Monday, January 29, 2007

Back on the Scale

Well, there you have it. A week of being sick and pretty much eating crap and doing nothing but laying in bed? I gained 2 pounds. Urgh.

But, I am mostly feeling better...and I am definitely in the mood to eat much better food this week. Fruits, veggies, soup, sushi - here I come!

Freezer Find

Last night, I was really craving a sweet, light dessert. But, it's been a while since I've gotten new groceries so I didn't have any of the usual good stuff. I decided to explore the freezer to see what I could come up with.... and I found a pretty darn tasty combination:

Frozen Girl Scout Thin Mints cookies dipped in a little fat-free whipped topping.

Yum! It was cold, and sweet, and light.... perfect!

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Hey kids, sorry I haven't been posting. I've been officially sick for over a week now, and the whole diet-exercise-health thing has not been going well.

It started out with a 3-day stomach upset last week that may have been related to some questionable pot luck items or that may have been a harbinger of me catching something. Then over the weekend I caught the DC January cold, which led to 3 days in bed with a bad sore throat and then the painful, swollen glands thing. So now I'm on antibiotics and decongestants, and I've started taking expectorant to try to get rid of all the last vestiges of the cold. BUT, now I think that OTC cocktail has done something not so good, and I'm back to a really bad tummy situation. And all I want to do is stay in bed....

So I have not been eating normally or very well all week, and I have not exercised at all. I've had to cancel a bunch of things that I really should've done (sorry!) and I've basically become a lump sitting on my couch or sitting at my desk. I really want to eat a big fresh healthy fruit-and-veggie meal, but my tummy is demanding bland and starchy stuff.

I didn't weigh in this week, and I'm worried about what the scale will say this Monday. But, I'll take it as it comes, cuz I've just gotta keep doing what I need to get rid of this darn sick. I'm so ready to be done with it!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Delayed Benefit

I think I just skated by on the scale this morning. I did lose another pound - woohoo!

But I was not as good this week as I was the week before. I only averaged 15 minutes of exercise per day, whereas I did a 30 minute average before. And as I mentioned below, this crazy week at work has included lots of sandwich trays and cookies and chips, plus I've been enjoying some ice cream at home.

So, I think today's weight loss probably reflects a little bit that I'm using some better habits, and a little bit of the longer-term effect of being so good the week before.

But, whatever, I'll take it! Here's to another good week....

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Back to the Safeway

Since I'm only allowing myself to get groceries delivered once a month (a pricey habit), today I had to head out for a mid-month Safeway trip. And I was surprised at how well I did, not only with getting sale items but also with really thinking about the stuff I was pulling off the shelves and how it fits into a healthier plan for eating overall. Good times!

If any of you are heading out soon - check out these sales:
Safeway "Healthy Advantage" Veggie Chili - $1.00, reg price $2.19
Healthy Choice canned soups - $2.00, reg price $2.39
Safeway O Organics pasta sauce - $2.50, reg price $2.65
Lean Cuisine, entrees, pizzas, and paninis - $2.50, reg price $3.29 - $3.49
Jello Sugar-Free Pudding 6-packs - $3.00, reg price $3.99
Taj Mahal Chicken Tikka Masala - $3.99, reg price $4.39
Brown & Serve breakfast sausage - $1.00, reg price $1.66
Fresh Express bagged spinach - $1.00, reg price $2.99

Saturday, January 13, 2007

It's Been a Busy Week!

I've had a crazy, intense week at work, so I haven't been able to keep up as much over the last few days. No worries, it's all been good stuff at work, it just made for a lot of long, intense days with bad sandwich trays that left me exhausted at night. So I haven't been exercising as much as last week, but that's okay. Now, with the long weekend, I hope to make up for some of the past craziness and even just allow myself to relax a little! I hope it works out on the scale...

Monday, January 08, 2007

Good 'Nuff

Woohoo! I lost 1 pound this week. That's nice to see.... so now I'm down 3 pounds since the beginning, or 1.3% of my total body weight. Here's to another good week!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The First Week

I've done pretty well this week, all told. I've been sticking to what I laid out - focusing on eating a better variety of more nutritional stuff, cutting out some of the bad stuff, and exercising more.

The Highlights:
  • I ate a lot of good stuff this week, and thanks to my grocery delivery I've worked in fresh produce like spinach, avocado, broccoli, grapes, and bananas. Tasty! I cooked every dinner this week which is a real achievement!
  • I did indulge a few times, on leftover holiday brownies and some movie theater popcorn, but for the most part I avoided temptation. I didn't eat ANY of the cookies or candy that people keep bringing in the office, and I only had 2 chai lattes all week.
  • I've been drinking more water and I bought and started taking calcium supplements.
  • Even with that shin splint problem, I still managed to work in more exercise - an average of 30 minutes a day over the last week. That includes time on the treadmill, walking outside, and doing some of the fitness / workout dvds I have at home. And after a few days of low-impact stuff, my legs feel good again so hopefully I can slowly work my way back onto the treadmill....

Hopefully this will all have a good effect on the scale in the morning.... I'll keep you posted!

More Wrap Fun

I have another new favorite treat that came out of The Biggest Loser cookbook. Really, it's so simple it's hard to believe it even requires a recipe.... it's a PBJ wrap!

I start with a fat free whole wheat tortilla. Then spoon on about 1 tbsp of reduced fat peanut butter - Peter Pan is my favorite brand - and spread it thinly across the whole tortilla. Then add about 1 tsp of jam/jelly - I'm using Smuckers Low Sugar strawberry preserves -and spread it as well. Roll the whole thing up, and you have a pretty healthy, VERY tasty, childhood-nostalgia treat!

I tried using a banana with peanut butter on a wrap last night, but actually that made it a wee bit TOO sweet. I'm not sure how the banana is sweeter than the strawberry preserves, but there you have it. I'm sticking with the strawberry.

I've been eating them for breakfast and for snacks.... really, these little things are now a staple.

Feelin' Fishy

I had fun with another cooking experiment tonight: Tilapia!

I started with two small fillets, then sprinkled black pepper and a bit of ground ginger on top. Then I drizzled them with olive oil, topped them with about 1/4 tsp of minced garlic each, wrapped it all in tin foil and baked it in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Once it was done cooking, I lightly drizzled a wee bit of lime juice on top.

It turned out to be pretty tasty! I didn't really detect much of the ginger, so that may not have been needed. But the fish combined with the garlic had a nice nutty flavor. The tilapia is a little more substantial than the usual whitefish, so it held up well to the garlic's power. It was still light and moist (ick, hate that word), so cooking it any longer would've probably dried it out or made it tough.

This was a good dinner - thanks Dancer and Scotte for your suggestions. I'll definitely be making this again! Which is a good thing, cuz I did buy 2 pounds of it in my last grocery order....

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Leave It To Me

Yeah, I would be that girl who goes a long time without exercising, then after just a few days of doing some moderate walking gets totally sidelined by shin splints. Aaargh!

Last night, my legs were so sore I had a hard time sleeping. And today, my left leg - always my problem leg since I had a bad ankle sprain 20 years ago and now have tendonitis and a crampy calf - was a painful annoyance all day long. I just did a lot of reading on the Internets, and apparently it's a lateral shin splint based on where it is.

I'm pretty sure that after a day or so of resting, things will be fine, but it's a big reminder that I really do need to focus on stretching as a part of my new workout routine. You can't just jump on a treadmill or bike cold, cuz that way pain lies.

But the good thing is I just read about a great calf stretch that I've just spent the last 15 minutes or so doing, and it feels GREAT. Stand arm's length from a wall that you're facing. Plant your heels down on the floor and then lean towards the wall, bracing yourself with your hands. Bring your shoulders and then hips forward, keeping your back straight and your heels down. You'll feel it in both legs. Try bending your knees to stretch a different part of your calves.

Then, to really dig in deep, do the same stretch but only with one leg at a time. Keep one leg arms-length from the wall with the heel down, bring your other foot forward and bend that front knee while you lean into the wall with your upper body. Yowza - fantastic! After years of having a crampy, charley-horse-prone calf on my bad leg, I will be doing this stretch quite often!

Another Challenge

I need more sleep. I don't get the full 8 hours that I should every night, and waking up in the morning can be so painful! So another one of the things I want to try to do this year is cut down on my caffeine intake. I don't drink coffee, but I *love* chai lattes and Coke Zero, and I drink a chai or a diet cola probably 5 days a week. The caffeine definitely makes me jittery, and after a month of drinking a lot of Coke Zero (when I had a case at home) I could see a real, yucky difference in the color of my teeth. :-(

So, for lots of reasons, I'm going to try to cut back on the cola and the caffeine in general. I've switched back to my old standard, diet Sprite, to have at home. I do still appreciate carbonation every once in a while, so I'm not giving up on soda itself, just the caffeinated colas. And it's going to be hard to resist those Starbucks runs every morning at work!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Guilt-Free BBQ!

I just had a super-tasty dinner with HUGE flavor.

Back when I was a vegetarian, one of the things I missed the most was the good old taste of barbecue. Then I stumbled upon the Gardenburger BBQ Riblets and I was happy. Very, very happy! These little veggie "ribs" are delicious and have almost none of the fat and calories of real ribs! They clock in at 240 calories and just 4.5 grams of fat total, and they have so much tangy BBQ sauce smeared all over you'll want to lick your lips! I didn't last as a vegetarian for very long - only about 11 months - but discovering these little babies definitely extended my experiment in self-discipline.

Tonight, I paired this tasty Riblet with one of my new favorite dishes, a baked potato smothered in broccoli and low-fat cheese sauce. The whole combination was so warm and filling and satisfying - I can't wait to have it as a meal again!

A New Year on the Scale

I weighed in this morning, since I wasn't home yesterday morning to hop on the scale. And it wasn't too bad - I stayed the same as last week. But that's okay, considering the ginormous meal and snacks and dessert I had on New Year's Eve, plus the fact that I'm really just now getting started on the exercise-and-cooking plan. I hope that next week shows a little positive movement on the dial when I weigh-in back on my normal schedule, Monday morning.

Inspired by last night's The Biggest Loser marathon and my aforementioned love of Excel, I have created another spreadsheet that will help me track my weigh-ins. I'm looking at the number of pounds lost, but also the percentage of weight. That seems like another valuable number - so far, I'm down 1% of my total body weight!

I'm hoping these Excel workbooks will help me track my stats and take the place of the few tools I was using on the WW online site. Heck, the first time I did WW and lost 42 pounds, I did it all on Excel all by myself! I can't wait to make some pretty graphs....

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Strategies for the New Year

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about my weight loss goals and my own lifestyle and habits. My goal, of course, is to lose weight - but for me, the health reasons are the biggest motivators. It would be great to fit into cute new outfits, of course, but I'm most concerned about making sure I stay happy and healthy for a very long time.

I have actually decided I'm going to hold off on the specific WW strategy for a while. I cancelled my online subscription, cuz I didn't want to keep spending $17 a month when I'm not using the online tools. I'll keep the name of this blog the same - cuz there's always the chance I may sign up again (they give you a 6 month window where they keep your account dormant) and there's no doubt that I've learned a lot from Weight Watchers over the years. The biggest and most important lesson I've learned from WW is that all of this is about choosing a lifestyle, not just following a diet.

But, instead, I'm focusing on trying to change my habits and learning more about nutrition in general.

I'm reading that You: On a Diet book, which is really interesting and appeals to my more intellectual side about what weight loss really is. It's all about the biological and nutritional elements of what you eat and how you exercise, and it's all about the big belly fat problem. Which is absolutely my biggest challenge! Trust me, some of the stuff in the book is kinda gross to learn - but it's been very motivating to learn the *why* of the body's reactions and changes and learning how to take control of these very natural systems.

This book echoes all the same good science stuff I've been reading for years - which is all about moderation and smart choices, not starving yourself by counting points or eliminating carbs or only eating one kind of thing, etc. So with what I've learned from WW, and what I've read about here and in other places, here's my plan:
  • I will work on reducing my overall food intake through portion control.
  • I will work to introduce more fruits and veggies into my diet in new and easy ways.
  • I will stick to whole wheat or multigrain starches when I eat them.
  • I will stick to lean meats at home, but still allow myself some beef or lamb when I'm eating out.
  • I will cook more of my own meals at home, experimenting with new ingredients and looking for new healthy recipes.
  • I will exercise! I will aspire to hitting the gym, walking outdoors, or doing a variety of exercises in my own apartment several days a week, for real. I know this is the big, make-or-break element of the whole plan.
I have a bunch of new tools that I've been gathering lately to help me follow this plan. The iPod, of course, makes exercise so much more fun and I find myself looking forward to a reason to hear my tunes. Plus I really dorked out and made myself an Excel spreadsheet to track my exercise routines. Hey, I had to pass MIS in grad school! I might as well use that analytical side of me for something useful! And the at-home grocery delivery is really changing my life. Suddenly I now have more fresh produce and healthy choices in my kitchen than ever before. And I've finally talked myself out of being cheap and have started spending money on real tools for my kitchen, so I now have really nice new pans, knives, and utensils that are making cooking easier and more fun! Woohoo!

...and that's how I'm moving forward. Wish me luck!

Where are the Resolutions?

So, does it seem odd to anyone else that I just went to the gym on January 1 and it was NOT crowded? There was 1 woman there when I got there, and she left. And then as I was about done, another woman got there. That's it. Where are all the people with their "New You" resolutions?

Oh well - *I* was there!