Sunday, February 28, 2010

My Happiness Project

Tomorrow I am starting a happiness project. I wish I could take credit for this idea, but it's borrowed from an author named Gretchen Rubin who wrote a book called The Happiness Project. She devoted a year to it, and took each month to work on something in her life that would bring her happiness. I don't have the resolve at the moment to map out a whole journey for a year, but there are things I can do to make a difference.

Today, Hubs is taking me to a bookstore so that I can buy a journal - something pretty or funky or thought-provoking or with character - and a nice pen. Why? Because every day I am going to commit to writing down one happy moment. Just one, and it can't be "coming home to my husband" or "being greeted by my dog". The idea is to force myself to look for happiness in common situations, in the tedium of life. It's one thing I can do that will force me to change my perspective; it will allow me to channel the optimist that has always been in me that I seem to have lost lately. That's number one.

Number two is going to a gadget store after the bookstore to buy a good, small camera. I'm quite a good photographer, if I do say so myself, and I would love to hone my skill. I have a fantastic camera, but it's big and bulky what with the big lens and all the bells and whistles and such. It's a wonderful camera, but it's challenging and not always practical to take it along with me in my purse (and it certainly doesn't fit in my pocket), and I mostly reserve its use for vacations and purposeful photography situations. This new camera is going to be one that I carry at all times. Why? Because life is beautiful right now, everything about it...and someday it may become difficult to remember all of these great times. I want to document something every day that captures the essence of my life, and all of the beauty and gifts that are a part of it. At least one picture a day...that's what I'll commit to. It will also be nice to have the camera with me when I see something in an uncommon place that really sings to me. I'm excited just thinking about it.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Just a Thought...

...and maybe not a great or healthy one, but a thought nonetheless.

Although my official weigh-in day is Monday, I do typically weigh myself throughout the week to see how I'm doing. I've been really discouraged this week because my weight will NOT seem to budge. It's wonderful that I'm maintaining, but I don't want to maintain. I want to lose.

Looking back, I've been maintaining since Christmas. That's over 2 months, and that doesn't make me a happy camper. I've been trying to think of what's been different, what could be causing this. My first 60 pounds came off so easily and now I'm stuck. And it's not that I'm so skinny now that my body requires so few calories that the weight will come off slower; I still weigh approximately 230 pounds, let's not forget that. (Although I look fabulous! LOL)

Well, going back 2 months takes me to when I started exercising. Can you believe that? I would think that would help my weight loss and it hasn't done anything. I feel better, and my body is certainly in better shape so I will continue to do it, but it hasn't done anything for my weight loss.

Here are my thoughts on it:

1) Although the treadmill AND my LoseIt app show about the same number of calories burned per session, they both may be inaccurate. I did order the Acumen Eon Basix Plus Heart Rate Monitor which will give me a much more accurate value for calories burned, so I guess we'll see how different it is.

When I exercise, I eat more calories that day to give me a decent net of around 1300 calories. I suppose if I'm only really burning 300 and I'm eating 400 to make up for what the machine and my app tell me I've burned, that could be a problem.

2) Hubs says, "Maybe you're building muscle." I don't know how much I believe that, and I don't think it's what has kept me from losing for 2 months.

I'm almost inclined to stop recording the calories burned while exercising, regardless of how many it is. That means that there will be days when I eat well under my goal of 1300 a day, but I kind of don't care right now...and the fact that I don't care is really screwed up.

Needless to say, I'm very frustrated today. I almost want to take this weekend off from counting calories - NOT to go crazy and binge on everything in the house, but just to give myself a damn break and to keep me sane - and re-commit on Monday. I realize that this is counterproductive; I certainly won't weigh less on Monday if I don't keep track this weekend. But you know, at the moment I feel like I'm going to go nuts if I have to weigh or count one more thing this weekend. Le sigh.

Breakfast so far was good - coffee with less than 1 Tbsp organic H&H (35 calories), and nonfat, plain Fage with blueberries and my granola mix from Mix My Granola for a grand total this morning of 263 calories.

Grrrr. Mama's angry!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Food Scales

Out there in the food/diet blog world, there seems to be controvery surrounding the use of food scales.

Some people argue that they turn people into calorie-obsessed monsters who can't possibly live a balanced life if they're weighing their food all the time, for crying out loud. It's only a few extra calories - give yourself a break!

Other people say hey, screw measuring cups and eyeballing; they're not always accurate. And yeah, calories do make a difference whether you like it or not, and there are a lot of calorie-dense foods that are easy to overdo (think nuts, cheese, nut butters, avocado).

Ever see this video?

I have to just say, I'm with the group that says screw the measuring cups. Because you know, extra calories can make a difference if you're working towards a goal. An extra 300 calories (which is VERY easy to hit) every day for two weeks leads to over a pound in weight gain. I'm too lazy to do the exact math, but that's over 26 pounds gained in a year. And when you're trying to LOSE, doesn't this seem to be a bit silly?

I recently bought the EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale. The first thing I did was measure a serving of baby carrots. Not exactly the most calorie-dense food, and a few extra probably really wouldn't make a difference, but I was packing them for my lunch so I figured, What the hell. According to the package, 14 carrots is 35 calories.

Wrong. Because when they're weighed out on the scale (in grams), 10 carrots is 35 calories. I didn't even look to see how much my measured tablespoon of peanut butter was; I just went to the food scale right away for it when I had it with my oatmeal tonight. I don't know that I'll ever use a measuring cup/spoon again, to be quite honest. And let's not forget...working towards a weight loss/gain goal should be something temporary. Once you're in maintenance, a food scale shouldn't be necessary anymore unless there are some other factors coming in to play.

I can certainly understand both sides of the debate, however, some people really love to make sweeping generalizations. Just because someone doesn't use a food scale for fear of relapsing into disordered eating, or for any other reason that they have, doesn't make them irresponsible dieters who will NEVER lose weight because they just aren't keeping track, damn it! Similarly, those of us who do use them aren't always crazed calorie-counters, calculating the calories in every molecule of scented air we breathe in and maniacally measuring every morsel of food in our kitchen like a chemist measuring chemicals in a lab. We all do what works for us, and unless we're engaging in dangerous food habits or destructive patterns, each of us is probably the best judge of what our own bodies (and minds!) need.

Just some food for thought on this snowy Thursday. ;)

**I use the term "dieters" for lack of a better word. It's not my favorite term, because I feel like it trivializes what should be a lifestyle change...but it's easier to use. At least for me. ;)

Good Morning?

Of course it's a good morning. It's always a good morning when I get another chance to face another day. I will always try to be grateful for that simple thing everyday.

But did you ever wake up with a pounding headache? I think this is the third time in my life it's ever happened to me. What a shame...really puts a damper on things. I'm hoping that I just need coffee, which I'm drinking now. I'm hoping that will take care of it. (Because being addicted to caffeine isn't a problem, right?) I also just had some breakfast since I woke up ravenous for some reason - a cup of Barbara's Shredded Spoonfuls and 1/4 cup of raw muesli with 1/2 cup of almond milk. It was VERY yummy.

Plans for today? Well, it's a snow day. 1-2 more feet here in good old northwest New Jersey. To me, this is the best part of Jersey to live in - it's very rural, very non-New Jersey. I have cows at the end of my road, which is somewhere 2.5 miles down. I have no close neighbors. It's wonderful. But with that said, we usually get more snow than all other parts of New Jersey, except when some weird southern coastal thing comes and hammers south Jersey (...where I work, of course. I can't get away.).

So today is a snow day. I will be drinking my coffee and trying to muster up the motivation to run. Whether I muster it up or not is irrelevant, because I'm going to do it anyway. I'm also going to write, and I can only hope that my creative juices flow.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Good News!

I figured out how to maintain my weight! The trick is to eat really well during the week and then just about completely screw up on weekends. Works like a charm!

...Too bad I'm not trying to maintain, eh? LOL

It's true though. Weighed myself this morning and I'm still the same weight as I was last Monday. The culprits? Probably the French fries and nachos on Friday night, the tortilla chips on Saturday night, and the lemon bar last night. I knew the scale wouldn't show a drop this morning, and I suppose I was okay with it because I ate all of those things anyway! LOL Oh, and Valentine's Day candy here and there throughout the week...that's gone now, thank God. It was in my belly. ;)

So, this week I have to do better, that's all. I'm going to hydrate well today and re-weigh tomorrow, because I do feel like I might be holding on to some fluid from all the salt I consumed. Dining out 3 times in 3 days will do that to you. But hey, I didn't gain, and I got my exercise in this weekend even though I didn't want to do it, so that's good. And I know that life happens (holidays, dinners out, etc.) and I tend to give myself a break on stuff like that because it's going to be there forever. BUT...if I want to see the numbers drop, I need to do better. So this is going to be a good week!

I'm home from work today, so I've only had a coffee thus far. Breakfast will be a fat-free muffin Hubs and I bought from the store yesterday - not exactly the most natural product, but sometimes I want a muffin and don't want to use 400 calories for it! So a muffin it is, for 150 calories and about the same number of ingredients. LOL Lunch will be sushi (280 calories), and dinner will most likely be either an oatmeal concoction or a rice and veggie combo. We'll see. Will I work out today? Meh...maybe. LOL Too tired at the moment to even think about it, need to finish my coffee. ;)

Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Holy Cannoli!

Oops, sorry for the food title. ;)

Man, I've been wicked busy! I need to start blogging more, I'm taking too much time off. I'll do better from here on out!

Weird thing about today? I actually WANTED to get home and run on the treadmill. Isn't that bizarre? I was driving home (90 minutes, thank you very much) not exactly thrilled about the prospect of getting on the treadmill tonight, but I found myself thinking, Hmmmm...I wonder if I could go even faster tonight... That thought motivated me; it was almost as if I had a little friendly competition going on with myself. Is that a strange reason for wanting to exercise? I mean, most people want to do it because they're "addicted" or something...I don't know what that's all about. LOL But anyway, I ran so fast and so hard that I thought I was going to barf, but I feel really awesome tonight. Bonus!

I had a really good food day today, very satisfying.

Breakfast: Fage 0%, 1/4 cup blueberries, 1/4 cup Trader Joe's Nutty American Trek Mix; Caramel Vanilla coffee with organic H&H

Lunch: organic apple, baby carrots, Cashew Cookie Larabar

Snack: Chocolate Brownie Clif Z Bar (YUM!)

Dinner: Veggie pizza - thin crust with pizza sauce, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and broccoli; NO cheese (420 calories for a HUGE portion!)

Snack: 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 cup Shredded Spoonfuls cereal, 1/2 cup Kashi Autumn Wheat, and 1/8 cup of blueberries

All of this for a total of 1465, but with my workout, I only netted 1135. Eek, a little low. Nothing a small piece of Valentine's Day chocolate won't fix! ;)


Tuesday, February 16, 2010


228.8 today. A loss, though not a huge one. But given the weekend and it's celebrations, I'm stoked! :)

What I'm not stoked about? The fact that I just SCARFED down a quarter of a bag of Baked Doritos. Baked, fried, doesn't matter. Still crack to me.

And all this after a lovely dinner of fresh, baked tilapia and steamed broccoli.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

On Writing (Not Weight Loss)

Well, this isn't about my weight loss at all! But I guess I can tell you that Hubs and I celebrated Valentine's Day last night with a delicious Italian meal, complete with dessert, and today we celebrated my father-in-law's birthday, complete with dessert. ;) I ate a lot last night and this evening, but I'll be back on track tomorrow. If there's damage, there's damage. Life happens sometimes! I did try to make good choices, but it definitely wasn't low-calorie.

Okay, on writing...

I am currently writing a book. It is a memoir, and it is hilarious. I'm approximately 60,000 words in and probably have about 30-40,000 more that need to come out. My goal is to get published and then be asked to write more! My dream is to become an author, which is why I say that I'm a doctor just to pay the bills. Being a doctor is rewarding, and I suppose on some level it's noble, but a writer is what I really want to do with my life.

I guess that's all I had to say. Just wanted to get it out somewhere! LOL

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Shopping at Gap

Let's talk about Gap.

First and foremost, I got a pair of trousers today that were marked down to $12.97 from $69.50. I'm not kidding. I LOVE Gap trousers, but they are pricey little buggers. But $12.97? Be still my beating heart.

The really awesome thing about today was that I discovered that I fit into a size 14 at Gap. This is awesome because I have five pairs of pants at the tailor right now getting 5.5 inches taken off the waists; two pairs are Gap trousers. Both are a size 20. TWENTY. And now I'm a 14, and that is freakin' cool. You can buy so many more pairs of pants when you're a 14. Oh, and my shirt size is a loose L Tall now, down from a tight XL Tall.

People were right about this calorie-counting thing. It works.


Monday, February 8, 2010

A Fishy Weigh-In

Well, not really. I mean, they're two separate things here, but I thought it was a catchy title. ;)

What was fishy? My fish!!! Why is this exciting? I'll tell you. Hubs hates fish. HATES. He can't stand the smell of it, and he seems to have a really sensitive nose for it. The problem for me? I love fish. As much as Hubs hates it, I love it.

I have not bought fish for this house in the 3.5 years I've lived here. I just occasionally ordered it when we went out to restaurants, but otherwise...none. Because here's the problem...I can't always count on myself to cook. So if I go to the grocery store and buy fresh fish, I may or may not cook it that night. Or the next night...or even the next 5 nights. Whether or not I put effort into cooking something is directly proportional to my day at work, and that's usually unpredictable. If I don't cook it, it sits in the freezer and eventually gets freezer burnt, rendering it inedible. (I used to have a FoodSaver but it broke. I'm not buying another one just to freeze fish. LOL) Also, I swear...Hubs would be able to smell fish every time he opened the refrigerator for days afterwards, I just know it.

So color me freakin' excited when I found a package that has three separately vacuum-packed fillets in it! Oooooh, mamma mia!!! I bought some haddock and tilapia, and last night I stuck a haddock fillet in the refrigerator to thaw for today. If I didn't want it, I'd have thrown it back in the freezer. (If it's vacuum-packed, I don't really care about freezing and defrosting over and over. Is that bad?)

It was so yummy! I baked it with a little Essence of Emeril because that's what we had in the pantry, not because I knew what I was doing. It smelled great as it was cooking though, so I figured it was all right. Then I steamed a cup of broccoli and heated up 3/4 cup of Kashi Fiery Fiesta rice. Mixed it all together and OH MY GOD, it was awesome. All for only 300 calories! No...seriously. ;) On the side I had one Archer Farms Parmesan Twist for an other 45 calories - those things were sent to Earth directy from heaven. Hubs sat in the sunroom with me with his shirt covering his face. :p Not kidding.

The rest of the day was awesome! Fage and Trader Joe's Nutty American Trek Mix for breakfast, and a Clif Z Bar, baby carrots, and a V8 Fusion for lunch. My snack during my commute home was a little organic gala apple and a 100-calorie portion of almonds. I only totaled about 1200 calories today, so I'll be having another small snack tonight. Not sure what yet!


My weigh-in was super cool this morning. :) 229.4 today, which is a 4.4-pound loss from last Monday! Don't be alarmed period is finally over. ;) Felt good to pee out all of that water. LOL

That's a total of 69.2 pounds lost!

Cheers, folks! :)

Friday, February 5, 2010


Here's the thing: I hate exercising.

I do. I hate it with a passion. I have been exercising for 2 months now (give me a gold star, right?), and I can tell you that in no way am I "addicted" to it. It takes every ounce of resolve I have to drag my ass downstairs to our treadmill. I then have to find it in me to get ON the treadmill, crank that baby up to 5.5, and run.

It sucks.

But I will say this... The way I feel after I exercise is amazing. My body feels good and healthy, my lungs feel like they can take in more air. My muscles hurt, but it's a good hurt; they're telling me that they appreciate the chance to work, that they are glad for the chance to get healthier, too.

Two days ago at work I had to climb two flights of stairs. To those of you who have always been physically active, this prospect is barely a blip in your very active radar. But for me it's a big deal. I work in a hospital, and we're always going from floor to floor. I'm not going to be the only doctor that takes the elevator to go from the first to the third floor. But in the past, I would do that if there was no one around. Or if I could think of a good enough excuse, like I hurt my knee (not) exercising the weekend before. Some lie that would make it sound like I was wounded in battle, and of course for the greater good. But really it was just that I was a cow, and I'm not really sure who I thought I was fooling back then.

But anyway, yes...the stairs. I climbed them with a colleague of mine, a doctor 4 years older than me and very fit. I thought to myself, Don't even breathe heavy, Sunshine...Don't even break a sweat.

And you know what? I didn't. HE did, but I didn't. I got to the top of the steps and the muscles in my legs didn't hurt, they felt strong and reliable. My lungs felt even more clear, like I had gotten the chance to move some of the stale air that had been collecting in the bottom of them after I had been sitting and looking through a chart for a good 20 minutes. I used to ALWAYS sit around, and for a lot longer than 20 minutes. I can't imagine how desperate my lungs were for a fresh, deep breath.

This is why I exercise. Do I like it? Oh, hell no I don't. Do I think it's impacting my weight loss? Honestly, not really. But the feeling...that's incomparable.

Happy weekend!!! :D

Monday, February 1, 2010


I'm still 233.8. But I'm totally not upset. Know why? Because I didn't gain, and I had been going a little overboard before I recommitted recently. But it's okay! Because everything is going well. :)

Today I had a horrible coffee and a Clif Z bar for breakfast. Lunch was Fage 0%, 1/4 cup Nutty American Trek Mix, and a V8 Fusion. Snacks on my commute home were an apple, baby carrots, and a Light Babybel cheese. Dinner was an Amy's veggie burrito; for after-dinner foodage I had some peanut butter crackers and a Trader Joe's Cranberry Apple Bran muffin. They are SO GOOD.

This was all for a total of 1275. Who's complaining? Not me!!! :)

Also, I have to put this in... I won my first contest EVER over on Monica's blog. Go visit. It's lots of fun over there!!!