Thursday, August 31, 2006

Daily Dose

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

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Smoothie Stats

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 24, 2006

What to Order?

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

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

A Garden Isn't Lunch

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 21, 2006

A Pretty Good Way to Start the Week

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

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

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Weekend Safeway Deals

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

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

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

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

Not Bad in New York

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 14, 2006


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

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

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

Sunday, August 13, 2006

These Are Pretty Tasty

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

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

Some Interesting But Kinda Gross Science Stuff

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

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I Did So Well Today!

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

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

Lunch: A Lean Cuisine Pizza

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

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

After Dinner: A mile-long walk home

Dessert: A 2-point Healthy Choice ice cream bar

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

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Horror of Formal Wear

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

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

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

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

So-So this Monday....

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

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Week That Was

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

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

The Bad:

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

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