Monday, October 26, 2009

Home Is Where The Gym Is

James spent yesterday afternoon putting together the recumbent bike that we bought the other day. I couldn't have put it together if I'd had a month to assemble it, but James made pretty quick work of it, and he even worked out on it right away. We set it up in the master bedroom and moved the treadmill in beside it (below, with Romeo standing guard). It doesn't show in this photo, but they are facing the television- very important of course. The treadmill had been set up in the guest bedroom, which is much smaller and it sort of crowded the room. Before in this spot, we had a chess table set up that we bought a few years ago at an auction. It's beautiful, but I don't play, and the only time the pieces got moved is when the cats jumped up on the table and knocked them over. So the chess table is now in the guest room. Not in the photo is my wooden crate full of free weights, I've got them all the way up to 20 pounds. That's about the extent of my exercise equipment, not counting my step aerobics platforms from a million years ago (the 80's). I do have a nice stack of exercise DVD's, which are sitting in the living room currently collecting dust. Most of them I gave up on, because I am horribly uncoordinated, and you do NOT want to see me try to bust a move with those. I do love my Leslie Sansone DVD's- back in 2003 I used them almost every day and lost over 80 pounds (the same 80 I am trying to shed again now). I've got the workouts from one mile to four miles, but I see she has a five mile one out now! I confess, they're easy and they work, and I'm not sure why I haven't been doing them lately. Tomorrow my new schedule starts, and I will have to find my groove as a full-time working woman. I went to the grocery store this weekend and bought enough healthy food to pack my lunch bag every day and eat at my desk. I also had great luck with finding new clothes, and I was surprised at how many times I went for the larger sizes, only to have to come back out of the fitting room and get a smaller one. That's a super good feeling, especially when you can find them on the clearance rack at Kohl's- my favorite store, their plus size clothes don't make me feel like a second-rate citizen in a potato sack the way some lines do. And hopefully, when I can't fit into the new clothes anymore, it will be because I'm down another size again!! Well, having said all that, I'm headed off to ride the new bike...


Friday, October 23, 2009

Dress For Success

So today I did a lot of blank staring at the clothes hanging in my closet, trying to make decisions. I told James today that I want to dress more professional for my new job starting next week. I will be making more money, and have a position with more face to face contact with the sales staff, and I want my new supervisor to be happy that she picked me out of all the other many applicants. Before, when I worked for the same company back in SC, I was there almost eight years and frankly, I was so comfortable with everyone there and my place in the department, that I stopped worrying about what kind of impression I made on people. I had no contact with the public. I worked off hours so that for the first 3 hours of the day, I was the only one there at all. There were days I schlepped into work wearing the same capris and sandals I would wear to the beach. When you're heavy, sometimes it doesn't matter how nicely you are dressed or how put together your outfit is, you still feel like a slob and a mess. I had many days like that. But I don't want that for myself anymore. I will be working with complete strangers who don't know anything about me at all, and I know first impressions are usually lasting ones. So, I've been thumbing through the pieces in my closet and finding What Not To Wear, instead of finding the right clothes I should be wearing. Suddenly nothing I have in my closet seems good enough for me to wear when I go out into the world and meet my new co-workers. When I was at home all day long, no one saw me but the cats, and they are surprisingly nonjudgmental. I have trouble letting go of clothes, but I do try to donate to Goodwill as often as I can. I have things that I still wear simply because they are comfortable, not because they look good on me or fit properly. Okay, so I love my Life Is Good shirts and I won't get rid of those no matter how worn out they are. But do I really need to keep (and keep wearing) that shirt I bought at Target two years ago that is now too big and is starting to fuzz up with age? I know I've talked about this before on my other blog, but now it has a more significant meaning since I'll be working again and meeting new people. This weekend I'll have to spend a good deal of time trying on clothes shoved in the back of the closet that I haven't seen in awhile, and putting together (matching) outfits for work. And yes, I will probably do a little shopping too, because what woman doesn't love a good excuse for buying new clothes? I haven't really had to "worry" about how I dressed in a very very long while- probably the last time I took extra care in my clothing choices was back when I was dating James!!!- but next week I will feel like a debutante making her entrance. I know the new person in the office always gets scoped out with a critical eye, because come on, who of us hasn't done that to the new receptionist or the temp?? And at my size, I can't simply fade into the woodwork, so I might as well straighten my shoulders and wear a brand new blouse...


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Check This Out

If anyone needs a little extra inspiration- and who doesn't- please go check out Tosca Reno's website. I have all her books and am trying to ultimately work my way towards following her food plan. Yes, with Weight Watchers you have the ability to eat whatever you want as long as you stick with your points. Tosca may not be a household name like Jillian Michaels, but I love Tosca's fresh approach to eating clean. It's real and it's not gimicky and it's healthy. I discovered her book The Eat-Clean Diet about two years ago and have read all her books now. I have fallen backwards and have been relying on Lean Cuisines and the like to keep me on the right path, but I know processed foods are high in sodium, full of chemicals, and not realistic if I want to lose the weight and keep it off for good this time. Tosca did it all on her own, and if you go see her before and after pics, you will be impressed. Has anyone else out there checked out her cookbook yet? Let me know what you think about it.


Nothing Earth Shattering

No news to report today, as I struggle with getting rid of the pounds I gained on vacation. I do it every time we go out of town, so I am not shocked that it happened again. (Who ever lost weight in Vegas? Money yes, weight no!) But I know I will have to toughen my resolve as my life and schedule change drastically next week. On Tuesday I go back to work full time, after ten months of staying at home. I will be working 8-5, like the rest of the world, after about six+ years of working 4am-noon. It's a 30-40 minute drive to my new office, thankfully through beautiful winding countryside on roads with little to no traffic- so no stress or road rage to put me in a mood. I will be gone from home now from 7 in the morning until probably close to 6 at night. I know, that's how the whole world turns! But, it's been a very very long time for me since I held down "regular" hours. I will no longer be able to make my Friday morning meetings to Weight Watchers, and if you read my other blog then you already know going on the weekends will be nearly impossible since James and I so often go out of town, or at least get into Atlanta. And of course housework that I was able to do during the week will now have to undoubtedly be shifted to the weekends. It will be a big adjustment, but I don't have any desire to give up the fight yet. I plan to carry my lunch to work and avoid the pitfalls of eating out with co-workers (one of which is the hubby), and I will go back to emptying my wallet of any change so I'm not tempted by the vending machines. These are all traps I have experience with, and I know they are easy to give in to on days when stress and deadlines and work loads become too much to shoulder. I am less concerned about my diet (easy to control, I can only eat what I bring with me to the office) and I'm more worried about finding the time to exercise now. I know me, and I already know I will kiss the gym bye-bye. I won't make the time to go. But, I absolutely love my treadmill and as long as the battery is charged in my iPod, I can stay on there for four and five miles at a shot. Now that we have the new recumbent bike (above- much assembly required) to set up right beside the treadmill, there will be no whining about how it's too cold outside to walk or how I don't have time to make it to yoga class. Both of these pieces are going to be placed right in front of a TV, so I can't even use the excuse of a new episode of NCIS as a reason to skip working out. I am mostly worried about my use of time in the evenings now, since I will have very little of it. I've had the luxury lately of twelve and thirteen hour days home alone to exercise whenever I wanted to, and now I am going to have to make myself set up a structured schedule and stick to it. I've always been fantastic at time management at the office, but boy I suck at it when I'm at home...We'll see how it goes, starting next week...


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Getting Over Vacation

Vacation- that time when we step out of our real lives for just a short while and discover new places and new experiences. Sadly, I stepped back on the scale when I got home. NOT pretty. Vegas wasn't kind to me this trip, and even though I ate "less" than I did when we were there in April, I think I ate more unfriendly foods this time. And I sat on my butt more this time, too, which didn't help. I think we only ate two meals a day- I only remember getting up to have breakfast once. But I also tried to branch out and eat different things this trip. One afternoon we had Korean food, very delish but also swimming in some thick sauces that surely had to be high in calories and fat. One night we went to a fancy burger joint that gave you a list of about 100 ingredients you could top your burger with- I had my usual rare burger, and topped it with goat cheese and of course, the always present mayonnaise. I inhaled it before the waitress could come back around and refill my water glass, it was SO good. (I'm telling you people, if you get the chance, order your burger rare- you will never want it any other way again!) Dinner on our last night was a spectacular meal of Chateaubriand- and while I didn't finish my lovely green beans that accompanied it, I sure didn't waste time ordering the creme brulee for dessert. I couldn't even behave the one day we went out for brunch (above)- this is Vegas' version of one pancake, and yes it was as big as the platter it came on and although the photo doesn't show it, it was an inch thick (check out James' towering breakfast below).

So is there any wonder that yesterday we went out and bought a recumbent bike, to crank up the exercise routine a notch? Yes, we need it after this trip!


Monday, October 12, 2009

I Survived

Well I made it through the weekend visit with my parents, and am happy to say I didn't blow it. Our decision to stay out of the restaurants really paid off. Although we did meet James for lunch on Friday afternoon- at our favorite pizza place that serves calzones as big as hubcaps- that was my only misstep. Saturday night I made my famous buffalo wings. I used to make them the way the rest of the world does- deep fried in a pot of oil. But awhile back we made them in the oven instead- baked with no oil. And I'm here to tell you that once they get tossed in the sauce, I dare you to tell the difference between my baked wings and the normal fried ones. You can't! I know wings in general are a fatty tidbit all on their own, and baking them actually gets some of the grease out and leaves it behind on the cookie sheet. The key is baking them for a long time at a low temperature (an hour at 350), until they get "crisp" just like they would right in the fryer. Sunday night we had planned for steaks on the grill, but by dinnertime everyone was sort of in a happy, lazy mood from watching football, golf, and NASCAR all day, so I don't think anyone wanted to go through the hassle of cooking (and eating) (and cleaning up after) a big meal. I ended up having a salad for dinner that night, and was just as happy with that as I would have been the steak.

I wish I could say all of this was due to sheer willpower on my part, but I think it was more because I'm fighting a horrible cold/allergies. I spent more time this weekend with Benadryl, vitamin C, and my neti pot than anything else. I was not really that interested in food, although I did eat my fair share of wings. What is it about having a soar throat, runny nose, and congested head that suddenly makes even my favorite foods seem unappealing? Maybe I have stumbled onto a secret for losing weight! Trust me, if I could bottle up my allergies, I would give them away to the first taker. Most people think that spring is the season for allergies, when everything is blooming. But the sad fact is that fall is the worst season, and yet it's my favorite season for being outdoors and keeping the windows open. There's a price to pay!

But today starts a whole new challenge, as we are leaving for a week of vacation. We just planned this vacation a few days ago, about as last minute as they get. But of course the spontaneity is part of the adventure. I'll blog about it when we get back, but right now I feel equal parts excitement and dread about how I will eat this week. Another thing that is tough about trying to lose sometimes overshadows all the fun you're supposed to be having!


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Gym and Jim

I have a confession to make. I have not been going to the gym lately. I have been making excuse after excuse, and none of them are valid enough. Really, is doing the laundry ever a good enough reason to skip the yoga class? I started going to Atlanta Fitness for the yoga, but very quickly learned that "yoga" at the gym was not the kind of yoga I was looking for. The class name, Centergy, should have given it away. The class is actually a fast-paced aerobics class that happens to use yoga poses and movements for the routine. Not to say that I don't need to burn more calories, but I was looking for very traditional yoga, where the movements were all about holding the poses, stretching the muscles, and deep breathing from your core. You know, the kind where you sit on the mat and inhale and exhale for five minutes. My therapist recommended this to help with my leg pain. And I'd taken yoga in the past and enjoyed it. Anyhow, the yoga at the gym was not what I wanted. I ended up going just to use the treadmill (which I have at home) and the recumbent bike.

But James and I have been looking at recumbent bikes lately. His sister has one and James used it during our last visit, and he liked it. And I like using it at the gym. So we're seriously contemplating the purchase of one for our home. We've narrowed our search down to two models (above). The NordicTrack is the model his sister has, and it's got all the bells and whistles and a big wide cushy seat (for those of us with excess gluteus maximus issues). But, it's sort of pricey. Okay, it's actually fairly expensive. The other model is by Gold's Gym, and it's less than half the price, but it too has a lot of great features. Does anyone out there have any experience with either of these models, to offer any advice or recommendations? I am sadly one of those brainwashed Americans who automatically thinks that the more expensive something is, the better quality is just HAS to be. So if any of you have any suggestions on recumbent bikes, please let me know. James is going back out today to look at the Gold's Gym bike, so hopefully we will be deciding soon. And then I can ride the bike while watching NCIS, instead of sitting on my ever-expanding gluteus maximus on the couch at night!! Oh yeah, and I can save on the gym fees as well...


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sometimes It Works!

So sometimes the science experiment does work, as it did for lunch yesterday. Okay, I admit I love pizza, I could eat it for every meal if given the option. On my really bad days, I would indulge in a frozen pizza from the store, like a DiGiorno. The only problem is, I would settle in on the couch to watch TV and eat the whole thing myself. For most of you reading this, you've possibly done the same thing in the past. The pizza that I preferred- the cheese garlic bread pizza- has a total of (drum roll please) 2100 calories and 84 grams of fat. Shocking, I know. You think, hey, it's just a frozen pizza. But I looked it up and a piece of the frozen DiGiorno has exactly the same numbers as the Pizza Hut cheese pan pizza- 350 calories and 14 grams of fat per slice. We all know how cheesy and gooey and greasy Pizza Hut is, right? So, surely a cheap frozen pizza is better for me? Apparently not.

I do keep Lean Cuisine pizzas in the house, but they just don't satisfy the craving when it's a bad day. And yesterday was a bad day. So I had to find middle ground. Enter Lavash bread. I confess, I've never had it before, but the other day at the store James and I spied a bag of Lavash roll-up bread among all the bags of pitas and tortillas. One piece has only 100 calories and 4 grams of fat, and 6 grams of fiber. The style we bought is made with whole wheat, flax, and oat bran. With just a small amount of finely shredded cheese, and a little Pam sprayed on top to give it a nice glisten, I turned out a wonderful little (very) thin crust pizza. (Photo above.) The whole thing had less calories and fat than one slice of the DiGiorno variety. And it definitely hit the spot I needed it to.

I'm sure when Lavash bread was invented in ancient days, they never intended for it to be a substitute for Pizza Hut, but it worked well for me!


Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Well, this is progress from the last photo of weigh-in, and I will take it. Getting below 200 is my greatest goal for right now. It's been a long time. I think the last time my weight started with a one, is in early 2006, and I was pushing the 200's at my wedding in February of that year. I must be the only bride in the world who didn't go on a diet in the months before her wedding. Anywho, hopefully some time next week I will be able to post a photo with a number "1" taking up the first position. My parents are coming to visit this weekend, and in the past we would have gone out to eat A LOT. But we've all made the decision to stay in and make our meals this go round, for many reasons. That's not to say we won't have fun and enjoy the visit and have a great time together. I know we'll play cards, we'll watch football, and get to catch up on a lot of talking. After all, that's what spending time together means.

In my last Weight Watchers meeting, we focused on eating out. We of course had the discussion about gigantic portion sizes, and how Americans have come to expect it. One woman, who visited Italy recently, talked about how eating out there was a long affair and many small courses were delivered to the table over an hour or two. Here, we can barely finish our salads, and the waitress is throwing the entree at you! I personally would rather have a small plate of delicious food, than a big plate of just plain ol' blech. But it seems as though we are programmed to equate dollars signs with how much food we get, not the quality.

In the meeting we also talked about why we automatically chose to go out to eat in order to socialize with someone. We meet for drinks or coffee, lunch or dinner. Getting together with girlfriends, another couple, out of town visitors. It's always going out for food. And I don't know why. I can have a nice conversation with my husband over the dinner table at home just as easily as I can at Olive Garden. But it's true, and it seems in this economy we all still meet up with friends to visit over a large pizza or an endless basket of fries or a 620 calorie coffee (that would be for my drink of choice at Starbucks, which also has 27 grams of fat!).

So for this visit with the folks, we're going to try to stay in the whole time, at least as far as meals go. That's not to say we're going to sit around nibbling on lettuce. No, we'll probably grill ribs or make wings in the oven, for college football Saturday. But I find being able to control your environment, and your ingredients, is a lot healthier than just taking whatever they serve up at the local BBQ shack!


Monday, October 5, 2009

Science Experiment

One of the most challenging parts about losing weight is changing the way you eat. At least for me. I am not a good cook at all- unless it's something cheesy and fatty and Italian (oh wait, that's me). Even so, I do try to find new recipes here and there, to wedge in between the endless nights of baked chicken and steamed veggies. I have a small library of cookbooks and cooking magazines, amassed back in the day before I discovered and the Food Network. Last week I decided it was time to break out the Crock Pot, and dig up something new to throw in it. Above would be a recipe I located in a slow cooker cookbook from 1995. I should have left it, undiscovered, back in '95. This is Spicy Pineapple Pork Chili, which looked great on paper. Only, there was hardly any pork and even less "spice". The dried beans were still crunchy, even after nine hours of cooking. It was worse than my own old tried and true chili recipe. Something about the fall weather just makes me crave homemade soups and casseroles and yummy concoctions from the Crock Pot- but, this was definitely not one of them. But, we try to be a thrifty household and the leftovers got tucked away into the freezer. I'm sure I will revisit them before the season is over, but I definitely won't be making another fresh batch of this again. On to the next new recipe...


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Extra Credit!

I decided to revisit my weight loss tracker at the bottom of my page. I started it back when I first joined Weight Watchers. But then I realized, I'd lost a few pounds on my own at the beginning of the year before starting WW. I felt like I was short changing my efforts by not recording it and not "counting" those pounds, too. So I've updated the tracker now, to reflect my true weight loss for the whole year and to give myself the credit where credit is due!! Hey, I've earned it!


Friday, October 2, 2009


Okay, I couldn't look at that other gross photo of me any longer!!!!! So instead here's a nice one of me and the husband in the Virgin Islands last year.

I Didn't Chicken Out

So here I was this morning, sitting in my car outside of Weight Watchers. I got there ten minutes early, so I had plenty of time to reflect on the deeper reasons of why I was there and why I needed to be there. I decided that since I drove 30 miles to get to the meeting, it would be a waste to not weigh. I was surprised and shocked. Only a 1.4 lb gain. I guess getting back on the right track earlier in the week paid off. It was all the encouragement that I needed. I was dreading weigh-in for no good reason whatsoever. My previous meeting a month ago, I had a 1.4 lb loss. So, I feel as though I am back at a great starting point, and I'm wiping the slate clean and giving myself the second chance that I need. In the past, I would have just given up, and maybe when January of the next year rolled around, I would slink back into a meeting. I've still got a whole quarter of a year left! So instead of spending the holiday season on the sidelines in 2009, just passively waiting for the year to end and New Year's Resolutions to begin, I'm instead going to set myself up with a goal of losing at least another ten pounds before 2010 gets here!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Advance Planning

Above is the last entry from my Weight Watchers book where my weigh-ins are recorded. As you can see from the date of 9/4- it's been almost a month since I stepped foot inside a meeting. Sure, I've got a zillion reasons why I was absent those weeks- it was storming rain, I was on my period, I overslept- but the fact is in the month that I've been skipping meetings, I gained 8 pounds back. From the first week I started in February, until I fell off the wagon last month, I'd only had two meetings where I gained weight, and both times I had just returned from vacations. Forgivable sins. All the other weigh-ins were successful and hard-fought losses. My leader always insists that going to meetings is the surest way to stay on track with weight loss. Just "knowing" how to follow the program isn't always enough. There's the accountability of weigh-ins, the support of fellow members, and the information and tips provided at the meetings. And in the back of my mind, I've known all along that she is right. The only time Weight Watchers has ever worked for me- and it has- is when I go to the meetings and go face the scale. Their scale. Not the one I have in the dark corner of my own bathroom, where no one else knows my trials except for me and the dust bunnies.

My meetings are early on Friday mornings, and in the past I have always been delighted to load up my cute little bag with my WW gear, get all dressed up, and drive the half hour to the center in Peachtree City. On the way home, I always stop and do a little shopping, sometimes even meeting the husband for lunch out. I always looked forward to Fridays. Tomorrow is Friday, and I want to go to my meeting with every ounce in my soul. But I know what that little sticker will have printed on it. The one they stick in my permanent book, the one that announces what the scale records when I step on it. I just don't know if I want to see that in print tomorrow morning. Of course, I know how much I've gained, because I weigh here at home. And even though their scale always weighs me heavier (don't they always!), it is still a gain of several pounds. I plan on going to the meeting, I just haven't decided yet if I am too chicken to weigh officially or not. See, I do have a Get Out Of Jail Free card. Specifically, a coupon I can turn in at the front desk where they will allow me to attend the meeting but bypass the scale. Tonight I'm trying to decide if I want to use it, or just go face the music. I already KNOW how much I've gained, so why is it bothering me SO much to know that it will be recorded for eternity in my little book? Silly, huh??

I don't think I will know until I walk through the door if I'm going to weigh or not.