just some thoughts

Tomorrow is weigh in - and I think it is going to be good, judging by what the scale saw this morning. Despite my over-indulgent weekend, I think I'm going to see a loss, which thrills me. I haven't felt deprived - maybe those wall squats are burning things up at a voracious rate.

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!!


Sunday pep talk

When I decided that I was going to change my lifestyle and lose the weight that has plagued me, I knew I couldn't do it eating salads every day, or using Atkins, or anything that severely limited my eating choices. I know those alternatives work for others, but I would be petulant and feeling left out. I wanted to learn how to eat like a "normal" person, and keep the weight off. It's been eye-opening to discover how my body burns and stores fat. Guess which one I'm better at?

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.

Chicken marinade

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!


Baker's holiday

Fall makes me want to bake like crazy. I make a mean cheesecake, but butter cakes are where it is at for me. And what about spice cookies? Last year I discovered Pumpkin Bread Pudding with caramel sauce. Soooo good. Ooh! And pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting! And apple pie, and oh wait, isn't this a weight loss blog? Sigh.

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!


Weighing In

Today, my perfectly fitting pants are tight. Today, I feel low energy and sleepy. Today, I am 4.4 pounds heavier than I was last week, at 246.2. It is almost laughable, as I had a late and salty evening last night (salty foods, not behavior!) and I'm on my period. So, whatever scale, what you saw today wasn't true. I hope!


You’ll Thank me when You’re 70

Oof. Last night I went to water aerobics as per my usual routine. Then, after water aerobics, I met with Kari, my complimentary and fabulous YMCA trainer. She showed me the free weights. She is amazing. Super positive, really clear in explaining the exercises, and so funny! We laugh as much as we work out, so I love her. So today I am sore and feeling good. My current upper body strength is pathetic – and that is an improvement from one year ago. I estimate that my arms aren’t really bones and muscle, they are filled with cheese and bacon. She took me to the bench press, and asked me to lift the bar. The 45 pound bar that most people add weight to. My goal is to do 15 reps. As the bar wobbled and shook and I panicked that I was going to drop it across my larynx, I did 4. 4! So funny. But when I can do more, it will be a nice milestone to mark my progress by, yes? Kari was even positive about that.

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!


Going crazy on the weekends

I’m weak I tell you, WEAK! The weekend comes and I am a different animal. Cocktails? Yes, please! Bacon-y-cheese dip? Why not? Making your husband get a pizza at midnight? Well, of course! Tis the season. You didn’t know it was dip season? No, it is the season of chilly evenings spent with friends, laughing, drinking and eating. My favorite things in the world! Throw some kisses in there, and you have one very happy girl.

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?”


Weigh In

Well, crap. It didn’t happen. I didn’t reach my 50 pound mark. I’m exactly the same as last week, albeit more cranky. 241.8. I am frustrated, disappointed and teetering on the brink of eating to relieve the stress of not losing weight. This, I know, does not help.

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.


What a difference a day makes

Got a full night's sleep last night, sans doggie disturbances. I feel fantastic today! And I've been pristine on my food intake and updating FitDay. Tomorrow is weigh in and I'm so tingly thinking I may have made my mark. Even if I didn't, I'm making good choices and exercising, which is all you can do. We're having a big family dinner tomorrow night, because Mowtin is in town, and we're going for Thai food. Red curry, here I come, 50 pounds or not!!

Off to the gymnasium now.


I am not making this up!

I had an unbelievable morning. Awake at 3:30 AM, thanks to a restless dog. I couldn't fall back asleep. Isn't that the worst? So at 6 AM, I give up, and get ready for work. I am super early, so I think, I'll just drive to the bank and deposit that check I've been holding on to for a month. (Does anyone else do that? Hold on to checks since you're at the bank so rarely?) And I'll park on a side street, and hop the bus to work as per usual. So boring, right? But here comes the twist! As I am getting back into my car, the reliable Baby Lightning, my purse is in the crook of my left arm. As I'm sitting down, I'm doing my usual heave-purse-over-steering-wheel-into-passenger-seat maneuver. I hear a snap, but can't figure it out, so la di da, I buckle up and turn the car on and when I go to turn on my lights - holy crap the TURN SIGNAL is gone. Gone! My superwoman strength snapped it off. Arrgh! I am stunned.

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.


4 things Meme

The lovely and talented FatBridemaid tagged me to do a 4 things meme. How exciting! Okay, can anyone tell me how to pronounce meme? Is it like mimi, or is it meem, or is it soft like mem? Any answer would be appreciated, and no snickering at my lack of knowledge.

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!

Back on the FitDay Bus

Okay, it is ridiculous that I haven't made it to the 50 pound mark yet. So, I have armed myself with tasty and high fiber recipes this week, and am back on bloody FitDay. Agonizing! But, necessary. Come with me! Have some healthy soups and only dream of bacon. This week only. We can do it!

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!

Variation -
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.

If Grimm Wrote Weight-Loss Tales, This Would be It.

In theme with my 48 pounds deserves $50 worth of pants, I took 3 pairs of pants and a black velvet jacket to an alterations place. Because these are good pants and I am tired of them hanging around my hips. As flattering as that can feel, I also don't need to show my lime green undies to coworkers.

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!


Weigh Day

Today I'm down 1.6 pounds to 241.8. I didn't meet my 50 pound goal this week, but soon, soon, I am determined.



Fall has fallen, as Mr. Black likes to say. The week has been rainy, windy and we even had thunder and lightning. Today was a perfectly gorgeous Fall Day. Blue skies, dry, and crisp. I came in from walking at lunch with roses in my cheeks, and that perfect chill that makes you want a hot cuppa. I also want to curl up on the couch with my book, a steaming bowl of soup, a loaf of french bread, and an endless supply of butter and roasted garlic. Ooh, and some wine occasionally. Won't you join me? We can be garlic-stinky and cozy together!

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.

Happy weekend!


Weigh Day

Oh, here we are. I am at 243.4 today. Ho hum. I'm not just a number, I'll do better next week, and perhaps more exercise and strength training is called for. Come back, 241.2!!! I'll get you, my pretty...


Who, me?

File under delighted. Today I was wearing my sassy new grey and white pin-striped jumper complete with white button down shirt, and black Maryjane shoes, feeling good and reveling in the smaller size. I purchased it on last weekend's shopping expedition, even though I had only gone in for pants. And first thing this morning, a guy in my office, that I sit near, but don't work with, sees me and says "You look stunning today. Just stunning." I was, well, stunned. And flattered and delighted and tickled. Usually only Mr. Black and closest girlfriends use such high praise with me, so it was exciting to hear something so kind from someone who doesn't love me. And, I think my new friend Mr. Gunn might of agreed.

Le saboteur?

Last Thursday and Friday I was over the moon at 48 pounds gone. I was encouraged, hopeful, my body and I were really making a difference and taking care of each other. And Friday I ate a turkey and bacon sandwich. And potato chips. And Pizza. And over the weekend, I ate desserts and drank wine, and didn't go to the gym. So is that sabotage? Or was I merely enjoying life?

There is advice out there to get away from food rewards. To mark a weight loss milestone, you are to pamper yourself with mani-pedis, a new CD, a massage, or new clothes. Or whatever doesn't involve eating, that makes you feel good. But in our society and in my family especially, we celebrate with food. Happy Birthday - here's a cake! You got a promotion - let's go out to dinner. I haven't seen you in forever - let's go out for drinks. My Mom shows love with food, and I do the same. I bake for special occasions, I love cooking for my husband, friends and family. When we all sit down to a meal that I've prepared, I feel proud, warm and happy.

I know myself well enough to realize that the key to my weight loss and happiness and self satisfaction for the rest of my life is to not exclude certain foods altogether. As soon as I'm told that I can't have something, I instantly need 17 servings. So when does the line between living and self sabotage get crossed? Is it overeating for several days? One difference in my behavior after doing this for over a year, is that usually when I have an indulgent high calorie day, I pick myself up and don't have one the next day. However, when I have a significant loss, like last week, my first thought is "Oh good, now I can have some pizza." I tend to reward myself with food. Still!! Is self-sabotage throwing up our hands and saying I don't care?

So here's the real question - how to get rid of the guilt? This is my biggest struggle. I don't really feel guilty when I'm eating something rich (sometimes). It mostly kicks in when I get on the scale and see the results of said eating. There are phrases/affirmations that I remind myself of when I am feeling like this, but I'd love some more. Or I guess I need to learn how to get them ingrained.
  • I am not my weight. I am many other things.
  • The scale reports what it "sees" that day. My weight can fluctuate from day to day, and this is just what it is today.
  • You can always go the gym more often if you'd like to see more of a difference.
  • You are exercising, you are eating healthfully - it's okay if you don't lose each week.
  • It will all come off eventually.

So a preview for tomorrow's weigh in. It isn't going to be too pretty. And that's okay, I'm working to believe. And tonight I am circuit training nerd girl all on my lonesome.


PSA of the Day

Yummy Snack - handful of roasted almonds, and one square of dark chocolate. Fiber, protein and antioxidants all at once. And quells the urge for a cookie or brownie or 4.

And turns out the Dairy industry wasn't lying when they said that adding low fat dairy products to your diet can help you lose weight. Our friend Dr. Oz did a study and showed the details on one of his specials, The Truth about Food. They took a gent and had him eat lots of low fat dairy for a week, then omit the dairy from his diet for another week. Turns out the components of the dairy products helped him excrete more fat. (They studied his poop - thank gawd I'm a Theatre Major) I'm adding low fat yogurt to my lunch this week. Proof that natural food is amazing, powerful stuff. We have what we need to succeed.