Thursday, May 31, 2012

It All Started with Breakfast

Breakfast was a marvel, my friends.  Let me tell you!  I had a waffle topped with banana medallions drizzled with a teaspoon of caramel sauce and a teaspoon of honey.  (5P+)  And next to that I had a quarter cup of delicious roast almonds for my morning protein.  (5P+).  You would have drooled if you saw it, swayed back and forth on your feet even.

And then it wound up on the floorboard of my car.

Oh yes, it's true.  I won't go into the ridiculous details of just how that happened but I was literally in tears on my way to work.  All the careful planning of my points, the protein to keep me full, the sweet taste to make me happy to start the day - all ruined in one instant.

I was so disappointed but there was not a thing I could do with it.  As a teacher, the bell rings and I have to be there.  I have zero flexibility in my schedule.  And besides, my exams got ruined in the caramel and honey mishap, so I had to rush to school and reprint them.  I cursed my existence.

During exam week, we only meet with one class per day and they have four or five hours to take their final exam during that time.  Afterwards they are free to go home for the rest of the day and prepare for tomorrow's plan.  But did mine go?  No . . . they had planned a surprise party - complete with doughnuts, home-baked brownies with cream cheese, an array of chips, and Oreo cookies.

Do you know how many points are in Oreo Double-stuff cookies?  Neither did I.  Go ahead and look it up, but you better sit down first.

I reasoned that I could afford a couple of cookies because, after all, I had ten points of wonderful sitting uneaten on the floor of my car.  I will say this - God was looking out for me because there were only three cookies in the bag by the time I got to it.  I also had 6 Starburst candies, but overall I guess that isn't the worst thing that could happen to me.  I didn't throw my face in the brownie pan or anything like that.  :-P

On a good note, a few of my students brought a guitar and a pair of bongo drums and they sang some great songs for us all.  And anyway, tomorrow is a new day.  Southwestern Tofu Breakfast Scramble is on the menu, and if that winds up on the floor of my car by some misadventure, my response will be worthy of national news.  LOL

Next time you'll see less of me!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Learning from My Mistakes

Yesterday I talked about all the mistakes I had made when my life started to overwhelm me.  In retrospect I know that I was just in survival mode, but I am hoping this awareness and my reflection will help keep me from repeating the same mistakes when life throws me another curve ball.

Mistake #1 - Not picking myself back up. 

I need to put a support network into place now that I'm not dealing with personal tragedy and hardship.  Those people will help me remember what is important to me and will encourage me to pick myself up after I have suffered setbacks.

Mistake #2 - Isolating myself

Same as above.  I need to establish a support network of people who will not leave me alone if I fall out of touch for too long.  (Any volunteers?)

Mistake #3 - Lying to myself about how bad things were.

Not repeating this mistake will be difficult since this is a case of me working against myself.  Solving this problem is going to be an exercise in mental discipline and I hope that committing this to writing now and taking the time for honest reflection will strengthen my resolve in the future.

These are the big mistakes I have to avoid in the future because I know I will go through hard times, and there is a good chance that I will turn to food in my hour of need.  But I cannot allow that to derail everything I have done to improve my life.  I need to learn to pick myself up and get back on plan when that happens.  At the same time I need to learn to turn to my friends and to listen to what they have to say to me so that I don't spiral downward and toward self-destructive patterns of behavior.

Lesson learned.

Next time you will see less of me!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Facing the Hard Facts

I was over at my old Weight Watcher's blog today and reading all the things I had written over there.  I was so positive as the pounds were coming off and I was absolutely dedicated to the program and to improving my life.  I was moving in the right direction and everything was going my way.

Then I quit and gained back 70 pounds of the 80-something I had lost.

So what happened?

Answering that question honestly and facing the answers without fear are going to be key in my future success.  So what can make a person stop caring to the point where they gain back seventy lost pounds?  The answer is actually quite simple: there were other things in my life that took priority and I did not feel that I could keep up the effort of dieting during those times.  But when I say it like that, it sounds like it was nothing at all.  That could not be farther from the truth.

My husband was out of work and money was beyond tight.  In fact, some things were not getting paid at all and were falling into collections.  Tensions ran high around the house and the daily strain on our marriage was getting harder and harder to deal with.  And it is hard to deny yourself that extra helping of jambalaya or that decadent dessert when you already have to deny yourself that pedicure, that haircut, that new pair of shoes, that weekend at the beach, etc.  It felt like everything good was drying up all around me.

Then I got pregnant and had to stop dieting for several months.  I saw a light on the horizon and life began to look up a bit.  My husband even found a job and though he was only making about 1/3 of his prior salary, at least things were looking up a little bit.  And then I suffered the crushing heartbreak of a miscarriage at three months gestation.  There are no words to describe my grief, really.  I could not find the strength to start a diet again, knowing that it was not because I had given birth to a baby and was ready to get back in shape, but rather because I had lost one and that place in my heart would never really heal.

I had no money for Weight Watcher's meetings, for gym memberships, for grief counseling, for healthy food choices . . . for anything really.  I was emotionally adrift and in survival mode.  I took a part-time job in addition to my full-time work as a teacher, and I buried myself in my work.  I didn't look up.  I didn't talk to my friends.  I didn't diet and I didn't exercise - I just worked and survived.

To make myself feel better, I immersed myself in online gaming and I ate foods that I had previously denied myself - lots of them.  And before you ask me if that worked or not, let me tell you that it did.  It worked wonderfully and I felt much better.  Online I was able to play a character that was not myself - she was a heroine and a great success.  My character didn't struggle to pay her bills, she had gold to spare.  She didn't struggle with her weight, she was a master chef and stayed constantly active.  And as for the foods I allowed myself to eat, even though I knew they were bad for me, they made me feel full and satisfied in a way that I cannot explain unless you've been there.

And the weight came back on.

It came back a little bit at a time so that it was hardly noticeable.   And my old health problems started to reemerge.  I had to adjust the seat in the car so that I could fit.  I had to take a pill again every night to keep from having heartburn and acid reflux.  I was out of breath.  My yellow skirt no longer fit.  Going up the stairs became a monumental task that I had to plan for in advance . . . and so on.

I started having some serious internal dialog with myself around Christmas time.  I knew that somehow, some way I had to find my way back to dieting again.  But I didn't know how to face the fear and the defeat of having gained back so much.  I didn't want to have to admit what had happened to me and to face the hard facts.  And I didn't want to have to start all over again.

But here I am anyway - facing the difficult truth, not lying or sugar-coating anything, not making excuses, just dealing with reality.

Tomorrow I will tell you what I have learned and what I have decided to do about it.

Next time you will see less of me!


Monday, May 28, 2012

Dreams of Brazil: Açaí Berry Sorbet

It seems as though, either now or at some time in the recent past, Hägen Dazs made an açaí berry sorbet.  I have got to get my hands on some of this!  Most sorbets work out to about 3-4 Weight Watchers points plus per half cup, and I can plan my menu in such a way as to accommodate a serving once in awhile.  That is one of the things I love about Weight Watchers - it gives me that flexibility and I can stay on my program while I indulge once in a while. 

Açaí berries are native to Brazil and other neighboring countries in South America and, until recently were unheard of in North America.  However, I have read a lot about açaí berries in the news lately.  They have been classified as "dark fruit" which is supposed to be especially healthy for you due to its antioxidant properties and a high concentration of certain vitamins.  Dark fruits are also supposed to help ward off certain illnesses such as Alzheimer's.  I don't know that I put much stock in these kinds of health claims, but I do hear açaí berries are delicious with chocolate undertones, and that is enough to convince me.  Besides, this sorbet will allow me a tiny little bit of cultural micro immersion - I'll imagine I'm in Brazil while I eat it.

For anyone who might be interested, other dark fruits include: blueberries, plums, eggplant, apples, raisins, red bell peppers and spinach.  (Spinach?  Yes, supposedly.)

Now I have to see where it is sold locally.  I'll start with Whole Foods and work my way from there.

Next time you will see less of me!


Image Source:

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Poetry about Weight

I came across this today and it made me sit back and think, and think, and then think some more.  What is weight really?  Physicists will tell you it has to do with mass and gravity, but poets see it differently.
Minha alma tem o peso da luz. Tem o peso da música. Tem o peso da palavra nunca dita, prestes quem sabe a ser dita. Tem o peso de uma lembrança. Tem o peso de uma saudade. Tem o peso de um olhar. Pesa como pesa uma ausência. E a lágrima que não se chorou. Tem o imaterial peso da solidão no meio de outros.
My soul has the weight of light.  It has the weight of music.  It has the weight of a word never spoken, perhaps almost spoken.  It has the weight of memory.  The weight of longing.  The weight of a look.  It weighs like the weight of absence.  A tear never cried.  It has the intangible weight of loneliness in the midst of others. 
Interesting, isn't it?

Next time you'll see less of me!


Fruit . . . and my problem with culturally irrelevant vocabulary lists

It occurs to me that I need to improve my vocabulary in Portuguese.  With the Pimsleur audio program, I am working on my listening comprehension, pronunciation, and grammar very well.  But in an audio program the vocabulary is necessarily limited.  So, a supplemental vocabulary list every week or two would be just the thing for me.  And, like any good person of my generation, I decided to go to Google to find it.

A number of websites came up and I found several potential resources for vocabulary lists - all of them thematic, but none of them had any cultural relevance whatsoever.  Very disappointing.

For those of you who are not language teachers, let me explain.  I found a vocabulary list at that listed some basic fruit and the translations from English to Portuguese.  So what is the problem?  Think for a moment about where Portuguese is spoken in the world (200 million speakers in Brazil) and what sorts of fruits you might find there.  If you ponder that for a few minutes you will probably start to get to root the problem.  When I go to Brazil, I don't need to talk about pears and cranberries so much.  The fruit down there is tropical and, at least to my experience, often exotic.

Now, contrast that first vocabulary list with this pictorial list of Brazilian fruits I found I found at the Programa de Promoção das Exportações das Frutas Brasileiras e Derivados website, and you will start to get an idea of what a culturally relevant vocabulary list should look like.  The people who write vocabulary lists should know to create lists that will accurately reflect cultural norms, but mostly I find boring little vanilla lists with no thought how or where the vocabulary will be used.  What a shame!

The good news for dieters like myself is that all these fruits (with the exception of the avocado) have zero Points Plus on the new Weight Watcher's system.  And I cannot wait to tuck into some of those nummy looking ones on the pictorial list.  Açaí, acerola, ameixa, castanha de cajú, cupuaçú, goiaba, graviola . . . bring them on!

Next time you will see less of me!


Image Credit:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Are you trying to tell me something, Mr. Pimsleur?

On yesterday's audio lesson, I was prompted to say, "You don't eat well."  I dutifully responded, "Você não come bem."  Secretly to myself I was thinking about how I've taken the time to prepare meal plans for the last few weeks and that I do indeed eat well, thank you very much.  Sure, maybe a bit too much from time to time, but healthy food regardless.

Then today I hear, "You eat a lot."  I got a frown on my face and responded, "Você come muito."  And then, as if that weren't quite enough of an insult, the prompt goes, "You eat too much."  I grumbled and glared at the CD player.  Really?  Why do I need to know how to say that in Portuguese?  I would never say that to anyone in any language!  And seriously, Mr. Pimsleur, are you trying to send me a not-so-subtle message?

How about we add a negator in there to make it a little less insulting?  "Você não come demais."  That sounds better.

And as for you, Mr. Pimsleur, "Você critica demais."

Next time you will see less of me!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Is My Weight an Excuse?

I read some wise words today from a fellow dieter who lost a total of 140 lbs.  I like to read stories by the people who have succeeded because it reminds me that it is possible and because their stories are filled with good advice and wisdom.

Jaefuma over at Calorie Count said the following about relapsing:
I don't start the cycle of food guilt. I go out with friends from time to time, I eat pizza, and I eat chocolate. By doing this doesn't mean I've failed. I just start again at the next meal. 
This is important - very important.  I know that when I mess up there is a part of me that is just looking for an excuse to give up and throw in the towel.  Oh well, that's it.  My diet is ruined.  It's all over now.  I may as well eat the whole carton of ice cream with whipped cream.

In my case I don't think it's guilt because I don't feel guilty about eating delicious food.  I just want the diet to be over so that I can stop counting, measuring, and lusting for large portions of fatty foods which I cannot allow myself to have.  Once I've given in, it feels like it's okay to just stop trying.  I have got to stop doing this.  Like Jaefuma said, I just need to start again at the next meal.

In response to the question about how her life has changed since she has lost the weight, you might think Jaefuma would talk about how healthy she feels and how easy it is to buy attractive clothes in her size, but no.  She had something very surprising and insightful to share:
Well, I can't hide anymore. Not being able to do something or being "unpopular" can't be linked to my weight (as much anyway). I've taken responsibility for myself and I'm more accountable for my actions.
This one really threw me for a loop.  I sat back and asked myself if I was blaming my weight for my lack of success in certain areas of my life.  This one is hard . . . I don't have as many friends as I used to, but do I blame my weight for that?  I think I do, in part, but I don't believe that is all in my head.  I am going to do some reflecting on this idea and determine if I am blaming my weight for anything that is happening (or not happening) in my life. 

Next time you will see less of me!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Killer Lasagna . . . really

Tonight my husband made a vegetable lasagna that knocked my socks off.  I just hope I didn't overdo it.  I went back for seconds (a half portion) and then a nipped one more bite before he put the leftovers in the fridge.  Really I practiced great restraint considering that what I wanted to do was submerge my entire face in it.

The lasagna had zucchini in it - not my favorite because it lacks substance and character.  By that I mean that zucchini tend to fall apart and they have little flavor.  So when I saw the zucchini in the lasagna pan I was immediately suspicious, but the amazing smell and my intense hunger were enough to keep me from turning up my nose.  And once I took the first bite, I was hooked.  I spent the next twenty minutes in veggie heaven.  My apologies to the zucchini of the world - I have misjudged you.

So, at this time you will be expecting me to share the recipe.  My hubby found it over at Family Circle, but we cannot get recipes from there to link.  They redirect to a dead page telling you that you are logged in already (or that you are not).  Try this: Vegetarian Lasagna.   If that link doesn't work, go to the Family Circle website and search for "Vegetarian Lasagna."  It will be the first link on the list.  However, be warned!  Hubby says it was a real pain to put together - labor and time intensive.  In fact, he said it had a pain-in-the-butt rating of 5/5.

And on the Portuguese front today, I looked up the history of the names of the days of the week in Portuguese.  Because it is so intriguing when you look at how other languages are so similar and Portuguese is a complete outlier.  There had to be a story to explain that!  And indeed there is . . . .

It seems that in the 6th century Martinho de Dume, a bishop in what is modern day Portugal, decided that the names of the days of the week were too pagan and did not reflect the Christian values of the people, so he moved to change them. 

Patricia Ribeiro at explains it this way:
Portuguese is the only romanic language in which all the days of the week have their origin in the Catholic liturgy. According to a widely accepted explanation, the change from pagan names to the current terms was initiated by Martinho de Dume, a sixth-century bishop of Braga, in what is Portugal today, and based on full observance of an Easter week.

Domingo (Sunday) has its origin in the Latin expression for the Day of the Lord. Saturday was named for the Hebrew word Shabbat. The other days, which mean second to sixth fair literally, would come from the Latin terms for “second day in which one shouldn’t work” (in observance of Easter week). Compare to the Portuguese word for vacation – férias.
I still find it odd.  Maybe during the 6th century it made perfect sense to call Monday "second fair," but to my modern mind that seems very peculiar.  To make matters worse, the modern speakers of Portuguese often omit the feira part of the phrase and just say segunda, terça, etc.  That might make perfect sense to them, but I can see myself easily getting lost when this is used.  Wait . . .  Segunda?  Are we meeting on Monday or on the second of the month? 

Ah well, I'll worry about that if and when it comes up.  It's not as though there are never any ambiguities in English, after all.

Next time you'll see less of me!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday is Over!

It's a sad state of affairs when it's just Tuesday and I'm already counting down for the weekend, but this week has already been kicking my tail hard!  I'm ready for it to stop but that's not about to happen just yet.

Sadly, I've been so busy today that it occurred to me over dinner that I hadn't thought about Portuguese all day.  I did my audio lesson in the car this morning, of course.  But after that, I was focused hard on my work and no stray thoughts entered my consciousness.

At least I have a long weekend to look forward to.  Memorial Day is one of my favorite holiday weekends because it is at the very beginning of the summer and I am filled with joy knowing that the entire summer lies ahead of me.  Lazy days with no papers to grade and no lesson plans to write, time to be outside with loved ones, sunshine for 15 hours a day, warmth and happiness!  What's not to love?

Speaking of Memorial Day, my Weight Watchers meeting is on Monday, but the center is closed that day for the holiday.  My leader said that she'd see us in two weeks time as she dismissed us last night.  That left me scratching my head a bit.  Do they think I'm not going to go just because the center is closed on Monday?  I mean, it is open on Sunday and on Tuesday - so why would I skip?  I'm not sure how other folks approach this, but I will be attending a meeting this week and wearing my game face.

And now to remedy the No Portuguese Zone that my brain has been in all day - here are the days of the week in Portuguese:
  • Segunda-feira Monday
  • Terça-feira Tuesday
  • Quarta-feira Wednesday
  • Quinta-feira Thursday
  • Sexta-feira Friday
  • Sábado Saturday
  • Domingo Sunday

I must admit that the linguist in me had a WTF moment when I looked these words up.  Portuguese is a Romance language and, as such, is closely related to Spanish, Italian, French and the other languages in the family.  If you would like to see how closely they are related, take a look at this Wiki page on the names of the days of the week.  You'll notice that the Romance languages are all lined up and behaving properly except Portuguese.  And, if the Wiki is to be believed, there used to be different days of the week in "old Portuguese" - and those are the ones I expected to see when I started this vocabulary journey.  There must be an interesting story here for me to investigate, but I haven't got time for it now.   I will research and follow up on this soon, amigos.

Next time you will see less of me!


Monday, May 21, 2012

Adeus to Two More Pounds

Monday is weigh-in day for me and I am happy to say that I'm moving in the right direction.  Down two more pounds for a total of seven now!  "Seven" is sete in Portuguese, and that is pronounced /SEH - chee/ for anyone who may be interested.

I have a bit of an injury in my hip at this time which means I'm waddling more than I am walking.  The weight doesn't bother my self image too much, but the waddling does.  I know plenty of heavy women who are elegant and beautiful, but none of them are waddlers.  *sigh*  I'll take it easy and stay on program - it's the best thing I can do for my hip.

The problem with the injury is that it keeps me from getting any real walking done, and that is my preferred form of exercise at my current weight.  One of my life-long goals is to own a real pool some day,  for fun a recreation of course, but for exercise too.  I love to work out in the pool because it's cool and refreshing, and sweat and impact become non-issues.  A gorgeous pool is something I'll treat myself to if I ever become a weight loss celebrity.  *grin*  And I'll put up a fence around the pool and invite all the neighborhood heavy folks to my judgement-free pool parties!

Well, it's fun to dream anyway.

Next time you will see less of me!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dois Candangos

I was looking through pictures of Brazil and saving them to my Brazil Board on Pinterest to serve as motivation on days when I'm dragging, and I came across this really brilliant photo of a famous monument in Brasilia.

The name of the work is Dois Candangos.  And, if you look that up online, the only translation you get is "Two Candangos," which is not very helpful.  What is a candango, I thought?  Why are they important enough to merit such an impressive piece of sculpture?

This line of inquiry took me on an interesting trek into the history of Brazil and its capital, Brasilia.  Many people mistakenly think that São Paulo is the capital, but it is not.  What even fewer people know is that Brasilia didn't even exist 60 years ago.  It was carved out of the jungle and built by the local tribesmen, the candangos, to serve as Brazil's capital in a mere three years of work.  The statue is the brain child of designer Bruno Giorgi and stands 25' in bronze.  The figures represent the pioneering spirit of the people who left their homes to build the city.

This has little or nothing to do with my weight loss goals or my desire to learn Portuguese but, I found it absolutely intriguing, so here it is on the blog.  Click on the picture above or follow this link to learn more about the history of the city of Brasilia.

Next time you will see less of me,


Photo Credit:

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Beauty of Big

I read on the BBC today that African artist, Augustin Kassi, is currently doing an exposition of his work in which he celebrates the beautiful and voluptuous forms of women.  Finally, an artist who appreciates women who look like me!

I've always said that big can be beautiful, and my size isn't really a major issue.  Well, not to me at any rate.  Plenty of people have an issue with overweight people and prejudice abounds!  But my problem is one of health and mobility at this time.  Hence the push to lose weight - not to achieve someone else's ideal of beauty or to find acceptance among the close-minded people of the world.

The picture above is an example of the art created by Augustin Kassi and the picture will take you to a slide show of his work.  The text is in Portuguese, but I will translate a bit of it here for anyone who many be interested.
"Eu queria lutar por essas mulheres que foram criticadas e até feitas prisioneiras da ideia de que não eram bonitas", disse o pintor local Augustin Kassi.

"Decidi tomar uma posição e dizer: 'Não, você é linda - Deus a fez assim. Tome cuidado com a alimentação, faça um pouco de esporte, e nós te amamos'. Eu amo essas mulheres", disse Kassi à BBC.
"I wanted to fight for these women that have been criticized and have been prisoners of the idea that they are not pretty", says the local painter Augustin Kassi.
"I decided to take a position and say: 'No, you are lovely - God made you this way.  Take care with your nutrition, get a little exercise, and we love you.'  I love these women," says Kassi to the BBC.
Thank you, Kassi.  I think I might love you too.  I also think it might be time for me to save a little money and purchase a painting!  His work really does show his love and admiration for women - even those society has declared unworthy of love.  Take a look and see if you don't agree!

Next time you will see less of me!


Busy Week!

It is the time of year when teachers have run out of their yearly allotment of patience and are running frazzled.  Exams are a mere two weeks away and we teachers are struggling to get everything up and ready for the state exams as well as our own personal exams, trying to get all the grades ready for report cards, and dealing with the inevitable wave of projects and assessments that fall during the final weeks of class.  Many of us are so over worked and overwhelmed at this time of year that we're prone to snap at any moment and say something snippy or derisive when we shouldn't.  As for me, I'm trying to live in the moment and not make it all better with doughnuts and cupcakes . . . but apples do not have the same calming effect on my state of mind.  Ahh well, this too shall pass, as they say.

I have the weekly menu made up for May 14 - 18.  This time I remembered to save it as a PDF so it can be viewed properly by most anyone, though admittedly my readership is only at 1 person right now.  (Thanks, sis!)  But who knows what the future holds?  *smiles*

On the Portuguese front, I have been extremely frustrated this week because I have found no time to work in my grammar book and little time for anything else.  Although I have visited a blog or two and I have continued to listen to my audio lessons in the morning.  This weekend the plan is to immerse myself to the greatest extent possible so I don't feel deprived if the coming week turns out to be as busy as this past one was.  (Yes, deprived of grammar.  We linguists actually feel deprived if we are unable to get to that exciting new grammar that will increase our communication skills.  We really do!)

My grammar goal this weekend is to get the pluralization of nouns and adjectives down, including the pronunciation - which can be a bit tricky in Portuguese.  If I'm feeling really ambitious, I might take on some more irregular verbs in the present tense too.  And somewhere out there I'm going to have to find some listening practice activities to do as well.

That's all for now; wish me luck!  Até lago, amigos. 

Next time you will see less of me!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thou Shalt Not

So far so good with Weight Watchers.  I'm on program, tracking what I eat, and generally behaving well.  However, I have discovered some things that I should not do.  Because I want to make things easy on myself, not hard.  And some of the behaviors I have engaged in this week have made things hard.

Thou shalt not . . .
  • Go into the Whole Foods deli . . . ever.
  • Drive within 100 yards of a Starbucks.
  • Watch Food Network.
  • Go into a supermarket while hungry.
  • Leave snacks within reach.

Whole Foods is my favorite bakery in the area.  They have an almond croissant there that is dizzying in its greatness.  And then there are also my favorite cookies there - pecan pie cookies.  Do I even need to mention that they sell fresh gelato there too?

Starbucks is a favorite weakness of mine.  And now, Heaven help me, they have a blended drink with chocolate whipped cream on top.  Chocolate whipped cream!  I had one this week and it cost me 11 points and didn't fill me up, leaving me hungry and unsatisfied.

Food Network . . . so many goodies flashing past my eyes and making their impression on my subconscious.  My natural instinct is to hit the kitchen and start cooking, but I have to tamp down that inclination and stay with the meals I have planned.  This is especially hard because I like to be spontaneous.

Staying away from the supermarket while hungry is such a common piece of good advice that it is cliche, but there is wisdom there.  Everything is tempting while you are hungry and having to say no to yourself feels bad.

And for the last one, leaving snacks within reach.  This is just a combination of bad planning and laziness on my part.  Snacks in my sight and within my reach are too much of a temptation.  Better to serve myself one portion and put the snacks away immediately.  Once those snacks are out of sight they will quickly be out of mind too, and my laziness will work in my favor because I won't want to get up and get myself another snack.

Next time you will see less of me!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Week One Update

It has been one week and all is good.  I had to face the dreaded weigh-in today and I was down five pounds!  Most of that was water weight, of course.  I won't be able to keep up weight loss at that rate of speed, but it's okay.  If I average 9 lbs. per month then I get to my goal on time.

I put in a weight tracker at the very bottom of this page.  I struggled with the code a bit and I can't seem to change the color of the lettering, nor can I center it.  I went into the html and typed in my choices by hand, but they is being overridden by whatever is going on at the host site.  Ah well, I'm not going to stress about it.

After my job, my part-time job, and my Weight Watchers meeting, I came home and the crock pot had not cooked the beans to done.  They were still starchy and somewhat dry and I was disappointed because I did not want to have to cook at 8:30 at night when I was already so hungry and so tired.  I threw together a can of kidney beans, a can of tomatoes with green chilies, and some fun spices.  After heating it to boiling I served a half a cup of it over a cup of white rice.  Nothing to crow about, but it was tasty and easy enough.  Hopefully tomorrow's crock pot dinner will go better.  *fingers crossed*

Now I am off to a quiet space to spend some quality time with my Portuguese textbook.  This makes me happy.

Next time you will see less of me!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Astral Toads and Crock Pot Miracles

"Praise the Lord for small miracles," is what my grandmother used to always say when something tiny but critical would go right for her.  Today that small miracle is that the crock pot, hidden away in the garage for countless years, still works.  My husband and I both have very late days Monday - Wednesday and I didn't want my mother to be stuck with toddler care and dinner preparation for three days running.  The obvious solution was to throw ingredients into the crock pot and let the cooking miracle happen without her having to be involved.  I selected three crock pot recipes for dinner this week and I'm hoping that this will be just the thing to solve the who's going to cook dinner problem.

I allotted myself points for one or one and a half servings of dinner this week.  I've never been one to really junk up too much on unhealthy foods, but I have a habit of eating too much.  My portion sizes have been way out of control and I'm quick to go back for seconds, and even thirds.  Old habits die hard, so I figure I can give myself the option of getting a second half-portion if I feel the need.  That will satisfy my internal desire to get more food once my plate is empty.  (Well, that is the plan anyway.)

On the Portuguese front, I am making good progress with my reading comprehension and I found a station that streams Brazilian television online too.  It is in the links section to the right, if you are interested.  My listening comprehension is very bad right now.  I catch a few words here and there and I might have and idea of the topic being discussed, but I am not getting any of the specifics. 

I went to the Aprender Português page and clicked on the Nivel Inicial link (beginner level).  This took me to pequenos textos - small texts.  The first couple of activities were easy as pie and I was feeling quite good about myself until I hit the grammar section.  "Complete the following by supplying the imperative form of the following verbs," they said, as if that had somehow been covered in the little reading about horoscopes I had just done.  The imperative forms?, I'm thinking.  Okay, let's see if this is anything like Spanish . . . .  The answer, as it often is when comparing Spanish and Portuguese is yes and no.  The subjunctive endings are used for imperatives and are similar to those in Spanish.  The next activity asked me to supply the future indicative and again I had to scratch my head and wonder how they figured I was supposed to get that from the little text I had just read but, I am a linguist so I forged ahead.  It seems the 3rd person singular ending is á and the plural ending is ão (both attached to the infinitive, as in Spanish).  It took me a couple of times, but I have it down now.

 But the real fun was in an external link to a Portuguese language astrology site.  I enjoy horoscopes even though I don't put much credence into them - they are fun.  Horoscopes are especially fun in Portuguese because I get to practice language and look into the future all at the same time.  And, the name of the website is Sapo Astral - which I translate as "Astral Toad."  Seriously, who could not love getting their future from the Portuguese-speaking Astral Toad?

Life is good!

Next time you will see less of me,


Cost of Being Overweight

Recently a good friend of mine has been struggling with being childless.  His wife has not been able to conceive and, even after a great deal of expense and invasive medicine, the last attempt was not successful.  He told me that he had believed he would be okay if there was a miscarriage, but confessed that when it actually happened he discovered that he was really was not okay at all.  It looked like there were tears in his eyes, though I know he was trying to be strong.  After suffering from two miscarriages myself, I know that pain too well.

It occurred to me shortly after my talk with him to offer myself as a surrogate.  I have had three healthy and beautiful children and, though I am no longer a spring chicken by anyone's measure, I believe I could carry a baby with no trouble at my age.  And then it hit me . . . no doctor would consent to the procedure because of my weight.  My own doctor was very concerned about my weight with my last two pregnancies.  Issues with preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and other pregnancy complications are far greater with an overweight mother.  And too would be the concern that I would gain more weight myself.  I can't diet while pregnant, of course.

Once again I find myself wishing things were different.  Not for silly reasons like being embarrassed trying to go through a turnstile, not finding my size in the store, or having someone give me a pathetic "why bother?"  look when I order a diet drink with my food.  Those things are all a hassle and can be killer on one's self esteem, but this is something deeper - a limitation that prevents me from offering what might be the only hope my friends have.

I had to cry about it for awhile last night.

Next time you will see less of me,


Friday, May 11, 2012

Next Week's Menu

Hubby does the shopping around here so I have taken it upon myself to do my meal planning Friday evenings so that everything can be purchased on the weekend.  I highlight the items he needs to purchase and email the menu off to him so that purchases can be made.

I'm using the new Weight Watchers Points Plus system and it looks solid - very healthy and balanced as long as I follow the rules.  I went ahead and totaled up all the points on my weekly menu too so that makes tracking a . . . well, a piece of cake.  (Maybe I need to come up with a new metaphor?  Easy as pie doesn't work either.)

Eventually, just to make things fun, I am going to learn some Brazilian recipes and figure the WW points on those too.  But for now I will stick with family favorites such as Taco Soup and Baked Broccoli - decidedly un-Brazilian, but Rome was not built in a day.  (I sense the need for another metaphor . . . ).

On the topic of Portuguese today, I managed to add the "Portuguese Word of the Day" widget and some language learning sites to the page.  I finished Pimsleur's Lesson 12 today and, as soon as I finish this post, I am going to do a little practice in my workbook as well.  This qualifies as fun for me - just so you know.

You will see less of me next time,


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Here Is Where It Begins

For anyone who happens to stop by here accidentally, this blog is about two personal goals of mine and a reward I have set for myself if I reach them.

Goal 1: Lose nearly 200 lbs. and get back into shape

Goal 2: Learn to speak Portuguese

And the reward?  I have always wanted to go to Brazil to see the Amazon river, the rain forests, and the unbelievable beaches of Rio de Janiero.  So if I am able to accomplish the two above goals in the next two years, I plan to reward myself with a trip to Brazil.

Background Story on Goal 1 - I have struggled with my weight the entirety of my adult life.  At different points along the journey I have engaged in self-loathing, avoidance of social contact, dieting, and acceptance of who I am.  Acceptance is a good thing but the health problems I was having were not acceptable in the long run, and I have decided that I have to do something about the excess weight - 200 pounds of it.  I have been successful in weight loss before, and even reduced my weight by over 100 pounds once, but I get distracted when tragedy or severe stress occur in my life.  (I might blog about the specifics another time.) And once I fall off the wagon, I can not find the strength to get back on.  But I'm back now and this goal is doable.  I have to average a loss of about 8-10 pounds per month to reach this goal, and that is a reasonable rate of weight loss - healthy.

Background Story on Goal 2 - I am a linguist and a Spanish teacher.  I have always loved language and learning Spanish was an enormous achievement that has been worth every minute of effort I put into pronunciation practice and verb drills.  It is so rewarding to be bilingual.  In the modern world, speaking English and Spanish just makes good sense.  But, in my heart, Portuguese is the language I really adore and want to speak.  I think it sounds melodious, lyrical and even poetic.  I love the bossa nova, the samba, and every bit of wonderful music that comes from Brazil too.  The chances that I will actually ever need Portuguese in my day-to-day life are minimal, but I want to learn it for me.  Can a person learn a language in two years?  Well, for many people that answer might be no. However, I already speak Spanish and it is very closely related to Portuguese.  And I have been blessed with a talent for languages, so I feel like it is a goal I can reasonably reach.

I think my goal of taking a trip to Brazil is a very logical one, because once I am in shape enough to enjoy trekking around the country, walking on the beach -and- I can speak the language, then that is where I feel I want to be.   It's the sort of reward that will inspire me in my twin goals.

So this is the place where I will post updates on my progress on my weight loss and my acquisition of the Portuguese language.  I will also post related content like motivational pictures, recipes, sub-goals, and reflections.

Here's to going down and away!  (Down in weight and away to Brazil.)

You will see less of me next time,