Monday, November 30, 2009

Searching for the Saddle... I can get back in it. These past few days have been real corkers, haven't they?

I'm having a little difficulty turning the wine spigot off.

I went for a loooong walk yesterday in the bright sunshine and then scooted home to finish my various freelance projects.

It doesn't feel like enough though, given my numerous indulgences over the past few days.

I get weighed again a week from today.

I do not want to see any gain.

What that means is that I have to get right back on the job ... now, today, this very instant. No more extra bites, no more quick nibbles.

Over the past year or so I've gotten much better at shifting back into weight loss mode after a loose couple of days. But lately I fear maybe I've gotten a little too free and easy about things. It's one thing not to stress, another to relax restrictions to the point of self-defeat, as we all know.

If I were to try and pinpoint one thing that has helped me stay on track in the past, I'd say it's the knowledge of looming weigh-ins. Right now I'm thinking about what will come next Monday, when I haul myself up and force myself to go into the nutritionist's office and hold myself accountable for what I've eaten over the past two weeks.

What matters now is not what I ate last week -- that ship has sailed.
What matters is what I eat this week.

Here's to getting back on track!

Last week I enumerated my holiday plans, which included using my small plates, eating slowly, etc. I did do a lot of that, but didn't work out as much as I'd wanted because of the migraine and general malaise. Adding things up in my head, I see days when I ate a lot of food I don't normally eat. Not a huge pie, thank goodness. But still...extra food. Calories galore in the form of sushi, a sandwich or two, an almond croissant Friday morning, and more stuff I'm forgetting but I know I chomped down the ol' gullet.

It's one thing to not work out a lot during a week when you are also really counting calories. But reduced gym visits plus extra eating generally equals big-time scale problem for me.

I know what I have to do. When I visit Whole Foods later today to buy the week's groceries there will be no treats from the vegan dessert section.

I can do it. I can resist them. It's just food, and it'll be there next week when I go back.

Did I mention I also have future food/drink events that I must carefully pick my way around?

Dinner out at a Mexican place Wednesday, then two parties the following week.

If we were all dieting super-heroes, then I would pick vigilance as my super power. I'd be Vigilance-Girl (that sounds really close to vigilante girl, doesn't it?).

For the rest of this week (and holiday season, if need be), I'm going to envision myself as a secret super-hero with a really cool cape hidden under my clothes. And I'm going to have one of those invisible force fields or shield thingies to pull around me whenever I get into a sticky situation.

"Vigilance-Girl force field, ACTIVATE!"

Maybe if I imagine myself surrounded by a force field of vigilance, I can be vigilant in my behaviors at all these parties.

Let's give it a try, shall we?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Sunday After.....

Time to tally up the damage. It was pretty considerable, but I'm not going to obsess.

First off, hope everyone had a lovely holiday and great weekend.

I was on track for a fantastic Thanksgiving when suddenly everything went totally wrong with no warning -- and there was nothing I could do about it.

A migraine -- a bad one -- came up out of nowhere and smacked me right behind the eye Thursday morning.

I'd woken up early, as planned, cleaned up the house, prepped the garlic, lemon and rosemary chicken we would be serving for dinner later that night, and then gaily tripped out the door to work (very eager to get my holiday double-pay).

Ten minutes after I settled at my desk, I noticed a small white dot on my computer screen. It was most annoying. It kept popping up in the middle of words. I tried to brush it off the screen, I tried blinking it away, I even closed my eyes for several minutes and prayed it would go away.

But, alas...the white dot kept growing bigger, and then it started spinning. And when I closed my eyes, behind the right one, there was a glowing spinning circle of bright colors.

Classic ocular migraine. At the worst moment and worst day possible.

I had to leave work. Not only could I not look at a computer screen or read -- both requirements for my job -- I knew it would not be long before the real pain started, plus nausea.

Luckily another friend at work suffers from really bad migraines (I hardly ever get them -- this was the third of my life, but I know immediately what they are when they come). She gave me one of her potent pain pills, and it was home to lie in a dark room.

I did survive, but it was tough going to wake myself up a few hours later and play hostess. The worst of it was over, but there was nagging, dull pain behind the eyes. But we did it, and we had fun. It wasn't a super huge high calorie meal, and I was too busy cooking to really consume tons of food.

But there's no doubt it was a big eating day -- and a big wine day, if you want to know the truth. I didn't have any at first because of my head, but later in the night I sipped some white, and that was ok, so then I had some red.

I'm sure that is why I felt even worse the next day. Wine, especially red, doesn't marry well with headaches.

Friday was a nightmare. I felt heavy and lethargic, like I was moving through molasses. I was slow to think, slow to respond, and it took all my energy just to focus on doing my job. I got snapped at by an editor for moving too slow! But I can't blame them -- I couldn't shift into high gear to save my life.

Saturday I woke up better, but still with head pain. It had become a nagging sinus pressure and ache that was driving me crazy.

Oh...I should mention my minor (for me) freak out when I couldn't focus correctly out of my left eye. I put in my contact but it wouldn't fit right -- everything was blurry and the contact hurt. I chucked that pair (they're disposable) and grabbed a new set. Same problem -- I gradually got more and more concerned and then became convinced I'd had a minor stroke overnight.

My BF talked me away from full-blown panic, and I went to work armed with my glasses in case the eye got so bad I had to take the contacts out. Sure enough, the bright lights in there irritated me more, so I quickly plucked the contact out and prepared to don my glasses.

And lo and behold..what did I notice but TWO contacts stuck together in my left eye. I have no idea how I got two contacts in my eye, it's a confusing mystery, but I was so relieved to not be stroking out that I didn't even question it. I just heaved a sigh of thanks, peeled one off and slapped it back in. Worked fine.

That solved one problem, but I still had that nagging sinus pain. I finally gave in and ran to a drug store and bought one of those sinus saline rinses. I've always heard they are great for chronic sinus sufferers but have been too scared to try them. I am not a fan of shooting water up my own nose.

Thank goodness desperation drives us to try new things. I will spare you all the gory details, but let me say that it was FANTASTIC!

The pain was so bad I didn't even wait to get home -- I tried it in the bathroom at work right away, and the relief was immediate. The pressure eased by half within minutes, and I could breathe again.

It has only improved since then, and I think I'm addicted to it now because I did it again last night and first thing this morning. Love!

So...soon I'll be heading to the gym. I did eat a piece of red velvet cake last night (half a one, but they are so huge that half equals a whole serving, I'm sure). And there have been many manchego cheese bites over these holidays.

But like I said, I'm not obsessing. I ate a lot more than usual -- but I didn't binge or gorge -- and I enjoyed myself. I'll deal with the fallout, like I always do.

It's just a relief to not be in pain for the first time in three days. Hope you are all well.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Who Wants to Buy a Bridge?

I've got one I can sell you -- cheap. Welcome to Brooooooookkkkkllllyynn!

For those of you who have not had the pleasure, a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge is a real treat. I got to visit it yesterday afternoon for a work project. I could have just gone back to the office with the photographer in his car. But instead I decided to zip myself over the bridge and then get on the subway.

An extra mile of walking to add to my 3.5-miler to work Tuesday morning. Yay extra exercise!

Nothing puts me in a good mood like this bridge. You just have to watch out for the psycho bikers (and I say this as a biker) who get angry at the pedestrians who stray into the bike lane. It IS annoying when walkers do that (there are clearly labeled lanes for people and bikes), but most bikers realize the Brooklyn Bridge is not a great place for a sprint. You bike across and soak up the views and air, and weave your way around the people.

Bikers who scream and yell at folks because they can't maintain a blistering pace across a crowded bridge may be a bit tetched in the head, I think.

Here's two more I snapped from my weird cell phone, which always makes pictures in bright lights look like fake postcards.

It takes me about 15 minutes, I'd say, to power walk my way across to Manhattan. These pics were taken from the Brooklyn side, after I climbed onto the walkway from the DUMBO access steps. This required me to bypass several tasty food places that I love, including Grimaldi's.

That's the best pizza. Thin crust, spicy, so good. But pizza is a trigger food for me (holla Beej!). Can not have just one slice. So I trundled on by on my springy legs and concentrated on how good it felt to be moving along at a good pace instead of what was behind Grimaldi's door.

So I got in a lot of extra walking yesterday, which turned out to be a good thing. I ate on plan all day, and had a very light lunch -- more by accident than design. Just didn't have a ton of leftovers to bring and didn't have any extra veggies at home to bulk it up.

At Whole Foods later, buying stuff for Thursday night, I got a small assortment of fruit tarts for one of my guests, who loves them. Yeah...those did not make it through the night. I sampled one, and then another, and then all of them were gone.

So...I did not eat 100 percent on plan. I had three unplanned fruit tarts. Luckily, they were very small. Lesson learned -- don't buy any treats in advance for friends. Buy them RIGHT BEFORE they will be served.

Strangely, the mini-apple pie I bought (5 inches) for the boyfriend and guests Thursday night is sitting in the kitchen, untouched, and very easy to resist. I like apple pie. But I can stay away from it. Don't know what in those fruit tarts triggered me.

Maybe their cuteness? They were so sweet and mini. And the fruit was fresh and delicious. Raw blueberries and strawberries.

Dinner out tonight. Already picked out what I'm going to eat from the menu.

Have a great day everyone!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Weigh-In Results and Thanksgiving Stats

Somebody's been hitting me with a lucky stick for the past two weeks.

The scale went down another 2.6lbs at the nutritionist's today. So something is going right. I just can't figure out what it is.

I suspect two possible factors.

1) Right now, for whatever reason, my stress levels are low. I'm not stressing all that much when I don't eat perfectly. Nor am I allowing my binges -- really more like slip ups, I guess -- to extend too long. They're like a blip on the radar, mostly. Last week I was sliding into a series of days of bad and/or overeating, but luckily that pattern snapped when I returned to work.

2) My portions are smaller. Whether I'm eating on plan or off, I just can't consume as much as I used to. And I don't like feeling disgustingly full anymore. It hurts. Consequently, my slip ups are nowhere near as large as they used to be. Could be mitigating the damage somewhat.

In anycase, I'm feeling like a lucky little sod for having eked out a loss despite some fairly frightful decisions last week.

Now, on to this week. I've got two dinners out coming up (Wed and Fri nights) and then the all-too-tempting Turkey Day itself to contend with.

My nutrionist gave me some very eye-opening information today. Last year she and her co-workers at the Look Ahead Study ordered in a Thanksgiving Day Meal for one from a local deli. They measured and weighed and calorie-counted everything that came in that meal -- again, ordered for ONE PERSON.

I photographed the sheet she gave me below (sorry, no scanner) and hope the picture is clear enough to read. It should be if you click on it and get the blown up version.

The pecan pie dessert is scary! I'm so glad I didn't buy that pie last week. By the way, both desserts came as 3 oz portions. But when they weighed them, they discovered they were really six ounces each!! It's illegal in NY to short anyone on a weighted amount, but you can throw extra in without any problem. So I guess this deli owner is really generous.

If you can't see the total here, it's 3,705 calories for the dinner as it was packaged and sent by the deli.

My nutritionist wanted me to have this because on Thursday, when I'm at work, there will be a Thanksgiving feast available for everyone, courtesy of our local deli. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say.

She also gave me this handy tip sheet on coping mechanisms for the holidays. I'll upload it, and again, hope you all can read it if click on it and get the bigger version.

I took a close up of the one box that lists some helpful food substitutes to lighten the calories. This should be legible, I hope.

Notice that choosing pumpkin pie instead of pecan pie saves you 225 calories. Sigh. Goodbye, pecan pie.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

This Week

These are the times that try dieters' souls.

I'm talking about the holidays, of course.

It always pays to have a plan, so here it goes:

This week I will:

1) Walk to work every day, except possibly Friday. I will walk to work on Thursday, which is Thanksgiving Day.

(I volunteered to work the Thanksgiving day shift because a) I have no immediate family here to do the whole big feast thing with and b) I always take off Christmas week to be with my family. So I'm happy on Thanksgiving to give someone else a chance to enjoy a family holiday. Plus, it keeps me from hanging around at home stuffing my face. )

2) I will not eat any of the holiday treats that will be in the office that day. I will bring my own lunch. We will be having a small dinner with friends after I finish work -- a dinner that I will have prepared in advance, and consisting of lots of veggies and other light fare.

3) I will get in a gym workout on the elliptical at least three times this week.

4) I will keep up with my Hot 100 challenge and lift weights in the corporate gym on Tuesday. It will be closed on Thursday, but open Friday.

5) I will eat slowly and mindfully all week.

6) I will eat on plan all week.

7) I will do two Tabata sessions (eeeeeekkk).

These are my goals. So let it be written. So let it be done.

Gorgeous day in NYC today. Hope it's lovely where you are too!

Friday, November 20, 2009


Folks, tonight I feel blessed. As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, I am a grateful woman.

Strangely, I think this sense of well-being comes from returning to work.

I went back in today after ...well, a somewhat lackluster effort from myself on both the dieting and freelance projects this week. I did get a lot accomplished, but I also moped around a bit and was, frankly, a bit whiny.

On the way to work today it struck me just how lucky I am to have a job to go to. A job that is far, far from perfect, but surrounds me with wonderful, positive colleagues.

I am grateful for the structure it affords me -- financially and in other ways. It gives me a living, and to a degree, a purpose for every day. And I need purpose in my life. I flounder all too easily when left to my own devices.

I'm grateful for the rude, robust good health that rarely fails me. I have my problems (frequent colds, begone!), but lack of mobility is no longer one of them. I think this is maybe how the first astronaut on the moon felt when he hit the dirt and bounced back up. I may not be at zero gravity, but 70 pounds later, I feel a huge difference.

I am grateful for the means and methods of communication that allow me to express myself here and in other forums. I am tremendously appreciative -- more than I can say -- of all of you who come to check up on me, urge me on, and commiserate when I'm down.

New battles loom, other doldrums will come. I know this.

But for today, I can say I ate on plan -- fantastically on plan. And it felt so great.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Food Network is the Devil

It's Satan in a sweet and savory form. And it goes on and on and on, one recipe after another. It's enough to break anyone's resistance down.

And do they really think that we think that their photogenic chefs actually eat what they make?

The only ones who look like they know what a cake tastes like are Paula Dean and Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa.

All the others yip and chirp and flash huge grins over their "yummy" food and then take little bird bites. I find all the eye rolling and over-the-top mugging really absurd. I think they're like professional wine tasters and spit out what's in their mouths -- once the cameras are off, of course.

I'm a bit cranky, I think, and the FN is working my nerves a bit with the constant food porn. For my sanity and safety, I've switched to the Tennis Channel.

Soldiering on through my project. About halfway through the first big chunk. Miles to go before I sleep, though.

Cold better, but still phlegmy in the lungs. YUUUUUCK already. I'm ready to end this.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


It's relatively minor, but still .... better than the alternative.

I did finally stop loafing about yesterday and put in three hours of prep work toward my freelance project. That's not a ton, but it's always hardest to get started. There are lots of details to get sorted, and research to organize before the writing can begin.

Then I simply had to go and close my eyes for a few minutes. This cold is really taking it out of me. Of course I fell asleep, and if someone hadn't called and woken me up a few hours later, I think I might have slept the whole night through! Probably I'd have woken up at like 2 or 3 am and been furious at myself.

This morning we were up and out early, in part to make room for our bi-monthly cleaning lady (I try to clean, really I do, but there are just things that she does way better than me and I hate a dirty house, so I caved in a few months ago and hired her). We took advantage of my not having to be at work to have a quick breakfast together.

It had been a long time since the BF and I sat face to face over eggs and toast in a New York deli. For obvious reasons (financial and dietary) we rarely do that sort of thing anymore.

Kind of romantic. Like we were dating again. Plus, the BF did the unexpected and instead of sitting across the table from me, in the busy NYer way, slid me over so I was next to him on the wall banquette. Awwww. Like we were in Paris, almost!

It is nice to be face to face with your darling, and it's doubly nice to be tucked in next to them, sharing some personal space. It was a sweet and cozy breakfast.

I hadn't planned out what to eat beforehand but when the waitress stopped by I didn't allow myself even a second to dither. I also purposely avoided the menu -- no flapjacks for me, thanks.

"Coffee, wheat toast, no butter, two poached eggs with no butter, and raw tomatoes on the side please instead of homefries," I said. There -- that was handled. And there's nothing I love more than a piece of crisp toast with fresh tomato on it, covered with a warm egg after I pierce the yolk.

It's my version of the traditional British fry up my Nana used to make for us, which had black beans on top of everything else, and of course some big ol' bangers (sausages). She did throw in tomatoes too, but they were fried in the leftover sausage fat. It never ceased to amaze me that my Nana never gained weight (she wasn't 'skinny,' but she definitely wasn't fat). But then again, her idea of a portion was about a third of what mine is (er..was, I mean).

I'm back home now and about to get to work again. I do feel like I could use another nap, but it will have to wait.

This reminds me of what my life was like when I used to freelance almost full-time. I ate a lot -- A LOT -- just to keep myself sitting at my computer working. It takes tremendous self-discipline and energy to do the work, and be creative with it. And often I just didn't have the ooomph (I thought) to get it done without giving myself a carrot, so to speak. But it was never an actual carrot -- often bags of chips (big ones), take-out and delivery diner food, lots of Indian delivery, and so on. Anything that would keep me nailed to the machine and producing. I would lull myself into writing with a few bites of this and a few bites of that, then write a few more lines, nibble some more, and before long, everything was gone.

I would say I put on a good portion of my current extra weight during that two year time frame -- and it's taken me about 5 years since then to start losing it. Ugh. Not anything I want to repeat.

I'll keep this in mind as I push through this project over the next few days. Luckily this is now an occasional occurrence for me and not a lifestyle. As much as I often dream of being able to work from home, I'm quite unconvinced that it would work for me -- I think I would eat my way through the day far too often.

No gym yet, still too stuffy and it's hard to breathe deeply (lungs hurt) but did walk about 10 blocks after breakkie. That's not much, only half a mile, but it was something.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ho Hum

Guys, I'm in some dangerous territory here, methinks.

I had arranged to take these next few days off because a) I'm owed the time and b) I have a freelance project I want to get done before the holidays start in earnest.

Then I got sick. So now I'm sitting at home, which would be ok if I were working on my freelance project. But I am not.

Yesterday I did do some research on my afternoon meander. Today I had to get up early for a dentist appointment. Didn't feel great, earaches and sore throat, but decided I should get up and go, or I'd sleep the morning away.

I grabbed a coffee post-cleaning (no cavities!) and returned home. Am now so tired I can barely stay awake. I want to take a nap -- but I haven't even started work yet and it's noon.

Worse, I'm getting in that I-don't-want-to-work-let's-see-what's-in-the-kitchen mode. Not good. There is stuff in the kitchen (good stuff) but I don't want to eat just because I'm bored.

Had cottage cheese for breakfast and orzo soup for lunch just now. So I'm not hungry. I really want to download a good book (or a trashy one) on my Kindle and zone out. But I can't. Must work. Had to turn off Food Network because Paula Deen was going on about "pumpkin-cheesecake, y'all" and it was seriously giving me binging urges. Visions of walking to the corner and buying something illicit were threatening to take over.

Last night we experimented with supper, by the way. I got a packet of pre-made saag paneer to try for dinner. Not good. At all. The B/F refused to eat it and spent the night looking a bit sulky. He still had the wheat cous cous, organic beans and chicken soup I made. But he didn't appreciate my foisting green stuff on him. He's a bit hard to convince on some things. Took forever to sell him on the tempeh -- now that's all he wants every night for dinner (unless he cooks, then it's lamb or fish or chicken).

I've told him that from now on Monday night will be experiment night -- as in a vegan experiment. He's quite unhappy. Too bad.

Right, I'm buckling down now to do some work. That's why I'm not at the office, after all.

And just to show that I do sometimes venture out of my beloved Central Park, here's a quick shot of Madison Ave, around 45th St in Midtown Manhattan. I'd just come from the dentist and bought a coffee on the street. I'm looking south, a/k/a downtown in Manhattan-speak. Note the bundled up pedestrians. It's cold today!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Three Posts in 24 Hours

That may be a sign I'm getting a little compulsive.

But in reality I'm just a bit bored. Better to blog than to eat, n'est-ce pas? Am home sick, as I mentioned earlier.

I canceled my weigh-in this morning so I could stay home and rest. But a photographer friend who was at an early morning shoot down the street ended up dragging me out for coffee.

We went here, to a small little patisserie on my corner (that skinny person in the pic is not me, unfortunately). I studiously avoided looking at the tarts and croissants and pain au chocolat.

I took advantage of our surprise get together to give him the gifts I brought back from Jamaica. Coffee and rum. Yum.
Then I was feeling well enough to go for a walk. Gorgeous day today. Warm, sunny, crisp. I walked around for hours and ended up seriously exhausted by the time the sun set (about 4pm here!). Definitely overdid it, but fresh air was so wonderful.

Behold the pics, taken of Central Park as I headed south down Central Park West. I'm on the outside of the park looking in. I tried to capture the soft afternoon light in trees, but didn't succeed in mimicking its true glory, more's the pity.

After my walk I stopped at Whole Foods to shop for the week's goodies. I was so wiped out by then I felt like I could have curled up among the squashes and napped. But they frown on that, I suspect. So I soldiered on through the crowds.

There was one moment when I actually stared deeply into the abyss of a pecan pie. I love me some pecan pie. But it was huge. And as I looked at it, what was uppermost in my mind was that fact that I would definitely get sick if I bought it -- even if I only ate half, or a third. It just looked too treacly and sweet.

So (yay!) I walked on with nary a look back. I love it when this whole eating thing is easy, breezy, beautiful to do. Hope it stays easy for a while!

Sick. Again.

This nasty little throat/lung thing I've had off and on this year is back -- spurred no doubt by a very late night Saturday (I was reading a book and could not make myself stop and go to bed).

I've canceled my weigh-in at the nutritionist today because my lungs hurt and I'm coughing and feeling, overall, like crap.

But I will likely meander down to the gym later and hop on the scale. Just to see what my week of light workouts/light eating has wrought. Or unraveled.

A clarification: when I got back from Jamaica I lost 4.4 lbs. Yay! But I haven't updated my total weight loss number. In fact, I've lowered it. Why, you ask?

Because it turns out there's a bit of a discrepancy in my numbers. If you take my starting weight and subtract my current weight, you have a -70 lb difference. If you add in the weeks that I had gained some weight, and then lost those pounds too, you'd have 76 lbs. I'm not quite sure why my nutritionist tracks it both ways or how I first started confusing the two, but in any case, I'm sticking with the first method as my official count.

So, I'm at 70 lbs. Hopefully to go a little higher soon!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Makes Sense to Me

Bored at work today, trolling the web, I found this on Yahoo.

Normally I don't find their "expert" articles all that informative. This one I liked.

In fact, I think I'm going to post it all around my apartment.

I don't know about you guys, but in the past I've always gotten extremely irritated by people who offer me unsolicited advice on weight loss.

It's partially the rude assumption that I need to lose weight. Of course I do (and have for a while) but it's nobody's business to draw that conclusion for me. It's also the superiority factor that bugs me -- just because YOU don't have a visible weight problem, it does not qualify you to tell ME how/what to eat. Or anyone else, for that matter.

If I had lost 5lbs for every idiot suggestion given to me by some well-meaning (and I use that term loosely) person I'd be a size 2 right now.

Some of these are debunked in this Yahoo article, which may be why I like it.

I meant to paste the article here, but for some reason my browser is not cooperating.

Clicky-clicky here to link to the article in question, then.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Just Kidding Beej!

My last post had Beej thinking I was giving up on the weight loss journey for good.

Thankfully, no. I'm still on the right path, even with the odd foray down temptation trail.

It's clear, however, that I need to work on handling my emotions around eating and weight loss/gain.

When I'm in my home routine and habitat, things zip along on auto pilot most of the time, and I'm very happy with that. My weight loss has been rather slow -- if you compare me to many others out there in the blogosphere -- but 70 lbs in a bit over a year is certainly nothing to sneeze at. But going slow (ish) has a couple of advantages: less shock to the body's skin (I hope, at least) and more time to ingrain good habits.

The good habits have, for the most part, taken hold for me. I surprise myself at times with what I now do without second thought. Things I'd never have done before, or had to grit my teeth and force myself to do. Like refuse bread/crackers at the soup store when I get low-cal soups. Or remove the top layer of the bun if I order a burger or big sandwich somewhere. I like bread, it's just too much for me to eat now.

I still have to work on not letting my demons take hold. Demons for me are boredom, frustration, loneliness, depression (not anything serious, just a spot of the blues now and again) and food lust. You know, when you look at food and give it so much power -- I have to have it! It's so good! O my goodness, I can't resist that!

All those thoughts are just tricks of the mind. The food is never (rarely) THAT good -- worth sabotaging yourself for. And it's JUST FOOD. And I can resist it. I often do.

But I've figured out that my binges come when I flip switches in my head. Most of the time I am now able to operate in long-term mode. Meaning my long-term weight goals are uppermost in my mind and I act accordingly -- those come first. But when I lose control, it's because I've flipped a switch and gone into short-term mode, when all that matters is handling whatever emotion I'm currently gripped by.

Ergo, I'm working on how I can flip that switch back -- immediately -- when I realize it's changed into the dangerous position. This is what I need to remember going through the holidays. And every day, really.

HOT 100 update: haven't been back to corporate gym in over a week, but that's high on my list for today. Gotta get back in the saddle, so to speak.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Give Up

On trying to understand weight loss.

So I get back from my peanut-eating, french-fry consuming, wine drinking trip to El Caribe, and learn I've lost 4.4 lbs.

Friends, I'll take it. But I Do. Not. Understand. I just don't.

What's even more confusing is that I came home and binged on Monday. A bad one. After I got weighed in.

I don't quite know what happened ... was it the release of learning that I hadn't gained weight over the weekend? A way to compensate for studiously avoiding the pastry table at the resort all weekend? I really wanted to eat some.

In anycase, I blatantly binged on Monday, as I went shopping for the week after my visit to the nutritionist. Along with my sensible veggies and tempeh, I got a pack of bite-size pecan pie treats, a small carrot cake and .... there was something else, another pastry type goodie. Can't even remember. But it was consumed.

The result was a terrible stomach ache Monday night and a horrible bloated sick feeling. I couldn't eat another bite all day.

Today was better. I ate normally but lightly. Fighting off a slight cold, and so I just took a break. No gym, no TV, no news, no work. I read. All day long. It was heaven. I just wanted a break, I think.

Back to the regular routine tomorrow.

And it was nice to realize I was missed! Thanks for reading, guys!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Unexpected Travel

I'm back! And who even knew I was gone?

A sudden work trip had me running to catch a plane last week to a Caribbean island.

I had to stay at the Ritz-Carlton. Poor me, right?

Actually, it was almost zero fun, and deadly for the weight-loss plans. This was a wild-goose chase work trip (the person I was looking to interview never showed) and so I spent three fruitless days in a very nice but incredibly bland resort.

It's one of those places that are gorgeous but completely devoid of character. I could have been anywhere in the world that has palm trees and blue skies. And huge buffet breakfasts, of course.

Here's a picture from the grounds. It looks a bit fake, I think, but I swear it was real -- snapped with my cell phone. The sun had just dipped behind a cloud, hence the overcast light.

So, a summary:

1) I did work out every morning.
2) I did not plan well, and got terribly hungry every afternoon when I didn't have time to eat lunch.
3) I compensated by eating a huge can of peanuts each day -- easily 1,000 cals a can.
4) I drank wine every night.
5) After a decent breakfast in the morning, I would overdo it on peanuts in the afternoon, and then have dinner late. A dinner I didn't need.
6) I did successfully avoid the pastry table every morning, and the dessert tray. That's about all I can say that's positive.

Going to get weighed today. Expect bad news.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Very quickly this morning -- because it's voting day here in NYC -- I've got some low-res pics of yesterday's adventure in Chinatown.

This enclave is actually a Little Italy-Chinatown-Little Vietnam hybrid. The Italians were here first (well, around the same time as the Eastern European Jews who lived cheek-t0-jowl with them along the Lower East Side), and they've hung on to a few tiny blocks on Mulberry and Mott Sts.

Now it's a colorful and chaotic intersection of many, many worlds. The predominant notes are Italian, Chinese and Vietnamese, but there's so much going on under the surface -- Taiwanese, Korean and then tiny areas dedicated to specific Chinese provinces (Fujian, etc etc).

I was there because the NYC courts are right behind Chinatown. And I got tapped for jury duty. A murder trial! Scary stuff, to be honest. Very daunting to think I'd have to sit in judgment on another and make such a heavy decision.

Luckily, I got booted in the second round!

Below, some pics of Chinatown I snapped when we got released for lunch (and more on that lunch at the bottom).

This is Colombus Park (note the name from when Italians dominated here) and those men are playing poker. I didn't want to get too close and take pics like they were some strange exhibit, but they looked like all retired Chinese/Asian workers, betting like mad on the three players you can't see. They're sitting down, but surrounded by all the betting onlookers. So the players are betting, and then everyone else bets on them!

The women get in on the action too, but a bit more discreetly.

Vendors in the street:

Now, on to my lunch. I love steamed veggie dumplings. Luuuuurrrve them. So when I find myself in Chi-town, I always order some. I went to a Vietnamese place for lunch and asked if they had them (many places cater to the diversity by carrying staples from all cultures on the menu).

The waitress told me to get their steamed ravioli -- that's their equivalent dish, apparently. She said it was small, so I also got a small rice and chicken curry (brown rice, on the side please). This is what I got:
I dove in straight away (hungry) and was already half way through it when the raviolis came. Right away red lights went off in my head: Too much food! Too much food!

There is something about me that I need to remember: I like to eat. I like to eat a lot. And I often order more than I need. I am working on that.

Yesterday, I ordered more food than I really needed to eat at that moment. Even before the raviolis came, the chicken and curry was filling me up.

I forced myself to stop. Down chopsticks, down!

Got the waitress, asked her to please box up the remaining chicken curry and rice, and then concentrated on the raviolis for the rest of my meal. I probably still ate more than I needed to, but I am very happy I was able to break the grip of desire that took hold of me as soon as the dishes began to appear.

I had the leftovers for dinner. Yum. And the B/F was jealous!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Marathon Sunday (special update below)

Hey guys! I'm adding a special update to this post at 6pm NYC time, in honor of South Beach Steve! Steve, congrats on your weight loss this week, and the pictures I've added below my original 10am post are for you. (But everyone else feel free to look too ;-)

(10am) Who doesn't love the fallback hour? It makes this Sunday my favorite day of the year.

The NYC Marathon is today! This bruiser of a race comes right by my house and I get an up close look at the runners. The pros are pretty darn impressive --- NO WAIT. All the runners are impressive, actually.

But the pros are just Machines. Zero body fat. They don't jog, they sprint. And with every movement (especially since they wear so little) you can see muscles and tendons pulling and releasing under their skin. It's so clear, it's like looking at a moving anatomy drawing.

It's not unattractive, per se. It's just not something one often sees. Most of us -- even high-level athletes -- have some degree of fatty tissue between our skin and muscle layers. Some more than others, of course!

These runners have nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. And I've realized that it's not a bad thing to have a little adipose material on the ol' frame. It really is much more pleasant to behold when you can't see every vein twitching!

I'll probably post some pics later when they run by. I'll try to time my visit to the gym to the runners approaching Central Park. Then I can see them zipping toward the finish line as I slog on the elliptical.


Pictures! It is so amazing to watch the humanity flow down Fifth Ave that I stayed on my elliptical machine for 90 minutes. Yes, I felt kinda like I was out there too -- but with much, much, much less pain and stress. That race is no joke, and although everyone laughs and has fun, every once in a while you see a face of real suffering in the crowd of runners. The heart bleeds for those poor souls! Usually they're limping ... probably had a fall somewhere between Queens and The Bronx.

Here's the view from the east side of Fifth Ave.

That's a view up Fifth Ave. These are the "regular folks." The pros go out early.

And the view down Fifth Ave.

Now the challenge for me was to somehow get across that street to my gym -- it's the building with the purple awning and the words NY Sports Club. That was not easy, believe me. The runners do not appreciate pedestrians ambling into their path.

The runners fed me amazing eye candy during my extra long elliptical session. Then I walked about 1.5 miles to have coffee with a friend, then a pit stop at a grocery store.

It was a bit too cold to bike, but I walked home through Central Park. My soy sauce was uncomfortably pressing into the small of my back, but other than that I was able to carry the groceries in my backpack fairly easily.

The park was gorgeous, of course. Two bonus pics for you all tonight: sunset at Harlem Meer.

That big building in the back is a new luxury condo that went up a few months ago. Ick. The view was much better without it.

And so, adios October, hello November. Did a gym weigh-in today. Two more pounds gone, never to return. Good riddance!