Thursday, December 30, 2010

Close Only Counts...

Well, I settled into my new office (read as not temporary - really mine - 7 days a week - even if I'm not there) just in time for all the holiday parties and then a week long holiday break.

Aside from the obvious joy that is happening from having my own space with office equipment, real working drawers...and the joy that comes from having a job with no "stated" expiration date...and the joy of having new co-workers that mostly seem to enjoy me and I mostly enjoy...there is an additional benefit.

My new office is directly across the hall from the fitness center. If I am sitting at my computer, I am looking in the direction of it's doors. This could benefit me greatly - in the past (pre-chaos and disorder) I would take my "break" in the fitness center. However, I really hated to be there if anyone else was around. Because I like to the gym with the lights off. And I have a mild intolerance for non-preferred music / bad radio. And I generally don't want to be "nice" when I'm torturing myself on a treadmill.

So now I have a front row seat to the vacancy of the fitness center. And I have a daily reminder that is literally staring me in the face. And if that is not enough- I have my scale at home that has been taunting me lately.

So here is the plan:

1. Try to fit in desk push-ups 2 (hopefully 3) times a week. It will be hard as I have office mateS and no walls dividing us. And I refuse to have witnesses.

2. Take break in fitness center 3-4 times per week.

3. In order to make #2 happen - I must take my workout bag to work - fully stocked with shoes, socks, optional t-shirt, and things to make me not smelly at the end.

4. Also, as general motivation - I will need to create a play list for the occasion - perfectly timed for my 15 minute express workout. Nothing worse than flipping songs / artists in the midst of my focus.

5. I shall recommit my relationship with my pedometer. I will track my progress (it has a 1 week memory) but I'd like to be able to see the progress.

6. Ugh. As much as I HATE, HATE, HATE the food journal - I've got to do something to keep the eating present in my mind. I did sign up for the Sparks People app - I may default to paper, b/c so far, I'm mostly annoyed by it's "preset menu". I'm looking for a tracking application - not so interested in them telling me what to eat. Suggestions welcomed (android apps only).

Have you set your goals? More important do you have a plan to get there?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Professional Bra Fitting

You know how Oprah is always doing her "bra interventions"?  And saying that something like 85% of women are wearing the wrong size bra?  And then people come out for their "after" shot, and they look like they've lost 15 pounds?

Well, I have insane breasts.  I know I do.  I've always known I do.  And so far, I've managed to squeeze them into sizes that are available in major department stores, if not the local Target or Wal-mart.  But I had a feeling I was wearing the wrong size.

I live in a small town, so bra options are few and far between (unlike my breasts, which are abundant, with no space between).  But the other day I was in a larger town for work, and I happened to pass a little specialty lingerie shop advertising "custom bra fittings."  I decided, what the heck?  And I went in.

The woman informed me that there was a $15 fee, which would go toward my purchase, should I choose to make one.  I decided to go for it.

She asked what size I thought I was, and I told her...38 DDD...but that I was pretty sure that wasn't right.  She asked me to take off my coat and turn around.  She looked at my back, and ran her hand over the back of my bra, and then led me to a dressing room.

She brought bra after bra, and explained to me things I never knew about bras.  And the verdict?  Are you sitting down?  I was right on the 38 part.  Not so much on the letters.  Turns out, I'm an H.  As as, E, F, G, H.  I didn't know they made bras in H's.  But they do, and they had several.  Apparently this size is also known as FF.  So now you know.

And would you believe, the one I ended up buying is a push up?!  Could you die?  I mean, I've long avoided anything with any additional padding and/or pushing.  But really, when she put me in it, and I saw how the girls stood up at attention, far away from their natural place somewhere closer to my waist, I knew that was the one.  It was more money than I've ever paid for a bra.  But hey, it was $15 off, right?

I'll warn you, this bra fitting deal is not for the modest.  The woman started out being pretty hands-off and telling me how to do various things, but before long she had her hands inside my brashuffling my parts around where she thought they needed to be.  And she began to freely enter and exit the fitting room, whether I was clothed or not.  (R liked this story very much, until I made it clear she was old, and very overweight.  And there wasn't anyone else in the store most of the time, but still.)

Anyway, in case you are interested, the one I got is by Elomi and you can get one here if you'd like.  (That's not the right size, or the color I got, but you get the point.)

I also got this Barely There shaping tank, which I'm loving!  (And holy cow, that price on Amazon is way less than I paid.  I may need to buy more!)  I've tried shape wear on the lower half before, but really, it's my upper half that needs shaping.  And this goes over the bra, and makes me look a bit smaller.  And it's comfortable.

A few other tips this woman gave me, that I'll share with all of you:

A new bra should fit best with the straps on a looser setting, and with the back on the outside hooks.  Then, as you wear and wash the bra, it will loosen up, and you can tighten the straps and the back.  If you start out on the tightest settings, there's nowhere else to go.  (Good advice!)  Who knew?

You should lean forward when putting on your bra, to get the girls settled into their proper place.  She encouraged me then to reach inside the bra, and pull each boob up and toward the middle.  Then you should pull the back down and pull the straps in toward your neck.  She said this would keep my neck and shoulders from hurting so much, as it pulls the supporting part more to the middle.

She also told me this big hullabaloo about how wearing a proper fitting bra, that compresses the breasts, will eventually help them "learn" to stay in and up.  I'm not sure I buy that.  But my girls could use some movement towards "in" and "up" so whatever.  We'll give it a shot.

So, my hope for you all in the new year is that you'll make a resolution that's easy to keep, and will help you feel instantly better about yourself, and get a professional bra fitting!  I'm not sure I look 15 pounds lighter, but I do have a more defined waist.  And that's worth something.

(Nobody is paying me to endorse either this bra or this tank thingy.  But if you do click on those Amazon links and end up buying something, I might get like 4 cents.)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

My Old Job Was Making Me Fat

I've posted before about how I thought my old job was making me fat.  And about how I've lost three pounds (or more?) since being laid off.  Well, I had a chance (or the misfortune, or the horrifying experience) of testing my theory once more this past week.

See, someone decided to plan a reunion Christmas party.  And I decided to go.  Against my better judgement.

It was everything I feared it would be.  It was awkward.  It was uncomfortable.  It was nerve wracking and awful.  It was tense and bitter.

Or maybe that was just me?

I don't think so.  Because most people arrived late and left early.

Anyway, the point is, it was terrible, but the food was really good.  Mostly.  And I found myself in the midst of this bizarre social/dietary experiment in which I STUFFED myself for no good reason other than being really uncomfortable and wanting to escape.  Or something.

I filled my plate once, along with everyone else.  And I ate every bite.  Then everyone else got up and got a second plate.  And I was full.  I knew I was full.  But I got up and filled my plate a second time.  And I ate every bite again.

Then I felt sick.  Then someone brought out dessert.  And it wasn't even good dessert.  But So and So had made the dessert, and I was afraid So and So would be upset if I didn't eat her dessert.  So I ate a plate.

It wasn't even good.  And I was full to the point of feeling miserable.  But I guess the physical miserableness was easier to bear than the psychological miserableness.  So I ate and ate and ate.

And I sat there thinking, "Why am I doing this?  I'm not hungry.  I'm stuffed.  But I'm going to keep eating."

I knew exactly what I was doing.  Which maybe is progress in some way.  Considering I'd worked with most of these people for years, I'm sure I did this sort of thing to myself on a regular basis.  Maybe not to that extent, but still.

The good news is, I had a Christmas party with my new co-workers later in the week, and it was great.  The food was fabulous, and I didn't stuff myself.  Yay for that!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thyroid Pills and Other Doctorish Stuff

I went to the doctor Friday for my annual "well woman exam."  I try to go every year on time, mainly because I've had issues in that department in the past, including abnormal Paps and fibroids.  I just like to make sure everything is running smoothly so to speak.

A couple years ago, my doctor did a test and discovered I had an under active thyroid gland, which can cause such things as weight gain, insomnia, depression, tiredness, etc...  Which I have, but then, don't we all to some extent? 

Anyway, when I lost my job, I lost my insurance.  And my thyroid pill is only $4 a month, but the problem is, my prescription ran out in August, and I didn't want to pay to go to the doctor to get the prescription.  So, now that I have insurance again, I went, but I'd been without that pill for about three months.

Well, the doctor wasn't pleased with me for this.  She explained to me that an under active thyroid can cause weight gain, insomnia, depression, tiredness, etc... And she asked if I'd been experiencing any of these things.  Ummm...yeah.  But, the reason I hadn't been to see you is that I lost my insurance, because I lost my job.  And unemployment can cause depression, insomnia, blah blah blah, yes?

So, whatever.  I'm back on my $4 a month pill, and we'll see if I feel any better.  I kind of just didn't think it was doing much, so I didn't think much about being off of it.  I have felt bad, but I've had reasons to feel bad.

One reason to feel good though:  The doctor congratulated me on having lost three pounds since I'd seen her last.  And my appointment was in the middle of the day.  They weighed me with all my clothes on, including shoes, and I even forgot my keys were in my pocket.  So, yay for that!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Does Your Family Comment on Your Weight?

My family is full of overweight people, on both sides.  (Of the family I mean, not like they are overweight on both sides of their bodies.  Because that would be weird.  If they weren't I mean.  Oh, never mind.)

And my step-monster never hesitates to comment about my weight.  Or anybody else's for that matter.  Sometimes she'll just blatantly say, "Wow, you've put on some weight!"  Which is not helpful.

I mean really?!  When has anyone ever said this to anyone and gotten the response of, "Have I?  Oh my goodness, I had no idea!  Thank you so much for pointing this out to me.  Now I can take steps to remedy the situation.  You are so helpful!"

It's not helpful.  It's hurtful.  And it makes me want to eat another cookie.

Sometimes it's more subtle.  Like she'll slowly look me up and down and then ask, "So are you still walking every day?"  Or like the last time I saw her, when she gave me the once over then said, "Your DAD has lost a lot of weight!"

Which, really?  If he had, I couldn't tell.  But whatever.

Anyway, so I've been aware that this woman has been putting me, and others, in our places for years based on weight.  I've determined in the last year or so that the reason she must do this is that she has a lot of faults, but she's always been thin.  She's not the smartest person, or the richest, or most beautiful, or the most well liked.  But she's thin.  So she must feel a confidence boost by bringing up the issue of weight whenever she gets the chance.

What I hadn't been conscious of, until our Thanksgiving celebration the other day, is that my mom's side of the family does this too.  I swear, we hadn't been with my grandparents two minutes before Grandpa brought up the fact that a particularly heavy member of the family has lost 30 pounds.  And then he immediately launched into a story about my obese uncle sitting in a chair and breaking it.

Now, okay, that's kind of a remarkable story.  But honestly, it hit me then that this side of the family too is obsessed with weight.  Yet the majority of the people in the family are overweight.  So whatever Grandpa is trying to accomplish with pointing all this out, it's not working.  Well, I mean, unless his goal is to make all his progeny overweight.

Which proves my point that really, it's not helpful, and it's not appropriate, ever to talk about anyone else's weight.  It doesn't accomplish anything.  The person already knows he or she is overweight.  And telling them about it (or telling everyone else about it) only serves to make the person feel worse.  Which probably will make them eat more.

It's given me a lot to think about.  Like do I talk about people's weight?  If I do, what is my motivation?  Is it even okay to talk about people losing weight?  Because doesn't that imply that they needed to?  Doesn't it imply that they were somehow less than before they got their act together and lost the weight?

I mean, it seems like a compliment on the surface.  "Wow you've lost a lot of weight!  You look great!"  But does it mean they looked bad before?

Either way, I've been pondering the implications of 39 years spent in a family which is largely overweight (no pun intended) yet contains several members hell bent on putting everyone else down for their obesity.  I haven't quite figured out what to do about any of it, but I figure just being aware of it is progress.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nutrition Lessons from a 2001 VW Bug

I had some car trouble this past week.  You can read the full story about what happened here if you'd like.  But I came here to post about the crazy old mechanic's obsession with Premium Fuel.  One of the first things he said to me when the tow truck dropped us off was, "You DO put Premium Fuel in it, don't you?"

Ummm...no.  I don't.  That stuff is expensive, yo.

So I got a lecture about it.  How my car is a turbo, and it "just flat won't run" if you're not putting premium fuel in it.  And I was a bit concerned, because I've had this car for like 8 years.  And nobody has ever told me that.  The dealer I purchased her from didn't tell me.  The dealers I've had her at for various mechanical issues over the years never told me.  I mentioned this to the crazy old mechanic, and his response was, "The car tells you every time you fill up.  It says inside the gas door 91 octane fuel only."

Yes, because that's what I do when I go fill up with gas.  I open the gas door and stand there and read that tiny print inside the door.

The guy asked me this again when I came to pick up the car.  And then again when I stopped by two days later because my "check engine" light had come back on.  "You DO put premium fuel in it, don't you?" 

Anyhow, I pondered this guy's words, and then I started to actually feel bad that I'd been putting sub-par fuel into my poor little Buggie.  I love her.  I want her to run well.  And I wasn't giving her what she needed to run.  But I didn't know!

So I vowed this week to only put the premium fuel in her.  "When you know better, you do better!"  To quote Oprah.

But then it hit me.  How many times have I been told what my body needs to run well?  And I still don't give her what she needs.  I give her the cheap fuel, and then get upset with her when she won't do what I want her to do or doesn't look like I want her to look.

Why am I so willing to immediately change what I put into my car, the moment I learn what that should be?  And I'm so unwilling to change what I put into my own body?  Even though I know.  I know very well the ramifications of poor nutrition and unhealthy food choices.  I know my "machine" will run better on premium fuel.  But apparently I'm not quite ready to make that investment.

What is up with that?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Some Things Stick

I'm not sure how it has come to be over a year since we got started on this adventure - but here we are. Is my weight at a new magical perfect number? No. Is my battle over? No, not even close.


As I think over the past year (and yes, I do realize I have been MIA for several months---loss of job and then finding a temporary job with the word "Crisis" in the title apparently will do that to a person).... I think I've been working very Part Time at my weight loss. I've had a few moments where I've given it my 100%. But mostly, I've been sidetracked by life.


However, let us review the successes.


Success #1

A year ago I was only beginning ending my addiction to soda. I remember a year ago - nearly to the day - I was salivating over a Diet Coke and trying to avoid the temptation. Now I am happy to say I mostly complete week after week without having a single soda.


This habit has also rubbed off onto my husband - who used to be a soda-addict in the denial stage. Now, 99% of the time you will find Club Soda in our fridge and no real soda in the house.


There are times that I indulge in a beverage. Sometimes more than once in a week. But I generally find that shortly after that I am craving some water and feeling dehydrated. When I can trade my soda dependency for water dependency? Well, I call this success!


Success #2

Somewhere, I managed to fall in love with the idea of doing push-ups at my desk. I did fall off the wagon (when you don't have a desk....well, you get the picture). But I've recently returned to my habit and I really like the burn. I also like that I can do several of these push-ups, I can alter the difficulty (bring hands closer together) and unlike floor push-ups - they don't make me feel like a wimpy loser.

Prior to this experience - it had been years since I'd done push-ups. Much less doing them multiple times a week. Increased physical activity - record this as success.


Success #3

I really do think that I am eating healthier overall. This is no claim at perfection - just that I've tried to eat more "good" and less "bad". I do believe that any steps in a healthier direction are worth celebrating...and so, we'll call moderation a success.


Okay - so it's a short success list. But you know, I think I've lost the same 5 pounds about 20 times....so, maybe I've lost a total of 100 pounds?


Never underestimate the power of lying to yourself. :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Taking More Than I Need

I haven't posted much here lately, because I have done much lately in terms of healthy living, eating better, or exercising.  My work has been crazy, and I've been travelling a lot, which unfortunately, leads to less physical activity and more eating.

I actually just forgot to go to yoga this week.

And then there's the Halloween candy.

Anyway, I just started reading Women, Food, and God  so I hope to soon gain lots of helpful insights into my weight struggles, which I hope to share with all of you.

I've had this book for months.  I bought it to read during my vacation this summer.  Then, instead of getting a vacation, I got fired.  And reading a book about why I'm overweight was the least of my concerns.

I've barely begun reading, but I think I'm going to get a lot out of it.  I read this part last night, and it really made me think:
To discover what you really believe, pay attention to the way you act--and to what you do when things don't go the way you think they should...You will quickly discover if you believe the world is a hostile place and that you need to be in control of the immediate universe for things to go smoothly.  You will discover if you believe that there is not enough to go around and that taking more than you need is necessary for survival.


I don't know yet what to do about it.  But I'll let you know when I figure it out.
I know I always take more than I need.  I take more food than I need.  I  buy more shoes than I need.  I have a bigger house than I need, filled with more stuff than I need.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I'm Still Standing

I've noticed that one thing I do to make life harder on myself is not getting into an exercise routine and sticking with it.  I tend to go in huge spurts, and then quit for weeks.  And then I have to get myself all psyched up to get started again, which is way more effort than it is to just keep going once you're in the habit.

Part of it isn't my fault.  The yoga class I love is only once a week.  And my new work schedule means that, for a while, I can only go every other week.  I keep thinking I'll do a yoga video in between, but it just isn't the same.

Anyway, I went last night, and it was awesome, as always.  I walked a bit beforehand, and I noticed all the people working out as I circled the community center.  I love working out there, because I never feel like anyone is looking at me or judging me.  There are people of all shapes and sizes, and everyone is just there to exercise.  No one cares how cute your clothes are, or how buff your biceps are.

And I, of course, would never be judgemental, but I have noticed lately that a lot of people have really fat elbows.  Like there is one woman who is probably a size four, and she's always there working out like a fool, but I noticed she has major fat around her elbows.  I guess, if we should find something we love about our bodies, I can wholeheartedly say I have super sexy elbows.

Most Awesome Song I Heard While Working Out:  "I'm Still Standing" by Elton John.  I know it's technically a "break up" song, but it's been keeping me going through my unemployment mess.
I'm Still Standing

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's Just Not a Good Time to Diet

I've read before (sorry, I can't point to where, but I've seen it more than once) that a woman should start a diet after her "time of the month" and never before.  Just better to let the hormones work for you, rather than against you.

Yet, here I find myself, deep in the throes of PMS, and trying to start back on that Rapid Start Plan again.  It's not going so well.

I had raisin bran and coffee for breakfast.  A big salad, with only two tablespoons of dressing, for lunch.  A cup of light yogurt for a snack.  And then...a cookie.

But then, baked tilapia, cold slaw with low calorie dressing, and fat free baked beans for supper.  And then...a cookie.

R must be hormonal as well, because he followed me into the kitchen and promptly ate seven miniature Reese's cups.  But then he ate some grapes.  And when I commented that we weren't doing so well on our diet, he said, "Hey, at least I'm eating fruit."

All in all, I figure the majority of our choices today were healthy.  I know we got more vegetables in than we would have on a typical day.  I'm calling it a win, given the timing.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Working is Hard on my Diet

I've written before about how my job was making me fat.  And about how, since being fired (or laid off, or whatever it was), I've lost a few pounds.

I start a new job on Monday, which I'm happy about, despite a couple concerns.  It is actually almost my old job, only I'll officially be employed by a different agency.  And I won't have the same co-workers and stress that they brought on.  I'll also be avoiding a few of the tasks that made my old job so stressful.

Still, I'm a little bit concerned about how this is going to affect my eating and exercise habits.  I can already tell I'm slacking off the healthy eating, just out of stress from preparing to start the new position.  And I'm starting with a bang by travelling for three days.

I hope that once I get settled into the new job, my eating will resume it's healthiness.  I'll be working from home 3-4 days a week, so I should be able to control what goes into my mouth those days, even if the "on the road" days are a bit more difficult.

I already looked at my work calendar compared to the yoga class calendar. and it looks like I can only go one more time in October.  Ugh.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

You Be Illin'

R and I are doing fairly well with our eating habits, though we fell off the wagon pretty hard this weekend.  He was out of town for basically all weekend, and I was too on Friday.  And we had burgers and fries for lunch that day.  Ummm...and for dinner too.

I know, that's a bad meal plan in any book.  But the thing is, after just four days of eating healthy foods, I actually felt ill from the burger and fries.  The second time anyway.  It was a bigger burger the second time.

So, I got back on the wagon Saturday, pretty well anyway.  We had Taco Bell last night because we were in a hurry and out running errands, and I felt ill after that too.  Though feeling ill after Taco Ball probably isn't unusual.

I've walked every day this past week except Saturday.  And I'm planning to go to yoga tomorrow night.  I haven't been in weeks.  I think it will be good for me, both physically and mentally.  I've been feeling a little off, and I think skipping yoga for so long is part of it.

So, my plan is to keep up my positive efforts, continue to avoid the scale, and try harder to avoid foods that make me ill.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day Three...Or...Whose Pants Are They?

Today is theoretically day four of our diet plan, except that we kinda quit following it very closely after day two.  This was mainly due to a couple work events R had and me being on the road today.  However, we have been following it more or less, and overall we have been eating much healthier than we normally would have.

For instance, tonight we had to run some errands, and normally we would have either eaten out or grabbed fast food to go.  Instead, we decided to buy a rotisserie chicken with our groceries, and we also got a can of fat free baked beans, a bag of broccoli slaw, and some lower calorie cole slaw dressing.  When we got home, it took us two minutes to whip up dinner, and it was delicious!  If you've never tried the broccoli slaw (we hadn't) I highly recommend it.

Anyway, I haven't stepped on the scale, and I'm not sure I will, because that tends to derail me when I have been making healthy choices.  But I did go to Macy's today, because I had a job interview out of town, and there happened to be a Macy's two blocks from the office.  Two months ago when I lost my job, I bought a pair of black pants specifically to wear for job interviews, because none of my nice pants fit me so well anymore.  I knew these pants were kind of big on me last time I had an interview, but nothing that kept me from wearing them.

Until I walked into the Macy's dressing room today, caught a glimpse of myself in these giant pants, and realized I looked like a clown!  Or a homeless person.  Or something.  I mean, they were HUGE.  Holy cow.

So I bought a new pair of black pants.  In one size smaller.  Yay!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rapidish Startish Day Two

Well, we did fairly well with our plan yesterday.  We both followed the program except that we both ate a small piece of banana bread last night.  And I never did eat my snack that was to be a pear.  (Does banana bread count as a fruit?)

This is the problem I have with new eating plans.  I hate to throw out perfectly good food that I already have.  Especially when that food is already prepared.  And I'd made this yummy banana bread a few days before.

Plus, we were hungry.  So, we agreed to each have a small piece.  I figure, all in all, it was a vast improvement over what we would have normally eaten in a day.  (For one thing, R would have had a HUGE piece of the banana bread in the evening.)  We each ate fruits, vegetables, high fiber cereal, low fat yogurt, and lean protein.  I drank hot tea (black) most of the day instead of my usual two to three diet sodas.

Plus, we went for a bike ride after supper.  Then we worked painting our garage.

I'm calling it a success.

Tonight we're eating a bowl of soup, even though that's not technically on the plan for today.  But, I'd made the soup Sunday, and it needs to be eaten.  And it's healthy anyway.  I made it with ground turkey this time, and the rest is all beans, vegetables, and spices.  We'll just skip the cheese and crackers we would normally eat with it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rapid Start

Have you noticed that whenever a blogger posts something like, "I'm going to post every day for thirty days!" or, "Starting today, I'm working out every day for a week!" it's a sure sign that they will not, in fact, do whatever they say they are going to do?

Well, here I am! To tell you all about the diet plan that I'm doing! No, really, ya'll, I'm doing it!

But I'm only committing to following it exactly for three days. R and I are doing it together. I figure, anyone can do anything for three days. And at that point, we'll see if we feel any better, are any less hungry, want to strangle each other, whatever.

What we're doing is the Rapid Start plan from Dr. Phil's Ultimate Weight Solution.  I know this book is old.  And Dr. Phil kind of annoys me.  But my ex-husband and I followed this plan for a few weeks about six years ago, and it really worked for us.  I think the main reason I "fell off the wagon" is that there are very few carbs, and I swear, I need carbs.  You get a bowl of high fiber cereal in the morning, and then that's it for your carbs.  (Well, other than fruits and vegetables, I know those are technically carbs, but I'm talking bread, pasta, cereal, rice.)

Anyhow, we both know our eating habits are a mess, and even if we don't follow this plan exactly or forever, mainly we just wanted to kind of reset our brains and our bodies, and I think this plan will help.  It helped me before.

So far, day one, we've had our one cup of cereal, (which isn't much cereal.  Really, measure it and see.) one cup of skim milk, one egg, one piece of fruit, and tea for breakfast.  Now for me, that's more breakfast than I would ever eat.  I would have cereal OR eggs OR fruit.  Granted, I'd have more cereal.  But still.

And R had his fruit for his morning snack, but I'm not even hungry again yet, so I haven't had mine.  Then lunch is a big salad with some tuna and 2 tablespoons dressing.  Again, not very much dressing.  I probably normally use twice or three times that.

I made R a HUGE salad, because it says "a generous portion of greens."  Mine is quite a bit smaller, but I know he is used to eating a lot.  So, he gets more lettuce, cucumbers, celery, and carrots.  He came home and ate it, then I sent him on his way with a light yogurt for his afternoon snack.

We'll see if he's gnawing on his arm by the time he gets home for dinner.  And I'll keep you all posted on how our three day diet plan goes!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I'm Not Fat, I'm Fluffy!

Daisy is here today to welcome our new friends from the Thankful Fur Three Bloghop.  The Teacher's Pets hosts this fun way to meet new blog friends, and she focuses on pet-friendly blogs.

Each of us here at DTTBMMLF plays mama to two doggies, which can actually be a great way to help you lose weight.  Dogs have to be walked, right?  Regina reminded me the other day of the saying, "If your dog is fat, you aren't getting enough exercise."

Unfortunately, I don't think the reverse is necessarily true.  My Daisy and Rudy are pretty healthy, but that's not so much because I walk them as it is because they chase each other around my yard and my house like they are qualifying for a NASCAR race.  I think they keep each other fit.  Maybe my boyfriend and I need to join in the chase more often!

At any rate, I have also found that for optimal weight control it's best if you do not eat like Rudy does:
If you'd like to meet some new fluffy friends, join in the fun.  Happy Blog Hopping!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Amish Friendship Banana Bread Recipe

I've been experimenting with variations of an Amish Friendship Bread recipe Regina gave me.  The original recipe is cinnamon bread, which is delicious.  However, after making it every ten days for weeks, I've been wanting new variations, and I'm trying to straddle the line between great taste and healthy ingredients.  I made this banana bread this weekend, and it has been yummy!

This recipe does use the starter that Regina gave me, but just in case she didn't give you one too, you can find recipes for the Amish Friendship Bread Starter online. 

Amish Friendship Banana Bread 
 
1. Pour entire contents of the starter into a large, non-metal bowl.  Be sure to stir with a non-metal spoon and use non-metal pans also.
2. Add 1 1/3 cups flour, 1 ½ cups sugar, 1 1/3 cups milk. Mix well. (For four starters. For only one, add only ¾ cups of all ingredients.)

3. Label 4 (or only 1) one gallon ziplock bags with “Day 1…” and the date. Put 1 c. of the batter mixture into each of these bags. These are the starters for you to pass on to your friends. You may keep one if you want to continue making the bread yourself.

4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

5. To the remaining batter, add:
3 eggs
3/4 c. canola oil (or ½ oil and ½ applesauce.  I didn't like the texture as well when I used the applesauce, and I thought the bread just tasted like apples.  Which isn't bad, but isn't what I was going for.)
½ c. skim milk
1 c. sugar
2 mashed ripe bananas
½ tsp. vanilla
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 large box banana instant pudding
1 c. chopped walnuts (I saved back about 1/4 cup and sprinkled them on top.)
1/2 cup milled flax seed
6. Grease bottom and sides of 2 large loaf pans. Dust the inside of the pans with a bit of sugar, making sure to coat sides and bottom.

7. Pour batter evenly into the 2 pans.

8. Bake for approximately 1 hour (until a toothpick comes out clean.  Mine took more like an hour and ten minutes).

Sorry, I don't have calorie counts or fiber content or any of that stuff.  I just figure it's much better for me than using white flour, whole milk, etc...  And the banana, walnuts, and flax seed are nutritious.  A slice of this with my coffee makes a pretty filling breakfast too.

For more great Tuesdays at the Table, visit Cole at All the Small Stuff.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I Really Should Take My Own Advice

Remember my post about why I wasn't weighing myself?  Well, I weighed myself today, and then I wished I hadn't, for all of the reasons I wrote about in that post.

Since becoming unemployed, I've been home more, so I've been cooking more healthy meals (rather than eating out so much).  And honestly, despite the financial strain, I've been feeling less stress than I had in a year or more, so the stress eating has diminished.

I've been busy on a couple painting projects that have had me climbing up and down ladders for days on end, carrying heavy objects, and using my arms a lot.  I've even started walking again, and did five out of seven days last week.

It seems like my pants are getting looser, and I'm seeing some new definition in my arms.  Plus, riding my bike has gotten a lot easier.

So, silly me.  I figured I'd step on the scale and marvel at my own progress, then come here and let all of you marvel at my progress as well.

Except that I gained a pound and a half.

Seriously?!  How is this possible?!

What's worse is what it did to my mood.  I went from feeling really good about myself and my progress to feeling like a slug.  A fat slug.  A fat slug who eats too much junk food and sits on the couch most of the day.

I did snap out of it this afternoon finally, enough to take my walk and cook a healthy dinner.  But I think I'm going back to the no scale plan for a while.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me?

I did something crazy today.  Something so radical, I'm certain it will revolutionize the world of weight loss.  And no, it had nothing to do with injecting myself with urine from pregnant cows.

I went for a walk.

Shocking, I know.

I put on my shoes and my ipod, and I stepped out into the fresh air and sunshine, and I put one foot in front of the other.  I did this for about 30 minutes.  Straight.

I think I might do it again tomorrow.  And see what happens.

Most Awesome Song I Heard While Working Out:  "Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me" by Keith Urban
Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me

Monday, September 6, 2010

Yes. No. Maybe.

Does this blog make me look fat?

Yes.

It points out my terrible LACK of Weight LOSS. It highlights my failures / my detours / my lack of focus. I'm afraid that instead of a site for motivation - my posts may soon be used as "what not to do" or perhaps more likely "how to not do much about it at all."


Does this blog make me look fat?

No.

If "think thin" (or thin-er) power can be harnessed to prevent us from further backsliding on our weight goals - I think I've tapped that energy! Even though I may NOT be making much movement in the forward direction - at least I have managed to not go above my "start weight" during this project. I have thought of you all when I considered making bad choices. I have also thought of you when I made better choices. And while I'm sorry that this hasn't been a journal of overwhelming success - it has been a picture of reality.

Does this blog make me look fat?

Maybe.

Back to that picture of reality - the truth is that I need to lose weight - so maybe I do look a bit fat. It never fails to amaze me that "fat" and "thin" is so based on a comparison to who you are with. At one of my job sites -I was referred to this week as "skinny girl". It took me a few moments to realize they were talking about ME. And I wasn't at all deluded into thinking it was the truth - just that I had maintained something "closer to thin" than these ladies. Which also is a reminder that it's funny how our eyes round up when we are judging ourselves and how often we are willing to "round down" when we are judging others. So maybe you'll catch me on a fat day, maybe on a looking okay day - either way, the scale continues to be my forever frenemy!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Have You Heard of this Pregnancy Hormone Diet?

I'm not on the diet.  But I just had lunch with a friend who is.  And yes, she's lost 9 pounds in 11 days.  But at what cost?

I don't even know how much she's paying, so I mean the figurative cost.  She's taking some hormone that is supposed to mimic what a woman's body produces after pregnancy, like to help the body shed the baby weight?  Which, I can't think is good for a person, but whatever.

And then she's only allowed to eat 500 calories a day.  500 A DAY!  I just wanted to grab her and shake her.  I mean, come on.  Anybody will lose weight at the start on only 500 calories a day.

She can only eat like grilled chicken, fish, or shrimp and fresh fruits and veggies.  Oh, and melba toast (????)  So, you can imagine, eating a meal out with her was a joy.  In her defense, they screwed up her order, twice.  I mean, when you ask for no dressing on the salad, you mean no dressing.

Then she proceeded to sit there and drool over the pasta somebody nearby was eating.  And the dessert menu so cruelly placed in front of us.  I was at least kind enough to order a salad as well, though I cheerfully enjoyed the dressing on mine.  I refrained from ordering the new pasta on Applebee's menu that is topped with provolone cheese filled meatballs.

Anyway, I am not on this diet, and I'm not going on this diet, and I have not lost 9 pounds in 11 days (or in 100 days).  Any of you tried it?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How Can Unemployment be So Time Consuming?

I swear, I don't know how I ever had time to have a job.  I've been so busy lately, and it's causing me to fall back into the stressed out eating phase.  I haven't weighed, but I'm afraid the downward trend didn't continue last week.

R's daughter S was here, and since I'm not working, and he doesn't have that many vacation days, I just stayed home with her.  Which actually proved to cause some good calorie burn.  We swam almost every day.  We played Just Dance on the Wii.  We rode bikes.

Plus, I think we actually ate healthier while she was here, because I was trying to set an example for her.  We actually cooked dinner every night but one, and we ate at the table like human beings (instead of in front of the TV like R and I usually do).

I had a big presentation to do yesterday (which yes, was a "job" of sorts, but only a one time deal).  I was completely stressed out about the whole thing anyway, and having S here the week before meant I had little time (and even less focus) to prepare.  It was originally going to be today, so I kinda thought I had at least one more full day to prepare, then they changed it.

Anyhow, that's over now.  My house is quiet again (maybe a little too quiet!), and hopefully I can get back into some healthy habits.  I'm planning to start reading Women, Food, and God.  I'll for sure keep you posted on my thoughts as I do!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Silent, Steady, and Still Here

I haven't posted for a while...

it's not because I've been away on any great adventures...(unless you consider the chaos of job loss / scramble for new life-plan to be a great adventure)

And for those that are confused - yes, both Janet and I are going through the same thing with our loss of employment with little warning.

So most of what she has said, has felt like it was also "from me".

Exercise isn't a priority (though I have been filling in as a substitute cook - and I must say, the pedometer likes this job MUCH more than my desk job).

Eating hasn't been perfect but also hasn't been out of control (stress makes me eat less).

Weight is holding steady.

Perhaps I should re-think the claim that I am good at multi-tasking...because when it comes to my life - I'm not so good. I can focus on organizing. OR I can focus on exercise. OR I can focus on being a health nut. But I'm not so good at focusing on all of the above.

And right now - I'm forced to figure out my life / income plan...in the meantime, I hope that I can hold stead on the weight front.

But I'm still here...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

What Goes Up...

Just in case you hadn't noticed, I'd like to point out that my ticker has gone down.  Down I tell you!  DOWN!

It had slowly but steadily gone up for months and months and months.  As my job stress steadily went up and up and up.

But I stepped on the scale today, and I was down by about a pound.  From the last time I updated that is.  Which honestly, was a long time ago.

Anyway, hooray for small blessings! And small weight losses!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I Told You it was My Job

I spoke with a friend today who considers herself "sporadically employed."  She doesn't have a "job" so to speak, since she got fed up and quit hers about a year ago, but she does a lot of consulting and part time stuff here and there and seems to do okay.

She asked me if I was losing weight since losing my job.  I haven't stepped on a scale, so I couldn't answer for sure, but I think I might have lost a little.

She said she has lost 10 pounds without trying since quitting her job.  She says she does a lot of yoga, which she wasn't doing before, but that she used to walk three miles a day, which she isn't doing now.  And she said she's probably eating a bit better, and eating out less, but that she still loves her cookies and so forth.

She's decided that the major factors in this mysterious weight loss are absence of stress and abundance of sleep.  She was curious if I've experienced the same thing.

Honestly, at this point, I'm not sure I have an absence of stress.  I hope to reach that point soon.  And I hope to reach the fabulous sleep stage soon.  I'm still not sleeping well.

Right now I think mine is more too upset to eat.

Anyway, I'll of course keep you all posted.  And maybe this friend and I will soon publish our future bestselling book, Does this Job Make Me Look Fat?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Plan is...There is No Plan

I haven't stepped on a scale in months.  And with all the job stress, and then unemployment stress, my eating has been crazy, and my workouts have been minimal.  Plus its hot.  Really hot.  I don't do hot.

Yes, I have a treadmill.  Whatever.

I have been getting in the pool most days, and kind of doing my own water aerobics, or water calisthenics, or water yoga or something.  So, that's good.

I'm having major PMS again too, so that doesn't help my mood, stress, or weight loss efforts.  But I'm thinking of stepping on the scale in a couple days, updating my ticker, and getting going on this thing again in some capacity.

The last time I lost any amount of weight (like 20 pounds) I was unemployed.  So, hopefully I can find the time and energy now to make a positive difference in my health.  Plus I don't have all that job stress causing me to gorge on chocolate anymore.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Awards Shows are Always on Sundays

So I felt it appropriate to post our second ever blog award on Sunday.  We just received this from Food Addict at Food:  My Drug of Choice.  She found us the other day by searching for her own blog, and happening upon my post, "Is Food My Drug of Choice?"  Turns out, we seem to have a lot in common (except that she is, um, like actually losing weight), and she has a great blog, so check her out!
  
These are the award's rules:


1. Thank the person who gave you the award.

2. Share seven things about yourself.

3. Nominate 15 newly discovered blogs.

4. Let your nominees know about the award.

So, without further ado...Thank you Food Addict!
 
Seven things about me:
 
1.  Most of the time, I'd rather snack than eat "real food."  Someone told my mom once that she eats like a ten-year-old latch-key child, and I think I inherited that from her.  (Nobody uses that term anymore, "latch-key child" which maybe means fewer people are leaving children home unattended?  I hope.  Anyway...)
 
2.  I really dislike sports.  Playing sports especially, but I'm not terribly fond of even watching.  Unless I'm terribly fond of someone playing, like a cousin, or my high school team, or whatever.  Then I'll go.  But I still don't really relish the idea.
 
3.  I can do butterfly pose in yoga really well.  I'm not the most limber person, but for some reason, my body bends that way.
 
4.  I cannot, however, do child's pose.  It makes me feel like I'm suffocating.  I think because my boobs and stomach are too big.  So, I do a variation, which I think is actually called polar bear or something like that.  I spread my knees wider, and rest my forehead on my palms.  Try it.  It's cozy.
 
5.  I guess I'm what you'd call a "flexitarian."  I eat meat, but not a lot.  And if I think about it too much, it bothers me.  I'd really like to be able to just give it up completely, because I love animals.  I don't think I could ever do vegan though, because I adore cheese.
 
6.  I seriously believe my job was making me fat. I'm hoping to reverse that trend now.  Unless being unemployed also turns out to make me fat.  So far it makes me mostly just not want to eat.
 
7.  It makes me insane to work out without my ipod.  I'll seriously just skip working out if I forget my ipod.  And "my" ipod technically belonged to my job.  So, when I lost my job, I lost the ipod.  I went without it for a day, then bought a new one.  And it's awesome.
 
Okay, as for the fifteen "new blogs", I have been neglecting my blogging world so much lately, I don't have that many "new" ones to nominate.  So, the newest ones I've found are:
 
Dr. Grumpy in The House  (Hilarious!)
Eric Maisel Creativity Central (which actually hasn't been updated in a month, but is worth browsing)
Stuff No One Told Me
Everyday Rebel
 
And now they are cuing the music telling me to wrap up my speech, so thank you all for reading us, despite our ups and downs (on the scale, and in our lives).

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Review - As Promised

Time has gotten away from me - I have valid reasons...but some time ago I said that I had requested some samples of a product to flavor up my water - calorie free!

It's called True Lime (though there is also True Lemon and True Orange). They also offer True Lemonade - it does have calories but only 5 per packet - I haven't tried this version so I can't speak about it.
So I got my samples and immediately poured myself a beverage. The packets are the size of a sugar packet in a restaurant - and it says that one packet equals about one wedge of fruit.

Did you know - when those slices were tested in restaurants - they often had many bacteria on them? This is a natural product without the germs.

It did have a nice flavor - though if you wanted it to be strong, you may need 2 packets for a normal glass of water. The price for a box of 32 is around $5. For most flavor packets I'm paying $2-3 for 10. So even using 2 packets at a time, this product is very competitively priced.

Also, I enjoyed the orange and lemon in club soda - a nice alternative to sugar / chemical filled soda!

Overall - we have a winner!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Stressed Out Person's Diet

I haven't stepped on a scale lately, but I think I'm losing some weight from this whole job loss fiasco. At least I have that small consolation I suppose.

I'm not working out a lot or anything, but I'm just not having much of an appetite. It's hot, I've been upset, I don't feel like cooking, so I just don't eat a lot.

I did go to yoga last night, which was awesome, as usual. Last time I went, I immediately burst into tears, so this time was better in that there was no crying.

Until after.

Yesterday was my last day of work, so I was pretty emotional. Sometimes in a bad, devastated, my life is over kind of way, and sometimes in a thank God I never have to do this or that again kind of way.

My poor boyfriend is putting up with a lot lately. At least maybe he'll have a thinner girlfriend out of the deal.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Can't Keep a Good Woman Down

I haven't really exercised for several days, but I made myself go to yoga this evening. And then there was no yoga. Again! Grrrrr. If I'd gone last week, I would have known there was no class this week. But I was too upset to go last week.

Anyway, since I was there, and in my workout clothes, I went ahead and walked for about 30 minutes. It felt good. Not as good as yoga, but good.

I don't know why I make things so hard on myself by not being consistent. When I can get into a routine of working out most days, I start to crave it. And it's easier to stay in a routine once a person is in a routine.

But I seem to consistently be inconsistent. Then I have to make huge efforts to get myself going again.

And then once I make myself go to the gym, there's no yoga class.

At any rate, maybe once my job situation settles down I can get myself back into a routine of working out regularly.

Most Awesome Song I Heard While Working Out: "Can't Keep a Good Man Down" by Alabama

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Time Flies...

Has it really been a week since I posted that last thing about being too upset to eat?

You'll be relieved to know I've moved firmly into the "wanting to eat everything in sight" phase of my upsettedness.

Ugh.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Diet Plan I Do Not Recommend You Follow

It's the "I'm So Upset I Can't Eat" diet. It pairs nicely with the "All I Want to Do is Whine on the Phone and Pace around the House" exercise plan. I don't recommend it, but I'm pretty sure it's working. At least it's working better than the "My Job is Making Me Fat" plan I was on previously.

See, I found out yesterday that I'm losing my job. I work about three more weeks, and then our office is closing down. Which sucks.

I mean, it always sucks to be fired. Or "let go" as they are calling it. I know it's no fault of my own. I'm being repeatedly told that. The state budgets were cut. Our funder's budget was cut. And they, in turn, cut our program. As in, cut it off completely.

This is the first job I've ever had that I truly liked. And I've been there over six years, which is the longest I've ever had the same job. I know I complain about it, especially here lately, but honestly, I've loved it. At least I did until maybe a year ago.

Things have kind of gone downhill the last few months. And the last few weeks, with budget cuts looming, have been excruciating. Everyone has been stressed and looking out for themselves. And the uncertainty has been very hard to live with. At least now I know.

Anyhow, I went to yoga tonight, and promptly burst into tears and spilled my guts to my yoga instructor. She's a doll, and she calmly listened, was appropriately horrified, and gave me a big hug.

I truly did feel much better by the time class was over. So, maybe I can turn this new found free time into more health and fitness success. We'll see.

Namaste.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chug-A-Lug

So, as promised I've been trying to get my 8 glasses of water a day.

This lead to questions from my son about how much water HE should be drinking each day- which of course lead to google - and there I learned that 8 glasses of water a day is the generic answer.

The REAL answer is to take your weight. Divide it by 2. Drink that many ounces of water per day. So 8 might NOT be your real answer either.

I've read many times that we get a good amount of water from our food. So I'm still going with 8 glasses. It is at least a starting point.

So here's what I did to try to hit 8 a day.

1. Wide mouth, PBA free 16 ounce water bottle . Wide mouth because that makes it easier to clean. PBA free because I worry about that kind of thing. 16 ounces because that is about what we consider a "serving" - and it gives me credit for 2 glasses with only one fill - and it is easy math. I kept this bottle at my desk. I try to fill it up every day or anytime before I leave my desk area so that when I come back I can quickly grab this very cold beverage without much thinking.

2. I still used some flavor packets. But I drank plain water between each flavor. For plain water - I really need it to be ice cold. This involves either ICE or it needs to be pre-chilled. No water fountain has yet to deliver the temperature that I require. I have access to ice in the main kitchen - but my backup plan is to take a ziplock bag and put some in my own fridge in my work area.

3. This was much more successful on workdays than weekends. I was able to pace myself - by noon I should be about half done. By the time I leave I should have 8 glasses down. It is not likely that I will not drink anymore all afternoon / evening. But really, I simply can not predict how much beverage will be at my disposal - and it varies greatly based on our schedule for the day. That being said, there are days with odd schedules or back-to-back meetings. These were more challenging to stay on track.

4. This doesn't seem to happen by accident. It requires some focus. It requires some attention to make sure you are on pace and that you are trying to get some percentage of these drinks as pure water.

5. Even with my flavor packets - I'm slightly frustrated. Many have calories. (Look closely - they will say 5 calories per serving - but there are 2 servings per pack.) Many others have artificial sweeteners - I'd rather avoid these - call me boring, but I'm trying to ensure my food is actually "food". And almost all are from artificial flavors- again, I'd prefer real. But I guess real doesn't often come in powder form. In an effort to find something more "real" but still convenient to use - I'm hoping to try out a product called True Lime, True Lemon, and True Orange. I'll let you know what I think about it - calorie free, all natural - price very similar to other flavorings.

Overall, all my drinking did help me feel satisfied longer. Did it kill my ice cream cravings? No. But any little bit helps!

What about you? Did you up your water intake? Do you have any strategies that help you succeed?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Songs to Help Me through a Rough Time

I started this post to be one of my Most Awesome Song I Heard While Working Out posts, but I kept hearing another good one, and another good one, and then another. These aren't really "pump you up" type songs, and ummm...well, most of them are Olivia songs (I can't help it, half the songs on my Ipod are Olivia) but each one contains a message I desperately needed to hear right now.

If you read my other blog, you've read my detailed horrors from our recent stay at The Heartland Inn (Sorry, but I'm telling everyone I know, don't stay there, EVER), and about my current job situation being a bit iffy. All this leads to stress eating, stress insomnia, stress....just stress.

I've been trying to walk as much as I can, more for my sanity than for weight loss. So, some of those slow songs I might have skipped over previously made it into my ears today. Here are some you might enjoy, and might not be familiar with (unless you're an Olivia freak like me and EG).

Under The Skin by Olivia Newton-John
Great song about realizing we are beautiful, inside and out. My favorite line is, "You only see what's changed, but to me you're still the same. There's no one quite like you." Listening to Olivia makes me feel like I'm still a seven-year-old girl wanting nothing more than to BE Sandy in Grease, and believing she CAN.

Wonder, by Natalie Merchant

I've decided this is my new theme song. Anybody out there who used to watch Ally McBeal? And remember her therapist telling her she needed a theme song? She chose "Ooh Child," which is another good song for picking yourself up in rough times.


Let Go Let God by Olivia Newton-John
I'm not a religious person, but I needed to hear this message right now. "Let the signs remind you, we are passengers. Let the signs remind you, to surrender."

And the last awesome song I heard...Love is Letting Go of Fear by Olivia Newton-John

"Love is letting go the chains that tie your spirit down."

I've had a lot of chains trying to tie my spirit down lately. I'm looking forward to two weeks vacation starting Monday, and I hope to use that time to get my spirit back on track, in many ways.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Move Over Chef Boyardee

We finally ate our last meal from the Self Magazine article, Cook Once, Eat Healthy All Week. This was the one I was least excited about trying, Vegetable and Chickpea Ragout.

I had to look up "ragout" and find out what it even means. Turns out it means "a main dish stew" and it's pronounced "ra-goo" just like Ragu pasta sauce. So there, you learned something new. Unless you already knew that. I didn't.

This is a very healthy vegetarian meal (15 grams of fiber, 14 grams of protein, 380 calories), which I liked. I do eat meat, but not a lot. I'd love to say I eat none, but I'm not there yet.

We left the olives out, because I don't like olives. Also, our "fresh basil" was long ago not fresh anymore, so that didn't make it into our final plates. The only other change I made to the recipe is, it calls for "1/2 cup whole wheat penne pasta, cooked." This confused me greatly. Does it mean 1/2 DRY pasta, cooked? Or 1/2 cup of the already cooked? And either way, seriously?! 1/2 cup of pasta?? Who cooks a 1/2 cup of pasta?? And this is supposed to serve TWO?!

I cooked more like two cups of pasta. So, I'm sure the calorie count went up there, but it was whole wheat at least. I mean, I had a total of probably six cups of the veggie/chickpea mixture. Was I really supposed to stir in 1/2 cup of pasta??? Also, I should say, this ended up making us more like three or four servings, so I think we're good.

As for taste, it wasn't bad. It was just kind of bland. I actually added salt, pepper, and garlic powder to the final product, which helped a lot. R said he liked it, "except it has these weird crunchy dry beans in it?" I guess he's not a chickpea fan. But he ate two helpings, and he took the leftovers to work for lunch the next day.

Now that we've eaten all five of our meals, my final evaluation is that the one meal I would definitely cook again is the Sweet Potato Shepherd's pie. That one was majorly tasty, and we both agreed.

And I do like the idea of having basics on hand (and sometimes frozen) to make quick, healthy meals. We've used the leftover onion/garlic mixture three times in various dishes, and we used the leftover broccoli/red pepper mixture to make a quick and healthy stir-fry. So, I may look more into "cook ahead and freeze" type plans and try more recipes.

I'll keep you posted on anything good I find!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Answer is WATER

What is the best dietary supplement for weight loss?

What diet -friendly drink should you consume to ensure you will add many steps to your day? (think potty breaks)

What is the most natural cleansing / body detoxifying item on the planet?

What substance (when there isn't enough) is one of the 4 most common causes of a headache?

What is one of the easiest ways to reduce your "eat out" bill?

What are you probably not drinking enough of?

What does your brain need a lot of in order to properly function?

What kind of weight do unhealthy diets help you shed?

What should you go grab a tall glass of right now?


Clearly, I'm on a water kick. Because I consider myself to be a pretty heavy drinker (of liquid - not alcohol). And while I've been paying attention...I have noticed that while I do drink a lot - not very much comes in a "pure" state. I have water flavors added in, I drink lots of iced tea, but I'm not doing so good at giving my body it's 8-8ounces of water per day...and I am CERTAINLY not getting a good portion of that without something mixed into it.

So this week - and on upcoming weeks. I challenge myself (and you) to count your fluid intake. Meet the minimum of 8-8 ounce servings and make sure at least half of those are"pure"...plain water (though fruit or fresh herbs mixed into them is still "pure" in my book).

In a week, we'll do a check in and see how it's going...how you met the challenge, if you met the challenge, and strategies to help others...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake

I must credit Katherine with this post, because I searched for this video after her comment on my earlier post about cake.

I found the video quite amusing, and sadly, quite true, so I thought I'd share.

I'm going to another cake event this weekend, a wedding. I'm going to a wedding that's five hours away. It's a long way to travel for cake.

I hope it's good cake.

Friday, June 4, 2010

What Was I Thinking?

As I shared about a week ago - I was going to try some Special K Regina-ized two week long diet.

Then the holiday weekend happened.

And baseball season.

And work meetings.

And this is the problem with diets that don't really include "real / normal food".

It only took me about 3 minutes when reviewing the Special K diet online to realize that their suggestions were filled with HFCS, lots of sugar, not lots of fiber (even when they said it was a high fiber item), and little to no veggies / fruits. And even a little sprinkling of "insignificant" amounts of trans fats!

I guess if you were consuming fast food in super sized quantities every single day - this would be a good change. But even then, it wouldn't be long lasting and it is DEFINITELY NOT the road to a healthier YOU!

I thought this would be a good idea for me because in this season - I often don't want to eat at all. Or I want to eat something cold. (And while ice cream for dinner can happen on occasion - I would not suggest you try it for weeks on end.)

In the Regina-version of this Special K diet. I did eat a good amount of cereal. I do not own a single bowl that makes the box suggestion of a "serving" an easy thing to measure out (and by the way, it varies by flavor of Special K that you are eating)...but isn't this the problem with everyday food intake? The box says 5 crackers - and 10 crackers aren't enough to seem like a snack? Must learn portion control.

Also, you would think I would know better...several years ago I had a gum graft ( a midevil procedure where they take skin from the roof of your mouth and add it to the gum line - yeouch!) and since then the top of my mouth has been very sensitive. I don't like soggy cereal. So this means that meal after meal of crunchy flakes= my mouth feeling very assaulted.

I will continue to replace a meal here and there with cereal - it's not the easiest thing to pack for my desk. And sometimes a girl just needs real food - you know?

What I should have done instead - is branch out even further from the Special K diet. I should have done the Baked Oatmeal diet - high fiber, low sugar, fresh fruit. Serve it warm or cold! I am still considering this - as I simply do not get tired of this food item. And if I wanted cereal - who's to say that a higher fiber cereal wouldn't work just as well as a meal replacement?

Needless to say - with the decreased fiber, the holiday, the concession stand at baseball games...the numbers are not moving in the right direction. So 1 week in and I'm already sick of the plan!

How many times must we be doomed to re-learn the basics? Fruits and veggies first. Moderation everywhere. Smaller serving sizes. More calorie free drinks. And a healthy - moving lifestyle.

Can you say "duh"?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Is Food My Drug of Choice?

I've had a couple moments this week where I totally had an understanding of why people do drugs. Never fear, I'm not heading toward my nearest crack dealer. But a couple days this week I truly felt like I wanted to just pop some pill or drink some drink that would just make the bad feelings STOP.

And I got to thinking about food being something I use in those situations. Somehow what's been happening lately isn't anything that ice cream can cure. Trust me, I've tried. But I know I do it all the time.

Bad feeling? Ack! Must eat chocolate! Make it stop!

I spent a couple years in a haze of various anti-depressants, and I truly do not want to go back there. I truly do not believe that I need something all the time anyway. I've narrowed it down to my feeling bad generally in the week or so before my period (okay, sometimes two weeks) and feeling bad generally when I have to go to work.

Which sadly, happens about five times a week. For eight hours at a time.

But the rest of the time? I'm fine!

Anyway, my latest potential solution has been going to the drug store and stocking up on every supplement and herb that is supposedly helpful with mood, stress management, or PMS.

I'm taking a multi-vitamin, B6, Calcium and Magnesium, Fish Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, and St. John's wort. I'll keep you posted on how this goes. I've started slowly, just taking one of each per day. Some of these things say on the instructions to take two pills three times a day! Ugh.

Anybody have any good advice on which supplements have helped you stabilize your mood? Not counting chocolate, I mean.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Strategy

In MO there are a few seasons...winter, fall, spring (lasts about 2 weeks) and then the humid season. Humidity causes many problems - higher AC bills, bad hair days, and auto's that are instant saunas.

The one good thing they bring....is a lack of hunger.

This is the season where I sometimes could care less about eating dinner. Or, I'll be craving something light. So as I was eating some cereal for dinner --I thought, hey, I'll try the Special K plan.

After a quick search online - I was pretty disgusted with their suggested plan. If diets were made to be all carbs - then it might be a great idea. It was (of course) full of Special K suggestions to eat - but I failed to see where it encouraged enough fruits and veggies. But searching the nutritional info it became quite clear that they do not know the meaning of "high fiber" AND that they have a love affair with some hidden trans fats and high fructose corn syrup.

So, now I'm trying my own version of the Special K diet. 2 bowls of cereal and one regular meal. Veggies and fruits are "free" in between or with meals. Limited drink calories.

I know it's not a long term plan - but it has some advantages. First, it allows me to eat less - since this is what I'm wanting to do anyway. Second, it is easier to track calories when 2 of your meals are mostly the same every day. Third, it's pretty easy because it's short term (they suggest 2 weeks) and once you select your variety of cereals there isn't much question of what you will be eating.

I'll let you know how it goes...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I Was Told There'd Be Cake


That happens to be the title of a very funny bookthat has nothing to do with losing weight. In case you're interested.

I had an epiphany yesterday about cake. (Yes, that's what I said, an epiphany about cake. I don't claim to be deep.)

I've been sick this week. Well, actually for two weeks. (I'm finally starting to get better, thanks for asking.) And I had to work yesterday, which kinda sucks. Then after work I was driving to a birthday party for a special seven-year-old and thinking of how exhausted I was, when I found myself thinking, "I hope there's good cake."

And then I got to thinking about all the events where we serve cake in our culture. Birthdays, weddings, graduations, anniversaries, retirements, basically any cause for celebration is cause to eat cake.

Here's the thing about me and celebrations. I'm very happy for whomever is celebrating. And generally I'm going to the celebration because I love the person being celebrated. But celebrations mean large groups of people. And as R likes to say, "Janet doesn't like people."

That sounds bad, I realize. And I guess the truth is, I love certain people. And I love those people one-on-one or in small groups. But you put any people in a large, loud, chaotic group? I'd really rather be at home.

So, I realized yesterday that I tend to say to myself about every time I'm faced with one of these situations, "Well, at least there will be cake." Cousin's wedding? Grandparents' 75th anniversary? "At least there will be cake."

This cake coping mechanism is a classic example of me using food to numb whatever feeling is making me uncomfortable. I'm grateful that I live in a culture which serves cake. Otherwise, I'd be forced to feel uncomfortable without assitance.

Do you suppose this is WHY we serve cake at these things? Because generally they involve seeing family we don't like? Or being around large groups of noisy children? Or co-workers we'd rather not spend our social time with? Do we serve cake to medicate people into being able to stand the pressure?

At any rate, I know that I personally look forward to the food at these things. And I'll admit, good food is a good way to motivate me to do something that makes me uncomfortable. Which is something for me to think about.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lost Causes and Plan B

I'm not sure when it happened - but I think I was robbed.

...Robbed of my ambition and motivation.

But I think someone returned it recently. So I'm looking forward to getting back ON track!

All things considered - I guess I haven't done too bad...assuming you will forgive me for my silence.... *slap on the wrist - bad blogger, bad!*

My numbers are still hovering in the same area. My soda consumption is still around 1 per week - often less. (And at this point, usually when I drink it - my body tells me "no thank you" and it's not nearly as good as I remember it to be.) I'm looking forward to ice cold water with lime and mint (a virgin mojito?) on a nice sunny deck.

I'm eating okay but as always need to ramp up the veggies and fruits.
I have a planter full of homegrown lettuce that is soon going to be on my diner plate!
And a garden of veggies that I hope will inspire me to eat better!

I've been doing a lot of gardening - and I know that counts for some kind of workout because I FEEL the BURN, but it can't be my ONLY form of exercise. This is the season of "slowness" at my position - so no excuses not to get back in the habit of desk push-ups and taking my break on the treadmill or walking around the block (and possibly getting lost to meander a bit more freely through the town).

AND - I'm planning to kidnap my hubby a few times a week to make him walk with me in the evenings while dragging the poochies along for the fun.

That's the plan - try, try again?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I Do Not Have a Cold but I Do Have Thai Soup

Last night we ate our fourth meal from Self Magazine's recipes. This one was Spicy Thai Soup with Lime Shrimp. Except I don't do shrimp, so mine was technically Spicy Thai Soup with Lime Chicken.

This was one of the recipes I was a bit unsure of. It involves sweet potatoes, onions, broccoli, and red peppers pureed in a blender. And curry (it calls for green curry paste, which I defy you to find in a small Missouri grocery store) and the juice of two limes.

It seemed an odd combination to me.

But I actually thought it was really good. Though I'm warning you, it might have something to do with what I have finally accepted is a cold, and not allergies.

I came home last night thinking that what I really wanted for supper was homemade chicken soup. And then it occurred to me that I had homemade chicken soup in the freezer. Sort of. If my grandmother was from Thailand, this might have been what her soup tasted like.

In my state of trying really hard not to have a cold, the combination of spicy, and hot, and limey was really good. And it was technically chicken soup. With garlic and onions, which are good for colds.

So, I'm giving it a thumbs up.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

What I'm Not Doing to Lose Weight


I had a pretty good week in terms of eating healthier and exercising. R and I ate three of our five Self Magazine meals. I walked five out of seven days, and three of those days I also biked.

I was only able to go to yoga once because I had to work the other night, but it feels really good to be back into going regularly. Moves are getting easier, and I feel better about myself after going. Plus it goes a long way toward reducing my stress, which I know is a huge factor in my health.

At yoga that one day, I did something revolutionary. Or rather, I didn't do something revolutionary. I started to weigh myself at one point, and then I stopped.

I know there are two schools of thought on scales and weight loss. One philosophy says, "The scale doesn't mean anything. Focus on how you feel. Focus on how your clothes fit." The other idea is, "Weigh yourself regularly so you can quickly tell whether you're making progress or need to make some changes."

The way my mind works is, if I weigh and I did lose weight, I feel fabulous, and I'm motivated to keep going. BUT, if I weigh and I didn't lose weight? I feel like crap. And if I have actually been doing a lot of the right things, and the scale doesn't show it? I decide that this eating right, exercising regularly nonsense doesn't work and isn't worth it, and let's just go get ice cream.

And the thing is, this past week or two? I KNOW I've done better. I know I've been more active. I know I'm getting stronger and more flexible. I know I have more energy, and I'm feeling better about myself. And I also knew that if I stepped on that scale and didn't like what it told me? I'd feel awful and want to quit.

So I saved myself the trouble and didn't weigh. And I don't think I'm going to for a while. Maybe when I reach the point where my clothes feel looser, and I know that number will be motivating, rather than potentially discouraging, I'll step on.

But for now, I'm just going to keep doing those things I know are making me feel better.

How about you? Never step on a scale? Weigh every day? Do you feel like it helps or hurts?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Shepherd's Pie and My Yoga Class

Last night R and I ate meal number three from Self's Cook Once, Eat Healthy All Week. This one was Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie, and it was YUMMY!

This was the one meal R said he was unsure about. (The one I'm most unsure about is the Thai Soup. Coming soon to a blog near you!) But even he loved it. This is one recipe I think we will make again, maybe with a few modifications.

As with the previous two meals, this one was hot. Darn those chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. (What is adobo sauce anyway? I should warn you, that link won't help. It basically says that "adobo" means "sauce" in Spanish. Which makes me wonder, does that mean that "adobo sauce" is just redundant?)

Anyway, before we ate this, we took our longest bike ride to date, and my thighs are feeling it today. Two and a quarter miles, knocked out! Yeah, I know, that's nothing on a bike, but it's more than we started out with.

And tonight we will not be bike riding because I walked over lunch with EG, and I went to yoga tonight. Nobody else showed up for class, so I essentially had a private one-on-one session with my teacher. It was a little bit awkward, but mostly it was good, and she was able to give me little personal tips on a couple things. Plus she did all my favorite poses, since it was just me.

There will be no Self meal tonight. Tonight, in honor of Cinco De Mayo, R is in the kitchen whipping up some fajitas for me. He brought me a margarita a few minutes ago. I know, he is "un novio fabuloso."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Meal Number Two: Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Bake

We ate our second meal from Self's Cook Once, Eat Healthy All Week article last night. This one was Cheesy Shrimp Enchilada Bake. Except I don't do shrimp, so ours was technically Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Bake.

As with the sauce from the meatloaves, this meal was HOT. I kept thinking it needed a nice dollop of sour cream to balance out the hot, but we didn't have any, and that would have defeated the healthy purpose somewhat. (Of course the brownies we ate for dessert probably did that anyway.)

I will say, it was lovely to simply decide which meal we wanted to eat, from the four we had conveniently placed in the freezer Sunday evening. R complained a bit that it took 30 minutes in the oven to heat these back up though. But he loved them once they were ready.

We biked for the second time last night too. I'm tellin' ya, it's been too long since this woman has regularly ridden a bike. I had to stop and rest after every tiny hill. And by the time we finished our mile and a half route, my thighs were twitching something awful. I walked about 3/4 a mile just to try to calm them back down.

Miraculously, my legs haven't been sore though, at all. They hurt like crazy while we're pedaling, and they twitch for hours after. But I haven't had any soreness. Well, except in my behind. But that's from the seat. But it hurts.

Anyhow, we're keeping it up. I think R is liking it much better than walking. He seems to look at bike riding more as play than as exercise. Which is probably the point we all need to get to in our routines, yes?

I walked today at lunch too. And I heard this Most Awesome Song I Heard While Working Out: I Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas. I think I love this song so much because I remember how incredible it was seeing that flash mob on Oprah, and seeing Oprah not know what the heck was going on. It was fabulous. It makes me tear up every time.