Monday, November 30, 2009

NON-Food Rewards.

"They" always say it's so important to reward yourself in your weight loss efforts. Setting mini-goals and treating yourself when you reach them actually has helped me in my journey. I thought I'd share a few of my favorite NON-Food rewards to spark some ideas and motivation.

Philosophy Bubble Bath in Chocolate Chip Cookies

Have you ever said you love something so much you want to "bathe in it?" Well, you can. Philosophy bubble bath/body wash/shampoos are so delicious smelling, and they come in ridiculous flavors like Vanilla Birthday Cake or Strawberry Milkshake. This particular flavor has really helped me to feel indulged and relaxed at the end of a stressful day when I know I'm not hungry but rather just need to feel relaxed. I skip the actual cookies (most of the time) and sit in a tub full of chocolaty bubbles. Heaven.

Eyebrow Wax and Shape

This pops up on my reward list often, possibly because I am part Italian Werewolf. In the same vane that getting a mani or a pedi makes some women feel sexy and pampered, getting my facial hair ripped off with a bunch of wax makes me feel womanly. It also helps that if I set this reward for a mini-goal that's been difficult for me to reach, the shame of unruly eyebrows usually makes me work just a little bit harder to get there.

Moving Comfort's "Fiona" Sports Bra

This is hands-down the best sports bra I have ever worn. The link above is a super secret website where you can get them for 1/2 the normal price they retail. They're adjustable in the straps, have a bra-like closure in the rear (no sweaty sticky bra going over the head here) and they actually prevent bounce. I'm serious. I box in these, run in them, jump rope.... every high impact sport and they just... stay where they're supposed to. I highly recommend them, especially because they come in cute colors. This is one of my next rewards because I haven't replaced them since I moved down a band size and it's starting to get uncomfortable.

And sometimes, you have to reward yourself just for not quitting. Just for hanging in there. Just for continuing to try even when you're gaining or falling off the wagon every 3 hours. Maybe a reward is exactly what you need to get back on track.

For me, rewarding myself is all about reminding myself that I AM WORTH THIS. That I am losing weight and getting fit so that I can accomplish all the things in my life that I want to tackle and that I am worth it. I'm doing it for me.

So, my very next reward, whether I hit a weight goal or not is that trip to Sedona, AZ with my honey.


We are going to hike, hike and hike some more. We literally have no other plans except to walk for days. I found a great place on VRBO.com so we will have a full kitchen and the ability to make our own breakfasts and lunches and treat ourselves to dinners out.

I literally can't wait.

What's your next reward?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cookies are banned.

Back on track - that's me. I'm amazed at how well I did on Thanksgiving, aside from a little battle with some damn cookies (ITS ALWAYS COOKIES).

I really enjoyed spending time with my family and forming new traditions every year for myself that involve less focus on food.

I had a great handle on yesterday. I tried a new class at the gym and I loved it and my food was right on the money.

Today I attended my Saturday morning Step class with Doug (the speedo master). After class I took my dog for a big walk along the river and decided to also take him to the dog park. The sun was shining and I'd been moving since I got out of bed, I loved it. In the spirit of things, I also went BACK to the gym for a special Spin class with my favorite teacher. I just got back from that and I am still dripping sweat, which is pretty gross.

It's also why I'm going to go shower and have a snack.

I can't wait to catch up on everyone's Thanksgiving stories.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gobble Gobble Gobble. Gain.

Good Morning, my friends! I just got back from a most amazing workout at the gym. Can I express how THANKFUL I am to have a gym that's open on Thanksgiving?

It surprised me to realize that this was the first solo workout I've done since joining my new gym. I had been relying 100% on classes for my workouts. That definitely doesn't mean I've been doing 100% cardio. No siree. Boxing and Step both have strength training elements and I still play around with my resistance bands and the 30 Day Shred at home.

It really felt amazing to push myself. I was the only one accountable for this workout. No one told me what to do, there wasn't choreography or assignments or instructors barking orders. I really worked it hard and I left the gym a sweaty mess. It was the perfect way to start a day that revolves almost completely around food, especially after the results of last night's weigh in. I knew I had gained, so it was no surprise, and I'll be honest that +3.2lbs actually elated me. I was positive it was much more. I have nothing but confidence that I can take off at least half of the gain this week - if not MORE.

(just throwing that in there for fun)

I'm in the 120th hour of being smoke free and I feel fantastic. Yesterday I was finally able to get it together. Writing out my TOTS for the week really renewed me and remembering that if I can focus on this goal, these goals rather, distracting myself, I won't even think about the fact that I quit smoking 5 days ago. I've been reframing in my mind. It's not "I don't smoke anymore." it's "I don't smoke." Past is past.

I don't really have a plan for "the big meal" today. I know that's dangerous, but I don't actually know what will be there - which makes it difficult to choose. I made my ultra-super-delicious Cranberry Relish to bring to my Aunt's, as well as the (now) famous Fall Potato Salad. I apologize but I've apparently lost the recipe to my Cran-relish, so I had to wing it. I'm not even going to try to explain my improvisation, but there are many delish recipes out there. Cooking Light's version with oranges is pretty close.

Knowing that I have a dessert I can eat, a side I really enjoy and that turkey is really pretty safe in general, I feel confident that I will make the right choices at the table. I'm not a fan of the way that side of my family prepares Green Bean Casserole or Stuffing, so those won't be hard to turn down. I've already written my script for asking the hostess if it would be ok for me to use my salad plate as my dinner plate and remove the larger one from the table, and I have planned for 2 glasses of wine alternated by LOTS of water.

I'm trying to be mindful of what this day is REALLY about. It's not about the dinner, though that is what we focus on. It's about celebrating unions and family. For me, it will be about catching up with a side of the family I truly only see once per year. Focusing on them, what they're up to, who they are right now. I will help in the kitchen and wash dishes and distract myself. I might curl up on the couch and take a nap. Relatives and relaxation.

I KNOW starting the day off with that workout will keep me in the right frame of mind. I know I am prepared for the stresses of this traditional day without the smoking/bonding time with my Uncle. I know that I am strong enough to still go outside and catch up with him and not smoke. I also know that I do not need to eat the appetizers set out because dinner is very soon to follow. I'm rehearsing mental mantras for both the snacking/smoking dilemmas and I feel strong.

What is your plan today?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Po-tate-o Po-tot-o, Let's Call the Whole Thing TOTS

So, according to the No Mo' Potato Challenge, today I'd be reviewing my sparkling accomplishments. I'd be spelling out all the ways I was awesome and met every single TOTS I set last week.

Well I didn't.

You know what I did instead?

I quit smoking, so I win.

In a way, I'm kind of pretending that the challenge RE-starts today. I finally feel a little back to myself. Yesterday was a tough day, and I'm surprised it was the lowest of the binging for the past couple days. Just those Dove Chocolates, and nothing else.

So, this week, the TOTS are...

TOTS for the Week of 11/25-12/1


  • Track Everything. Even if the binging comes back. Stop, think, track and then eat. If I have to track before I eat something (which I typically don't) then it might change things around. So, I'll track every morsel FIRST.

  • SWEAT 6 days a week. This might end up being 7. I realized that Sunday and Monday of this week mostly sucked because I didn't SWEAT. That's not to say I didn't do any exercise, but I didn't work hard, and I always feel motivated after a good workout. I made a fitness schedule and I fully intend to follow it.

  • Plan Tomorrow's Meal Plan Today. Each night, I'll sit down and make a meal plan for the next day. I do this most of the time, but lately it's been difficult. I'll factor in room for little snacks, but I WILL follow this plan. I have to, because I want to.

  • Stay SMOKE FREE! Woo hoo!

So, next week, I will come back and being a shining example of goal setting and reaching. Today is off to a fantastic start. I ate breakfast according to my meal plan and I packed my snack. I spent about 10 minutes stretching, relaxing with coffee and petting the dog as a way to calm myself before work.


I really feel like I'm starting to be ME again and not some hormonal lack-of-nicotine monster. I can't believe the Triple Whammy. I also can't believe I did it with some success!


Today at 2pm I will have reached my 100th hour smoke free. I'm rewarding myself with a Latte.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Enough Already.

I'm not going to lie and say today was awesome. It wasn't. Actually, it most was, with just a few hiccups.

I got to work and immediately started crying because of the overwhelming amount of work I had to do. Then, I remembered I hired someone last week and he was starting today.

The day at work went quickly, swimmingly, and without a cigarette.

I made a run to Target to pick up some much needed supplies. I grabbed 6 3-packs of delicious sounding sugar-free gums, some tootsie roll pops and I might have accidentally purchased a bag of Dark Chocolate Caramel Dove Promises. ... on sale for $2.99.

Plus side on that is - knowing full well I was freaking out- I stopped over to my girlfriend's house. The one who just had adorable baby Juniper. After eating 9 promises in the car, I pawned the rest off on the nursing mother. She loves chocolate. It was an easy task. The baby made it all make sense. She also reminded me of all the reasons I'm doing this, and I really had a chance to relax and talk with my friends.

Everything clicked.

Since then I had a healthy lunch, I took TWO classes at the gym, and now I'm heating up some Spaghetti Squash with Zucchini, Onion, Spinach and sauce. Yum.

As an aside, and somewhat of a TMI one (and not in a funny way) it dawned on me today that this was not a Double Whammy, but a TRIPLE WHAMMY and one to celebrate. I managed to quit smoking, without blowing anything up the week before TOM.

You see, my anniversary was last week, remember? So I was going to use my birth control to skip TOM (I do it a few times a year), only I forgot to do it. It was only supposed to be as a back up in case things came early, but they didn't, so I didn't. Today I got it, and I think it helped everything click.

There's no longer blame, or shame, in all of the mistakes I made over the past 3 days, because honestly - quitting smoking is SO much harder than losing weight. No offense to anyone's journey or struggle, I've been there, I've lost weight, but this is way harder. A THOUSAND TIMES HARDER, and I'm only 83 hours in.

I'm in it for the long haul. My new strategy is just to label myself a nonsmoker, the same way I am trying to accept myself for the fit thinner person that I am now, I need to also let my smoking past go with my fat past.

Ok. This was a ranty post. Tomorrow I'm talking TOTS. It's going to be a harsh look at my epic failure of the week, and also a celebration of my epic AWESOMENESS this week. You'll see what I mean.

Clearning up the Lies.

Ok friends, in my last post I acknowledged my current overeating due to having quit smoking (69 hours) after 10 years.

I also said it had stopped, which was true (for about 4 hours).

I simply can't seem to get it together. Even last night as I was shoveling Pecan Pie (500 calories) into my mouth, I didn't really want it, I just needed to fill the void.

How do you get to a place where you JUST STOP? I've been there before, I know how good it feels to just choose to throw something away. Waste it in the trash rather than waste it in your body. I just don't remember how I got there.

I'm really really hopeful that Boxing tonight will shove me back into motivation mode. I always feel very powerful after that class.

In the meantime, motivational tricks are more than welcome, and/or please follow me around all day and knock things out of my hand.

Monday, November 23, 2009

USAA: Un Smokers Are Awesome


The part Uncle Sam doesn't mention at the bottom of his ultra clever poster is that he wants you to put down that cigarette so you can pick up cookies/a turkey burger/a bag of pirate's booty/ice cream/whatever seems edible.
Saturday actually went amazing. I checked in with y'all after 7 hours, and I was doing fine. I stayed on plan all night long. Sunday I woke up feeling WIPED OUT. I laid around for most of the morning, lamenting life, drinking coffee, dozing in front of the TV between bloated bowls of cereal.
I didn't track anything.
Sunday night, Jessica and I and a new friend Renee headed to see Precious. I packed all my own snacks. I weighed them, packaged them, etc. I didn't track the points for them of course, and I also ate all of them before the first half of the movie had shown. They were healthy though, just in bulk.
HOWEVER!
Sunday did contain a massive NSV. Whilst shopping the mall before our movie date, Jessica found a pair of 8 Short jeans on the clearance rack. Since she is very tall, she handed them over. Just to try. And try I did. AND PURCHASE I DID because the jeans are hot.
So, I fit into the coveted size 8. That means I'm perfect now right?
Sunday continued to be horrible after the movie when I came home and made myself a Lean Cuisine lasagna and a huge pile of roasted veggies (sounds good right?) followed by an entire freezer's worth of desserts.
Today I was wiped again. I took my vitamins twice though, in an attempt to pick things up. I ate too much cereal, but I recognized it right away. I skipped lunch because I genuinely wasn't hungry (when I say too much cereal, I mean 3 bowls... ok?). Now I'm headed out for sushi with a friend I haven't seen in a long time. We're going to talk goals, for her - not me, which will be very helpful in reminding me how EASY it is to tell someone else how EASY everything is to do, even though it's not. But it kind of is. Really. I mean, 10 years of smoking and I've already made it 57 hours! Every minute feels like torture but I'M DOING IT.
Also, Jessica says that quitting smoking trumps dieting right now. I agree with her, but I'm still going to follow through with my No Mo' Potato Challenge. I just might not score well this week.
So - basic summary: I'm 57 hours smoke free, I'm over eating, I've acknowledge it and it stopped 5 hours ago. I made a meal plan for tomorrow which involves small meals all day long to help with the fact that I can't stop eating. I also intend to run to my friend's house to visit her new baby and then run home and also go to Boxing Class because I have some serious angst to punch out.
I apologize for not commenting on your blogs for the last few days. I did just catch up, but only commented where I felt it extremely necessary. I think you're all awesome and tomorrow I return to my routine.
xoxo.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Yum.

"Big Ass Salad"

mixed greens, carrots, onions, tomatoes, radishes, edamame, mushrooms. dressed in 1 tsp each balsamic vinegar and olive oil



Salmon, Sprouts and Spinach

egg white omelet with 2 oz lox, spinach, onions and 2 tbsp fat free cream cheese

hash: halved brussel sprouts, turkey bacon and diced potatoes




Oh HENry Scramble

cornish hen salad: c h, red pepper, pineapple, onion, sweet potato, vinaigrette + chipotle smoked salsa + egg whites

2/3 cup Cultural Revolution plain yogurt + dash cinnamon

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Speedos to all, and to all a Good Night.

That is my Step teacher.


No, I'm not kidding.

Yes, he always wears that, though not always flesh colored.

This morning, Doug, the man to your right, kicked my ass. He also kicked two of my lady friends asses, and then our three kicked asses went out for coffee and breakfast.

I have to say, it might have been the absolute best way to start a weekend.

Even though Saturday Step is the way I spend EVERY Saturday morning, it's not often I am able to do it with 2 fantastic ladies and have girl talk after. We went to Common Roots and I had a Skim Miel and a small bowl of fruit (mostly cantaloupe). Great choices! I was proud.

These 2 ladies are also Weight Watchers. The two of them had never met, and I knew it would be gab at first sight. I was happy that we were all able to go out, because I love connecting new friends. I have been feeling down lately about how difficult it truly is to make new friends as an adult. It's awkward, like dating. Do I call her? Do I email her? How long should I wait? Will she remember me?

As a very extroverted being, it's not hard for me to make friends if I'm in a situation where I can talk, outloud, in a group. My weight watchers meeting has been fantastic for this. I've made a lot of connections here - and I love it because it's already something I'm doing for myself. My new gym is somewhat of a flop for socialization so far. It's really more of a fancy-pants kind of place so I don't have too much in common with the other clientele other than our love for fitness. I'm still trying to start some regular conversations, doing the head nod, the "Hello," etc.

Other than at work, where have you made friends as an adult?

I'm so incredibly grateful for the support I get from all of you. It's so interesting to me how easy it is to open up to "strangers" about such difficult subjects and I so appreciate all of your encouraging words and all the lessons (and tricks!) I have learned through comments on this blog. You are all lovely and I wish you all lived in Minneapolis, or within a close proximity. [Unless you live somewhere warm, in wish case... I'm packing my bags.]

I am actually. Packing my bags that is. Justin and I are headed to Sedona, AZ on December 19th for a little R&R. Just kidding, unless R&R stands for RED ROCK (HIKING), which it does. I'm so incredibly excited for this trip. Sedona isn't too warm that time of year, but it will be sunny and fall-ish weather, my favorite. I have planned 2 epic hikes, and we're also renting a car to make a trip to the Grand Canyon (for a hike). I found a great place on VRBO.com that is running a special for $100 per night. We'll have a full kitchen (YES, staying on track while on vacation!!!) and a private patio. Don't even THINK this vacation is going to derail my goals, if anything it will push me forward.

Hiking in a new state? YES PLEASE!

So, I've been smoke free for 7.5 hours. Last night, I had one cigarette left and I opted not to go buy more seeing as how my quit date was so close (Sunday). I had that cigarette around 10am this morning. I know that 7.5 hours might not sound long, but that's about 2-3x longer than I'm used to not smoking. Even watching a movie without a smoke break felt pretty rough sometimes.

This hasn't really been hard though. I've had a mug of tea and chewed a Tea Tree Oil stick. There was only one points where I felt I actually wanted a cigarette, and it quickly passed. I think the Chantix is working wonders and I'm very grateful to have that crutch. When I make it to Tuesday morning smoke free, I'm going to reward myself with a haircut. I need one desperately and that 3rd day (Monday) is always the worst for me.

Keep your fingers crossed for me. I'll be out walking and running all day tomorrow, hopefully, to keep my mind off distractions and to test what 24 hours without a cigarette can do for your lungs.

Keep up the good work this weekend!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Why Yesterday Was Awesome.

I checked out yesterday. Unplugged.

Why?

It was my Anniversary. It was also just an amazing day in general.

Work went by in a flash, I got to meet one of my best girlfriend's new baby Juniper in the hospital, and then I dragged Justin to spin class. He was less than thrilled to be having a sweat session outside of the bedroom on our Anniversary, but after the class - exhausted and energized at the same time - he was thankful I forced him to go.

With adrenaline surging and hunger out of control, we made our first stop of the night.

Now, Justin and I fancy ourselves foodies, which is mostly how I gained so much weight. Because we do not eat out very often (because I'm such a fantabulous cook) it is not uncommon for us to drop $130+ on a dinner out with drinks, especially on a special occasion. So this year, in an effort to both be ON TRACK and have a little more fun than the typical dinner date, I got to plan. I chose to go back to one of my favorite Mexican restaurants ever, El Loro. (A favorite also of Jen at a Prior Fat Girl!)

I ordered my super favorite old stand-by: Vegetarian Fajitas. I'm not in any way a vegetarian, but the first time I went to this restaurant (possibly almost 10 years ago now) I was. It is the only thing I've ever ordered there, and I feel no need to change that. I live less than a mile away from Mercado Central, a Latino neighborhood of Minneapolis with upwards of 20 Mexican owned restaurants of pure authenticity.

Let me tell you my friends, I walked in to that restaurant with a plan. I KNEW I was going to order a margarita. I planned for it. I also knew that this is the kind of joint that brings you endless baskets of homemade tortilla chips with delicious chunky salsa and queso fresco... and there they were. Hogging half the table, and sitting right between me and my lovely date. I didn't touch them. Not one frickin' bit. I plugged back in for 10 minutes to distract myself with Twitter until Justin finally made up his mind about what to order. I didn't even open the menu. I wasn't giving El Loro a single chance to mess up my plan. Just bring me the delicious.

So, I survived the dinner portion.

And because we decided to screw the white linen and opt for paper napkins, we knew we could play with the rest of our date budget. And play we did.... blackjack!

Next stop, Mystic Lake Casino. We have not been to the casino in about 3 years, and coincidentally the last time we went was on our Anniversary. We were in Duluth, had just finished dinner (de ja vu) and were walking down Lake Avenue and decided to stop at Fond-Du-Luth casino. We ended up winning $350 between the 2 of us and upgraded our hotel room to a ridiculous sweet. It was a blast.

This time, I was the only one who left a winner, but fun was had by all. And, I brought home the bacon. $280 worth. Hell yeah!

We decided to stop for a nightcap at our neighborhood bar. This I hadn't planned for, so I stayed safe with white wine. I knew I could afford 3 more measly points (3 because the servings are always bloated, not 5oz like they're supposed to be) and I wanted to enjoy the night.

Truly a fantastic day as a whole.

Today is a gorgeous day outside and I plan to get out and run the lakes. Remember how I power cleaned the house last weekend? Well, dog-sitting puppy has destroyed all that (along with 5 of our dog's toys), so I'll be keeping myself busy today with sweeping, washing floors, doing dishes and shaking out rugs. I think tonight the boys and I are going to rent UP and spend some downtime on the couch.

How are you staying busy today?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Oh Oh Oh!

LOOK ---------------------------->







New No Mo' Potato Challenge goal: 5.4lbs

WOO!

Nudge Me.

The reality of my current situation is setting in, and it's making me all the more wise to the fact that I REALLY need the No Mo' Potato Challenge right now. You know what else I need?

Your help.

Remember how I said I was quitting smoking? Well that day is just 4 short days away. I feel like a mad woman attempting to lose the final 7lbs AND quit smoking at the same time, but I know I am stronger than I feel, and I can absolutely do this. I just need you to nudge me.

I need your strategies. I need you to hold me accountable. I don't want another cookie episode. I WANT this. I CAN do this, I just sometimes forget that.

Today is the first day of the No Mo' Potato Challenge and I've already planned out my meals, dessert too, to be no MORE than 21 points and contain my Good Health Guidelines, so I'm fueling rather than feeding. My sweat session will be run/walk intervals around Lake Nokomis (twice) with the crazy dog we are dog sitting, and I bought a new notebook last night to hold my evening reflections on the day that passed and strategies for success for the day to come. I feel very prepared. I love this feeling all too much because I know it doesn't last long. I'm brainstorming right now how to bottle it up so I can get it back when I need it, but so far... no great ideas.

Instead I usually end up with one of these...


My plan today is to simply keep my spirits high and expect the best. I'm totally unsure how my weigh in is going to read out tonight. I genuinely had a HORRIBLE start to this week, picked it back up, dropped it a few times and got back on track. I guess my *hope* is that I maintain or lose at least a little bit, but I hold no expectations at this point.

No matter what, I will not let it kill my motivation, though it might change my ultimate goal for the Challenge.

What are you doing this morning to make today a better day?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No Mo' Potato: On to(t) the Goals!

Just in case you missed my moment of sheer insanity this morning where I made up a ridiculous weight loss challenge on the spot called No Mo' Potato, just look here to get filled in.


As promised, weekly I will be setting Tater TOTS, little goals to get me through the week. TOTS stands for Tasks of Total Steadfastness and Tater stands for nothing.


Wednesday marks the beginning of a new Weight Loss Week for me because it is the day my Weight Watcher's week turns over, I have a clean calorie/point slate and that fresh start is exactly what I need to begin this challenge.



This Week's Tater TOTS


  • Treat 21 points as 21 points. Do not debt yourself more than 1/2 the Activity Points you earned each day, save for Thursday, which is your 800th anniversary with Justin and you're allowed 10 extras. Permission granted. [for 10, only. I'm serious. Just 10.] Also, track everything.
  • Sweat it out 6 days a week. REALLY sweat. Repeat your mantra "It's only 2 minutes." [it is my theory that no one move in any routine or class goes on for more than 2 minutes. I can totally do something for 2 minutes, regardless of how long 2 minutes can feel, and regardless of how many increments of 2 minutes make up 60.]

  • FUEL not FEED. This little saying, fuel not feed, works for me when I think of feed as a noun rather than a verb, because that's gross. I'm not a pig.

  • Reflect and journal each night after dessert. This accomplishes two things: 1) To give myself enough time to decide not to have the 2nd dessert I always want after having dessert and 2) allows me to give myself the credit I deserve for the things I did well, all day, thus ending my night on a positive note and building my confidence that all of this is possible to continue again the next day.

I also decided that maybe this should be a real challenge. Just because I don't know HOW to run a challenge doesn't mean I can't figure it out. If you want to participate, here's your badge of honor.





[pull this picture and link to this post]



The only rules of the challenge, as far as I can see, is that you must SET A GOAL. It does not have to be weight related, but it should be something that has been EXTREMELY difficult for you to achieve. For me, the last 7.2lbs I have been chasing for more than 8 months. Don't take the easy way out, I'm really pushing and you have to too. Maybe you walk for exercise but dream of running a 5k? Or perhaps you're scared of the weight room but want to see some sculpted bi and tricepts? Additionally, you'll have to update us on your TOTS each week in your blog. Initially, you'll set them, and then each week you'll revisit your progress as well as set new TOTS for the week ahead.



Whomever reaches their impossible goal on or by December 31st, 2009 will WIN A PRIZE!



Notice, that's not "whomever reaches their impossible goal FIRST..." anyone who participates in this challenge and meets their goal will win something. I'm not promising the stars, just in case suddenly this catches like wildfire and 900 people join the challenge, but I promise something of substance, because I would be embarrassed to send it to you otherwise, and because I have good taste. [P.S. if you just complete the above tasks for the entirety of 6 weeks, you're a winner. After all, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that truly counts." w. churchill]



So let's get crack-a-lackin!

Focus.

I did a lot of thinking last night. Currently, I have a lot on my plate. I'm on Day 3 of Chantix which may or may not be messing with my mind, I'm dog sitting a crazy puppy who does not understand the words "No Jump" [and also barfed on my blanket] and work is a crazy tornado of busy, but I can't let all of those things stop me up. That's life. I'm going to be busy, quitting smoking will be hard, and someone will always be barfing on my blanket - so to speak.


Rebecca at Durch DICK und Duenn explained something I was fighting her on yesterday. Her stance is that weight loss is so much about what we put in our mouths more than exercising. Being a "read between the lines" kind of gal, I took that somewhat as saying "Exercise doesn't matter," and I got angry. Luckily, she is a sane person and explained it in a different way, stating her intention is to help people stop making excuses about not losing weight if they're intimidated or unable to exercise. And you know what, she is right anyway. Weight loss is purely about less calories in than calories out. You could do that eating Mickey's donuts if you want, but I wouldn't recommend it.


I'm such an exercise pusher because it is such a great conducter of confidence and power. So many of us start this journey, and consequently give up and restart it multiple times, because we don't think we're worth it. We aren't worth taking care of, it's too hard, I don't have time, and the plethora of other excuses that actually just mean "I'm not strong enough."

Well you are.

And you can be stronger.

Practice is like a muscle, the more you work at something, the stronger it gets. I need to remember to strengthen my mental muscles along with my physical ones, because lately my eating habits have literally been out of control. We talked about the cookie fiasco, that was a bad one, but aside from that I've been sneaking in little things here and there and conveniently forgetting to track them.


In BitchCake's words, "The only thing stopping me is ME."


So this week, I vow to pick back up The Beck Diet Solution, which has been sitting lonely on the dining room table. I'm just starting over. Clean slate. I will work from Day 1 to the end, one day at a time rather than trying to rush through like I did before.


There are still 44 days left till the end of the year, and if I really REALLY allow myself to start over, to be gentle but dedicated, I know I can make it to goal. Despite all the holidays, despite the stress, despite the dogs puking on blankets, I can do this.


AND SO...


I propose a challenge. To all of you ladies and gents who are stuck hovering, gaining and losing the same 2.5lbs week after week after week, I invite you to join me for the No Mo' Potato Challenge.



It's not a real challenge. I wouldn't know how to run a challenge in the midst of all this other junk I have going on, but here's what I'M going to do, and if you want to join me, I'd love it. And maybe there will be prizes. There should always be prizes.


I'm going to take these 44 days, roughly 6.3 weeks, and I'm going to use them to lose the 7.2lbs I need to get to goal. At about 1.2lbs weekly, I think I can pull this off with some determination and a little elbow grease (but not too much, I hear it's fatty). I'll be setting Tatter Tot Goals weekly, little steps to get me through the week and on towards the bigger challenge. [I am seriously laughing so hard as I type this because it's so ridiculous. Why potatoes? I just thought of this now, but maybe it will work. I can't stop myself]


Since 7.2lbs is a weird goal, and really only applies to me, maybe you're No Mo' Potato could be setting a new mini-goal to get you through the end of the year.

What will get you through?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Reader Recipe Request: Fall Potato Salad

Laura at 100in12 wanted to know what my "Fall Potato Salad" is. Maybe you do too?

Fall Potato Salad

Ingredients
  • 3 cups diced beets, cooked (reserve 1tbsp cooking liquid)
  • 8 oz diced red potatoes, cooked [peeled or not, I never peel them] (I also just braised these with the beets and a little salted water)
  • 2 small diced green apples, peeled and cored
  • 1/3 c finely diced unsweetened dill pickles
  • 1/3 medium sweet or red onion
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 c fat free sour cream OR greek yogurt (I use greek yogurt, but if you have sour cream don't run out and buy the yogurt... even though it's better)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • OPTIONAL: fresh chopped parsley or dill

Assuming you've already cooked the beets and potatoes like you're supposed to, combine the potatoes, apples, pickles and onion in a serving bowl.

Combine the vinegar, oil, pepper and 1/2 tsp of the salt in a small bowl and drizzle over the salad. If you're using parsley or dill, go ahead and scatter that around the edges. Cover this concoction and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Just before serving - make the dressing. Mix the sour cream/greek yogurt, lemon juice, the reserved beet juice, white pepper and remaining 1/2 tsp salt. Serve by mixing with the salad, or on the side for dipping. Whatever your pleasure.

Enjoy!

By the way, that Breyer's cookie/yogurt thing was not delicious. It wasn't bad, but it certainly didn't pass as desert. Yogurt and cookies don't belong together, at least not yogurt that isn't super rich and decadent. I give it half a thumbs up, which means "If you're desperate, it'll pass." Otherwise, I'd be happier to make something delicious by crumbling up Kashi Dark Chocolate Oatmeal cookies (2 points). Those are the bane of my existence right now. I can't keep them in the house. They're just too good.

If you have self control around cookies (I don't) I highly recommend them.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Puttin' Food on the Table.

Fried Egg (2) Sandwich on Arnold Sandwich Thin (1) + Tomato + Spinach + Horseradish Mustard (0) = 3 points

1 Small Apple (1) + Cinnamon (0) + 1 tbsp Reduced Fat Peanut Butter (2) = 3 points

Tea (0) = 0 points

1 cup Spaghetti Squash (0) + 3/4 c sauce (1) + Spinach in 1 tsp olive oil (1) = 2 points


Diet A&W Root Beer (0) = 0 points


Black Bean Burger (2) on Arnold Sandwich Thin (1) + Tomato, Spinach, Horseradish Mustard (0) + 1 cup Fall Potato Salad (2) + Baby Carrots (0) = 5 points



Diet Hot Cocoa (0) + Fat Free Reddi-Whip (0) = 1 point

[Why 1 point? Too many 0 point options through out the day add up. I had tea, soda AND this cocoa + whipped cream, so I'll just take a point because it's so decadent]

And later on, after dinner has settled and the cocoa is long gone, I'm planning to have this for dessert.

I found it at the grocery store and bought it impulsively. I'm pretty sure all it is is Low Fat Vanilla Yogurt with Cookie Crumbs to stir in to it, but it's 2 points and contains chocolate and I'm moving in to the only week of the month I want chocolate (as opposed to just sweets in general) so I figure it was a safe option.

I'll let you know how they are.

The End of an Era.

Goodbye YWCA. I always loved you, even when I hated you.

I joined the Midtown YWCA (Minneapolis) 2 years ago now, coinciding with my joining Weight Watchers and trying to turn my life around.

I've lifted countless weights within these walls, danced my way through many a Zumba class and ran my first full mile (as an adult) without stopping.

I would rip out the new strength training plan every month when my Fitness Magazine arrived and run to the gym to give it a try. That was always my favorite thing, getting a chance to switch it up.

This building is truly where I made so many of my physical progress. It built my confidence and allowed me to really push myself as far as I now know I can go. Unfortunately, everyone needs change, and my new gym is exactly what I need *now*. That's not to say I won't return to the YWCA. It is awfully convenient (just a hair under 1 mile from my house via bike trail) and has an indoor track and pool which my new gym does not. I'll still get to visit every week on Wednesdays for my Weight Watchers meeting.

I had a great last workout at the Y today. I jumped at my chance to attend CardioKick, a high impact kickboxing class with lots of shuffling and jumping and kicking and punching, oh my! I also ran one final mile around that indoor track, hating every minute of it. I truly detest running inside. I'm sure I'll be singing a different tune when it's -15 degrees here, but for now, I can tolerate it.

Can you remember the ONE thing that really pushed you forward with your fitness efforts? What was it?

Finally.

I finally added and updated my blogroll.

Now you can see all the lovely bloggers I depend on to stay on track. Remember to click "Show All" so you can glance at more than the 10 who updated recently.

It was a goal to get this done soon because I have found the most amazing new blogs lately thanks to other b-rolls. There truly are so many of us out there, and it's comforting (if not a little creepy) how similar our journeys really are.

So read on! Discover! Enjoy.

I'll be back with a post about my epic LAST DAY as a member of the Midtown YWCA (my gym for the last 2 years).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday Night Fevah.

Today has been fantastic.

I went to Step at 8:30am and met up with my new friend we'll be calling "Other Nicole" for obvious purposes. She and I sweat it up with Doug, the crazy instructor who was wearing PANTS today. Granted they were zebra print leggings, but it was not his usual speedo and I was quite thrown off.

I am convinced that I always burn more calories when I go to a class with a friend. It is true of Spin when Darci comes, and it was true of Boxing when Justin came with, the theory rang true today as well when I racked up 7 APs for today's Step class compared to last weeks' 5. WOO HOO!

When I left the gym, I went to Target to pick up my Chantix. I'm quitting smoking. Did any of you (besides totegirl and Jessica) know that I smoke? I do. A lot. I've wanted to quit for a very long time, but I'm taking an actual step in the right direction now. My quit date is Thanksgiving, but technically, with the Chantix I will be quitting next Sunday the 23rd. Wish me luck (and faster speedier runs)!

I cleaned the house, top to bottom, just like I said I would. I also grocery shopped and took the dog for an epic walk and to the dog park.

Dinner was a delicious plate of Cabbage/Corn/Red Onion saute with a big sweet Italian turkey sausage and it was delicious. Great way to utilize leftovers.

I'm sipping a Diet A&W while I click clack away at a few projects I would be working on next week during the afternoons and weeknights. My girlfriend who was supposed to have her baby 12 days ago is being induced on Monday. We're watching their dogs for them while she's in the hospital and for the first couple days the baby is home to ease the transition. I assume this is going to be very difficult (the dogs are extremely poorly trained) for me, so I'm working on a Saturday night to save my sanity. Luckily, these dogs come with kennels.

So, in closing, completely OP day. Tomorrow will be too!

Clean Slate.

My friends, in the next few days you may find me posting at an obnoxious rate, but bare with me. Last night, as I was planning out my meals and making the grocery list, I made a separate list of all the fail-safe ways I know to keep me on track.

Blogging regularly is one of them.

Planning is another. I know that I need my meal plan and I know that I need to treat that meal plan as the Holy Grail. If I can get in the mindset where the items on my plan are the ONLY things available to me, I'm gold.

Scheduling is another big one. If I can overschedule myself with tasks, I can keep my mind off snackily grazing all day. Today, after my Step date with Other Nicole and my Shower Date with myself (going on 4 days, gross), I'll be cleaning the house top to bottom. A) It really needs it. The house smells as bad as I do. B) This is going to take a long time. Possibly all day, and when I start something like this, I get manic about finishing it. I also have no idea how to do a half-assed job with anything except dieting. I'm talking toothbrush to the heat vents. I even wipe down the floorboards, and yes, I'm available for hire.

Visualizing my goal is something I've been trying to focus on. It's gotten exceedingly harder the closer I get to my Goal Weight, because truly, I'm happy where I am. At this point, the only driving force is the fact that Weight Watchers and Insurance Companies and BMI Scales say I'm not in a healthy weight range yet, and the only reason I care is because I so desperately want to be a Weight Watchers Leader. Knowing full well it is something I will excel at, and that other people out there need me to finish my journey so I can help them with theirs. Also, getting to Goal Weight means I get to start a whole new chapter of Maintaining, something I'm very confident I can do with ease after all I've learned these past 2 years.

Nerdily, I've already started brainstorming tools I will use when I'm a leader. Apparently I'm quite confident they will want me. Immersing myself in that "life that will be" has been a fun experiment. I'm constructing meal planning worksheets with included grocery lists, goal setting journals and goal oriented calendars.

I also now know that giving myself a free pass to not exercise is a bad idea. That doesn't mean that when I feel sick I should go balls-out in a cardio class for an hour, but it does mean that I could leash up the dog and take him for a stroll. Anything to move and remember what I'm doing. It doesn't have to be about the Activity Points, just about my lifestyle. I know that when I'm moving, I'm on the right track.

What are some of the fail-safe strategies you use to stay on track?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Time Out/Time Off

Ironically, the week I began taking more zinc is the week I started feel a bit under the weather. Last night, I gave myself a day off, a free pass, from working out. I was feeling some congestion in my chest and head and just didn't want to push it. Apparently, that time off was also a time out from any sort of meal plan.

You see, yesterday I had to give a presentation to my organization. We have tripled in size since I started working there 4 years ago, and we have a slew of new people who know nothing about the many program we run. Each month, during our all staff potlucks, each program director (out of 15 programs total now, compared to 7 when I started) gives a presentation on the history of their program, how it's grown, what they're doing now, etc. That PD also has to bring dessert for the whole organization. Well, I didn't want to think too much or try to hard with that part, so I ran to the coop on Wednesday night and picked up 8 boxes of Kashi Cookies. They're delicious, and I knew I could have one.

Little did I know, not too many people who take multiple cookies (as I had assumed) and there were probably 30 left over. Being the most idiotic one that I am, I brought them home.

Last night, after deciding not to work out, I did decide to eat about 1/2 of that big ass bag of cookies... blowing through my entire amount of flex points on the 2nd day of the week. A day without exercise.

I threw the cookies in the trash today, and poured old soup all over them in case I got desperate.

I'm trying to keep a positive outlook. Today hasn't been a great day, I haven't been following my meal plan, and I've been lazy and did not exercise again in the name of health. I did, however, break out the cookbooks and make a meal plan for Saturday through Friday of next week as well as a grocery list for tomorrow.

In the morning, I'm meeting a friend for Step class, and then fully intend to do a level of 30 Day Shred in the afternoon, as well as take the dog for some run/walk intervals if the rain lets up.

I've fallen short of my plan, and I'm disappointed, but realize that there is still a LOT of time to turn this week around. If I stop, right now, and get back on track, I've got 5 days to work incredibly hard and still see a loss, or even maintain. I will be happy with anything that does not set me back.

How do you pick yourself up when you fall?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ms. Jackson if you're nasty.

CONTROL.

We all have it, but damned if we ever feel that we do.

One of my all-time biggest pet peeves is the age old excusing exclamation "My family and friends are trying to make me fat!"

[cue harsh rant]

First of all, no one can "make" you fat. Secondly, you're probably already fat.

No offense, it's ok. We (weight loss bloggers) all start that way, remain that way for a while or stay that way at times in our respective journeys. I say you're probably fat because you probably act fat or have acted fat in the past.

Rule of thumb to remember in regards to family and friends: As hard as it is for you to make smart and healthy choices daily, it's just as hard for them to wrap their heads around the person you are choosing to be now.

Because it is a choice.

A choice only you control.

If your family and friends are shoving food down your throat or switching out your skim milk for heavy cream, then you've got bigger problems and are allowed to complain (and also maybe call the police).

So you're out with the girls for happy hour, right? Someone orders some pub sliders (yum). Did she just try to make you fat? Probably, secretly in her head she was like "I'm going to spend $12 of my hard earned money on trying to set Cindy back in her weight loss journey because I dislike her SO much that I'm out to happy hour with her. I'll also order dessert. That'll show her."

Get over yourself! People order food they like, that they want to eat, and just because it's on the table does NOT mean you need to eat it. Do you eat the sugar packets that are set out for coffee? Consider your friends' food "decoration." It's plastic [and it very well might be] and you couldn't eat it if you tried. Strategize, because it's not fair for them to give up the meal they want just because you're trying to lose weight.

The fact of the matter is that choosing to take a healthier path is your journey, and no one else's. We can't force those around us to eat healthfully in the same manner that they can't force us to eat crap. Owning the fact that it's a choice and remembering to choose it every day will fill you with power, confidence and a sense of control. As you see more and more successes, your family and friends will adapt to "the way you are now" and stop trying to "make you fat."

Get it? Now shut up about it.

301.

Last night's meeting was on the topic of Holiday Traditions. Sort of. In our meeting we never spend much time on the actual topic. Our meeting is very tailored toward celebrating, sharing, and asking for help.

This year, my "new" tradition is running a 10k the morning of Thanksgiving. Last year, we wanted to run a family 5k, but I backed out. I still hadn't caught the running bug, and I was being silly because I could not run the entire 3.2 miles at once. I needed to stop to walk, and I was embarrassed about that.

Well kids, I absolutely can not run these 6 miles without stopping to walk (a few times!) but I'm going to make the leap anyway. If I'm the last to cross the finish line, so be it. I'm stepping up to a new challenge, and I will be proud and thankful.

...and get another running jersey.

How are you going to challenge your traditions this Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Weigh To Go!

I'm a loser.


[-2.2lbs]


That's almost ALL of the ridiculous gain from last week. I am going to totally SMASH next week into the ground. I'm getting ready to sit down and make my meal plan through Friday, and then I will sit down again, reevaluate and we'll go grocery shopping for the weekend through Wednesday.

I'm feeling extremely motivated after more than a few kind words at my meeting tonight. My eye is on the prize: Weight Watchers Leadership. I'm going to have my own meeting, and it's going to rule, and the only thing standing between me and that is a measly 7lbs.

It's ON.

I Can Do Anything You Can Do Better.

So yesterday as I was working through my blog roll, catching up on the newest happenings in all of your lives, I came across this post on Cranky Fitness in which Jo tries a totally unscientific experiment. This caught my interest yesterday, as I was also conducting my own little science experiment.

Reading about Jo's supplements made me realize that since Jessica introduced me to the BEST VITAMINS EVER, I had dropped all other supplements from my daily routine.

Lemming that I am, I broke out the ol' pillbox. Yep. A pillbox. And I headed to my co-op to pick up some much needed additions to my nutrient supply. I grabbed Ultra-Omega - a super blend of all the fatty acids your body loves so much, Zinc - because if Jo is right and they reduce sugar cravings I am 100% on board, and Evening Primrose Oil.


Yesterday when I read that post, I was trying to figure out how/why/where I knew Evening Primrose from. Why did I know that exists, it's not like a common knowledge type of supplement. And then I remembered....



Sally gives it to her captor in a Nightmare before Christmas to knock him out so she can go explore. Of course it makes sense that it's a natural sleep aid.

I tried it last night, and because it was only one night and I was already pretty tired, I can't give an accurate report, but I CAN attest to the fact that I woke up only once throughout the night, which is damn good. I am generally tossing and turning at 5-6 times in the 5-6 hours of sleep that I get.

If the Evening Primrose had anything to do with that, I'm sold.

What kind of supplements do you take? Anything weird?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Remedy. (aka What I Had for Dinner with my Crappy 4 Points)

I went to boxing. I worked hard. I came home. I remembered I had 4 crappy points for dinner. I decided to make the best of those.

My favorite stand-by "Oops I'm out of points" dinner: 1c Spaghetti Squash + 1/2c sauce + sauteed zucchini and spinach (2 points [for sauce and oil])

So, I still have 2.5 points left for dessert. I turned the day around. Now that I've gotten in some activity, I'm in a better mood. Better moods breed food porn. Feast your eyes...

The famous carrot cake oatmeal.

Cranberry-Pear Chicken + Braised Root Veggies + Wilted Spinach

That delicious wrap pizza I had for Lunch today (only 5 points!!)

Isn't it funny how easily you can actually turn your day/attitude/life around by making a conscious decision?

Other than choosing to lose weight, what positive decision have you made in your life lately?

Screw Science.

The experiment is not working.

I was just as hungry as usual and now I only have 4.5 points left for dinner.

Thanks a lot, science.

Keeping With the Theme...

Yesterday, there was a theme sweeping the weight loss blogging community (and by sweeping, I mean it was sewn in to about 5 or 6 blogs that I read regularly). Everyone was trying to remember that we need to focus on today.

I thought I'd share, as I have a few times before, the few paragraphs I have framed and hanging in my office. They're ripped from an Alcoholics Anonymous handbook, but I believe they apply to life in general, to any goal, to any overcoming of any obstacle, and I work from a home office so I never worry that someone thinks I'm a drunk.

Here goes:

JUST FOR TODAY, I will live through this day only. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I will not set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all of my problems at once. I know that I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will accept what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things that I can correct and accept those I cannot.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to those who cross my path, and I'll not speak ill of others. I'll improve my appearance, speak softly, and not interrupt when someone else is talking. Just for today, I'll refrain from improving anybody but myself.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will gather the courage to do what is right and take responsibility for my own actions.


And that's that. I read that basically every day. Sometimes multiple times a day. I also carry a mini version of just the first paragraph right behind my driver's license in my wallet.

In keeping with the theme of Just For Today, I'm conducting an experiment. I'm eating twice the amount of points for breakfast as I usually would to see if eating a little more in the morning, and a slightly larger lunch as well, will help me to feel more satiated at dinner time and not result in dessert binges. If it doesn't work, tomorrow is another day.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Just For Today.

Last night, we attended a family potluck at my Dad's house. I chopped up rutabega, parsnips, carrots, onions, sweet potatoes and red cabbage which I braised in red wine and brown sugar. I also made my delicious adopted dessert of pumpkin pie pudding parfait to share.

I had a plan, and I had 10 points. My veggies were merely 1 point per (MASSIVE) serving and I knew I could rescue myself from the 3 other dessert options by bringing my own. The protein was salmon (3.5 for 3oz) and there would also be brussel sprouts in oil (1) and wild rice (0 because I hate it and won't touch it). My plan was a 7.5 point plan, which meant I could certainly indulge in a glass of red wine.

And I did.

2 glasses of it, which for someone who doesn't drink too often is a little too much. That 1 serving of pumpkin pie pudding parfait turned into 2, and didn't rescue me from my sister's homemade apple crisp with fresh cranberries (and cinnamon ice cream), or the slice of real pumpkin pie that my dad really wanted me to have.

The red wine crumpled up and threw away my plan and left 2 Reese's PeanutButter Cups in it's place. [I ate them both] Did you know how many points those things are!?! 5. EACH. I have avoided them for 2 years because I knew it would be bad, but 5 each? 2 was 10.5 more points on top of my already negative score.

If you haven't read Jack Sh*t's post from today yet, go.

You'll understand now, that I'm ok. Yesterday is gone, today is a new day. I actually did track each and every indiscretion of my plan, and I still have 16 Activity Points and I'm headed out for a 6.2 mile run in an hour. I also have Step class tonight, and Boxing tomorrow. I'm determined to finish out this week (and this day) with dignity, and a wider gap between the Activity Points I do have and the one's I've used.

I'm re-writing my meal plan for the day to include more protein and I'm tweaking a few things for the rest of the week so I can do my best to not dip into more Activity Points but simply utilize my daily points target with the best choices I can make. I'm also reflecting on the sheer amount of pride I have in the fact that I did track all of these things, though the thought (and actual act) made me cringe. I wanted to hide this from the world, but admitting it, owning it, and turning it around helps me move forward to this new day.

Moving forward is my goal for today. What's yours?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My #1 Curse (and a recipe)

I am an excellent cook.

It's true. It's a great trait and it's also a gigantic downfall because I want to eat everything I make, in large amounts, in small amounts of time. Last night, I made one of my favorite dishes. Cranberry-Pear Chicken. It's delicious, it's one skillet and it's relatively low point. I hadn't phoned it in at my Step class in the morning, and went on an additional hike with a girlfriend, her son, Eli and both our dogs. We walked and climbed and fell (once or twice) and discovered. I earned 10 APs yesterday, so I knew I could be a little "special" with dinner.

I decided roasting butternut squash would be a brilliant accompaniment to the Cranberry-Pear Chicken, but that wasn't enough. Candied Pecans were made and added to the roasting pan. And asparagus, lightly dressed in my most expensive bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil with fresh cracked pepper and slices of garlic so thin you could literally see through them.

It felt like the most gourmet meal I've ever had (until I make the next one).

It was the world's most fantastic reward.

Down side? I ate about 15 extra candied pecans while I was cooking, and those don't come cheap on the points scale. Remedy? Rearranged dessert to be a big mug of ZERO POINT peppermint hot cocoa.

This is going to be a great week, and I'm in such a good mood that I'm giving you my deliciously prized Cranberry-Pear Chicken Recipe. Enjoy.

Cranberry-Pear Chicken

Prep time: About 10 minutes
Cook time: About 15 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 tbsp all purpose flour (I use wheat flour for everything, but it has a distinct taste some don't like)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3/4 lb skinless boneless chicken breasts cut into 1" chunks
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 ripe pear, peeled cored and chopped
  • 3 scallions sliced
  • 3/4 cup pear nectar
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tsp coarse-grain mustard

How-to

Combine the flour, 1/2 tsp of the salt and 1/2 tsp of the pepper on a sheet of wax paper. Add the chicken and toss to coat.

Heat 1 1/2 tsp of oil in a large (nonstick) skillet over med-high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning occasionally until browned and cooked through (5-8 minutes). Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add the remaining 1/2 tsp of oil to the same skillet, then the pear and scallions. Cook over med-high heat until the pear is golden (stir often). Add the pear nectar, cranberries and remaining salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high and cook until the sauce bubbles and thickens, stir occasionally. This takes about 3 minutes. Stir in the mustard and return the chicken to the skillet and mix, cook until heated through (probably about 1 minute).

1 serving = 1 cup = 4 points. (approximately 215 cals, 5g fat, 23g carb, 3g fiber, 20g protein, 28g calcium)

VOILA. Yum.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Seriously.

I want to thank everyone for the overwhelmingly positive response to my Boobies or Bust post yesterday. I made every attempt to write that post with humor and positivity, because it's important to me for you to understand that I don't hate my boobs. They're fine. They're there. They kind of bug me but they're not like a giant life problem. However, I love the rest of my body, and I want to love it all.

I am definitely not the type of person to stand in the mirror and obsess over my "huge thunder thighs" or "cellulite city saddle bags." I try not to participate in those young-womanish conversations that come up so often in my group of friends. Talking about parts of your body that you're uncomfortable with is fine, but using such self-deprecating words only makes the wound bigger - and no longer just physical.

I thought, after a post like that, we should probably share our FAVORITE body parts - rather than focusing on the ones that are sort of so-so.

I love my hair. LOVE it. It's dark and swirly and out of control. It does what it wants, when it wants - just like me.
My arms and my shoulders carry the weight of so much in this world. My work, my family, myself. I challenge them to lift more than they want to, to the point of shaking, but they always comply. They are strong, sculpted and oh-so-sexy.
So PLEASE indulge me. What's your favorite part of you?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Body Image: Boobies or Bust.

All my life, I've wanted a breast reduction.


Boys started snapping my bra in grade 3. Freshman year of high school I was getting D's, despite being on the honor roll. My chest never fit my frame, especially when I was thin, but as I gained more and more weight, they just kept growing with me until eventually I could only purchase bras from catalogues mailed primarily to 80 year old women. It was SO not sexy.


I had moved into bra sizes I didn't even know existed (E & sometimes F).


I mean, check these out.


It's kind of eye opening to see that just one of my knockers was bigger than Eli's 5 year old head. A HUMAN HEAD.

Now that I've dropped more than 50 pounds, my poor breasts have lost all their will to live. After being pumped full, stretched to their capacity and then had all of their life-giving fat fitnessized out of them, they've given up... rather, given down.

It is not easy for me to show this, and perhaps it's not something you'd like to see, but below is a photograph of my sad sacks in their natural state, hovering mere inches above my belly button (which is located right under that second wrinkle in my shirt).



Remember that song "Do your ears hang low, do they wobble to and fro?" While though I've never tried, I am quite confident that I could, in fact, tie these in a knot.. if not a bow.

I'm a huge fan of accepting yourself where you are. I love my body. I love it for everything it can do and everything it hasn't yet done but wants to. I'll also readily admit that I am chock full of stretch marks for a variety of reasons. I don't look at those with disdain, however, because they explain the history of my victory over the battle with weight. What once was taught and stretched over large amounts of body fat, is now taught and stretched over nicely sculpted muscle, and I'm proud. They're not beautiful by society's standards, but honestly, I really kind of like them. They're me.

These rocks in socks however, are not. Not that I enjoyed the staring or bimbo-stereo-typing of having a very large chest, but I did enjoy feeling very feminine. Feeling comfortable (except for all those times when I was uncomfortable, due to back pain, underwires and chaffing).

The problem now lies in the fact that even though I have managed to shrink my ladies to the size I've always wanted to be, their vessels are still hanging around (literally) and I'm reduced to the same inflated bra sizes just to hold the skin that will never leave.

This Sunday, I'm having dinner with my sister who has had both a breast reduction, as well as "alternate" augmentation after losing a grand amount of weight. We're going to discuss her plastic surgeon and my possibility of *truly* having the body I've always wanted by having a lift with a very small impant for perkiness. I've accepted (and appreciate) the fact that I will never have mile-long gams or a cute little butt (I settled on a cute big butt), but I do not accept, at under 30 years old, having the breasts of my 93 year old grandma.

No way, no sir.

What are your thoughts on elective plastic surgery? Be open, be honest.

I've mostly always been against it, but as I become a "real" adult, someone who knows who they are and knows what they want, I believe more and more that it's your body; if you want to screw it up, go ahead, as long as it's for YOU and not for THEM.

What's your take?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wee Wee Wee... all the way home.

So, I gained yesterday.

3 pounds to be exact, except by my calculations and precise tracking, that is physically impossible with the amount of calories I consumed versus the amount of calories I expended.

So, my guess is that quite a bit of that gain is good ol' water retention. How do you get rid of water? With more water!



One thing I've definitely let fall by the wayside as the weather got colder was my water intake. All throughout the summer, I'm excellent. Chug Chug Chug. 100+ oz per day. When it gets a little colder, I'd rather be drinking coffee.

Although the Weight Watchers' new Momentum program changed the "Water Intake" Good Health Guideline to a "Liquid Intake" Good Health Guideline, I choose to ignore that. In no sane place of my brain am I going to let Diet Coke replace a replenishing beverage like water.



Yesterday and today, I've gotten back to my habit of 100+ oz per day, and you know what? I can't stop peeing.



16 times I've peed today and I've been up for 11 hours. C'mon.





Plus side? It's gross to eat food in the bathroom.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Meeting Madness.

I'm glad so many of you enjoyed my equating exercise to prostitution.

Tonight's meeting was a bust. We had a substitute leader who was bore-city. I MEAN boring. And absolutely no offense to those with less to lose, but she lost 12 pounds total on Weight Watchers. Congratulations, because while that is an accomplishment, I'm not highly inspired by it.

Oh, and I also gained 3lbs. So there's that.

It's ok though, I faced the music, I know EXACTLY what I did wrong (or rather the 59.5 things I did wrong) and I've had an incredibly on track day. I didn't get a chance to exercise because I had a horrifically horrible horrendous dentist appointment. My face is fat and my jaw is still stiff. I've never had Novocaine before and I will NEVER do it again. It was definitely worse than just toughing out the 3 minutes of pain.

I made my meal plan tonight AND opted out of going out with our Portland Friends who have been in town since Friday. It's their last night here, but since they've been staying with us, I don't feel the need to have a big send off. Especially because I'll be nursing their hangovers for them tomorrow morning. I'd rather stay in, cuddle with the dog and watch Top Chef. This is one step I'm taking to put ME back on my list.

How are you going to take care of you this week?

Chasing Down the Wagon.

Remember how I said I fell completely off the wagon on Saturday? I did get back on track for Sunday, but somehow... took a little push/nudge/winkwink and slipped off again somewhere around Monday night and continued until last night, when I fell asleep from sugar-induced coma.

Because I already had no points to play with, I ended the week 17 points in the red.

I'm not expecting good results at Weigh-In tonight, and I'll be honest when I say that I'm debating whether to weigh in at all. I have this internal struggle almost every week I've done anything unplanned. I freak out about my HUGE IMPENDING GAIN, talk to Jessica all day about how I can't believe this happened, I'm not going to go to my meeting, I can't step on the scale, blah blah, and then always end up at the meeting, weighing in, and being fine with it.

Learning Week vs Losing Week, right?

I know what I did wrong, obvs. Maybe don't eat 60 points in one day like I did on Saturday? Also maybe don't continue to eat like that after you've tallied it up and said you wouldn't.

The real lesson I did learn though, the difference between when I am successful losing vs not losing is that I need to treat my points as a limit, and not like a speed limit where it's treated as a general guideline.. I need to think of it as having 21 bucks in my wallet and no credit cards or ability to get more money, except maybe in this analogy fitness is like hooking and I can earn 5-10 more bucks with a quickie.

What can I get with this 21 bucks?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Little Tea Pot....

My little tea pot, short and stout... you save the day when I'm about to shout.
Boiling up some water for my treat... with these zero-point drinks there's no need to eat.


In the colder weather my appetite starts to change. I crave heartier, meatier, starchier foods... but I also begin to salivate at the thought of rich flourless tortes or fluffy spiced cakes. Point being: I want a lot of things I don't need. Those cravings can easily be sliced and diced by having just a little taste of what I'm looking for.

Alpine Sugar-Free Spiced Cider

(15 cal/0 fat/0 fiber = 0 points)

This is a damn tasty fall treat. Craving apple pie? No need!

Swiss Miss Sensible Sweets Diet Hot Cocoa

(25 cal/0 fat/1 fiber = 0 points)

This has rescued me from so many desserts I couldn't "afford." It's a little hard to stir up, but absolutely worth the effort. Add a dollop of Reddi-Whip Free (0 points) or 2 Marshmallows (1 point) for a little excitement!

Traditional Medicinals Gypsy Cold Care Tea
(2 cal/0 fat/0 fiber = 0 points)
Because we're headed into cold and flu season, I usually have a cup of this delicious tea daily. It's got a licorice-y taste that really soothes me after a stressful day and helps my immune system to boot!
What's your favorite "free" drink?

Crazy Carrot Cereal (or, do you like oatmeal?)

This morning I'm eating baby food.

At the grocery store yesterday, inspired by Katrina at Gluten Free Gidget whom I found through Peanut Butter and Jenny I picked up some sweet carrots mash.

You see, I eat oatmeal every day. It's cold here in Minnesota and I get up really early so I need something delicious, hot and fast to match up with my morning coffee. I try to switch up my oats every few days. Sometimes I make a big batch of steel cut oats and eat my breakfast from the fridge like a brownie, drizzled in honey. Other mornings I'm prone to instant oatmeal from Quaker. I dig the Lower Sugar Maple and Brown Sugar as well as their Simple Harvest Honey Almond and Vanilla varieties.

This morning, that little jar of carrot baby food which clocks in at 0 points, is swimming with my Maple and Brown Sugar oats and Katrina is right, with a dash of ginger and a dash of nutmeg, this kind of tastes like carrot cake. Enough for breakfast anyway.

It's also really hilariously orange.

You should try it.