Wednesday, May 31, 2006

An Unintended Slip-Up

Well, partially unintended. As in I only intended to be partially bad but was instead really bad - but not on purpose!

Today had the challenge of one meal at an airport. I was trying to time it out so that my mid-morning departure time could allow for a breakfast at the airport. Since I've gone out of town, I hadn't bought groceries in a while and had very little in the fridge to eat this morning. I went for a granola bar super-early, but by airport time (10:30ish) I was starving.

I made it to the gate area at around 10:45ish (gotta love National on a day when no one else is flying - no lines!!!) and surveyed the choices. There are NO good choices in the USAirways gate area. Both in terms of WW-friendliness and just plain taste. I decided to check out Jerry's Subs, though, to see if I could get a breakfast sandwich. An egg sandwich on a bagel isn't great, but I was willing to allow it as just the usual bad food on travel days.

Dang, I got there too late for breakfast. So I quickly scanned the menu and came up with what I thought was a next-best option.

I ordered a turkey sub. The 8-inch, cuz I knew it would probably be lunch and have to hold me until dinner at the homestead tonight. Then I decided to splurge and order the combo, with a Coke and steak fries. Oops.

I waited while they made my order and the orders of the people in front of me. The woman in front of me had ordered an 8-inch tuna. I looked at my receipt to check my order number, and then noticed that they had rung ME up for an 8-inch tuna. Huh. That's not what I wanted. But I was willing to give the benefit of the doubt because turkey and tuna were listed together as the same price, so I thought maybe they had the same code in the computer. Or something. Trust me, it had been hard communicating with the cashier already.

The woman in front of me got her tuna. I saw the Jerry's Sub person making the next sandwich, and I thought she was putting salami on it. Huh, I thought. That must not be mine. I sorta looked away for a minute to get my drink, and then they called my order. The lady handed me the sandwich and I was a little suspicious. I asked, "What kind of sandwich is this?" And she said "Tuna." Very definitively. Again, it wasn't what I had ordered, but I didn't have time to argue and just figured I'd eat it.

I walked over to find a table and got myself all spread out and finally unwrapped the sandwich. Was it turkey? What I had ordered? No. Was it tuna? What she told me it was? No. What was it? The Italian cold cut trio. Salami, ham, and pepperoni. Damn. Not at ALL what I had ordered and terribly, horribly, non-point friendly.

So what did I do?

I ate it. And damn did it taste good.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Frozen Entree Taste Test

I noticed a few weeks ago that I had gotten myself into a rut, and that the only diet frozen entrees I ever bought were either Italian food, mac 'n cheese, paninis, or pizzas. Even this Upstate New York girl gets tired of tomato sauce every once in a while. So I've been making a point to try new varieties, and it's been kinda fun!

Lean Cuisine Baked Chicken
This is a tasty little meal. If you close your eyes, it almost smells and tastes homemade. There are two little baked chicken tenders in gravy with some cornbread "stuffing" - that comes in that ever-popular soggy crouton form - and little pieces of carrots and celery. There's a side of yummy mashed potatoes. It's only 5 WW points overall. This one gets 2 thumbs up for heartiness, being filling, and actually tasting good.

Lean Cuisine Steak Tips Portobello
This one sounds fancy, but the name is a little more sophisticated than the meal. It includes a few pieces of steak and some chopped mushrooms in a tangy gravy with hints of Burgundy wine. The mushrooms were kind of rubbery, and the sauce tasted just a little off to me. Maybe too tart? There is a side of teeny-tiny broccoli florets with no detectable sauce on them, so they really just end up steamed and very plain tasting. They got kind of soggy. It's only 4 points, and it's very low-carb. I only give it one thumb up, though. It's nice to add a little variety, but it's not in the running to be my favorite.

Smart Ones Beef Pot Roast
This is one of their higher-protein / low-carb entrees. Guess what? It's freakin' DELICIOUS! Even though it looks a little suspect when you cook it, as the gravy has a slight gray tinge to it, this is divine. The pieces of beef are big and chunky, and they melt in your mouth. There's no starch in this one - it's just beef, gravy, and veggies. So it adds up to a whopping 3 points total. A customer review on the web site offered the good idea of adding in some plain egg noodles if you have the points to spare, but it doesn't even really need it. This one reminded me just how much I used to love my dad's pot roast. Maybe I'll have him make it when I go visit this winter??? This entree gets 2 enthusiastic thumbs up.

Friday, May 26, 2006

A Little Slide....

Ah, the last few days have been tough. I am very tempted to fall back into last summer's routine of chips, salsa and happy hour drinks for dinner followed by orange Powerade when I get home. It's such a great summery combination, which I've had for 2 nights in a row now. Ooops.

It actually started to slip my mind this week to be tracking points, so I haven't been. How did that happen? I don't know, you get busy during the day at work then have a whole night plan and even while you're paying attention to what you're eating it never quite makes it into the online journal. And so you're never quite sure of how over you are for the day, or the week.

This weekend is definitely the kickoff to summer, as I have a day of wine tasting planned with a bbq the day after. My plan is to be good for all the meals I'm eating on my own at home - I have lots of Lean Cuisines waiting in the freezer - and then reasonably enjoying myself during my fun plans.

I head out of town next week for a visit to the family... and they know I want to eat more sensibly than in past visits. I hope they don't bring out platter-sized portions again. But Mom has already agreed that I can send her a list of things to get at the grocery store, so I can have some Stef-friendly items in their somewhat hostile Atkins and South Beach home. It seems all they ever have is meat, cheese, ice cream, real eggs, and iceberg lettuce. Eeek!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I Heart Caramel

I've already discussed my new-found love for Jello Sugar-Free Caramel pudding cups (divine!), but I have discovered a new reason to love caramel! Quaker Quakes, a mini rice cake snack, may not sound all that exciting.... but their caramel corn flavor is delicious! These little rice cakes taste like a lighter version of Cracker Jack, and they make for a great snack. One serving is only 1 point - and that means the whole bag only has 7 points. So you can actually get a filling snack for only 2-3 points before wrapping up the bag and putting it away for later! :-)

I haven't tried any of the savory flavors, but for now I'm happy as a clam with my deliciously sweet favorites!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Hooray Hooray Hooray!!!

I lost 1 pound this week! Huzzah! It's been so long since I've seen the scale move in the downward direction... this is a great way to start the week! :-)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Healthy Foods?

WTOP has two features today in its health section about the potential pitfalls of so-called "healthy" foods. Watch out for items that are marketed towards dieters, and be sure to check labels for the real nutritional info. A lot of this is stuff we've all had to learn before, but it never hurts to be reminded.... just cuz yogurt with granola sounds healthy, doesn't mean it'll help you lose weight!

A Whole Day of Food

Yesterday was a tough one. I had an all-day Board retreat, which meant all of my meals were planned by someone else. And while I didn't go completely crazy, I still pretty much ate all day long. Breakfast and lunch both included a gorgeous display of fruit - who knew Costco has the best pineapple ever? - so I did try to fill up on berries, grapes, and pineapple. But there was also quiche, and big sandwiches. And then.... cookies. Dang. I went overboard with the cookies.

And when I got home? Overboard again. My stomach was upset and I was craving salt. Instead of doing something sensible and having chicken soup or something, I went for a whole bag of chips for dinner. *Hanging head in shame.*

Don't worry, my stomach had its revenge at about 3 am. Not so pretty. And I still feel very queasy.... so I believe the chicken soup will be making its appearance today.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Smart Start cereal is really quite tasty. 1 1/2 cups (a decent bowl for breakfast) is 5 points, plus milk. It's crunchy and sweet without being too sugary, and it doesn't taste like bark like some healthy cereals do. I've been known to just eat it out of the box before as a snack, but today I was glad to start my day with a nice big bowl of it. I got the "antioxidant" variety, which I guess is supposed to make it even better for me. Yum.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Such Restraint!

I just got back from another catered affair, this time at a friend's organization. No pressure, it was all social for me and I didn't have to work. :-) I did SOOOOO wel. I pre-ate a Lean Cuisine pizza, so I only had alcohol there and didn't even touch the tempting buffets. 2 glasses of wine and an apple-tini. So I'm a little buzzed now.... but so glad I didn't pick up any of the stuffed grape leaves/veggie pizzas/empanadas or many, many desserts that I saw.

Of course, when I got home I HAD to get some food in me so I could at least be coherent to watch LOST. So I ate a shrimp ring I've had thawing in the fridge. Did you know that 10 oz of shrimp - the whole ring - is only 6 points??? Love it! And that's why God invited flex points.

You Go, Girl!

I guess it's not just humans who find it hard to diet. Congrats to Maggie the elephant for losing 1,000 pounds! Eat less, exercise more.... it works across the animal kingdom.

Sorry, just had to post this! :-)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A Sushi Feast, Plus Some Wine Flexies

I had a pretty good day today, and that included a veritable FEAST for dinner. Thank goodness for sushi, the low-point indulgence! With a huge plate of happy hour priced maki sushi (or is it nigiri? I get them confused) and some cucumber rolls and tuna rolls, plus some chicken soup and 2 glasses of wine, I still only ended up using 7.5 flex points for the whole day. And this is one where I'd slotted to use some extras. Hooray!

I have plans out for the next 2 nights - a catered event and a happy hour - and my plan is to bring some Lean Cuisines to work for the pre-eat dinner trick. And I'm in the mood for some soup and salad lunches. Wish me luck!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Monday Night at the Safeway

I decided to hit the store tonight and buy a bunch of WW-friendly stuff to start the week off on the right foot. And luckily there were some great sales!

Today's WW-friendly deals:
Safeway reduced-fat wheat thin crackers - $1.50, reg price $1.99
Orville Redenbacher Smart Pop! 94% fat-free popcorn - $1.66, reg price $3.29
Quaker Chewy Granola Bars - $2.00, reg price $3.29
Progresso Canned Soups - one was $2.45, reg $2.75, the other was $2.53, reg $2.83
Lean Cuisines - 6 for 12 dollars! That's 2 bucks apiece, with reg price of ~$3.29
Egg Beaters - $2.50, reg price $3.19
Yoplait light yogurt smoothies - $1.33, reg price $1.69

Happy cheap eats!

Sticking Up for My Diet

This is a little NSV on its own.... I had lunch plans with a colleague at another organization to "pick her brain" on how to grow my program. Because I invited her, I initially said she could suggest the restaurant. She wanted to go to Fogo de Chao, a new place downtown. Well, it's all meat, all the time. Lots and lots and lots of meat. I've never been there, but I just have these visions of people licking their chops and gorging upon skewer after skewer. After much internal debate this morning, I decided to email her and ask if we could switch restaurants. I actually said that I'm trying to stick to a diet, and then offered up a few other places that would be good for seafood or salad. Turns out she's trying to watch what she eats, too, so she was more than happy to make the change.

We ended up going to Cafe Atlantico, which was a good move. I'd been there for happy hours many times but this was the first actual meal I had there. I studied the menu online beforehand - ALWAYS a great trick - and stuck with what I had in mind. I got their mixed greens salad special, which was a very standard mixed greens salad with a vinaigrette, baby tomatoes, and cubes of watermelon. Very light and refreshing! And then I ordered the tuna and coconut ceviche appetizer, which came somewhat unexpectedly all nestled in a 1/2 an avocado. But it was very tasty and also pretty light. And we split a giant (expensive) bottle of still water, so I'm very hydrated.

I just calculated the points, and based on my estimate it was only about a 9 point lunch. Hooray! So much less than a meat extravaganza would have been! I'm so glad I stood up for my dieting needs! :-)

Cooking Fish?

I plan on buying groceries tonight, and I would like to buy some fish. I *love* seafood and I know I need to incorporate it into my diet more, but I have very little clue on how to cook it at home.

Any suggestions on the best way to buy and then *easily* cook fish at home? I love seared tuna, which I could try on my grill pan. I also really like white fish, like sea bass, tilapia, orange roughy, etc. Salmon's not my favorite. Thoughts on simple, one-pan ways I could make a healthy fish dinner?


I stayed the same this week. Not a surprise, considering I had a few good days and a few bad days. I'm finding the same challenges.... it's very easy to stay on plan when I'm just at home all day or when it's a workday where I get to plan all my meals. But all those work-related meals still pose a challenge (and yes, commenters, I know that work is *work* - but sometimes work involves food. I usually try to pre-eat or make the best choices, but there aren't always good choices to be had.) and an irregular social schedule also means having to plan well so that hunger pains don't play into the evening.

This week, I have one work meal (today), one social dinner (sushi), and one catered event in the evening (pre-eat my Lean Cuisine). Then I have an all-day Board retreat on the weekend....not sure what the food situation will be there, but I'm sure it will be a challenge. So my Flexies will definitely be needed. But I'm going to try to not go over for a change!

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Today is the wedding reception / picnic that I bought a cute new skirt for.... I tried on the skirt last night. It's definitely cute, but not so much on me. :-( I'll wear it, cuz it makes for a nice fun, summery outfit, but I know I'll spend the whole afternoon thinking about how it makes my hips look HUGE. Which, really, they are... but I was hoping to have lost more by now to start out summer looking cute. Ah well. It is a really adorable skirt, so I'm sure people will still like it. But I won't feel as good as I wanted to.

Hangin' In There

It's been a rough couple of days, WW-wise, and I fully blame work-related challenges.

Thursday morning I had a breakfast meeting at 8 am. Well, I know that when I have to get up super-early in the morning, I usually can't eat at home cuz my tummy gets upset if I eat too early. So I didn't pre-eat before going, which I really should have. Of course, when I got there, there was this *fantastic* breakfast spread. I was expecting just bagels and fruit, thinking I could handle that easily on points. Instead, it was a full-on breakfast, with pancakes, sausage, bacon, fruit, and pastries. Since I rarely get *real* breakfast, I decided to splurge and enjoy. I had everything except pastries. Wow, pointalicious!

Now, I could have salvaged the day with lunchtime, but instead I just decided to have an *off-plan* day and indulge. So I hit the deli buffet bar for lunch, with fresh roasted turkey, scalloped potatoes, and meat lasagna. And I was *exhausted* so I allowed myself a real, delicious, now-super-sized 24 oz Classic Coke. That's a 6 point beverage right there. I thought about ordering in dinner when I got home, and really indulging with chicken tikka masala. But, actually, my tummy was so full from the first two meals of the day that I just ate a bag of microwave popcorn for dinner.

Then, on Friday, I was really on a roll and doing well. A tiny, 3 point breakfast, and a healthy lunch of roasted potato veggie soup and a mixed greens salad. Unfortunately, the soup and salad comes with bread and butter, which I went for. And then I got a cookie. That would've all been okay, but we had a big staff meeting Friday afternoon and my boss surprised us with treats - a HUGE plate of giant cookies. Did I resist? What do you think? So lots of cookie points on Friday. When I got home, I cheated a bit with some lime Tostitos and salsa, but then I did have a Lean Cuisine for dinner.

So I've now exceeded my weekly points allowance. All the flexies are gone and I'm at about -10 for the week. Today I have two parties - a picnic in the afternoon (which I may pre-eat for) and a party at Buffalo Billiards tonight (definitely will pre-eat for). Tomorrow includes lunch plans, too, at a place I love. So I think the best I can hope for with this week's weigh-in is to just maintain....

I really should get back to the gym!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Flexies = Alcohol Points?

Uh oh... another midweek work event that included both pre- and post-drinking. Between the two bars I had another 14.5 points of just alcohol! Sangria, martinis, and a shot, oh my!

So I've used a whole bunch of my flexies, and only have 13 left to get me through 'til Monday. I have another event tonight with catered finger foods....aargh.... plus 2 parties on Saturday! Lean Cuisine for lunch the next few days, I'm guessing.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Post-Conference Weigh-In

Well, I'm up one pound on the scale. Blah. What I think that means is that I was probably up a few pounds after the conference last week, and that by staying on plan this week I was able to lessen some of that damage. But it still never feels good to see the dial on the scale keep going up.

So now starts another week on plan, and it will be full of challenges. I have evening plans Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday so far, which means I have to be good about saving up Flexies and strategizing on how to make the best use of those restaurant menus. I'll keep you posted....

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Breakfast for Dinner!

Remember when it was kinda exciting and exotic to have breakfast for dinner? Well, it's still fun, and it makes great sense point-wise!

I was really hungry a little while ago and I wanted something filling, but I needed a dinner that was pretty low in points. So I cooked up a protein-rich dinner that I would usually have for breakfast: an egg beater/egg white omelet with 1/2 cup of fat-free shredded cheddar and 1 slice of canadian bacon. It was very tasty! And very filling!

I admit that I'm still a little weirded out by seeing an egg white omelet... I love Egg Beaters but I usually still go for the yellow kind, so seeing an all-white omelet still looks odd on the plate. But it tastes good!

Points Don't Count at the Ballpark, Do They?

I did fairly well yesterday, considering it was my first time out for a baseball game this season (see my other blog for deets). I kept it light all day, including a Smart Ones for lunch. It was the tuna noodle casserole.... fairly decent, but trusty cat Cleo had a fit trying to get into my lap to eat it! I still had a decent amount of points available when I went out for the night, and I had a plan that would allow me to go slightly over if I wanted to. It's a lifestyle, right?

I did fairly well. Only 2 beers - when I could've had 3 or 4. And I did splurge and have TWO hot dogs. Due to my previous attempts at vegetarianism and/or no red meat as a lifestyle, I hadn't had a real all-beef hot dog since 1997. Was it worth the wait? Hells yeah! That dog was so tasty I had to have another.

But overall, the points were still pretty good. A hot dog with a roll = 8 points. So with my 2 dogs, my beers, and the combo of the major alcohol point consumption the night before, I ended up at -6 on Flexies for the week. I've stayed home all day today and am keeping it light, so I feel pretty good about this first week back on plan. We'll see how it ends up on the scale tomorrow.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Thank Goodness for those Flexies

Um, yeah, I went out for Cinco de Mayo last night... and I drank 27.5 points worth of alcohol! But at least I counted it all! 3 margaritas, 3 martinis, and a shot of tequila, oh my!

I still have 8.5 flexies left for the rest of the week, which is good cuz I've got big plans tonight. Dinner at Matchbox, where I have to be good and restrain myself, and then the baseball game! I was craving hot dogs all last year at RFK, and now that I'm back on beef I think I'll actually partake. So there go the rest of my flexies.

Another thing I learned today - 30 minutes of dancing is only 2 Activity Points! Darn. I thought it would be more....

Friday, May 05, 2006

An Alternative to Stress Eating

It's been another very stressful day here at work - one that saw my professional future being laid out for me unexpectedly via a conference call with the big boss (all good, but still very nerve-wracking!). As you know, my usual instinct on a draining day like this is to get rid of the stress by heading for chips, or cookies, or ice cream.

Instead, I grabbed a sympathetic friend from her cubicle and we headed outside. After a quick trip for a diet soda and its caffeine kick, we went for a long walk around the neighborhood. We even decided to drop in and surprise another friend at her office, cuz it's Friday and why not?

I felt much better afterwards - being outside, walking around and talking things through, plus the fun of a visit with an old friend. It was *MUCH* better for me than cookies or ice cream!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A Tasty Treat!

I got a great tip off the WW message boards yesterday. Did you know that the individually wrapped Rice Krispie Treats - the kind in the blue package - are only 2 points each???? Hooray! I picked up a box at CVS this afternoon, so I now have a new at-work snack. Love me some treats! :-)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Low-Point Comfort Food?!?!?

Ah, thank goodness for Au Bon Pain. On a day with a not-so-good tummy, they really came through for me. Their Low Fat Chicken Noodle Soup is a Godsend! This soup has 100 calories, 2 grams of fat, and 1 gram of fiber per 8 oz serving. So that means the 12 oz container - which is a decent size portion for lunch - is only 3 points! It's hearty and yummy, with big egg noodles, carrots, and big chunks of chicken. The broth is very tasty but still light.

With such a low point soup, that means you can get a small bag of potato chips to go with it with very little guilt!!!

Making Tight Pants Day Even Worse

From the category of TMI.... I was already feeling kinda squeezed into my pants earlier today, wearing an older, slightly more snug pair of khakis. But then I indulged in my favorite morning snack - a South Beach peanut butter cereal bar. I *love* these things. But, alas, my body is not so good at handling the high soy content, and it makes my tummy blow up like a balloon. Not comfortable. And it's really making me regret the snug pants!

I think I have to swear off my beloved South Beach bars. They taste so good, but make me feel so bad....

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Today's After-Work Safeway Deals

Yes, I braved the store at 6 pm, and it wasn't so bad! Of course, I was super-hungry by the time I got there, so I did buy more items than I planned on... but they were all very WW-friendly!

Good deals:
Rice-A-Roni Rice Mix - $1.00, reg price $1.49
Quaker Rice Cake mini snack cakes (caramel corn flavor, of course) - $1.00, reg $2.19
San Giorgio pasta (cappellini for me) - $1.00, reg price $1.39
Campbell's Chunky Chili - $2.50, reg price $2.95
Lucerne Smoothies - $1.25, reg price $1.69
WW Smart Ones - 5 for 10 bucks! Even the pizzas! Score! Reg price $2.49 - $3.49.
Yoplait Nouriche Smoothies - $1.50, reg price $1.99
Athenos hummus - $2.79, reg price $3.29

I just ate one of those little Safeway pre-made salads - the kind found in the bagged salad section, not in the deli. It was the cobb salad, which could've been bad news. But since it's a pretty small portion in that bowl, I got lots of bacony and bleu cheese goodness for only 9 points!

WW is all new and funky!

I just logged on to WW online for the first time in a few weeks, and guess what? They've launched this fancy new "beta" version of a souped-up Points Tracker. It's all kinds of crazy cool! It'll take me a while to get used to it, but I think I'm gonna love it. It has everything all on one, much more easy to navigate screen. Your favorites are stored and easily accessible, there's a points calculator right on the main screen, and they can show you weekly charts of your points - including Flexies and Activity Points. I hope my super-slow dialup at home works well with this new format. It's kinda fun!

I'm back. In more ways than one.

So conferences are bad! I feel like I've been eating nonstop for 5 days and I truly feel like I've gained several pounds back. Yikes. I'll wait to weigh myself on Monday to see if I can reduce some of the damage over the next week.

I'm back on WW officially - I'm going to try and do it the real way again, not the half-way method of just recording what I eat here. I will still report in on certain meals, especially any good finds, but I'm going to do most of the work on the WW site. I think that is what works best for me, even though I have to force myself to do it.

The weather is getting better.... which means it's cute clothes time! I have to make sure I fit into them all!