When the Cat is away...

...well, you know what happens.

In other words, my scale is not functioning right now! It's an old fancy-shmancy Tanita model that would measure your body fat in addition to telling you your weight. I'm not sure if it's kaput or just needs a new battery. I keep telling the Husband to take a look at it and ya know what he tells me?

I thought you said you would check your progress by seeing how your clothes fit. So, how do your pants fit?

Men. Seriously.

But I suppose he's probably right, even though it's driving me bonkers not to be able to weigh myself. So, I ask myself, Self, how do your pants fit?

Well, they fit just fine, thankyouverymuch.

But I still think I should lay off the homemade peanut butter cookies. And the bittersweet chocolate chip ones too, just in case.

Holding Pattern

I am still in a holding pattern 'round these here parts, right at about 168. I did lose about 1 pound in the last few weeks somewhere, but am happy just hanging out in the upper 160s for now. This puts me at a small-average size 14. I do have some short-term and longer-term goals that I have been thinking about, as well as strategies to help me get there.

Short-term Goal: 165 by January 2nd. More ambitious goal: 160 by January 2nd. We have a family wedding to attend on that day, so I figured that might make for a good incentive to lose a couple pounds. It's always difficult for me to lose weight around the holidays, which is why I'm not planning on going on an all-out weight-loss campaign during the next few months. How: Exercising 2x a week and drinking more fluids. Yes. Just those two simple things. I think my eating is fairly under control & I just will need to put some smart choices into practice when it comes to holiday entertaining. I am currently suffering from a fairly severe pinched nerve in my neck, so I will need to wait until I can get that cared for before I begin undertaking a more active regimen.

Longer-term Goal: Size 12 by Spring (March 21st). I'm really not sure how many pounds this will equate to, but I'm guessing it would be another 10-12 pounds from where I'm at now. If I reach the January 2nd short-term goal, I'll only have a little more to lose in order to hit this longer-term goal. I'm always willing to re-evaluate though, as I move along. Marathon, not sprint, people. How: I probably will have to start counting POINTS again and keeping up with the exercise.

So there we have it. I'm glad I'm writing it down now, thereby having something I've committed to and goals which are more concrete to work towards. Any concrete goals you're working towards at the moment?

Gone for good?

The 170s, that is.

They might just be gone for good. I haven't kept up very well at all with the progress page, but the bottom line is that the first two numbers on the scale are a 1 and a 6. This, for me, is considered a big victory. Besides that, I am officially a size 14, albeit a slightly wonky-shaped one. I know this is probably the "average" size in America, but for now, "average" is just fine with me.

I haven't been counting POINTS for weeks now, but have still been steadily losing due to the good habits that I've developed. I guess I have trained myself to just naturally reach for the 'better' foods instead of the high calorie, fatty ones. I will probably pause for a bit at the weight that I am at, since it almost equates to about 10% lost. Once I feel up to it again, I will start counting POINTS and perhaps even add in some physical activity. *Gasp*, I know.

There have been long periods of time in my life where I'd look around the room and wonder if I was the biggest girl there. I hate that feeling. Can I just say that again? I hate that feeling. Life is too short to live that way; to be constantly standing in judgment of myself. Now, even if that is true, I feel better in my own skin. Maybe not Amazing or Wonderful, but at least Good.

And sometimes Good is good enough.


I am newly convinced that the more 'ingredients' you have in your shopping cart compared to the number of 'prepared items', two things will be true: you'll spend less money and probably be healthier. During a recent grocery trip I was examining the contents of my cart. It was half full of fruits and vegetables, including several canned veggies, among whole wheat flour, Splenda, reduced-fat cheese and, well, the requisite Lean Cuisine type meals. I'm pretty sure people who buy lots of cookies, crackers, frozen-meal-in-a-bag, premium frozen pizzas, ready-made-sauces, chips, soda, deli salads and the like probably have much higher grocery bills than mine! I would think that the more aware you are of what you are eating {buying mostly 'ingredients'} the better you will eat. I'm wondering if the budget theory is true, how far can you take it? If you grind your own flour, for example, or buy a side of beef and have it butchered, will you 'save' money?
Whadda ya think? Is there any correlation between what's in the cart and how much is on your body (or in your wallet)?

A Dozen

Which is about how many pounds I have lost so far, more or less. I weighed myself a few days ago and the scale said I had a 13 pound loss, but with all the crazy eating I have been doing over the weekend, I think it's probably more like 12! In honor of my dozen, here are two lists of twelve according to this Healthy Foodie: things to get rid of and things to add to your diet to jump start some healthier eating and hopefully some slimming of pounds!
Twelve Things to Get Rid Of
  • Mayo. Easily done. Ask for 'no mayo' when you order sandwiches and avoid those potato or pasta salads that are laden with mayonnaise.
  • Regular Soda. Besides the fact that there is zero nutrition, there's also lots of empty calories. Switch to diet and drink it only as a treat or when out on the town.
  • Sugary sweets. Really. Since it's summertime, there is no lack for really fresh fruit or other juicy treats at the farmstand. White sugar also falls into this category. Switch to Splenda or even start with half sugar and half Splenda. Look for 'sugar-free' options when buying drinks, candy, or condiments (syrup, jam, etc.).
  • A Get-thin-quick Mentality. Healthy weightloss and eating is a lifestyle, not a temporary fix or a sprint. If you start thinking longterm, all these 'little' things will add up to 'big things'. Speaking of big things....
  • Big Portions. What's with all the super-sizing? Order yourself a kid's meal when you're out. Or when you're at home, measure your portions. Even if it's only for a week, it's a great exercise to train yourself to 'see' how much you should be eating. And another big thing to get rid of....
  • Big Plates. I *love* this trick. I only use small plates. At a recent bridal shower I attended, there was loads of foods. Literally. It was quite a lavish spread. I probably could've eaten 4 days worth of POINTS right then and there! But I found the smallest plate there was and filled that up. Several of the motherly guests were chuckling at me and telling me to "GET A BIGGER PLATE!"  But that was just my point. Smaller plates make a little food seem bigger.
  • Cheese. Full-fat cheese can really be a healthy diet buster. It's great in tiny amounts, but most people don't know how much a 'serving' of cheese really is. Just skip it altogether {or use light cheese} and you'll be better off for it.
  • Late-night noshing. Every heard about not eating after 8 pm? I usually do it out of boredom, so I grab a cold drink instead. If I plan on staying up late, say past 11, I do allow myself a planned snack. Since we eat dinner around 5 pm, if I don't snack on those late nights, I'll go to bed with a rumbly tummy, making it really difficult to fall asleep.
  • Stress-eating. Don't even go there. I know it happens to the best of us, probably most people even! I try to pray instead, but you can do whatever helps you get through the moment. Go for a walk. Take a hot bath. Sit down with a glass of (light) Iced Tea and new magazine. Just don't reach for the bag of potato chips.
  • White-flour products. It's just plain not as good for you as whole-wheat. Calories with very little fiber.
  • Fast-food fare. It's truly not all bad, but your usual cheeseburger-and-fries order should be traded in for something better for you. Many restaurants have healthy menu options, so stick to those when dining out. Nearly all the fast food places have nutritional information available, either at the counter or online. I nearly always 'plan' what I will be eating before I go, so that I'm not tempted while waiting in the drive-thru lane.
  • Anything 'fried'. Don't really need any explanation here, do I?

Things to Add to Your {Almost} Healthy Diet
  • More fluids. I, for one, drink too little and eat when I'm really thirsty. Staying hydrated is good for you and makes your skin look healthier too.
  • Fruits & Veggies. I add more veggies to everything. We'll splurge on a $5 pizza from Little Caesar's and I'll load mine up with sauteed veggies. Same thing with a convenient Lean Cuisine. Eat salads. Try some new recipes for creative veggie side dishes. Grab a piece of fruit instead of a candy bar.
  • Reasonable Expectations. I'll never be a size 6. Trying to accomplish that will only leave me discouraged with a great sense of failure. As we age and/or have more children, our bodies change. We can't expect the same things from them as we once did. You can't expect to lose 20 pounds in one month, well, most of us can't. Set yourself up for success by planning some reasonable short and long term goals. Then stick to it!
  • Sleep. When I don't get enough, I start feeling sluggish around early afternoon, so to compensate I would pump my body full of sugar to overcome that tired feeling. Not good. Feeling well rested helps me make eating choices. Period.
  • Fiber. In the Weight Watchers world, the fiber lowers the amount of POINTS in an item. I love Fiber Bars (generic taste great too!) when I need a filling treat. Some of them remind me of candy bars leaving me feeling less deprived. Which leads me to....
  • Dessert. It's not evil and we shouldn't paint it as such. If we remove every indulge that we once enjoyed, we'll only end up feeling grumpy and probably binging or giving up. Split a dessert with a friend. Or allow yourself X number of bites. Also available are the lower calorie treats like Trader Joe's No Pudge Brownies, Skinny Cow ice cream bars, or 100 calorie pack goodies. Every Healthy Foodie needs dessert!
  • A Scale. Not only the kind that you weigh yourself on, but the small kitchen type for your food. Do you really know what 3 ounces of chicken looks like? You should. It'll help you keep your portions in check.
  • Good-for-you Convenience Foods. All the cooks in the family need a break every now and again and even the slowest of lifestyles has its hectic days. Fill the cupboards and freezer with a couple of healthy on-the-go snacks and quick fix meals to keep yourself from getting too hungry and making bad food picks.
  • Exercise. I really don't do it often enough, so this one is kinda just paying lip service to what we all know to be true. Exercise is good for us, both our bodies and our spirits. I like late afternoon or evening walks with the kids, a swift bike ride on the local trail with the wind on my face, or a good round with a Tae-bo video. Other small things add up as well, like parking further from the front door of a store or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Incentives. We're all motivated by something. Building in non-food rewards to your weight loss plan (if that what you're after) can help you keep your eye on the goal. Treat yourself to a manicure or a movie or a new outfit! Sometimes an event is a great motivator as well. The last time Hubs and I visited Door County, I told myself that I would be at least a size smaller the next time I returned. I wouldn't let myself go back unless that was true!
  • Variety. It's the spice of life, people. I get bored fairly easily so I try to mix things up by purchasing a new healthy snack, trying an unusual vegetable, or attempting a creative recipe. If I get bored with the same-old same-old, imagine how my taste buds must feel!
  • Accountability. Some people just can't lose weight or commit to being healthy without it. Whether it's your husband, kids, weight-loss forum or some gal pals, tell people what you're planning to do or change and them give them permission to hold you to it.
There you have it. Twelve pounds lost and 6 pounds left to go to reach my first short-term goal: 10% of my starting weight lost. Hope you're finding yourself healthier & happier!

Mental Note & Week 4

Do not alter your diet to include mostly healthy foods and then splurge on a greasy burger AND an Italian sausage in the same meal. Especially if you have had your gall bladder removed. If you do, you might be kept up most of the night writhing in pain with a horrendous stomach ache, just wishing you would vomit so that you would feel better. ASK ME HOW I KNOW.

But besides that, week four brought a loss of 1.5 pounds! I was a little lax on the weekend {see mental note above} due to a first birthday we attended and because it was Sunday. I've also decided that I'm not going to count POINTS on Sunday as part of my 'keeping the Sabbath'. I'm trying not to go crazy with the eating just because I'm not keeping track, though. I've realized that I prefer to 'eat clean', as I call it, during the week and splurge a little on the weekends, as opposed to just eating a little extra on a daily basis to use my 'weekly' POINTS. Since the weekends usually have more opportunities for eating out or at parties, I figure this is practical too.

So after only four weeks, I've lost about 9 pounds! I need to start thinking about a nifty reward for the 10 pound mark. Ideas?

Greek Salad

Greek Salad:

chopped {or hand-torn} romaine

chopped tomatoes

chopped cucumbers {cut in half, scrape out the seeds, then chop}

finely chopped red onion

sliced black olives

sliced cooked chicken breast

Creamy Feta Dressing

{serves 2-3 salads}

3 T. fat-free mayo
1/8 c. crumbled fat-free Feta

1 T. fat-free sour cream

1-2 T. skim milk

1 t. grated lemon zest

1 t. fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, minced

Layer salad ingredients in a bowl in the amount of your liking. As for the chicken, you can use leftover grilled or roasted chicken. If you make if specifically for this salad, sauteeing with a little oregano adds to the authentic flavor. I used a poached chicken breast, sprinkled with a little oregano, then sauteed, just to brown it a bit. For the dressing, I kinda used what I had and what I could find that was budget friendly. I used low-fat mayo {on hand} instead of fat-free and had to just use regular feta {found at Aldi}. If you save the dressing for another day, you may have to add more milk to thin the dressing out again. Top with dressing. Enjoy!

Week Three and a Recipe

After my zer0-pounds-gained last week, this last week brought a loss of 2.5 pounds, bringing my total lost so far of 7 pounds! Baby steps, right? I realize that I probably need to start trying new recipes to keep the eating excitement up. I have a dusty Weight Watcher's cookbook in my bookcase that I will be cracking open this week.

I can't tell you how much I *love* the fact that I kept this blog the last time around. I feel like it's a trail of {non-fat} breadcrumbs that I left for myself to follow back to the goal. Especially during this difficult season of life, it makes figuring out what to eat or how to adjust my attitude regarding health, much, much easier. I re-read lots of my old posts and am reminded of low-fat snacks I liked or encouraging perspectives I had. It's as if the me from the past is giving advice to the me of the present!

Since it's summertime, I love me a good, cold glass of Iced Tea. So refreshing! But all that sugar? It's a healthy diet buster! So I make a 'lighter' version. I have slowly cut back on the sugar, replacing it with Splenda. Not completely, though. Being the Foodie that I am, my taste buds still need the clean taste of the sweet sugar to balance out the Splenda.

Light Sweet Tea
2 Family-size brew tea bags {or enough small bags to make 8 cups}
4 cups hot water
1/4 c. sugar
1/2-3/4 c. Splenda
4 cups ice water {2 c. water w/2 c. ice}

I make a quick version of Iced Tea. I microwave the first 4 cups of water until hot. Add the tea bags. Let steep for 5 minutes. Add the sugar and 1/2 c. Splenda {taste for sweetness and add more if needed}. Stir well to dissolve. Pour into your pitcher. Add the ice water and stir well. I like to leave my family-size tea bags in the pitcher; I don't know why. Habit, I guess. If you're using the small tea bags, try replacing one with peppermint tea. So, so yummy!

With the less amount of Splenda, the tea flavor is a little more pronounced. Not like McD's Sweet Tea, which compared to this is more like....sugar water with a splash of tea!

Week Two

I survived another week. The scale, however, said 0 pounds lost. I guess depending on my perspective, I could also consider that '0 pounds gained'. I usually do a mid-week weigh-in as well, just to see how my progress is coming along, and at that point, I had lost another 2 pounds, bringing my total to 6 pounds lost! The first two numbers on the scale were a 1 and a 7, which is really super exciting for me. I can't wait for next week to see if I can really and truly say, "Good-bye 180's".

This six pound lost includes a meal from Subway, some Papa John's pizza, a couple ice cream cones from DQ and McD's {only 3 POINTS, people!} and some frozen pizza at a friend's house. I love that I can eat whatever I want, as long as I have the allotted POINTS for it. I am definitely a little more relaxed this time around. Still committed, but not ultra stringent. This is a marathon, not a sprint. I just have to keep telling myself that.

I tried on a pair of size 14 jeans yesterday and they fit! They have a lot of 'stretch' built into the denim, but nonetheless, they fit. I will take whatever small victories I can get. The only thing more frustrating than feeling uncomfortable in your own skin is to be at an 'in-between' size. I never know whether I should wear clothing that is a tad bit too tight or to wear it too loose and baggy. It seems like it'll look not quite right either way. Just more motivation to lose that couple extra pounds to get down to the next size!

Hope you're having a happy, healthy week!

Next post: some great recipes!

One Week

I survived. It was harder than it was the first time. I just kept telling myself that I can quit at any time, but 'let's just make it through today and then see how it goes'. I don't want to overwhelm myself with grief, life stress, and then the added work of counting POINTS and analyzing food choices. But I haven't given up yet. The results?

Four-and-a-half pounds lost!

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. I have my clothes that are a size smaller in plain view in my closet, which keeps my motivated. When we visited Door County a few weeks ago, I told myself that I wanted to be at least a size smaller the next time we went there. Hopefully that will be this fall, so I have a concrete goal to aim at. I've always focused on 'just losing 10%' of my body weight and then reevaluating after that, so this time I am staying with that same focus. Ten percent would equal 18 pounds. I am interested to see if I lose faster, slower or about the same as I did last time. I will continue to update my progress page here, so you can follow along if you're interested.

Wrong Time to Lose?

Is there ever a wrong time to lose weight? I don't expect many people or even anyone to read this, so I am writing this more for myself than anything. {I always welcome comments though!} If you read my personal blog, you'll know all about losing our daughter Olivia at 28 weeks of pregnancy. That was nearly about 2 months ago. While being pregnant, I gained back all the weight that I worked so hard to lose last year. Every. Single. Pound. 'Beyond discouraged' would be an understatement. I hate the way I look. I hate that after gaining all that weight back, I don't have a baby in my arms to make up for it. No nursing marathons to burn an extra 500 calories a day. Can I even say that I'm carrying 'baby weight'?

Nothing fits right. My body is all wonky. Even though I weigh exactly the same as I did last year, I swear that my belly is much bigger than it was back then. I am still wearing some maternity shirts. {Although, sometimes I am secretly happy about that because it reminds me of being pregnant with Olivia. Sshhhh. It's our secret.} I am just really discouraged. I am trying to give myself some grace because of all the emotional trauma I've been through. I do think about all the much cuter clothes that I was able to wear last fall for a brief time and I just feel a pang in my heart about wanting to be able to do that again.

But do I have the emotional and mental stamina to devote to counting points? What if I fail? I remember when I started WW last year, I told myself that I would just commit to one day and see how it went. One Day. Seriously. Because the whole 'lifestyle change' idea was freaking me out. But one day led to two, led to one week, led to several months which led to over 20 pounds lost. I think about committing to one day now. After losing Olivia. Will I feel better once I start doing it, feel healthier, knowing that I'm doing something good for my body? What if I don't see results? All these thoughts just keep me circling around my initial question: is there ever a wrong time to lose weight?

Calorie Blooper

This has always stuck with me as tragically funny, but I've never blogged about it before. Upon discovering that I was newly pregnant, I went to my initial OB visit, which was just with the nurse to confirm the pregnancy, take medical history {even though I've delivered 3 babies with them before}, review necessary testing, appropriate medications during pregnancy, etc. Still having concern for a healthy weight, I inquired about nutrition during pregnancy. This particular nurse was no spring chicken, so maybe she just subscribes to ancient thought when it comes to pregnancy & eating.

Me: So, I'm wondering what my calorie intake should be while I'm pregnant. I have been doing Weight Watchers so would like to continue to eat healthy.

Nurse: Pregnant women need 2500 calories per day.

Me: Ok....so, it doesn't depend on my starting weight or other factors?

Nurse: No, you just need to eat 2500 calories per day.

Me: {slight look of disbelief}

Nurse: Ya know, just keep eating healthy. Like if you go to McDonald's {I almost burst out laughing at this next part}, just order a Quarter Pounder & drink. Skip the fries.

Me: {trying as hard as possible to keep a straight face} Ok. Thanks.

I'm no MD or even RN for that matter, but wouldn't common sense tell us that a woman's starting weight has everything to do with how many calories she would need while pregnant? So if I weighed 300 pounds to start or 115 pounds, I would still need 2500 calories? And that McDonald's comment?! I guess she doesn't realize that a Quarter Pounder & drink would qualify for the healthy eating plan! Obviously this nurse needs a little refresher course on pregnancy nutrition!

I've since discovered that preggos need an additional 300 calories a day during the second and third trimester {no increase during the first trimester}, which makes much more sense to me. This really doesn't amount to that much more food, about an apple, a yogurt, and a couple slices of bread. Several websites did indicate that this comes out to about 1,900 - 2,500 calories per day for the "average" woman, but I don't think we should prescribe that upper amount as a one-size-fits-all solution.

50% Baked

My bun in the oven is officially 50% baked. We reached the 20 week mark yesterday! And here's how the pregnancy is progressing in a nutshell.

Sickness: still have the yuckies several evenings a week. Usually still going to bed before 9 pm, since I just feel sick & can't wait for relief, aka sleep. Traveling is hard too. I normally get carsick from time to time while UNpregnant, so having baby related nausea doesn't help matters.

I've only gained 8 pounds...er...well....8.5, if I'm totally honest! I haven't actually gained anything in the last 3 weeks or so. Those couple pounds just kinda snuck up on me all at once. Still hoping to only gain about 25 pounds total, if possible.

Sometimes I wear maternity clothes, sometimes I don't! I never thought this would be possible while this far along. Most of my pants are maternity now, although I do have a pair of size 16 khakis that are still plenty comfortable to wear. They do look a little funny since the legs are so baggy though. My favorite items are regular, larger sized sweatpants, although I have a couple of nice yoga-style maternity outfits that I can't wait to wear once the weather warms up.

I still feel tired often. I thought the 2nd trimester was supposed to bring nausea relief AND increased energy, but I guess my body is just bucking the trend. I don't know if feeling sick takes more energy from me than I expect and perhaps having a 15-month old to chase after has something to do with it.

Since this latest blessing was a surprise {to me, not God}, it has been a process to get accustomed to the idea. I have only felt flutters from time to time, but no real amount of movement yet. I'm hoping once I feel the baby move more often, I'll be able to "bond" a little more. I would think that once I start showing more, it would make things a little more real. Hubs & I are both looking forward to finding out whether we will have another son or daughter & should know by the end of the month. Picking out a name, making nursery arrangements, getting clothing ready will all help to increase excitement for our new addition.

That about covers it! Only 20 weeks {hopefully a bit less} to go!


"The people who manage their weight the best are not those who crave foods less often but those who give in some of the time." --Susan Roberts, PhD

I came across this quote in an old issue of Cooking Light. I wholeheartedly agree! I think we all have cravings. And while you're pregnant, well, let's not even go there. The entire article, "Go Ahead, Give In", September 2008, gives strategies that work in either keeping cravings at bay or how to give in wisely. Some of the strategies include: Eat regularly, Practice portion control, Keep a food diary, Delayed gratification. I believe I've alluded to the idea before that I like to recognize my cravings and then satisfy it with something similar or a tiny piece of whatever I'm actually desiring. {The article refers to this strategy as "keeping it real".} If you're craving chocolate, an apple just won't do. I'll have a couple nibbles of a really high quality chocolate bar, one or two dark Hershey's kisses or maybe even a Trader Joe's No-Pudge brownie. The strategy that stood out to me the most is that of delayed gratification. Instead of telling myself "I can NOT have a Starbucks Frappuccinno" {it was painful to even type that!}, I can tell myself, "Not today" or "Not now, maybe next time". I actually have done this quite often without realizing it! It works pretty well in the area of finances also. BONUS!

Do you recognize those cravings when they strike? Got any good cravings strategies?

15 Weeks and Counting

Today marks 15 weeks of pregnancy. The nausea is still ever present, although it's not nearly as extreme as it was in the first trimester. The evenings are still the worst part of the day and I try to go to bed as early as possible {typically before 9 pm} because I am usually so sick & can not wait to sleep and get some relief! I had 0 pounds gained last week and 0 pounds gained this week. That means only 4 pounds gained so far. Still on track for a 25 pound gain during this pregnancy! I have been wearing a combination of my old "fat" clothes {mostly sweatpants} and occasionally some maternity clothes. I feel a mixture of pleasure & sadness when I put on my old clothes as pregnancy-wear. Pleasure that I was able to successfully leave those baggy items behind by losing 22 pounds {and can now use them as maternity clothes!} and sadness that I stayed at that weight {unhappily} for so long. The whole family was able to attend an early pregnancy ultrasound where we all got to see our newest little one! He/she is measuring exactly right for dates and was opening & closing his/her mouth for us to see. It was so precious! I'll be sharing my latest technique for taking weekly baby steps on my other blog, so stop by for a visit! Hope you had a happy & healthy week!


I love my free subscription to Good Housekeeping for two reasons: it's free and Geneen Roth's column. {Besides that, there's lots of other great articles, home tips, and recipes.} An expert on emotional eating, she pens some truly insightful words regarding the "whys" of eating. I usually am still pondering the previous month's topic when my latest issue arrives.

This last one was on eating while distracted. You know, in front of the TV, at the computer desk, while driving, while reading, etc.
I'm not sure if eating while trying to calm sibling squabbles or satisfy a fussy toddler, qualifies. The premise was that you think you're getting twice the enjoyment out of your meal, say by eating while watching your favorite movie. Geneen asserts that the premise is false. You're actually only getting half the pleasure from your food that you otherwise would have if you were just focused solely on what is going in your mouth. After giving it some thought, I'd have to agree. Ever notice how when you go to the movies, about 15 minutes into the main attraction your hand hits the bottom of the empty popcorn bucket. You look down. Huh? Who ate all my popcorn? I've even noticed the same thing while eating healthy snacks at my computer desk, which I try to refrain from doing these days. I'm mindlessly blog surfing or purging emails and before I know it, my hand is grasping at an empty plate.

It just makes more sense that to enjoy our food the most & get not only physical but physiological satisfaction from our meals, we shouldn't let our focus be divided. We should savor, enjoy, relish the taste, flavors and textures of our plate, not be improving our multi-tasking skills.This kind of thinking is reminiscent of one of the principles of the book that spurred on my healthy eating journey, French Women Don't Get Fat. I remember reading about how eating should be a ritual: using a real plate {as opposed to paper}, cloth napkins, sitting at the table, enjoying.

Are you guilty of being a distracted eater?

Goodbye, Hello

Goodbye First Trimester. I wish you farewell. I'm hoping you held the lion's share of sickness and emotional difficulty. What between the surprise/shock/confusement {is that a word?} of actually discovering I was pregnant, all the holiday busyness and my dear Hubs being out a job, I was amazed I held it together as well as I did. You were over before I knew it. Goodbye regular jeans *sniff, sniff*. I didn't get to enjoy you nearly long enough before I had to give you up.

Hello to the next 13 weeks! I pray you will signify better health, more energy, and feeling more like ME again. I'm sure you will welcome warmer weather & more sunshine, which will boost this pregnant mama's spirits tremendously. Hello to maternity clothes {mixed feelings on that one}, ultrasounds {!!}, and hopefully the news of whether I'll be welcoming another son or another daughter. Hello to feeling my little one moving inside of me & a cute little belly to boot. {Does anyone else hate that time where you're not really showing yet, but you're too big for your regular clothes so you just look.....fat?}

Mini Update...
I guess it's official that I gained another 2 pounds. Somehow a pound snuck in a few weeks ago, so that brings the total up to three. I'm somewhat disappointed as I hoped to have 0 pounds gained at the end of the first trimester, but such is life. Considering the fact that my wee one is bigger than he/she should be at this point {Hello? Do you have a friend in there?}, I still feel this amount of weight gain is reasonable. I am planning/wishing for a gain of 7 pounds for the second trimester {average of 1/2 a pound a week} and a gain of 15 pounds in the third trimester {about 1 pound per week} would be a good target. That would bring my total gain up to 25 pounds, right about where I want to be.

I am still updating my progress page {tabbed at the top} with my pregnancy weight gain, so if you are preggo too, you can follow along. If you're just eating healthy & trying to shed a few pounds, you can also still see my weekly weight loss log while on Weight Watchers.

Three cheers for a happier, healthier next 13 weeks!

Review: Lean Cuisine Panini

The Good
: It's super-quick. It's hot. And let's face it: sometimes that's just what a healthy foodie needs
{especially a busy, or in my case, particularly sick one}. The bread is on the thicker side, there's a bit of creaminess from the jack cheese, and the flavor was good, with just enough heat to leave a lingering spiciness on your tongue. It's perfect as part of a lunch or light dinner. Add a bowl of soup or a fresh garden salad and you're good to go. According to this review at Hungry Girl, it's the lowest in calories of all the Lean Cuisine Paninis. Plus, It's ready in only 4 minutes!

The Bad:
It suffers the same fate that all nuked baked goods do:
lack of crunch. If you're looking for the crispness that an real-deal panini offers, you'll be disappointed. It's about as crispy as a lightly toasted piece of bread. It's not super filling & only has very tiny chunks of chicken. That's really the worst of it. It's pictured on a 6" sized salad plate, so you have some sort of reference as to how big {or small} it is.

The Low-down: This particular panini clocks in at 280 calories, 7 g of fat, 20 g of protein {!!}, and 3 g of fiber, which means 6 WW POINTS. Perfect amount to fit in with my around 6 PT lunches and easily can be made part of a larger quick dinner. At $2-ish per panini, I'm not sure I would load my freezer full of these. I usually only buy Lean Cuisines when they're on sale {less than $2 each} and with that only eat about 1-2 per week. It is a cheaper {and more than likely ~ healthier} alternative than eating fast-food. {Good to remember when you're feeling famished & tired after running errands or just plain running after the kiddos.} Yep. I would buy it again. If I had my own panini press though.....

Eat Smarter....

...not less. Because I'm all about not being hungry.

Ya know.
Kinda like the saying, "Work smarter, not harder."

I get emails from Weight Watchers & sometimes they include healthy eating tips & articles. The most recent one was titled "28 Small Changes That Will Make a Big Difference". Since I do believe that weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint, I'm all about making small changes that add up over time. I was actually amazed at how many of the small changes I have incorporated into my diet. Seriously. Some of them being:

  • Ordering half-portions at restaurants or sharing a full-portion. Hubs & I nearly always share an entree & sometimes add in an extra house salad. Great for the pocketbook too!
  • Use less or no sugar in your coffee or tea. I'm nearly a 100% Splenda girl now, although once in awhile I'll add a little sugar because I do think it tastes better.
  • Measure your portions so you'll know what a cup, half-cup, or tablespoon of something looks like. I'd probably also add: know what a standard portion of a food item is. Do you know how much a serving of pasta is? How about salad dressing? Protein?
  • Find healthy alternatives to your favorite foods. I think this one is really crucial. It doesn't seem important, but I think you'll feel less deprived if you still get to eat all the things {or variations of them} you really love.
  • Always eat something for breakfast. We all know it's the most important meal of the day. For you non-breakfast eaters, think of it this way: the sooner you get some fuel in your body, the sooner your metabolism shifts into a higher gear. Sorry. Coffee doesn't count.
  • Add vegetables to everything. I add piles {and I mean piles} of sauteed mushrooms, onions & green peppers to my pizzas, even frozen or take-out. The mark-up on toppings for take-out is CA-RAZY! I even saute extra veg & add it to my Lean Cuisines. Extra veg on my kiddie size fast food burgers makes 'em extra filling too {plus those veggies are usually free}.
Any small changes you're working on this week?

Slim Down Sundays: 0 gained

The other girls {Alicia, Beth, Brit, Erin & Hollie} are doing Slim Down Sundays, but for obvious reasons, my version will just focus on staying healthy. {Does it matter that I'm a day late? Can we just pretend that I wrote this yesterday & that you're just discovering it today? Ok then.}

Good News: I still weigh 166, which means 0 pregnancy pounds gained so far. My short-term goal is to still have 0 pounds gained by the end of the first trimester {which means only 2 more weeks to go}. The other great news is that world's best mom filled my freezer & cupboards to overflowing with groceries yesterday. Lots of goodies for the kids & healthy goodies for me & the hubs! I can't wait to try and review some of the new yummies!

Bad News: My second-half-of-the-day-nausea has put a real cramp in my eating style. I vacillate between eating what my body is craving {even if it IS mac & cheese from the blue box *gasp*} and eating what I know is healthy & tastes good, like salads, low-fat dairy, etc. Part of my difficulty is that by dinner time, I am too sick to cook. We have had way too many frozen pizzas around here {*double gasp*} instead of homemade meals. I think know I need to get some OAMC meals in the freezer that require little last minute work, other than to heat up a side dish.

This week's goal: Choose healthy foods when I'm feeling up to it & make at least one recipe to put in the freezer!

Eating & Money

A word from an interview with Suze Orman, personal financial advisor extraordinaire:

I have a really, really hard time with budgets, and the reason I have a hard time with budgets is that budgets are just like diets. Neither of them work. Neither of them work. You go on a diet, you restrict, you lose – I mean, it happens to me all the time. You lose five pounds, ten pounds, and then you get so frustrated because you didn’t get to do what you want; you now eat everything you want and now you gain 20.

The same is true with a budget.............What do I like?

I like consciousness. I like people being able to decide what they should be spending money on and what they shouldn’t; what they want to eat and what they should be eating that’s good for them, versus what they know is bad. And when you stay in touch with who you are and what makes you healthy, so that you can live your best life – whether it’s with food, whether it’s with money, whether it’s with exercise, whether it’s with spirituality ...... when you are in touch with who you are, and you make conscious decisions or decisions from a place of consciousness, knowing that it’s an intelligent decision, it’s a wise decision, it’s not an emotional decision, it’s not an irrational decision – then what happens is you automatically choose the right choices for you. You eat what’s good for you, you spend money on things that are wise for you and that you need, and everything falls in place.

So it’s not about budgets and being restricted. It’s not about diets and choosing the right – and limiting what you can and cannot eat. It’s getting in touch with your own power, so that you make the right choices for you, and when you make the right choices for you, then you live your best life. And when you live your best life, you feel even more powerful; that allows you to make even better choices for you.

The "getting in touch with your own power" part seems a little New Age-y to me, but I love the premise. I like consciousness too. Kinda what I was referring to in my last post, knowing the "how we got here" instead of just cleaning up the aftermath. I like the thinking that I can choose what to eat {and spend my money out} by making an intelligent and wise decision, not one that's emotional or irrational. I think there is power in that: knowing that I'm making the right choice for the right reasons.

Edited to say: I do think budgets work. Not the kind of "I'm accustomed to spending $600 a month on groceries, but now I only plan on spending $300" budgets that I think Suze is referring to, but the kind that are purposeful, realistic guidelines of where you plan to use your money.

P.S. The rest of the interview over at Wise Bread has lots of great financial wisdom, so you may just want to check it out.

How'd you get there?

photo by Fatty Tuna

Seeing as January 1st is just behind us, many a blogger has posted their goals for 2009, quite a few of which involve losing some excess baggage. As important as it is to make the decision to lose weight, I think it's almost more important to understand how you got there in the first place. Whether it's just making the wrong food choices, laziness in not wanting to prepare fresher food from scratch, eating for emotional reasons {comfort, boredom, stress, reward}, lack of knowledge about portion control, I think it will do us worlds of good to understand the "whys" and not just attack the surplus pounds. I'll go first.

How did I get this way?

I had zero understanding of portions. I had no clue what a cup of pasta looked like and it was not uncommon for me to go for seconds. I was fixed in the mindset that healthy food = flavorless. I couldn't discern the types of foods I was craving {sweet, crunchy, salty, etc.} and how to translate those same cravings into healthy choices.

I think I had a relatively basic understanding of what foods are good for us and what foods aren't. Avoid anything fried, cream sauces, mayonnaise, and lots of sweets. {I guess that means a quarter-pounder is good food, eh?} There are lots of other nuances and so much more to learn about what foods are the best foods and which foods should be avoided. I was under the basic premise that a healthy lifestyle would be one of deprivation and that if I wanted to lose 20, 30, 40 pounds and keep it off that I would never again be able to eat the things I loved the most.

I never was an exerciser or had the interest to become one. I do usually enjoy it when I do it, but I was convinced that I would not be able to lose weight if I did not work-out several times a week. That was not something I wanted to do and I now know that exercise is just one small part of a healthy lifestyle, not the key that unlocks all the doors.

I just wasn't ready to change.
As long as I could wear nice clothes and
felt like I looked presentable then I really wasn't motivated at all. The tipping point was when I stopped feeling good in my own skin, when the only types of clothes that would fit were too similar looking to potato sacks. Several months went by between the time I knew I should do something about my weight and actually getting up the gusto to actually do it. But when I was finally ready, I was ready. I didn't look back. I didn't give up. I kept moving forward.

After rereading everything I've written above, I can see now how much of my extra weight was due to what I believe about healthy food and eating well. The poor eating habits just stemmed from what I held to be true. Really, if you think about it, all of our actions, eating included, begin with what we believe. If we address the excess pounds, without addressing how the pounds got there, I don't think we can be successful in keeping them off over the long haul.

Ok. Your turn.

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