Saturday, September 30, 2006

Clip 'N Save

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

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

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

Full of Flavor, With Less Salt

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

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

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

Today's Safeway Blow-Out

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

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

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

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

My Theory

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

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

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

Monday, September 25, 2006

Not as Bad as Last Year

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

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

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

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Um, Yeah

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

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

A Tale of Two Soups

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A New Goal

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 22, 2006

That Was Not Good

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

Consider yourself warned!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A Cheap Target Find

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Skeletons Need Not Apply

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

Monday, September 11, 2006

Status Quo

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

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

Saturday, September 09, 2006

'Tis the Season

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

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

Monday, September 04, 2006

Wavering Still

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

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

Thanks again, everyone, for all your encouragement!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

When Will I Ever Learn?

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

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

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

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

Saturday, September 02, 2006

A Perfect Rainy Day Dinner

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

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