Saturday, January 28, 2012

Small victories

So I had a good and bad week. There were a few nights when I went to bed hungry enough to eat my own arm off. I went out to lunch twice and to dinner once. The neighborhood book club had a meeting. Aside from when it felt like my belly button was touching my backbone, the rest of these are food pitfalls for me. When I eat out, I have a very hard time choosing healthy choices and I inevitably eat everything on my plate. The cheesier something is described as being on the menu, the more appealing to me. Plus I am a member of the generation of the "clean plate club" so leaving food unfinished on a plate is guilt inspiring. The appetizers set out at neighborhood gatherings like book club? They just call to me.

But I had some small victories too. I only ate three small appetizers. I left food on my plate at dinner (although I inhaled the creme brulee dessert and practically licked the ramekin clean too since it is my very favorite dessert ever). I chose not to try one of the free small cookies at the check-out at the grocery store yesterday. This morning at a different grocery store (we ran out of milk--again), I stood and looked at the mint Oreos for a very, very, very long time. And I finally walked away without putting them in my basket. Notice that I am still thinking about them. But they are several miles away and not nearly so easy to get to so I think I'm safe from them for today.

I am still slacking on the exercise front (more on that another time) but I think I just agreed to run a half marathon in Detroit in October with a friend so exercise is likely to be a major part of my life again soon. I really do need to make that happen.

Overall, I'd say it was a hard week to stay on track for me but I managed to do it more often than not and the scale reflected that, which was nice to see. I'm down 1.2 pounds from last Saturday to 179.4. A whole new decade of numbers to work through.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Will power and why I don't like it

I had a bit of a rough week last week, grazing through food as if I might never eat again. Luckily it didn't show too much on the scale (I gained 0.2 for the week so I'm at 180.6 this week). I still wasn't happy about it, gave myself a thorough kicking while I was down, but ultimately it spurred me to think about the whole will power thing, which was where I was laying all blame.

The recipe for weight loss: eat less and move more. As annoying as this tiny platitude is, it is fundamentally true. Unfortunately, for a lot of people this means exercising will power. And we all know how hard that is. (If you don't have a clue, leave this blog immediately because you clearly don't need advice, encouragement, and commiseration relating to excessive weight and the desire to shed it. Oh, and stay out!)

But I have come to hate the very words "will power." How times faced with a cookie have I said "I have no will power," as I laughingly take one? How many times have I castigated myself for taking that cookie, finishing that oversized portion, or making that really poor food choice and blamed my lack of will power? (Yeah, I know; negative messages are not as successful as positive one, blah, blah, blah, but that's sort of the point, you know?) How many times have I wished I had someone else's (someone thinner's) will power while facing my greatest food weakness? Seems to me that will power is the problem here. And I don't mean the lack of it. I mean the connotation. It's somehow gotten all tangled up with a sense of failure, with negativity, and yes, with a lack.

So I am declaring that I am no longer going to worry about will power. I'm not going to give it another thought. It is dead to me. Instead I am going to try to empower myself. I have perseverence and determination. And anyone who doesn't think so has never seen me dig my heels in like the stubborn mule that I am. With these two tools, who needs will power? Onward to another week!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Stripes? Or fashion for the full-figured.

Have you tried on clothes recently? Now, I haven't lost enough weight to really be contemplating a new wardrobe but I thought I might reward myself with something fun and new because, well, I respond well to rewards. I don't love shopping, especially for clothes, but I grabbed a friend who is working on her weight too and off we went. As we wandered through stores, I noticed what I consider a disturbing trend. Fashion designers have brought back the horizontal stripe in all its glory.

The biggest question is, of course, WHY? In the name of all that is holy, why? Stripes last looked good on me when I was all of 14 years old. And maybe not even then since I had curves and boobs by then (seriously, I had the cutest figure ever at 14). Horizontal stripes are not flattering on curvy bodies. They just aren't. Broomstick thin models with the figures of 14 year old boys can pull them off but on the rest of us, not attractive. Quite honestly, horizontal stripes on the slightly chubby sporting post-childbearing bodies make us look like we're wearing a contour map because honey, ain't nothing staying two dimensionally horizontal. It's all elevation and gradient. Trust me; seriously not pretty. And it's just plain mean for designers to declare these "wideners" back in style again. I mean, as if it wasn't traumatic enough to have to try on bathing suits or jeans, we, or at least the fashionable amongst us, now have to wear striped clothing that make us look like candidates for the replacement fat lady at the circus. That'll sure build my self-esteem. Boo hiss.

And yes, for the scientifically minded, I've read the article that sets out the proof that I am misguided in my horizontal stripey upset. But I stand by one of the comments on the post that asserts that in fact the horizontal stripe cartoon has three noticeable vertical stripes that make the whole argument suspect (not to mention that in ostensibly making these little beauties--or at least the horizontal striped beauty--look 3D, the artist has still drawn perfectly straight lines, which is completely contrary to real life and therefore proves nothing). Try it with real women if you want my buy in, otherwise, ditch the horizontal stripes please. Chubby girl doesn't appreciate looking like she's sporting the topography of the Himalayas across her ta-tas, thank-you very much!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Awash in tea

I think I am drowing in tea. You know that 8 glasses of water a day thing? Well, it's too dang cold for a glass of ice water (my preferred water temp) so instead of sucking it in via diet Coke (my guilty pleasure--and not the caffeine free variety either), I have been slugging back cup after cup after cup after cup of tea.

I can't leave my house for more than a trip to the mailbox because I just can't get that far from my bathroom. This stuff is running right through me. And sheesh people! I've had three children dance on my bladder for 9 months plus each. I don't think I even possess Kegel muscles anymore. So there's no holding it. I can be watching tv and see those incontinence commercials, "Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now," and before the jingle is even finished, I am racing to the bathroom. If I could pee the weight off of myself I would be runway thin by now. Not that I don't like tea, I do. But I'm pretty sure that in the quantities I am drinking, it spends less time in my body than it does steeping.

Please tell me my body will eventually get used to all this extra fluid and I'll be able to quit contemplating buying Poise pads just so I can get out to the grocery store for food. On second thought, if we run out of food completely, maybe the weight will come off faster. Now that would make it all worthwhile.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Foods I've been eating

Trying to change my weight has meant I have to change how and what I eat and that's not easy at all. Aside from the m&m blip the other day, I have been doing pretty well and only face the stumbling block of appealing snacks because seriously, who eats only three times a day?

Anyway, my breakfast generally consists of Chobani Yogurt (they are not paying me to get all googly-eyed over their stuff although if they wanted to, I certainly wouldn't mind and I'd insert their name in every post I do on here from now on--just sayin') in lemon, honey, cherry, or my new discovery of apple cinnamon. If I have felt motivated to actually cook breakfast at breakfast time or have a bucket of leftovers, I enjoy a cup or so of apple cinnamon breakfast quinoa. I got the recipe from somewhere on the internet but I can't for the life of me figure out where (or find it again) so here it is:

Apple-Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa
makes 4 (3/4-cup) servings

2 c. unsweetened plain or vanilla almond milk
1 c. dry quinoa, well rinsed (do not skip rinsing!)
1 medium apple, diced
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt

In a 2 quart saucepan, heat almond milk over medium-high heat. When the milk is almost boiling, stir in the quinoa, apple, cinnamon, and salt. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, partially cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until most of the milk has been absorbed. Remove from heat. Stir in vnilla, cover tightly and let rest for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.

I will admit that I tend to double the apple and use a heaping tsp. of cinnamon plus splash far more vanilla extract in there than the recipe calls for. I get a warm, healthy breakfast out of it plus 3-4 more reheated breakfasts that same week. Also not to be sneezed at is the chance to feel all self-righteous and healthy that making this offers. Unfortunately, my daughter appreciates this toasty meal and will sometimes snag a small bucket of it I had earmarked for another day, leaving me short. I'd teach her to make her own and keep her paws off mine if she didn't leave such a godforsaken mess in my kitchen when she cooks!

Lunch has tended to be leftovers from dinner and if I am extra hungry, I dump the leftovers (as appropriate) over salad to bulk up what I'm eating. Pretty much anything Mexican can be coaxed into a taco salad of sorts if you're desperately hungry. And dinner has run the gamut of healthy looking new recipes or old standbys.

Where I struggle is the snack concept. I know that I should snack on veggies and fruits but they don't appeal so very much. Well, I take that back. They look really good at the grocery store under their deceptive lighting. Once at my house though, they aren't as pleasing looking and since this food battle is 90% mental for me, that's not a good thing. I do have a few things that I will eat that fall in the "acceptable any time" category: hearts of palm out of a can, dill pickles, dilly beans (pickled green beans), and grape tomatoes but they get old really quickly and then I eye the kids' stash of after school snacks (mainly chosen with an eye to being generally unappealing to me at normal times, incidentally). I really wish I could find something healthy that I'd be happy to be stranded on a desert isle with because I'm pretty sure that my current "desert isle" food choice of cheese and bread or just cheese if I only get one thing, is going to leave me fat and suffering from scurvy. That's a pretty mental image, eh? Any suggestions for me out there?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Pretty sure that eating an entire bag of M&Ms last night was not a good plan. And I wonder why I have a weight problem. ::sigh::

Back in the saddle again...

Monday, January 9, 2012

The week in review

So Saturday marked the end of the first week of this quest. Overall it was a great week and the number on the scale that morning was 183.8 for a loss of 5.6 lbs. But just posting the numbers makes it sound like it was easy peasy lemon squeezy and it was not by any stretch of the imagination.

I went to bed hungry at least 3 nights last week but since I am adhering (loosely) to the old WW points program which worked for me before, I knew it was time to call it quits on the old intake those nights. So instead of heading to the pantry, I headed to bed. Let me tell you, the night that I went off to bed at 8pm, my husband was less than impressed. But my other choice was to stay up and lose all semblence of self-control and willpower.

I cooked dinner every night last week and have been eating the leftovers as lunch since then. Most of what I made was good and relatively healthy (as long as I ate a reasonable portion--another struggle for me, I might add) but I caved and made homemade creamed corn, which I adore. It's not even remotely good for you and it turns out that the rest of my family doesn't like it so I've been faced with trying to avoid overdosing on the leftovers. To that end, I dragged it over to a friend's house last night to share with others. There's a little left, but hopefully not enough to dimple my butt too badly. I tried 4 new recipes, 3 of which are keepers (including the creamed corn recipe but apparently only when I have a pot luck to go to) and one was less than pleasing. The old standby we use that is always a hit here is to take chicken breasts (and I have taken to buying the thin chicken breasts instead of the enormous, fat ones), sprinkle them with the spice concoction of your choice (I'm currently using rotisserie chicken spice) and toss them on the reliable old George Foreman grill. Easiest thing in the world and my kids all adore it. Their feelings on the vegetable accompaniments we won't go into but the chicken is highly coveted.

I didn't do so very well on the exercise front this past week. I did play a little tennis but I did not make it out for any runs and I seem to have lost the sheet the personal trainer created for me last May (and which I have used once since then). This is not good. I was supposed to run the Disney half marathon on Saturday but my sister backed out on me right before Christmas and since I hadn't been training for it anyway, I stayed home. Terrible when your family colludes to let you off the hook! Not that I've told them I'm doing this, but still...

This week has already kicked off harder than last week as I spent all day Saturday at youngest son's soccer tournament which meant eating out for both lunch and dinner. I was smart and got Subway for lunch and went to the grocery store close by for a side of strawberries instead of getting the meal deal with chips but the team ate at a wings and ribs place for dinner. My dinner of salad and soup was just not satisfying so after several hours driving home, I curled up on the couch with a bag of pretzels and proceeded to eat my way through 3/4 of the bag. On the plus side, I didn't eat the whole thing, so I guess I am making some sort of progress. :-P

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Why lose weight?

Forget being healthy. The best reason to work on shrinking me? So the dogs have more room in the bed.

Monday, January 2, 2012


There are so many diets out there that restrict or limit bread or carbs. I don't do so very well with those. My nickname when I was little was "Carbo Queen" because I never met a carbohydrate I didn't want to put in my mouth. I'm slightly more finicky now but it's still probably the food group I'd vote off the island last. Given my fondness for bread and its ilk, making it an off limits food will never work for me. So I have to learn to have it in moderation; no easy task.

Last night I accomplished my first task of the New Year (you should see the enormous list I made) and that was re-oganizing and de-cluttering the pantry. My pantry is small and easily gets disastrous looking with three kids scavenging in it on a daily basis. Well, in my cleaning frenzy, I uncovered a lot of stuff to make bread. In the bread machine bread, not completely by hand, because, well, that takes more follow through than I tend to have. So I made a loaf of Pane Toscana last night. It smelled completely heavenly and was intended to accompany the soup I'd made for dinner. But it wasn't ready in time so we ate cheese straws with the soup instead (please don't 'fro me in that briar patch!).

When the bread was finally ready, the kids came pounding into the kitchen for a before bed snack (carbohyrate addicts that they are, the apple doesn't fall far from this tree). I managed to slice them all pieces and have no more than a few crumbs myself. I even wrapped the rest up and put it away and have mostly ignored it today (no tasting, just longing, lust-filled looks so far). It's the little victories, you know? And incidentally, while homemade bread is definitely filled with fewer unpronounceable ingredients than store-bought bread, in terms of calories and fat and whatnot, it really doesn't beat out the stuff in the plastic wrapper, a rather disappointing discovery for this bread fanatic.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Wondering about my sanity

What kind of nincompoop starts a weight loss plan on New Year's Eve? The numb nuts currently typing this post, that's who. I have no idea what I was thinking deciding to start being mindful of what I am popping in my mouth before the butter, cream, and fat laden holidays were quite over. No one else could possibly be stupid enough to decide to lose weight while baking another batch of Tuscan Cheese Straws, the ones so full of butter and cheesy goodness that even my very generous father won't share one crumb of the batch he finds in his stocking every year. (No, this is not the first recipe I'm going to share, because "Lead us not into temptation" and all that jazz. Suffice it to say they are phenomenal if you are a savory lover--me, I'm both sweet and savory because if you're going to have a love affair with food, it should certainly be 100%, right? None of this pansy-assed one or the other crapola.)

But knowing that I have little to no willpower to avoid eating anything that looks delectable (and what doesn't?), I also made a marginally healthy version of Texas Caviar with Avocado. Aside from the dressing (I subbed in champagne vinaigrette for the Italian dressing since it was New Year's Eve and that made it sound all festive and rich ::snort::), it was all healthy-ish ingredients. Even avocados are crammed with good fats, right?! The fact that you scoop this stuff up with Fritos, possibly the worst for you chip on the planet--and not coincidentally one of the best tasting--is completely immaterial. But since I am trying to be behave around food, I also decided to take the advice of a magazine I had been reading earlier in the day. I just have to say that the people at either Real Simple or Rachael Ray (don't remember which magazine is actually to blame) are completely on crack if they think for one minute that subbing endive, which might indeed have a crunch, for Fritos as the dip purveyor is in the slightest sense satisfying or comparable. Endive might look classier but let me tell you, endive bites. And I only took the Fritos to the party. Well, Fritos and the cheese straws, so I could spread the butter content onto other people's butts too.

Of course, going to two parties meant that other people had made tempting tasties as well. In fact, at one of the parties, it was doubling as a birthday party so there was cake. Lots of cake. Three cakes. Now it is going to seem a bit odd given my general food Hoovering tendencies but I don't actually like cake a whole lot. So I restrained myself and has a bite (literally one each) of two of the cakes. But I helped myself to rather more cheese straws than I should have (dad doesn't share with me either and I'm the baker) and several scoops of endive-less Texas Caviar.

My only defense against the delicious looking foods at both parties was to keep my back to them at all times. It worked as well as could be hoped for and certainly better than the "eat before you go so you won't be hungry" advice I always hear. Seriously, if I only ate when I was hungry, I wouldn't have a food problem. I eat because it is there and it tastes good. And this is what I am trying to work my way through and beyond. Coping strategies for people who eat because it crosses their sight line, not strategies for people who just need to be reminded that food is simply fuel for the body. And last night, aside from the stupid inadvisability of choosing to start this surrounded by fantastic and fattening food, I think I actually handled it pretty well.

So, should I be offended that my e-mail this morning contained one from Weight Watchers telling me that they were open today and urging me to find a meeting?