Mr. Black surprised me with many lovely gifts, but the most touching to me was that he bought me 2 shirts and a pair of PJs. Now, Mr. Black is not your typical gift giver. He is always creative and romantic, and often goes with a theme of your hobbies or interests. I love this about him. I had hinted loudly how delighted I would be if he bought me a nightie. Nothing trashy, but something feminine. And it worked! He said that he wasn’t sure what size I am currently, since I had such a range of sizes in my closet. They are one size too large, but I love them. Just picturing him looking through my closet and then being watched by salesclerks, the effort he took to get these gifts to me was significant. And it was nice that he acknowledged my changing body and complemented it with new things! Also in the top 5 list, I got my stove top grill (cast-iron, so it will double as resistance training) and immersion blender that I was hoping for – so grilled marinated veggies and pureed soups are in our future.
Tonight we’ll be having our annual Craptastic White Elephant New Year’s Eve gift exchange. A bunch of friends come over, and bring the worst thing they can think of from their home. It’s gift wrapped, and then usual White Elephant rules apply. Truly horrific things come out – it is fantastic! I’m all about the funny so the more awful, the more funny, in my book. Last year, a bag-o-hair from a thrift store came out. Horrific and hilarious, I tell you. Luckily, the hair was thrown away, so it won't be reappearing this year. Who gives a bag of hair to a thrift store? And why did the thrift store put it out for purchase?
Did anyone else see the commercial with Valerie Bertinelli and how she is thrilled that this year will be the first year she wakes up on New Year's Day not thinking about her weight? That will be a wonderful day indeed. She got teary eyed and I did too. So happy New Year to you – I’m back in 2008 with goals and recipes and maybe even some resolutions.
I hope everyone is enjoying whatever their celebrations have to offer in the way of food, friends and family, and no guilt!
However, my new friend at work brought me a plate of treats from his Mom - how cute is that? A very sweet gesture, but sooo tempting. Magic cookie bars, cherry white chocolate cookies, toffee and biscotti. Oof! Season's Eatings! I had 2 pieces of toffee and one biscotti and set the rest aside. Good girl! That only means I'll eat them later, mind you - but in slow normal amounts. Promise.
Everyone politely smiled and pointed to the other Sara and made comments that it was so apparent that that Sara was pregnant. No one said a word to me, so I had to bring it up later, as a joke, telling them I wanted to say "I'm working on it, honey, I'm working on it!" which allowed everyone to laugh a little. I just had to point it out - I don't like big elephants in the room. It is perfectly reasonable that this little girl honestly got confused and it had nothing to do with my body, but still, I think sometimes I'm just gonna have to be the fat girl in the room. Until I'm not, that is.
The company holiday party is coming up in January and so I'm dreaming about dresses. I want something that says "Hey! I have a smaller waist this year!" without looking like I'm hoping to be crowned prom queen. Our company event is not very formal. We rent a room with a view of the skyline at a local waterfront restaurant, and enjoy the buffet and open bar and dance floor. Although, this year, my very aural Mr. Black has threatened to stay home since we will have the same DJ as last year, the man who didn't have any music recorded later than 1995. No, really.
But I digress. I discovered alight.com a few years ago when I bought this dress for my 30th birthday. I love this site because it is so refreshing to find plus size dresses that don't say "I'm so excited that my grandson is getting married!". Now I'm checking out this jobby for the party. It is sassy and red, but won't let my cleavage come tumbling out. I'm seeing a big chunky necklace and dangly earrings. However it only comes in a size 16 currently. I won't be a size 16 by January, I'm sure. But what if I got it anyway and just tried it on. Ooh, and then I found this one that I love for springtime. So I'm dress hunting. I'll definitely share what I find. Any tips are surely appreciated! I may have to put together a sassy shirt and skirt outfit. We'll see!
Drunk co-worker has been given an ultimatum. Her excuse for smelling like alcohol was that she was on hormone therapy. Unless her hormone therapy involves copious amounts of Pinot Grigio, I think she has a drinking problem. So, HR has instructed her to get a note from a doctor or get enrolled in a treatment program by December 14th. She is really a sharp woman - even when she is drinking - so it is very sad that this problem is surfacing. But I can't continue to work with her with one ear to the ground, waiting for her to screw up, and trying to evaluate her work capacity each day. And what if she drives around like that? And her kids? I really hope she gets help. Luckily, my boss and HR are also concerned about she and I being able to work together in a healthy way, so I know I have their support. On the other hand, she is fascinating to watch. Who can drink wine all day and still function? Not I. Also, my husband stress has alleviated itself as well. Hooray!
In this stress salad that I've been marinating in, I had several days where I actually didn't feel like eating. Who, me? That is so not my style. And I actually got to a point where I felt nauseous from not having had anything to eat for several hours. But don't fret, my old overeating self was right behind my supermodel-esque appetite. I bought a bag of potato chips - and ate all but the one chip I offered to Katie. Oh I am a kind and generous soul, I know. Potato chips are a gateway food for me, man. They invite chocolate and ham and swiss sandwiches and french fries and my old friend peppermint bark over for a party and I'm too weak to say no. And before I know it, they are spending the night and we're all blissfully not counting calories.
But now I'm back and back on track. Will it always be this way, I wonder? Will I always have low fat waves followed by high fat ones? Like I always say, the biggest difference in my lifestyle now is being able to catch myself and put my feet back on the right path.
So I present to you - Super Easy Fajitas. Did you know that vegetarian refried beans are naturally lower in fat, and really low in weight watchers points - yay!
Super Easy Fajitas
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Juice from 2 limes
Juice from 1 lemon
2 TBS Taco seasoning - or 1 packet
1 TBS grill seasoning - or salt and pepper and garlic powder to taste
2 red peppers, sliced into strips
2 green peppers, sliced into strips
1 large red onion, sliced into strips
1 TBS olive oil
Your accouterments - tortillas, salsa, sour cream, avocado, cheese, what have you.
Slice chicken breasts into 1/4 inch strips, place in a bowl, or glass roasting pan. (This is so much easier if you do it while they are a little bit frozen) Combine citrus juices and seasoning, pour over chicken, and toss to combine. Allow to marinate for 2-3 hours - any more than 3 hours and you start "cooking" the chicken with the citrus juice. Freaky!
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat - toss in just the onions, saute until soft. Turn heat down to medium, add chicken and marinade. Saute for 7-10 minutes, stirring to cook evenly. Add peppers near the end of the chicken cooking time, and heat for 4 more minutes. Serve with your good stuff! Yummers.
Today is our charity buffet at work. It’s a potluck, and then everyone pays $10 to eat, and we donate the proceeds to the Union Gospel Mission, a church that does a lot of good here in Seattle. Fabulous. By 10:00 am. I have already consumed 5 chunks of salami, 3 cubes of cheese, a pickle, 3 olives, 5 triscuits and my crustless quiche breakfast. What was that about watching portions?
So without further adieu, here is my current list of gratitude:
- My family who always take me in and give me love and support
- My girlfriends, the family I chose for myself, who shower me with love and support and who are always willing to circle the wagons when I cry SOS
- My job which allows me to be flexible with my schedule, pay a mortgage and has introduced me to a whole new crop of talented women and new friends
- My Dinger Dog who is the cutest, cuddliest, smartest and most annoyingly conniving pug on the planet
- My new circle of blog friends and community where I can ask for support
- My health which keeps me going and I take for granted in far too many ways
- My husband who has taught me many things
- Peppermint bark
- Cell phones
- The Internet
I'm dealing with a myriad of relationship issues. Sister in law who is feeling overwhelmed and vengeful, coworker with whom I literally share a workspace, who drinks on the job, and one issue between my husband and I that is taking a while to untangle. Many times I want to lay down and eat a burger and fries. Here's what I know.
- Food will not make me feel better (okay, sometimes, in the beginning of a big bite, it does, but ultimately, it doesn't) Can I admit that?
- Eating doesn't take away stressful feelings.
- Exercise will help release stress and ease my suffering.
Here's what I want, despite what I know:
- To spend days at a stress free workplace with sober coworkers,
- To spend my evenings laughing at happy hour
- To come home to a clean house and not exercise, and still lose weight or maintain my loss!
- To have thoughtful and meaningful conversations with sister in law
- To be celebrated
Oof. I know this will all pass, and it will work itself out. unfortunately there are no time outs in life. Even when you are feeling overwhelmed, life continues. You still have to exercise, eat healthfully, and go to work. I'm going to cruise my blogosphere and get some cheer and inspiration. Things to look forward to - going to a play Saturday night, making a rich beef stew on Sunday for our cool weather, and walking the dog.
We have a dieter down! Sunday evening Mr. Black and I were to meet some friends at the IMAX theater to see Beowolf. As we're making our way, I step onto a very uneven sidewalk, and my left ankle rolls out from under me. Now my ankle is stiff and swollen, I have a giant scrape on my right knee, and I actually bruised both heels of my hands when I landed. Ouch! So against my protests, Mr. Black dragged me home and propped me up with an ice pack. I actually think he was right, it was the smartest move. And we stopped by a convenience store for bark - and there wasn't any. Arrgh! So now I am actually concerned with not being able to exercise. My ankle does this about once a year, and usually I shrug it off. But now I am a woman who needs to exercise and lose weight each week, and this is slowing me down! Luckily, I worked out like a mad woman yesterday, and my arms are still burning.
Wilfred was delicious! Thanksgiving dinner went remarkably well, and no one asked to order pizza. Doubly good! Also my family has been struck by some affliction that does not allow them to take home leftovers, so we have piles of food. I am doing great on my portions, but I am eating a full fat dessert every day. This is also why I am a little more disappointed that I can't exercise, because I was hoping to redeem myself. Must cut back. I'm off to ice my ankle. did I mention that you should please send peppermint bark?
And how are YOU?
1. I have 3 kidneys. The 3rd is more of a nubbin, but it's there, allegedly. X-rays when I was a kid revealed it.
2. I have to exercise symmetrically. When the water aerobics instructor has us do something on the right side, and then she moves to the left, she makes me crazy if it isn't even. so I have to count on each side. This bothers her as well that I am not following her lead exactly.
3. I can't stand nose air. Like, if you're cuddling with someone, and they breathe through their nose and the air they expel hits my arm or face. I am seriously grossed out. This also applies to the dentist. Thank god they wear masks now. I know this doesn't make any sense.
4. I can't stand avocados or guacamole - I think I am the only one in the world who feels this way, since everyone I know says they are magical. But I am the most fun to go to Mexican food with, as I will always give you my guac!
5. I love to cook, and I am pretty good at most dishes. However, I can't make a decent stir fry to save my life. It always comes out watery and gross. I think that is weird.
Mr. Black and I had planned to get up at 8 am. We were both awake at 6:30 and finally left the bed at 7:00. It's like Christmas, we're so excited. I named our turkey Wilfred. He's my first ever turkey, why not give him a name? I brined him, and now he's in the fridge, air drying for a crispy skin. I have a lot of anxiety about Wilfred. What if the brine made him too salty? What if he tastes like cardboard? What if the brine didn't work and we have the stereotypical dry turkey breast? I know I shouldn't care this much, but I want everyone to enjoy this dinner. I just have to hope that the herb butter rub makes him tender and delicious.
I've had my sensible two egg breakfast with satsumas and coffee, and I'm working on my water. Time to make the sausage stuffing. Yum!
Alternatives to traditional recipes:
The ubiquitous Green Bean Casserole = 215 calories per serving, and 16.4 grams of fat
Green Beans with caramelized pearl onions = 89 calories per serving, and 2.9 grams of fat
2 TBS olive oil, divided
2 16 oz packages frozen pearl onions, thawed
1 TBS sugar
1 tsp salt
2 lbs. green beans
1/2 tsp black pepper
Heat 1 TBS oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pat onions dry with paper towels, add to pan. Increase heat to medium-high, saute onions 5 minutes. Add sugar and 1/2 tsp salt, saute 15 minutes or until onions are tender and golden brown. Place in bowl.
Heat remaining oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add beans, saute 8 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add onions, 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper, cook 2 minutes or until mixture is thoroughly heated. I love this recipe, and make it several times a year.
Traditional mashed potatoes = 222 calories and 9 grams of fat - if you only use milk and butter - and don't we all sneak in a little cream or cream cheese on Thanksgiving?
Weight Watcher's Mashed potatoes = 132 calories and 0 grams fat
Boil your potatoes, and before draining, take out 1 cup of the starchy cooking water, set aside. When mashing, add in the water instead of milk and butter. I've done this several times, but I usually add butter, but not milk. You really can't taste a difference!
I'm hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year, and I am so excited! And nervous. I want to make something wowie-fantastic, but I don't want to go all Iron Chef and make everyone turn their nose up. So, here is our fat-laden, butter filled menu. I'm relying on portion control and sending leftovers away to keep me "safe."
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Garlic and pancetta
Herb roasted turkey
My Mom's sausage stuffing
Aunt Marcia's corn pudding (she's bringing it)
Elise's green beans with almonds and thyme
Pumpkin bread pudding with caramel sauce
Dutch apple pie
Ooof. We always have at least 3 desserts at family gatherings. And everyone can have a sliver of each, or a lot of each. I'm finally understanding why some people say Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday. You spend one day eating, and then 3 days off. Not too shabby.
Oh! I went back to Pilates on Thursday. There was a different instructor and he doesn't use the ball, so I didn't fall off of anything. Yay! I think if they want prisoners to talk, they should give up waterboarding torture, and make everyone do Pilates. Hard. But it hurts so good!
This week I may skip a few nights of exercise in preparation for Thanksgiving. Probably just Wednesday evening, and we must walk the Ding on Thursday so he doesn't spend the day begging and getting into trouble.
Happy short week to everyone!
If anyone is reading who has tips for nailing a sugar craving, let me know. I’m going to have to do some research too.
Thanksgiving is almost here! Last year at this time I was panicking about going to my Mother’s for Thanksgiving. And I couldn’t figure out why. I had gotten into the groove of portion control and exercise and loading up on veggies. So why did I still feel like I would fail? I finally figured it out. I have always been a cook – so making my meals wasn’t a new thing. But making sure that 50% of my plate is veggies was. Finally I realized that at my Mom’s house, I would be surrounded by my favorite stuffing recipe, a wealth of cheesetastic appetizers, mashed potatoes and gobs and gobs of butter. And I realized what made me feel freaked out was that I realized that I never make piles of mashed potatoes and sausage stuffing and tell myself to not eat them. I wasn’t sure if I could practice my perfect portion control in the presence of my classic comfort foods. But I see from my nerdy Excel sheet that I actually lost 1 pound at the weigh in after Thanksgiving – so it is possible!
Not that I am the perfect person to give advice as I am the woman who hangs out at the buffet table asking "Are you going to finish that?" But anyway, here are some strategies for Holiday meals:
- Start the day with your normal healthy breakfast - protein may stay with you longer than fiber - but listen to what your body likes.
- Don’t starve yourself during the day to “save” points or calories for the big meal. Eat small meals before the big show, and you won’t be starving.
- Get some exercise before the meal – or encourage your guests to take a walk afterward with you.
- Plan ahead! Decide what you’ll be eating, so you don’t fall on top of the double cream brie first (like I usually do). I think that most hosts will be willing to share with you that their first course will be bacon wrapped shrimp, or a spinach salad.
- If you’re not hosting, bring a veggie side dish that you know you can eat a lot of and feel full, while not doing yourself in.
- Consider starting the meal with a broth soup. Participants who ate a broth based soup ate less than those who didn’t. It is slow to eat, and filling.
- Make 50% of your plate veggies. Do marshmallow yams count as veggies? I don’t think so – but if it is all you’ve got, go for it! A thin woman in my office says she eats all of her vegetables first at every meal. That's a good one!
- Turkey is a lean protein – so take off the skin and you’re ahead of the game. (I love crispy turkey skin!)
- Scrape the pumpkin pie filling out of the crust, and you’re saving major calories.
- Drink your water! Sometimes we interpret thirst as hunger. Weird.
- Give yourself permission to eat what you want. If I tell myself I can’t have something, I eventually binge on that item. So I’ll be having sausage stuffing this year – just one serving.
I don't know that I'll follow all of these, because mmmm stuffing, rolls, butter, oh my! But they'll always be in the back of my mind, so I'm sure the intent will make a difference, and I'll be strong. We can do it! I’ve got some great recipes for replacing fat laden favorites that I’ll be posting soon! What are you doing for the holidays?
And now some photos from the side and in front. How hard is it to get in front of the camera and not suck your tummy in? I have been doing that my whole life, so it is funny to force myself to not do that. This is the real deal, man.
So tacky bra strap and all, these photos make me feel good! They kind of solidify my progress for me. I need to keep these in my mind for motivation. And thus ends the show and tell portion of our program.
I'm still sore today - but will dutifully go to water aerobics tonight. Today is a "busy eating day" at work. We're going to the Tower Club for lunch, which is a fancy schmancy place on the 73rd floor. Not too shabby for views. Its most notable feature is that the stalls in the ladies room each have their own window - so you can watch the world go by while you do your business. Lovely. Good luck to my other weighers!
For trying something new, this was in the most stressful possible situation. We walk in - and being the big girl that I am in a sea of size 6s, I notice that the only places in the room available for us to set up in, is dead center. Normally I don't care that I'm the biggest girl in the room, because I could spend every waking minute of my life doing that, and I have better things to do, but dead center when trying something new? Hard. Everyone has their mats and balls and straps and blocks all set up and so I get our instructions from the instructor and we go fetch our supplies. The instructor is lovely, but talks a mile a minute and I can hardly keep up. The sweat I am producing, my god, you'd think I was on the elliptical. And the best part, she asked us to bounce on our balls as fast and as high as we possibly can. I fall off of mine. Twice. So she kindly trades balls with me. And then some of the moves, I just had to stop. I couldn't sustain them. And I hear her say "If you need to do this with your knees bent, that is okay, or okay, you could just stop too, that's okay too." Clearly she saw me poop out a couple of times. And today, the soreness! My quads were already mad from the squats on Sunday, so they hurt, and my obliques - oh la la - they smart. But overall? I loved it. Seriously! I loved feeling the way my body moved, and how strong I actually am. It also reminded me of my theatre classes when we would do movement exercises. So falling off the ball or not, I talked to Katie about it tonight, and I'm going to continue once a week. It's not the right class for her, but we'll still be water aerobics and elliptical friends. There's also a bellydancing class that Katie wants to take, that is up by her house. So she might do that without me.
In yum news - I have two new favorites! Broccolini! It is so good. I steamed some the other night and splashed it with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Fabulous. It is tender like asparagus, and sweeter than Broccoli. Awesome. I highly recommend it. I would never put balsamic on regular broccoli, but this just seemed right.
And sweet potato fries. I could eat these all the time. Sweet potatoes are supposed to be really good for you, too.
1 large sweet potato
2 tsp olive oil
Bacon salt! So bad, but so good.
salt, pepper and paprika to taste
Preheat oven to 450. Slice the sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Toss with olive oil to coat. Sprinkle with salt and seasonings to your liking. Bake on an ungreased cooking sheet for 25 minutes, turning halfway through. Sooo good.
Friday we went to a gathering, and it was somewhat awkward. People we haven't seen in a while, and someone I don't enjoy spending time with. And a bunch of people I don't know. Slices of baguette dipped in spinach dip, balsamic and olive oil and herbs, and hummus beget pita dipped in all those, beget little toasts, beget 2 handfuls of potato chips, and 2.5 slices of pizza and a root beer. And veggies from the veggie tray. Hi, stress eating! Normally, I can handle myself at a party where I don't know anyone, but this was more difficult for me, and so I went a little nuts. Is it that it is something to do? Or is it nerves? Anyway - I didn't get too out of hand, but I wasn't focused on being reasonable either. Whatever - we admit our mistakes and move on. This week I'm lunching on black bean soup. Love it! I tried coconut oil this week - it allegedly has more nutrition than other oils.
Black bean soup
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS olive or coconut oil
2 carrots, peeled and diced
3 ribs celery, diced
2 zucchini, diced
2 14.5 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5 oz can tomatoes
2 4 oz cans green chilies (you could also just use 2 cups salsa)
1 14.5 oz can vegetarian refried beans
1 14.5 oz can chicken broth or stock
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
Saute the onions and garlic for 4 minutes, or until clear, add remainder of ingredients and simmer until hot - adjust seasoning to taste. I also added some diced roasted squash that I had in the fridge - fiberlicious!
I love smothering black bean soup in sour cream and cheese. But, to be nice to my figure, I am using yogurt cheese instead. Take nonfat plain yogurt, and place it in a fine sieve that has been lined with a coffee filter. Place the sieve over a bowl and leave in the fridge overnight. The yogurt will be much thicker, and spreadable, almost like cream cheese. Delish! So I'll be adding that along with cilantro and a little bit of cheese.
The Satsumas are here! I love little satsumas! I'm not much of an orange person, but those little mandarins are the best. And tonight I'm having a few gingersnaps with a cup of tea. Yum! Here's to another losing week...
And 51 pounds ago, I was so comfortable with my body. I accepted it, I felt that this was my destiny. I would fantasize about being thinner - but the point from A to B was always blank. I didn't know how to get there, let alone did I want to admit that I was the one who had gotten myself here. I thought that someday I would magically emerge at a healthy weight. Until then, I'll just let the airline and movie theater seats be uncomfortable. I'll huff and puff up the hills, and stay in my cocoon of a home where I am loved and feel safe. And eat my way over 300 pounds. So to realize this week that essentially, I have had that tough "You'll Always Be" talk with myself, is a good feeling. Even though I couldn't think that way, it just came in the form of committing to exercise 4 days a week, and by eating more healthfully. I was lucky to have a friend who wanted to exercise with me. And then I found Mel, and the rest is history. I deserve to be healthy, I am in control of being healthy, and I will eventually be the girl who walks with more confidence and shops in the "regular"section of the store!! This is it - the last time I'm going to do this.
I did it! Today my weigh in put me at 51 pounds gone!! I feel like that Molly Shannon character from SNL, I want to crow "I've lost 51 and I can kick and stretch and kick! I've lost 51!" I was standing on the scale praying please 240, please 240 and I zipped right past 240 and went straight to 239!! I was worried, because the pizza was calling my name yesterday and so I had my busy salad with 2 slices. 2! Egads! And then I didn’t really eat dinner – just some popcorn before the play, – high in fiber, but not very nutritious. I don’t usually eat like a stressed out supermodel, but I justified it for a couple of reasons. I honestly wasn’t hungry for dinner (listening to my body), but feared that if I didn’t eat something, I would come home at 10:30 and eat ravenously. And I have avoided popcorn all week – which is unusual for me. And, I am a grown up and if I want popcorn for dinner, I’m eating it! I’m on to normal and healthy eating for the upcoming week. But hello, 239! It is such an amazing feeling – like opening a really great gift or when I got engaged, the excitement and joy and dammit, I am PROUD. I went to work and immediately told anyone who was nearby – except my boss, because, well, that would feel weird to me. People are being generous and kind and really congratulating and celebrating with me. Which is lovely, and I have some other thoughts about the celebrating that that I need to arrange into something that doesn’t look like a monkey said it.
What a way to start November, with visions of 235 dancing in my head.
Triumph of the week - we had an all associate meeting yesterday, and the lunch room was flooded with pizza and Caesar salad. Every type imaginable. I could eat pizza once a week for the rest of my life and never tire of it. What's not to love? Bread, cheese and yummy toppings. Determined to not sabotage myself, I got out my busy salad, and ate it sans chicken, while only having one slice of pepperoni. I even dabbed up the oil with my napkin. I wanted more, but I stayed away. Yay, me! It helped that I had a dental appointment so I left the office without wandering back into the kitchen for more. I worked out extra hard in the pool last night too. Avoided today - candy corn and cookies. More yay.
We're going to a play tonight, and I'm fortifying myself in case we go out to dinner - must make good choices!!
However, this week, I'm going the salad route. Salads are somewhat dangerous for me, in that they justify a lot of over eating in other areas. "I had a salad for lunch, I can eat these 3 cookies" - that sort of thing. So in order to satisfy myself, I have to make what I call busy salads. A lot of stuff going on, so I am happy and in control. I'm adding chicken to my salad this week, in a great marinade.
Sara's Busy Salad
10 cups spinach leaves
2 carrots, shredded or peeled in curls
1 large cucumber, diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 cups red cabbage, shredded or diced
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
4 TBS sunflower seeds
Your favorite salad dressing. I love Red Wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
3 TBS Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pepper and Salt to taste
Marinade breasts for 2 hours. Broil breasts with the oven rack in the second highest position, about 6 minutes per side.
Saturday was another overindulgent evening, so hopefully my salad daze will get me back on track. I didn't make squash rolls today, too sleepy. I'm making a beef dish for Mr. Black who is craving it like crazy. And mashed potatoes and broccoli - but I'm going heavy on the broccoli, easy on the tatos. One day at a time, man! Oh, and had my first free weight work out on Saturday - I did 30 wall squats with weights. Just about killed me, and my thighs are still burning. I seriously better be able to jump around, and not only get off the toilet when I'm 80!
I will attempt Winter Squash Rolls this weekend. They look wonderful, but the shortening and sugar are not so good for the losing of the weight. I'm going to attempt to cut back on both and hope they are still tasty. Yeast proofing and I don't get along sometimes. I think I repel it with my neediness (please rise, please rise, I'll do anything, just love me!) but I'm going in confident this time! They'll also be a dry run to see if I can make them for Thanksgiving. Super fun!
Then she showed me lunges. I have seen people doing lunges around the track, and dreaded the day they would come into my routine. Well, out they came. And for some reason, they hurt my knee, so she said I didn’t have to do them. Yay! Oddly though, I am tempted to do them anyway. She advised that there is a fine line between working through it, and harm. So as a rule, she says if it hurts, don’t do it. So we have other things for me to do. My favorite part – before she explained the lunges, she said “You know why I’m showing you this? So when we’re 70 we’ll be able to get off the toilet.” That made me laugh, and then I realized that she is right. Throughout my whole life, I’ve been planning and waiting for someday. Someday I’ll hunker down and lose the weight. Someday I’ll exercise. Someday I’ll be on the David Letterman show. The fact remains, someday is now. There’s never a perfect time to do anything. This whole journey feels like a second job and I want a Tee-Shirt that says “I can’t – I have to go to the gym and get rid of my chubs”. Sometimes I resent the sautéing of vegetables, the evenings spent at the gym instead of with my hubby or friends, or just puttering at home. The payoff is wonderful ( or sometimes plateau-ish) I am getting stronger, and healthier and smaller. So I keep going. And I’m getting off that damn toilet when I’m 70!
There are some philosophies that encourage letting go on the weekend. I tend to follow this myself. The weekend brings a change in routine, a relaxing of limits. And by relaxing, I mean thrown out the window. A weight-watcher’s trick is when you attend a party, keep a glass of seltzer with a refreshing wedge of lime in your hands, and sip on it when you feel the urge to cruise the buffet table. Because lime and seltzer are as satisfying as chips and dip. I came so close to doing this, but I substituted the seltzer with vodka and lemonade. Vitamin C! I’m helping my body! Honestly, drinking aside, I did pretty well over the weekend. Who ate fruit and two scrambled eggs for breakfast? Me! Who worked out alone whilst nursing a mild hangover? Me! Who eschewed left over pizza for Baby Bok Choy and Broccoli stir fry? Me!
Who’s going to weigh in heavier this week? Me! Ah well, we must enjoy. And thank goodness for husbands who know better than to say “Are you sure you need pizza?”
Strategy regroup. Do I need to drop to a strict 1200 calories a day? That would be far too difficult for me, I’m afraid. As I am a serious grumpy bear when I don’t get enough to eat. And then, I’d want to bounce right back up to my usual 1800-2000 once I got over my hump. Maybe my body is hibernating for winter? I am doing my circuit training, so maybe I’m building muscle? Arrrgh! I know I need to be grateful that I have lost the 48 pounds that I have, and that I’m physically stronger and healthier. But damn it I want that 50 pound mark. PastaQueen at Half of Me said she never takes not losing weight for a week personally. I am the complete opposite. I feel it reflects on my character. Whereas she sees it as pure science, and if her method doesn't work one week? Oh well. Try something else next week. While over here, I’m giving myself 50 lashes with a wet noodle. Deep breath. Moving on.
Off to the gymnasium now.
So, I park, and like a moron, stick the arm back from whence it came. Voila! As I mess with it, the lights come on. Then I remember that I am leaving my car here, and I need the lights off. So I spend 20 minutes trying to get the lights off. No dice. And I can't ditch the car with lights burning, draining the battery. So I drive to the car mechanic. All the while trying to remember hand gestures to signal "Um, ha ha, I don't have any lights, so you can't see that I need to be in the right lane, but I do. Could you? Please?" Hilarious and awful.
At the mechanic's, they have to order the part. What? You don't keep these around for women with wayward purses? And they want me to come back when said part is in. I ask if they can get the lights off. So a guy with a cell phone pinned between his head and ear tries his best, with sad turn signal wand, he can't get it to work. So then he pulls out his very official tool - his personal car keys - and pries little things out from under the hood. Since he's on the phone, (but apparently just listening, I didn't hear him say anything. Perhaps it is a ploy to keep crazy tired ladies from harassing you while you poke their engine with your car keys.) we don't talk. Finally, once the keys have done their trick, the headlights go out. He turns to me in a weird pantomime of "See? I did it!" and I point to the parking lights that are still burning. He is dejected, and slumps back into the the front seat to try it with the broken turn signal. No dice. But the magical car keys! They are back out, and more prying, and miracle of miracles - the lights go out. Turns out he pulled out the fuses. He puts them into my palm, confirms I have brake lights, and sends me on my way.
So of course I'm late for work by now, and I know no one will believe my story. But they do, and concur that I need to leave work while it still daylight. So, I'm home safely, skipping water aerobics - but walking the dog so he can sleep through the bloody night!
Oh, Baby Lightning, you're going to be the death of me. This is all true. Pinkie swear.
Four Things I've never done:
1. Traveled to Italy. This is probably the next international destination for Mr. Black and I. I've always wanted to go - and eat my way through the country, of course. Pasta! Piccata anything! Tiramisu! Wine! Oh, the list goes on...
2. Hosted my family at our house for a major holiday. We're hosting Thanksgiving this year. Can't wait!
3. Walked or ran a marathon or half marathon. And I never will. A friend is doing it, and encouraging me to do so, and I can honestly say I would rather have a long and tedious dinner party with George Bush and Rush Limbaugh instead of running/walking for that long. *shudder*
4. Lost 50 pounds consecutively! Let's hope this ends soon.
Four Things I've learned in the last year:
1. Exercise and eating smaller portions really does make you lose weight. I can change my body, and my attitudes about food, so that food doesn't control me.
2. I want to have a child, around yesterday. 2008 should be our year. I want to shape a life, have a family, and watch my husband fall in love with our child.
3. Marriage is hard work. But the effort you put in pays you back tenfold.
4. As a self-proclaimed cat person, I love our pupper dog, The Ding, like a person. That is very surprising to me. Dogs just want to have fun, eat and be loved. Very simple.
Four Jobs I'd Love But Will Probably Never Have:
1. Professional, paid stage actress. Or, actress on a television show. When I was acting, I would sometimes take the first week of a show off, and I could live the life of a professional. Sleep in, run errands or just read or watch TV or hang out drinking coffee until it was time to go to the show. Truly decadent. A TV show would be fun because you could develop your character, and have regular hours. I worked on one film as an actress. It was awful, and all that hurry up and wait. I have tremendous respect for actors who give emotional performances on film. To sit for 4 hours, and then do the same scene over and over again, incredible. What I also love about the stage, is that you don't get to do it over and over again. Once you make that gesture, or inflection, you've released into the theater, the universe, you can't take it back. And then whether it was perfect or not, it's gone. It was there for that moment, and you the next time you perform that scene, it will never be the same as it was the night before.
2. Professional chef/Restaurateur. God, I love to cook. And I've thought about catering, but then your weekends are spent at weddings and parties and when do you get to cook for your friends and family?
3. Independently wealthy philanthropist. 'nuff said.
4. Therapist. I love listening to people, and helping, and trying to help others understand. I fear that I would take home all the sorrow. Or worry too much about them in my off hours.
Four Jobs I've Actually Had:
1. Quality inspector at Union Bay Clothing company. We stood around making sure buttons and their respective buttonholes worked, and that zippers zipped, etc. There I learned you should always wash your clothes before you wear them new from the store. Seriously, don't even skimp on those pants you don't want to wash the crease out of. We used to not be allowed to touch the clothes for a few days, they were so toxic from the dyes. And the bugs that came over from Asia? Fugettaboutit. Huge and disgusting. Wash your new clothes! My other favorite tale from this job was that there was a woman in her 40s who advised us that the quickest way to turn a man on was to play bagpipes for him. She kept her bagpipe record in a special sleeve. Mr. Black says that isn't true. I can't imagine why.
2. Drive thru girl at Wendy's, in high school. Loved working the drive thru. Hated working the grill, and mopping the floor.
3. Mary Kay sales rep. For about 1 minute. I was bamboozled by an overeager sales rep who loved me, and I bought the starter kit like a fool. Kept me in eyeshadow applicators for years.
4. Customer Service/Office Manager/On call person - for a temporary housing company where I languished unhappily for 8 years, in hopes that things would improve. Oy, I was so foolish!
Thanks for the tag!
My friend Lezlie at work gave me this recipe, I made it this weekend for Mr. Black and I. It is virtually fat free, so you can have corn bread muffins with butter along side! I love butter as much as I love bacon, and that's saying alot. Side anecdote - Mr. Black and I buy our meat in bulk at the Costco. Wrap it up and freeze it, and use it as we need it. Currently, we're out of meat, except for a few chicken breasts. When I made this soup below, Mr. Black said "mmm. this is good. But you know what would be good in this? A steak." Oh he cracks me up! Poor guy - a Costco trip is on the agenda soon. Lest you think I'm married to a steak and potatoes misogynist - he loves everything I put in front of him, and is always kind about my cooking. Okay, on to recipe roll!
Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced medium size
2 red onions, diced
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS Cumin
3 cups corn kernels
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1 quart chicken broth or stock
Chopped cilantro for garnish
Lime wedges for garnish
There are two ways to make this. If you make it using steps one and two, omit the olive oil. For a slightly more complicated recipe - read all the way through.
1. Throw everything in the crock pot, cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4.
2. Puree half the soup in the blender - careful, only do small batches, only filling the blender half way before blending. Hold your hand on the lid while blending. Something about the heat and the whir of the blades will cause your soup or authentic enchilada sauce spew out of the blender and all over your kitchen and cabinets, and into utensil crock when you are trying to cook an authentic enchilada meal for your New Mexico born boyfriend while he is at work. Not that this has ever happened to me.
3. Mix the blended soup back in the crock pot and serve hot topped with cilantro and lime juice squirted in. Yum!
1. Preheat the oven to 425. Toss the potatoes and onions in the olive oil with the cumin, salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes, before adding to the crock pot. Then proceed as listed above. I like the carmelization the roasting gives the potatoes and onions.
And for breakfast, here's a fabulous trick I read about somewhere. Mix applesauce in with your oatmeal!! We all know that oatmeal is supposed to be the best fuel for the morning. And steel cut oats have the most powerful cleansing ability, I understand. But it isn't the most palatable. Some homemade applesauce makes a world of difference!
And for lunch I'm having some White Bean and Kale soup, out of my cooking light cook book. It has a whole head of roasted garlic in it. Yum! I don't really dig kale, but I can do it for a week. A similar recipe can be found here.
The owner of the business greeted me and told me to try each pair on for a fitting. When I first came out, she said, "Okay, those look loose." I agreed, and she began pinning away. This amazing tailor is about 5'10" and probably 350 pounds, or more, she was very large.
"Did you just lose a bunch of weight?" she asked. "Yeah, I did." I replied. "How did you do it?" she asked thoughtfully. I told her how I started exercising and eating less, like people have been telling me to do my whole life. She remarked how hard it is. I agreed that it is hard fucking work - all the time. She cautioned me. "Don't lose your focus." I looked at her, and she continued "I lost 150 pounds doing what you're doing, and then I lost my focus, and it all came back." She said she was thinking about "getting back into it" again, but again, it is so hard. I commiserated with her. But part of me also was a little floored. For years I have started and stopped several weight loss programs. I have always gotten fed up and quit. I have tried visualization, dreaming of myself in a beautiful outfit, looking sleek and curvy. But with little success. This is the first time in my life that I feel I'll really make it. That I'll finally reveal the figure that's been hidden all these years. So, when I do lose my 150 pounds, I really can't fathom putting it all back on. I'm not judging this woman, I'm scared that it will happen to me too. How do you feel that kind of success, and then let it slip by you? I would think there would be a number where you would stop and say, okay, that's 20 pounds over, I need to rethink my eating habits again. It is also further confirmation that weight loss and keeping it off is a constant battle. You can't let your guard down, and throw the scale out. We must stay strong, and keep bloody exercising. Blech.
But, this woman is a miracle worker, and now my pants and jackets are perfect, and look so professional, I can't even tell where she did her magic. And to put on fitting pants that aren't cavernous - fantastic feeling!
This weekend I'm cooking and baking with a vengeance. I'm going to bust out my roasting pan and roast a chicken with herb butter. Yum! And also make a fat free corn and sweet potato chowder for my lunch next week. My friend at work had nearlyt 300 apples fall off her tree in a wind storm last weekend (I'm not kidding - she has 6 bags - not grocery bags - large shopping bags) so she's been bringing them in for us. I swiped a dozen and will make applesauce, and then I found a recipe for Apple Cardamom cupcakes with salted caramel sauce. I'm salivating just thinking about them. To save myself some calories, I've vowed to bring them into the office on Monday. Promise.