Sunday, February 28, 2010

For the Love of Ranch Dressing

(Image borrowed from

I realized yesterday evening that I had eaten A LOT of ranch dressing. I'm beginning to think that ranch dressing might be the ultimate cause of my weigh problems.

I met an old friend/co-worker for lunch at a favorite local restaurant, one that's famous for amazing onion rings. They serve them with ranch dressing. And they have awesome ranch dressing. So, I ate my share of onion rings dipped in ranch as our appetizer.

Then for my lunch I ordered a turkey cobb salad. (Which brings to mind another issue. R asked me the other day, what exactly the "cobb" part of that salad means? There are no cobbs (or rather, cob with one b?) in the salad, by the only definition I know for "cobb." And I don't think a salad with those cobs would be very tasty. Unless maybe it's those little baby corns, because I do like those.) And of course I had ranch dressing on my salad.

For supper we grilled burgers and had sweet potato fries, which I also dipped in ranch. And I'm quite sure that none of my "servings" of ranch dressing were the minuscule two tablespoons or whatever that I'm supposed to have. Probably more like four. Which means I hate twelve tablespoons of ranch dressing yesterday.

Not to even mention the stuff the ranch dressing was on. I mean, if I'd skipped the onion rings and fries all together, I'd have probably been better off. Except I did bake the fries, and sweet potatoes are healthy, right? The salad had cheese and bacon on it, so it was probably not so healthy to start with either.

Is that the solution to my weight loss dilemma? To eliminate ranch dressing, along with any foods I might be tempted to put ranch dressing on?

That thought makes me sad. I don't think I can do it.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Perfect 10 Update

I am still under the weather - and frankly about SICK of begin SICK.

  • Soda - none this week.
  • Exercise (push-ups and walking) - I've traded this in for extra sleep time and a few moments without throbbing head pain.
  • Boxes - still none purchased.
  • Reduced calories - still not back to regular eating, so this has not been a concern.
Unknown fact: I am a dog person. I especially love smaller dogs because they are like puppies their whole lives.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wishing Wednesday: Sleep and Sun Salutations

If you're not reading Wishing Wednesday's on Regina's other blog, you should check it out and maybe even play along.  Because aren't we all here trying to lose weight and get healthier and make our lives better because we believe we can?  And because we have wishes for the future?

I know I do.  And I often participate in Wishing Wednesdays on my other blog, but I have been neglecting you fellow fitness freaks lately, so I'm wishing here.

Today I wish:

For an awesome yoga class tomorrow night.  I couldn't go last week, and I've missed it.  And no, I didn't do yoga on my own anyway like I said I would.  Ugh.

For the rest of my work week to be productive, but not in a stressful crazy-making way.  More in a feeling of accomplishment sort of way.

To use my evening alone tonight for relaxing type stuff like reading, cuddling with dogs, and watching Ellen.

To learn the secret to that elusive joy that is a full night's sleep.  I think, in part, it involves NOT having a doggie puking at 3:34 a.m.

And finally, I wish for warm sunshiny days to return to the Midwest SOON.  Because I am so much more likely to get my daily walk in when I can do it outside without freezing half to death. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Late Update

My health has gone from bad to worse. Every once in a while my asthma likes to remind me exactly HOW much energy you use just breathing. I thought I pretty much had it under control and I had a sneak attack of a headache that literally lasted all week - ending with a tearful visit to Urgent Care on Saturday. They told me what I had already assumed - I had strep - but when your tonsils are the size of alien spaceships- I'm not sure you have to be a Dr. to figure that one out.

Regardless of all the drama - here's how the week went.

- I did manage two days of the push-up routine. Also I did walk one evening. When you factor in how I have felt, I think that is the equivalent of being in a triathlon.

Overeating - none - mostly I've barely eaten anything.

Soda - Did have one this week. It was a moment of desperation.

Boxes - None, mostly not eating has helped greatly with this goal. Though I do look forward to a return to "normal".

unknown fact: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE hospital food.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mandarin Orange Romaine Salad

Today I'm sharing a yummy salad recipe I hadn't made in a long time and was craving last weekend.  I got the recipe from my ex-mother-in-law, and I have no clue where she got it.

It seems like it makes a lot, but trust me, it'll be eaten.  And you can't save it once you put the dressing on.  So, if you want to just do like one or two servings, keep the parts separate and mix 'em up as you need 'em.

Mandarin Orange Romaine Salad
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 T plus 1 tsp. sugar

Heat a skillet on high heat.  Add the sugar and the almonds stirring constantly while sugar melts.  Sugar will melt and begin to brown.  Remove from heat when light brown, and spread on waxed paper or foil to cool.  When the almonds are cool, you may need to break the "candy" into smaller pieces.

1 head romaine lettuce
1 large can (16 oz. I think?  Maybe it's 12 oz., just not that tiny can) mandarin oranges

Tear washed lettuce into bite sized pieces.  Drain liquid off mandarin oranges.

1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup canola oil (this seemed like a lot to me, so I didn't quite use the full amount)
dash of black pepper
dash of red pepper sauce (like Tabasco)
2 T sugar
2T white vinegar
1 T parsley flakes

Mix all dressing ingredients together in a small container that seals well.  Put on the lid, and shake shake shake.

Right before you serve the salad, mix lettuce, oranges, candied almonds, and dressing in a large bowl.  And enjoy!

I've also made the salad and added some cooked chicken breast.  That is very yummy, and a complete meal!

For more great recipes, visit Cole for Tuesdays at the Table!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Weekly Update

This one will be short and sweet.

I am not feeling sweet - I am feeling sweaty and it has nothing to do with exercise.

My little one appears to have shared his germs with me - for Valentines Day. Awwww.

So, it all comes down to this -
Exercise - nope none of it happened. I thought of it. I thought of the fact that I was dressed, at work, felt like poop and had deadlines - and that is as far as we got.

Overeating - nope. I don't have the energy to lift that much food to my mouth. Nor to cook. Nor to drive to pick up food. Nor to yell for dinner service... is the universe trying to HELP me? And I knew I was getting sick when rice cakes were the thing that sounded best for lunch.

Soda - I did have a soda day. When your throat is dry and itchy - that is when I need the burn BAD. Now, I believe I would have NOT consumed a soda if it were not for the fact that I was trapped at a work event that day in which I was paying $4 a person for beverages! (which I thought was an insane price for 3 varieties of 2 liters with ice and tap water) Regardless, had soda and will sooth my throat for the rest of this illness with club soda so I don't have to confess to being a huge cheater. As penance I plan to consume no more soda in the month of February. (Even notice how close the word penance is to penis? just saying. )

Boxes - None. The public is infested with germs and I should resist the urge to send this bug back out into the world.

Unknown fact of the wonder-of-me: When I have the itchy throat - I NEED McD's fries. It's not something to be proud of - but it's a moment of weakness. I believe that trans fats may be the cure to the common

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hungry Girl's Book Review

I haven't posted in a while because, instead of focusing on getting healthy, I've been focusing on ummmm...well I suppose getting healthy.  As in getting over a cold.

I hate being sick.  And I know "they" say you can exercise with a cold, but some other "they" says you should rest when you're sick (and I like that advice better).  The last thing I feel like doing when I'm sick is working out.  I even skipped yoga last week.

EG made me go to the gym with her today.  (I know she probably doesn't see it that way, but when I IMed her and asked "do you want to do lunch or walk or something?" I was really hoping for the first choice, or maybe the "something" and not the part that involves sweat.  And that's the part she chose.  Dang her.

I just did 30 minutes on the treadmill, and it was a slow going 30 minutes.  But I was sure sweating and huffing and puffing.  I kept telling myself this was in no way a reflection of my fitness level, but rather a reflection of my nasal stuffiness and cold-sapped energy levels.  We'll see how well that excuse holds up next week.

Anyway, I just returned a book to the library that I thought I'd post a little about because it might be one some of you have opinions on yourself or are curious about.  Regina read it before I did, and her opinion was about the same as mine.

The book is Hungry Girl: 200 Under 200 by Lisa Lillien, and, as promised, it does provide 200 recipes, each under 200 calories.  And some of them look/sound pretty yummy.  There aren't very many pictures, and I really like pictures in my cookbooks.  However, I realize that also makes cookbooks more expensive.

My co-worker looked at the book before I returned it to the library.  She flipped through real quick and said, "Oh!  That looks really yummy! ... Oh...  That looks like a lot of work."  That was my first impression as I started reading through some of the recipes.  I mean, I don't see myself getting out the mixing bowls and griddle to make five tiny silver dollar pancakes.

The more I read, I noticed that the low calorie counts are largely due to the use of sugar substitutes, fat free cheese, fat free sour cream, Cool Whip Free, etc...  So, I was kinda thinking, I could just make tacos like I always make tacos and use fat free stuff.  Except I don't like the way that stuff tastes.  So, no.

Then I also realized, the low calorie counts are largely due to small serving sizes.  There is a recipe for breakfast cookies that actually looks pretty yummy.  And who wouldn't love cookies for breakfast?  (You can't have cookies for breakfast, but you CAN have Cookie Crisp!  Anyone?  Showing my age.)  Then I saw that the serving size and calorie count is for one cookie.  Well, now, if I could eat just one cookie, maybe I wouldn't be needing a low calorie cookbook.  And honestly, I could eat one Oreo, or one Chips Ahoy, or one of my grandma's homemade Special K cookies, all for less than 200 calories.  (I suspect the pizookie weighs in at a few more.)

So, overall, I wasn't sold.  I prefer to eat more "real" foods, instead of cooking up concoctions of sugar substitutes and fat free cheese.  But, if say you're diabetic or something, there could be some good stuff to try in here.  Or if you feel the need to whip up five tiny pancakes.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Update on the Snail-Speed Progress

Week: 5 Update

# Consume a limit of 1 soda per week. Back to success! No soda this week. Really - at this point, when I have a craving - it's usually the idea of soda and not the real thing that I desire. But I kind of miss the burn as it goes down my throat. Ahhh. This can be re-lived with club soda, which I think is okay for you - unless someone tells me otherwise.
# Do Push-Up's 3xs a week. Done. But mostly because I will be finishing up the week today and tomorrow - sick kiddo, weird work schedule - I'm not sure where the week went.
# Walk 2xs a week. Done- again, because I'm doing it today and tomorrow.
# Reduce calories and keep food journal. I've been practicing Mindful Eating - which does reduce my intake. But I've kicked myself almost weekly for making this a goal - knowing how I feel about it. I think that the Mindful Eating is my best approach to meeting this goal.
# Purchase no more than 5 boxes per week. Back on track here. Frozen veggies (couldn't find in a bag), cream cheese, and a box of wheat thins for SuperBowl day.

Knowing that we are at the halfway point is a bit disappointing - the numbers on the scale are not dipping as I would like, in fact they don't move. However, I believe that I have improved my health on several levels - even if I won't be featured in any fitness magazine any time soon as a "before" / "after" feature. Having the pedometer has completely opened my eyes to the lack of movement on my regular days and then need to crank it up a notch. I think awareness is an important step in this process - so I'm trying to embrace and celebrate it.

Deep secrets about me: Along Steve's secret - I'll confess with my musical talents. I play several instruments - the piano (at a pretty expert level- though I'm sure I'm rusty from lack of practice), the flute (at an okay-dokey level), the trumpet (I could likely crank out a scale or two), and percussion (xylophone, marimba, tri-tom drums) not so much on the drum set - though I could keep good time (which is really like Drums 101). Also, I've composed a piece for a complete concert band. It's been preformed a couple of times by my hometowns municipal band.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

South of the Border Tomato Bean Soup

Welcome to another Tuesday edition of "Janet Doesn't Follow the Recipe!"  Also known as Tuesdays at the Table.

Today I'm sharing a recipe I got from a co-worker last week.  I tried to find the original recipe online, but I can't find it.  I think she got it from a label or something.  Anyway, it uses all Red Gold brand stuff, which I could find NONE of at Wal-mart.  So, as usual, I kind of modified it and did my own thing.  This is what I came up with:

South of the Border Tomato Bean Soup

1 can hot chili beans
2 cups of vegetable juice (like V-8)
1 can diced tomatoes and green chilies (like Ro-tel)
1 small package (16 oz) frozen corn
1/3 cup sliced green onions

In large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

See?  Souper easy!  (Okay, that was bad.)

We topped ours with cheese and ate with tortilla chips.  The original recipe says to top with sour cream.

Here is the nutrition info according to the original recipe.  My version may differ a tad, since I used other brands:
Calories:  130, Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 0 g, Sodium 210 mg, Carbohydrate 26 g, Protein 6 g, Vitamin A 15%, Vitamin C 35%, Calcium 2%, Iron 8%.

For more great recipes, visit Cole's Tuesdays at the Table.

Monday, February 1, 2010

If You Would Just Listen

Much along the lines of my Embrace the Blah post. I need to stop and listen.

I over did it last night. I knew when I ordered that I was not making wise choices. I wasn't even that hungry - but I wasn't listening to my body. And so today, I'm banging my head against the wall. When, oh when, will I learn to take a moment to listen?

I'm such a hypocrite! I probably told my son a million times to "listen to your body" when we were potty training. And I'm not even doing it for my own body.

My body tells me things when I take the time to listen:

It tells me that sometimes eating sweets really makes me feel kind of sick after the fact.

It tells me that soda isn't satisfying - except for the burn down my throat.

It tells me that I'm not hungry just because the clock says it's dinner time.

It tells me that I want something healthy when I'm looking for a junk food to satisfy.

It tells me that several of the foods that I crave - really aren't that yummy / enjoyable.

It tells me that when I move, I have more energy to keep moving.

And this morning - when I took a moment to just stop and breathe and listen. I was reminded of the reward for listening. When I embraced the silence, I hear this crackling noise. It was very soft so it could have easily been overpowered by movement. But in stillness it was very clear. And upon looking into the mirror - I found a huge blob of moose sitting on my ear. See, listening can help to avoid all sorts of things - being overweight, health problems getting out of control, or embarrassing moments on days that you are planning to be in front of a group.

I promise, to listen more to you - body. And then I promise to try to be better at following through with your requests.

Are you listening to your body / practicing mindful eating?