Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat ... at Costco???

Popped into Costco on Thursday for a few healthy things ... blueberries, lettuce, chicken. I was pretty hungry at the time but I figured I'd dash through and get what I needed, then make myself a nice salad when I got home.

But I was derailed. It seems they'd quadrupled the team of Food Demo Ladies at Costco that day.

As I made my way through the warehouse, the hair-netted Food Ladies seemed to leap from every corner and materialize around every bend, extending treats like Halloween ghouls.

"Pig in a blanket, dearie?" (use witch voice here) How could I refuse? I was quite hungry after all, and what harm can a little pig in a blanket do?

But then:

"Don't be afraid of a little pumpkin cheesecake, my little pretty." Uh, well .. don't mind if I do.

And ...
"Chewy peanut bar?"
"Fritos and salsa?"
"Some apple cider?"
"Chips and queso?"

I felt like I was on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, careening my cart from aisle to aisle as the Food Ladies, grinning like Cheshire Cats, emerged and retracted, and emerged and retracted from the shadows with forbidden delights. My paper sample cups stacked up on the cart seat, then finally toppled over. I'd still be chewing on the last goodie when the next Food Lady appeared with her tray of treats. I'd point to my mouth, indicating it was full, yet shamefully snatched whatever she was serving up, gave her a wink and the thumbs up, and rolled on ... chewing, chewing. I was under the Food Ladies' spell. By God, if I wasn't trick or treating in Costco!Italian sausage, Luna Bars, Chateaubriand with a dollop of mashed potatoes (that was my main course), Halloween cookies. One lady was even giving out cat food samples. "No thanks," I waved her off. "I'm stuffed."

Oh yes, I finally left Costco absolutely stuffed, feeling much like a pig in a blanket myself.

Pass the Tums, please. And do as I say, not as I do. And most important,

Happy Halloween!!!!!!

P.S. We got another award! Many thanks to Salina Lyn at Becoming a Thinner, Sexier Me for presenting us with the One Lovely Blog Award. Please check her out; she's losing weight too and she is rockin' it! Please stay tuned for favorite blogs that will receive this award next.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Smug Me

Feeling pretty smug these days. Because I've lost 13 lbs. in 9 weeks!!!!!! That's an average of 1.5 lbs. a week. I'm liking it! A good rate, me thinks.

And as I type this, I'm eating a delicious flank steak panini. Don't you just want to slap me? Am I not a smug brat? But wait, it's a common sense panini. Two smallish, very grainy pieces of bread, slices of last night's leftover flank steak, a little red onion, avocado slices, some grated mozzarella cheese, a little olive oil brushed on the ol' George Foreman Grill* and yum. Grilled to toasty, meltey perfection. Ain't nuttin' wrong with that lunch, people. You got your grains, you got your lean meat protein, you got your monounsaturated fat avocado which is so, so good for you. Previously? I'd be sitting here typing with a big ol' grilled cheese in my hand (grilled in butter, natcherly), accompanied by a heap o' potato chips, and a hefty cookie or two for a lunch dessert. (And who eats lunch dessert?) See? Progress! A common sense lunch.

This time around, Mike and I decided to ignore the traditional popular diets and just use the ol' noggin. No calorie counting, no weekly meetings, no food scales, no units, no pre-packaged foods that arrive in your mailbox. Just a good measure of common sense, which I think is the only thing you really need. Something you always have right there in your hip pocket. You can pull it out anytime you want and you can depend on it for the rest of your life. Your common sense will never let you down.

This is not to say that weight loss programs like Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, or whatever you fancy, aren't good programs. If you've lost weight following any of these plans (and have kept it off) ... yay! I'm just saying that we, as a society, over think weight loss. I mean, come on ... we all know what we need to eat and not eat in order to drop some el-bees. Do we want to spend the rest of our lives being preoccupied with counting, measuring and weighing food every day? No thanks. In my opinion, that concept leans toward over thinking, preoccupation with every bite that goes in, and focus on "just can't be fat, just can't be fat" sorts of fretting.

Instead, think: "I am so, so healthy," present tense, over and over, with feeling, and omit negatives. None of this "can't be fat, I don't want to be this weight anymore" stuff. You CAN trick your brain into thinking that you are currently healthy, and ideal weight falls under this healthy heading. So skip the "I'm so slim" mantra and go straight for the "I'm so healthy" one. Tricking your brain into thinking that you are wonderfully healthy now, makes your your brain achieve exactly that. It works. Stay away from words like "fat" and "overweight" because then that will become your mind's focus. Your focus is now health. Smart eating and exercise naturally follow when your mind focuses on health.
One more time with feeling, folks: "I am so, so, SO healthy! I am healthier than I have ever been in my life!!!" Your brain will believe it.

Of course, these aren't my theories ... these are documented, proven strategies. But I am a pretty smug, smarty pants, aren't I? (Hey, but those smarty pants are a couple of sizes smaller now!)

* The George Foreman Grill deserves a special post all it's own! It's a fantastic little gadget. Go buy one! They're cheap.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Moving right along .....

So we're, uh ... moving right along. With a little help from our friends.

Mike had a helluva challenge when he spent last week in Japan, with all the fine dining and socializing. Nevertheless, he did pretty well to maintain his weight loss; 10+ lbs. lost so far! Now, had it been me traveling for a week I'd be like ... Hello, Room Service? I'll have the French Toast with a side of sausage, extra pats of butter, please, hash browns, a cheese Danish, a large orange juice, and coffee with cream. And then I would head out the hotel door to find the most divine place to lunch!

Have you ever tried these cherry essence prunes? They are so good! Really! And you could not get me to eat a prune to save my life before I tried these cherry ones. They're like candy, I swear! Five prunes = 100 calories, 24 carbs (a little carby, I admit), 1 gram protein, zero fats, and 290 mg of potassium. That's pretty good, right? Especially if you only eat 2 or 3 of them a day, which has been my practice. And, of course, "they help you out in the bathroom," as Mike's dear Aunt Marge used to to say.

So speaking of moving right along, that tire around my waist which has gradually inflated the past few years, is DE-flating!! And I tell ya, it's so nice to NOT do hand-to-hand combat with my jeans when I pull them on in the morning! I must get some photo updates happening here soon, although Mike has declared that he doesn't want another photo posted until his final, final, Big Reveal, reached-the-goal photo. Okay whatever. (But I'm telling you, people, he looks really good already and imho, he doesn't even need to lose another pound.) As for me, I will get a current photo up here soon. Honest.

Speaking of honest, we've been given the Honest Scrap Award! Yep, presented to us by most talented writer and blogger, Julie, over at Midlife Jobhunter. Thanks, gurlfren! Being relatively new at this blog biz, I'm not very familiar with these blogger awards that go around but apparently they are sometimes known to come with a hitch. Here are the Honest Scrap requirements:

1. This award must be shared.
2. The recipient has to tell 10 true things about themselves that no one else knows.
3. The recipient has to pass along the award to 10 more bloggers.
4. Those 10 bloggers all have to be notified that they have been given this award.
5. Those 10 bloggers should link back to the blog that awarded them.

Hmmm, sort of like a chain letter with pretty Girl Scout badges. I like it.

Okay, so here are my 10 things. I can't say that NO one knows these things about me, but certainly most of you won't know them. Keepin' it clean, as a certain 87 year old mother and a certain 22 year old daughter may be reading.

1. I'm guilty of being a chronic night owl.
2. I've relaxed my housekeeping standards considerably over the past few years ... and I like it!
3. I love a Big Mac.
4. When I was 28, I fell asleep on the back of Mike's motorcycle as we rode over the San Mateo Bridge in the SF Bay Area. (oopsie)
5. I love my solitude.
6. If I let my hair dry naturally, it's a full-on fro. (think Angela Davis)
7. I used to be an interior designer.
8. Mike and I met in a bar.
9. I make a killer coconut macaroon.
10. And last but not least ... and I've not told anyone this and I can't believe I'm now going to blurt it out on the internet ... the day before I knew we were starting this diet and this blog, I drove through McDonald's, got a big Mac and a large order of fries, and wolfed it down in the car on the way home. In record time.

Why, that was rather liberating!

I can't pass on the Honest Scrap Award to 10 blogs, but I can award it to 4 worthy ones. Please check 'em out!

Fragrant Liar, because she is soooo blatantly honest.
No One's the Bitch, because this blog represents a really important family issue.
O Mighty Crisis, because this is the most hysterical, honest blog ever!
Finding Frannie, because her challenge is greater than ours and she's rockin' it.

Now I'll be moving right along. Until next week .....

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Balancing Act

Mike is a traveling man this week so I don't have his weight loss to report yet. I've deducted only my melted sticks of butter and will update his meltage when he returns soon. Total loss for me is about 11.5 lbs. as we speak. It's been about 7 weeks since our kick off, and hey, I kinda like this pace. It's a pace I can live with. And I think it sets the pace for long term healthy (or health-IER) eating.

Okay, that's a lie. Sort of. Because I continue to fret a bit about how I will manage my ravenous appetite in the future. I refuse to say that I will never eat my favorite yummies again; apple pie, tacos, buttermilk pancakes ... I'm hardly scratching the surface. My long-time buddy and wonderful writer, Mary-Jo Murphy, recently wrote an interesting article* about the evolution of the human desire for more and more fattening foods, from caveman to current man. Mary-Jo includes an adorable story which so illustrates my ideal future. Here 'tis:

I once heard a story about a woman who was trying desperately to lose weight.
At the same restaurant where she would sometimes eat, was another woman.
While one would order salads the other always indulged in a hamburger, fries
and a shake. She was annoyingly skinny, clearly a mutation of the evolutionary
process. One day the weight-conscious woman confronted the gorger, "I'm starving
myself to lose weight. Every time I see you in here, you're eating like this! How
do you stay so slim?"
"Well," she dipped her fry in ketchup, "I only do this once a week. It's my reward
for eating healthfully the other six days."

Please, oh please, let this be me. If I could just indulge in a burger and fries once a week I would be eternally grateful.

I'm also reading a delightful book right now, A Homemade Life, by a young and fetching Molly Wizenberg. It's a collection of the most deee-vine! recipes ever, and the hilarious and moving stories which inspired them. I mean, I am nearly swooning as I read about Blueberry-Raspberry Pound Cake, Dutch Baby Pancakes With Lemon & Sugar, and Custard Filled Corn Bread. (There are also plenty of healthy entrees & side dishes with far fewer calories, but I, with my dessert-driven palate, have dog-eared the above.) So why am I reading a book about this irresistible food while I am in the throes of a weight loss effort, you may ask? I sort of think this book landed in my hands at this time for a reason, because as I read through it, I realize that Molly approaches her passion for food with such respect and balance. It seems that her veggie-happy Roasted Eggplant Ratatouille makes her just as weak in the knees as her Fresh Ginger Cake With Caramelized Pears. But chances are her pantry isn't lined with ginger cakes. As would be my preference. And I notice that Molly tends to be perfectly content with a scrumptious but light meal of small portions. Hmmm. Odd. Perhaps there is something to this frightening concept.

Is there hope for me? Can I be the slim lady who eats the hamburger and fries once a week? Can I adopt Molly Wizenberg's approach to delicious food, both sinfully divine and healthfully divine? Because, despite her penchant for some gosh-darn creamy, buttery, sweet desserts, the photo on her book jacket depicts her as a mere waif of a girl. Is moderation achievable?

Molly? Are you out there? Care to weigh in on this?

* Mary-Jo Murphy's article, You Go To My Head, was published in the August 2009 issue of the Ojai & Ventura (CA) THE VIEW.

P.S. Molly Wizenberg is also the creator of the award winning blog, Orangette, which I highly recommend to all you foodies out there.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Happy Fall Y'all

First of all, I'd just like to say that I don't happen to have a single new photo that is pertinent to this week's post, so I'm throwing in one that is fall-ish, just to wish a Happy Fall to Y'all. (This is my ever-so-special chair, where I curl up to read or write.)

Next, I just want to thank all of our followers and supporters as Mike and I successfully push on with our buttery efforts. We've had an abundance of great comments, suggestions, tips, and huge helpings of encouragement ... all of which have kept us on track and chugging towards our goal. Thank you, one and all!

I wanted to emphasize something that I mentioned in an earlier post, that being the tremendous respect and admiration we have for those who are faced with the huge challenge of losing far more weight that we have to lose. Our measly goal of 16 lbs. each must seem laughable to some and rightly so, if you're faced with a 75 lb. challenge ... or, how about a 200 lb. challenge, fer heavens sake?? I think the TV show, The Biggest Loser continues to be one of the most moving shows ever. I watch it with hope and emotion ... yeah, I'm a downright blubbering idiot at times, as I see these wonderful, beautiful, extremely obese folks reclaim their lives, capture their dreams and work their asses off doing it! So, so, SO hard, people! Just so you know, I bow down to you, oh mighty Biggest Losers, and anyone else who is attempting to lose a great amount of weight. On behalf of Losers everywhere, big or not-so-big, thank you for your amazing inspiration.

That being said, I feel like Mike and I also represent an important and huge group of people, particularly on the midlife stage of life. Because, as we all approach the midlife years when everything begins to inflate, fall down, cave in, and change colors, it's so easy to slide on 3 or 4 lbs. a year without blinking. Then one day you turn around and, gasp! you've packed on 20 el- bees! Next come the crossroads where you pause and either say, "what-the-hell-it's-too-late-now-let's-have-another-cheeseburger," OR, you bolt upright in bed with night terrors of realization and go, "Wait! I've still got 40 years left! Pass the celery sticks!"

There are so many of us out there. We can either keep sliding down the slippery slope or we can catch it now. Mike and I have it easy, actually. Because we've chosen to catch it now, before the 16 lbs. becomes 75 lbs. (that's 300 sticks of butter, btw) and on and on like a runaway train. I, for one, was horrifically close to going the other way, towards the Cheeseburger Life. Anyone else? Wanna hit the brakes and stop the train? Come on.

P.S. Nevertheless, I miss cookies.