Friday, July 31, 2009

Elbow deep in brownies

I've been planning a retirement party for one of our most preeminent scientists for the last few weeks. It has been kind of stressful, as everyone wanted the party to reflect how much we admire and respect this man's work. He made some key discoveries in understanding the link between radiation and cancer. At any rate, the bottom line to all this is that I spent the day, pretty much literally elbow-deep in high-end gourmet brownies and cookies. Ask Jennifer. Just ridiculous. I did ok trying not to eat them for most of the day, but did have some. For some reason resisting has been harder - being surrounded by excellent food all day...those brownies really were worth it. Also we had so many choices and kinds of desserts and food. I did cave a bit...for months I really didn't even want the stuff, but today I was working to stop....and then I came home to the most excellent spaghetti and meatballs made by my fabulous chef sister-in-law. I ate 3 small ones and a right-sized portion of pasta but I easily could have eaten double. Oh well. I'm glad now that I didn't, as overeating does make me ill now...but one more meatball would have been awesome!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Buffalo pasta

I'm not sure why this anti-processed foods gal has such a thing for Buffalo sauce, but we can't always define or choose what we're attracted to. Otherwise we'd use an algorithm to find our mates.

So one of my favorite summer meals is Buffalo Chicken Salad - a great substitute to eat when you're craving something really super greasy and disgusting like Buffalo wings. Indya can offer her opinion - she and Ben tried it. The other night I tried a new take on things - Buffalo pasta. Recipe below salad recipe.

Buffalo Chicken Salad

  • Fill bowls with lettuce and any other vegetables you like - peppers, cukes, onion, etc.
  • Sprinkle 1 Tbs blue cheese crumbles on salad. I give Dave more and me less.
  • Grill or cook lightly seasoned boneless thighs or breasts, although in this recipe thighs are better. Sometimes I mix them both.
  • When chicken is done, chop into small slices and then toss in separate bowl with Buffalo sauce from supermarket. You may want to set some aside for the kids that has no sauce.
  • Place warm chicken on top of salad and serve with either old and vinegar or blue cheese dressing (I uesd to make blue cheese dressing, but now I'm lazy and mix half TJ's brand with half non-fat Fage yogurt). With all the other saucy stuff going on you don't need much dressing.
  • I sometimes serve with some starch - leftover brown rice, brown pasta or if I have a nice bread in house. If I'm really craving the chicken I will have no starch and more chicken, but sometimes I want a starch to cut the sauce down a bit.
Buffalo Pasta Leftovers

Not sure what inspired me to try this.....and I don't remember the amounts that well. I made a really small serving as the flavor combination was a gamble.
  • In bowl put cooked whole wheat pasta, with drizzle of Buffalo sauce, 2-3 Tbs low-fat ricotta (but find a brand without fillers) blue cheese crumbles.
  • Slices of lean meat like chicken or pork loin
  • Heat all in microwave slightly. Mix.
  • Eat a small amount with a large salad!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fat-free salad dressing haters vindicated!

First off.....An interesting story on NPR discusses some known facts and specifically quotes some research that found that salad eaten with fat-free salad dressing resulted in lower nutritional absorption than that same salad eaten with olive oil. I feel this vindicates the notion that fake chemically foods are gross and bad for you.

On a related note.....I do wish there were more data on exactly which kinds of vegetables are most nutritious. SO much conflicting information. My general attitude is to eat a variety of different colored fruits and vegetables each day. I try and buy local and organic but sometimes the prohibitive prices coupled with the convenience of the supermarket win me over to more traditional American purchasing habits.

Here are things I've heard, but would like to understand better:
  • In Pollan - vegetables have vastly different levels of nutrients depending on the part of the country and soil they're grown in. A scientific study was meant to be done decades ago but farmers protested and it was nixed.
  • Frozen veggies are better than fresh as they're frozen immediately so nutrients don't deteriorate while traveling. Is this true? Is it more true for some fruits/veggies than others?
  • If nutrients do deteriorate while traveling, at what rate, what is the date of picking of the veggies I'm buying, and how much do they deteriorate each day, is it a linear deterioration? What if they sit in my fridge for a few days? What percentage of their nutrients are being lost over what time period?
  • After coming up with all these questions I just decided to eat a mix of fresh and frozen, depending on what I like and figure that I'm doing pretty well if I'm not eating Lean Cuisine, no matter where my veggies are from.
  • I know organic produce has higher nutrient levels, but at what rate? 5% more, 80% more?
My problem is that there is so much ideological blather about local, organic, etc. and I would like to see more facts so I can make an educated decision about what is practical and realistic.

As for my carbon footprint - I get that veggies shipped from far away are bad for the planet. But at some level so is everything I do that has any sort of energy cost. I try to be conscientious in general. I'm not a fan of large SUVs, massive houses, and our super-sized American lifestyle in general. But sometimes I want to give my kids strawberries in the winter. Selfish I understand, but at a certain point the argument of leaving a smaller footprint would advocate my living in a tent and eating canned green beans all winter. Currently I'm not sure exactly what the right balance is.....

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Foccacia picture

Day off

I like the concept of taking a day off, most likely Saturday. WW gives a person 35 extra floater points and I don't use many during the week. Maybe 5-6 in kind of willful undercounting. Like when my lunch is 7 pts but I don't want to admit it so I call it 6. I don't use all 35 for my day off. (sometimes 2 half-days off depending on what is planned for the weekend). And I try not to go utterly crazy, just on principal. Just because you have the points doesn't mean you should act like a complete glutton. Also, unlike the daily points, the 35 points are optional, it says right in the literature don't eat them all if you want faster weight loss. Not that I'm trying to lose, but I still like the structure of saving splurges for the weekend or special events, and I don't want pigging out as a reward to be part of my lifestyle.

This past week, I was feeling kind of restrained, wanting to eat seconds at dinner on both Thursday and Friday. I made some pretty yummy food and wasn't sure how much of it to eat and I probably under-counted a bit. So I ate a little more - after all, I'm on maintenance! But I just had that feeling of wanting to eat to complete fullness, like before. I looked forward to Saturday and left the kitchen.

So yesterday, at around 10:30 am I was hungry and I knew full well I was really just thirsty from the heat, but then I remembered that it was Saturday and I could eat whatever I wanted - including between meals! For me Saturday is not so much about what foods I eat as how much, and when. I let go of all my structure. I took out the fabulous foccacia I had made (recipe below) and some edamame dip I'd bought and had a few pieces, along with a huge glass of seltzer water. Now instead of waiting to see if I was full, I decided to really indulge - to just pig out basically and had a couple more pieces (they were small, maybe 1" x 4" strips) and then finally stopped. Now usually on my day off, I eat extra, but I don't totally pig out. I still show SOME restraint. Not this time.

About 20 min later, I was so full and nauseated I could barely concentrate. I have not been that full in years maybe. I rarely if ever did that before I dieted - I just ate small amounts all day long. I felt like such a huge idiot. Not for wasting the calories, but for wasting the treat of my day off by feeling sick for hours. I didn't even eat that much, but my stomach is not used to overeating at all any more. I was so full I didn't even think about food until about 4pm when I picked a couple things, and then had a normal dinner.

So if you looked at the whole day, I didn't even probably eat more calories than a normal day, so I can enjoy the 2 parties we are going to today (wouldn't that always have been a better choice??), and I did learn a lesson. It's good to let go, but overindulging is never a good idea. Acting like a glutton just felt odd to me and then I paid for it.

Foccacia recipe:
1 bag Trader Joe's or other brand whole wheat pizza dough
1/2 cup fresh shredded parmasean cheese
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbs (maybe more?) Provencal dried herb mix

  • Preheat oven to 425 and let dough sit at room temp as directed on package, spray pan with non-stick spray, spread out dough like a pizza.
  • Brush olive oil on dough (I actually may try again and skip this step)
  • Sprinkle cheese (truth here is that I used about 3/4 cup but I don't think that much was necessary)
  • sprinkle some Kosher or sea salt
  • Take herb mix, which is all the basics, oregano, thyme, basil, etc. and crush in fingers while spreading a pretty generous portion across whole surface.
  • Bake for 12-18 min or until seems done.
Not sure of the calorie count, but it is delish, especially with minestrone soup, which I also make from scratch. I can post the recipe for that too if anyone is interested. I think next time I'll actually measure the ingredients (above are guesses) and come up with a calorie count from

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My husband is very proud of me

Dave is very proud of me. He looks at me all the time with pure bewilderment. He loves my new body. He really respects my discipline. He even honors my need to go running every morning by leaving for work a little later. He talks about me at work with his new co-workers, extolling the virtues of discipline and hard work. He sends people the link to this blog and tells them to exercise at lunch like he does, instead of eating loads of crap and chatting. He beams proudly when people comment on the healthfulness of the lunches I pack him.

After a few incidents at work of people noticing his healthy lifestyle, and asking for my blog link he decided to read my blog for himself. I can't believe he never did this before, but no matter. He said it's better that he read it after the fact, as if he read it in the beginning he would have thought I was whining. I think there are quite a few posts about being hungry at the start, basically as I was eating way too little kind of by accident.

His disdainful attitude towards fat people as being too lazy to help themselves was one of the main reasons I was so motivated. He thought less of me and after Alex turned 4 I felt he had a point. But he never thought I'd get this thin or this muscular and neither did I. He told me he had felt resigned to live with a chubby wife - after all, I wasn't obese or anything. so it's kind of like he won a new car at a raffle or something: a really great treat and surprise, but life would have gone on perfectly well if he had lost.

Of course he chose to have this whole discussion with me when I was in an agitated, "It's 20 min past Alex's bed time and I want him in his bed now" state of mind, but I'll make him tell me again when we're not putting the kids to bed. This respect is a benefit I had never anticipated. After 10 years of marriage, when it's easy to take the things we fell in love with in each other for granted, it's a great time to add an arrow to that quiver.

The sad realization that life as you know it has changed

I once heard a quote from Will Smith, describing his marriage to Jada Pinkett Smith. (Why is it that they are the nation's marriage counselors?) Something to the effect of, "When one phase of your life ends, instead of mourning that stage, you need to embrace the new one."....he was talking about accepting the constraints that follow parenthood. It's a good point - but one I personally had an enormous amount of trouble with. Basically I took that to mean that your freedom, free time, care-free attitude and privacy you once enjoyed as a couple is gone and it's not coming back so just move on and accept it and enjoy the wonders of parenthood. Of course that's easier when you're one of the country's highest paid entertainers, but he had a fair point.

This week this issue has come up in two ways in my conversations with friends, one in terms of accepting that parenting young kids basically means you should be doing something with any free time you have left, and that thing should probably not be relaxing and lounging around. It can be on occasion on the weekend, but not usually. That is a pretty tough pill to swallow. And in fact, kids do eventually become more independent and free time returns, but it takes years.

The second way is in accepting that reaching and maintaining an attractive weight means you have to give up food as a comfort. This too is a pretty harsh realization to accept. Of course a person can and still should enjoy food, but toasted almonds can't be a main focus of gratification in a person's life.

While I was in the relentless stage of parenting babies and toddlers, I came to view food as a small source of indulgence and happiness in my otherwise kind of mundane daily life. Not to be too melodramatic, but I had a tough few years for a variety of reasons. I didn't binge eat or eat out of control, but I just ate what I wanted when I wanted all the time - it was one thing that made me happy.

When I finally took dieting seriously, I think I was able to do it because I had experienced such a tough patch when my kids were young. While I never saw it this way at the time, as it turned out those rigorous years made me used to sacrifice, delayed gratification, doing things I didn't want to do and able to look towards larger and longer-term goal. So when the kids got a bit older and my life got easier I was, for lack of a better word, more mature.

So Will Smith is right - save yourself the hand-wringing and just accept the stage you're in. Next time my kids engage in World War III in the car over who looked at whom with what expression I'll make sure to try.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Over my head....

I think I almost killed Bouhie. Last night after realizing that I didn't know how much Bouhie should eat or exercise, I decided to re-read some of the WW materials. The very first thing they mention is how if you have high blood pressure you should be very careful, not over-exert yourself and consult your doctor before taking on new exercise. It suggests doing things like slow walking to get started. I thought about how Bouhie said in passing that when he doesn't exercise regularly his blood pressure goes way up, and then later that he was dripping sweat after doing 2 rounds of 8 extra big flights of stairs (I only suggested one trip). I did tell him to slow down if needed, but my directive to walk the stairs may have been like suggesting that he play Russian roulette. Horrifying!

I had a slight panic attack picturing the poor man unconscious or dead on the landing of the stairs. Maybe I'm in a bit over my head. He only works Thursdays and Fridays but next week I'll suggest that he consult his doctor before taking on so many flights of stairs.

Earlier in the day however, before I knew this, I made a trip downstairs to meet up with him. He's such a nice man and seems to really want to change his lifestyle. He is from Ivory Coast and unfortunately, he has succumbed to the American diet and sedentary lifestyle, while eating an Ivory Coast diet of chicken gizzards, rice and few vegetables.. He told me what he eats, and while he didn't write every single thing down, I got the impression he's eating an ok diet, but waiting too long between meals, and eating big portions.

I drew a picture of a plate and told him to eat mostly vegetables. His reaction was at once utterly shocking, endearing and kind of sad. He listened patiently, and as if I were a real expert, and contemplated what I said. It seemed like he'd never heard this notion of eating a lot of vegetables before. He told me Africans don't eat a lot of vegetables. My Nigerian friend eats loads of vegetables so I don't think it's an African thing like he says, although it may be an Ivory Coast thing. I talked about portion size - kind of guessing, and he said he'd eat what I suggested. I even told him to ask his wife to use 2 tablespoons of oil when cooking stews. We talked about eating one chicken thigh, or 3 drumsticks (this took some drawing to make sure we were discussing the same animal parts). He told me he likes gizzards, and wanted to know how many he can research chicken gizzards.

He definitely doesn't exercise enough but he's working on that.

He did 2 rounds of stairs yesterday and told me he would do 3 today - this was before I read about the high blood-pressure thing. Since he's a security guard he sits a lot, but picks a place where he can stand as well sometimes. I felt badly for him, as he seemed honestly to have no idea about nutrition or healthy lifestyles, but he really wanted to learn. He even had a text book he was reading on basic matters of health. He must be eating more than he says he eats, but he's so open to change and has so much weight to lose that even doing something simple like increasing exercise, taking a walk with his wife at night, eating more vegetables, will make a difference. It is kind of shocking to me how he listens to what I say, at least so far. I'll work on some basic concepts of how to get more movement into his life, more vegetables, and greater understanding of nutrition. I'll also insist that he get a check-up with a doctor. This is a very different client from my fellow slightly out of shape, over-educated moms. I hope I'm able to do right by him.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My new client Bouie

I opened the door to put on my running shoes and it was so humid that I immediately shut if and decided to do 2 Jackie segments instead in my cool air-conditioned basement. That lower body work out is goddam hard! I've been wobbling around my office all day. And I'm hungry. But no matter.

I got to the office early and parked where I don't usually park and saw a different security guard than I normally see. He asked what I've been taking - did he mean what diet drug? I told him diet and exercise and he kind of laughed in a sort of defeated way or maybe a disbelieving way. He confided to me that he had been trying to lose weight, but he weighs 240 pounds (and 5'9")and he can't do it. I told him he could and that I would help him. I suggested that he walk up the stairs of our building one time on his lunch break. I also asked him to write down everything he eats and at what time and give it to me. I was sure he'd brush me off but he promised to do it. I went down a bit later to get my eggs I ordered - like I said, Jackie makes me hungry and Alex absconded with a some of my breakfast in the car so I had some scrambled eggs. At any rate, I figured I should ask the man his name and tell him mine. He's Bouie, pronounced like Louie. I'm not sure what country he's from, but somewhere in Africa I imagine.

We chatted a few more minutes but I couldn't really be seen plying my new craft on gov't time so I kind of rushed back upstairs to eat my eggs. I actually walked the 9 flights as the elevators in our building are practically not working and when they do come they're so full that I start having a claustrophobic panic attack. If I'm going to breath heavy it might as well be for a good cause.

Anyway, I didn't think too much of things, and I just assumed that this sweet but very large pot-bellied man would not really make a go of things, but when I went down to leave he told me he walked up all 9 flights twice!!! I couldn't believe it! He says he's writing down what he eats today and tomorrow we'll discuss it. If he's so willing he may actually lose some weight - and he needs to - he has the awful unhealthy belly fat. It is just so hilarious to me that I tell someone to walk up 9 flights of stairs and they actually do what I say. And he did it twice! I can tell you that is pretty hard when you're in shape, let alone 80 lbs over weight. I hope he continues....I'll keep you all posted...very curious as to what will be on the food log. Go Bouie!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Portion size primer

When I first read, "French Women Don't Get Fat" I wanted to throw it across the room. Sticking to the portion sizes she recommends just seemed utterly constrained, unrealistic and even impossible to me. But alas, now I am much further away from my baby-making days, so her suggestions seem a bit more reasonable. If you're interested, here they are:

I have said this before, but will keep saying it, realizing how little one really needs to/should eat requires a bit of mourning. Very sad to give up so much pleasure, but eventually, acceptance sets in. And unlike actual mourning - no one died!

I still find the author's utterly chirpy demeanor to be a bit off-putting, but she does make some good points, when you don't eat that much, everything you eat should be really enjoyable. I do strive for that, hedonistic as it may sound. And the French are also really into my other favs...meal planning, bulk cooking and recombining, beans, cabbage and yogurt. They lose me on the wine obsession, but that's more my fault.

Friday, July 17, 2009

White skinny jeans

To anyone feeling like you have a long road ahead...I never in a million years thought this sentence would leave my lips, but I'm wearing capri white skinny jeans today. They look pretty good, although with a tiny bit of muffin top. Oh well, I just keep tugging them up. If I can do this any of you can. Such a dorky-Oprah sounding statement but it's just so true. I'm such a formerly lazy sloth.

And my original goal was never to wear size 6 skinny jeans, but to have my 12s feel loose and comfortable. Even 7 pounds ago skinny jeans were kind of a bad idea. You can start out with small goals and edit them as you gain success.

I have to say also, that having my birthday coincidentally fall one week after reaching my final goal weight and at my 6 month diet anniversary (official start date January 7 so six months plus 1 week) left me with an overly grandiose idea of what a birthday should entail. And I usually kind of ignore birthdays. But yesterday was a narcissist's dream come true! Day off work, fancy haircut, relaxing lunch with friend, French pedicure, dinner with husband, cupcakes with kids/mom/hubby, new outfit from hubby. Natasha even wrote me a book and a card that said, "I love you mommy" which for some reason seemed really touching, maybe because she generally views arguing with me as a sport. I asked Alex's camp counselor to work with him on making me a card, mainly b/c the poor boy needs to practice writing before K starts, but that was so sweet too.

Sad to say, but having accomplished this goal does make me feel like I deserve more. I remember in the past feeling like, "I really shouldn't spend my free hour on something like getting a pedicure. I'd be better served spending that time exercising." That may sound self-loathing and all reasonably responsible women deserve a treat every now and again but in reality there is some truth to the idea that looking for self-improvement in nice nails just pales in comparison to getting rid of unnecessary and in my case unhealthy pounds. Nothing is less attractive than someone who feels uncomfortable in her own skin, with or without fancy toes.

I even told my husband, "I want you to buy me a new outfit for my birthday." He looked taken aback and kind of stuttered. I cut off the stammering and explained further, "I want you to buy me something you would like to see me in as I don't really know what that is and I'd like to wear clothes you like." I would NEVER have had the confidence to do that before. Everything looked awful and I just tried to find something that didn't look utterly atrocious. The idea of him buying me something only for it to not button, or accentuate my massive ass was just horrifying. He bought me a very cute outfit and was so proud of himself. Very adorable. Will post a photo later. This new life is kind of fun! OK - birthday over, back to reality. Must solve babysitting/ant infestation/financial crises in my house.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Summer is so full of temptations. Currently there is a traditional vanilla cake with rich chocolate frosting, a beautiful French fruit/cream tarte bursting with enormous fruits and a light-fluffy cappucino tasting white cake all sitting taunting me outside my office door. Even I, with my mainly rock-hard distaste for overly gluttonous sweet items have caved slightly. I had a small bite of each - hence my expert descriptions. They were all kind of overly sweet but slightly tempting nonetheless. The variety doesn't help. If one is too sweet, try another! I guess the days are longer and I sometimes take after-dinner walks (alone!) but all the parties can wear a person down!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fit diet into lifestyle or fit lifestyle into diet?

Here we have a nature nurture type conundrum. The answer lies in a bit of both.

It is imperative to find a dieting style that works for your basic personality type. If you take on something completely antithetical to your basic nature you'll surely give up on it. Conversely, it is equally important to recognize that some elements of your current lifestyle are going to have to change. If nothing needed changing, you wouldn't be overweight.

Here is a list of sorts of ways to fit your diet into your lifestyle.
1. menu planner/recipe user versus free-wheeler: some planning must be done, like making sure the fridge is full of good choices, and packing a lunch or snacks for the road, but beyond that the level of pre-ordained food choices ranges from plans that send you your meals in the mail to plans that offer books and books of recipes to plans that just involve counting the calories and content of the food you eat but let you pick the foods. Pick the one that fits your lifestyle best - most offer a hybrid solution. I don't like menus, recipes or planning but I did as well on WW as my friends who follow recipes exclusively.
2. time of day eating: as long as you recognize your hunger patterns and plan accordingly, you can budget your calories for whatever time of day you like best - within reason. SOME kind of breakfast is imperative and HUGE amounts of late-night eating are not recommended, but there is a huge variety in-between.
3. picking a plan. I'm not a fan of cutting out food groups completely but all major successful diets seem to have the same basic concepts, which are detailed below. I used WW for food intake guidelines, and had a WW lifetime member as a coach but I didn't join and didn't attend a meeting until I'd reached my goal weight. I did all the cooking/menu preparation, etc. the same way I always had, just by picking stuff in my fridge. I just made sure I knew how much I was eating. The flexibility to cook what I wanted when I wanted helped me enormously. If I wanted bacon I just counted the points appropriately and ate 1/2 a BLT instead of a whole one. Some people find this level of choice paralyzing and need pre-set menus. Either is fine.
4. type of exercise. Challenging yourself is important, weight-bearing for major muscle groups is important, but what you do is up to you and you don't need to feel like you're dying.
5. low-fat versus low-carb. Studies show eating less is more important than what you eat.

Here is a list of things that are non-negotiable
1. counting/measuring/reporting. A royal pain. Everyone fights it. All major diet plans require it. Imperative at the start both for accountability, understanding what you're actually eating, and when you're having trouble, and how to fix that. Luckily in the age of iphone/online wiki databases/weirdos who spend lots of time cataloging this is MUCH easier. Ideally the results are reported to another person or people in my mind but even just writing it down and keeping it to yourself is a start.
2. exercise - including weight-bearing. Without exercise you're beating your head against a wall. None of us have time but we must find it anyway. Start with small goals (20 min 3x/week) and increase as you get in better shape (30-40 min 5 x/week).
3. support. Join a group that has a weigh-in, enlist a friend to be coach or partner, start a blog, anything. I had coaching support, exercise support and my blog community, all of which were invaluable.
4. give up food as comfort/eat way less. Very painful realization that actually requires the 5 stages of grieving. Every plan requires it. It's hard to get used to and needs to be thought of as the way going forward, not a short term fix. thin people eat small portions. A major new study just proved this once again. Along with this should come a new attitude about hyper-stimulating, super rich foods and excessive portion size. Those things should start to gross you out after giving them up for a few weeks.
5. some kind of breakfast. Doesn't need to be a huge meal but at least something must be eaten before lunch.
6. food shopping/cooking. If you have enough money to have a personal chef you get out of this one, but other than that all plans phase out the prepared meals eventually. Healthy home cooking is essential to making good choices consistently.
7. cut way back on sugar and alcohol. I suppose this isn't mandatory, but I don't see how you consume a lot of sugar and alcohol while still keeping the calorie count down without constant hunger and sugar cravings (sugar begets sugar).
8. willingness to change/admitting a problem/wanting something else more. This should probably be #1. Like any addict you must admit that your way of doing things is not working and that having a healthy bmi is an important enough goal that you are willing to do things differently. Picking a goal of something else you want more helps - even if it's an item of clothing. If you are unwilling to do 1-7 (especially 4) then you will probably not succeed in losing and keeping off the weight because it will be just a diet and not a mentality-shift.
9. deal with hunger. This is a tough one. When you start you will be hungry. This defeated my attempts for years. Now I'm usually only hungry 1 hour or less before meals, or else I have a snack. During my PMS days I'm a mess. But dealing with hunger sometimes is inevitable. I should probably have given in more and suffered through hunger less, but I have it under better control now that I'm tracking my period.
10. drink a lot of water and tea. Helps with hunger and oral fixation.
11. structured and consistent meal times and amounts. I suppose this isn't imperative, but the more people I work with the more things seem to fall apart without them. If you know how much you can eat and at what times it takes away a lot of the mental torture of "can I eat that?" With pre-determined meal times and amounts it is MUCH easier to handle hunger, and to avoid getting over hungry, stuck without a meal, overeating by accident, etc.

Olive oil consumption

A quick post about olive oil as it has come up a lot lately. Here is what I've come to.

When I measure and count olive oil it is so high in points/calories that it makes me mad. I tend to undercount it as it's such a healthy food and Mediterranean peoples eat gallons of it without problems. I know they walk up cliffs all day but that's another matter. I am super-careful about what I count and try to use it both liberally and sparingly - liberally, meaning, often, and sparingly, meaning not too much on each food.

I use oil and vinegar dressing, but 1-2 tbs only, depending on the ratio. I count it as one point but it's probably 2. Since I don't use my all floater or exercise points usually it just doesn't matter.

I also always use olive oil and salt on veggies and generally count it as 1 point per cup. I do this for 4 reasons: 1. I like it and 2. the kids will eat their veggies that way and 3. I eat a very low-fat diet otherwise and 4. my diet seemed to be working so I left it as is. If I had hit a bad plateau maybe I would have considered changing my behavior.

One other really helpful tip - I got a bottle of olive oil from Trader Joe's that has a little dispenser nozzle attached to it. It makes the olive oil come out really slowly, and I think this helps when throwing it around a saute pan etc.

It is possible to measure out tablespoons of olive oil when cooking and keep better track that way. I considered this but only did it once or twice as I just tried to be conservative and as I said, things were working that way. But if you think you need to get a handle on your olive oil consumption then by all means, measure out some tablespoons for a few days when preparing dinner, salads, etc and see what you're actually using.

I did switch to making fried eggs with olive oil 'pam' instead of butter. They taste fine, and I eat usually 1 whole egg with extra white.

Late Night Eating

Late night eating is a topic I don't know much about, but it seems to be a big problem, and I can understand why. I'm not a night owl. I'm usually asleep by 9:30 and up by 5:30. I don't eat at night because I'm sleeping. If I get hungry I go to bed, often before my 6 yr old daughter. Pathetic I know but she likes to stay up late and I'm tired of fighting with her. On the rare occasion that I am awake at 10:30 or 11 I'm definitely hungry. It's been hours since I've eaten and my stomach is empty. Many of you are up this late all the time. What a challenge!

So the first question is why are you awake? Do you like being up at that time? Is it your time alone, your time with your spouse, your time to relax, your time to work? If you just can't sleep, I would suggest tackling that problem. If you like being up at that time, I guess I would suggest a few things. Try and pick your solution based on why you think you're snacking at night - actual hunger, sabotoge, bad habit, cravings...

  • Actual hunger, habit: Save some calories or points for a planned late night snack. Eat a particular amount at a pre-determined time, so for example, 150 calories (3 pts) at 10pm. Figure out snacks that fit into that structure. I can offer specific ideas for anyone who needs them. Jennifer and I worked out something similar into her plan. She loves having a skinny cow ice cream treat at 8 pm-ish. So she finishes dinner with 2 points to spare and enjoys her skinny cow guilt free. at the start she would eat 2, mainly because she was still in the pregnancy, I can eat anything I want mindset, but she evolved out of that pretty quickly. Jen, you can correct me if you don't agree with that recitation.
  • Cravings: Beyond the pre-planned snack, stay as far away from the kitchen as you can. This is obviously easier in a bigger home. For some reason I'm totally tempted when I'm in the kitchen doing evening clean up, but as soon as I get upstairs the cravings go away.
  • Actual hunger: Make sure you're eating enough during the day. Kind of related to point 1, but this is where it helps to have pre-determined eating times and amounts during the day. Make sure you're eating enough protein (74 grams) and that you're not actually hungry because you didn't eat enough earlier. Hunger and cravings can get mixed up both ways. If you're hungry in a situation where you naturally have cravings anyway, it will just be that much harder to fend off.
  • Self-sabotoge: If you're not really hungry but just in a self-sabotoge mode, try and recognize the feeling as it comes over you and come up with an alternative behavior that is positive. I have had to do this in the afternoon grumpy kids - I have to make dinner - chaos period of 5-6pm. The witching hour never seems to end in my house even though the kids are old. Alternative behaviors could include trying to sleep, some kind of meditation/yoga/reading, blogging, take dog outside for 15 min, even in winter - just bundle up.
  • Habit, cravings: Have calorie free snacks on hand for when you just feel you absolutely have to snack or if you want to extend your pre-determined snack amount. Baby carrots, sugar snap peas, fat-free popcorn, grape tomatoes.
  • Habit: Pick 2 nights a week you're allowed to have a bigger snack...use floater calories for that...such as Friday and Tuesday, or something like that.
  • Actual hunger: Eat dinner later.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

142 - officially done!

Buck naked at ob/gyn office and with empty bladder. As a point of note 5 minutes earlier, pre-empty bladder and with a super-light t-shirt and skirt I had been between 143-144. Not sure about this scale and my original weight of 184 was with heavy winter clothes on but I'm counting it as 40 pounds! Also, and more importantly, my white 6 shorts which were tight now fit comfortably - I'm no longer between sizes. I'm officially done losing! I know maintaining is no easy feat either, but I feel comfortable in my habits now and think I'll be able to do it, barring any injury or illness that prevents exercise. Thanks to everyone for their support throughout this whole process.