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Tradition? Tradition! December 18, 2009

I had been a little worried about various traditions during the holiday period. One thing I always do is make mega-batches of sugared pecans to give away to friends, teachers, coaches, etc. They are so easy and yet so festive and delicious. But a little voice inside me was saying, “You’re not going to do THAT, are you?”

Well, I’m not going to make them and then eat a whole bag of them myself. Or keep them in a giant open bowl on the counter and grab a handful every time I go by. I’m not going to do that. But I am going to make them, and give a lot of them away, and keep some and eat them in a slow and mindful fashion. That I’ll do.

Another tradition Mr. McBody and I have is to purchase one bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream during the holiday time. Usually we drink one glass (each) while trimming the tree, and then we drink a little more when wrapping presents on Christmas eve. It’s not like this huge alcoholic blowout thing, it’s a little indulgence. But I thought, oh oh, we won’t be drinking our Bailey’s. But why the heck not?? So I bought a bottle, and we enjoyed it very much during the tree trimming, and the rest of the bottle is there. Realizing that we could still do these things Even Though I’m On this Healthy Path was like this huge lightbulb moment. Wow, I’m not dieting! I’m LIVING.

This lightbulb moment reminds me of a blog post I just read by Man Meets Scale, who, incidentally, I am going to meet tomorrow at an official WW  event!! I am very excited about this. I’m going to tell him what a huge fan I am of his blog. And maybe bring him a piece of fancy chocolate for his stocking. :-)

I also happen to be at the lowest weight I have been all 2009. It’s a funny number. As soon as I get into this number, something always goes Boing! in my head and I immediately start bouncing up. I’ve been trying to talk myself down this time though. I don’t know if it’s nervousness at going into this Very Unfamiliar Territory, or it’s a weird relaxation of focus because I think I’m “there” (whatever “there” is) —  but this time I am wondering if I can actually STAY at this particular number and maybe even edge beyond it once we are in 2010. It’s a very curious little mind game I play with myself. Because to go beyond THIS number means…. I don’t even know what it means. It means something, though.

 

New Comfort Food: Pesto Roasted Cauliflower November 29, 2009

One of the great things about leading WW meetings is that I have to pay attention to all these elements of the program that are really, really helpful. This morning I said something along the lines of finding new foods or new ways of enjoying old foods, to keep things “fresh.”

I’m still sort of on the sick side. I’ve got pretty low energy and a sore throat. Yesterday I was surprised at how much I felt like eating. I wanted real comfort food, like mashed potatoes and pudding. Baby food.  I realized that if I keep going too long like this, without exercising, soon I’m going to be in trouble.

So on the way home from the meeting I stopped at the Farmers Market. I spotted a cauliflower. I didn’t really think about it much. But I brought it home, chopped it up and put it in the over (425) for half an hour. When the buzzer went off, it was crispy and browned, crunchy and yet soft on the inside. I mixed it with a little jarred pesto and put it in a big bowl. OH WOW. It was like… the best comfort food ever. I was so happy. And it happened spontaneously. This was one of the few things we discussed in today’s meeting and it felt so good to just implement it in a way that satisfied my need for comfort and yet is still really healthy.

Now, a nap. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

 

A Reader Asks: “Dear Foodie…” November 23, 2009

I got an email from a reader recently! Asking for my opinion regarding her teenaged daughter. First of all, I am honored that anybody would ask my opinion on ANYthing.  Let me say that I am not a big expert at this – far from it -(just read my posts from January!!) but I do have some thoughts about most things and am glad to share what I’m thinking. So that’s just it… my opinion.  Here’s the question.

Q: I have a 16-year-old daughter who would like to lose weight but doesn’t get a lot of exercise. I think she would die rather than go to a WW meeting. We already tend to keep healthy foods around the house, and she makes fairly good food choices compared to a lot of American teenagers. But without tracking her eating, and without a lot of exercise, she doesn’t lose weight. Any suggestions for how to help a teen in this kind of situation?

I suppose one answer would be to help her learn to track points on her own, using my WW materials but without having to enroll herself. But I am not sure she will have the discipline to track, and I don’t want to put myself in a position of having to bug her or be the bad guy about food — I fear that the more involved I get, the more likely it is that she will say, “f— you, Ieave me alone, I’m going to eat whatever I want.”

Well, I’ve been mulling this over for a few days now. It’s a big answer! A long answer. With many facets and layers. Without writing an entire BOOK on the subject, here are my thoughts.

Motivation: This is one of the biggest factors in being able to lose weight, I believe.  Mathematically, I think that M (motivation) must > All Those Factors Conspiring Against Weight Loss (love of foods, emotions, environment, inertia, etc) or else it can’t work. And to be honest, I did not find sufficient M in my life until I was 49 years old. (do not use me as an example! just sayin!) My motivation was Health, pure and simple. And until I found that particular motivation, my M was ALWAYS < All Those Factors.

When I was 16, being motivated by health was the LAST THING on my mind. Hell, it was the last thing on my mind when I was 40. I just felt like I could do Whatever for However Long, and it would not catch up with me.

SO is it hopeless? NO. You just need to help this 16 yr old figure out her OWN motivations, which can be similarly compelling, just different. They are much more likely to be socially based, like, “I want to feel comfortable in a bathing suit.” “I want to be able to look good in any outfit at Urban Outfitters.” “I want to feel HOT.” (or whatever) One of the best tools for this is the Beck Diet Solution, which helped me a LOT at the start of my journey. It is all about tapping into one’s own particular Motivation and keeping that front-and-center at all times. Because it is SO easy to just Not Care.

The other thing is to separate Her desire to lose weight, from Your desire to have her lose weight (because you know she will be happier and healthier). For many many years, I could not FIND my own desire/motivation because it was clouded and all tangled up by what I PERCEIVED to be my spouse’s desire for me to lose weight. And I rebelled against this big-time. For YEARS. I couldn’t focus on what I wanted to do because I thought I was doing it for HIM, and that was a major losing proposition all the way around. It upset me and made me want to eat more. Which I did. So you have to take a deep breath and let her know that it’s HER choice/decision etc and not yours, even though you are there to support her.

HOW to do it? I do not know if tracking is the answer for a 16 y old, although it might be intriguing for her, just on a curiosity level. To just lay it out mathematically, pure and simple. Once she’s decided that she is motivated, it’s just a matter of math. Calories in have to < Calories out.  Part of losing weight means being more conscious and knowing what you are doing in that regard. I wonder if she would like having something like a Body Bugg, which measures calorie output. (I want one sooooooooooooo bad!!!!!! Santa please!) You know that people constantly underestimate the # of calories they eat (why tracking is so useful!) and overestimate their calories burned. So it’s a great reality check tool.

It might be interesting for her to just try tracking food FOR ONE DAY. Just to see. Just to understand WHY her body might be hanging on to some weight. It could be illuminating.  But you are RIGHT about not bugging her or being the bad-guy Tracking Police, because that will blow up in your face faster than you can say deep-dish pizza with extra cheese. She’s gotta find her own method.

Support: Losing weight can be a very isolating, sucky experience. It pretty much was for most of my life. But it can also be super fun and awesome and exciting if you have the right friends. (shout-out to EVERYONE who blogs, tweets, reads and comments with me!) Does she have any friends who might want to be her weight-loss buddy? This would make it so much less mortifying and “oh shit I am the only loser who needs to do this.”  YES, I can see her not wanting to be caught dead with all us Oldsters at WW. (although there is a nice 17 yr old who comes in with his mom to one of my meetings, he is awesome!) So I think it will be absolutely critical for her to find others HER AGE who are on the same path. There are plenty of way-cool bloggers who are much younger than me, who could be great role models. (PEOPLE- HELP ME OUT: can you recommend any cool teen weight-loss bloggers?)

She needs to find some form of activity that she considers Fun. Again, doing it with a Buddy is going to make ALL the difference.  I think having something like a pedometer (measuring steps per day, and doing a mini-competition? With prizes??? :-)) or a Body Bugg would be fabulous.

Lastly: Dara Chadwick blogs about girls, moms, weight and self-esteem. She’s written this great book. I bet she’d be able to give you even more informed and useful advice.

I think you are an AWESOME mom for your concern and wanting to support your kid in this way.  It’s fantastic that she already has your support and that you already have healthy food around. The biggest thing is to gently guide her in choosing her OWN path that she wants to take.

Those are my two cents for the moment but I really hope that lots of readers will chime in with comments. Help me out, folks!

 

A Little Speedblogging September 22, 2009

rice beansI haven’t been around here much but I wanted to do some catch-up blogging before tonight’s Biggest Loser. Why haven’t I been around? Because I’ve been teaching like CRAZY – a blog class (!) and then two writing classes, all of which are fantastic but which are taking up huge gobs of time.

But all is well. I’m exercising, going to Nia, running, weight lifting. I’ve gone to a lot of doctor appointments. Cardiologist and endocrinologist are both very very happy – my cholesterol is GREAT now that I am taking a bit of statin. Which I resisted mightily but has actually been fine. I am happy with that.  My A1C (for those who know and care about such things) is 5.9 which made me happy even with all the prednisone I took in July.

Also been to OBGYN because even though I am 50 and allegedly menopausal, I have had the world’s most relentless periods. First every 3 weeks (too short) then every two weeks (huh?) then every week and now I have about 48 hours break before it all starts up again. It’s not good. Trying to get to the bottom of it. So, I feel like I’ve been getting my blood drawn every five minutes and it’s all good except for that one thing. Argh.

I wanted to do a big blog post about WW’s “Lose for Good” campaign which involves donating food to food banks etc. which corresponds with our weight loss. I went out and bought 31 lbs of rice and beans. I was going to ceremoniously wear it on my body to one of the WW Meetings, and then peel it off but after putting on about 12 lbs it was SO SO damn uncomfortable I couldn’t bear it. I actually couldn’t believe that I could barely haul that stuff around in a grocery bag. I piled it on the table. Can you see? It’s BIG. But not only did it show me the big pile of 31 lbs, but when I picked up the little one or two lb bags, those were not insignificant either. And it showed me, than when I am “up” 3-4 lbs, I can feel that bulk’s extra on me.

I’ve been continuing my birthday revelry, over one month past birthday. Today a friend took me to breakfast at this favorite spot. They have this mega decadent soft polenta with melted cheese. Which is like my favorite thing ever. Normally I would snarf down this big bowl and feel ILL but today I had three beautiful large spoonfuls and that was like heaven. Just enough. SO so good.

Dinner’s about to burn without me so I’m going to stop here but this is what I’ve been up to. Next, BL, in one hour!

 

Celebrate! Celebrate! 50 around the corner! August 13, 2009

So, my 50th birthday is tomorrow! Woooo! I never thought I would be so excited about this date but to be honest, this is one of the best years I have ever had. I feel strong and happy. I am excited about many good things in my life, not the least of which is the amazing community I have discovered since I made a commitment to being healthy. THANK YOU people, you have been an awesome gift to me!!

I’m planning a fun celebration up at the Russian River on Saturday. My wonderful family will be there, as well as a bunch of beloved friends. I am verrrrrrrrrrrry excited. We’re going to float on the river, kayak, canoe, loll about on the lawn, play games, visit and eat! YAY!

I spent my birthday here last year and it was so much fun we decided to rent the same house and do it again. Except last year, for my 49th birthday, I was self-consciously heavy, not very active and just not feeling very good about myself. I was wearing this kind of awful stretched-out 15 year old bathing suit and… ugh. (you can see this lovely piece of attire at the top of my photos! and the boyfriend jeans at the bottom) What a difference a year makes. I have a brand-new bathing suit (maybe will post a photo next week) and a brand-new strong body. I am ready to charge into my 50s at full force.

I pretty much decided that I did not want to cook food on my birthday. (I want to pllaayyyyy!) Nor did I want to do a potluck because they can be a little anxiety provoking. What if everyone brings hummus and chips? So I decided to order food from a nearby place. They sent me this 15- page catering menu. Ummmmm…. so how do I approach this?

In the Beck Diet Solution, she believes that to “succumb” to celebrations is dangerous, because basically you can find something to celebrate every other day. (or EVERY day – um, isn’t it National Cream Puff Day?) At Weight Watchers, there are different ways to approach holidays and other celebrations. I’ve been mulling this for a while. Should I plan a beautiful gourmet “healthy” menu? Or…?

I decided on “or.” Or maybe a combination. I’m getting a mediterranean platter of :

White Bean & Basil Paté ~ A Creamy Paté of Great Northern Beans, Garlic, Basil and Parmesan, Grana Padano and Asiago Cheeses
Romesco Dip ~ A Boldly Flavored Toasted Almond Dip with Catalan Spice Seasonings
Eggplant Caponata ~ with Olive Oil, Capers, Garlic
Olive Tapenade ~ with Basil, Garlic, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice
Rouxille ~ A Spicy Red Pepper, Pureéd Potato and Olive Oil Dip
Accompanied by Sliced Baquette, Gourmet Crackers and
Fresh Seasonal Vegetables

Doesn’t that sound good? also a big cheese plate (mmmm cheese), a crudite platter (mmm vegies), a huge salad, and….. bbq ribs! Yeah, I love ribs. I love ribs SO much. And you know? I’m having ribs. And bbq chicken.

Also: cake. Something called a black bottom cake which is a dark chocolate cake filled with chocolate chips, with a white cream cheese frosting. It is so decadent and luscious and filled with butter.

I could have had, like.. strawberries? or something but… DUDE this is my 50th birthday. My endocrinologist said it is no biggie if I have dessert and spike my blood sugars like once or twice a week. So. There. I will eat cake!

I did have a little bit of a mind-spazz over this menu though. In the end, decided on a combination of food that I truly love. I don’t think I’m going to be snarfing down Mass Quantities (anybody remember Coneheads? I love them) of food because I am much more excited to be with my FRIENDS – but I am going to enjoy every bite.

I wish all of my bloggy friends could be there too. I will be thinking of you and raising a glass of Prosecco to you all! (my beverage of choice for the party) Bubbles bubbles!

 

Old Habits Die Hard May 22, 2009

Filed under: emotions,food — Susan @ 1:10 am
Tags: , , , , ,

One of the things that David Kessler talks about in The End of Overeating is the incredibly strong trigger of nostalgia, emotions about certain foods that are hardwired from childhood.

I’m going to a major league baseball game this weekend. I wasn’t really worried or thinking about it at all until a friend (who is also going) just emailed me and said, “What do they have for food? Is it mostly junk?” My immediate reaction was, “YES, AND I LOVE IT ALL!!!!!!!!” I know, I KNOW, they are horrible disgusting products made of pig toenails and rat ears and nitrites and poo, but god, I LOVE hot dogs. I remember very clearly being at a church picnic when I was about ten? years old. The hot dogs were perfectly grilled, with the crispy little lines on them, and I remember squirting them with that fluorescent yellow mustard and thinking I had never tasted anything so delicious in my life.  The weather was perfect. I kept going back to the outdoor grill, and one of the church dads was grilling, and he kept saying (delightedly), “You want another one??” I don’t remember how many hot dogs I ate that day, but it was probably five or more. It was a lot. (was that the beginning of it all?)

Imagine my horror when I grew up and realized that hot dogs were not, like, the perfect food.  We don’t eat them at home anymore (except when my mother wants them–she has NEVER given them up, and she’s 86) although we do enjoy the occasional chicken-apple sausage (yummy, but not exactly the same). I felt like the only place where I could legitimately enjoy a hotdog was at a baseball game. I mean, who ISN’T eating hot dogs at a major league baseball game?

Obviously, I have not been to a ball game since January. Sigh. NOW what do I do. I did have some ideas about hosting a healthy tailgate (oh GOD) in the parking lot beforehand, but I have something else going on all day, so wouldn’t have time to prepare anything.

I could, obviously, eat ONE hot dog and it would not kill me. But there’s that slippery slope. And I’d probably hate it anyway. (would I?)

I have to make a plan. I have to find the one vegi-burger stand in the entire stadium, and do that. Or else pack a bunch of random things in a carry-in bag: carrots, hummus, apples, cheese. Sigh.

No hot dog? No garlic fries? Realllly?

Yeah, really.

 

Beautiful Guiltfree Dinner March 29, 2009

I soooo enjoyed my dinner last night.  We had company over – my husband’s cousin and her hubby – they are wonderful people, and I was really looking forward to hanging out with them. I decided to make our family favorite teriyaki/wasabi salmon, this asparagus and brown/wild rice salad someone pointed out to me on Twitter (I love Twitter! It’s like a recipe box at your fingertips!), a big mache salad with avocados and feta, and a lemon tart with real whipped cream. YAY. Oh, and they brought some amazing wine they’d procured during their weeklong trip through Napa.

I didn’t worry about the points or calories of any of these items. I had had a good run/walk in the morning. I had gone to Weight Watchers and had lost 2.6 lbs since last week. I knew that everything I was eating was super healthy (except maybe the lemon tart!).

I enjoyed every single bite of my dinner. I didn’t overeat, I didn’t obsess over “going over” (which, had I counted, I probably did) I know that today I’m doing another Couch to 5k AND I’m going to be rowing in a “parent row” for my daughter’s crew team. THAT should be interesting!! And I’m going to resume my regular good eating today. It’s all good.

Is it possible that I’ll gain weight from this one dinner, at the end of this week? Somehow I really don’t think so.

 

 
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