Sunday, February 28, 2010

Snowed Scapes

Let's see if I can sum things up for you in pictures this week.

A lot of this:

Some of this (but not as much as I would have liked):

More of this:

And then too much of this (basically representing work, because the rat looks like my boss, and because I went by this union rally on my way to my job):

Overall, this week was ok. According to I lost 1.3 lbs. I'm anxious to get back to walking every morning.

Today I ate light and did an hour at the gym, then strolled around for two hours. It felt really nice to stretch my legs. The snow is a real pain in the neck.

I'll be glad when spring comes. But at the same time, I think we're going skiing next weekend! BF has tentatively agreed -- he's not keen on the idea, but I sure am!

Friday, February 26, 2010

End of Week

Where to begin?

It's been a very hectic week. In the larger sphere, the sad run of lost loved ones continued with Beej and Fitness Road Trip -- sympathy to both.

Peridot got a promotion. Yay! Much deserved, I'm sure.

Me..well, started the week strong, ending it in a not bad place. The weather has been craptastic --- and some poor guy was killed yesterday in the park by a falling branch weighted with snow. Awful. And now we're all told to stay out of the park until the snow lessens. That does not make my life any easier.

Drinks out last night. Had wine, but did not eat. Miracle, really, when you consider that it was a) snowing and cold b) late and I hadn't had food for hours and c) the platter of french fries and buffalo wings -- seriously -- got shoved right under my nose at the bar.

Other things I'm grateful for: got a small shock this Tuesday when I stopped for my morning coffee with skim milk (yeck, but I choke it down) and the barista put a free, bite-sized muffin on top of the coffee. Some kind of a promotion, obviously. I just froze and looked at it.

Then I picked it up and handed it back to her. And did the same every other morning this week. Phew!

Got scared though that I was going to have a problem with the SOD. No gym Wed or yesterday (although there was walking Wed). And wine, and a late dinner.

But, the SOD right now continues to pretend to be my friend. Obviously it's laying a dastardly trap for me. But this morning, it was down another pound.

That looks like five from where I started, but calculates my avg so far at a 1.3 lb loss this week.

If nothing else, it is very eye-opening to see just how much the scale fluctuates. It's amazing! Get on one day and you're up four, the next day you're down the same. Pick the wrong time to get your weekly weigh-in and you could end up with the wrong message entirely.

But I don't trust the SOD -- it's just waiting to put a fleshy bite in my ass, I'm sure.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Quick Update

Our friend Beej is the latest in the blogworld to lose a loved one, like South Beach Steve and Josie. Head on over to his site today to show him some love.

I'm going to keep this pretty to the point today.

Down four again on the SOD this morning. That puts me on track for a possible weekly loss of 1 lb on, if I don't screw it up by Saturday. Er. Yay?

Eating decent yesterday. I kept my evening meal to a very controlled portion, and I'm pleased with that. Maybe that's why I woke up lighter today.

Didn't get in my walk to work yesterday, or a visit to the gym, but did walk around a lot in late afternoon as an attempt to compensate, including a walk home in the cold.

Push ups this morning because I forgot them yesterday. Terrible snow outside this morning. Ick.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

That sodding SOD

Clean eating yesterday, but maybe it was too much? Lots of kidney beans, mainly. And some pumpkin seeds for afternoon snack.

The SOD says I'm up a pound from yesterday.

Working on desensitizing myself to it, however. Oh..yes, I had a brief moment of WTF? Then I reminded myself that bodies are funny things, they hold weight sometimes right before they drop it, I never expected daily losses -- the goal is to find out what my weekly average is, etc etc etc.

The morning ritual is just to get the data, plug it in to, and go about my day.

To whit, it's raining again today. No walk to work. Snow/sleet tomorrow. Sigh. I miss my morning walk. It really helps me collect myself for the day. I have been to the gym every night so far this week (ok, that's only two nights) but it's not quite the same.

Will be in the park this afternoon I hope for an assignment (if it doesn't get rained out). Will take opportunity to do some extra walking it at all possible.

More winter in NYC:

Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day Three

I've gone three days with the SOD (scales of doom) in the house, and haven't chucked it yet.

According to the scale, I lost four pounds overnight on Sunday, but gained two of those back overnight Monday. Fickle SOD.

I won't post up every fluctuation, just for the moment as I adjust to this new experiment. I'm logging my daily weight in, per Andrew's suggestion. It's a program that charts your daily fluctuations and then gives you an average weight for the week.

My goal here is to restablish -- reaffirm, too -- a simple rule of Beck: you can't have it both ways.

Got to stay on plan to see regular weight loss, and maybe this way of holding myself accountable will work.

My weekend was ok. Gym every day, Sunday and Monday, a walk as well both days. Eating was good on Sunday, although again with the big dinner. Monday was ok, but not great. Did my push-ups and a plank on schedule too.

I made a big pot of kidney beans with kale and swiss chard last night. I was going to make Kimberley's curry chicken for dinner but forgot a key ingredient at store. Will have to do it another time.

The beans will be a main staple throughout the week for lunches. Hope they turned out well!

Here's a pic of our wintery landscape. Check out the cross-country skier going by on my left.

Gliding along, he is. Metaphor, anyone?

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Thanks to the blogosphere, I now know a lot of truly amazing folks.

They do what many people dream of, but don't often achieve: they change their lives.

One of these blog-o-meisters is somebody who has lost (at last count) just over 130 pounds.

This person's journey is so great -- and blogged about with much frankness and humor -- that I feel like I need to stop for a second and recognize their progress.

Of course I'm talking about Beej! The wonderman at Journey to Sanctification. It seems like just yesterday I was posting a congratulatory note to Beej for hitting the 100-lb mark. Then I blinked, and he was at 130!

It's like, wow..when did that happen?

The immensity of Beej's achievement hit me the other day, when he posted an incredibly thought-provoking blog update about the 2-Degree Difference.

First, it's a great concept to internalize. Yes, a lot of this journey is learning to accept small changes gradually. It's only much later, when you look back, that you can see that slowly and steadily you've been charting a whole new course for yourself.

But it also got me thinking. What are the small changes I've made -- and am I still making them as religiously as I once did?

I hauled out my Beck book last week for some reconditioning. And I sorely needed it. There are a lot of Beck techniques I once embraced. Where have they gone?

It's time for an honest assessment of what I am still doing that's good, and what I need to work on. So here, in the spirit of Beej, is my list of 2-degree differences.

Good Changes That I Still Stick To:

1)No eating from the snack table at work. With I think maybe three exceptions (whenever someone put out McWheatie's digestive biscuits), I have stuck to my rule to simply walk past this table at all times without stopping, glancing at it, or allowing myself to dwell on what's on offer.

2)No salad dressing, or just lemon juice or a viniagrette. No more mayo - ever - on sandwiches or in food. I wish I could really pat myself on the back for that one, but truthfully I'm not a big mayo fan. However, it's hard for me to give up salad dressing, so I'll give myself credit for that (Beck technique at work).

3) I still eat off my 9-inch plate at home. BUT....see below for more.

4) I don't touch the breadbasket when I'm eating out. I will also call a waiter over and ask them to take it away if I have to. I'm really glad about this one -- I don't know where that decision came from, just one day I started doing it and it's stayed that way since.

5) I'm far more inclined when eating out to either just get an appetizer, or collude with the BF to get one app and one entree and we split them both.

6) Skim milk only in my coffee, no sugar.

These are a few of the things that have become habit for me now, that I don't even stop to think about as I go about my day (most of the time anyway).

But now we get to:
Good Changes that I Have Let Slide

1) Number one thing has got to be portion control. At dinner, specifically. I still use my 9-inch plate, but how often of late have I gone back for more, rationalizing that I haven't really had that much, or that it's "just" beans and veggies? Ouch -- that truth hurts.

2) Eating past fullness. Yes, I have let this insidious little monster back into my life. I do not eat as much as I routinely used to, and I still get full much earlier than I have in the past. I stop while eating and assess my fullness? And do I always stop when I'm full, or just about full? No, to both questions.

3) Eating too fast. Aaargh. I seriously could win speed eating competitions. Is there a gulper's triathalon? Sign me up. When I first started Beck I took that 20-minutes a meal (minimum) rule very seriously. Why? Because it helped me avoid numbers 1 and 2 on this list! see the pattern here?

4) No eating while standing up. Mixed results on this. This rule helps me zip past the snack table at work. But do I nibble in the kitchen while making dinner? Yep. And that's breaking this rule. No good.

5)No excuses. As I write this, I have that hinky feeling that comes right before someone rips a gummy band-aid off your skin. This one hurts even more than number 1. Yes, I have lifted the ban on excuses -- and I have paid for it.

Instead of telling myself the truth (Look, you're tired and hungry and you just saw a candy bar and now you want that candy bar, and if you really want it go ahead and eat it, but do you truly, truly want/need it?) I've trotted out some pretty pathetic cliches and looked the other way. (I'm on vacation, there's nothing left to eat, I don't care right now, etc etc etc).

So, there's some good, some bad for me to look over. I will say that being able to move easily and freely is a total pleasure for me, and I often walk miles around the city now without thinking about it. Last weekend a friend wanted to meet at the MoMA for a Gabriel Orozco exhibit and I automatically glanced at the clock and realized I had just enough time to walk there (over 60 blocks). And it was an easy walk for me -- nothing I could have done a year ago.

Regular readers will know I've had scale avoidance issues. I think it's time to make friends with the Scales of Doom, to borrow Peridot's term. I won't go crazy and weigh myself four times a day. But I think I need to start using the scale as a tool.

So -- meet the newest addition to our household.

Every morning, at least for a while, this little cutie and I are going to meet.

Andrew at Andrew is Getting Fit suggested I try logging my weight online at I'm going to give it a shot.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursday Rundown

Broke out the Beck book again last night for some re-reading.

It was helpful. Particularly the chapter about not giving in to temptation.

Several times tonight as I walked along in the cold, after a disappointing situation at work, I wanted to step inside a store and buy some wine. I just wanted one nice fruity red glass when I got home.

But ... one glass can lead to two. Or one glass can lead to eating extra food that I hadn't planned on eating.

So I said no to myself. Several times. Not tonight, I chanted. Not tonight.

Saturday night is my evening for a glass of wine, if I want one.

I am glad I dug up my Beck book again. I have some thoughts on this I'll post over the weekend.

Until then, here's the breakdown of the last two days (sorry if this is getting a little listy -- it's just where I need to be right now):

Both Wednesday and Thursday I walked to work (Wednesday in a post-snowstorm landscape wearing my new boots).

Thursday I got up and did my push-up routine. I'm up to two sets of seven. Seven! That's fourteen total with a 60-second break in between sets.

Wednesday I made it back to the gym at night for 20 minutes on the stairmaster. I didn't get in an extra workout tonight, which I'm kind of bummed about.

Wednesday I ate a little bit more than I meant to during the day, but I do think it actually helped me eat less at night. I got some sushi for lunch -- a sweet potato and asparagus roll, and a shrimp rice ball. Kinda small, both.

Four hours later I was hungry again -- very hungry, the shaky kind. I had 200 cals of veggie barley soup, and then a small bag of pretzels because I was still dealing with shakes.

A few hours later, on way to the gym, I realized I wasn't going to be able to workout without eating something else. I got a Kashi bar -- but not a small one, a fairly good-sized one, with about 290 cals. I kind of worried that it was too much. That's practically a meal!

However, it got me through the stairmaster, and when it came time to eat dinner, I was *not* as hungry as the night before, and consequently able to serve myself up a smaller portion.

Tonight, Thursday night, I got home pretty hungry and later than usual. I didn't have my afternoon snack because I was out on assignment. I ended up snacking a bit in the kitchen as I prepared dinner.

I tried to keep my dinner portion low to compensate -- so far, so good.

Thought of the day: I think it might be time to buy myself my own scale.

Wow -- that's a change for me. For a long time I've been too scared of the scale to own one. Even when I started this journey, I refused to weigh myself.

I went to a nutritionist and had her weigh me. I stood with my back facing the scale's face. It was just too depressing.

But the number is not so super scary high anymore. And I want it to go down even farther. And it might actually help me to take matters into my own hands.

It's possible I'd get up and weigh myself every day. Would that be bad?

I've always been told (and believed) it's better to weigh oneself once a week. But maybe if I see the number creeping up earlier, I can halt it sooner?

Deep thoughts and wisdom on this welcome.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tuesday Score

[Before I begin with my usual blather, just a shout out today to South Beach Steve and Josie, going through rough times]

OK, back to judging myself: Hmm. I'd say I earned 7.5 out of 10 points -- 10 being a day when I eat totally on plan and work out as well.

Tuesday morning I got up and did my push ups.

Walked to work, and hit the gym for 40 mins on the way home. Squeezed in a few extra stairs and things later in the day, but not any major bonus activity.

Eating-wise, Tuesday was very clean. Everything on plan.

Except.....I ate too much at dinner.

It was a healthy meal. But portions count. Drat it all!

So, I'll work on that this week. Maybe I can eke out a 9 on the Ishmael Scorecard.

Ok, let's get to the good stuff.

Beautiful snow pics of the trees along Fifth Avenue.

Later in the day I got sent downtown to grab some documents related to what I hope will turn out to be a good political story about some local elected officials. While I was digging through the Board of Election archives, I realized I was in a prime shopping spot.

Right next to the legendary designer discount shop, Century 21. So awesome. And I genuinely needed a pair of rain boots to muck through all the sleet/snow.

(Warning: gratuitous shoe shots ahead.)

Here's what I ended up buying at half price ($19):

Here's a quick look inside the shoe section of Century 21:

Carrie Bradshaw flashback:

I do not know what this shoe is supposed to do -- it's some kind of sheepskin covering over a high heel. Wha???

If it were summer, and I had a reason to buy a really fancy pair of shoes, I might have bought these:

In the end, I only needed the boots. But I can *very happily* report that I was able to grab a pair of mid-calf boots off the rack and pull them right up my pudgy legs.

Yay walking!

P.S. Yes, Peridot, turboT fillets! Forgot the T, and thanks for the giggle.

Again with the Push Ups

Wow -- is it possible to be addicted to push ups?

Now I know why guys are always dropping to give themselves 20.

I'm only on day two of my push-up plan, but I'm hoping my enthusiasm doesn't wane. It's fairly easy as I move around in the morning to just bang out a few, and it makes me feel strong and focused for the day. And it does get my heart rate up there, along with a plank or two.

Here's the latest on my form: I actually found a way to do a bench incline push up in my house. I think that's the best way for now. If I do a full push-up, legs extended all the way out, I feel a heavy strain on my lower back (discovered that yesterday).

That, I think, it not good for the long haul. I can't do them on bended knees because of my torn meniscus. But wall push ups are too easy -- I actually can do quite a lot of those!

I found a way to use a big sturdy bench that we have as an incline, so I can keep my legs and back straight, and I'm just ever so slightly angled as I do them. It's nice and challenging, but not as hard on my lower back.

I'm at two sets of five, with a 60 second break in between. Whoo hoo!

Yesterday was a pretty good day. Regular breakkie, hit the gym for an hour's cardio, then walked about 1 mile to WF. While there I managed to pick up three goodies that I did not need to eat.

Two vegan cookies and a small onion quiche. I hadn't had lunch yet, so that was going to be my afternoon meal. Then I decided to walk back home, because I'd bought enough groceries to qualify for free delivery. The quiche went with the groceries, the vegan cookies in my pocket.

I figured if I'm eating two cookies, vegan or not, better walk some more. So I ate them as I meandered back across town. By the time the quiche arrived, it was too close to dinner to eat it -- although of course I wanted to eat it. In case you're wondering, it has 365 calories. Fine for a meal, but I didn't need to eat it AND cookies.

I decided I would take it for lunch today and put it in fridge. Several times last night it crossed my mind that I could eat it. But then I'd say no, no, just leave it alone. It's still there, thank goodness.

Dinner last night on experimental Mondays (which were meant to be more vegan but I've somehow gotten hooked on trying to learn how to cook really delectable fish):

Turbot fillets
black-eyed peas
roasted brussel sprouts

The turbot turned out ok -- not great, it's a rather fishy fish, if you know what I mean.

Overall, I give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars. By the way, Kimberley made a slamming chicken curry dish. I'll be trying that out very soon.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Push Ups

I'm fixing to do some push ups every morning.

It's something I've been wanting to work on for awhile, plus adding in some planks and things.

Not a lot, just a little quick and easy wake up routine to get me going in the morning.

I can't do the push ups on the knees because of my torn meniscus. So it's all the way for me. I'll try to build up to 10.

Let's see how long it takes.

UPDATE: Andrew has kindly tipped me to this link, One Hundred Push Ups. Oh boy!
That's gonna be a fun program. So, tally-ho!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

What to Say...

Things are a little weird right now at my house. I suddenly had a thought -- an epiphany, perhaps -- and I think it might be an important one. I'm going to write it down so I can hang on to it.

My cat's sick. It's snowing all the time. It's cold. I was on vacation.

These are the "reasons" I've been having trouble getting into a good groove with exercise and clean eating since ... oh, Jan 1st. Before that, it was the holiday season. Before that, the death of my father-in-law. Before that, it was the kitchen renovation.

It suddenly occurred to me that I've been holding steady at the same weight for a while now. I am happy that I am not gaining. For as long as I've been alive, I've never been able to hold steady at a weight -- I always gain.

But at the same time, I've stopped holding on to my losses. I lose four pounds, then two. And then I gain six. I lose three, gain two, and lose one.

It's been happening for awhile.

Now, I'm no psychiatrist, but it did dawn on me that I'm approaching my lowest adult weight ever. And that's where my needle has stuck.

You know what's on the other side, right? A different me -- physically speaking, of course. A me that I've never really known (or briefly met in high school at some moment before the scale ticked even higher).

Could it be possible that I'm afraid on some level to venture into the unknown?

I don't want to make any (more) excuses for myself, but I'm going to ponder this. Because when I look back over my pattern of the past few months, I don't see someone who doesn't want to keep losing weight. I see someone who is working hard, but steps back each time from some invisible brink.

It's strange to shed a lot of weight, isn't it? We change -- maybe not so much inside, but certainly things change in the way the outer world perceives and reacts to you. And I'm not saying that's bad. It's just ... different, I guess. Maybe I'm less prepared for that than I thought.

[On another note, am very happy that South Beach Steve got home safely, per his most recent update, and is with his family.]

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hug the Ones You Love

Some sad news from fellow blogger South Beach Steve. He's lost his father.

Condolences Steve. You're in our prayers.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Simmer Until Desired Tenderness Reached

Neat, huh?

Cooking instructions from the back of my lentils package.

Had to go to work today even though we had a huge snowstorm.

This was what the streets looked like on the way home. I really wanted to work from home today, but everyone else made the trek in, so I felt like I had to do the same.

Couldn't bring myself to hit the gym tonight, so I made a deal and told myself I could do a workout DVD when I got home.

Naturally, I can't find either of my two favorite DVDs -- my 20 minute Pilates workout that I bought after PastaQueen recommended it, and my NYC Ballet Workout recommended by Cindy Sadler. I love to do them, and best of all they don't require a lot of jumping up and down on the floor.

I have a ton of DVDs to pick from -- including a series of Dallas Cowboy cheerleader workouts that I can't believe are in my house (but in my defense they were freebies handed out at work, not things I bought). I selected a low-impact one and started it up.

After a scant 10 minutes, my neighbor from downstairs knocked at my door. I guess I was bothering her. I had to stop. Darn it!

Now how am I going to do my DVD workouts if the only two I have that don't require jumping up and down have gone missing?

But they can't hide forever -- an all-out search will be launched this weekend. As Daniel Day Lewis once said, "I will find you!"

Day 3 of clean eating. So far so good.

Update on my little cat: no visible tumor came up in the ultrasound. Thank goodness. But he's not out of the woods yet. Vet picked up signs of trouble in the intestines and possibly around the spleen/kidney.

The vet did a needle biopsy that *may* yield enough cells for a tech to test them, and determine if it's a slow-spreading lymphoma cancer, or an inflammation that can be treated with meds. Please please please let it be the latter.

It was a pretty wild trip to the vet though, and extremely stressful to get him there. My lovely B/F actually took an hour off work and came home to help me catch our little cat and put him in the carrier, bless his heart.

By the time we got to the vet, my cat was beside himself. The vet took one look and said, "Can we give him valium?" That did the trick. Without it -- forget it. It took three of us just to hold him in the table. There would have been no way to do the ultrasound or do a needle biopsy.

He was groggy throughout the procedures, but conscious and relaxed. It took about two hours after we got him home for him to fully regain his balance. But he's fine today, healthy appetite. Always a good sign.

Me ... well, the stress of taking him to the vet had me craving a glass of wine, so I had one (a rather large one).

That made me kind of tired today and draggy. I still wanted a glass tonight as well, but I know I should not develop that habit. Too easy to get used to a glass a day, and that's not a road I want to travel.

Monday, February 8, 2010

No Stupid Bowl Hangover -- Food or Otherwise

Happy post-football daze. No major indulgences to agonize over from last night.

Peridot, I made pistachio-covered cod actually, but now that you've mentioned salmon, I'm going to have to try that! (I found the cod recipe online just by googling around for easy fish dishes.)

We had a lot fun and of course I was happy with the outcome (Geaux Saints, as Lori says).

Seriously, it was fun to cook for my family and know that while I wasn't exactly counting every calorie, I had a handle on what I was eating and how much I was eating.

The bruschetta turned out to be the absolute best dish of the evening, which was great because it was the easiest to make.

Hope this isn't too boring, but here's what I did: first step is to cut a piece of french bread into small slices and toast them. Recipe says to brush each piece with olive oil before toasting, and I used a special garlic infused olive oil we bought upstate. It's delish. I dabbed with a very light hand to keep the calories down.

While those toasted, I took a can of diced organic tomatoes and threw it into a bowl with a bunch of fresh basil I had finely chopped. I had fresh olives I'd put out for finger snacks in the living room, and so the few that were left over I decided to chop up and throw in to the bruschetta. That added a TON of extra flavor. And a quick hit of lemon zest. The recipe also calls for 1/2 cup of olive oil, but it was plenty flavorful already and I didn't see the need to add more calories (or liquid, for that matter, it was already pretty drippy).

Then it was just a little pepper to taste and a little salt (didn't need much because of the olives). I put a half slice of basil on each piece of toasted bread, then a spoonful of the tomato mixture, and then when I had them all lined up on the plate, very quickly and lightly grated manchego cheese on the top. Not a lot, just a sprinkling.

It was sooo good. Luckily there were not many and so I didn't overindulge.

The fish turned out fine (again, light with pistachios, bread crumb and olive oil to keep a lid on calories), the asparagus is darn hard to time correctly so it doesn't overcook, and things went on from there. The cheese and pears, ummm, that was a medium success. Some people liked it, some people didn't. Kind of strong flavors.

Gym visit was necessary today, of course. Did my usual elliptical, wasn't as wiped out as yesterday, but still had to take a solid nap this afternoon. I so love a day off. Wish I had more of them!

Will udpate with some more exciting workout news shortly, once I get it all sorted out.

On another note, I have been worried of late because my beloved cat, a darling friend for 14 years, has been showing signs of a very bad stomach ailment. It's quite distressing, and I have to take him in for all kinds of tests tomorrow or Wednesday, as soon as the vet next has an open appointment.

Luckily here in NYC vets can make house calls, so I already had them come last week to draw blood and do preliminary tests. The results were not good, so he has to go in for an ultrasound.

That means I'm going to have to steel my nerves and grab him and shove him in his carrier. He's an old street cat I rescued when he was a baby and he's never fully socialized, so he handles these kinds of interventions even less happily than most cats. He really freaks out.

The last time we had to do this I ended up shaking and sweating and practically in tears from the strain of having to shove him in there. It was awful.

But it will be worth it, because I've decided that my cat is not seriously ill (as in stomach cancer, which the vet mentioned as a possibility) but has irritable bowel syndrome, which is not fun for him, but can be treated. So this next diagnostic is necessary and has to be done no matter how much he hates going to the vet. And I have to bring him.

And then we can start treating him for his non-cancer stomach illness, and he'll get better and it will all be fine.

That's what I'm telling myself, and it will hopefully turn out to be true.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Stupor Bowl

Go Saints!

We didn't get hit by ANY snow whatsoever -- and that's a real letdown when you are prepared to be whited out for days on end.

Down to brass tacks. My nose weighs about 5 lbs today, I'm sure of it. But the worst of my sinus headache is gone, at last!

I tell you, it makes me want to weep in sympathy for poor PastaQueen, who has been suffering from a chronic headache for over a year now. It's an awful state to be in.

So, now that the worst of my cold/sinus thing is gone (please don't ever come back), I can go to the gym, and so I did, first thing this morning.

Note: I can tell I did the right thing by taking time off while I was fighting that nasty whatever thing, because I got verrryyy tired partway through. Not the 'boy am I out of shape' tired, but the bone-weary, 'Gosh, I feel like limp spaghetti and need to lie down right now' tired. It comes from being ill, that's all.

I did a respectable 40 minutes, then bundled up and walked a mile to the store (I seriously had on about 8 layers, plus my ski pants). That was a bad idea, only because the store was PACKED.

And inordinately packed with young men who were buying things like frozen chicken wings and hot sauce, and clearly did not know the etiquette of how to gracefully negotiate for space in crowded aisles. They were cute and all, the little 18-year-olds, but after I while I just wanted to bop them all on the head and send them home to their mommies (or dorm monitors, or whomever).

I survived and did not get arrested for assault, but arrived home even more exhausted.

However, I am pleased to report that a) I resisted all snacking in the store and b) did a quick recalculation of our menu for tonight in the store and realized I do NOT need to add goat cheese to the bruschetta appetizer I plan on serving. Bruschetta is just fine without it. What was I thinking when I chose the goat cheese bruschetta recipe over the one without it? Clearly I was not thinking of the scale. Luckily sanity hit at the store and I woke up to the fact that I was adding like 100 calories a portion to an appetizer that does not need goat cheese to be delicious.

And finally, c) I got on the scale at the gym and I have not gained any weight! That is good news for me because since I came back from Cuba I have been eating weirdly and then sick, which meant no working out.

Something was going right though, because I'm still steady at where I was right when I came back.

How I gained weight in Cuba is still a mystery though, since I did not overeat there and if anything under-ate and we walked miles every single day. And I didn't pack on 6 lbs of muscle in a week of walking, that much I know!

To further add to the confusion, since I've been back I've gotten non-stop compliments from people who've watched me shrink for the past seven months and said nothing. Suddenly the week I'm back everyone's like, 'You look great, by the way.'

Clothes that were tight before around my hips -- my largest body part -- are looser. I can actually feel that I lost inches off my hips, which is usually the hardest thing ever for me, because as Fitfunk said last week about herself on her blog (making me laugh out loud at work) I too am a pear-shaped loser, a la George Costanza.

In anycase, these are the enigmas that make life interesting. I can gain weight while existing on crappy Communist rations, and not gain weight the week I have cheese, chocolate and don't work out.

Whatevs. Go Saints!

As for menu for tonight (for friends and family), we have:

olives and bruschetta for appetizers
pistachio-crusted cod for entrees, with steamed asparagus, wild rice and possibly a carrot, yellow squash kind of melange that I may try to make last minute, with minced ginger spicing.
Dessert is a small bit of stilton cheese with some very ripe pears that we need to eat up. In case that bombs, I have some small lemon tarts with blueberries.

But here's a secret: I didn't get one for me. They're 439 calories a piece. Uh uh. Not worth it.

Did I mention I'm rooting for the Saints?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sinuses and Snowmaggeddon

Right now my sinuses are so painful that I have to sit ram-rod straight so I don't get that awful wave of hateful behind-the-eyes pressure with every tilt of the head.

I know what this is. Punishment for giving Beej such difficult challenges.

In my defense, he did ask for us to do this. But I have been way too gleeful about it.

So, if I want to rebalance my karma then obviously whatever I assigned to him, I'm going to have to do myself. It's only logical.

Double-crunches I can handle. At least I'll be lying down.

But that BW Matrix? Serious gulp.

Can I make it through even one complete cycle of that thigh-killer? It's time to find out.

(But, er, not today, because I can't move my head).

I'll also have to be very careful not to hurt my knee. I'll modify a bit on the left side to avoid that.

I will let you all know when my penance has been accomplished.

For the sadistic among us, here's what I'm talking about:

The Body Matrix, a/k/a 'The Finisher.'

I'm not sure but I think it got that nickname because it basically finishes you off for the day!

By the way, I first learned about the Matrix from the super-ripped Lori at Finding Radiance, who is currently gliding atop the waves on a delightful cruise.

Did I mention we're having a snowstorm? Hope the rest of you out there who got hit by the 'snowpocalypse' are ok.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I Can't Smell Anything -- And It Almost Killed Me!

How's that for a tabloid headline?

Before I 'splain, let me remind you all that I'm suffering from YET ANOTHER bleedin' head cold.

OK, cutting to the chase.

Today, saints be blessed, I had a clean eating day. Faith and begorrah, it's been a long time.

Regular breakkie, with divine blueberries. Oh, they are so good, even though I know it's bad, bad, bad to buy them in winter.

Lunch was a hurried affair, kind of mashed in between phone calls and doing bizarre assignments that had me swiping metrocards at subway turnstiles for an hour.

But I stuck to my on-plan lunch: small leftovers of low-fat black bean chili and tempeh, with lots of mixed greens on top. To round it off, about 20 pecans for energy and protein.

It was about five hours later that things got funky.

I got hungry and knew I needed something. I went down to the cafe on the first floor and found a small half sandwich with arugula, tomato and black olives (210 cals). Then I grabbed a small cup of edamame hummus and carrot, celery and broccoli sticks. That was in case I ended up working really late. (150 cals)

When I got back to my desk, I decided to eat the edadmame hummus first, and save the sandwich for later, if need be.

I opened it up, but before I could dig in, the phone rang. While I was on the phone I noticed all my colleagues turning their heads around, and kind of looking over their shoulders and talking amongst themselves.

I hung up and said, what's going on? Something like that anyway. We all sit in a huge room -- no cubicles.

Everyone was like, what's that horrid smell? One colleague actually said, "It smells like death."

So while everyone is gasping for air and trying to find the source of this hideous odor, I pick up my edadame again and start eating. I get in one bite of carrot with edamame scooped on it and my friend knocks it out of my hand and screams "Don't eat that!"

Folks, it was RANCID beyond belief --- but I was the only one who couldn't smell it! And it almost killed me. Just from the small pea-size bit I ingested, I got a stomachache and queasiness.

Can you imagine if I had eaten it all? I would be dead! (Or wishing I were until the food poisoning passed).

Aarrgh. I shudder at how near I came to that terrible experience of your body trying to turn itself inside out to get rid of whatever poison you've eaten. Awful stuff.

So that was my drama for the day. And the good news is that when I marched the offending edamame back down to the cafe, outrage oozing from my every pore, the manager waved her hand at their well-stocked shelves and said: choose anything you want.

Oh boy. You know what I could have done with that unexpected bonanza -- cookies, brownies, chips, candy bars.

I took a peach low-fat fage yogurt and a bottle of water. Then I put the yogurt in the fridge upstairs because I was no longer hungry. I can eat it tomorrow if I want it.

Home tonight for a low-fat dinner of cous cous and tempeh and veggies. Stomach is just fine.

That's as close to normal as an eating day can get for me (edadmame madness aside), so I'm pretty pleased.

Now if I can get back in the workouts -- easier when this cold goes -- I'll be just fine.

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, I did manage to send the vegan tea cake to work with the B/F, but I must confess that I took a big bite first. I just had to taste it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Plugging Along

I'm gradually getting a hold of myself again, thank goodness.

Have really been swirling my vigilance cape around -- and I'm not kidding, either.

Last night in Whole Foods I had to close my eyes and chant "vigilance cape, vigilance cape" to avoid picking up a small packet of linzer tort cookies, oh so helpfully strewn about in a cute Valentine's display right by the checkout line.

What's scary is that I used to bypass these things with nary a second glance. Now it's a fight again, thanks to that week of moderate permissiveness that I fell into. How quickly those new habits can weaken!

However, to focus on the positive, I DID bypass those cookies, and the cheese I constantly crave, and all sorts of goodies because I knew I was making a nice dinner for a friend last night.

Managed to keep to minimal wine (helped by the fact I have a slight cold) and made a low-calorie cod fillet with yam, black beans and quinoa for dinner.

At one point in Whole Foods I was looking at a nice garlic herb marinade sauce for my fish. It had all sorts of labels on it, 'natural' and 'lite' and so on. I thought I could grab that and it would save time making a sauce for the fish at home.

Then I remembered the post South Beach Steve made the other night, about misleading labels on food products (natural and lite being two of the most frequent abusers).

I flipped the marinade bottle over to read the ingredients, and the first two were soybean oil and brown sugar!

I decided it would be stupid (and expensive) to buy a sugary, oily marinade when I could go home and mix together a dollop of our lovely dijon mustard with lemon juice, parsley, various seasonings and a smidge of low-fat milk for texture.

It was a great creamy sauce, and after dipping the fish in it, I lightly rolled them in a dusting of panko bread crumbs, sprinkled on more parsley and baked them up!

Dessert was hard. My friend brought an apple tart, so the vegan vanilla tea cake I had bought for dessert is still here in the house. It must depart the premises immediately (and not via my stomach, I hope).

I think I'm going to have to give it to the B/F to take to work. Let's see if I have the willpower to actually follow through on this. It's hard for me to let go of food that I have paid for (I'm a freak, I know) -- but I don't want to eat it.