da blues

Hi. I'm here, I'm just not bloggy. I'm so thrilled that Thanksgiving was a success, and I kept my promise to my husband that I wouldn't be a stressed out shrew. And I wasn't! I was organized and prepared and competent. Rock on! However, life continues in a not so joyous manner.

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.


Weigh in Day

Today the scale saw 236.6. Not too bad considering the amount of dessert I had, and went 5 days without exercising. Hooray!


please send peppermint bark

Okay, this going back to work thing after 4 days off is awful! I couldn't wear pajamas, I didn't get to have dessert at 2:00 pm, and then walk the dog and go see a movie. Bleh. And all I can think about is peppermint bark. I had a taste 2 weeks ago, and now I can't think about anything else.

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?


5 Weird things meme

Lady Vea tagged me to do a 5 weird things about me. Here we go:

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.


Happy Thanksgiving from Wilfred!

Happy Thanksgiving, blogosphere! I hope everyone has a wonderful day and remember to enjoy every bite - no guilt!

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!

Weigh In Day

Happy Thanksgiving! How happy am I that I am weighing in today and not tomorrow? Very happy. I'm even happier that today the scale saw 236.2 - which is a total loss of 53.8 pounds! I am a little surprised, because normally I am a few pounds heavier on my period. Huh. I'll take it, in any event. Hurray!


The Ding and I

Guess who got up at 6:30 and walked the Ding for 35 minutes? All so I can skip water aerobics tonight and go to happy hour. Priorities, people. Priorities. The Ding is so adorable when you wake him up - he's like a sleepy kid, but as soon as the leash came out, he was raring to go. Myself, I don't ramp up that quickly, but it was nice. I did a few crunches, and then hit the shower. It is so nice to have exercise done in the morning. But sooo hard to leave my warm bed to walk in the cold, dark and foggy morning.


recipes and such

I promised some recipes, and now it is already Sunday, and everyone has probably already planned their menus. But here are a few to save!

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
Mashed potatoes
Cranberry Sauce
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
Pumpkin 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!


Weigh In Day

Nothing too exciting around here this morning. Today I am 238.4, for a loss of 51.6 pounds total. Yay! Less sugar this week will help me immensely!



Attack of the sugar bugs is plaguing me. Someone left approximately 47,000 little packets of
Now and Later candy in the office. I have eaten all but 4, I think. I avoided Halloween Candy immediately before and after the 31st like a pro, but now, for some reason I am powerless. And now and laters aren’t even that good! They stick to your teeth –so I’ve learned to suck on them. I know most women find chocolate as their kryptonite, for me it is high fructose corn syrup fruity goodness. Skittles? Bring it on, baby. Starburst? More, please! Sour Patch Kids, come to mama! Sigh. I love good chocolate too, of course. But I am a sucker for the fruity garbage. And in my real life, I avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup and artificial sweeteners like the plague. I read labels like crazy, so why do I allow it in the form of a cherry flavored chew?

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?


show and tell

Let's accentuate the positive! A show and tell of photos. I never took an official "before" photo of myself. But I think this is pretty accurate of what I looked like "before".

So here we are in September of 2006, at the gorgeous Crater Lake in Oregon, when I had been exercising for one month. Please note I NEVER wear tank tops in public without something to cover my arms. But it was so hot there! And I actually reasoned that I would never see those people again.

And now, 51 pounds gone! I couldn't resist the pants pull out at my waist. And yes, I really am that tacky to wear a red bra under my green tank top. Love me anyway! That is "clingiest" tank top I own and now it aint so clingy!

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.

And finally, my new jeans! When I go to put these on, they look absolutely teeny tiny to me, even though in the photo they don't look that small. I'm going to hang on to my old size 28 jeans for future comparisons.

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.


Weigh In

Well hello, Thursday weigh in! You are much better than expected. Today the scale saw 240.2, which is still a gain of 1.2 pounds, but not the 3 that was forecast earlier. Phew! Back to sanctions. I've got to stay focused for the holidays, man.

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!


Ouch. and Yum!

Okay, so in the spirit of mixing it up, Workout Buddy Katie and I tried a Pilates class Tuesday night. I own the DVD and have done the Winsor Pilates DVD 20 minute work out in a former lifetime. When I was enrolled in weight watchers and also using the very retro, very hip Sweating To The Oldies series. Richard and I used to get down! Where was I? Oh yes. Pilates class.

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.



I am feeling frustrated again. The scale is showing me a gain of 3 pounds. How does this happen? It couldn’t possibly be the snacking and sweets, could it? I was reading in Diana's archives, and she wrote about relaxing her limits. And this line really struck me. “In the past when I would get on the scale and have a good week, I'd let myself slide. I'd think..oh this is working I can cheat a little here and there and it will still work. I was the master of self sabotage. If I exercised really hard and I saw a big change down in the scale, I'd "treat" myself to some ice cream or chocolate or an extra serving of something...." That is me in a nutshell. I made my 51 pound mark last Thursday and immediately lifted the sanctions on cheese, desserts and bread. I never went out of control, I never binged. I just allowed myself to eat them. Well, except for that Friday night when I was in a stressful situation – I continued past full, into nervous eating. I also stopped journaling. It surprises me (and at the same time, I know I shouldn’t be surprised) that the consequences are so swift. 3 pounds! I exercised like normal this weekend and even “made up” my missed Halloween exercise on Friday night. Can I get a pat on the back for exercising on a Friday? That was my rule for Katie when we started, no exercise on Fridays or Mondays. So okay, body! I hear you. No snacking like crazy after a loss. Grrr. Why must it take twice as long to lose, and we gain in an instant? Back to the sanctions…


at least I got an extra hour of sleep

Oh weekend, why do you go by so quickly? We're hanging out and enjoying each other's company, and then bam! It is Sunday night and I've got to get myself ready for the week. Sigh.

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...


Wake Up Calls

A woman I knew once told me that she finally had a hard talk with herself about her weight. She was driving home from work, and having survived a trying day, she was going to "treat" herself to a McDonald's meal. She pulled into the parking lot, and then told herself, "You will always be fat if you don't stop this." And she left the parking lot, and said that was her epiphany, her wake up call. Man, that's an awkward conversation to have! To say this to myself makes me want to throw up. It is too painful, too honest, too raw to face. I avoid calling myself the f word to an extreme degree. Overweight, not skinny, heavy - these are the acceptable terms. Fat is mean, in my mind. And I've always avoided thinking that about myself. You can see that this works much in the same way as turning up your radio in the car, so you won't hear the noise under the hood. Very effective. This is also why I have never, ever, not even once watched an episode of The Biggest Loser. I hear it is inspirational and amazing, and would probably make me cry every time I watched. (They even had auditions here in Seattle, and a friend suggested I go - not in a mean way, but in a you would lose weight and be on TV! way) I think I avoided watching it because with all that inspiration would be a heavy dose of envy as well, it would serve as a reminder of my past failures.

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.


Weigh In Day

I’m a loser baybay

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.