Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Blogging For Personal Growth

I haven't been blogging much lately.  Partly because I've been really tired, and partly, I just figured out, because I don't want to blog the negative.  And that's bullshit.

When you blog, you choose what to write about and what to keep private, for various reasons.  My reasons include respecting the privacy of those in my life, being professional enough not to blog about my job (because I want to keep it!), and not putting out into the electronic media anything I wouldn't be comfortable with if I saw it on a billboard.  Not that the billboard thing would actually happen, but that's how public a blog is.

It can also makes sense to present the best "you" possible when you blog.  Why publicize your faults and weaknesses?  Why show the world your worst when you can show them your best?  My answer, newly discovered, is personal growth.  And possibly helping others who may be in a similar situation and feel isolated.  And possibly receiving help from others who have been there and have advice or support to offer.

I've been avoiding my blog lately because I have not had very much positive to blog about.  I'm unmotivated, not only not-losing-weight but gaining weight.  I almost skipped my Weight Watchers meeting last week because I didn't want to face the scale, or the person operating it.  Even though I've only gained a few pounds, I can feel it in the way my clothes fit, in the way I move, and I can see it in the mirror.  It's humiliating and demoralizing.  And why do I feel that way about it?  For weeks now I have made poor food choices and completely avoided exercising.  Why?  Am I afraid of success?  Is that doughnut (or three doughnuts, let's be honest) really worth the fatigue that will follow the sugar high and the increased number on the scale?  I'm not going to beat myself up about it, because negative reinforcement only pisses me off.  Even when I'm the one providing negative reinforcement to myself.  I'm going to pick myself up, yet again, right this minute.  My next food choice will be one that will nourish my body and that I can reflect on with pride.  And I will start moving more and sitting less.  Seeya tomorrow; I've got some moving my hiney to do and it won't happen with this laptop on my knees.

Have a fab day.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Still Tired But Plugging Along With A Smile

 Maybe because I've been eating alot of crap.  I'll try to make an effort to do a recipe post early this week; that should help me get back in the game.

Also, I hope to share a secret with you by Friday!  It's nothing I've posted about before.  It's very exciting!  And no, I'm not pregnant... isn't that the first thing you think when a woman hints at a secret with a timeframe for telling?  Maybe that's just me.

Have a great week.  I'm starting to wake up :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Frugal Friday Postponed

Due to continued fatigue.  I will catch up on everyone's blogs this weekend, so be prepared for a flurry of comments!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Still Recovering from the Weekend, on Tuesday!

How is everybody?  I've been somewhat unplugged from the electronic world because I've been running running running since Saturday morning, and am just now getting a chance to relax!  I had a very fun, very busy weekend helping throw a baby shower for a fabulous woman who is having her first baby.  The festivities were topped off with a Girls' Night of pedicures and dinner in the city.  Last night I was working on all the stuff that didn't get done around the house over the weekend, so tonight I'm putting my feet up, chilling out, and going to bed early.  Have a great evening!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Day Three of No Frapps, and a Fabulous Shrimp Dish

Wahoo!  Totally surviving frapp-free. Who knew?

I really wish I had taken pictures when I made dinner last night.  It was amazing!  I still have garlic breath from it, yikes.

I used a recipe from the Weight Watchers website for the shrimp, and served it over a side I created: 1 can black beans, 1 cup cooked quinoa, and enough coconut butter to flavor it.  I added some water so I could leave it alone heating on the stove and it wouldn't burn while I cooked the shrimp.

The shrimp was fab!  I started with 1 cup veggie broth from my last homemade batch; I found it in the freezer where it was just hanging out and waiting for something to do.  Added 4 garlic cloves, chopped.  And by chopped I mean I used the garlic press because I'm lazy.  I let that simmer while I chopped 1/4 cup cilantro leaves and set them aside.  When the broth/garlic combo was reduced by half I added 2 tablespoons of lime juice and let it simmer a few more minutes.  Then I added a pound of shrimp and 1 tablespoon of butter.  The recipe called for raw shrimp but I used pre-cooked.  I'd tried to defrost it before I made dinner but they were still kinda frozen, so I covered the pot and let the whole schamole simmer until they were defrosted and completely heated through.  Then I stirred in the cilantro and let it cook 2 or 3 more minutes.  You're supposed to season with salt and pepper at that point but of course I forgot.  No biggie, seasoning it once it was plated was sufficient.

Then I built the dish:  first, a cushy bed of coconut-flavored quinoa and black beans, topped with a quarter of the shrimp (FOUR  points for all that shrimp, awesome!), a few tablespoons of the sauce, and then because I can never resist a little heat, I swirled some garlic-chili paste on top.

Again, I so wish I had taken pictures.  Words don't do it justice.  Easy peasy to prepare, and the lime, garlic and coconut butter went together like they were made for each  other.  I think without the coconut butter it would have been missing something.  The coconut flavor wasn't prominent; it was in the background, giving more presence to the other flavors and everything went perfectly with the shrimp.  Next time I will be sure to snap a photo; a food post with no pics seems ridiculous but I just had to tell you about it. 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Frugal Friday: Weight Loss Doesn't Have to Be Expensive

Weight loss can be perceived as expensive... membership fees for different programs, gym memberships, and last but certainly not least, expensive "special" foods.  It's easy to get sucked in and drop a ton of cash.  And I'm guilty of all of the above, but I try to keep it reasonable.  I'm going to start a Friday post series with ideas for cutting expenses, not only involving weight loss but also peripheral issues.  For example, I'm cooking alot more instead of eating carryout, and it's amazing how making one meal can dirty up the entire kitchen.  Which leads me to frugal cleaning products.  Still with me?

Today I want to talk about my weight loss plan.  If you're a regular reader you know I'm a Weight Watchers member.  On WW you count points instead of calories or carbs or fat.  You don't need to buy special WW food.  The program is designed to work with real foods that you purchase at the grocery store, so you don't have the expense of some programs where you have to buy their products.  Each food has a point value, and when you join you are given a slide rule to help you figure it out.  Just look at the nutritional ingredients on a package, use your slide rule, and you have the points.  It's about one point for 50 calories, more points for higher fat content, fewer points for higher fiber content.  I'm a creature of habit and eat alot of the same things all the time, so once I've figured out the point value of a meal I'm good for a while.  They also provide a little booklet of foods and their point values when you join, and you can purchase more comprehensive booklets at your meeting site.  I bought a point calculator at my meeting site.  It looks alot like a regular calculator, and I keep it in my purse.  It's really handy for when I'm at the store and looking at something new.  I just punch in the nutritional numbers and it tells me the point value of a serving.  I think it was about $15 and totally worth it.

WW also encourages healthy food choices and activity.  It's a sensible plan and the price is sensible as well.  There are weekly meetings where you weigh-in, then attend a 30 minute group with your fellow WW members and a WW leader.  Each week there is a different discussion topic like incorporating new healthy foods into your daily diet, or how to handle setbacks.  I always come out of my meeting pumped up and ready to hit the next week with a vengeance!

WW is pretty reasonable as far as weight loss programs go.  You can pay for your weekly meeting each week, which is $12 or $13.  You can join just online, skipping the meeting component and accessing the resources and online community for $12.95 a month, I think.  Or you can pay $39.99 per month and have both the online tools, and be able to go to as many meetings as you want in a month.  I found the $39.99 to be the best deal; it comes out to $10 or less a week for meetings and I have the option of going to extra meetings if I'm struggling.  And I can use the online tools, as well.  To be honest, since I am active in the weight-loss blogging community I don't go to the online WW community very much.  But I do occasionally use the online resources, such as look for recipe ideas or find the point value of a food or activity.  And even if I never used the online tools, it's still a better deal than paying per meeting.

Alot of the WW information can be found online on sites you do not have to pay to join.  I chose to join and go to meetings because the in-person accountability and support helps me succeed.  But if you want to, you can work the WW program totally cost-free.  Dotti's Weight Loss Zone has oodles and oodles of lists of foods and their point allowances, including restaurant foods, and a fabulous online community.  Her website has recipes also, and if you do a search on WW recipes you will find tons of websites devoted to them.  It can be done without the expense of the program membership, and if you can do it without the meetings, it's a good option.

You don't need to spend a boatload of cash to find the support and resources you need to lose weight.  For me, WW is the most Liz-Friendly program I've looked into, both in the pocketbook and in the support they provide.  What about you?  Have you shopped around and found a reasonable support program for losing weight?  Or are you going it alone, without the expense of a program, and doing just fine?

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I'm three hours from bedtime and have not had a frappucino today.  Thank god.  I feel so good about that.  I've journalled my food and am on-track with my points.  I totally stuck to the plan today with one exception.  Ok two exceptions.  I forgot to make breakfast... I realized it as I got into my car (with my packed lunch) and looked around for my pb sandwich.  So I grabbed a little packet of lunchmeat at the corner gas station.  Without buying a frappucino.  Ok, so I did buy a Moca Loca.  Before you judge, it's not a frappucino.  It's four points, and it's an energy drink.  I won't have more than one in a day.  Two or more and I get all twitchy and anxious.  It ain't pretty and it ain't fun.  But one?  No problem, and definitely no danger I'll have more.  And totally fits within my daily points allowance.  Anyhoo, exception #1 was breakfast and exception #2 was a mini Reeses peanut butter egg.  I'm guessing two points.  I survived and am still on track.

Crap!  I just googled chuck roast since that's what we had for dinner.  It's SEVEN points for three ounces!  Sigh.  I wonder if that is raw weight or cooked weight?  Either way I just cut a little further into my weekly points allowance than I'd planned.  S'okay, tomorrow we're having shrimp.  One point for two ounces.  Everything's under control.

Frappucinos are the Devil

So I knew another bad weigh-in was coming.  Up 1.6 pounds this week.  The Frappucinos are just not worth it!  I seriously am doubling my daily point intake with them.  I said goodbye to them yesterday and my goals this week are to 1) track my food/points, and 2) not have a single Frappucino.  They just aren't worth it!  Plus they're spendy.  Looking back at my week, if I eat exactly the same and have no Frapps, I should lose weight like a champ.  Cue Rocky theme.

On a positive note, I got my 16 week charm at Weight Watchers.  It's the "stay and succeed" charm. 

Today's plan: peanut butter sandwich for breakfast; brown rice, chili, 1/4 avocado and carrot chips for lunch, crockpost roast beef with carrots and potatoes for dinner, snacks of cheese and oranges.  I'm saladed out; if I try to eat another piece of lettuce right now I'll gag.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Weigh-In Tonight

Tonight  is Weigh-In Wednesday so this morning I'm reviewing my week.  My main goal was to get back to tracking my food/points.  This was accomplished!  I tracked five days of the last seven.  And discovered that due to my Frappucino habit I am consuming about TWICE my daily points.  Yikes!  No wonder I'm bouncing around the same two pounds!  The good news is that my failure to lose lately is NOT due to my new ban on artificially fat-free or low-fat foods.  Wahoo!  I was really afraid that tracking would show that I shot myself in the foot with my new real-foods plan, but nope.  I shot myself in the foot at the gas station just outside my neighborhood, and at the Quik Trip a few miles from my office, and ... you get the picture.  Maybe I need to set up a rule, like I can only have a Frappucino if I *insert something worthy of a six point splurge here*.  How about if I drink two liters of water in a day?  Because if I still think I can fit a Frapp in my tummy on top of two liters of water, then I must really want it!

And for some randomness, here's one of my new favorite weekend breakfasts.  It's brown rice, already cooked.  I heat it up with some milk thickened with cornstarch and throw some raisins in to plump up.  Then I add a chopped apple (Fuji is my new fave), some almonds and a squirt of agave nectar.  It's a very filling, rice-pudding-esque breakfast perfect for pumping me up for Saturday errands.  I'm thinking next time I'll try sweetening it with dried dates instead of agave nectar.

I really need to get some dishes that aren't white, for when I'm taking shots of a food like this, that doesn't have alot of color.

Have a fab day!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Good Morning

How is everybody?  Ready for your Monday?  I'm dragging a little but am putting on a smile and getting to it.  I'm missing all that lovely sleep I got last week; going to bed insanely early is addictive.  My weekend was fun but very busy and so last night I sacrificed bedtime in the name of laundry.  And I'm feeling it today!  That's ok; I can get back to a good sleep routine tonight.  I always have trouble going to bed at a good time on Sunday's anyway; I don't want to say goodbye to the weekend.

Last Wednesay at Weight Watchers weigh-in I showed a one-pound gain.  I expected it.  It wasn't a surprise.  This week I have been doing better but not stellar.  I'm tracking my food about 70% of the time; I went to the gym  Friday morning and plan to in the a.m. Tuesday through Friday this week; the week's dinners are all planned out; and I have plenty of lunch-fixin's for packing my pretty little lunch bag.

Have a great week!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Beet Salad With Oranges, Walnuts and Blue Cheese

I was really excited to try fresh beets, and decided to make a salad with some fun add-in's.   I've read the beets will stain your hands if you don't wear gloves, so I picked up some latex gloves in the cleaning aisle of the grocery store.  I think it's more important once the beets are cooked, but I wasn't taking any chances and wore the gloves the entire time I worked with the beets!

First I prepared the beets by scrubbing them, then chopping off the greens and slicing the bottom so they would sit flat in the baking dish.

I placed them in a baking dish in about an inch of water before baking them at 350 for maybe 45 minutes.

I baked them after dinner one night, knowing I needed to get started on the beet experiment but not being able to find enough time to do the baking and make the salad by dinner-time on any particular day.  Then I threw them in a baggie in the fridge for a few days.  But eventually I worked up the nerve to make the salad.  I love trying new veggies, and while I like pickled beets, the fresh beet is a whole new animal for me.  So I put the gloves back on and peeled them.  I wasn't able to just slide the skin off like with a blanched tomato; maybe I didn't cook them long enough for that.  I ended up using a paring knife to remove the skin.  Then I sliced them into eighths.  So far, so good.  I sliced up two oranges and tossed them with the beets, a quarter cup of blue cheese crumbles, two ounces of walnut pieces, and a generous splash of balsamic vinegar, with some olive oil and salt and pepper.  It was gorgeous served over a bed of romaine, see for yourself:

And after I picked the beets out, it was quite good.  I know!   I wanted to love them, I really did.  And my list of "no way" foods is really, really short.  But it just got longer by one: fresh beets.  Maybe.  A friend gave me a beet salad recipe that is different from what I did here, and she swore her kids and husband loved it.  So I will give beets one more try.  It doesn't hurt that they're pretty.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Day One Down, on to Day Two of the Best Week Ever

The last 24 hours did not go entirely according to plan but were pretty darned close.  I did not manage to avoid my a.m. Frappucino but I did buy the smaller four-point one instead of the six-pointer.  I ate according to plan until 6:30 p.m. when I found myself still running around working and another appointment to go, so I stopped and got a cheese stick at Quik Trip and another small Frapp.  Got home at 8 p.m., too late to cook the dinner I'd planned, especially if I wanted to go to bed early and get to the gym in the morning.  Dinner was a crazy combo of a beet and orange salad (I'll devote a post to that this weekend), a bowl of homemade chili, and a bowl of cereal.  I had one liter of water yesterday, which was my minimum goal.  And this morning I got up at 4:45 a.m. and went to the gym!  I kept it simple for my first trip back; half an hour on the elliptical and then headed back home to get ready for work.  Home is on the way from the gym to the job, so it's easier just to go back to the house rather than shower at the gym.  And I drank a liter of water while I was on the elliptical.

I didn't write down my food/points yesterday but I remember everything I ate so I'll jot it down this morning and figure out the points in a bit:
Breakfast: Frapp, and peanut butter sandwich with oat-nut bread and Naturally More peanut butter;
Lunch: an orange, another pb sandwich, and my current favorite salad of mixed romaine, orange slices, cilantro, almonds and dried dates;
Snack: cheese stick and Frapp; and dinner you already know.  Could have been worse; could have been better.

On to the next day!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day One of the Best Week Ever

Today I intend to drink at least a liter of water (my preference would be two liters but let's keep it reasonable), track my food/points, stick to my points allowance, and go to bed early for going to the gym tomorrow before work.  I will take my lunch to work and also will cook dinner at home and plan tomorrow's dinner.  I already have lean pork defrosting for tonight's dinner, and I'm thinking I'll finally make a salad with those beets I baked and then stuck in the fridge.

I also intend to skip my beloved bottled Starbucks Frappucino (6 points) from the gas station so conveniently located on the way to work.  I think my car will automatically try to turn in at the gas station, but I will be strong and turn the other way!

Have a fab day.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I'm Still Here

I've just been going to bed really early.  This sleep thing rocks!  I'm trying to get more sleep and trying to find a way to juggle all the stuff that needs to be taken care of.  Weigh in tonight, it won't be a good one but I had a breakthrough yesterday and am back to planning meals and taking my lunch to work.  Next week will be good, I am sure!  And if this going to bed earlier thing works out, who knows, I may start going to the gym before work again.  I've never managed to keep that up for more than a week but that is really the best way for me to fit the gym into my day, so it must be done!

Have a fab day!