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Choices Choices Choices February 12, 2010

The thing about this healthy living, is it’s all about choices. Every minute really.  It takes a bunch of thinking, and planning, and figuring out, what is the best choice in this moment?

Every time I lead a WW meeting I ask members if they have any challenges coming up this week. It’s funny, there’s ALWAYS a challenge of some sort, isn’t there? (heh)

My challenge this week is that Mr. McBody and I are going to celebrate his birthday dinner with family at a fancy French restaurant tomorrow. I looked it up. It looks… amazing.

It’s always good to look things up first, to get prepared to make those choices. What do I want? What am I willing to pass up, and what am I not? Well, there are always a bunch of things that one can do when facing a celebratory meal at a fancy place.

  1. Get lots of activity before and after. Check. I had a killer “last chance workout” with trainer today. And I’ve worked out every day this week. I plan to work out on Sunday for SURE but maybe tomorrow as well.
  2. Check out the menu! Make choices beforehand.  I am pretty sure I want mussels. I loooooooove mussels. Happily, they are kind of a lean protein and there’s not much of it anyway. I guess the issue is the broth they’re in. And the bread. And the fries. Hmmm…. do I want bread? or fries? I think I want bread, with which to sop up the yummy mussel juice.
  3. I think I am actually OK without wine or cocktails. I will go with sparkling water/ice/lime combo.
  4. I do want at least a couple bites of dessert, so I’ll share with someone.
  5. Light breakfast/lunch beforehand.
  6. Dip into those 35 “extra” points if necessary.

See? That wasn’t so bad. I think I can emerge from this dinner unscathed. Or at least only partially scathed. And maybe I can have a COUPLE fries… I’ll report back after.

The OTHER issue which I did not mention is that we are meeting other friends for BRUNCH on SUNDAY. Agh…… if there’s anything worse than a fancy restaurant meal, it’s TWO fancy restaurant meals in a row. I’m gonna have to be super duper mindful of that one, and be SURE to work out on Sunday. The good thing about brunch, too, is that it is two meals in one. :-)

So yeah, it’s a never ending choice-fest out there. I think one good thing about having these “major” events is that it causes me to be extra-extra mindful. I probably get in more trouble on ordinary days when I assume I am making good choices when I’m probably not.

 

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

 

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!

 

Maintaining While Traveling June 29, 2009

This past weekend was a total whirl of travel. My husband and I flew to the other coast for a funeral (his father’s). There was a lot of traveling, a fair amount of socializing/eating, a high degree of emotion, and not a lot of opportunity for exercise. I didn’t exercise on Friday. (travel)  I took a 30-minute walk/run on Saturday and didn’t do anything yesterday.

My eating was OK. It was interesting – it was a combination of good and not great, and I was curious about how it would pan out, scale-wise.

I was in the South, so I had this intense desire for biscuits. We stayed in a hotel that had a free breakfast. There were biscuits. I have pretty much stayed away from most white carbs for months, but I realllllllllly wanted those biscuits. (it was a tossup between biscuits and grits, which I also love) I took a biscuit. Took a bite. It was horrible. Blech! I am proud of myself because I just ate that one bite and then pretty much decided it was SO not worth it. Hooray for mindful eating! I got some fruit instead.

Later, at the post-funeral reception, I was in a high state of emotion. There was a huge spread that had been catered. They had these little ham sandwiches made on cheese biscuits. I had one. It was really, really good – the quality of biscuit was 20x better than the breakfast one. I had a few pieces of cheese and some roasted vegetables and a deviled egg. (all good) I circled around the dessert table, which had huge plates of bite-sized delectable looking things. I circled and circled, like a giant shark. Ultimately I did not eat any desserts, but I did go back and have a second little cheese biscuit sandwich. Two people had spoken to me about having diabetes, and I think that was a helpful little aid for me.

Later on, we went down the street to a restaurant. I had a mojito (are you getting the idea that this is my beverage of this summer?). Then we ordered dinner and I had this amazing chilled pea soup with yogurt and shrimp. Awesome. Also an appetizer plate of grilled asparagus. And a glass of wine.

So that was my weekend, food wise. I woke up this morning to a dream in which all these athletes were there, and everyone was exercising except me. My running buddy M was running really fast and I was having trouble keeping up with her. I was wearing a muumuu. HA.

I was nervous when I got on the scale this morning but it was pretty much where it was when I left last week. So I maintained! This is good! I do feel like I need to exercise in a very big way, but I have to take kids to day camp this morning, and then take myself to work. This evening, then. For sure.

OK, I think this was probably the most boring post I have written yet. But it was an interesting challenge for me -my first week as a maintainer. Trying to balance it all with traveling, being off schedule, out of my environment, in a state of high emotion.  I am recalling that for the last two times that I went away for weekends, I ended up gaining around 2 lbs each time. So, I am pretty much claiming it as a victory.

 

Be Mindful, and Don’t Suffer June 25, 2009

At least once a week I go someplace where I run into someone I haven’t seen in a few months or more. Since Before. And very often they will say, “HOW did you do this?!?” It’s hard to sum it up in a few words, because it truly is a long story, but I think my “elevator pitch” (code for how to pitch a book, or business proposal to an agent or funder in the time it takes to ride an elevator) would be “By being mindful, and not suffering.”

I know, it’s very Buddhist, right? But truly I think this is what has made All the Difference this time. I started attending a meditation class very soon after my pre-diabetes diagnosis. And the idea of being mindful- of paying attention – made a huge impact on my whole weight loss journey. I decided to really pay attention to everything  – to what I truly wanted to eat, and if eating was what I wanted at all, and how much to eat, and everything. It has been absolutely invaluable.

I loved that this week, in my WW mentoring session, the leader spoke a LOT about “being mindful.” I don’t know if he’s a Buddhist or not, but he did bring it up about 20 times during the meeting, and people were nodding and really getting it. I loved that.

Another big concept in Buddhism is that of Suffering.  I know that I have suffered mightily because of my weight and food issues, throughout my life. I suffered when I felt I was depriving myself of food I wanted, but I also suffered when I ate things for the Wrong Reasons (ie for comfort or distraction). I suffered from guilt and remorse, shame and self hatred. There was a LOT of suffering going on.

It’s been shocking for me to notice that this New Way has involved very little suffering, and I know that if I feel like I am suffering, it’s going to come back and bite me BIG time. So it’s important for me to never, ever sigh dramatically and say, “I guess I should eat THIS (salad?) instead of THAT.” Because if I feel deprived in ANY WAY, shape or form, I’m going to overeat. Every single time. I have to find something that makes me HAPPY and satisfied, as well as being a good choice.  Salad is a good example. Sometimes I really crave and love and feel like eating salad. But often, if it’s a cold day or whatever, I want HOT FOOD.  Before, it would be a choice between two kinds of suffering: I’d have a cold salad and feel all deprived, OR I’d have .. I dunno, a huge plate of lasagne or fried chicken and THEN I’d suffer because I’d feel overstuffed, guilty and remorseful. And fat.

So the key is to really be MINDFUL and say, OK, I don’t want salad. (“Then don’t eat salad!”) I want hot food. OK, what kind of hot food will satisfy and yet not make me feel remorseful? Often it is SOUP. I have come to looooooooove soup very much. Because there are so many delicious kinds of soup and EVEN soup that is a bit rich (some cream in it, or meat) a cup of soup can go a very long way. There is a wonderful French food takeout place near my work that has two kinds of amazing soup every day. Usually that will be all I want for lunch, and it probably has WAY fewer calories than a salad with blue cheese, nuts, dressing, avocadoes etc etc.

I have had to build up my repertoire of foods that I both love and feel good about eating. This has taken some time and practice but now I feel like I have wonderful choices.

I still always have half-and-half in my coffee, because I have tried many alternatives (black coffee, skim milk in coffee, nonfat half and half) and they ALL make me suffer. I want my half-and-half. But I have made other changes that allow that to be okay. (more exercise, soup for lunch, etc)

So that’s my short answer for How I Did It (and how I intend to keep Doing It): Be mindful and don’t suffer.

Over and out.

 

OMG I Won! June 16, 2009

I won the FabFatties Healthy Challenge! I can’t believe it. I think it had a lot to do with the many people I recruited the first day, AND to the daily workouts which really added up the points. I didn’t think I was doing that spectacularly, but clearly that was pretty good!

I’m wondering about all the people I recruited who did NOT send their points in to be tabulated.  Did you do the challenge? What happened? I am very curious about the members of Team Foodie and how it all went for people. Things seemed to get pretty quiet over here after the first day. Was it too much to keep track of? Too much to do? Did you do it but not track it? Or…?

WHAT HAPPENED? I want to know.

 

The Challenge Ends, But Not Really June 15, 2009

So the Fabulous Fatties’ Health Challenge is officially over. I came in with a total of 1,765 points. We’ll see how this stacks up when they tally up the results today. According to my home scale, I think I lost 3 lbs over the two weeks. Which, if it’s true, I’ll be very pleased with.

We were supposed to write a 50-word piece about how the Challenge affected us, so this is what I sent to the FabFatties:

The points are in, the chart filled up
Time for final judgment. The bad?  Water.
Could not gulp those 64 ounces, not one day.
The good? Exercise, fruits and veggies.
The beautiful? Good deeds: smiles add endorphins.
Weight? Three pounds lost, overall. And worth 3 pounds of gold.
Thanks, fabulosas!

So now the Challenge period is over. But does it make any sense to STOP doing the challenge things? I think not.  I realized pretty early on that a day without exercise equalled a day with very few points. So it spurred me to start exercising every day, or almost.  It also made me REALLY increase my fruit and veggie intake. I thought about the Challenge every time I went grocery shopping or to the farmers’ market, and I know it made me make better, fresher choices. So I don’t know about the rest of you – how are all the rest of Team Foodie doing? but I’m going to keep going.

As for my vacation: I was scared. You know when I left for my weekend away, I was two pounds up after a nice Indian dinner with friends. Everyone said it was sodium. But I didn’t know, and I then went away for four days without my scale. I did not dare use the scale at the hotel fitness center, because I’ve had bad experiences with Other scales.

So I tried to make Good Choices. But you know I promised two things before I went away: 1. that I would not drink alcohol, and 2. that I would not eat sugar/dessert.

Big, blaring BEEEEEP on both of those. I shocked myself. I actually drank 2 mojitos (one after the other!) AND I ate a piece of cake. With icing. (not on the same day, thank goodness) I was nervous. I wondered if I was going to blow the whole thing (what: almost 30 lbs?) in those little actions. Of course, it could be the beginning of a slippery slope. But I also knew some things about me. One is that I drink very, very rarely. I virtually never go to bars. But I was in the midst of a really great weekend with friends, and we happened to chance upon this awesome bar right across the street from my hotel. I wanted a mojito! I really did. I knew what a rare occurrence this was. So I went for it.  And accompanying the mojito, I ordered some grilled mushroom skewers, a bowl of edamame and some rare ahi salad. It was like the healthiest food ever.

During the rest of the weekend, I truly did eat well (other than the cake, which was one of the yummiest cakes ever). I exercised almost every day. And guess what? I came home four pounds down from my post-Indian-dinner high.

So. All things in moderation?

It’s still kind of mysterious. Why I lose. Why I gain. But this week my intention is to keep rockin’ the challenge, keep exercising, keep eating well.

 

 
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