Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Goodbye Six More!

Monday's weigh-in was a bit of a surprise.  I was down six pounds!

I don't really think I lost six pounds over the course of one week, actually.  So many things go into a weigh-in: food in your stomach, water retention, how recently you've been to the bathroom . . .  and I think my weigh-in last week was a little high to be honest.  I knew I had lost but the scale wasn't cooperating and showed a loss of 1/5 of a pound.  So this week the numbers caught up to me - happy day!

My Weight Watchers leader, Karen, has created a challenge for us.  She has paired us up with partners and challenged us to keep each other honest and motivated.  I promised my partner I would work out this week - a hefty promise to keep since I really dislike exercise in general. 

But we have a local gym, Planet Fitness, that stays open 24 hours during the week and that works with my schedule.  They have every machine you can imagine, a super friendly staff, and a price that I can live with.  (The cheap membership is just $10 a month!)  They also have a half-hour circuit (my favorite!) with weight machines of all different types and aerobic stations.

So I donned my grey sweatpants last night and headed out to keep my promise to work out.  Wow!  It was good but today I'm feeling muscles that I didn't even know I had.

Now the trick is to stay motivated enough to do it again. 

Onward and downward!

Next time you'll see less of me!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Eating Out Fabulous - Steakhouse

It's Father's Day and, of course, he wants to go to the Steakhouse.  This is problematic for me in two ways - because of my desire to reduce my weight and because I am a vegetarian.  But that is okay, there are ways to deal with this.

If I were a super strict vegetarian, I'd be stuck with a salad and a baked potato for dinner.  There are plenty of times I've done just that, but the temptation is to load down the potato with butter and cheese.  And let's not forget those amazing yeast rolls that Lone Star Steakhouse serves!  And they serve them with this amazing cinnamon honey butter  . . .  excuse me while I drool.

But, as I've mentioned in the past, I do occasionally eat fish when my back is up against the wall.  Father's Day at the steakhouse is one of those times!  But Lone Star has a number of choices on the fishy side of things that are points friendly.
  • Sweet Bourbon Salmon  8P+
  • Mesquite Grilled Shrimp Dinner 6P+
  • 5 Grilled Shrimp 1P+

Not bad at all!  So now, what do I have on the side?  They have some good choices, of course.
  • Dinner Caesar Salad 4P+
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes (1/2 cup) 3P+
  • Sauteed Mushrooms 4P+

And I'm going to eat 1/3 of an appetizer too . . . Interestingly, this is where the big calories and fat hide at most restaurants.  I found that surprising because I figured the entrees were were the biggest part of the meal and therefore, the most high in calories.  But appetizers are big these days - and they tend to be fried and covered in sauces, cheese, and the like.

My hubby will choose the appetizer but there are two we tend to choose more often.  The Points Plus values are for the whole dish as served.  I plan to eat 1/3 of it.
  • Spinach and Artichoke Dip 13P+
  • Texas Rose 34P+

And that leaves me with those delicious, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth yeast rolls.  They are 4P+ each and I will want a spoon (or two) of honey butter, of course.  So let's call them 6P+ each.  Two of them will be 12P+.

I have 49P+ weekly for splurges, so let's see how I'm doing on the totals.

Dinner Caesar Salad 4P+
Sweet Bourbon Salmon 8+P
1/3 of Spinach and Artichoke Dip 4P+
(or 1/3 of Texas Rose 12P+)
2 Yeast Rolls with Butter  12P+

The Points Plus total is 28 - 36.  I'm easily within my 49 allotted splurge points.


Nutrition information for Lone Star Steakhouse is available at   (Yeast rolls are now 1/3 the size they were when the information was last updated at their website.)

Next time you will see less of me!


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Chocolate Mousse

I am a chocolate lover and that is one of the things that makes dieting so hard for me.  Another thing I love is fluffy whipped stuff like mousse, whipped cream, and soft-serve ice cream - also big on the Thou Shalt Not List for dieters.

But today I came up with an idea that is really very good and it satisfies both my chocolate and my whipped cream gremlins.  The recipe is vegan and fat-free.  Don't scoff until you try it, because you will probably be pleasantly surprised by how good it is!

Ingredients List
  • 1 regular box of fat-free chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup chocolate almond milk  - cold
  • 1 tub fat-free Cool Whip topping - thawed but cold

Put the fat-free chocolate pudding mix intp a mixing bow and add 1 cup of chocolate almond milk.  (I chose Jell-O's Chocolate Fudge flavor.)

With a hand mixer on low speed, mix the pudding and the almond milk until it thickens (about one minute).

Gently fold in the Cool Whip topping until the pudding is all incorporated and the mousse is an even color.

This will make about 5 servings at 1/2 cup each. 

Weight Watchers Points Plus value: 3

Try it with vanilla pudding and vanilla almond milk if you like.  I'm sure that would also be good.

I hope you enjoy!

Next time you will see less of me!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Eating Out Fabulous

Eating out and staying on program is a problem for me.  It's not a numbers problem; I know how to calculate the points.  It's a head game with me and that is where the problem lies.

One of the joys of going out to eat is indulging in all the delightful goodies that are available - creamy alfredo sauces with parmesan cheese, spicy coconut curries, fried wontons and egg rolls, tempura fried vegetables, appetizers dripping with melted cheeses, lusciously creamy desserts . . . you get the picture.  And I'm not happy going out, paying a fortune for good food, and then leaving it on my plate.  That's a no go.  So what do I do?

First things first, though my strict Weight Watcher's friends would disagree with me, I do take one evening off of the plan every week.  It's on Tuesday night out with the family and on that one night a week I eat whatever I want.  Usually I have 20-something points left over from the day for dinner and another 49 weekly points plus whatever minimal activity I might have earned during the week.  Technically I am probably fine with those 70-something points.  But I don't count them anyway because, for some mental reason, I just need a break on those days.  It makes me feel less like a dieter and more like a "normal" person.  And as long as that is working and the scale keeps going in the right direction, I see no need to change.

But what about those other times?  What about the unexpected farewell luncheon for a retiring colleague or the office picnic?  These are times when I do have to be on plan and I do have to figure out a way to make it work.

Speaking of farewell luncheons, I had one scheduled yesterday.  We were going to a deli and I had determined to get a big lunch salad with blue cheese dressing on the side.  Add a slice of artisan bread and I knew I would be plenty satisfied.  But the unexpected happened and my colleague called off the lunch at the last minute.  There I was without a plan and with an empty lunchbox.  (Okay, technically I had some cucumber slices and some blackberries, but that wasn't going to be enough for lunch.)

I decided to take a book and head to a local Thai restaurant.  I love Thai food.  I mean I love it!  I had some fresh spring rolls there with veggies, basil leaves, and noodles inside that were to die for.  They had a little spicy dipping sauce too - wonderful!  According to the WW's website, fresh (unfried) spring rolls are 2P+ each.  Win!

I am also a 95% vegetarian, but I occasionally eat fish when I am in a bind.  Yesterday I was in a bind as I tried to explain to a Thai-speaking waitress that I wanted the tom yum salad with tofu - not shrimp.  She smiled sweetly, agreed to everything, and served me shrimp anyway.  One of the great thing about shrimp (when I can get my vegetarian head around eating what is essentially a bug) is that they are pure protein - no carbs, negligible fat - just protein.  This makes them exceptionally low in points.  Add a whole lot of lemon grass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, red pepper, lemon juice, and whatever other wonderful things are in tom yum, and something magical occurs.  It was fresh, tangy, spicy, and utterly delightful.  I estimate the points at 4-5P+.  Win again!

The one downside was the bill.  I paid $15 for lunch but it was so delicious and I was so thrilled that I have to say that it was $15 well spent.

The trick to eating out and staying on plan is to find something within your points budget that you LOVE.  Not something you like a little bit or something that you might be okay with - you have to love it.  That makes all the difference.

So I am going to try to come up with some eating out ideas and share them here as I do.  Here's to health!

Next time you'll see less of me!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Real Women and Rio

I came across a great blog today by a woman who is not afraid to be herself, Trystan L. Bass at CorpGoth.  Her blog features a lot of amazingly fun clothes and commentary that is at times insightful and always entertaining.  I'll be checking in there again and admiring her sense of style soon.

One thing I love is that I happened across Trystan's blog by accident when I was searching for something else.  (Now I don't even remember what it was.)  But I saw a picture of her in her swimsuit with the title, "Size is just a number."  Indeed!  Size is just a number and still we all seem to get so uptight about it, don't we?  How many times have I purchased something that didn't feel good because of the number on it?  Oh no, I do NOT wear a 26.  I'll buy this 22 instead . . . It's time to stop engaging in that sort of nonsense.  Besides, even if 26 is a scary number, it's not as if anyone but me knows what it is anyway.  Really, when was the last time you took the collar of a friend's shirt and turned it inside out to see the size?  Never, right? 

I feel so inspired by Trystan's courage to post her real photos of herself with no apologies for not looking like a model.  She is beautiful and I hope everyone who sees her is open-minded enough to know that.  In fact, she goes on to encourage others to do the same.
Women shouldn't shun swimsuits if they don't look like fashion models or celebrities. There's a whole industry designed to make women freak out about "swimsuit season" & force us to go on crazy "bikini body" diets to lose some unrealistic number of pounds in an equally unrealistic number of days before hitting the beach. Fie on that nonsense, I say, fie!
And she's even been to Rio . . . which, as you know if you read here regularly, is close to my heart.  I have been nervous about how a heavy person would be received in Rio, where all the pictures are of perfect people like the following:

All the dieting and exercise in the world won't make me look like that, but it's okay.  That is not who I am and it's not who I aspire to be.  My goal is all about being healthy enough to enjoy life, to trek all over Brazil without getting out of breath constantly, and to add years to my life so I can spend them with the people I love - doing the things I love!  I would be absolutely delighted to look as good (and as confident) as Trystan does in her swimsuit.  But I am encouraged because she had this to say about Rio:
In fact, when I went to Rio, I was amazed & felt liberated to see large, voluptuous women, easily twice my size wearing thong bikinis & high heels, strutting down the Copacabana. These sassy women of substance had, I kid you not, scads of young, bronzed men following them like puppy dogs.

It's all about attitude, ladies. If you feel comfortable in your own body, you will exude confidence & sex appeal, & everyone else will feel it too.
Awesome!  Just awesome.

Next time you will see less of me!


Monday, June 4, 2012

And the number is . . . three!

Last week on scale day I felt bloated and sluggish.  Even though I had stuck to my plan all week and had even gotten in some exercise, the numbers were not in my favor.  I was up a pound.

Now, anyone who has done any serious dieting knows that this sort of thing happens.  The scale is not always a perfect reflection of where you are.  Things like how much water you've drunk, how recently you've been to the bathroom, where you are in your monthly cycle, and how much sodium you've consumed over the last few days . . . they all contribute to higher and lower numbers on the scale.

I know this intellectually, but it still feels like a defeat at the scale when the receptionist whispers to me politely that I'm up "just a bit."

Then what usually happens is that I come back a week later and the numbers are in my favor again.  And indeed they were.  As the title indicates, the number was three.  I was down three pounds today for a total of ten!  (Well, 9.8 but that is ten in my book.)

I get to update my little plane graphic at the bottom, very very bottom, of the page.  *happy clappy*

Tomorrow I have a challenge.  I am going to a Thai restaurant and I am going to figure out a way to 1) Stay within my daily points limits, and 2) Fully enjoy my meal.  For a lifelong big eater like myself who loves coconut milk curries and fried foods, this is going to be a bit of a challenge.

Here is what I think I'm going to have:

1 bowl of Tom Yum soup with tofu  3P+
1 order of Green Papaya Salad with Peanut Dressing  8P+
1 Fried Spring Roll  -or- 1 cup of Jasmine Rice 5P+
1-3 bites of whatever my hubby is eating.  :-)  2P+

The Points Plus values are purely speculation on my part, but they are good faith estimates.  I'm not trying to lie to myself because that is the path to madness.   18P+ is about what I usually have for dinner.  I like a big dinner so I save my points for the evening whenever possible.

I think I'll have an awesome dinner and still have good numbers to show when I hit the scale this time next week.  That is the plan anyway.

Next time you'll see less of me!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Fight Against Obesity in Brazil

I have lived in some skinny places in my time.  Argentina for one, Japan for another - if there are fat people in those countries, they certainly don't come out of their homes, because I never saw one.  At times I caused people to stop and gawk at me in Japan because, as an overweight person, I was such an oddity.  And on more than one occasion I saw a mother completely mortified when her kid pointed me out and said the obvious.  "Look at how fat she is!" 


Somehow, I figured Brazil was the same way.  Rio is the world capitol for plastic surgery and, heaven knows I've never seen anything less than a perfect ten in any of the beach pictures I've seen from there.  I figured it was one of those places that God waved a magic wand over and blessed the people with great genetics which made the population naturally beautiful.

But I might be wrong about that.  I was reading about fitness over at BBC Brazil today and it seems that the country is dealing with an increase in obesity in recent years.  Despite stereotypes of fat rich people, the ironic reality in Brazil, much as in the United States, is that the poor people are the ones most prone to obesity. 

It is not that hard to figure out, really.  Populations that are poor, but no so poor as to be starving, are more likely to each cheaper foods and make unhealthy choices.  Processed foods are mass produced and can be purchased relatively cheaply and, no matter where in the world you might be, they universally tend toward high sodium and fat.  Also, as women begin to enter the workforce, their reliance on convenience foods goes up.  And the pounds for them and their families pack on.   Likewise, in families where there is enough money for a television, the children are less likely to go outside and play for entertainment.  (The adults too, for that matter.)

The following is a quote from BBC Brazil:
Más condições de moradia e mobilidade, poucas áreas de lazer, escolaridade baixa e menos dinheiro para comprar alimentos que compõem uma dieta saudável, como frutas e verduras, são alguns dos fatores que levam ao aparente paradoxo da obesidade associada à pobreza.
Bad living conditions and mobility, few recreational areas, low education, and less money to buy foods that make up a healthy diet, like fruits and vegetables, are some of the factors that contribute to the apparent paradox of obesity associated with poverty. 
The whole article (in Portuguese) can be read here: Luta contra excesso de peso é desafio para mulheres na Rocinha .

The video on the same page features women who are dealing with their own personal weight problems by going to a gym and working out. 

Next time you will see less of me!