Thursday, February 26, 2009

This is what I do

After the visit with the VIP, I've been pretty strict about being back on my wagons. I picked up a giant 2 lb slab of salmon, which I descaled (scales...ick) and sliced into 3 oz and 4 oz pieces. I am SO HAPPY I bought a food scale. It was only $5 from Target (free, actually, because I used a gift card) and its made portion control so much easier.

Anyway, I portioned out the salmon, and sealed it up in the freezer. I went on a vegetable buying binge at Vons, and picked up broccoli, spinach, kale, cucumbers, radishes, red bell peppers, lettuce, onions, cucumbers, a spaghetti squash, baby carrots, apples, grapes, and a jicama. I also got a jar of nopalitos and a carton of egg whites; yes, its a little expensive, but I get a lot more egg white out of the carton than I do from a whole carton of eggs, and this way I don't feel I'm wasting half of my purchase when I throw out the yolks.

My lunch and dinner the past few nights has been simply steaming a piece of the salmon with some of the vegetables. I like mixing a dark leafy green, like kale or spinach, with a juicier veggie like broccoli or some sliced bell peppers. I've been snacking on the radishes, carrots, grapes, and jicama. Today I made a salad with the nopalitos, cucumber, and a little lemon juice. It was so good. A little salty but tasty. Breakfast each day is some steel-cut oatmeal prepared with a little chicken broth (TRY IT, its so good) and some egg white.

I haven't really been cooking much else. I'm enjoying the freshness of the simple food; steaming is easy and the salmon comes out pretty tasty that way. I never really liked salmon all that much - the heavyness of it was cloying and often left me feeling a little nauseated after eating it. However, steaming it leaves it pretty mild and flaky, and a splash of ponzu sauce over it cuts out some of that ultrarich feel.

I'm back to running again as well. Yesterday I kicked my own ass with a speed-building run, and today I pushed through a 5K under 27 minutes. I feel so good when I run.

No....that's wrong. I feel like crap when I run, at least at first. Then I feel good. Then right before I'm done I feel like dying, but then I'm done and I feel euphoric. Its weird.

Anyway, here's my lunch/dinner this week, if you want to join me in eating a high-fiber, omega-3 rich meal that light on calories and actually pretty tasty.

Steamed Salmon with Vegetables

3oz - 4oz salmon steak/filet
A dark, leafy green (fresh spinach, kale, chard, etc)
A juicier, sweeter vegetable (red or yellow bell pepper, onion, green beans, snap peas, etc)
1 scallion, chopped
Ponzu sauce (if you don't have ponzu sauce, just mix equal parts lemon juice and soy sauce)
Optional (but necessary for me): hot sauce of your choice

Make it!

Fill a pot with about 3 inches of water. Place a steam basket in the pot so that its bottom rests above the water. Turn heat to high to boil water under steamer.

Place salmon on bottom of steamer basket, and place vegetables on top, it doesn't matter what order you put the veggies in.

Cover with a fitting lid, and let steam for about 10 minutes or so. As a general rule, tougher vegetables like kale take longer to break down, and softer veggies like spinach or peppers may require less time. Still, 10 minutes should be enough to cook the spinach through (especially if its frozen) and cook all the veggies. You don't want to OVERCOOK the fish, but with the wet heat from the steam, its kind of hard to screw it up.

When its done cooking, place the vegetables in a bowl, and gently place the fish on top of the vegetables. It may flake apart. Pour your ponzu sauce over the fish and veggies, and add hot sauce if desired. Garnish with chopped scallions, and enjoy.

Miles run this week: 12.6 so far

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The power of love

He showed up Friday morning and left (sadly) Monday afternoon.

Together, we took on the town. I slow-cooked BBQ'd ribs (a whole rack) and some chicken legs, which we gleefully and messily consumed together upon his arrival.

Friday night, obscene amounts of sushi and sake were put away, with no regard for calories, fat content, Points, or anything.

Saturday, we stuffed our guts in Chinatown on dim sum, struggling with slippery chopsticks to lift grease-glistened pork shiu mai to our lips. The crunchy fried bread on our shrimp toasts melted into our mouths. Fat-laced BBQ'd pork belly gave our jaws a workout, but the flavors were amazing. Sure, we ate broccoli, but does a few stalks of rappini make up for a steamed, gummy char shi bao?

That night we had Mexican food: warm and rich tortilla soup, shrimp tostada ceviches, and carnitas with fresh, salty tortilla chips and two kinds of handmade salsas. We indulged in our favorite liquid libations as we hopped from downtown bar to bar, ending the night with a 1:00 am drive-thru splurge of tacos, fries, and a bacon cheeseburger for the VIP.

Sunday we ate at the Original Pancake House: apple-cinnamon waffles, egg-white omelettes with cheddar cheese and mushrooms, fried potato pancakes with applesauce. During the Oscars, we live-blogged via Twitter everything we saw while polishing off a whole large pizza (cheese & mushroom) and a large antipasta salad, replete with real Italian dressing.

We had cold pizza for breakfast Monday morning, and again for lunch. On his way back to the airport, I brough the VIP through In-N-Out drive-thru, where I gifted him with a double-double animal style, fries, and a Dr. Pepper. I had a few fries and his pickles, but I just stuck my lemonade.

I did not run once this entire weekend. I ate very few vegetables. I did not track my points.

I was completely and utterly happy, in love, and did not want this weekend to end (even if I did have some slight heartburn by Monday evening.)

I missed the Monday-morning weigh in because the VIP was still in town, and then after I dropped him off I had class and missed the weigh-in time slot.

So I weighed myself today.

(Late) Monday-Morning Weigh-In:

Last week: 156.6
This week: 155.0
Difference: -1.6

That's the power of love, my friends.

Now off to steam some kale and salmon and finally detox msyelf completely. I may have lost weight during all of this but that doesn't mean it was GOOD for me!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Another half-baked idea

So I recognize that I will not lose weight by simply managing my diet. I have too random of a life, with a random schedule, and if I tried to just diet away the extra weight I'd never get anywhere.

I have been running, but it can get very easy to be lazy instead of running every day.

I love running though. I don't care that my knees hurt and my joints hurt and I am sore all the time. I love it.

I signed up for a half marathon.

In September, I will be running a half-marathon whose proceeds go to charities for firefighters and rescue workers, and the families of those victims, from 9/11. I feel strongly about that cause but I also feel strongly about pushing myself.

Half-marathon = 13.1 miles. Last time I ran one, I finished in 2 hours and 20 minutes - a 10-minute mile pace (6 miles per hour). Then again, last time I ran one, I could run a mile under 6 minutes, and I was running 5K races (3.1 miles) in around 20 minutes. I was 30 lbs lighter and could do one-arm pull-ups. I am not the woman I used to be. I will be happy to finish it by running the whole time.

Another goal. I'll use this blog to keep track of my weekly mileage as well as my weight progress on the Monday Morning weigh-in. Last week I ran 21.5 miles. Here we go!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Goals and greatness, and a very slow soup

I stated in a previous post that I wanted to hit 155 when I weighed in today. You'll have to wait to see what the result of that was.

I had a week. I won't use an adjective; just fill that in yourself. On Monday I had a midterm, and on Wednesday I had another midterm. I got the grade for my second midterm this weekend, and I did not do nearly as well as I thought. This is stressful and disappointing, as I did study quite a bit and thought I had a better grasp of material than I did. That said, I did not fail it, and I am confident that in the end my grades will work out. But I hate disappointing myself, especially when I know I work so hard at something.

That attitude affects almost every part of my life. Sometimes I feel like I work so hard, and never can get the outcome that seems to come so easily to others. I can study all week for a midterm, and not do well at all. A classmate can blow off studying, and get an A. I can work out, track my responsible eating, and do everything "right" and still not meet my goals.

This week I had a real crisis in perseverance. I stared at my weight tracker on the WW website, wondering how in almost two months I'd only lost 7 lbs. I'd had better luck just tracking my calorie intake and output before, hitting 151 lbs last summer before my weight jumped back up above 160 during a particularly stressful fall and winter. I thought about giving up. I thought that WW just wasn't going to work for me, and I would have better luck just going it on my own again.

Then I thought about the good things I liked about WW. It keeps track of your milestones, and it keeps me accountable. For example, Saturday night I binged. I all-out binged. I'm not going to hide it and I'm going to be accountable for my actions. I ate more than I should have, I ate horrible food, I killed all the extra points I'd saved up and earned this week with exercise, and I all but knew I'd blown my chances at hitting my goal. I blew it. I knew I'd never hit 155 this week after that.

But I logged it, I was honest with myself and I upped my exercise to make an attempt to compensate. I ran a total of 21.5 miles this week, and have decided to set a goal to run 25 miles each week going forward. I am relishing my slimming legs, the muscles beginning to show when I move and bend, and I love that delicious soreness after a 7-mile slog up and down the streets of SoCal. I love that after 7 miles I'd be confidently able to do another mile.

I'm happy that I can do more pushups than before, that my abs are becoming more defined, and that I just feel better about myself. A cheeseburger, fries, quesadilla and burrito make me feel bad about myself, and I credit the WW tools for making me face those realities, acknowledge my weaknesses, and encourage honesty with myself and push me to be an all-around more self-aware person. So I didn't quit. I just recommitted myself to the plan, I looked back to my first month on the system and took note of the things I was cooking and eating, and decided to get back to that mindset again.

With that, I am spending this rainy day awaiting the completion of my slow-cooker vegetable soup. Eating a soup like this for at least one meal a day in the beginning of my plan helped me lost the first 5 lbs pretty fast. I am going to get back into that habit.

Slow Vegetable Soup

1 medium or 2 smallish onions, sliced into half-moon crescents
2 carrots, cut into bite-size pieces
2 stalks celery, cut into bite-size pieces
2 handfuls of baby spinach
2 handfuls arugula, escarole or some other leafy green (or just use more spinach)
1 28-oz (big) can of chopped tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
4 cups fat-free, low-sodium broth (I used beef, because I had some leftover from the onion soup, but you can use whatever)
Dried oregano
2 bay leaves
Optional: spicy red pepper (chili pepper, cayenne, etc.)

Turn on your slow cooker to high.

Add the onions, celery, carrots, spinach, arugula, tomatoes, garlic, and broth. Add the spices.

Cover the lid.

Wait 5 hours.

Remove bay leaves, and enjoy.

That's it. Wow, huh?

And now for the moment you've waited for:

Monday Weigh-In:

Previous: 158.8
Current: 156.6
Difference: -2.2 lbs

I didn't hit my goal, but I didn't set myself back too much either. I'm sure my 7-mile run yesterday helped that. Exercise doesn't completely undo bad food choices; I cannot binge and purge through making myself run ridiculous distances. But it was a good lesson in getting to know myself more, learning to make better choices, and finally - some success - helping me to keep moving forward.

Oh, btw, I was 164 when I started this. At 156, I've lost 5% of my body weight. I am 95% of the person I used to be. Whoa.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

This is mostly not a diet-friendly recipe. Mostly.

Happy Valentine's Day! If you aren't with the one you love today, then love yourself. Make it a day to treat yourself, do something that makes you feel good, and forgive yourself for anything you feel you did to hurt yourself. Aw. Doesn't that feel nice?

Last night my friend came over and between the two of us (and a brief visit from my old roommate) we killed 2 bottles of most excellent wine, and almost an entire pot of homemade French onion soup. This is not the dried up "French onion dip" stuff in the packet that you mix into sour cream and dip Ruffles into. Although that dip is delicious, and I love Ruffles.

This was my modification of a recipe I found on Pioneer Woman, but I cut the time requirements down by almost half, and used half the butter she called for. That woman loves her butter, and I'm sure her dishes are gorgeous and delicious, but she is also a rancher and works with cattle and horses and children and large swaths of ranch land, so she probably needs all the calories she can get. I am a programmer with an ass to show it, so I felt confident cutting my butter in half (actually it was more like 1/3 a stick) and using SmartBalance butter. SB butter has omega-3 oils in it, so you can feel heart-healthy when you use it as well.

Onions also release plenty of their own liquid when they cook, so as long as you control the temperature in the pot, they cook down in their own liquid, coaxed slightly by a little butter and oil.

Honestly, next time I make this, I'm using even less butter. I just cannot imagine using an entire stick of butter in this dish. It would be way too heavy.

Here's my version. Believe me when I tell you that this was incredible. Delicious. I had two bowls, then began just breaking off pieces of French bread and dipping it right into the pot, scooping out large, soft pieces of onion and soaking the bread with that rich broth... oh my. After a week of seriously keeping "on plan", I thoroughly enjoyed this. And given that my plan today includes 1) a 5-mile run, and 2) cleaning out my entire garage, I feel like I can use all the calories I can get.

Oh. Two more warnings about this soup. First, it makes quite a few servings, but most people will not be satisfied with just one bowl. If you're figuring out portions, assume two bowls per person. Second....its a soup, made with onions. Six of them. And garlic. Covered with cheese. Things happen during digestion when you eat onions and cheese. I'm just saying, be prepared for the following day.

And now the recipe!

French Onion Soup

6 yellow onions
1/4 stick (or less, really) Smart Balance omega-3 butter
2 tsp olive oil
3/4 cup of white wine
3 cloves garlic
4 cups low-sodium beef broth
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I would normally have used my own homemade stock, but I was too strapped for time to defrost one of my tubs)
Worcester sauce
French bread, cut into 1-inch rounds
Gruyere cheese (if you want to make this more diet-friendly, use a mix of grated low-fat mozzarella and a few gratings of asiago or parmesan cheese. But the decadent melted Gruyere is kind of worth it.)

Prep it!

Slice onions in half from top to bottom, and then slice horizontally so you get smile-shaped slivers. You want them thin, but not too thin. I used a very sharp knife. Make sure your knife is VERY sharp - onions have a slippery film between layers, and if you're not careful your knife can slide off and come crashing down on top of your fingers. I have scars to prove that this is true. So use a SHARP KNIFE when slicing onions, or a mandolin. And take your time. Focus on this part. The recipe does not include blood.

Make it!

Add your butter to a large soup pot, and turn heat to medium-low. Add onions, then drizzle the olive oil on top. With a wooden spoon, give the onions a good stir to coat with the oil, and to get the butter melting started.

A tip: Try to use a Dutch oven or a thick-bottomed pot. Aluminum pots may heat up too fast and may cause you to burn your onions if you don't watch the heat enough. (I used a Calphalon hard-anodized pot; its got a really thick bottom, much like me.) If you have thin-bottomed pots, keep the heat lower and keep a close eye on your onions. You want them to brown, but not burn.

Now, the Pioneer Woman's recipe calls for you to cook the onions on the stovetop for 20 minutes, then to cover them and put the entire pot in the oven for an hour. I do not have an oven, nor did I have an hour. I kept the onions on the stovetop, for about 30 minutes total. I kept the heat slightly lower than medium, and kept stirring the onions to allow for even browning and to prevent burning. They required more babysitting than if I had put them in the oven, but they cooked evenly, browned up wonderfully, and were done in less than half the time of PW's recipe. I love her recipes, but sometimes you just have to adapt.

TL; DR? Just carefully allow the onions to brown and soften for about 30 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring regularly to avoid burning.

When the onions are brown and soft, turn off the heat and immediately pour in the wine. Then turn the heat back on. Alcohol can burn, so this step is just practical for avoiding starting a fire.

Allow the wine and onions to cook on medium-low for about 5 minutes. The wine should reduce and thicken slightly. Add in your broths, and set the heat so the soup simmers but doesn't boil.

Chop your garlic into a fine dice, and add that into your simmering soup. Add a few dashes of Worcester sauce.

Cover, and let the soup simmer on very low heat for about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, take your sliced French bread, and give it a quick spray of butter or olive-oil flavor cooking spray (PW slathers more butter on the bread, but I just don't roll that way). Broil the bread so it gets really toasty. If it burns a little, that's ok. It needs to be dry and hard to stand up to the soup.

Grate your Gruyere, or other cheese.

When the bread is done toasting, ladel a scoop or two of soup into a thick oven-safe bowl, and place a toasted bread slice on top. Toss a good amount of cheese on top of the toast, and put the bowls back into the oven so the cheese can melt.

When the cheese has melted on top of the toast (should take about 5 minutes), carefully remove the bowls (USE OVEN MITTS, THE BOWLS ARE HOT). I served my bowls on a cool plate so I could carry them without burning myself.

Enjoy this. I did. Now I am off to run.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bull by the horns

I am tired of my past weeks being so dull, and last week is inexcusable! I need to make some major shake-ups.

I looked at what I did during the weeks that I posted my biggest losses, and I did notice a much firmer commitment to eating light, lots of soups specifically, and I was working out every single day. 10 pushups a day isn't a workout. I have to step things up again. I was getting complacent.

Today I walked for 30 minutes (I was shopping, but still, its walking). I stayed right at my daily Points allotment. I also went for a 6.8 mile run, which I know I can't do everyday, but was somewhat symbolic of me "kicking it up a notch" this week on my road to posting a loss greater than 1 lb.

That's my goal this week. Come Monday weigh-in, I want to hit 155.

Think I can do it???

Also, I had another "stock-up" day. I journeyed to Trader Joe's today - which is no longer conveniently located to me - and picked up the following:

- Baby spinach
- Arugula (so snobby!)
- Marinated mushrooms
- Roasted red peppers
- 96/4 ground beef hamburger patties (so good!)
- Mahi-Mahi filets
- Fat-free feta
- 50% low-fat cheddar slices
- Nitrate-free roast beef slices
- Organic beans
- 4 bottles of wine (2 buck chuck!)
- Organic steel-cut oats
- No-salt added solid albacore tuna in water

So it was another stock-up day. That, with the almost 7 mile run, feels good. I'm gonna kick ass this week!

For now, I will pass out. I have a midterm tomorrow and I am exhausted.

Monday, February 9, 2009


I need to start seeing some real progress or I'm going to be tempted to give up.

No long post today. Got two midterms this week and a paper due, work, etc.

Enjoy my fail:

Monday morning weigh-in:

Previous: 157

Current: 158.4

Change: +1.4

Saturday, February 7, 2009

"Happy Weight", and Baked-Faked Eggplant Parmesan

The next few months have the VIP and I living about 2000 miles from each other while I wrap up my final days in grad school, and he does his own thing in the 2nd city. As a result, we do a lot of flying when we can so that we can see each other. One of the few silver linings of this recession is that plane ticket prices have come down significantly from when we first began dating a year ago; recent tickets we just purchased were almost exactly half what they were back when. Sure, it'll cost you $7 on some airlines to use a blanket or pillow, and we've gotten really good at packing light in our carry-ons to avoid the $25 fee, but at least the TICKET price has dropped. One of the things the VIP and I love almost as much as seeing each other is saving money, so when we can combine those things together, we're happy campers.

Building off my previous post about habits (I did 11 back to back pushups this morning - working up!), one of my habits when I fly is that I buy 2 magazines, and a bottle of water, and I bring them both on the plane. Last time I flew I bought an Oprah magazine and a Self magazine. The Oprah was the issue with her admitting to losing control over her weight - again - but it was something I related to, so I picked it up. Self had Jenna Fischer on the cover, and bless my heart but I love The Office. Jenna seems so real and normal - not a skinny whippet, not crazy athletic - just normal. So I was curious to see what she was doing on the cover of Self.

It was a fluff piece, forgettable at best, but when I flipped the page I stopped and stared. There was a beautiful girl in a black dress, a model, posing on a piece of driftwood at the beach. She had full thighs, roung arms, and a big smile. And big ta-tas. The headline of the article was "Find your Happy Weight!" The next few pages featured pictures of this gorgeous model, her round hips and ample posterier and coy smile and amazing hair. She looked so damn happy. You can see her yourself if you go to the Self website and click the articles about the "Happy Weight", which is what I did when I got home. In the online article, there was a link to fill out that would tell you, the reader, what you're own personal "Happy Weight" was.

So I did it. I filled out the little quiz, which asked you for things about your height, build, obesity in your family, smoking, kids, etc. And the weight that Self decided I would be happy at was 140.2.

Damn, Self! That's 17 pounds away! Why can't I be happy now? Why I can't I be excited that I can see my ab muscles, that I can do 11 pushups back to back, or that I have looser-fitting size 8 pants now? I have to be another 17 pounds lighter? 17.2, to be precise....

Even though my goal weight is under 140.2, I felt kind of insulted and frustrated that such a numebr was supposedly a "Happy Weight" for me. For years I've pushed and struggled just to get under the 150 mark! I haven't been 150 since I was like, 21 years old, when I was running half-marathons and working out daily and wearing a size 6!

It all makes me think. Is my goal realistic? Is 140 lbs - something I haven't been since I was 17 years old - a realistic goal for a 28 year old? Or should it be the "star" I shoot for, knowing that I'd be happy to just land on the moon?

Anyway, I'm going to the gym today to prepare myself for an Armenian birthday feast that I will be partaking in tonight. Not my birthday, just for a friend, but I plan to enjoy myself.

Here's what I made for dinner last night.

Baked-Faked Eggplant Parmesan

1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch rings
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 medium olives, minced
1 can low-sodium diced tomatoes (I like the Italian flavored ones)
2 tablespoons grated parmesan

Prep it:

Lay eggplant slices on a plate or in a dish. Sprinkle salt on top and cover with a paper towel and let sit for 30 minutes. The salt draws water out of the eggplant, making it softer and much less bitter. Before using eggplant, press slices between paper towels to express more water and to brush off some of the extra salt.

Make it:

Place breadcrumbs in a flat-bottomed bowl or dish. Press each eggplant slice in the crumbs - no need to use egg or anything wet to help coat; the natural tackiness of the salted eggplant will allow the crumbs to adhere without any extra fat. Lay each slice flat in a baking pan, one next to each other.

Sprinkle the chopped olives and garlic over the crumbed eggplant.

Spoon the chopped tomatoes over the eggplant.

Finally, generally sprinkle parmesan over the eggplant.

Bake at 325 for about 30 minutes or until the parmesan cheese begins to brown. This will make your entire house smell incredible. It makes about 2 servings - if you can control yourself.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


As I make my slow, slogging progress through WW, I sometimes feel like I am doing this at a total snail's pace. It seems almost impossible that I am going to get to my goal weight anytime in my lifetime. I'm so impatient! I've only been on WW for a little over a month, and already I'm frustrated with my progress - which while slow, has still been steady.

I think it comes down to routine, and to habit. Most of us are creatures of habit. We probably wake up at roughly the same time every day, with or without an alarm. Our breakfasts are probably usually the same. We like our coffee a certain way. We like a certain kind of tea. When you shower, you probably go through the same motions in the same order. I always wash my left arm first, and if you're a righty, I bet you do too.

Breaking a habit requires conscious effort. Next time you shower, try consciously changing your routine. Wash your right leg first. I dare you. The general myth is that if you do that for 21 days it will become your new habit. I guess if you wash your right leg first for 21 days, you'll do it forever, or something. My point is, I've been doing this for over 21 days, and while it hasn't become an effortless habit, I am picking up new things while becoming consciously aware that I need to drop some others.

Some habits I have picked up that I am proud of:

- Pushups. I can do 10 military style, back to back, but after that I get weak. I keep my mat on the ground, so sometimes when I get up from work and walk to the kitchen, I will drop and give myself 10. I'm working on 20, just because I want to be able to "drop and give 20" when hollered at.

- Squats. I have made the habit of doing at least 50 a day, intervals of 10 at each time. Its not hard to do actually and they're kind of fun, in the privacy of my own home. Again, every time I get up to get water, or coffee, or use the lav, I do 10.

- Diligently logging my breakfast and lunch points. I am so GOOD about this! My breakfasts are so healthy and yummy, and my lunches are always fab. By the end of lunch I've usually used up around 1/2 of my daily points, which isn't bad considering by then I've had 2 meals and a likely snack.

- The dog. Its not a real "habit" yet, but I am walking more and spending more time on training my dog. Its not really for me though; she needs the training. It does have a nice effect of getting me out of my chair and into the sun for at least a half hour, though.

- 3:00 soup hour. OK, I totally made this one up, but I love it more and more. At 3:00, when I'd normally be craving some chips or a sandwich, I make myself some instant miso soup that I found at the Asian supermarket. Its 0 points, but it has a definite richness that somehow fills me up and makes me feel warm and happy. Like a hug from within. I add a chopped scallion and sometimes some hot sauce, and sip it in a mug. Mmm.

Habits I need to make:

- Crunches. I can drop and give 10, but somehow its SO much harder to roll over onto my back and do 25 crunches. I don't know why. Its easier for me to physically do crunches than pushups, so why am I so lazy about them?

- Evening points. What is it about the hours after I log off work that make it suddenly so hard to stay on the plan? The lure of a glass of wine haunts me; friends invite me over at the last minute for a delicious meal of chicken and potatoes. Tiramisu was on SALE, DAMMIT. I have to start being honest with myself that this is my "big eats" time, and make the hard choice: 1) recognize that I have little control over evening eating, and restrict myself during the mornings and afternoons to mitigate points, or 2) push myself to have the discipline to keep myself under my points in the evening, even if it means abstaining from certain things - like, my friends, or a glass of wine, or OMG TIRAMISU. I just don't know. Cut back in the morning to balance the night, or vice versa?

- The dog. She needs excercise. Cesar Milan says so. I believe the man, for he is amazing. Yes, I totally bought into that dog whisperer stuff. It works, ok?

- Meditation. No, not that whole yogic "ommmm" stuff. But sometimes I need to stop, sit still, close my eyes, and consciously remind myself about who I am. And, what I'm not. I'm not a number on a scale, or a size pant, or a sandwich, or a bowl of soup, or an ideal of something I'll never be. I'm a good person, and a good friend, a hard worker, a dog lover, a great cook. I'm doing this for myself, for my health, for my knees and my heart, and for a life I want to live in full.

Its easy to get down on yourself and give up. I'm going to try to make it a habit to perservere.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Oh my.

Well the weekend was great, and I ate too much, and suddenly school is stressful as midterms are arriving, and work just got 10 times more stressful, and suddenly I'm a bad, bad blogger.

I did make my chili on Superbowl Sunday, and it won Best Overall Chili in the cookoff. My vegetarian chili took the best vegetarian chili prize as well, and since that's not really a family secret I will post the recipe. According to WW, its right around 2 points per serving. Enjoy, and then I am getting my butt back to work.

The Semi-Pro Chef's Award Winning Vegetarian Chili

1 large can or 2 regular cans black beans (I tried using dry beans that I soaked overnight, but I have the worst luck with this, so I ended up using canned)
1 Red onion
1 Green bell pepper
1 Red bell pepper
1 Pasilla chile pepper
1 Jalapeno pepper
5 medium-sized red skin potatoes
1 tomato
1/2 bottle of vegetarian BBQ sauce (most BBQ sauce is vegetarian, but check the label before using if you plan to serve to strict meat avoiders)
1/2 jar of salsa (I used a "Medium" heat Herdez brand - which ended up being extremely hot. Maybe taste-test before adding salsa.)
1 can of corn, drained
1 tablespoon chipotle-smoked red pepper flakes (these were a Christmas gift - no idea where you can get them. So they're optional.)

Step 1 - Preparation:

Slice all peppers in half, and carefully seed the Jalapeno and Pasilla peppers. Coat the outside of the peppers with a little olive oil (I just use the kind in the spray can). Sprinkle a little salt on top, and put in to broil until the skin begins to bubble and char. Remove and allow to cool.

Cut up potatoes into bite-size chunks. Also give these a good spray with oil, and dust with the chipotle pepper flakes if you have them (if not, just salt and pepper is fine.) Roast in oven until the potatoes are cooked through.

Last, quarter your onion, and give it a coating of olive oil. Roast this guy as well until it smells sweet and its slightly soft.

Step 2 - Compilation:

In a large cauldron (or pot, whatever), add your black beans. No need to really drain them if you use canned, but if you soaked your own, drain before adding. Begin to heat over medium heat.

Take all your roasted peppers, and slice into appropriate sized chunks. I cut the sweet peppers into pieces a little less than 1-inch square, and the hotter chilis into smaller slices, since they're more for flavorful heat than color or taste. Add the potatoes, cut peppers, and sliced onion to the mix.

Add the BBQ sauce and salsa to the pot. At this point also add the chipotle peppers if you have any.

If you have any super-secret chili spices, feel free to add here too.

Allow the chili to cook over medium for about 30 minutes or so. Check it frequently and stir often to prevent burning and too much thickening. Add more salsa, bbq sauce or water (or beer) if it seems to be getting too pasty.

After about 30 minutes, dice a whole tomato and add to the pot. Once you add the tomato, open the can of corn and drain it well. Spread corn out on a baking tray into a thin layer, and coat with chili powder, salt, and pepper. Broil until the corn is roasted and starting to brown/blacken. Add immediately to the chili.

Stir and test for heat, spice, thickness, etc. Adjust to your taste. Enjoy with chopped green onion and cheese on top, or just plain the way we ate it at the cookoff!

Monday Morning Weigh-In (Late, I know):

Previous: 158
Current: 157
Pounds lost - 1
Total pounds lost - 7.4

I kind of cheated on this. I knew after Superbowl I'd be bloated so I didn't weigh myself on Monday. I gave myself 24 hours to clean out, and weighed myself this morning. All last week I was hovering between 155 - 157, so I'm comfortable posting 157 today. Hope that's not cheating...