Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I Survived Mine Field Tuesday!

Today was a rough day plan-wise. As you all know, I had the working breakfast dilemma. In case you didn't see my comment update below -- I ended up going with a berry parfait and a side of whole wheat toast. Since it was a meeting and I had to do a lot of talking, I actually didn't eat much. Only 1 piece of buttered toast and about 1 cup of the parfait. I figured 7 points total for breakfast -- granola is way high in points!

Since I didn't eat much for breakfast, I was hungry and ate a sort of big but healthy lunch at Au Bon Pain. That 5 point Asian Chicken Salad is becoming a staple, plus a tomato soup and a breadstick. It's both a blessing and a curse that Au Bon Pain takes debit cards!

A friend of mine emailed me mid-afternoon to see if I felt playing hooky, which I did. We intended to go hit a museum but our timing was off, so we ended up at a Cosi drinking hot cider. There're some beverage points I hadn't counted on. But it was so cold in that wind that the cider hit the spot.

I rounded up the day with the aforementioned dinner plans with the BFF gang. After a lot of discussion where none of us were really feeling any of the dinner options, we ended up at an old standby, Gordon Biersch. I went for the same combo I had last week - a glass of wine and the Hawaiian Chicken. The key is to not eat very much of that heavy but tasty jasmine rice.

So, I did eat a lot of food today, but I think I'm fairly accurate on counting myself at 5.5 points over. Once again, that's what Flex Points are for!

Thanks, everyone, for all of your breakfast suggestions! I'm certainly not a regular at a fancy-shmance place like the Hay-Adams, so hopefully I won't have that dilemma again for a while!

Monday, January 30, 2006

And That's Why...

I don't keep cereal in the house.... After a day of staring at me, the Safeway brand honey nut Cheerios just beat me to the punch. Safeway was out of milk last night so I didn't get to eat them for breakfast, but once I had the idea of them in my head I had to have them. So I just ran down to the convenience store in the basement and spent $1.79 on ff milk and had myself a bowl of those toasty little o's. I had already hit almost my entire point total for the day, but I needed that little splurge. It made me about 4 points over, but that's what Flexies are for.

Tuesday's Challenge

So I have an unusual challenge tomorrow morning... a breakfast meeting. I've gotten pretty good at the whole working lunch thing, but breakfast is another story. I usually use about 2-5 points on breakfast, tops. So if I have a big breakfast it could throw off my whole day, including my dinner plans which will be at a restaurant, as well.

Breakfast is at the Hay-Adams (yes, fancy), and here's the menu. It looks like I'll need to stick to that first section of fruits and yogurt. Although a goat cheese, tomato and basil omelet sounds freakin' fantastic. Made with egg beaters? Maybe.....

That's One Way to Get More Dairy

Starbucks Tall Non-Fat Chai Latte = 3.5 points. Bummer on having to spend any points on a non-alcoholic beverage, but this was my first Starbucks since December and I *so* needed it!

Keeps on Tickin'!

I lost another 2 pounds to Ditech! (Well, not to Ditech, but I'm watching CNN and it's inevitable that I'll see that commercial at least twice!)

Hooray! Perhaps it will be next week that I hit the 10-pound mark?!?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Dieting on Sale...

The highlights from this week's quick trip to Safeway:

South Beach Bars - $2.50/box of 6, usual price $3.49
Nabisco 100 Calorie Pak, Chips Ahoy - $2.50, reg price $2.99
Yoplait Nouriche Light Smoothies - $1.66, reg price $1.99
Lucerne Light Yogurt Smoothies - $1.25, reg price $1.69
Butterball Turkey Kielbasa - $3.00, reg price $3.99 (Lady B, this is my favorite brand)

I have to say, though, that Sunday night is not a good time to go to the Columbia Road Safeway. Everything is very picked over (there was no fat-free milk on the shelves) and the lines are v.v. long.

Something I Need to Work On

I'm feeling pretty good about how I've adapted to the WW plan at this point. Those hunger pangs from the first week have gone away, and that's always the hardest adjustment. I'm paying a lot more attention to what I'm eating and I am taking the time to really plan my meals ahead of time. I've even learned a new trick this time around - the whole pre-eating before going out by keeping a few spare Lean Cuisine/Smart Ones in the freezer at work. I never did that the previous times I was on WW, but I'm also a lot busier now with more night-time commitments than I ever had before.

But, there is one area where I need to do a better job of sticking to the plan. WW wants you to make sure you're still getting balanced nutrition, even as you're eating a lot less. They have strong suggestions on what you need to make sure you're getting every day - and the online Points Tracker even has little icons for each of these that you're supposed to tick off as you're eating meals throughout the day.

According to WW, you need 3 servings of dairy, 6 servings of water, and 6 servings of fruits/veggies every single day. I'm pretty good about the water, but I do need to work on making sure that I get in my dairy and fruit/veggies on a daily basis. I'm finding that I do still consume protein and starch pretty darn regularly, so I have to find ways to work more balance into the diet.

Most days, I do start out with a breakfast of non-fat yogurt, but I need to figure out how to keep getting 2 more servings of dairy every day. Even though it adds points, it's good to get a slice of cheese on a sandwich or to sprinkle some atop whatever salad or soup you're eating. Fat-free or reduced-fat shredded cheese is a good staple to keep in the fridge - I need to be better about tossing some into my egg beaters or in other meals. I'm not a regular milk drinker and I HATE cottage cheese, so I've just got to keep trying new low-point ways to use cheese in my diet.

And the fruits and veggies? Well, that seems to be a challenge for a lot of people I know, who tend to have a lot of meals out and aren't home cooking all the time. Thank goodness for Au Bon Pain soups and salads and for those Green Giant frozen veggies. I just have to force myself to eat more of the good stuff every day.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Adventures in Chain Eating

After a marathon night out last night - in which I stayed OP by pre-eating a 5 point Smart Ones meal and only having 3 beers plus a bit of hummus over the whole 6 hours at the bar - I was really exhausted and a bit hungover today. I didn't eat much all day, so I was pretty hungry and had the points available to go along with it by the time dinner came around.

AS and I met up at my place then walked the 20 minutes or so down to Dupont Circle. For the 2nd time this month, I was *foiled* by a favorite restaurant being under renovation (first Cafe Asia, now Luna Grill) so we had to improvise on our choice for dinner.

We ended up at Bertucci's. It's not a favorite normally, but it was close by and fit the budget for the evening, and I knew I could get a big salad. I ended up getting a cup of minestrone soup (with romano cheese sprinkled on top) and then their grilled chicken spinach salad. I did eat a roll with the oil dipping sauce, too, cuz I was starving. Their menu does not have many diet-friendly choices AT ALL, but sometimes that makes it a lot easier to just pick something that looks like it's the best option.

When it came time to tally up the points, I was also foiled by an apparent lack of availability of Bertucci's nutrition info. It wasn't available on Dotti's or other diet web sites, either. So, I estimated. I came up with 19.5 points for dinner. That's pretty hefty, but I still was able to stay OP for the day because I'd eaten so little earlier on and because I earned 2 Activity Points in the walking.

Still truckin' along....!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Kinda Splurge-y

I had a working lunch today that I (oops) almost completely forgot about, but luckily a coworker of mine grabbed me as I was otherwise on my way out the door to have lunch with a friend. So all was not lost and we went to Ten Penh to meet as scheduled. Now, Ten Penh is home to one of my absolutely favorite dishes in the city: Red Thai Curry Shrimp. MMMMMMMM. I decided that since it was a special occasion I could allow myself to order it. I actually didn't do too badly. Since I was talking for a lot of the lunch - really, just a business meeting with food in front of us - I only ate the shrimp, the pineapple, and about 1/4 cup of the rice. There was a whole lot of rice left on that plate.

I came back and did an approximate calculation of the points. Both shrimp and pineapple are extremely low in points (8 large shrimp = 1.5 points. BOSS.) so the real damage was in the curry sauce itself. I gave a fair calculation that I actually ate about 1/3 cup of the sauce itself, which is 6.5 points. A 1/2 cup is 10 points. Yowza. All told, I'm giving this lunch 10 points. That's a lot for the small amount of food that I ate, but it was so worth every deeeeelicious bite.


Here's my NSV for the day.....for 2 days in a row now, the very same pants that were uncomfortably snug back over the holidays are now fitting much looser. I'm even having a little challenge today in that my badge is kinda pulling down on my loose waistband. Hooray!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Love it When That Happens!

(First, an aside... what the heck is up with Blogger tonight? Some temporary outage that was supposed to be 4 hours ago, even PST, and it's still buggin'????)

Anyway... I thought I had gone way over my points today. It was a very busy day, and I knew that I was going to have some temptations. I was leading my first-ever staff retreat all afternoon (it went very well, thanks for asking :-) and I knew that I had to bring some treats to get my staff through the 3-hour meeting. Then I was meeting a friend for dinner.

I planned for this rocky day with a small 4 pt breakfast and I really skimped on lunch, eating only a 5 point Lean Cuisine. The chicken caesar bowl thingy is actually pretty tasty and filling. Then, I got a mix of treats for the meeting - something for every taste, as available at CVS: a package of Chewy Chips Ahoy, a can of salted cashews, and 2 packages of sugar-free chocolate candy. The sugar-free stuff was for me, so I would feel better about it. The meeting worked out well, actually, cuz I spent the first 1.5 hours standing up writing on the big notepad on the easel. So I was away from the table when my staff really chowed down on the treats! I did have 3 Chips Ahoy and 2 sugar-free mini peanut butter cups. By the time we got to dinner at Gordon Biersch, I was pretty hungry. But I was also really craving some protein, and I've learned to go with that when my body says so. I picked one of the lighter things on the menu - the Hawaiian chicken. It came out as 2 small grilled chicken cutlets with a side of pineapple and jasmine rice, plus a mixed greens salad. I ate *a lot* - all of the chicken, the salad, and the pineapple, plus a few bites of the rice.

Because I had been so busy all day, I hadn't logged in any of my meals into the Points Tracker since breakfast. So I really had no clue where I was points-wise and thought I was way over. I just got home at 11ish and put it all into the computer... guess what? I didn't do badly at all! In fact, counting everything up, I actually hit exactly on plan for the day! I used one Activity Point, but didn't need to use any Flexies at all! Phew. So the key is really sticking with a small lunch if the rest of the day is gonna be filled with temptations....

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Fancy Lunch Today

I had a working lunch today at one of the nicer restaurants in the neighborhood. It's a place that has sort of fancy nouveau cuisine. I checked out the menu before I went, but there were several new options and I went for those. It worked out pretty well!

First off, I totally dissed the bread basket. No need to spend 4 points or more just to have a little piece of cornbread and some butter. Hooray for willpower! I had the soup du jour, which was this really interesting carrot, fennel and apple soup, topped with a little swirl of pumpkin oil and pumpkin seeds. Delicious! Then I tried their new "chicken salad" - which wasn't a salad like we'd normally think of at Applebees or something. It came out as 4 good-sized chunks of grilled chicken spiced with curry and other Indian flavors, and then in the middle of the plate was a "cucumber-tomato compote" with chick peas covered with arugula. I had asked for the vanilla-cardamom dressing on the side, and it was a small serving of it so that was okay. This was also really delicious, and filling. (This place isn't always very filling, so in the past when I've had work lunches there I've found myself heading to Starbucks afterwards to get something supplemental.)

I'm now back at my desk and tallied everything up. I had to go on some estimates, but I think I was pretty conservative. It came to 9.5 points - not bad! And the food was both interesting and tasty. Well done, me. :-)

Monday, January 23, 2006


Well, tonight I had my first big unplanned splurge. I was doing pretty well all day, even though I was eating slightly bigger meals for breakfast and lunch than I had been. By the time I left work, I only had 5 points left for dinner.

Unlike normal, I had no idea what I was going to be eating. I went to a meeting tonight that included dinner and we weren't told beforehand what the food options would be. It turned out to be a gorgeous spread of food from the Lebanese Taverna. And it smelled great. And I was hungry. So I made myself a big plate of it and had 2 small cups of white wine. Hey, it was a 3 hour meeting! I needed sustenance!

When I got home, though, I was really hungry again. So I broke out a package of the Smart Pop 94% fat-free popcorn. It's worth it to not go to sleep hungry....

Thank goodness for Flex Points. I used 10 of them tonight. Tomorrow's another day!

I *Am* A Loser!

Haha. I just saw someone call someone that on a WW message board as a compliment. You know, as in "You've lost so much weight! You are a loser!" Makes me laugh. I'm a loser, too!


I lost another 2 pounds! Hooray!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Fat Economy

Did you see Michael Rosenwald's WaPo column today, called "Why America Has to be Fat" ? It's about the links between the economy and obesity, and obesity and the economy.... interesting.

Food Gallery

Sometimes I take pics of food I'm making if it looks particularly colorful, so now I present to you some recent dishes....

My Dee-Lish dinner of pasta with fresh spinach and tomato sauce:

My Spanish rice cooking on the stove:

This is a WW trick I heard a long time ago. Take a regular boxed package of Spanish rice, which calls for adding water and one can of tomatoes. Do that, but also add a bunch more stuff to your liking to make it more fiber-rific. I usually add a 2nd can of tomatoes (the kind with green chiles or jalapenos), a can of light red kidney beans, another can of either dark red kidney beans or black beans, and as much as an entire pound of frozen corn. All the beans and veggies lower the overall point value per serving and make the single package of Spanish rice go a lot further. I made this last week and ate it for 5 big satisfying meals. You can figure out the points by sorta calculating a combination of the prepackaged Spanish rice as prepared and the added beans, corn, etc. I usually top it with a little reduced fat cheddar cheese. Yummy!

Zero = Hero

I finally tried that new Coca-Cola Zero this weekend. Wow, it's great! I really love the taste of regular Coke. Does anyone still call it Coca-Cola Classic? I guess I'm dating myself by revealing that I remember the New Coke debacle quite well. But I digress... I love the taste of real Coke, but can't possibly justify the 3 (can) or 5 (20 oz bottle) points to have it. And the combination of sugar and caffeine in real Coke often makes me kinda sick, a little too racy and headache-y. But I really don't like the taste of Diet Coke much at all. I like Diet Cherry Coke, which I drink sometimes, but for my soda fix I usually stick to Diet Sprite Zero. But now that I've tasted Coke Zero, I'm gonna have to work it into my routine! It's delicious, and the caffeine and aspartame combo didn't make me sick. Ah, now if only it didn't stain the teeth....

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Predicting a Splurge

I plan to use a bunch of Flex Points tonight. As I mentioned earlier, I'm spending the night with friends and we're making a big dinner. While I will be having the lower-point version of the dinner, I know there will be plenty of wine consumption. And if there's the option of a small dessert, I may go for that, too.

I've already started the day with a big breakfast. It wasn't actually breakfast food, though - I ate the leftovers from my lean turkey Hamburger Helper dinner from last night. So a whole bunch of points are already gone. I'll reverse my usual and have a light lunch, and I'll be doing about a mile of walking to get myself to the Metro. That's only about 1 Activity Point, but I'll take it.

I'll report later on how big the splurge is -- but as we all know by now, the key to WW success is planning, planning, planning!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Dancing with the Stars

I admit I'm totally addicted to this show, and even chose to stay home on a Friday night and decline an invite in order to watch it... but I do want to give props to the show for its casting. I'm really glad that they include a fairly diverse set of celebrity "contestants" as far ast body type goes. Sure, Lisa Rinna, Stacy what's-her-name and Giselle Fernandez are in ridiculously good shape. But I love that they had both Tatum O'Neal and new mom Tia Carrerre. These are two very attractive women who happen to have hips, and thighs, and even a bit of a belly. These women are out there dancing in fabulous outfits, showing off their bodies and the way they can move, and they are unabashedly sexy. And I really give the show credit for helping to show how women who are bigger than a size 2 CAN be sensual, sexy, and really comfortable in their own skin.

In case you're wondering -- I'm totally rooting for Drew. May he become the more famous Lachey! He's just so cute and enthusiastic, and he really is a great dancer.

Hooray for Supportive Friends!

Just a little shout out....not only have all of you bloggie friends been wonderful supporters of my WW project, but the people I see on a regular basis have been really great, too. Of course, my work week lunch buddies have nicely come along with me to Au Bon Pain many times (thank goodness for their wide variety of choices).

But today, a good friend of mine was so sweet. I am planning on spending Saturday to Sunday with friends who live up in Gaithersburg, and when we do these weekend visits we usually go all out with cooking big meals and drinking lots of wine. One of our favorite things in the past was the giant stuffed pork chop that she gets at the Amish market up in Germantown (I think) - it's huge, and stuffed with bread and cheese and rich, fat, goodness. So she called today as she was doing her shopping and said "This is what we were planning on getting...but what do you want to eat? Do you want us to get you something different and healthier?" And we talked about options and decided that I would eat a plain pork chop, and she's gonna get a bunch of extra veggies and light sides to make for me while they eat the usual high-pointy stuff. Hooray! That was so sweet of her to think about me and ask before making their plans.

As y'all know, any kind of major effort like this is easiest when you've got your own network of cheerleaders -- so thanks, y'all, for being so encouraging and - as the case may be - for making special shopping trips for me! :-)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Au Bon Choice

I had another good lunch at Au Bon Pain today... I think I'm accepting that place as a key to my weight loss plan. After several days of making due with soups that I didn't think were all that exciting (what, a week and no tomato florentine? come on, people!) I decided to go the full-size salad route. I tried one of their new ones - the steak salad with mandarin oranges and cranberries. Although mine didn't have cranberries on it, and it had a tiny bit of crumbled bleu cheese. They recommended the balsamic vinaigrette with it, but I went with my favorite - the lite olive oil vinaigrette. It was super-tasty! The steak was really good, and it was a decent-size portion (about 5 strips), and the mandarin oranges made for a really nice, refreshing taste. And my favorite dressing was pretty darn good on it, so I'll stick with that.

I just calculated the points using Au Bon Pain's nutrition info and it was really good! The salad itself was only 6 points, plus 4 for the dressing. Wow, dressing really is a lot if you're honest about how much you actually use. (Sometimes I've been known to cheat and just say "ah, 2 points!" when it really should be more.) But that was a very tasty, fresh, filling lunch selection for 10 points. I also had a bag of regular Sun Chips, which made for another 3 points. And I brought back some pineapple to eat as a snack later.

The real key, I've found, is that I have to have small breakfasts - 5 points or less - in order to make sure I can have a satisfying lunch. Cuz I really do need something tasty and filling in the middle of the day to keep me awake and motivated!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Biggest Loser - Couples

Tonight they aired the episode with the 2 engaged couples trying to win a dream wedding. I am amazed at watching the transformation in these contestants - by doing just a one hour episode, you see the whole six-month projecss in just 60 minutes. It's really astounding. The couples tonight did so well - everyone lost 50 pounds or more.

It does make me a little annoyed to see how freakin' skinny the men get - they go from having really big bellies to being just cut with ripped arms and all. It really is different losing weight for men. The women look great too, but they're definitely still curvy.

The thing I liked about this episode is that they picked 2 couples that were overweight but still attractive. Once they had lost all the weight, they were so young and good-looking, you had to root for them. Who wouldn't want to win a dream wedding???

Next week they're back to doing a special family episode, and they picked 2 families that both own restaurants. Oooh, a challenge.

They are pumping their new online weight loss club - I may check it out in the future to see what advice they've got. As long as I don't have to deal with Jillian...

My Dee-Lish Dinner

I made myself a really big dinner tonight, and I had planned on doing so all day so I spent hours looking forward to it. And, wow, it did not disappoint. It was simple, really, just a fresher version of the spinach & tomato pasta that I described earlier. But instead of using canned stuff, tonight I actually used fresh spinach and some tomato basil pasta sauce. I wilted an entire pound of fresh baby leaf spinach in some garlic and olive oil, then stirred in the tomato basil sauce, and served it over angel hair pasta. Like I said, simple. But fantastic! Wow, fresh spinach is just so darn tasty.

Actually, this meal was a very close approximation to the taste of Cafe Luna's pasta with spinach and tomato sauce. I guess it's all about the fresh ingredients!

I knew it would be a pretty saucy concoction, so I also made 2 pieces of whole wheat garlic bread to eat with it and sop up all the liquid. Mmmmm, even more yumminess.

I counted up all the points for this dish. That's a new thing for me, really, since I used to kinda cheat and think "oh, pasta and veggie sauce? that's gotta be zero points." Well, not so much. But this HUGE meal, both healthy and delicious, came to a total of 13.5 points. That's a lot, but I had planned it. I used up 5 Flex Points for the day, but as you all know I'm trying to eat more of those this week and see how it makes a difference at weigh-in.

A Slight Hiccup

I was kinda bad yesterday, but I have recovered and am making up for it. Around late morning I started to feel pretty icky with a bad tummyache, so I went home for the rest of the day. As soon as I got home, I grabbed the first thing in sight - a bag of Lime Tostitos - and chowed down. It did sort of work to settle my stomach, but didn't look so pretty when I counted up the points. I did count them all, which is a good thing in and of itself, and it totaled something like 16 points. Yikes! On chips?!? But I logged it in and then took it really easy for dinner, only eating a 3 point package of Green Giant veggies and cheese. All told, I only used up 4 Flex Points for the day, which isn't really that bad. But I certainly didn't feel good about doing it. Chips and salsa are by far my favorite snack, and I am usually good about not buying them and having them in the house. Cuz when they're there, this is what happens!

But I salvaged the rest of the day, and now it's a new day. Back to eating the good stuff. With this weather, I'm thinking it might be a soup day....

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Those Damn Cookies!

So the annual onslaught has begun... I got my first hit-up at work for Girl Scout Cookies! Thosee things are so darn tasty. I don't need them, of course, but I do want to support the girls and their parents. I got sort of peer-pressured into ordering 2 boxes: one each of my 2 favorites, Thin Mints and Tag-Alongs. The Girl Scout propaganda said that Tag-Alongs are low-fat and I choose to believe them. So I now have about a month or so to clear out room in my freezer for the 2 boxes. I have found keeping them in the freezer is a good plan, not only to keep them fresh but also to keep them sorta "outta sight, outta mind." They do last - I still have 1/2 a box of Thin Mints from last year. I'll start counting up those points soon....

Monday, January 16, 2006

And Miles to Go Before I Sleep...

I feel great! I did one of my favorite things today - I had plans to meet a friend at the E Street movie theater, and I decided to walk there. From my apartment, Mapquest estimates it's 3 miles, and it's a 60-minute walk from door to door. I fired up the iPod and had a grand old time. It was actually a really nice day out, and all the walking kept me pretty warm.

60 minutes brisk walking = 4 Activity Points! Hooray!

And I am ready to make a bold statement.... Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" is absolutely the best walking song ever. Seriously, the beat of that song is perfectly timed to my stride, and you just can't help but smile and walk with a little attitude.

Happy Happy Joy Joy!

Woohoo! I had a happy weigh-in this morning -- I lost 3 pounds this week! Hooray! So that takes me up to 5 pounds total in the last two weeks. I'm totally psyched. There's something about a round number that makes it really feel like progress, you know?

I kinda knew that I was gonna have a good morning on the scale. You never want to get your hopes up too much, but for the past couple of days I've actually started feeling and seeing a little difference. I haven't felt as puffy as I had over the holidays, so I was hoping to see a correlation on the scale. And I did! :-)

But Weight Watchers did give me a little scolding, saying that 3 pounds was a little too much to lose in one week. They really want you to stick to a max of 2 pounds lost in a week, because they don't want people to have too rapid a weight loss. Losing weight too quickly is often a sign that it's not going to be sustainable, cuz it's too dramatic a change. The advice they gave me today was to make sure I use all of my Flex Points this week so I can have a more gradual weight loss. Can do.

I actually think I'm ready to start exercising more, anyway. My body feels like it's adapted pretty well to being on the diet - those hunger pangs of the first week have mostly gone away, which I knew they would. So I'm gonna start slow and plan to hit the gym a few times this week, and make sure that I'm upping my points intake in a smart way, so hopefully I won't have that dizzy thing start up.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

My New Look

My regular readers have probably already noticed.... the big font-orange header look of this blog has changed. It's lighter, leaner, slimmer... I wish I could say that was an intentional change. But, no, I was goofing around with some of the html code trying to get fancy and I screwed it up. So I reset the whole darn thing by choosing a new template, then fixed the html stuff. You know how they always say that knowing a little is more dangerous than knowing nothing? Yep, here's your proof. :-)

Oh, My Darlin'

Safeway had clementines on sale! Mmmmm...I picked up a whole box. But somehow I got one that had a butt-load of seeds in it. I've never had seeds in a clementine before, but this one piece of fruit had - seriously - 17 seeds in it. There were 2-3 seeds in each wedge, which was starting to get kind of gross. I hope that none of the rest of them have seeds like that.

I also took advantage of the Lean Pockets sale. That darn pepperoni pizza Lean Pocket is delicious. And only 6 points!

I've been really good with points today, so I now have enough left for some microwave popcorn when I'm watching my favorite night of tv. And maybe even a pudding cup or a WW cookie dough sundae! Ah, the choices....

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Weekend Plan

I'm taking it pretty easy this weekend, which I'm excited about. I tend to be really busy during the week, so I like having quiet weekends. Here's the general plan...

Saturday (today):
Um, do NOTHING all day except watch bad cable and play with my iPod. I'm conserving points to use when I go out tonight. Friends and I are going to my curent favorite restaurant, and while I will play it safe with a really tasty entree salad, I'm damn well going to use some Flex Points on a little mini-burger as an appetizer. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

I'm expecting a lazy Sunday (but no Chronic-what?-les of Narnia), and tomorrow will probably also be my grocery day. Since I'm spending the whole day on my own, I imagine I will be blogging. ;-)

As long as the weather is okay, I plan to go for a long walk and then meet a friend for a movie. We're not doing a meal, maybe just coffee, so I'll be able to be good about my points. But maybe I'll treat myself by going downtown early and getting a nice soup/salad lunch. There is an Au Bon Pain very close to the movie theater. I'll keep you posted. And then there will be popcorn Monday night, for it's my 2nd-favorite awards show of the year, the Golden Globes! I've got the 94% fat-free box at the ready....

Friday, January 13, 2006

Take a Chance On Me

That's what the wide variety of foods at Au Bon Pain were singing to me as I explored my lunch options.....

I ventured out today without checking Dotti's site first for point-friendly lunch ideas. Sometimes that can be dangerous. But today it worked out really well!!!

I chose:
- a small size of the Pasta E Fagioli soup
- one of their new items, the small container of Asian Chicken Salad
- a breadstick
- a diet Pepsi

I consumed them all happily (well, only 1/2 the breadstick) and was a little worried that when I got back to the computer to tally it all up, that it would turn out to be a high-point disaster. But guess what? It didn't!!!

I was pleasantly shocked to see that Dotti gives the 8 oz serving of Pasta E Fagioli only 2.5 points. Hot damn, I was off to a good start! Since I ate half the breadstick, I gave myself 2 points for that as a pretty standard bread-item total. I had to do some searching for info on the Asian Chicken Salad. It's a new item, so it's not on Dotti's site yet. With some help from folks on the WW message boards, I got to the nutrition info on the Au Bon Pain web site. Turns out that little dish of chicken-fruit-and-mayonnaise was only 5 points! So I had a very filling and flavorful lunch - with lots of protein, some good beans, and a nice amount of fruits and veggies - for only 9.5 points. This so could've gone another way, but I'm glad it didn't. Hooray!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I'm Growing Gills

I'm now on Day 11 of Weight Watchers and I have had seared or raw tuna about 6 times. I love tuna, don't get me wrong, but even I am getting a little tired of it. I've had Teaism's tuna bento box (several times), sushi, ahi tuna salad, and a seared tuna appetizer. It's usually a pretty good option at restaurants, and tends to be lower in points than most of the other choices. And it's a great source of protein, which is often harder to find when you're counting points or calories. I don't even want to think about the mercury thing... I'm glad that tuna's out there in the world for me, but I think I need a little break. Maybe it's time to choose salmon?

Professional Eating

No, this isn't about the people who rake in cash prizes for eating lots of pie or chicken wings.... ;-)

I have a career that is based largely on relationships. That includes relationships with very high-profile donors, with Board members, with community partners, and with my own colleagues. And, of course, one of the best ways to keep these relationships strong is to grow them on a personal or social level, which can often happen with a meal out or drinks after work.

I have "professional" social outings quite often, and I had two of them today. I had lunch with two colleagues after we took a work-related field trip, and we ended up at the Cap City Brewing near Union Station. I chose the seared tuna salad, which was a pretty good choice for staying on plan. After lunch, I was in meetings straight through until it was time to go meet a contact for a quick drink. I had originally planned to use my frozen dinner-before-going-out trick, but my meetings lasted so long that I didn't get a chance to cook my Smart Ones meal before it was time to go. But I decided when we sat down that I was just going to order a glass of wine and skip any appetizer. It was hard to watch my companions devour some mini burgers and chips, but I just kept sipping my wine. Hooray for staying strong! Hooray for learning that even a single glass of wine on very few calories during the day can make you plenty tipsy!

My tips for avoiding a disaster on these work outings:
- Check the menu before you go and start making the decision about what you'll order before even setting foot in the restaurant.
- Try to eat something small and sensible beforehand so you're not starving when you get there -- it's much easier to make a good decision when you're not feeling those hunger pangs.
- When confronted with a lengthy or unfamiliar menu, only look at sections that you know will have good choices. I tend to only look at the appetizer/small plate, side order, and salad/soup sections these days. By not reading over the full entree section, you won't be tempted by that bbq chicken pizza or a creamy pasta sauce. If you don't see it, you won't want it! ;-)

So those are my tips on work meals when you have the option of ordering. Sometime soon I'll post about what I try do at catered events, with all those fatty finger foods. I've got several coming up in early February!

A Tasty Find

My Mom has gotten me totally hooked on the South Beach Diet Peanut Butter-flavored High Protein Cereal Bar. It's amazingly tasty and filling. It works out to be 3 points in WW, and according to its own South Beach lingo it has 10g of protein and lots of good vitamins and minerals, including 10% of the RDA for iron. If you like peanut butter, this is worth checking out.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Applebee's Revisited

Have you all seen the new Applebee's commercials? Apparently they have revised their menu and now offer several Weight Watchers-friendly items. The dishes look pretty good, and it would be fairly revolutionary to go to a restaurant and be able to know and trust in the Points-value of what you're ordering. I usually scorn Applebee's and its brethren, since I'm usually not into big chains, and it all just reminds of me of when I lived in Richmond and there were no other options. But, I admit it, this kind of makes me want to check them out again. I know, I'm just proof that their new marketing campaign is working.... but, heck, maybe I won't scoff the next time I pass by one of their restaurants. Although, I don't even know where there are any in the DC area.

Using Up Those Points

Note: Blogger was on crack last night and I couldn't publish this or the next post, so that's why it sounds like an end-of-the-night post first thing in the morning...

Last week, I was sticking really close to my daily allowance of points and used very few of my 35 extra Flex Points. As you know, I was *very* hungry for several days. This week, I've been using some of those points to get me through days with a little more in the schedule.

Tuesday was another 2-meals-out day. I met JJ for lunch at Gordon Biersch, and I had a gift certificate so our lunch was free. That meant we were a little more liberal about ordering... They have a pretty decent selection of salads, but I've had a lot of entree salads and a whole lot of raw tuna lately, so I wanted something a little different. I went for the 1/2 turkey sandwich and salad combo. The sandwich was a little boring, but it was probably the most substantive thing I've eaten in days. I added it up and gave it 10 points, to be on the safe side. It came with a nice mixed greens salad. JJ and I then debated whether she should order dessert, since it would be free... and we landed on the "if you order something, I will" deal. So I asked my favorite server (yep, I'm a regular there) what the options were and I ordered just a simple scoop of vanilla ice cream. Of course, it ended up being a dish with about 3 scoops, but I was SO GOOD. I really only had about 4 litt! le teaspoons-full... I checked the WW online listings and gave that 3 points. Not so bad for a little induglence. And honestly, the full-fat vanilla ice cream tasted so rich - kinda too rich - that after just a few bites I was ready to be done with it. That was a big lunch, but it still fit in with what I was doing for the whole day.

My friend C and I were planning to go to a gallery opening tonight, and I knew there would be wine and some not-so-point-friendly munchies there. We decided to go to Teaism first for a healthy dinner, and that was the right move. I wanted to make sure I was NOT HUNGRY when I went to the opening, cuz I didn't want to be tempted by all the cheeses, dips, and spreads. I got a bowl of miso soup and the shrimp spring rolls plus a big mug of tea. The miso soup was a much bigger portion than last night at the sushi place, so that cut into my points a bit. But I ended up using 7 points at Teaism. When we got to the gallery, I allowed myself 1 glass of chardonnay (2 points) and totally skipped the munchies table. Score! I knew I would be hungry when I got home, though, cuz that Teaism stuff wasn't super-filling. So I broke out the reduced fat wheat thins and a little hummus, and fully allowed myself to use up some of my allowed Flex Points to finish out the day. I used 5 of them total, after I used I think 3 yesterday. But that's fine - I'm spending the next few nights in and will have more low-point choices in my own kitchen.

There's a reason we're given these Flex Points - it's to use them! So even though I ate more food in the last 2 days, I'm still totally on plan. Hooray for WW!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Disclaimer: This post falls into the "blogging as therapy" category. And I'm seriously still debating whether or not I will actually hit publish at the end of this. You'll find out. But, consider yourself given a heads up that this isn't a fun one.

As I mentioned on my first post on this blog, I've been overweight all of my life. What has come with that is the fact that I have been the victim of some pretty cruel comments for as long as I can remember. They've come from strangers, from classmates, from those who are supposed to care about me... And I know that these comments, these horrible things that people have said, have stuck with me forever. And when I'm really feeling down, these are the voices that are loudest in my head.

I joke sometimes about my lack of success with men and I often call myself "undateable" in a self-deprecating but jovial way.... but the truth is, that's the way I really feel. I've gotten so much negative feedback in my life about how I look, and I really can't think of any positive feedback I've ever received from men. Sure, my gal pals are great about telling me when I look cute, or when an outfit is really looking good on me, but I've never heard it from a man. Ever. This is me, the girl who's never been asked out. So the random, cruel comments plus my 30 years of zero positive physical attention from men have added up to me being just a basket case when it comes to my own self-esteem and self-image. I may be the totally confident Miss Independent type in my career and activities and stuff, but in this particular area of my life, I'm terrified.

In the hopes that holding these cruelties up to the light will make them less scary, and less powerful, I thought I'd give you a vivid history, the full tour, of my own demons. And let me say at the outset, I'm not looking for a pity party here. Sympathy is appreciated, but I'd rather have solidarity. And offers of beating people up would be welcome, as well. I know my story is not unique, that unfortunately lots of people experience this. I've never shared these stories with anyone. So blog world....Buckle up, here we go:

  • In fifth grade, this stupid kid Larry decided to tell everyone - both in front of me and behind my back for months - that the reason I was so fat was because I was pregnant. This is the first time I remember coming home from school crying.
  • High school was filled with mean girls just randomly walking by my locker and saying "Lose some weight, fatso!" kind of comments, all the time.
  • In college (this one is hard), my whole floor of freshman girls went to my roommate's house for dinner, and her mom took a big group picture of us. I was in the front of the picture so you could see me clearly. Sometime later that semester, I was in the group bathroom but could hear these loud drunk guys in one of the girls' rooms (whom I thought had been my friends). They were obviously looking at pictures, and I heard them say "Wow, look at Stefanie, she's so fat!" That hurt, but I tried to put it out of my mind. The next day, a girl I knew in my anthropology class came to me at the end of class and said "Why is there a picture of you up in the dorm?" I was confused but terrified, thinking the worst. I ran back to the dorm and looked, and there it was. On the door to our wing of the building, they had taped up a perfect cut-out of me from that picture. There was no caption or anything, just a little me taped to the door that hundreds of people had already walked through. I ripped it down as fast as I could. People asked me about it for days, and I was the only one who knew who had done it and what their conversation had been.
  • My friends and I were out at Denny's one night, just having a good time talking and laughing. An angry girl who'd been sitting at another table got up to leave, and shen she passed by she said "Shut up, fat cow." For no reason.
  • I was out with grad school friends at a cheesy club in Pittsburgh, standing in line for the bathroom. I could hear some of the hair-gelled guys in line across from me going through the whole line of women talking about who they'd *do* - when they got to me, I heard one say "Ugh, the fat one? Never in a million years."
  • Also in Pittsburgh -- I was standing waiting for the bus after work one day, when a guy came up to the group of people and started asking for money. When he got to me, I said "no, sorry" - the usual. And he got very close into my face and said, loudly, "Why are you so fat? You could stop spending money on food for a change."
  • When Mom and I went to San Francisco, we were walking around the city. There was a homeless guy walking towards us, looking the total part of the crazy wacko. He was yammering away at the universe until he got right up close to us, when he turned and said to me as clear as day "Why don't you stop eating and lose some weight?" And then he went back to yammering. The worst part was that my Mom didn't hear him but was curious and she kept asking me "What did he say to you? What did he say?" And there was no way I would go through the indignity of telling her what he actually said.

Okay, so these are all pretty much strangers or acquaintances. Cruel, yes, but not personally so cuz most of them I didn't know or care what they thought. The ones that really hurt are the ones that come from the people who were *supposed* to care about me and not want to see me in pain:

  • About 5 years ago, in what we all now agree was a very angry phase of his life, little bro and I got into a stupid fight on the phone about, of all things, Good Will Hunting. It was just a dumb fight that escalated into sibling rivalry barbs. But after I said some kind of "oh, whatever" comment, he said "shut up, you fat fucking bitch." Oh, that hurt. My bro and I have had our moments of fighting, but as adults for the most part we've been really close. But that one was close to unforgivable. Because of shock, anger, regret, distance, and awkwardness, we didn't talk for a year after he said that. I heard from my Mom all the time about how he was saying he'd done something horrible and felt bad, but didn't know how to apologize because he felt so bad. It ended up just getting swept under the rug the next time we got together for a family holiday, cuz I couldn't NOT speak to him. We're close again, but we've never talked about it since.
  • And then, the current killer... About 2 years ago, the man I was most recently in love with said to me, repeatedly, in several different ways.... "Stef, you're the perfect woman. I would marry you in a heartbeat, but I don't find you physically attractive at all." That threw me off a cliff of sorts, and most days, I'm still falling.
Ugh, that last one. That crushed me. How do you recover from something like that? That's not a rhetorical question. Seriously, how do you recover? I haven't figured it out yet.

I'm gonna publish this, I've decided. What the heck - maybe it'll give others the opportunity to get something off their chest? If you talk about these things, and shine the spotlight on them, maybe they'll keep getting smaller until they just fall away....

Monday, January 09, 2006

I <3 Sushi

I made it through two meals out today and still did pretty well. Lady B, you were right, there's very little choice at Cosi. I had the signature salad with chicken (I counted it as 12 points - yikes!) plus 1/2 a piece of the Cosi bread (another 3 points). Luckily, my dinner date with the girls was much better. Sushi! I ate a huge amount of food - miso soup, California rolls, and 2 pieces each of tuna, shrimp and yellowtail nigiri sushi - for just 9 points. Booyeah!

Sushi is absolutely the best thing to get while dining out on a diet. Next time, though, I want to make sure to go to a place that has my favorite, Tom Yum soup. We went to Sushi Taro tonight, which is a bit on the expensive side and does not have Tom Yum. I like that cheaper, neighborhood place at the Woodley Park metro... hooray for sushi happy hour prices!

It's Been One Week

I had my first weigh-in this morning.... I lost 2 pounds!!! Hooray! I was actually hoping it would be more, but I certainly am pleased to see those 2 pounds are gone.

My new goals for this week are to drink more water and to get in some more physical activity. I'll keep you posted.

For now, here's a quote by Aristotle that the WW site gave me when it congratulated me for losing:

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit."

Sunday, January 08, 2006

My Easy Pasta

So you all know by now that I'm not much of a cook. I would probably experiment more if I had the time and some lessons, but the real problem is that I have a crap-a@@ kitchen with zero counter space. Any dish that requires preparation like chopping or mixing or anything that requires a counter is pretty much out. So if I do cook something myself, I tend to make things that have lots of shortcuts. That's how I ended up making this super-easy pasta dish as one of my regular menu items.

There are three things that I pretty much always have in my pantry and/or freezer: spaghetti, canned tomatoes, and frozen spinach. Every so often, I put them all together. I thaw out the spinach and lightly saute it in some olive oil (or as Ray Ray calls it, EVOO) and minced garlic, then add 1 can of diced tomatoes. Once it cooks down and reduces some of the liquid, I serve it over pasta with a light dusting of the Kraft parmesan cheese stuff.

My lessons on choosing the ingredients:
- I strongly recommend the chopped frozen spinach cuz the cut leaf spinach can be too chunky and doesn't separate as well as a part of the sauce.
- There are lots of varieties of canned tomatoes. If you use one of the kinds that comes with basil, oregano, and garlic, great. If not, you'll definitely want to add in salt, pepper, basil, oregano, etc. to season the sauce and give it more flavor. I used the no-salt added ones today and I actually didn't like it as much, so I'll plan to save those no-salt ones for other recipes that have more flavor built in. I sometimes also add a little tomato basil spaghetti sauce for flavor/texture, but then you'd want to drain off some of the liquid cuz it gets soupy.
- I usually use a long-strand pasta like spaghetti for this dish, but of course it would work with any shape or cut. If you're using whole wheat pasta, I highly recommend the Buonaturae (sp?) brand, which comes in the tan-colored plastic packaging. It's the tastiest I've tried by far.
- Of course, this same thing can be made with all fresh ingredients, which I've done many times. But the beauty of this dish is that it *is* something that can be done when you're running low on groceries and need to use up some of the pantry staples.

Notes on the WW points values:
- The pasta: A 1 cup serving of cooked spaghetti is 4 points. 1 cup of whole wheat pasta is 3 points.
- The tomatoes: A can of plain or no-salt added diced tomatoes is 0 points, but the kind that has the basil, garlic and oregano added in is 1 point per serving. My guess is that this has olive oil added in, which adds calories.
- The spinach: Happy veggie, zero points!
- The olive oil: 1 tsp = 1 point. I also count a little bit extra cuz my minced garlic is in olive oil, too.
- The Kraft Parmesan cheese:- this is roughly 1 tbsp = 1 point

So, this is a really easy, very low-fat recipe that is filling and comes to about 6 - 7 points per meal. Works for me!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Some Great Reward

One of the best tricks I've found to keep myself motivated is to plan rewards for myself for hitting certain milestones. This is a pretty common thing - there are often threads on the WW message boards about what people are doing to give themselves non-food-related treats. It's about taking care of yourself and celebrating your successes, but it's also about training your mind away from thinking that food itself is a reward.

So my first milestone / reward... When I hit one month on plan, I'm going to take a personal day and head to a spa. I think a massage and facial would be a great treat! I officially started this diet on January 2. I have to work on 2/2 with an event that night, so February 3 shall be my official reward day. It's a Friday, so that makes it really fitting. Other WW folks are planning manicures, pedicures, new highlights, or new jeans as their rewards. I think it's fun that we tend to look for physical things that make us look and feel better, which goes along nicely with losing weight!

Now I need to check out spas in the area! It has to be close, Metro-accessible or walking distance, and reasonably priced. I think there's a new place in the 'hood, maybe on Florida Avenue. Does anyone have any recommendations?

Grocery Day

I know that one of the challenges I face sometimes involves groceries. Since I moved into the city and sold my car, my grocery-buying habit has changed. I walk to the store now and that means I have to only buy the amount of stuff I can carry (I have one of those grandma carts but it has a bum wheel, so I only use it for laundry in the building). So I usually get about 4 bags worth of stuff, and that runs out pretty quickly. And, with my irregular schedule, I haven't always made it a priority to go to the grocery store regularly every week. Part of the problem is that I live in a big apt building that has a convenience store in it. So, the trend has been that when I've been low on groceries but haven't had the time or inclination to head out, I just go to the basement. Of course, as a mini-mart it doesn't have the greatest stuff. I can stock up on frozen pizzas, chips and salsa, ice cream, and yogurt down there, but not good dieting groceries.

So, part of my new commitment is a resolution to try to make it to the grocery store every week. That will help me keep buying good things and can help me make sure I always have a good variety of healthy things from which to choose here at home. It's a lifestyle change, right?

Today was grocery day. It's a beautiful day out here in DC, and since I also had to go to the post office I made it a day for errands in the neighborhood. I had the fun of walking around with my new iPod, too.... want to know the exact walking distance from the Kalorama post office to the Columbia Road Safeway? It's equal to 2 full plays of the Scissor Sisters' "Take Your Mama." Wow, that put a smile on my face!

Safeway had some really good pro-dieting sales on today, so I loaded up:
  • Lucerne non-fat yogurt - 5 for $2.25
  • Jello Fat-Free Pudding cups - $2.50 for a six-pack, reg price $3.49 (Velvet, here's your chance!)
  • Egg Beaters - $2.50, reg price $3.19
  • Safeway brand Spanish rice mix - 80 cents (I'll tell you my Spanish rice trick later)
  • Orville Redenbacher 94% fat-free Microwave Popcorn - Buy One Get One Free!!!
  • Plus, Healthy Choice and Lean Cuisine were on sale and majorly picked over!
So now I'm all ready for a good week of healthy eating!

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Office is the Devil

I'm still pumped from avoiding all the tempting food during yesterday's staff meeting, but lo and behold.... there's now a big plate of cookies AND a bag of mini-Snickers bars sitting on top of the file cabinet, which is our usual place for communal treats. Who brought those in?!? I'm determined to be strong and avoid them, but of course they're right at eye level and I walk past them every time I used the front door to our office. Looks like I've got to switch to the back door for today.

So I'm not going to be having the major activity/exercise that I talked about last night. It's just too damn cold and gray outside. I was thinking about leaving work early today to walk home (3 miles, uphill!) but I'll save that for another day.

There will be a challenge this afternoon - my friend's N baby shower. I've scoped it out with my friend who's planning it, and I know there will be cake and various treats. I wanted to make sure I knew the deal before I go out to lunch, so now I know to definitely just get a salad or soup so I can be prepared to have at least a little treat at the shower. And I have a salad at home for dinner tonight, so I can make this one work. Like I said yesterday, I'm okay with using some Flex Points. The beauty of WW is that it does allow for things like friend's baby showers without making you feel like you're a terrible failure. And this, my friends, is why WW is my favorite diet. Cuz they know that every once in a while, you need a piece of cake. :-)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Day 4

Woohoo! I'm still on the diet!

Today was a day with new challenges. I had a full day of work, but then we also had a work meeting that ran from 7 - 9 pm. So I knew I would have to come up with a dinner plan that would still fit in with the points. I also correctly predicted that my boss would want to go out for a drink and appetizers to pre-meet before the meeting. But, with some planning and good decision-making, I made it and stayed on plan! I had a reasonable breakfast and Subway for lunch, thne I brought a Lean Cuisine to eat at about 5:30 to curb any hunger that would make me want to order mini burgers when we went out. It worked! I had a small glass of wine (2 points) and a tiny but filling seared tuna appetizer. I made it through the evening without being too hungry, and then when I came home I had another small snack and I actually feel great about how I rounded out the day.

I did end up using 3 Flex Points. Quick WW overview: You're given your daily allowance of points based on your starting weight, but then you're also given 35 Flex Points to use throughout the week as needed. There are varying schools of thought, but I have mostly heard that those Flex Points are meant to be USED - they enable you to have flexibility throughout the week but still maintain a good level of caloric intake - and you should plan to use them up each week. Well, so far I've been sticking really close to just my point lvel this week. And I've been STARVING. Yesterday was especially bad with the late afternoon and late night hunger pains, so I decided when I woke up this morning that I would be tapping into some of my Flex Points today. Mission accomplished!

I plan on consuming more points tomorrow, too, cuz if all goes as intended (keeping you in suspense) I will hopefully be getting in a lot more activity during the day. I'll let you know tomorrow if I reach that goal!

Oh, and the best part of today??? I sat through an hour and a half staff meeting with a plate of homemade cranberry-pecan bread AND chocolate brownies sitting in front of me, and I didn't have a single bite! :-)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Biggest Loser

I am watching the special 2-hour family edition of The Biggest Loser. I had seen the first season of the show but missed this year's. I didn't know they were doing this family special, but I'm really enjoying it. As much as I can't stand Jillian the trainer, she made a good point. By having families on the show, you can really see how parents and kids, and how husbands and wives, enable each other in their bad habits. And, on the positive side, you can see how powerful the support of loved ones is.

Of couse, because it's reality tv, they picked two families with such emotional stories that you really have to root for them. In one family, the mother had just overcome cancer and they weren't even sure if she was still going to be alive for another year. In the other, they have a son who's off fighting in Iraq who they haven't seen for 2 years, and they want to surprise him by being skinny when he comes home.

At the final weigh-in (is it live?) after 5 months, the families just look fantastic. It's amazing to see how much more confident they all look, especially the teenage daughters. And both of the mothers look 10 years younger, their faces are so much leaner. Okay, here we go, I'm crying. Damn you, kitten-choking reality tv! The blue family lost a total of 144 pounds, or 23.34% of their total body weight. Wow! The red family won, with a total of something like 170 pounds. The red mother herself lost 78 pounds!

Next week, they'll be showing two engaged couples trying to win a dream wedding. I'll probably be tuning in!

Quote for Today

Courtesy of this site:

Changing our diet is something we choose to do, not something we are forced to do. Instead of dreading it, try saying, "Here's another thing I get to do to help myself. Great!"
Greg Anderson

Dining Out

Today at lunch I'm about to face the first challenge -- dining out while dieting. Or, DOWD. (I wonder what Maureen would think of that?!?)

I am a very social person, as you all know, and much of my social life revolves around meeting friends for a meal. So I need to pay special attention to what I do at restaurants. I tend to think the easiest way to dine out while dieting is to stick with the s's: sushi, soup, salad. There are lots of great ways to make a meal involving those items, and most restaurants have great varieties to choose from. If none of the s's are an option, well then it's time to make some smart decisions. And as Lady B mentioned, it's always good to plan ahead and check points before you go eat.

There's a great resource online called Dotti's Weight Loss Zone. It's the website of a woman who's lost a lot of weight and shares her tips with everyone. The real prize of Dotti's site is the restaurant guide, which includes nutritional information and calculated points for menu items at almost all of the major national and regional chains. This site becomes biblical in importance while dieting.

For today, I'm going with a known quantity. My friend and I are meeting at Teaism, and I already know that tuna bento box is pretty darn low-point. So that's my strategy. And for lunchtime in general, I plan to stick to the safest places around my office - Teaism, Au Bon Pain, Cosi. If I find myself at danger-zone places like Austin Grill or Gordon Biersch (which I know I will), I just have to remember the s's.

Do you all have any tips for making good choices while dining out?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

To Gym or Not to Gym

I have decided to wait a little while before starting a regular gym routine. I want to give my body some time to get used to the lower caloric intake.

In the past, when I have gone full force on both the WW diet *and* a regular gym plan, I have actually had pretty strong dizzy spells and feelings of light-headedness. I'm not exactly sure what caused them. They didn't happen while I was exercising, but could surprise me at any time of the day. I went to the doctor at the time and she said it was not dehydration, she just told me to be careful and make sure I was getting enough nutrition and doing things in a smart way.

So, cuz I don't find those dizzy spells to be very fun, I'm going to take the time to get used to the diet. I hope that my body will grow accustomed to having less "fuel" every day and will adjust, then I can start working the exercise in and adjusting my protein and water levels accordingly. I hope that takes care of the problem.

Has anyone else experienced this? Any advice?

Looks Tasty

Ray Ray was just making one of her "healthful" meals. (That makes me cringe every time she says it.) She was going for a low-carb thing, and she made a very tasty looking meal that was shockingly similar to something Scotte made me for dinner once.

Ray Ray's dish was poached grouper, covered with diced tomatoes and basil, with a side dish of "Mediterranean succotash" and a dessert of melon, berries, and fat-free sorbet. It all looked great. I had no idea that's what succotash was, just sauteed veggies and beans. I thought it was something starchy, I don't know why.

When I was on the South Beach Diet, Scotte was his very supportive self and made a low-carb dinner for me once. He made poached tilapia covered with diced tomatoes and ... some spice? The one that's licorice-flavored? Plus he did a side of blanched green beans that were gorgeous. Ray Ray's meal looked a lot like this...which makes me wonder. Was Scotte making a variation of Ray Ray's recipe? Or, is Scotte just that much of a brilliant chef that he could easily have a show of his own?!? I think it's the latter!

I'm glad I caught this episode, cuz it gave me some more good ideas for things to do to increase the variety of what I'm eating on WW. I don't cook elaborate meals, as has been established, but I could see myself doing pared down versions of all three of the things she prepared. The succotash was intriguing. Hello, all vegetables and beans!!!


Aaargh! It's amazing how hungry you can get just sitting at a desk all day. I've been very good and have been eating little things pretty consistently today. But now my Smart Ones lunch is long gone and my 100 calorie pack snack, and I'm still hungry. The afternoon is the worst time for me, cuz that's when my eyes start wandering in search of chips or chocolate. But I have 2 different kinds of actual fruit snacks (not gummy fruit snacks) and my bottle of water. If I really need to, I do have enough points to go get some soup or a small salad, and I wouldn't mind getting out of the building for a spell. I can make it!

Monday, January 02, 2006

One Down

Hooray, I made it through the first day and I'm still on the diet! Trust me, it doesn't always happen that way. I used 26.5 points - only .5 points into the weekly "bonus" allowance. I didn't officially log any exercise (WW gives you extra food points for exercise), but I was fairly active with a big trip walking to the grocery store and 3 loads of laundry. Now I just need to figure out what to bring for lunch tomorrow and I'll call it a day. Onward!

Sign o' the Times

You can definitely tell that it's New Year's resolution time. I've been watching tv off and on all day, and I think I've seen that Cher / Weight Watchers commercial about 37 times. I think it's a great commercial, and the first time I saw it a few months ago I thought it was pretty inspiring. But by now, I'm getting pretty tired of it! But it makes sense that they'd put it into heavy rotation this week, with so many potential new clients out there!

Day 1

Well, here it is, my New Year's resolution. Like every year, I'm resolving to lose weight. But this year I need to take it a little more seriously cuz I am back again at my heaviest weight ever. I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but I gained 20 pounds over the course of the last 6 months. That's pretty bad, so now I have to work hard to reverse that and see what I can do from there. It would be nice to feel a little cuter in my clothes again!

So, as I get started, a little background....

The Diet
I am using Weight Watchers. I have tried several different ways of dieting over the years, but WW is the one that makes the most sense logically to me and it's the one on which I've had the most success. The first time I really worked on dieting I did use WW and lost 42 pounds. Wow, that felt great! I like that you can eat your own food and it really is all about teaching you how to make smart choices that fit within a real person's lifestyle. Other people may be able to do those prepackaged food diets or the ones that involve serious cooking and planning, but that's not for me. I don't go to meetings, but I do use WW Online for my journaling and weight tracking, and I also like using their message boards. I'm going to post this blog on my WW profile, so I hope that I get some visitors from the WW world.

The History
I've been overweight since I was in the first grade. I have all those sad stories of low self-esteem and examples of surprising cruelty from both kids and adults, so y'all know how that can affect your psychology, which also affects success in weight loss. It's something I work on a lot.

I come from a family that has always struggled with weight. We're short but solid Midwestern stock. And my family lived for huge portions. I was amazed over the holidays, actually, to see just *how much* food those family members of mine eat. My dad eatws every meal off a platter! Not a plate, a platter! My brother often goes in for full 2nd helpings of the whole meal. I felt sick after a few days being home cuz I was just eating so much more food than I normally do. (I hope that has something to do with the extreme of today's weigh-in, not reflective of my own normal behavior.)

So I've been a bigger girl my whole life. I never really dieted until I was an adult. There was one year in college when I lost about 15 pounds because my dorm and my main academic building were on the tops of two opposite hills and I did a lot of walking... but then I moved off campus the next year and drove everywhere. The weight came back. In April 2000, I decided to try out Weight Watchers and I did it all on my own. That's when I lost 42 pounds and really learned about what works for me. But, after about 6 months I started to feel like I knew what I was doing and could be a little more lax. The weight slowly but surely has all come back - plus some - since then. I've fitfully stopped and started WW again several times, plus one experiment with the South Beach Diet (hello constipation). I also spent a year as a vegetarian, which ended up being a really bad decision for my weight. I'm not by nature a very domestic person, and I do'nt really experiment with cooking. A year of pasta, chips, DiGiorno 4 Cheese Pizza, french fries and grilled cheese was not good.

The Plan
So, here I am. I need to do this for my health and for my happiness. I have started to worry about my health because it's no secret that I'm getting older. I'm watching my Dad have health problems relating to his weight and I need to do what I can to stave those off for myself.

I will be tracking my daily progress on the WW site, and weighing in before breakfast every Monday morning. I'll share details on those WI's here, and I'll probably be posting about my challenges and successes throughout. I would love to hear words of support and cheerleading cuz that really does help keep me motivated. Largely, it helps me feel accountable. If I'm telling everyone that I'm doing this, well, heck, I better really do it. Whatever works, right?

So, there it is. Wish me luck!