Thursday, June 29, 2006


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

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

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Berry Special Treat!

I just had the best dessert!!!

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

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

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

A Break from the Routine

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

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

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

The Art of Maintaining

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

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Avocado: Friend or Foe?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quick Weekend Safeway Deals

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

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

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

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Fresh and Delicious

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

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

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Breakfast Treat

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

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

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

Back on the Scale

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Step in the Right Direction

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 12, 2006

Being Sick + No Groceries = Bad

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 09, 2006

More Taste Testing

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

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

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

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

A Slow Week, and My Challenges

I apologize for the lack of posts, but Blogger's been a little crazy this week. And I haven't been very good at all.

This week has exemplified several of my usual challenges:

1. When I am really stressed, I eat.
2. I really like ice cream and find ways to reward myself with it, particularly on super-hot, super-stressful days.
3. When I don't have good groceries in my apartment, I eat poorly.
4. When we have catered events or office lunches where I don't choose the menu, I eat poorly.
5. When I get really busy during the day at work, I stop going online and tracking my points. And that's when I lose my own sense of accountability.

Yeah, they're all tough, and it all comes down to discipline. And when I'm stressed or worn out or irritated by the heat, discipline goes out the proverbial window.

BUT, I am renting a Zipcar tomorrow for my twice-annual major shopping trip, and I'm really looking forward to stocking up the kitchen with some really good stuff. And I know what I need to do re: catered dinners and the like, so I will be bringing in more of the frozen entrees for pre-dinner dinners. And as for the ice cream habit, I'm open to making it more of a fro-yo or fruit smoothie habit. They're at least a little bit better. And that year when I lost so much weight on WW, I still kept up my daily soft-serve cone habit in the summer, I just got a small and counted the points.

And speaking of counting the points, I just logged on and recorded my breakfast... for the first time in almost 2 weeks. Ooops. But, it's all a journey....

A New Breakfast Option

I just tried one of those Quaker Oatmeal To Go bars. I had one of the Oatmeal Raisin variety. It was definitely filling, and kind of sweet. The raisins are good, but somehow with the oats in there it had a surprisingly crunchy consistency. I bought a whole box, so I will eat them again, but I don't think it will become my favorite breakfast treat.

With 220 calories, 4g of fat, and 5g of fiber, it works out to 4 points each. It's very handy and easy to grab if you really need something "to go" - but since the packets of Quaker's oatmeal varieties are all 2-3 points each, I'd stick with the regular oatmeal itself if you have the time.

Monday, June 05, 2006

You Win Some....

You gain some. In my case, 2 pounds reappeared over the past week. Not a huge surprise, cuz I was not keeping track and was a lot less active at my parents' place. I'm going to try to bring that back down this week, but it's going to be a stressful one so I'm not going to make things too much harder on myself. I have stocked up on Lean Cuisines - new flavors! - but I'm also starting my day with a grande iced chai. Mmmmm.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

If You Pack It....

You must use it, right? That's the principle that worked for me today, at least. I brought my sneakers to Indiana in the hopes that I would use them. And I did! In addition to a rather vigorous and hilarious short walk with Mom and the neighbor's dog last night, I just broke out my Nikes for a long, 45 minute walk throughout all the loops and streets and cul de sacs of my parents' neighborhood. I kept to a moderate pace, thanks to the iPod, and worked up a pretty decent sweat. My muscles still feel all tingly and happy, saying "thank you for using me!" And I think I got some good sun, too, so hopefully I've already started in on my base tan for the summer.

I'm heading home this afternoon.... and since I have no plans to buy groceries tonight, I think that's the best excuse ever to order in sushi! :-)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

My Mom's Dump Cake

My mother made a dessert tonight that she swears is WW-friendly. I've never heard of it before...but it was darn tasty, very low-fat, and very easy to make. I may even make it myself someday! It ends up tasting like a fruit cobbler.

Dump Cake
  • Using whatever regular pan you use for making brownies (8x8, 9x9, or bigger), spray it thoroughly with a non-stick cooking spray or line it with tin-foil. (They suggest a double layer of foil cuz it gets juicy.)
  • Spread 2 packages of thawed frozen fruit of any kind - tonight she used blueberries and raspberries, but you can use strawberries, peaches, melon, mango, etc. - evenly throughout the bottom of the pan.
  • Cover the fruit with one package of dry low-fat cake mix. Mom uses Betty Crocker low-fat yellow cake. Just spread the dry mix -- don't add any other ingredients. Spread it all in an even layer and make sure there aren't any big crumbles anywhere. (Mom may have said that she sometimes uses 2 boxes of cake mix -- it may depend on the size of your pan.)
  • Pour in one 12 oz can of diet Red Pop, pouring it evenly throughout the whole pan.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
  • Serve either warm or chilled, preferably with some light Cool Whip or other whipped topping. You can sprinkle Splenda on the top if you want a little extra sweetener, but we didn't do it tonight and it was plenty sweet enough.

This was actually really tasty! It looks kind of like a confetti cake once it's baked, cuz the fruit color is very lively. I liked it, as a dieter, and so did the two 27-year-old non-dieting guys at dinner. They said it didn't even taste like a diet dessert. Best compliment you could ask for!

So far, so good

I've been doing a much better job of eating well so far on this trip to Indiana. Remember way back when I started this blog, I had just come back from a long Christmas trip to see the family. I *know* that I put on several pounds when I was here, and a lot of it was because I was subjected once again to my family's (well, really my father's) eating habits, which were probably what made me an overweight kid to start with. Dad serves meals on platters, not plates. I really felt gross after that Christmas trip - mentally and physically. My stomach was actually upset from having eaten so much, and so much that was bad for me. My parents are on a combination of Atkins (Dad) and South Beach (Mom), so there is very different kind of food here from what I'm used to eating. We're on that carbs vs. no carbs divide.

Well, this time, I emailed Mom the week before I got here and asked her to pick up some of my usual food at the grocery store so that I would have my own options. This was in the hopes that having my own choices would keep me from eating all the really high-fat stuff they have around the house. Guess what? So far, it's working!

A comparison from what I ate over Christmas to today:

Christmas: Two fried eggs cooked in butter, with 4 pieces of wheat toast with butter. 2 pieces for the yolk-dipping and 2 for making an egg sandwich. Deeeelishous but really a heart attack on a plate.
Today: A small Southwestern Egg Beaters omelet made with about 1/4 cup of shredded low-fat cheddar cheese.

Christmas: Some amount of leftover meat from the big dinner before - either several huge slices of ham and leftover scalloped potatoes or big chunks of pork roast and leftover homemade mac 'n cheese. Again, deelishous but another heart attack on a plate.
Today: A Lean Cuisine Chicken Club panini sandwich and a Jello Sugar Free Caramel pudding cup, plus a big glass of Coke Zero.

Now, I know dinner is going to be a big splurge, as Dad is doing steaks on the grill with salt potatoes (an Upstate NY favorite). But there will also be salads and I'll try to fill up on that.

It's amazing the difference it has made having Mom get me those groceries! She also got a few of my favorite lite salad kits for the weekend. Sure, I'm eating processed and prepackaged food instead of home cooking, but I don't feel like I'm going to explode! (In my book, always a good thing.)