being 5 foot 2 with big hips does not make for a flattering silhouette with a long dress. I look like a sack of potatoes. Or worse, like a husky little girl trying on Mommy's clothes that are too long.

So I'm in the market for a formal black skirt or dress, hopefully that I can mix-and-match either with my sassy fun black sheer shrug or with one of the two gorgeous wraps I've gotten as gifts this year. One is red with gold embroidery from India, the other is from S. America and is black with blue and gold embroidery. The latter is probably better for September heat, but they're both really stunning and would look so cool with an outfit. I have 2 friends who have offered me the chance to raid their closets, so I hope that provides me with a cheap and reasonable option. (Thanks, ladies.) If not, then I have to make a dreaded trip to the shame and disappointment of the mall....

It's too bad I don't believe in crash diets. Or have the discipline to do one, like the girls in The Devil Wears Prada. Cuz I'd love to drop about 6 sizes between now and mid-September. Dang.

So-So this Monday....

Well, I still managed to stay the same weight even though I've been pretty bad lately. So that's a good thing. But I'm feeling like a slug in this heat and I know I'd feel better if I was eating fresher, healthier foods and being more active. So watch me try to be more diligent this week.... I have all kinds of plans, so I'll let you know if I stick to them!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Week That Was

Like I said, I haven't been doing so well on my own challenge. I'm really not sure what will happen when I step on the scale Monday morning. But I'm still thinking about all the choices I make, even if some of the choices are bad ones.

The Good:
  • I had my grilled mahi mahi specialty again for dinner tonight. Delicious! This time I did it with a side of steamed broccoli tossed with Newman's Own light Italian salad dressing. Tasty.
  • One day earlier this week, we went out for lunch to the place where I usually order a steak. I really wanted one, but I ordered a chicken salad instead.
  • I bought another 12-pack of Sprite Zero to have in my fridge, which was one of my key tricks earlier this year when I was doing so well. It gives me the carbonation I sometimes need, but without any caffeine. All the Coke Zero and diet cherry cola I've been drinking is still pretty bad, so I'm glad to be switching back to this instead.

The Bad:

  • Friday. A bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich for breakfast, 4 slices of pizza for lunch, 1 1/2 sugar cookies in the afternoon. A decent dinner that was accompanied by lots of sangria.
  • Tuesday night's wine-soaked dinner, which I wrote about on my other blog. I have learned that it's a very bad pattern for me - when I drink a lot of wine, I order a lot of really rich, expensive, indulgent food.
  • No exercise this week other than just the usual daily comings and goings. Bah.
  • It's still hard for me to work in fruits and veggies on a regular basis. I need to keep more stuff in the house, and when I'm buying my lunch out I need to be sure to get a side salad or a fruit cup or something.
  • Ice cream is my summer vice. This week it's been Breyer's fudge ripple. It's not premium ice cream, so there's a little less fat, but I still have to have it. Nothing cools me down with as much satisfaction. Sure, Jello pudding cups are a great substitute, but they're not ice cold and refreshing in the same way.

Tomorrow I have a foodie-best brunch that I'm really looking forward to, but then it's off to the grocery store to buy some good items to have at home this week. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 31, 2006

I Suck at My Own Challenge

Aaargh. It's so hard to be disciplined! I've been slipping - last week I stopped tracking all my points. It's so easy to just pass a whole day by without ever opening up that darn web site to write things down! And I had several splurgey meals out. And I haven't been exercising. I know, I know, I suck.

But, the good news is that when I weighed in this morning, I had stayed the same. By the grace of God - or a bad stomach reaction to some weekend meals..... :-P

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Gotta Try This!

The NYTimes has another great article talking about the new styles of premium ice cream that have been making their way into the market over the last few years. Apparently new techniques - involving some kind of fish protein??? - are making for tasty, rich, creamy ice cream with a lot less fat. I think I'm going to have to do a taste test. You know, for the good of all of you, my readers.... right???

Plus the 2nd page of the article includes some interesting stats and science behind low-fat and reduced-fat ice cream in general. Worth a read!

A Better Snack

I believe I have discussed my addition to salty snacks before. I am a sucker for tortilla chips, potato chips and popcorn. These things are pretty much all the devil's work as far as nutritional value -- lots of salt and fat, very little nutrients or other redeeming values. And one of my biggest challenges is that I totally OD on salty snacks. I can and have been known to devour an entire bag of chips or popcorn all in one sitting. And then proceed to pass out in a carb coma. Yeah, great, huh?

I have recently found a new addiction, though, that helps meet that salty snack need with just a little bit more to offer in the way of nutrition. CASHEWS! Cashews rock.

Nuts are fatty and can be high in calories, but it's the good kind of fat - the unsaturated and monounsaturated kind that don't raise your cholesterol. And nuts are full of nutrients, like iron and protein and magnesium and potassium and a whole bunch of others that I have no idea what they do - but they're good for you! I wish I had discovered them a few years back when I was a vegetarian, cuz I was never good about getting protein in those days. The key, though, is to get dry roasted and not oil roasted, if you can - watch for that on the label.

Yes, it's true, I'm still finding it hard to stop at more than just a handful of nuts - what is it about salty snacks that makes you want to keep eating them all until they're gone? - but I'm happy that I've found a vice that's at least a little better for me.

Monday, July 24, 2006

No Surprises

I just weighed in, and I stayed the same this week. That's good news, cuz I wasn't as good this past week as I was the week before. I still tracked all my points, but I ate a lot more of them. :-( And I wasn't good about exercising. So I know what I need to do this week......

Sunday, July 23, 2006

That's a Mahi Mahi Mighty Tasty Dinner!

You know how I've been saying for months that I want to learn how to cook fish? Tonight I finally tried it! I bought some frozen mahi mahi fillets from Whole Foods a while back, and today I was motivated to have a light, healthy dinner so I pulled the old grill pan out of the closet and went for it.

Here's my cute little fillet thawing out. It's in foil cuz I first thought I'd be cooking it in the oven, but later decided to use the grill pan instead. I chose wisely.

After thawing one of the fillets (which took a lot longer than expected), I drizzled it with olive oil and sprinkled a little salt and pepper on each side. I had turned the grill pan on high to get it warmed up (aha! a lesson I learned from Ray Ray), so by the time I put the fillet on it was already sizzling.

Sizzle, sizzle.

While the fillet was grilling, I steamed up about 1/2 a bag of frozen green beans for my side dish. It was easy to tell how the fish was progressing, because you really can see it cooking through by watching the side turn from pink to white. After about 8 minutes of grilling, the fish was done.

I sprinkled about 1/2 capful of lime juice over the top of the fish to add a little tropical flavor. Then, to keep the flavor consistent, I added a little lime juice as well as margarine to the green beans. (Yes, I hate to admit it, but that consistent flavor trick is another thing learned from Ray Ray.)

This meal was delicious! Mahi Mahi has a hearty flavor - richer than a whitefish, more along the lines of tuna than salmon, although it's a bit lighter than tuna. The olive oil and lime juice were actually a great combo, cuz they enhanced the flavor rather than overpowering it. And the green beans with a hint of lime juice tasted great, too!

Points-wise, this is a ridiculously low point meal. The fillet is only 3 points, but I'd add another point for the EVOO. (Sorry, can't help it. I think I've been possessed by Ray Ray.) And with just a little margarine on the beans, I'd call that 2 more points. So all of this for just 6 points!

Blogger's being pesky - so if you want to see picture of the finished meal, click here.

Sunday Morning at the Safeway

There are some good deals out there today! And, I'm happy to report that at about 8:30 am when I was walking to the store, I detected a bit of a chill in the air. It felt great! I wanted to do the dance of joy! I'm so ready for this heat wave to end...

Today's challenge-friendly deals:
  • Safeway brand canned beans - 50 cents, reg price 69 cents
  • Safeway brand boxed pasta - 75 cents, reg price $1.19
  • Orville Redenbacher Smart Pop box of 3 bags - $1.66, reg price $3.29
  • Crystal Light, small canister - $3.00, reg price $3.99
  • Star-Kist lite tuna in water, 3-pack - $2.64, reg price $2.79
  • Lucerne light yogurt - 40 cents, reg price 60 cents
  • Healthy Choice frozen pizza - $2.00, reg price $3.49
  • Healthy Choice selected entrees - $2.50, reg price $4.19
  • Safeway shrimp rings (I love 'em!) - $3.99, reg price $4.99
  • Black plums - $1.99/lb, reg price $2.99/lb

There you have it --- happy shopping!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Repeat After Me

I will not order buttered popcorn at the movies.
I will not drink regular soda.
I will not order buttered popcorn at the movies.
I will not drink regular soda.
I will not order buttered popcorn at the movies.
I will not drink regular soda.
I will not order buttered popcorn at the movies.
I will not drink regular soda.
I will not order buttered popcorn at the movies.
I will not drink regular soda.

Hindsight is 20/20.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Satisfying that Craving

I've been totally back in an Indian food phase again lately. It's been one of my favorite kinds of foods for years, and I've been to several restaurants lately to indulge. But Indian food is not the greatest thing to have on a diet. That's why I'm so glad that Whole Foods sells Ethnic Gourmet frozen entrees. The chicken tikka masala meal is *delicious* and it totally satisfies my need for Indian food. If I couldn't find these small-portioned meals in the store, I'd probably order A La Carte delivery a lot more often and pay $25 for a HUGE bag full o' food, and I would eat it all.

As for the points value.... well, it's a mystery. I think that for the first time ever I may have gotten a package with a misprint. My instinct, from having eaten this meal many times in the past, was that it was about 7 or 8 points. But I just read the nutrition info off the box and it said it was 200 calories, 6g of fat, and 2g of fiber. That's just 4 points! But then I checked the web site, and it had very different nutritional info, more along the lines of 7 or 8 points. I'm not sure what happened there.... but either way it's a decent sized portion that won't break the points bank!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Shivering Points?

I'll call this the hypothermia diet. Since being back in the office, our AC is on so freakin' high that it's an icebox. We're sitting there freezing all day long, and we've all changed the kinds of clothes and shoes we're wearing just to be warmer during the day - regardless of the fact that it's a freakin' heat advisory outside.

But here's the funny thing. For the past 2 days - even though I've had really big lunches - I have been STARVING by the end of the day. Totally serious hunger pains.

My theory? It's so cold in the office that my body is using extra calories just to try to keep warm. Sound feasible? Or just wishful thinking? I'd love to lose an extra pound or two from this -- it would make all that darn shivering worth it!

Monday, July 17, 2006


I just tried on my Gala outfit. It's the same outfit I wore at least year's Gala - a nicely-fitted black skirt, a satiny purple shell, and a black sheer shrug. Since my mother would kill me if she knew I was someone who buys an outfit and may only wear it once... I have to wear it again this year. And I actually do really like it, it's fun and kind of sassy. Anyway, I digress...

The good news is that the outfit still fits! I think I'm going to have the top altered a bit to make it shorter. Right now it's really long and comes almost to the top of my thighs. But when I pull up the hem so that it hits right on my hip line, it's about a million times more flattering. Other than that alteration, though, the outfit is good to go!

So that means that not much has changed in a year - which is good or bad, depending on how you look at it. But at least now I don't have to stress about losing a certain amount of weight just to be able to *wear* the outfit; I can just try to slim down a bit to make the outfit look even better. That's a relief!


I stepped on the scale this morning and.... voila! It is not my enemy! I actually lost 1 pound on this first week of my 10-week challenge.

Fancy Gala outfit, here I come! :-)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

My 1st Challenge Week

So how did my first week of my 10 week challenge go?

Ah, so-so. I accomplished the following:

  • I ate a lot more fruits and veggies. But some of those were in the form of awesome fresh berry sundaes (see my other blog post for today) and lots of veggie items on an Indian food buffet.
  • I did drink a lot more water than normal, but still not enough on a daily basis.
  • I cut back on starch - I had very few sandwiches and no pasta, and I even cut back on the starchy snacks. There was some rice and some multigrain crackers here and there, but not nearly as much as usual.
  • I did work out 4 times - not 5 like I planned, but it's still pretty good.
  • I *bought* new seafood things to try, in the form of frozen fish at Whole Foods, but I haven't cooked them yet. It's too darn hot to turn on the oven.
  • I tracked all of my points for the week. So even though I ended up -36.5 points for the week (as in I used twice the usual Flexie allowance), at least I recorded it all.

We'll see if there are any results on the scale tomorrow. I'm not sure if there will be. I've been really well hydrated today, but that Indian buffet may still want to make its presence known when I weigh in. I'll let you know.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Whole Foods Extravaganza

What's the difference in your refrigerator between buying groceries at Safeway and buying groceries at Whole Foods?

  • From Safeway, your fridge is filled with lots of packaged items, low-fat or diet stuff, sale items or generic brands, and so-so looking produce.
  • From Whole Foods, your fridge is filled with lots of little rubber-banded containers of fresh deliciousness, like curried tempeh salad and seafood gumbo and the best-looking fruit you've seen in ages. And you couldn't find the words "low-fat" on anything, but suddenly you're okay with that.
What's the difference in the price? At Safeway, your single basket of stuff costs about $40. At Whole Foods, it's $75. Yikes.

But I just ate the most freakin' delicious tuna I've ever had in my life. I don't even care how many points it has. The yellowfin tuna salad with the little shell pasta. Unbelievable. Trusty cat Cleo was so excited to be able to clean that container!

A New Workout Mix

It's true, the iPod has changed my life. Working out is so much more enjoyable with pretty much your whole music library at your fingertips!

I just made a new mix - um, sorry, *playlist* - timed for a 20-minute workout on the stationary bike. It reflects my fairly random tastes at the moment.... but I just used it for the first time and this great mix of songs kept my heart pumping. What more could you ask for?

1. "Amazing" - Madonna
2. "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" - Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
3. "Candy" - Mandy Moore
4. "Hips Don't Lie" - Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean
5. "It Ain't Me Babe" - Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon
6. "The Long Way Around" - The Dixie Chicks

Believe it or not, these songs do flow together pretty darn well. Ah, reliving my mix-tape-makin' youth. :-)

Do you have any favorite workout songs?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Day 3.... Not As Great, But Still Going

Today was a little harder.... partially it was because I was really freakin' hungry this morning after eating so little yesterday, and then because I waited too long and had a late lunch so my eyes were WAY bigger than my stomach. Except not really, cuz I ate it all. Oh well.

Here's a good link -- I found one site for nutrition and estimated WW points info for Potbelly Sandwich Works. (Their web site includes some nutrition info, too.) Since there are now THREE locations within a short walking distance from my office, I think I need to memorize these stats. And now that I satisfied my curiosity about their new sugar cookies (yes, they are delicious and very buttery) I don't need to buy any again.

Today's goal-related bullets:
  • I tracked all my points.
  • I drank a lot of water.... including when I went to see a movie, and the ONLY concession item I bought was a bottle of water. Hooray! No popcorn, candy, or soda, though I wanted them. (But that bottle of water was still $3.50. Highway robbery, yo.)
  • I only had starch for one meal - wheat bread on that big old Potbelly's sandwich.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Day 2 of My Challenge

I'm still doing well on my challenge.... today's accomplishments:

  • I tracked all of my points.
  • I stayed within my daily points allowance! Wheeee!!!!
  • I did 20 minutes of cardio at the gym. (Hey, I'm still a beginner. 20 minutes is a big deal.)
  • I had veggies as a snack again - thank you, baby carrots.
  • I had seafood for dinner -- shrimp, yummy. Not as good as a white fish or salmon, but still pretty low in points.
  • I had a lot less starch than usual.... a Lean Cuisine pizza and some reduced fat wheat thins as a snack.
  • I drank a lot of water! So that means lots of trips to the little girls' room...

Good stuff!

Nutrition 101: Portion Size

The NYTimes has long been one of my favorite resources for articles on food and nutrition. I was just telling some people about some fascinating stories they put out a few years back about the real story of the glycemic index and all of those sound bytes we kept hearing about carbs and glucose and blood sugar. Well, they have another good article in yesterday's edition that reminds us all what a *real* portion size is, which is harder and harder to find in our supersized food culture.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Day 1 of the Challenge

Well, wouldn't you know it, today turned out to be a terrible day for food intake. I started out very sensibly, but then went to a meeting at my boss's house where she had put out a great breakfast spread, then had lunch with a friend and totally went for Thai curry, then had to work from home the rest of the day/evening and ended up snacking. A lot.

But there were some good things, in keeping with my 10-Week Challenge goals:

  • I just tracked every last one of those darn points.
  • I did a bunch of extra walking around today.
  • I had a lot of fruit and fruit juice today.
  • I had a veggie snack - those WW favorites, baby carrots.

So, even though I've used all but 4.5 of my flexies FOR THE WEEK, I'm still doing okay on what I've set myself out to do. Tomorrow is another day!

My 10-Week Challenge

I have decided to give myself a reason to get back in the swing of things.... 10 weeks from today is our Gala at work. I have to dress all nice and there are lots of pictures taken, and I'd really like to feel good about how I look. It also marks one year since I fell off the wagon and put on about 15 pounds of stress eating getting ready for the Gala 2005. And trust me, this year is MUCH more stressful, so I need to focus on being good rather than just letting it all go.

So, over the next 10 weeks, I plan to....

  • Track my points, even if I don't stick to my daily allowance. Just keeping track of what you eat makes you much more aware and accountable for your intake.
  • Work in more fruits and veggies and cut back on the salt and starch.
  • Eat more seafood and experiment with cooking some fish.
  • Exercise! Try to do some kind of non-commute-related (as in don't just count walking to the Metro) workout 5 days a week.
  • Combine strength training with just the usual cardio that I have done in the past.
  • More water! Less soda and Starbucks.
I would love to shoot for a 10 pound loss over these 10 weeks, but I don't want to put too much pressure on myself with a number. I hope that sticking to these priorities will help with that scale, too!

You know I'll be charting my progress here, so stay tuned....and wish me luck!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Savings at Ye Olde Safeway

Another weeknight trip to the grocery store turned up some great deals!

Rice-A-Roni - $1.00, reg price $1.39
Safeway brand Spanish rice - $.80, reg price $1.09
Tostitos Bite Size - $2.00, reg price $3.49
Starkist Lite Tuna in Water, 3-pak - $2.64, reg price $2.79
Desert Pepper Black Bean Dip (not a diet item, but I want it) - $4.99, reg price $5.39
Lean Cuisines - 4 for $10.00 (same as 2 for $5 sale at Giant), reg price $3.29
Lucerne Yogurt - $.40, reg price $.60
Butterball Turkey Smoked Sausage - $2.50, reg price $4.19
Organic Baby Carrots, 1 lb bag - $1.50, reg price $2.39
Haagen Dazs light ice cream - $3.00, reg price $4.19

That's Much Better

Hooray! I just weighed in and I'm down 2 pounds. I didn't lose all of those surprise 5 pounds from last week, but I'm still glad to see the scale go down a bit. I know that the last few weeks have been really difficult as my life is kinda topsy-turvy. My food and sleep schedules have been really out of whack, and I'm so looking forward to being back in our office, whenever we finally reopen. Routine is good. But I am happy that those 2 pounds are gone!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Introducing Tamilee

I just got a new exercise DVD. I have a whole bunch of them, and some are more motivating than others. This one is Tamilee's "The Science of Fitness - I Want that Body!" It has "I Want Those Abs!" and "I Want Those Arms!" and "I Want Those Buns!" Each section is divided into 2 different 15 minute workouts, an easier one and a more challenging one.

Inspired by a conversation with a friend today about strength training vs. cardio, I decided to pop in the DVD and do a little arm work. I did the first 15 minute arm workout, and already my arms can feel it! She does 3 reps of a series of arm exercises, focusing on biceps, shoulders and triceps. You've probably done all of them before, but Tamilee keeps it flowing pretty smoothly and she's very low on the annoying scale. (No Denise Austin-style cheerleading, and that's fine by me.) She speaks like a trainer and keeps talking about muscle groups, so it makes for a bit of an academic exercise as well as physical.

I am pretty much a beginner when it comes to strength workouts. I've taken weightlifting classes before and I've played around, but I've never done a serious program to build muscle. I'm a bit of a weakling. But that means I've got lots of room for improvement.... and the beauty of arm work is you can see results almost immediately. My biceps even seem a little more defined than they were 1/2 an hour ago!

Another New Summer Salad

I just had one of those new Starbucks salads for dinner. I tried the Garden Greens Salad this time around, which featured iceberg and romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, carrots, cheese, hard-boiled egg, and shaved almonds. It comes with a lite ranch dressing. My oh my was this tasty! It's not as good as that older Starbucks salad with the goat cheese and blueberry dressing. But for a fairly standard garden salad, this makes for a decent meal. With 360 calories, 24 grams of fat, and 4 grams of fiber, it's an 8 point bowl of goodness.

I Heard A Rumor

A little birdie told me that Giant has Lean Cuisines on sale, 2 for $5.00. I don't usually make it to Giant, cuz it's too far for me to walk with bags, so that's why I stick to Safeway. But I hope some of my lucky readers are able to take advantage of this special sale!!!!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Dinner Deconstructed

I had a pretty decent dinner tonight out at one of my favorite restaurants, Cafe Luna. That's usually where I go to have my pasta fix, but since I'd eaten almost all starch all day long I decided to change it up a bit:


Good: A cup of vegetarian chili filled with kidney beans, corn, tomatoes, and peppers in a tomato base.
So-So: I sprinkled about 1/4 cup of shredded cheese on top. I needed the dairy, but not necessarily the fat.
Bad: I also had 1/2 a roll with some butter. Not necessary at all - the appetizer would've been plenty filling without the starch and fat.


Good: I ordered the avocado, tomato and sprouts sandwich and had it on a tortilla wrap, so it was pretty darn healthy overall.
So-So: I had them put a little balsamic vinaigrette on the wrap for flavor and binding fun.
Bad: Alas, the healthy wrap came with a handful of ripple potato chips. I ate them.


So-So: I had 2 glasses of riesling. Mighty tasty, but I didn't need the calories. I'm okay with it, though, cuz I love a great glass of wine.... or two!

I didn't calculate the points on this, cuz I'll be honest that it's been a long time since I've actually counted my points. But this was a pretty darn good attempt to have a healthy, balanced meal. Hooray!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Keep Your Hands Busy

Heh heh. This post could go so many ways..... ;-)

But really, this is a very simple dieting tip, especially for the ladies. I say this knowing that I've got to remind *myself* of dieting tips since it's not going all that well lately.

As I've mentioned before, one of the reasons why my weight has always been a challenge is that I'm a snacker. And my favorite time to snack is when I'm just sitting in my recliner watching TV. And oftentimes, I find myself eating just cuz I get bored sitting there and not doing anything. So I need something to do to keep my hands occupied OTHER THAN eating.

(Again, this could get dirty.... but it won't!)

One trick I picked up years ago is that there's something ELSE you can do with your hands while sitting there watching tv that doesn't involve any snacking at all. Simply use that time to paint your nails!

I've often found that the times when I'm dieting are when my nails look the best. But think about it -- painting your nails takes a long time, cuz you have to file away the rough spots, use a clear coat, apply polish, maybe apply a 2nd coat, maybe apply a top coat. And there needs to be drying time in between all these steps. That's lots of time with wet nails, and you wouldn't dare snack cuz you don't want to risk messing up your nails!

Not only is this a good way to stay on plan, but you'll also start getting lots of compliments for how great your nails look! :-)

Monday, July 03, 2006

Okay, That Can't Be Right

I just weighed myself. And my new evil nemesis, the scale, was not cooperating. It claims that I have GAINED 5 POUNDS in the last week. Whadafa?!?!?!?

I know this whole working from home, having meetings at eateries, lifestyle is not very good. Sitting at home on the computer is dangerous cuz it's so close to the refrigerator. But it's not like I've been terrible! Yesterday was actually the worst day of the week, with butter popcorn at the movies and an ice cream treat. So I'm going to just blame today's weigh-in on yesterday's indulgence and expect that things will cycle back down to somewhere near normal by next week.

But wow, what a stark reminder to be good!!!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Another Tasty Salad

I tried a new variety of a bag salad last night: the Fresh Express Salsa Salad. A salsa salad? Yes, indeedy.... it's not quite the lowest-point option out there, but it was darn tasty!

It's made up of iceberg lettuce, a mix of shredded cheeses, blue and yellow corn tortilla strips, a salsa & sour cream dressing, and a chunky salsa to put on top. It's like a taco salad, really, but without any meat.

The nutritional information gives it 120 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 2 grams of fiber per serving. There are 4 servings in the bag (and come on, who doesn't eat the whole bag?), which makes it 11 WW points overall. That's not too bad, for a tasty, filling, and fun meal that involves sour cream. :-) I'll be buying that again!

Thursday, June 29, 2006


I have recently seen a few photos of myself that have been taken in the last week. Oh, not good. My profile is not pleasing. From the front looks terrible too. Yikes. I might have to print one of these out and hang it on my refrigerator.

Friends, I ask of you.... for the short-term, if you're taking pictures of me, please take them only from the shoulders up!!!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Berry Special Treat!

I just had the best dessert!!!

After my walk today I stopped by Safeway cuz I really wanted to get some healthy salads and fruit and veggies to snack on. And guess what? They were having a huge sale - BOGO Berries! Yep, their cartons of strawberries and blueberries were both buy one get one free. So I picked up 2 of each. I also picked up some Haagen-Dazs Light Vanilla Bean ice cream and some French Vanilla flavored Cool Whip.

Tonight, I had fun cutting up the berries and splashing lemon juice on them to make them last (my Mom's trick - first time I've tried it, if you can believe that). Then I spooned out 2 scoops of that light vanilla ice cream and poured A TON of berries on top. I just ate it. I think my tummy is smiling. :-)

It was so light and refreshing, and there were blueberries the size of quarters in there! Oh, what a yummy treat! I can't wait to have more tomorrow!

A Break from the Routine

If you're following on my other blog, you know that I've had several unexpected days at home this week after the flooding. That's a recipe for trouble, if I'm just sitting here at the computer with all the temptations of the fridge just a few steps away. Yesterday I was really bad about snacking.

Today when I was getting tired of working at the computer all morning, I thought about heading back to bed for a nap. But instead I suited up and put my Nikes on and went for a long, brisk walk around the neighborhood.

It felt great! Well, in that 45 minute walk I experienced 3 different weather systems - drizzle, steamy hot sun, then overcast and gloomy - so I got all sweaty and sticky. That wasn't great. But purposefully choosing a route that included LOTS of uphill climbs and feeling my heart pumping did feel really great. Hooray for my little exercise break!

The Art of Maintaining

I did weigh in Monday morning.... No gain, no pain! I stayed the same as the week before. I'm not really following the plan specifically these days, but I'm still very aware of portion size, nutritional balance, and good or bad choices. So I'm very glad to see that I've been pretty much hovering lately. Hooray!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Avocado: Friend or Foe?

I've been curious lately about the nutritional value of avocado. I'd always heard before that it's really fatty and you should avoid it, but I have also found that avocado features prominently in a lot of my favorite summer foods: sushi, salads, Mexican food, etc. So I've done a little digging to see what I can find about our mushy green friend.

Even though it is green, the avocado is actually a fruit that comes from a flowering tree. It's got that big seed pit in the middle -- like with a peach or an apricot, that's the key to knowing it's a fruit. It is also sometimes known as an avocado pear or an alligator pear, due to its looks (although the tree was once known by a much more colorful name).

While it is indeed a fatty fruit, it is also very high in nutritional value. From the Wiki entry:
Though the fruit does have a markedly higher fat content than most other fruits, most of the fat in avocados is monounsaturated fat, which is considered healthy in the human diet. A whole medium avocado contains approximately 25% of the recommended daily amount of saturated fat. Avocados also have 60% more potassium than bananas. They are also rich in B vitamins, as well as vitamin E and K.

So it's the good kind of fat - the one we're supposed to get from nuts and olive oil and all those Mediterranean-type foods. It also gives you about 25% of the RDA of Vitamin C, like a good fruit should. From a Vegetarians in Paradise article:

While other fruits gain sugar as they ripen, the avocado's sugar content decreases as it matures. It contains more protein, potassium, magnesium, folic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, pantothenic acid, vitamin E, and vitamin K per ounce than any other fruit.

It's also supposedly an aphrodisiac..... ;-)

Since a 1 cup-serving has 240 calories, 22 grams of fat, and 10 grams of dietary fiber, that calculates out to be 6 points. And 1 cup is a lot of avocado - you're not likely to get that much in just an order of California rolls or diced up on a salad. As long as you're not inhaling guacamole, you'll probably be eating less than those 6 points most times that you have it as part of a balanced meal.

So my verdict.... is that in moderation, the avocado is definitely a friend. Enjoy!

Quick Weekend Safeway Deals

I made a quick trip to the store this weekend to pick up a few meals.... Here are a few deals I cashed in on:

Fresh Express Caesar Lite bag salad: $3.00, reg price 3.99
Pork chops: on sale by the pound, my 4-pack was $2.97, reg price $3.40
Safeway-brand reduced fat wheat crackers: $1.50, reg price $1.99
Crystal Light lemonade mix: $3.99, reg price $4.99

And the big deal.... Jello Sugar Free Pudding Cup packs are on sale. But I didn't end up buying any. I picked up a pack of the Creamy Caramel (my fave, as you know) and put it in my basket. But as I turned to walk away, it slipped out of the basket onto the floor. One of the little pudding cups busted open and SPLAT there was caramel pudding all over the floor. Zoinks! So I had to go find someone to mop it up and take away the busted pack. At this point, I was annoyed at the pudding and just walked away. I'll have to get some next week.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Fresh and Delicious

After weeks of deli-sandwich eating, I finally made my way back to Au Bon Pain today for a yummy, healthy lunch. I tried their newest salad, the Sonoma Salad, and it was scrum-dilly-icious! It was the perfect thing to eat on a hot day. It's a spinach salad, covered with turkey medallions, mandarin orange wedges, tomatoes, cucumbers, bacon, and crumbled gorgonzola cheese. Seriously, I think I'm in love. All my favorite toppings PLUS it's on spinach, which I am always a big fan of. Combine this salad with the fat-free raspberry vinaigrette dressing, and you'll be in heaven. The bacon and cheese are tart, smokier flavors, but combine that with the dressing and the orange wedges -- ah, a perfect marriage in a salad bowl. :-)

The cheese and the bacon do add up, though.... at 537 calories, with 32 grams of fat and 5 grams of fiber, it makes for a 13 point salad. Yikes! But I guarantee you those are 13 healthier, and *much* more satisfying points than the usual ham and swiss sandwich. It's worth it!

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Breakfast Treat

Since I bought groceries at Whole Foods last week, I've been enjoying one of my absolute favorite breakfast treats for the past few days: Hans' All Natural Chicken Sausage, the Fresh Apple Flavor. This light sausage is flavored with cinammon and is filled with chunks of REAL apple. Yummy-licious! And when I cook it (I do the quick route via the microwave) it makes my apartment smell fantastic, with a hearty, cinnamon smell that lasts for hours.

I first tried chicken-apple sausage when I moved to DC back in 2002 and discovered it on the breakfast menu at Teaism. It was love at first bite, and then I was thrilled to start finding it in the grocery store so I can make it at home. I have tried other brands that are available at Safeway and elsewhere, but the Hans' is really the tastiest.

At 140 calories per sausage, with 7g of fat and 1g of fiber, this makes for a tasty, filling 3 point breakfast!

Back on the Scale

Hello readers, whomever is still out there.... ;-)

I have been pretty lax lately, as you all probably could guess. But I stepped on the scale this morning and was pleased to see that even with all my food-delivery and baseball game hot dogs and the like, I've only gained 1 pound! That's not so bad. So I've gained back 4 pounds total from the 12 I lost earlier this year.... which I can live with and find no need to dissolve into some spiral of guilt or shame.

I'm going to attempt getting back on plan this week -- or at least tracking what I'm eating again. So stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Step in the Right Direction

I bought groceries tonight! Hooray! Now I know, normally, in most people's lives that is not a big deal. But considering I haven't bought groceries in about 2 weeks and I've been living on canned soup and delivered bad food for the last 5 days or so, this is a biggie.

I went to Whole Foods after work and shopped to my heart's content. I didn't focus on diet foods, I just went for things that I really like and will WANT to eat. So I have more options for lunches and dinners, without always feeling like I have to order or go get takeout for every meal.

So tonight for dinner I had an awesome prepared chicken quesadilla from their deli section and my favorite seafood gumbo. Oh, I could go to Whole Foods every week just for that seafood gumbo. But since the wallet can't handle it, I'll stick to maybe once a month.

I have good things to get me through the next few days, and I hope to get back to Safeway on Sunday to stock up on WW-friendly food again. Bring it on!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Being Sick + No Groceries = Bad

Remember how my grand plan for the weekend was to rent a car and go buy a buttload of groceries, thus stocking up my kitchen with wonderful, Weight Watcher-friendly goodness?

Yeah, not so much. Instead my Friday night bbq at a friend's house (which included brisket AND homemade deelish potato salad) and the several hours of sitting outside aggravated something, and by Saturday morning I woke up in the throes of another allergy-sinus-gross-painful-icky thing. So I promptly cancelled my car reservation (the people of DC and Montgomery County were safer this way, trust me) and crawled into my brand new bed.

But, there were almost no groceries in the house. For 2 days in a row, I just ate saltines for breakfast. I was craving salt in my sickliness.

But when it came to real meals? Well, unfortunately, the process went sort of like this:

Thought: I'm hungry.
Thought: There's nothing here.
Thought: I'm too sick to go outside and buy groceries.
Thought: I haven't showered in 2 days and don't want to leave the apartment even to go downstairs to the store.
Action: Find nearest delivery menu.
Action: Pick up phone and dial.
Action: Rattle off credit card number as if it means nothing.
Action: Answer door, proceed to eat (Chinese food OR Pizza OR Sub) until you feel grossly full
Action: Fall into bed and sleep for several more hours.

Um, yeah, not so good. And I still probably won't buy groceries for days.... lots of work events this week!

Friday, June 09, 2006

More Taste Testing

I've tried two more new frozen entrees this week....

Today, I'm having the Lean Cuisine Glazed Turkey Tenderloins. It includes about 4-5 chunks of turkey in a gravy with "stuffing" (aka soggy croutons), celery, and cranberries, and a side of mashed sweet potatoes. The turkey side of the tray is pretty standard, but I can tell you those mashed potatoes are DEELISH. Mmm, yummy sweet potato goodness. This meal is 5 points total, and I give it 1 1/2 thumbs up. I'll be buying it again.

Earlier this week, I had one of the Lean Cuisine "Spa Classics" meals - Salmon with Basil. It includes several big chunks of salmon on top of an orzo pasta with spinach and carrots in a basil sauce. Salmon has never been my favorite fish, and it's still not. But it came out okay for being frozen and then microwaved. The pasta/veggie combo is decent, and that basil sauce is pretty strong. Plan on some breath mints after you eat this. I give it one thumb up -- maybe I'll buy it again when I'm in a rut, but I'm not going to add it in to the regular routine.

That's all for now..... happy diet eating!