Sunday, September 30, 2012

Madison in pictures.

I'm home from a lovely wedding weekend in Wisconsin. I survived the weekend full of celebration with 29 Weekly Points left until Thursday and plenty of days to earn more activity until then. If I gain, it was worth it.  Life happens and my friends get married so rarely.

fall colors on our drive.


awesome toilet tank in our B&B room.


 ground zero on willy street.

from the wedding... thing. the thing they hand out...

our friend, the groom.

our friend, the perennial bachelor.

pink elephant.

pink socks :: pink elephant.





worker robot.

laser art control.

musical pipes.


fiberglass graveyard.



paul's ridiculous lunch.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cheers from Madison

We're in Wisconsin for a wedding. Last night we had a lovely dinner out where I'd budgeted enough points for a special cocktail. I decided that a filthy martini sounded best to me, so that's what I had!

This morning I woke up way too early and used an app on my new iPhone to find a local coffee shop. I spent the AM doing schoolwork right here

It was lovely.

After breakfast this morning I have 10 daily points, 11 activity points and all 49 of my weekly points to play with!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Weighing In - 9/27/2012

Previous weight: 161.8
Today's weight:  160.4

This week's results: -1.4lbs!


Let's investigate. Here is my Plan Manager/Tracker info from this last week:

You'll see that I used quite a bit of my extra points on Thursday. Remember this was TOM week, and Thursday was day 2. I work in a restaurant and I got a little grabby with various snacks. I had some baguette and some candied pecans. They really added up. I tracked every morsel though. 

Friday I had a similar slip. I've realized that this all starts when I stick my hand in the french fry bowl. We're a relatively upscale restaurant. We serve Bison Tartare and we make our own Steelhead Trout Gravlax. For the people in more of a hurry, we offer some gourmet sandwiches and keep the option of french fries for a side. We're located in the MSP International Airport, so we need to please the masses. Sometimes, I reach for a fry, but it's never one. I've since sworn off them and that's helped me not pick at anything else that isn't the box of snacks that I bring, or food I have to try for the day to be an informed server. 

Saturday I had a few drinks. 

Sunday I attended a family brunch to discuss Oro's progress in kindergarten. (Back story: Manpanion has a 5 year old son named Oro. He/We are very close with his mom and her partner. We spend a lot of time together as a family and keep each other very very informed of Oro's happenings.) Monica and Steph cooked for us, so I had no control over the options available. EXCEPT, we opted to bring fruit as a contribution. Fresh figs, fresh apples and some bananas. I filled half my plate with the fruit and took a slice of the baked french toast that was prepared for us. 

Monday I was very OP. I ended the day with 7 daily points remaining. I listened to my body. I just wasn't hungry because I'd been eating so much over the weekend. 

Tuesday was our family dinner.  One of Paul's sisters brought over some homemade garden salsa with corn and black beans and some Red Hot Blues, which are my favorite tortilla chips. I rewarded myself with a serving after looking up nutrition information and being sure I could spare the points. I did, after all, spend extra time at the gym on Tuesday. (I say this laughingly, as swapping food rewards for your workouts rarely results in great... results.)

Wednesday I was also very OP, snacking mostly on raw vegetables because they were what I wanted to be eating. I showed you the salad I threw together for dinner, and after that I snacked on faux crab chunks and figs while slaving over homework.

I made it to the gym 5 of these 7 days.

All in all, an amazingly successful TOM week!

I started this week with a workout where I earned 4 Activity Points and ran into my friend Steph (mentioned above). I gave them a sweaty hug and left for home, where I am now, ready to pounce on my post-workout breakfast.

This week I am going to focus on...
  • Eating more vegetables. I already eat quite a few, but I'm noticing I'll reach for fruit before a vegetable, and while the program says they're both free, I know that fruit has more sugar and calories than vegetables. If I'm just looking for a crunchy snack, I want to reach for snap pea pods before I grab an apple. And then maybe I'll have the apple too. 
  • Maintaining my workout schedule. I feel AMAZING when I am working out regularly. I sleep better, my mood is lifted and I'm also furthering my health goals. I love it. I WANT to be doing it, and I need to remember this when the gym feels like a burden. 
  • Tracking Everything. I have that wedding in Wisconsin this weekend. I've done some pre-planning, but I am armed with my WW Mobile App and I definitely want to track everything single bit of food or drink. 
How's your week shaping up? 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

quick pic - dinner

Easy salad mixed greens, red pepper, cottage cheese, and chicken.

family dinner

Dinner at Paul's with his sisters, their significant others, their kids and his mom last night. We made Spinach Lasagna Rolls from Skinnytaste. They were delicious. Her recipe says 6p+ per serving, but ours were 7p+.

(Manpanion snacking on noodles)

It was totally fine that the recipe turned out to be more than I expected, and I even ate 2 servings because I spent some extra time at the gym yesterday because it just felt good.

I earned 6 Activity Points and I basically did nothing but snack on raw veggies and fruit all day. Like these:

I got back to the gym this morning for a short 30 minute session where I earned 3 Activity Points. 

Today is a work day for me, which means 8 hours of constant standing and walking and lifting. I typically earn about 6-8 APs at work, which I track with a pedometer and enter into the Plan Manager by "Adding Steps" and then clicking "Active," to specify that this wasn't my daily total. 

Tomorrow is weigh in day! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Manic Monday.

Mondays are my big school day.

When I decided to go back to school, I was working around a full-time schedule of 50+ hours per week with my very demanding and stressful career in social work. I've since left that organization for something with way less responsibility.

That first semester back to school included 3 really long classes that met only once per week because it was all I could fit in my schedule. After having tried the 55-minute-every-day classes last semester, I can tell you I definitely prefer the long and less often. It's great to have learned this about myself, as it opens up far more time for homework and a sliver of a social life.

Mondays are jam-packed.

My first class starts at 8:15am. This class lets out at 11:30am, second class begins at 2:30pm.

That's a pretty big gap.

Yes, my friends, it is. And when it's nice out, it's a lovely gap. I ride my bicycle to school, and if we are let out early, I ride back home to prepare a very delicious lunch. If it's not so nice, I find a new spot on campus to do homework and drink hot coffee and usually pick up a  6" Subway sandwich.

I'm observing the area around my school. I'm still new to the campus, and because I only spend 2 days a week there (based on the long class days), I don't know all the shortcuts or hidden spots. Just down the street, a Lunds was built last year. This is a classy grocery store chain here in Minneapolis/St. Paul. They always have an amazing salad bar and deli selection, so I know this is one option for lunch.

Today, however, I have a plan. In writing.

This is the same board I've used for the last 8 years. The last time I used it was when I switched to my current job, which had an erratic schedule - a rough transition after 6 years of M-F-type hours.

I spent some time last night coming up with a meal plan for the week based on what is in my fridge and the time/circumstance of each day's schedule. Today, the weather says I'll be able to bike back home for lunch, so I've planned to have a bowl of the Butternut Squash Soup I made on Saturday with my Farmer's Market haul. It is a quick, low-point lunch that feels indulgent because I wouldn't be able to bring it with me to school.

When I return to school, my second class goes from 2:30pm to 5:30pm. This is great timing for dinner. I get home and I am able to spend time making myself something new, or I can throw together a quick meal. Monday dinners can be the event of the evening, or a utility on my way to completing more homework before crashing. Tonight I've planned for left-overs and an early bedtime.

I have everything planned to 20 points maximum. I receive 26 points per day, and when I make a meal plan, I try to list as much whole food as possible so that this meal plan would work on it's own at 20 points, or allowing for an extra snack, a glass of wine with dinner, an (at-home) ice cream cone, or a quick happy hour with a friend who's called last minute.

I fully acknowledge that my day can't always go as planned, and as a planner, I try to plan for that too.

Do you make a meal plan for the week? The day?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Rituals : Self-Care Saturdays

With the current semester of school, I've managed to create a work schedule that provides for weekends off. And with weekends off comes a little self-care time to prep for the busy week ahead. 

I'm a walking dichotomy. I love adventures, but I am also very much a creature of habit. I prefer [many] things to be predictable. Knowing what to expect takes a lot of anxiety out of my life. 

Hence, Rituals. 

My Saturday morning Ritual has become: 
  • Wake up unassisted. No alarms allowed. This, for me, typically ends up being around 7:30am as a "sleeping in" time. Yes, I'm a freak. 
  • Linger over morning coffee. This is my favorite time to catch up on blogs, pinterest, and read the news. I also check the weather so that I'm able to dress accordingly for my...
  • Trip to the gym. My gym offers Zumba at 9:45am on Saturdays. I LOVE to Zumba. Not only is it incredibly hilariously fun, but it's a great workout. I am also always proud to be in the gym during Zumba to experience the vast array of shapes and ages participating in the activity together. It truly is for EVERYONE. 
  • Visit the Farmer's Market. Literally across the street from my YWCA is the Midtown Farmer's Market. I live in Midtown. That's the neighborhood in Minneapolis that rests smack dab in the middle. I love it here. I also love my mini-farmer's market. Here's my haul from today:  

$10 netted: acorn squash, butternut squash, 6 sweet onions, 5 delicious bell peppers, and a giant stalk of brussels sprouts. 

I just love how cool these plants are. AND TASTY!

It's a chilly morning here in Minneapolis. A perfect day to catch up on some homework and make butternut squash soup and roasted brussels sprouts. 

Do you have a Saturday morning ritual to kick off the weekend right? 

Friday, September 21, 2012


I'm still reeling from my THREE POUND LOSS this week and I'm so psyched about the week to come!

While it happened by chance on the day that I was motivated enough to recommit (and subsequently sign up and pay for...) Weight Watchers, I am very glad to have Thursday as my weigh-in day. It seems close enough to the weekend that I'll be motivated enough to stay on track, yet far enough away from any damage that may or may not occur that I can spend the beginning of the work week working my butt off in the AP (activity point) category.

I have a decent plan for the week ahead, but I'll be throwing a wrench in over next weekend when some of my friends get married. This means a mini-road trip for me and my Manpanion. That also means eating out at restaurants for a weekend, and of course... weddings. Wine. Unplanned meal. Cake.

In my attempt to arm myself, the Manpanion and I have decided to bring our bikes with us to Wisconsin (which is where we're headed) so that we can ditch the car and get around on two wheels. That will help with some activity, but the excitement of a different town always gets the best of me. I've solicited the groom for restaurant recommendations, with the hidden agenda to find the one with the tastiest sounding healthy option, and I also plan to bring my jump rope. The jump rope is and always has been my travel plan. It takes up almost no room, and 10 minutes of jump rope, which is hilarious to do, typically burns as many calories as a 1 mile run for me.

Help me plan! What would be your Wisconsin Wedding strategy?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Weighing In - 9/20/2012

I cannot tell you how I've excited I've been to weigh in this week.

Drumroll please....


161.8 pounds! 


That's a great first weigh in after recommitting. I'm definitely motivated to keep it up.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

TOM meets TIM.

So... TOM is upon me, or will be in the next 24 to 48 hours. It got me thinking, however, that TOM should meet TIM, my partner in crime. TIM stands from Treats In Moderation, and it's my TOM combat plan.

Now that I am in weight loss mode, I realize I need to scale back the calories on some things. That means "diet food," which I have been abhorrently avoiding for the past 2 years. I've been trying not to eat fake food, which is exactly what I think "diet food" is. Low fat cheese tastes like plastic, and I'm not entirely convinced that's not what it is.

However, there have always been a few tricks that have really worked for me, and the best part of being on a weight loss journey for super extended long term periods of time means you learn a lot about yourself. Weaknesses, expectations, cravings and the like.

When TOM hits, I want carbs. ALL THE CARBS, EVERY CARB ALWAYS. I also want sugary sugar things and as much protein as I can get.

That's where TIM comes in. I can't eat all the carbs ever, but I can have some carbs, and I can have EXTRA carbs if I plan well, which I did.

I took two grocery trips. One to my co-op, which is my normal food store. I'm a member-owner and this is where I buy all my local/organic/way more awesome food. At the co-op I grabbed...
Organic grapes, strawberries, grapefruit, bananas and pluots. Ben & Jerry's Greek Frozen Yogurt in Banana Peanut Butter flavor. KIND Oats & Honey Clusters with Toasted Coconut. Local goat cheese with a touch of local honey and a bulb of garlic.  

Local free-range chicken breasts, Low fat cottage cheese, 2lbs of baby carrots, Super greens, Great Northern beans and Cannellinni beans. 

Oh... and a piece of injera bread because it's soooo tasty. 

I also hit up Rainbow Foods, a very large chain grocery store in my neighborhood. There I picked up...
Special K protein plus cereal, Diet A&W root beer, Nonfat Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa, Whole Grain Goldfish crackers, 5 Lean Cuisine Pizzas, Lite Frozen Waffles, Gluten Free Chocolate Muffin Tops and a bunch of faux crab. 

I love this faux crab because it's like a handful of protein but very low cal. Great on salads or by itself. 

These pizzas are my lifesavers during TOM. I want all the carbs, so these make sure I have them in pre-portioned amounts. 

Do you generally plan ahead for "trouble weeks?" Issues like TOM and all the hormones involved, or maybe a week where you have multiple work related parties/happy hours? 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Long term... realistically.

That's what's up. I've been on track for 6 days, tracking every morsel of food, even the sneaky cooking bites and grocery store samples.

Tracking my re-starting weight in my spreadsheet reminded me that I've put on 10 pounds since last year. I'm not beating myself up about it.

Sometimes, life transitions are way more of a priority than my weight loss journey. I've been incredibly successful over the last year, so let's celebrate.

  • I completed a full year of school maintaining a 4.0 GPA and only gained 10 pounds. I hear freshman generally put on 15, so I'm already ahead of the game. 
  • I quit smoking!
  • I quit my job and took on a more physically active one. 
I'm very excited, also, because my BFFffffFFFFFfff has ALSO rejoined and recommitted to Weight Watchers, meaning I get to gab and blab and get tips from her. Together we lost almost 100lbs, so I'm quite confident we can shed these few that have crept up on us. 

So... when you're full of motivation and recommitment, what's your first point of order? Come up with rewards? Restock the kitchen? What should I be doing?