Something to chew on

Monday, April 30, 2007

A Scary Word for a Dieter: Buffet

It's Monday. It rained today. I have to head out first thing in the morning for a funeral. Needless to say, I didn't feel like cooking. So when Cole suggested eating out, I was allll for it.

We tried the new Cannoli Joe's near the south Central Market. They call it an Italian feast, and that it was. There was a ton a food. The whole drive over there I was setting up rules in my mind about how to make it through dinner without gaining three pounds: Find the salad. Only one pasta dish. Don't let foods run into each other on my plate. Only one trip to the dessert bar. Etc.

If you're considering going, I'll say this: It was okay. Just okay. The place is nice. Our waitress hovered like a helicopter trying to rescue a wriggling deer from a frozen lake: entirely too long!!! There are separate dining rooms and plenty of space. And I liked the way they have the food divided. There was a bar for salad and fresh fruit. Separate bars for baked pastas, fish dishes, pork dishes and a one for potato dishes. Oh yes, and there was a bar for dessert. Lots of beautiful desserts.

I started with the house and tomato/mozzarella salads. Not bad. I then had tastes of the chicken marsala, some green beans and fried zucchini. The fried zucchini was probably my second favorite thing in the restaurant. The eggplant parmesan was cold. The bread stick I tried was rock-hard. The best dish: The apple crisp from the dessert bar. Is that technically an Italian dish???

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Fridays Are My Favorite

9:05 a.m. Poor ol' Bugsy. We just returned home from Dr. Garza's office where Bugsy had his second urinalysis of the week. I hope this one will be a little more conclusive and we'll be on our way to finding out what's upsetting his ability to do business, if you know what I mean.

1:10 p.m. I'm headed to the convention center to grab my tickets for tomorrow's Scrapbook Expo. Kellie and I have scheduled three classes together throughout the day, plus I'm sure we'll do some shopping and running around in between. I'm ready for a fun weekend.

6:45 p.m. It's so nice to be back in the routine. After Cole was gone for a few days to Houston and I spent part of the last week in Nashville, we're sitting in the living room, smelling the aroma of potatoes and onions roasting in the oven. Just hanging out with four of the five babies around us...

Pre-breakfast: granola bar: 2 points. Anyone who is familiar with the ways of my blood sugar knows that I shouldn't leave the house for an unknown amount of time without a little bite of something to keep me upright.

Kashi vanilla hot cereal: 2 points

Mid-morning snack: melba toast and Laughing Cow cheese: 2 points

Lunch: tuna kit: 5 points

Mid-afternoon snack: granola bites: 2 points
banana: 2 points

Dinner: roasted potatoes: 3 points
small filet: 3 points
breadsticks: 1 point

TOTAL: 22 points

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

How Much Does My Skirt Weigh???

I'm going with 0.4 pounds. That's how much the scale said I had gained when I weighed in this evening.

There is nothing that makes me feel crazier and more obsessed than standing in the closet with my eyes closed and a pair of shorts in each hand. Does one pair weigh more than the other??? Maybe I should switch hands and see if I feel a difference... Yep, the gray pair is lighter than the navy pair. I'll wear them.

I didn't do that this evening. I just threw on a skirt and tank top and went about my day. Lesson learned: being crazy in the privacy of my own closet really does help.

I don't want to make excuses. I simply want to see progress. After a great 4.8 pound loss last week, I was hoping to simply stay where I was after my trip to Nashville. I tried to plan and make smart choices, and I think I did well in that department. I may have not gotten enough water in each day. And I also didn't have three dogs to walk several times each day while I was away. Again, I'm not trying to make excuses. So what happened??? Why the slight gain???

Yeah, I'm blaming the skirt...


Monday, April 23, 2007

Eating in Nashville

Well, I landed in Nashville last night just before 9 and went to the grocery store for snacks, water and fruit. The hotel where I'm staying has a little fridge and microwave, so I figured I'd do much better with points and calories if I planned and prepared rather than eating out for every meal and hitting the vending machine for snacks. Today, it's working. But after three days of traveling and living out of a hotel, I'll be happy just to maintain come Thursday's weigh in. I just don't want to have any sort of gain...

So... water, water, water and smart choices will get me through Wednesday night when I fly home. I find that I really want my scale here with me. Can't they come up with some sort of little fold-up scale for travel??? Someone probably has already. I find myself wanting to weigh to see how I did over the weekend, to see how I've done today. Even though I know what I ate, how much water I drank and how much Cole and I ran around and worked this weekend, I'd still for some reason like to see a digital read of it. Is that obsessive of me???

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Thursday, April 19, 2007


I'm not talking about grams of trans fat or the monounpolysaturated icky stuff. I'm talking about the three-letter word that many folks have no trouble throwing around.

I think I may look at this word a little differently than most/some people. When I was growing up, my beautiful mom was overweight, even medically obese. But I never thought of her as fat. She struggled with her weight, but never let it keep her from participating her my life or her own. Now that she's 175 pounds lighter, she's a new person in many ways... a little more opinionated, not afraid to stand out in a crowd, and much more interested in being and doing and learning. But, she is still the same incredible, smart woman at heart. No matter the package, that will never change.

So, why is it okay to call someone "fat," or is it??? Am I going to far in the politically correct direction by disliking the word, or should we use shocking words to spur change??? Not only when we talk to or about others, but when we look at our own reflection in the mirror...

OHHHHH, by they way, 4.8 pounds gone when I climbed up on the scale today. Go Summer, Go Summer... HA!!!

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

100 Calories Packs: I Love 'em!!!

I love those little boxes on the aisles at the grocery store. You know the ones. The 100-calorie pack ones.

From cookies to chips to beef jerky to popcorn and almost everything in between, you can find them conveniently packaged in the perfect portions. Sure, they're a little more expensive, but I'd rather spend an extra dollar than eat three times what a normal portion would/should be. If I'm eating from a full-size bag of chips, I find that my mind tells me, "oh, just one more, okay just one more, really, this is the last one." But if I'm eating a little pack of chips, I open the bag, I clean it out, and I'm done.

I discovered just last week the new Quaker Granola Bites with only 90 calories per pack. Apparently, they're so new that Quaker doesn't even list them on their web site yet. I've been having them mixed in with yogurt for a great breakfast. They're really good and so soft. Sometimes granola bars and snacks are on the chewy or crunchy side, but these have a great texture (of the three flavors, I've only tried the cinnamon) and are just a touch on the sweet side. I can also see a pack of them being good sprinkled on a bowl of warm oatmeal or cold ice cream.

mmmmmmmm, ice cream...

Breakfast: yogurt: 2 points
granola bites: 2 points
coffee with Splenda and creamer: 1 point

Mid-morning snack: banana: 2 points

Lunch: tuna and crackers: 5 points
mini candy bar: 1 point

Mid-afternoon snack: pudding: 2 points

Dinner: gingered-pineapple chicken: 5 points
rice: 3 points

TOTAL: 23 points. I think it's safe to say I got nowhere close to using my 35 wiggle points this week. I climb up onto the scale in less than 24 hours now. I'll let you know how week 1 officially goes down in the books. Wish me luck!!!


UPDATE: Make that total 25 points. Cole just made me eat a Skinny Cow sandwich...

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Two Days Until the Scale

Now that the eating day is over, I'm a point short of what my total should be. Any other time I would be rushing to the kitchen to find a point to eat (which would probably turn to three), but my tummy and brain are both satisfied, so I think I'm staying right here beside Bugsy on the couch.

My first weigh-in since starting over is in two nights. I know there will be a loss. It's just never fast enough. I'm impatient. I'd like 15 pounds gone by the end of the month. But I know that's not the healthy way to do it, and I know that's not a way to lose weight and KEEP it off. They say that the best rate is 1 percent per week. The first week of loss will always be a great jump start, at least for me, of maybe 3-5 pounds. That just proves how badly I was eating before that first full week.

Slow and steady wins the race...

Lean Pocket Breakfast sandwich: 3 points

Mid-morning snack: banana: 2 points

Lunch: South Beach wraps: 5 points
cherry tomatoes: 0 points
pickled okra: 0 points
mini candy bar: 1 point

Mid-afternoon snack: fruit parfait cup: 2 points

Dinner: pork chops, apple and Parmesan cheese slices : 6 points

Dessert: Skinny cow ice cream sandwich: 2 points

TOTAL: 21 points

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Fruits, Veggies Help Fight Cancer

Just another good reason to eat your fruits and vegetables...

'These studies give lots more ammo to what we've been saying -- eating a large variety of plant-based foods is one of the best things you can do for your health in terms of cancer prevention,' said Melanie Polk, the nutrition education adviser for the American Institute for Cancer Research.

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Cheeseburger Salad

I always struggle to find something new and exciting to prepare for dinner. Something that is healthy and balanced and Cole-approved. I'm afraid of doing one meal too regularly or getting into a rut.

Now that I'm back on Weight Watchers, I'm really making an effort to put together a weekly menu at the beginning of each week. I think this will help me stay focused, keep us from eating out too much, and stop me from going too crazy up and down the aisles at the grocery store. When I get the weekly menu together, I send it to Cole for his review.

But, back to making something new for dinner... tonight it was cheeseburger salad.

I just basically created a salad bar in our kitchen: lettuce, onions, salsa, dressings, crumbled bacon, croutons, etc. And on the stovetop I made little silver dollar-size hamburgers out of lean ground sirloin, kosher salt and course ground pepper, and melted cheese on top. Baby burgers on top of a bed of lettuce and whatever else we wanted in our bowls. Not too shabby, as the Huggins crew likes to say...

coffee with Splenda and creamer: 1 point
Kashi hot cereal: 2 points

Mid-morning snack: melba toast and laughing cow cheese: 2 points

Lunch: leftover pizza: 6 points
broccoli in cheese sauce: 1 point

Afternoon snack: trail mix: 3 points

Dinner: cheeseburger salad: 8 points
brownie bites: 3 points

TOTAL: 26 points. Four more out of my weekly wiggle allowance. Still on track...

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Rockin' and Rollin'

Cole's home.

Mom and I were supposed to see ZZ Top at the Backyard this evening. That's the same great outdoor venue where Megan and I saw the Barenaked Ladies last November. It used to be out in the middle of nowhere, but now there are stores like Lowe's, PetsMart, Michael's and such all within eyeshot of the stage. Mom and I were both feeling a bit lazy, and then there was that whole Augie-up-the-tree thing, so our outing was canceled.

And just to brag a bit: I've already lost three pounds since Thursday. I know that won't be a normal rate of loss. It's also not a healthy rate of loss that is possible to sustain. But it does show me (not that I didn't already know) how horribly I was eating just last week, and that three days back to counting points has already made a huge difference. My first goal is to lose five pounds before going to Nashville next Sunday. That may actually happen at this point.

Yogurt: 2 points
granola bites: 2 points

Mid-morning snack: pickled okra: 0 points

Lunch: South Beach wraps: 4 points
mini Three Musketeers bar: 1 point

Afternoon snack: apple pie cups: 3 points

Dinner: pizza: 6 points
salad w/vinaigrette: 2 points

TOTAL: 20 points. That's a little low, but it's hard to eat when you're chasing cats up trees. And I would have had at least one other point up there when I tried a V8 today, but I couldn't take it and poured it down the drain.

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You Drive Me up the...


Thunder and I are in trouble this afternoon for chasing Augie up a tree. She's been up there about an hour and a half at this point. Any suggestions???

4:58 p.m. Update: She's down!!! She made her way to the "V" in the branches that you see in the bottom left corner of this photo, then I was able to talk her down to the fence. She skidded and tore bark as she descended, with a squirrel behind her, watching her every move. She's now safe in the living room and will never again see the light of day outside of these walls...


Saturday, April 14, 2007

"You Will Be a Great Philanthropist in Your Later Years"

I miss Cole.

I spent the day doing Cole-is-out-of-town things: haircut, lunch with Mom and Dannie, Costco, scrapbooking...

We had lunch at Pei Wei. Mom and I split the honey-seared chicken with brown rice. It was all very good and fresh. Dannie had a beautiful Asian chopped salad and a bowl of soup. My fortune cookie said I'd be quite a philanthropist one day. Makes me wanna give me now. Cole and I recently talked about making a monthly gift to a local animal shelter. Maybe today's fortune cookie means it's time for me to do just that.

I did great on points again today. My haircut is very cute. It was great to spend time today with Mom and Dannie after the last 48 hours, and I'm very glad Cole will be home tomorrow.

I miss him.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Eating My Way Through Friday the 13th

Breakfast: muffin: 3 points
banana: 2 points

Mid-morning snack: WW snack cake: 1 point

Lunch: Sonic jr. burger: 9 points

Afternoon snack: trail mix: 3 points.

I love the "Hit the Trail Mix" that HEB sells. It's made with raisins, M&Ms, peanuts, cashews and almonds. It's perfect when I need sweet and salty. And the nuts give me the shot of protein I need when I'm on the edge of passing out.

Dinner: brown rice: 3 points
asparagus roasted in olive oil and dried herbs: 1 point
breadsticks: 1 point

Dessert: Skinny Cow ice cream bar: 2 points.

TOTAL: 25 points. 22 for the day and 3 extra from my weekly allotment.

It's been a rough day.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Fresh Start

Day 1 back on Weight Watchers.

7:52 a.m. I woke up this morning with an odd feeling of determination. It's nice when you're brain decides to do something, and your heart, body and soul immediately jump onboard.

9:30 a.m. Why wait until going to the meeting to officially start??? I'm counting points starting today.

8:15 p.m. I went to my meeting at 6:30 p.m. The leader that I really like, Pam, was still there and even remembered me. Several other people were also joining tonight, one of whom asked me: "What do you have, like, 2 ounces to lose?!?" Excuse me??? Thanks for the compliment, but we're all here for the same reason. I didn't let myself get to 300 pounds or 25o or even 200, but I don't want to either. I want to get control before my weight gets out of control. I want to be around people once a week, who like me, have issues with the same. Like I said, I appreciate the sideways compliment, but still...

It's gonna bore you to tears, but I'm going to start keeping a food diary of sorts here, which is why I started this blog to begin with: to be accountable, especially to myself. I'll also keep my paper trail of points on the official WW weekly diary, at least to start, but this will give me reason to keep track and blog every day.

Breakfast: Coffee with Splenda and creamer: 1 point
Smart Ones chocolate chip muffin: 4 points

Mid-morning snack: banana: 1 point

Lunch: Rigatoni with chicken and broccoli: 6 points
crackers: 1 point

Afternoon snack: trail mix: 3 points

Dinner: South Beach wraps: 4 points
crackers: 1 point
WW chocolate snack cake: 1 point

TOTAL: 22 points. Exactly what I was shooting for today.

Activity: I put a new battery in my pedometer.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I'm Starting "Tomorrow"

Anyone who has ever struggled with their weight has gotten to that point: the point where it is just time to do something serious.

Maybe it's a pair of jeans fitting too tight. Maybe it's the number on a scale. Maybe it's a reflection in a mirror or a look from a stranger. Perhaps it's a little bit of each.

I've been on this roller coaster for what seems like years now. Starting at 188, down to 142, up to 172, down to 150. I hover somewhere in the very middle, and I'd like to hover a little closer to the ground. Lower so to speak. It's not the losing that seems to be my problem; it's the maintaining.

So, after deciding today to eat everything in sight and start "tomorrow," I got a "please come back" card from Weight Watchers in the mail. Cole will be out tomorrow evening, so I'm going to the 6:30 meeting nearest our house. It's a sign that it is time.

Bathing-suit season is upon after all...


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Blueberry-Apricot Cups

This is my own creation, of sorts.

I was searching last week for Rachael Ray's pasta recipe with the vodka-cream sauce and ran across a challenge list on her web site. She lists 10 different ingredients and challenges readers to come up with a meal or menu based on those 10 items. Readers also have free use of several things already in the pantry -- salt, pepper, sugar, etc.

Well, for some reason, a few of these ingredients caught my eye, and although I would never take the time to write it out, film it and submit it, I thought the challenge sounded sorta fun.

So, using blueberries, apricots, ricotta cheese and puff pastry (well, I cheated and used little fillo cups), I made these little dessert cups. I could have easily added a sprig of mint and would have used five ingredients on the challenge list. Here's what I did...

I sprinkled the frozen fillo cups with a dusting of cinnamon and put them in the oven for five minutes. While they were heating, I warmed 1/4 cup chopped, dried apricots on super-low heat with 1/4 cup fresh blueberries, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon of butter. As soon as the fruit began to soften and the sugar was completely dissolved, I removed the mixture from the heat and stirred in about 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese and a splash of vanilla. I then spooned the mixture into the little baked cups and sprinkled with a little more cinnamon.

Now, I normally like to cook with exact recipes. I'd much rather have directions that include a tablespoon of something rather than a palmful of something. But I have to say, just whipping these up to see what would happen was kinda fun!!!

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Monday, April 09, 2007

I've Always Heard Mayonnaise Is Good for Your Hair

I don't eat mayonnaise. I fear it. It's gross.

I didn't always feel this way, but one Friday during high school (Fridays were always hamburger days at my high school), I saw mayonnaise take a form that I could have lived my whole life without seeing. I believe it was Jeffrey who opened the little white plastic packet. He ripped the corner off and tilted it toward the open-face burger. When he squeezed out the contents, all of us at the table gasped in horror. It was a lumpy glob of yellow mess that should not exist on this planet. It was half-curdled, half-liquid slime. It was mayo gone incredibly, very, wrongly bad.

Not where I meant to go. Sorry.

Anyway... Cole, Mom, Gran and I had Easter lunch yesterday at the Hyde Park Bar and Grill in South Austin. I love their peach pudding, but after a yummy lunch of southern-friend chicken breast, sesame green beans and their famous fries, I simply didn't have room for dessert. None of us did.

I guess many people, like us, opted not to mess the kitchen to prepare an Easter lunch, and instead went out to dine. The restaurant was very busy, and after about a 30-minute wait, we were seated at the door of the kitchen. The open door of the kitchen, back in the corner by the bar. Fine. I usually don't like to watch what happens in there and would have normally asked for another table, but they were packed and I didn't want to be that customer at such a busy time.

The thing about sitting at the kitchen door is that you do (get to?) see what goes on in there and what comes out of there. Waiters and waitresses with empty glasses stacked 20 high; managers bustling around with brooms; beautiful plates of buttermilk pie.

There were three waitresses on duty along with several waiters. Two of the girls had shoulder-length hair about like mine -- one was curly and dark brown, the other was flipped a little in the back with some blonde streaks -- and the third had long, dark hair up in a pony tail. I'm sure your mind has created a mental picture of one of those girls just by the description of her hair. Now picture this: carrying a large tray of food on her right hand, balanced on her right shoulder. Then she turns her head to the left.

That's all I have to say about that...

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Monday, April 02, 2007

It's in the Bag!

I don't know about you, but when I go to the grocery store I'm very careful about where I put things in my basket. Maybe it's my OCD coming out a little, but I truly think it's just smart shopping.

I always hit the produce section first and put the bananas, lettuce, apples, carrots, and whatever other fresh fruit or veggie grabs my eye into one corner of my basket. All of my cold goodies -- deli meat, sliced cheese, yogurt, butter -- go into another area of my basket together. Boxes of cereal, muffin mix and crackers are lined up neatly and nicely up front.

You get the picture; I handle my whole trip this way.

Even when I get to the conveyor belt at the checkout, I take things out of my basket the same way. Boxes are placed on the conveyor belt together; frozen things together; produce together.

Why is it then, when I get home, there is a single bag containing a box of dog treats, a bunch of bananas, and a bottle of dishwashing soap?!?

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