Monday, April 27, 2009

weigh-in/month 4 reflection

It's been 4 months! Four months of consistent weight loss. I can hardly believe it.

My weight this morning was 187.5, bringing me to a total loss of 24 pounds, and 4 pounds lost this last month. I was hoping to lose more like 6 pounds, but I'll take what I can get. Especially considering all the "bad" eating I did this month. I just read my month 3 reflection, in which I celebrated things like "no fast food" and "no ordering pizza." Well, technically I guess I still haven't had fast food, but we did order pizza last week.

Over the last four weeks, I noticed a real difference in my attitude. I'm less anxious about losing weight, which is good, but also less focused on eating well. I'm glad I managed to lose 4 pounds in spite of this lackadaisical attitude, and it's been nice not to spend the weekends stressing about Monday morning.

I think part of the reason for this change is that I've been weighing in just about every day. I see the numbers go down midweek, so I relax a little bit--both in stress level and in approach to food. This week I'll continue to monitor my weight daily in anticipation of the run, but once it's over, I'm going to try to go back to weekly weigh-ins for a little while and see the difference it makes.

So speaking of the Broad Street Run, it's this weekend! My mom and sister are flying in Friday night to do it with us. We're also having a houseguest and dog-sitting this weekend. Saturday night we're having a pre-race party. G starts a new part-time job tonight, and I have a big meeting Thursday basically to prove that I've been working hard all semester (justify your existence, more or less). Sooooo this is a freakin' stressful week. I've been studying nonstop for the last few weeks, and will continue to do so this week, trying to fit in my last few pre-race runs, as well as helping G with the transition and preparing for the family invasion. There is no food in my fridge and only the loosest of meal plans in my head. I think we'll be ordering salads at least one night in the next few days. In some ways it's good that everything hits this week--the fear of the race will keep us from going completely off the rails, food-wise. But all the same, I can't wait til it's all over.

Next week at this time I hope to be writing about my plans for relaxation, new exercise goals, farmer's markets and healthy cooking!

Current weight: 187.5
Pounds to goal: 64.5
BMI: 34.5
Pounds Lost: 24

Friday, April 24, 2009

cooking with the forthright fattie!

(You may not want to read this if you're a vegetarian!  I'm sorry!  I don't eat a lot of meat, but I do enjoy it here and there.)

Last week G and I went out for a long overdue meal at Cochon in South Philly.  (I'm throwing in the specifics for my local readers, holla kristisummer and ubervixen!)  I ordered the "Suckling Pig Confit over Lentils and Brussels Sprouts topped with a Poached Egg."  It was delicious--sooo flavorful and toothsome.  G and I both concluded that the only thing that could impart so much deliciousness to the meal was an excess of pork fat.  

However, the individual components of the meal were simple enough that I figured I might be able to recreate them in my own kitchen.  Instead of suckling pig (because I wouldn't know where to begin suckling a pig) I used bacon.  Still delicious fatty porkness, but much easier to control, portionwise.

Here's a rough estimation of a recipe.  I cook pretty instinctively (instinctually?) so some of the details may be off, but any approximation of this would work.  By my calculations, a serving somewhere in the 10 point WW range, assuming you eat about a cup of lentils.  As for the original, I'm sure it was some sort of multiple of 10 points.  Like 100.

The Forthright Fattie's Fake Suckling Pig
(serves 2 with leftovers)


for the lentils
2 c. lentils*
3 c. water
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
5 strips bacon, cut into smallish pieces
kosher salt to taste

for the brussels sprouts
10-12 fresh brussels sprouts
1 teaspoon olive oil
kosher salt to taste

for the egg
2 eggs
1/2 c. vinegar 
2 c. water

Soak the lentils in the water for several hours ahead of time to soften.  When you're ready to begin cooking, put the lentils over high heat.  Saute onions and garlic in the olive oil until the onions are translucent.  Add to the pot with the lentils.  In a separate pan (use the one you sauteed the onions in!), fry the bacon until just beginning to brown.  Remove from pan with tongs or a slotted spoon, leaving the bacon grease in the pan, and add to the pot with the lentils.  Add salt.  Keep an eye on the lentils, boiling until the water has reduced away.**

Rinse and trim the brussels sprouts, cutting them in half and getting rid of bruised outer leaves. Rub the cut side with olive oil.  Place in the pan (with the bacon grease in it) and cover for 5-10 minutes, until sprouts soften.  Remove the lid, sprinkle sprouts with salt, and saute until the bottoms are browned.

Fill a small pot with the water and vinegar.  Bring the water to just under the boiling point.  Slip the raw egg into the water.  When the whites have cooked through, remove the egg.  Repeat with a second egg.

When lentils have cooked through, and the water is mostly gone, place the brussels sprouts on plates.  Spoon the lentils over the sprouts, and then gently place the poached egg on top.  Garnish with fresh ground pepper and serve.

*I used yellow dhal lentils because that's what I had, but the lentils in the original recipe were some kind of firm brown lentils.  My version ended up with very mushy, soupy lentils.  They tasted good, but were nothing like the original.  Next time I'll try it with the teeny tiny black lentils I have and see if it's better.

**Or in my case, until there's a lot of mush.  You might want to siphon off some of the water, but it's best to do this before putting the bacon in; otherwise, you'll lose the deliciousness.

Next time I'll try to take a picture!

Biggest Loser Breakdown

This is a few days late because I've been busy, but also because, as so eloquently summed up over at EW, this season is looooong and my interest is waning.  But weight loss is all about dedication and follow-through right?  So I'll make good on my plan to blog the rest of the season.

My thoughts about this week's episode:

-Ron knew exactly how that tribal council (or whatever) would go down.  He gets to keep his promise to Kathy to never write Kristin's name down, but still gets to watch his son's biggest competitor head home.  My question is this: I don't think I've ever seen anyone play as hard as Ron and Mike (haven't watched the last two seasons, though) and I'm wondering what exactly it is they're playing for.  Obviously they've both lost a ton of weight, and it seems likely that Mike especially will keep it off.  Staying on the ranch another week or two won't have that much effect.  Therefore, it seems clear that they're playing hard for the money.  Which is fine--seriously, for all the weight talk, that's what this game is about.  Anyone who says otherwise is being silly.  But Ron put so much effort early in the season into discussions of who "deserved" and "needed" to be at the Ranch that I find him a big ol' hypocrite.  The editors were right--he is totally the godfather.

-G thought Kristin was being hypocritical for going to Ron and stressing how much she needed to be there, acting as though she expected him to ignore the fact that she's a threat to Mike.  Ordinarily I'd agree.  But she was only dealing with Ron on the higher ground he himself claimed early in the game.  Is it clear yet that I think he's a scuzzball?

-So who's going to win?  Probably Mike.  Numerically speaking, no one can take it from him.  But somehow my money's still on Tara.  The girl does not lose.

Sorry this was so ranting and raving, but like I said, the show is getting weary and I'm getting weary.  Where's the inspiration??  And did anyone understand Jillian's trainer tip with the deck of cards?  G and I debated it for a while and couldn't come to consensus.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

close quarters

One thing I haven't mentioned on this blog is how easily annoyed I am by the sights and sounds of people eating.  It's actually been a consistent source of tension between G and I in our marriage.  He enjoys eating most when he can take a huge bite of something, while I enjoy savoring lots of little bites.  I used to tell him how much his eating style grossed me out, and we had some big fights about it.  Now I realize that my method could be just as annoying to someone as his, so I try to just shut up about it.  (But dude it makes my skin crawl!)

I'm blogging from a cafe at my school right now, where I've set up camp to have conferences with my students.  The problem is that seating is limited, so people keep sitting in a chair about two feet from me and wolfing down meals on their way to class.  First there was the girl with the frappucino, soft pretzel, and brownie.  (Mmm, nutritious!)  Her methodical ripping of the pretzel in such close proximity to me, combined with the sounds of her working through the doughy material in her mouth made me want to scream.  

Then she left, and another girl sat down.  It hit me--the unmistakeable smell of fast food.  She was holding a Wendy's bag.  She pulled out a big juicy burger and fucking mauled that thing. Sesame seeds and ketchup were flying everywhere--handfuls of fries alternated with enormous swallows of fire-grilled beef patties--slices of onion and tomato slipped down into her lap.  I could not take my eyes off her.  Then, in the midst of the carnage, she pulled out a cell phone.  I wept for the person on the other line, listening through the layers of cheese and bread and beef. She said, "I'm (snort) trying (chomp chomp) to eat real fast (gurgle, swallow).  Call me back later.  (snort swallow chomp gurgle)"  

She hung up.  She finished the burger.  I started to breathe again.

And then she reached back into that damn bag and pulled out another burger.

The worst part of this whole experience--and these are only two of the meals I watched/smelled/heard being eaten during my 5 hours in this seat--was how I was simultaneously disgusted and jealous.  I wanted the frappucino (and I hate frappucinos), the pretzel, the burger, the chips I could hear the guy eating from the next booth over.  How gross is that?  

Note to self: for sanity and self-preservation, schedule all future conferences in your office. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

get over it

Favorite phrase in high school:  "Here's you.  Here's a bridge.  Get over it."

Well, I did get over it.  It must have been providence that my last post disappeared, meaning that instead of reviewing all the crap I ate last weekend, I can just tell you about my kick-ass workout last night.*

I ran over the Ben Franklin Bridge, which spans the Delaware River between New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  The link shows some cool pictures that I am too ethical to steal and post here, but do click.  This thing is a monster.  It takes, like 5 years to repaint it.  The whole run, starting a few blocks from the bridge, was just under 4 miles, but almost half of that is at an incline.  AND yesterday it was cold and rainy and miserable, perfect weather for making an excuse not to exercise.  I was huffing along, looking down at the cars, rain pelting my face and feeling like hail, and thinking, "This is fucking GREAT!"  

*In the interest of forthrightness, here's last weekend.  There are reasons, excuses, justifications--even some good ones.  But the facts speak for themselves: bread, french fries, beer, blueberry pancakes, sour cream and onion potato chips, cadbury creme egg, 5 buffalo wings, 4 slices of pizza, more beer.

Monday, April 20, 2009


My whole effing post just disappeared. That is SO FRUSTRATING.

Quick and dirty: totally screwed up this weekend, moving on, current weight 189.

weigh in/week 15 review

Saturday, April 18, 2009

quick link

About to head out for my long run.  Here's a link to a (not really) interesting article about heavy movie stars.  The twist is, they're men!  No real revelations or provocative conclusions in the article, but it's worth a glance if you're interested in media and body image stuff.

Friday, April 17, 2009

a little perspective

I have a fracquaintance (more than an acquaintance, not quite friends) who has lost about 35 pounds this year, and she looks great.  She was a lot smaller than I am to begin with, so 35 pounds brings her about to her ideal weight.

Last night, after this little cocktail party, I was hanging around chatting with her and another friend about our plans for the rest of the evening.  I had eaten very lightly at the party--a few pieces of cheese, some olives, a couple dabs of pita and hummus.  Not enough to satisfy me, but enough that I knew I shouldn't head home and eat a full dinner.  

My friend chimed in with a suggestion: "You should smoke!"

She then explained how she smokes instead of snacking, and how, since she broke up with her boyfriend who did all the cooking, she hasn't been eating much.  Instead, she noted, "My calories all go to alcohol."  

I really hope that my face didn't betray what I was thinking, which was basically, "Guh?"  

I know she feels good about herself, and how she looks, and who knows, maybe she technically is healthier than she was before, but honestly I just wanted to sit her down and carefully explain the fundamentals of nutrition.  I know smoking is a hard habit to break, but to ignore the possibility of lung cancer and claim it as somehow part of a healthy lifestyle...I just don't buy it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

it's all good

Just a midweek check-in here, trying to talk through the weekend and make a plan.

First, thanks to Tara for the words of encouragement regarding my situation earlier in the week--after some delicious fiber-n-flax smoothies (well, they weren't cold or blended, I'm just trying to make them seem appetizing) as well as Metamucil and eating only fruits and veggies on Monday, I'm back on track.

Tuesday night, as I mentioned, G and I went out for a long overdue fancy dinner out.  At this point, I think it was my birthday dinner (should have been in October) and our Valentine's day dinner.  I ate exactly what I wanted (tempura battered oysters as an appetizer; suckling pig confit over lentils and brussels sprouts with a poached egg for an entree; several spoonfuls of G's shortcake with brandy sauce for dessert) and it was delicious.  I did manage to meet my goal of leaving a few bites on the plate, which made me feel like I had power over the meal rather than the meal having power over me.

The tricky thing, though, with using up all my flex points so early in the week is that now I have to navigate a few other tricky situations.  Tonight is a little cocktail party in my department.  We're honoring people with achievements in the last year, and I'm one of them.  There's going to be wine and beer as well as a cheese platter and Mediterranean platter.  My plan is to eat light in the day and get in a 4 mile run, then try to be reasonable tonight.  It'll be hard to count points exactly, but I won't use that as an excuse to go overboard.

Tomorrow night there's a benefit dinner with the in-laws.  I know that the main food will be boneless skinless chicken breast (it says so on the flyers, which I think is kind of funny) but I'm guessing there will be things like rolls or dessert available.  In other words, more calories than I want to spend.  So once again I'll have to do my best and limit any other treats.

This is a lot of words to basically psyche myself up for good decision-making.  If you've made it this far, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Biggest Loser Breakdown

I watched The Biggest Loser late last night after a delicious dinner and half a bottle of wine, so the details are a little fuzzy.  But here's what sticks out.

-Great job, Laura.  Maintaining her weight loss with that kind of injury is a hugely impressive feat.  So many people struggle (and fail) to maintain weight loss even without hip fractures. Whether or not she manages to lose much for the finale is insignificant in comparison with her achievement.

-The makeovers were a little blah, although I liked Laura's new hair.  Tara looked great, but Mike was the real story, in that powder blue sweater vest!  Nicely done, Tim Gunn.

-How did Helen lose 7 pounds from that teeny little frame she's rocking?

Monday, April 13, 2009

weigh-in/week 14 reflection

I'm not posting my weight this week, for several reasons.

1) The scale would not settle down this morning. We use a digital scale, and I usually hop on and off a few times before it settles on a number, and then it doesn't budge. But this morning there was a 6 pound range, and after 4 tries, I decided I didn't really want to know. Because...

2) To put it delicately, my excretory system shut down a few days ago. I'm on an all fiber diet for the time being!

3) I weighed myself every day last week, which meant elation on the good days and depression on the bad days. I'll check in whenever #2 (hehe) resolves itself, but I'm going to try and enjoy the freedom of not knowing for now.

Behavior wise, I had a pretty good week. G tried to sabotoge me by giving me an Easter basket full of candy before going out of town for the weekend, but I think I showed pretty good restraint (1 Cadbury creme egg, 36 jelly bellies, 1 peanut butter egg, and a caramel bunny over 5 days). I minimized drinking--several glasses of wine Thursday night after G left (wine and Gossip Girl--AKA me time) and a glass in the hot tub at the in-laws last night, but that's it. I also ate about half of what I would usually eat at a holiday meal, and felt very satisfied. I ran 21 miles, kept working on the pushups, and took a long walk Friday night (like, 6 miles).

Sure, I wasn't perfect. In addition to the Easter candy, I ate Chick Fil A (and did not forego mayonnaise) and gave myself generous portions of several weeknight meals. But it was a darn good week overall, particularly for a holiday, and I'm moving forward.

G and I are going out for a nice meal tomorrow night--it was supposed to be my birthday meal in October, and then our Valentine's date, and we are finally doing it. So I'm going to enjoy the heck out of it, and then try to be really good all weekend.

Mini goals for the week:
-Continue to leave Activity Points uneaten. (Not all, but at least some.)
-Be strict about portions.
-Have a friggin' bowel movement.

Current weight: Somewhere between 187 and 193.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Biggest Loser Breakdown

It's that time again!  I always look forward to The Biggest Loser so much, and then when it's over I feel strangely dissatisfied.  However, there was lots to enjoy in last night's episode.

-The godfather montage with Ron.  Don't get me wrong--I cannot stand Ron and his hypocritical self-righteous attitude, but seeing the producers play around with it was hilarious.  Where did that footage of Ron reclining with cucumbers on his eyes come from?

-Tara awesomeness.  While the contestants were competing in the challenge, I turned to G and said, "I can run 9 miles, but walking up the stairs in the subway gets me out of breath."  Then Tara said she hadn't been able to walk up the stairs at the subway either!  Maybe one day I'll be able to do the stairs at the Rose Bowl.

-Ever-shrinking Kristin.  She's one of the heaviest left, but girl is SHRINKIN'!  Holla!
Speaking of shrinking, Laura's cute chipmunk cheeks make it easy to overlook her own hardcore shrinkage.  Look at that girl's belly and legs rather than her cheeks and it'll hit you.

What I didn't like, in fact DESPISED about the episode: people's reactions at the weigh-in, particularly Allison and Jillian.  It may be that A/J had inside information that Tara really did try to throw the weigh-in, and that's why Jillian put on her death-face and Allison gave such a sad and disapproving "Thanks" to Tara.  But if they didn't have that info, then what the hell is wrong with them?  Tara's not skinny yet, but girl does NOT have much to lose, and frowning at a 3 pound loss for someone with her current frame is not only ridiculous, but dangerous.  This is my least favorite aspect of Biggest Loser, even more so than the ridiculous drawn-out editing and stupid product placement.  Another iteration of it could be seen in Mike's disappointment to only lose 5 pounds.  Of course he's going to start having his lowest losses of the game--he has so little left to lose!  He looks almost like a normal, strong, dude these days.  

What are your thoughts?  Who's going to win?  I'm pretty convinced it'll come down to Mike and Kristin.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

freudian slip?

In an email to my mom, I meant to type "Broad Street Run" but my fingers typed "Bread Street Run."  So what's on my mind? : )

Monday, April 6, 2009

weigh in/week 13 reflection

Stepped on the scale this morning to see I had lost half a pound last week.

Got pissed off. "I ran 20 miles this week, SCALE, why haven't I lost AT LEAST 2 pounds???"

Went downstairs and wrote down what I ate last night.

Got contrite. "Oh scale, thank you for letting me lose even a measly half pound after eating all that steak and bread and drinking that beer and wine!"

So, I'm at 191, 20.5 pounds lost overall. I've been waiting to hit 21 pounds for so long (meaning I would have lost 10% of my starting weight) and of course it gets drawn out just a little bit longer. I thought I had a darn good week, what with running 20 miles and counting my points every night (until last night--I had a lot of points, but not quite enough for everything I ate) but it didn't quite work out. I'm not going to stress, just have another good week and see what happens. I am going to try not to eat all of my activity points, though. I earn so many by running that there's really no need to consume each and every one.

Current weight: 191
Pounds to goal: 68

Thursday, April 2, 2009

what I'm eating

A while ago I stopped logging everything I ate here on the blog, although I still log it in my trusty Moleskine.  Just in case anyone was wondering, though, I thought I'd let you know what kinds of food I've been eating lately.

I'm still loving Trader Joe's Ezekiel Bread (no flour, just sprouted whole grains).  We buy a loaf and stick it in the freezer, then pull out one piece at a time and toast them.  I'll eat a piece of toast with peanut butter on it several times a week for a satisfying, protein-filled breakfast.

This week, though, I bought some cottage cheese and have been eating it with some raspberry preserves swirled into it.  For those of you who are hardcore about fats and sugars, that's probably not the ideal breakfast, but I do a good job avoiding sugar generally, and never get enough calcium.

Last week I rediscovered the absolute glory of the simple BLT.  In my kitchen, though, they're BOTs--Bacon, Onion, and Tomato.  I make them on Ezekiel bread, and once again, it's a fairly low-calorie but super satisfying meal.  The bacon feels so decadent, but there are those good whole grains and veggies in there as well.

My mom sent me a recipe for an Indian-style dish that calls for steaming cauliflower and then drenching it in a ginger-cashew-garbanzo bean-onion sauce.  I can't find a link for the recipe, but if anyone is interested let me know and I can email it.  Last night G kept slyly suggesting eating out at an Italian place, but I made the cauliflower instead.  It took a while to chop all the onions, ginger, cilantro, jalapeno, and cauliflower, but it was so worth it in the end.  We served it with a little basmati rice, but that is optional if you're low-carbing it.  Aside from a little oil (or ghee if you have it) the rest of the ingredients are mainly veggies and a few beans. 

I'll be eating leftovers tonight, and then it will be time to figure out the weekend menu--I'm working every night, so I'm thinking there will probably be a caesar salad from the healthy Mediterranean place one night.  

In any case, I'm still happily chopping and dicing and trying new things, and rarely tempted by the greasy takeout and corner bar that did so much damage to my body last fall.  Here's to more of the same!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

to regret or not to regret

A piece of tilapia sauteed in garlic, a little bit of olive oil, and lemon juice. Sauteed spinach. Half of a baked sweet potato.

This delicious and nutritious lunch, leftover from dinner last night, is sitting in my fridge right now. I had an unexpected last minute lunch meeting today at a bar. I ordered a wrap which consisted of: a few pieces of steak, Asian slaw, green beans, and a whole wheat tortilla. It was served with a few tortilla chips. (Seriously, there were only about 7).

The last time I had a lunch meeting at this bar was during the first week of my lifestyle change, back in January when everything was fresh and new. I ordered a cup of soup (not a creamy one) and a garden salad (no dressing, cheese, etc).

The meal I ate today is relatively healthy, and a good way to satisfy the red meat craving I've been suffering for several days.* However, I'm sure the wrap far exceeded the calories I had planned to consume at lunch, or the calories in a cup of soup/garden salad.

Here's the thing: I can't work up a sense of failure. I have the rest of the day to be good, and the rest of the week. I have flex points if I need them, and no planned meals out for the rest of the week. I think I'll be OK. But there's still a nagging sense that I should feel guilty because I didn't make the best possible decision. I'm so deeply ambivalent about this, and even the time it takes to write this post feels like a neurotic indulgence.

The bigger point that I'm trying to make, then, is that this weight loss thing is about so much more than making the right choice. Contrary to what they preach on The Biggest Loser, you have to be open to compromise, contrition, and forgiveness. To put it differently, so much of this is mental. We have to make choices, and live with those choices. I think I can cope with this one, but coping isn't much of a way to go through life.

*The other night I whined about it so much that I decided to figure out the last time I had any red meat. I recited every meal I had eaten for the last two weeks and learned two things: 1) I hadn't eaten red meat in at least two weeks; and 2) far too much of my brain space is devoted to remembering every bite I take.

Biggest Loser Breakdown

Lots going on last night on our favorite love it or hate it show. In some ways, it seemed like the perfect setup for April Fool's Day. "Remember Nicole? She's freaking awesome! She's back! Haha, just kidding!"

I have to say, Nicole seemed genuinely delightful in addition to being a major inspiration. Her final confessional was the best kind of Biggest Loser moment (aside from kickass workout montages). I wish she had stuck around (more on Ron in a minute) but I understand why the rest voted her out. I'm not sure if she would be able to win it all, considering how small she already is, but she's obviously a threat.

On to the shenanigans:

The returning players angle was fun, and I can't wait to see how the rest of the people at home are doing. The finale is going to (completely drawn out) lots of fun.

The Ron/Mike vs. Filipe/Sione drama is tiresome. As anyone who's ever watched Survivor knows, alliances don't last. Do you think you can all win? Of course not. So play the game, backstab, whatever, but don't act so put out when someone does it to you, RON. If I were playing the game, I'd hang on to Ron forever, but as a viewer, I'm so sick of his self-righteous and bossy attitude. And Filipe and Sione are fun to look at, but also pretending they're not playing a game for a big old pot o' moolah.

The balance challenge didn't do much for me, but I was impressed by Kristin's performance. I don't know how long contestants have at home before the finale, but if she doesn't get sent home before then, I think she'll be primed to win. She's got so much more to lose, but you can tell she's very fit underneath her excess weight, and if she just works out like a mo-fo, she could take it all. Ditto Mike.

Finally, congrats to Allison, this week's Biggest Loser! Am I missing anything else important?