December 31, 2009

Reflecting on 2009, planning for 2010

Here in Arizona, there's a little less than 90 minutes to New Year's Day. I'm sitting on the couch, watching "The Twilight Zone" marathon on SyFy while trying to settle on my New Year's resolutions.

They, of course, will involve finally getting to my goal weight. I was so close in 2009 ... but just couldn't manage to get over the hump. Somewhere along the way, I lost my focus.

I used part of a gift card from my brother to buy "The Spark," by SparkPeople founder Chris Downie. I've skimmed through it, and one thing — under "Cornerstone: Focus" jumped out at me:

Are you working each day toward something that really matters to you?

I haven't been — at least not when it comes to weight loss. (I have, however, been doing a pretty good job focusing on my writing in the last several months. But that's another story. I need to be able to do both.)

Stephanie Quialo (Twitter name @skinnyjeans) suggests, instead of making resolutions, having a New Year's Theme ... it's more flexible and fun — and (my added thought) hopefully easier to achieve.

With that thought in mind, I've been toying with ideas all afternoon. I thought about making it the start of "The New Me Decade," where I do what I need to do to take care of myself.

I've also considered "no excuses" and "just do it," both variations on the same theme: Doing things I might not always want to do because they are things I need to do. I need to get in activity and I need to eat within my Points.

I need to do these things even if I don't want to do them. I need to do them to get to goal and maintain ... I need to do them for me. For my health, happiness and peace of mind.

December 30, 2009

Can't stop eating crap

It happened again. I ate too many sweets at work, and then, when I got off, went to Del Taco for something salty to "cut the sweet."

I know better. Why did I let that happen? :P

Oh well. Today is a new day, a fresh start. I'll make it a good one.

December 29, 2009

I must be getting old

Today's doctor's visit was all that I expected it to be — and more.

The doctor's scale (which always sucks) put me around 197 ... but the WW scale had me at 193.4 just 2 hours later. (That's still up a pound from last week, but a one-pound gain is acceptable considering the crap I ate all weekend.)

The doctor wants me to start taking baby aspirin and calcium supplements every day. Jeez ... Like I don't already have enough trouble remembering to take a multivitamin! :D

I'm also supposed to get my blood pressure checked several times before I go back to see him in February, because it's borderline high. Ugh.

I did go ahead and ask for a note setting a new goal weight ... but I did not turn it in at my meeting. He wrote me a note saying 175 was OK. I'm hoping that mentally freeing myself from the 170 looming over my head will give me the kick in the butt I need to recommit to losing. It certainly can't hurt, right?

So far, so good. When I got home from work tonight, I hopped on the elliptical/bike (using it as an elliptical) that's hanging out in our kitchen at the moment. Did 15 minutes while my Candy Cane Lane tea was cooling enough to drink it.

Sure, it was only 15 minutes ... but that's 15 minutes more than I'd gotten done earlier today. I'll take it! Tomorrow's goal: At least 20 minutes of exercise (preferably more).

December 27, 2009

Not looking for much

My weigh-in is tomorrow, and I'm not counting on it being a good one. Again this week, I had more bad days than good. (Monday, Tuesday and Sunday were good; the rest weren't.)

Before WI, I head to the doctor's office for my annual exam. I'm toying with the idea of asking him if I should get a note from him to up my goal weight to 180 ... That's 10 pounds higher than it currently is, and 8 pounds above the upper end of my range.

He'll say "no," I'm sure. There's no reason why I shouldn't be able to hit 170 ...

Well, there is: It's my laziness. I've been a bad Weight Watcher. I didn't count Points Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday ... and on Saturday, especially, I ate a lot of junk I didn't need (including Taco Bell for dinner). If I spent as much time on-plan as off-plan, I'd be at my goal by now.

The only reason I'm thinking about it is to save money, anyway. If I bump up my goal, I can get there that much faster, and then I'll be able to quit paying for WW meetings.

I want to hit 170, darn it ... and soon. It's going to take commitment and fewer excuses.

December 22, 2009

Online, on the phone and in the kitchen

As I said earlier, I spent most of the day on the phone or running errands. When I wasn't doing that, I was online.

I did, however, find time to make myself a healthy dinner (after
getting Subway for lunch).

Dinner was a turkey sandwich (2 oz. turkey, FF Miracle whip and honey mustard on a Sandwich Thin) and zucchini fries (a whole zucchini cut into spears, tossed with 2 tsp. honey mustard and 1 tsp. olive oil, then coated with 1/3 cup Fiber One crumbs and baked for about 18 minutes). I also steamed the last of the veggies from Sunday's salad, which had been marinating in oil and balsamic vinegar. (Not the lettuce, but the carrots, broccoli and snap peas.)

I shot a photo of the fries, which were inspired by Hungry Girl. I don't know if she has a recipe for something similar, because this
is one I made up myself — but it was definitely sparked by HG's love of Fiber One.

A couple of hours after dinner, I made a peppermint milkshake with my Magic Bullet. I love that thing. It was a Christmas gift from my roommate several years ago, and while I don't use it as often and the infomercial says, I do use it a lot. (Used it twice tonight — once to make the Fiber One crumbs and once for the shake. Mmm.)

The shake, which weighs in at 2 Points, was easy to make: just 1/2 cup Breyer's Free vanilla ice cream, 1/4 cup skim milk and half a candy cane. It might not be as thick and rich as a DQ peppermint Blizzard, but it also has a heck a lot fewer calories!

Don't ask why the photo is sideways. Apparently I have to change that in my photo editing program, not here in the blog.

Still stressing about money

... But I've managed to stay on track pretty well today. I can probably thank the fact that I've spent so much of the day on the phone with one person or another. It left me with no time to snack.

While I was out running around, trying to straighten out my financial mess, I stopped at the bank inside a grocery store. (Whoever thought of putting banks in stores was either genius or evil. I can't decide.) Even though I was stressing over my money situation, I managed to avoid buying myself a donut.

Oh, I was tempted. I walked past the donut case several times, drooling. I also looked at slices of cake and cupcakes — stress makes me want sweets. But in the end, I avoided temptation and settled for a WW 1-Point Red Velvet bar instead. I'll count that as a small (very small) success.

I did discover that work makes me eat. I was over there for 5 minutes to use the fax (faxing paperwork to an attorney) and managed to eat three chocolate-covered pretzels. They were there; I was there ... the darn things practically automatically ended up in my mouth. Ugh.

Thanks to the unscheduled 5 p.m. sweets, I've eaten my 23 Points for the day, and it's only 8 p.m. I think I'll hop on the exercise bike so I can enjoy a snack later. A candy cane shake is calling my name — homemade, of course, to make it a heck of a lot healthier than a DQ candy cane Blizzard.

December 21, 2009

Up again

I'm not surprised. Some bad financial news sent me straight to the food last night. Being an emotional eater sucks. I wish I were like the Boyfriend, who eats less when he's stressed.

Not me. I eat more. After opening a letter from my job saying a bill collector is going to start garnishing my wages (on Christmas Eve, no less — merry freakin' Christmas), I ate two cookies, some fries and chocolate cupcakes from the vending machine at work.

On top of a not-s0-great few days at the Boyfriend's house, I was up 2.8 pounds at today's official WW weigh-in. :P

That puts me back in the 190s, for crying out loud. Not where I want to be.

December 17, 2009

Could have been better

But the day also could have been much, much worse.

I succumbed to a bad case of the munchies again tonight after dinner (11 Points worth of cookies, Cheez-its and Sun Chips).

However, I also tracked everything I ate. And I got in 40 whole minutes of activity, in the form of a 30-minute walk, 8 minutes on the exercise bike, 1 minute marching in place and 1 minute of modified pushups.

And I did not snack when I got home from work, even though I made the dough for a batch of my Mom's butter cookies. I was going to bake them, too, until I read the dough has to chill for an hour. (It was already 2:30 when I finished mixing it. I didn't want to be up at 4 a.m., rolling and cutting out cookies.) I plan to get up at about 8 a.m. and finish them then, instead.

I'm making some to take to the Boyfriend's when I head down there tomorrow — and also to take to our office Christmas party at noon.

Not sure how I'm going to avoid overeating (and using up the rest of my FPs) at the party. It's a potluck. Maybe I should just plan to eat lunch before I head over there.

Here are my vows for tomorrow:

  • Track everything I eat, even at the party.
  • Get in some kind of activity.
  • No late-night snacking.

December 16, 2009

Keeping promises

Day Two of my detox plan didn't go quite as well as Day One. I treated myself to my favorite lunch — a slice of pizza and caesar side salad from Picazzo's (11 Points!) — then had the munchies at work. I ended up devouring three Mexican Wedding Cake cookies (so good!) throughout the night.

The good news is, I tracked it all. The bad news? 12 FPs later ... Oh well. Since I'm on Day Two of the WW week, I have them to spare.

I also kept my other promise to myself for the day: To get in some kind of activity. Not only did I do a couple of extra laps around Target and park farther from the door at all my holiday shopping stops, but I also hopped on the exercise bike for 10 minutes. I pedaled for 5 minutes going forward and 5 going backward. That has to count for something, even if I did earn just 1 AP!

I'm going to become quite the hot tea afficionado. After Tina over at Carrots N Cake raved about Celestial Seasonings Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea, I decided to try to find some. I did, at my friendly neighborhood health food store. Not only did they have that flavor (which according to Tina is almost impossible to find), they also had three other holiday flavors, conveniently packaged in an endcap display.

I got myself two boxes: Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride and Candy Cane Lane. I had some of the Sugar Cookie flavor after dinner as a dessert substitute. It tasted delicious ... but a substitute for dessert it was not. It didn't keep me from eating cookies back at the office.

I'm sipping a mug of Candy Cane Lane right now as I write this post, in lieu of having an after-work snack. Now that's a habit I think I can get behind.

With that in mind, here are my vows for Wednesday:

  • Track faithfully for the day.
  • Get some kind of activity (preferably more than 20 minutes).
  • No after-work snack. Drink some tea instead.
I'll check back in with my progress.

December 14, 2009

How bad do I want it?

Unfortunately, I'd say the answer to that question — at least lately — is "not bad enough."

Yep. After spending another weekend with the Boyfriend, making some pretty awful choices, I've come to a realization: I haven't been working very hard to lose my last several pounds. And now, after a 4+ pound gain at the scale today, I have nearly 20 pounds to lose again. Bleah.

I know what to do. I know that sometimes I need to make the hard choices ... the not-so-fun choices ... Yet time and time again, I find myself choosing the fun, not-so-healthy things instead.

Why is that? I think I've just gotten lazy. I've been taking the easy way out (read: Drive Thru) instead of preparing myself a delicious, healthy meal. I've been giving in and eating whatever's on offer at work and at the Boyfriend's. At restaurants, I've been ordering what I want (and what looks good) instead of the healthier things I know I should get.

And I haven't been tracking the way I need to. I'll half-heartedly track part of the day, and then stop.

These are things that don't work for me — or for anyone. So why am I continually surprised that I'm stuck in the 180s? I haven't been putting in the work, yet I'm expecting good results. It doesn't work like that!

The Boyfriend and I actually had a talk yesterday ... he said he was going to stop encouraging me to eat crap. I'll believe that when I see it. Sometimes I wonder if he does it on purpose, if he doesn't want me to get to my goal weight. Then I figure that he just thinks exercise will do it all. He often tells me "Just exercise more and you can eat what you want." Again, it doesn't work like that! (At least not completely. But try telling him that.)

With that being said, today was a pretty good day. I had a fairly healthy breakfast of oatmeal with raisins, nuts and brown sugar, followed by a peppermint mocha latte (made with less syrup and skim milk). Lunch was a California roll from my favorite sushi place and my afternoon snacks were grape tomatoes, two clementines and a 100-calorie pack of roasted almonds. For dinner, since I only had 3 Points left, I ate a 0-Point salad, grilled zucchini and 2 oz. turkey on a Sandwich Thin.

When all was said and done, including a few of the cookies I made last week (one oatmeal lace after lunch and two of the double chocolate ones after dinner) and some sugar-free hot cocoa at work after dinner, I ate 26 Points. No exercise, though.

I read some advice in today's meeting materials (or maybe it was last week's ... we got both today since last Monday's meeting was canceled by weather). Someone said they commit to tracking for just one day, and that makes it seem less overwhelming.

I'm going to try that theory out, because when I make grand statements that I'm going to track every bite, every day from here on out, I feel like crap when I don't (usually on Day 1 or 2!).

So here's my pledge for tomorrow: I will track all day long and do some kind of activity, whether it's the exercise bike indoors or walking outside.

December 8, 2009

There's something about baking

There's something therapeutic about creating something sweet from scratch. Home-baked treats don't just taste better than store-bought; they also transport me somewhere else — back to my childhood, when I helped Mom in the kitchen with all our holiday cookies.

So it's not surprising that today, when I was snowed in and unable to get out of town to visit the Boyfriend, I headed to the kitchen.

I baked up a storm — three batches in all. I'd have probably gone ahead with a fourth — my Mom's butter cookies — had we not been out of flour. So it's probably a good thing I didn't have flour. Three batches of cookies was more than enough.

All three recipes are from the Weight Watchers Web site. They can be found here.

First, I baked some Oatmeal Pecan Lace Cookies. But I used walnuts instead of pecans because I had a limited amount for groceries, and the walnuts were cheaper. The recipe uses no flour but still has 2 Points per serving. (I misread the instructions, and made 18 giant cookies ... but the recipe says 2 cookies make a serving, which means I should have made 36. Live and learn, I guess.)

Next, I took a break for lunch and shoveling (whoopee!). Then I whipped up the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies. They didn't look anything like the ones in the photo at, but they still taste delicious! Better yet, they're just 1 Points apiece.

Finally, I made a batch of Spiced Peanut Butter Cookies, featuring pureed garbanzo beans. I think they're my favorite of the bunch. Yum! And just 2 Points per cookie ...

I managed to not eat too many while baking them and putting them away. I even froze half of the chocolate and PB ones for later. Still, I'm going to drop by my office with a plate full. And once I get paid, I'll probably still make a batch of Mom's butter cookies. It's just not Christmas without them.

No weigh-in Monday

Because of the storm that blew through Flagstaff, the substitute WW leader couldn't make it for the Monday meetings ... so no WW meeting for me.

I did weigh in at home. 184. 2 — about a pound more than last Monday on the home scale. I'm not surprised. I had more bad days than good again.

Today, I'm celebrating a huge NSV: I finished my 90,000-word manuscript this morning (at about 5 a.m., after a marathon writing session, fueled by an early night at work and a loss of the satellite TV). You can read all about that at my other blog.

How shall I celebrate? Well, being snowed in, I'm baking a few batches of WW-friendly cookies. I picked up brown sugar and nuts Sunday night, knowing I wasn't going to be driving anywhere Monday or Tuesday with a full-on blizzard coming to town.

I may try to take a trudge through the snow, too ... but I wouldn't count on that. I will, however, keep a handle on my cookie consumption. I want to see the scale move in the right direction next week.

December 6, 2009

Feeling much better now

I had a pretty good day overall. I got in a nice walk and only ate 27 Points total.

Subtract the 2 APs I earned on my walk and I only used 2 FPs. (I'm going to discount the fact that I doubt I have any left for the week after that rough patch.)

Have I mentioned that I love Hungry Girl? I baked up some of her Butternut Squash Bake after lunch, and had some as a snack, and then another serving with dinner. Delicious! Except I'm beginning to think it's not just Burger King onion rings that don't agree with me. The onions in the squash bake seemed to give me gas, too. :P

Here's the Tweet, Eat, Post version of my day. I'll try to add some pictures later, when I get them off the camera.

zucchini, grilled w/ 1 tsp olive oil 1
sandwich thin w/ 2 oz ham, wedge lc light, ff mayo, honey mustard 4
2 clementines 1
pumpkin fluff 1
ww 2-point double chocolate bar 2
hg cheesy butternut squash bake 2
ff tuna salad w/ crackers 3
bbq chicken sandwich 4
butternut squash bake 2
jell-o sf chocolate mousse 1
1/2 oz. peanuts 2
ww brownie 2
100-cal pk cocoa-roasted almonds - love em! 2

Table provided by Roni's Food Tweet, Eat, Post Generator.

Anyway, since it worked for me last night, I'm going to try it again: I won't be having snack when I get home from work, and I will be getting up early(ish) to take a walk before I head to the NaNoWriMo "Thank goodness it's over" party at Barnes & Noble at noon. (And, just for good measure, I WON'T be eating cheesecake like I did last Sunday at BN.)

December 5, 2009

Followed through

I just finished doing what I said I was going to do: No snack after work, and a walk first thing when I woke up. (It was late morning, since I didn't get up until 10:30 ... but it was still first thing!)

I guess you could say it's a step in the right direction.

When I got back from my walk (a little more than 2 miles in 32 minutes), I fixed a healthy — and delicious — lunch. I sliced a zucchini, tossed it with olive oil, garlic and sea salt, and then grilled it on George. I also made a ham sandwich: A Sandwich Thin with 2 oz. ham, a Laughing Cow light cheese wedge and a little Miracle Whip Free and honey mustard. It, too, got the George treatment. Yum! And I peeled and ate two clementines. Double yum! I love those things ... and it's even better when you buy a bag for less than $3.

Next up? I think I'm going to make some of Hungry Girl's Cheesy Butternut Squash Bake to have as an afternoon snack and with dinner.

It's amazing how easy it is to start feeling good again! Now, all I need to do is keep up the good work.

Something's wrong

I know what I should be doing — so why is it so darn hard to get it done?

Yes, after a good Tuesday, I've spent most of the rest of the week heading off the rails. Bad food choices, little exercise ... the whole enchilada.

So I'm asking myself, "What is wrong with you?"

I know I need to eat less and exercise more. I know I should choose the salad instead of the burger. I know I should be snacking out of the vending machine at work or hitting the drive-thru for late-night snacks.

So what is my problem? Is it a fear of success? Failure? Just a simple matter of being tired of being "good"? Slipping back into bad habits I thought I'd banished?

I don't know. But it stops here. I'm going to get back to work cultivating that "no excuses" attitude. Starting right now.

No after-work snack for me tonight (but I will say yes to some water. I'm dying of thirst right now.) ... and the first thing I'll do in the morning is put on my walking shoes and hit the pavement. Yes, before I even check the computer.

It really is a simple matter of making choices. It's just that lately, I've been making bad ones. That stops here. I have to do this, for myself and for my family and friends. I know they're all pulling for me.

And I want to do it for my wallet. I can think of a ton of other things to spend $12 a week on, that's for sure! :D

December 1, 2009

So far, so good

With breakfast and lunch behind me, I've consumed 16 Points.

Hmm. Saying that out loud makes me realize that's actually not so great when I have just 23 Points to eat. Perhaps I need to retitle this post "So far, not so good" ...

Breakfast was HG's Egg Mug Classic on half a sandwich thin. Pretty tasty, though I still think I prefer the Egg Mug Lorraine, with bacon bits, onion and dijon mustard in the mix. After some computer time, during which I accomplished nothing but surfing the Net, I headed outside for a walk.

I ended up walking myself over to the house of a neighbor who happens to be a writer, and we decided to have lunch at Picazzo's, our favorite gourmet pizza place. I had my usual, the caesar salad/slice of pizza combo, which today happened to be a shrimp scampi pizza. Delicious! The only trouble is, it had alfredo sauce ... so I'm counting lunch as 12 Points instead of the usual 11. Hope it's not actually more than that!

Now, I'm off to the Boyfriend's for some quality time with my computer until he gets home from work. I'll work much better being at the Starbucks in Camp Verde, away from the temptations of the Internet.

My heroine is about to impulsively cut off the long, blonde hair she's been hiding behind for years. And then she's going to wish she had it back.