Cuppa Dessert

I ran out of calories yesterday and went to the grocery store after dinner to find some veggies to snack on. I know veggies are not calorie free – but I think their benefit both health-wise and snacking-need-satisfaction-wise outweigh the calorie cost. So if I have to snack – I’ll snack on raw celery and green beans. (Another good one is cauliflower, sprayed with “butter flavored PAM” and then roasted in the oven for when I’m craving buttery popcorn.)

In any case, I started browsing the aisles – looking for anything low-calorie that would make a good snack or meal… I’d been craving chocolate – but it’s hard to get around the calories for that one. Then while in the tea aisle I found this:

Chocolate… Tea…?? Not really sure that sounds appetizing. I pictured something like hot cocoa – but really runny/watery. I put it down… I picked it back up. Really?? Chocolate tea? I put it down… I picked it back up… I bought it. Actually it’s really really good. It’s NOT hot cocoa – but that’s probably a good thing. (re: runny/watery hot cocoa = yuck) But it has enough of a chocolate taste to make it feel like a dessert. And under 5 calories for something that resembles chocolate… I’m happy. They also had other flavors too. Red Velvet. Strawberry Chocolate… I’ll be going back soon to try them all!

In other news, I’m down another pound this morning. (again, I’m sure this is going to slow soon – my guess is it’s just bloat weight I’m losing right now) I planned out the food for the day – with my Zumba class planned for tonight, my calorie count is REALLY low. I may be able to sneak in chocolate of the real-kind variety tonight!! So feeling pretty good about things at the moment. I can still see the fat on me – but I’m also feeling better – healthier – just a wee bit skinnier. Success is the biggest motivator.

Post Holiday Catch Up

I hope everyone had a good Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice or other holiday of your choice 😉 The last few weeks have been insanely busy with work projects, and various holiday projects.

I was able to do the Hanukkah presentation for Rachel’s class with minimal problems. My plan to talk “off-the-cuff” as little as possible worked. I read a book. We sang a few songs (many of them the students already knew from previous years of my coming in there), I had the kids play dreidel, and then I brought in latkes. That was probably the biggest challenge. Due to health laws – I’m not allowed to bring in homemade food, so the latkes had to be store-bought. So the first challenge was finding a store that would make them. I convinced the local Harmon’s grocery store to make them for me in their deli department, but then at the last minute they decided they were too busy to actually do it. (I can’t even tell you how pissed I still am at them for pulling that stunt). The one good thing that came out of it was that they told me that they thought that Whole Foods might make them. Which was true – and I didn’t even have to twist their arm and beg. In fact, when I explained what I needed the latkes for, they offered to make up a special batch for me of “smaller” latkes for the kids (their “normal” size was HUGE – their “smaller” size is closer to what I would have considered “normal”). But the the problem was that they refused to give them to me heated up. And I wasn’t given access to the school’s cafeteria, so I had to heat them up on warming platters in the class. They were still on the “cooler” side, but they still tasted good. All the kids seemed really excited to try them.

Christmas went well too. The kids were spoiled rotten, although there were a fair share of present fails – I think Santa is beginning to look like an idiot. (Well, at least he’ll take the blame for a few more years until the kids figure it out). Rachel got a “designer nail” kit – which apparently was only an “add on” to a larger (more expensive) kit – which she doesn’t have. Oops. Zachary got a Wii game which is totally too difficult for him to play. He also got a computer game which doesn’t work on his computer. Oops. There were other presents that didn’t suck, thankfully – Rachel got a few Harumika sets, a Miley Cyrus CD (which she has been playing over and over and over and over again. Ugh.) Zachary got a few Bakugans and a marble tower building thing.

And me? Between Hanukkah and Christmas (and Thanksgiving) – basically a month+ of holidays and food… I am sitting at a good 5lbs heavier than when the holidays started. I know I’ve been “bad” – but the holidays are difficult on a diet. I wanted to enjoy them without worrying so much about every calorie. I knew I would gain, but the deal I made with myself was that as quickly as I could afterwards I would get it back together again. So here I am. Again. For the millionth time. But that’s what it’s all about.

I tried the LoseIt! iPhone app before – but I do like being able to enter stuff into the computer as well as the iPhone. Sometimes, if I have A LOT of stuff to enter, the iPhone’s interface becomes a real hurdle. So I end up skipping an entry… and one thing leads to another… and you get the idea. So I’ve signed up again with MyFoodDiary. It’s still a little overkill for what I want, and some things I still find annoying and wish I could turn off, but it has the main important features I want – iphone accessible (they have a mobile version of their site) and the ability to enter via computer as well. It’s too bad I don’t get a “referral kick-back” for the number of times I mention them on this site, but I don’t. I just like their service.

Our New Year’s is always quiet, so I shouldn’t have too much to worry about there – so today is my first day back on track.

Diet Vacation (of sorts)

I officially hit 130lbs a few weeks ago. That’s 30lbs down from when I initially started trying to lose weight last year. Half of that I lost since April. I’m definitely hitting a point right now where I’m getting a little tired of logging what I eat. Every meal is becoming a chore because eating healthy takes a lot of time to do. A few weeks ago, we started shooting for having breakfast dinners partially because breakfast tends to be the lowest calorie and healthier meal of the day. It is also pretty quick and easy to whip up a breakfast dinner. Oatmeal. Cereal.

In any case. I’m tired. For the next week or two, I’m still going to try and eat healthy. But if I’m hungry, I’m going to eat. I’ll pick something healthy to snack on, and I’ll try to watch how much of it I have, but I’m going to cut back on how intensely I count every calorie. I’m going to watch my weight very carefully while I do this so it’s not like I’m going to allow myself to balloon up a few pounds. And the instant I see it starting to catch up with me, I will start being more religious about logging every calorie. I’m still going to do the workouts I’ve been doing. Hip Hop Hustle and running (and maybe Zumba – we lost our original instructor for this class, and it’s just not the same without her). But I just need a break.

My guess is that the “break” will be good. When I’m ready to start losing the last 5lbs, I bet it will be easier then if I had tried to push through right now. I think my body needs get used to being this weight. And then I can trick it down to going just a little bit more. We’ll see how it goes.

Greatest Tomato Sauce EVER!

So I discovered a great find the other day. I was poking around Whole Foods looking for yummy low calorie stuff and found this tomato sauce:


It has the lowest number of calories I’ve seen in an off-the-shelf sauce (only 35 calories for 1/2 a cup), probably because it has no added sugar! Of course I had to buy it and try it and it tasted fantastic!! You’ve seriously got to try it if it’s sold near you. (I had it with some polenta – which turns out is much lower calorie than I realized, and it made a great dinner!)

Here’s a link to the company’s website so you can find it near you: Cucina Antica (I got their Garlic Marinara flavor)

Diet is a four letter word

Growing up, I was never really aware of my weight. I guess I was always active enough (doing what, though, I’m not sure) and probably kept my calories down to a reasonable level or my metabolism handled things for me for a long time. Ah, Youth!

I am 5’4″ and have a medium to large build. I’m basing the “large build” on guides that have you measure your wrist circumference. Mine is 6″. According to BMI measurements – I should weigh between 108 and 145lbs. But this doesn’t take into consideration my build – it only bases that on height. If you just base it on build, the range is 134 – 151lbs. These two really do not add up. Especially if you’re just looking at the low end: 108lbs vs 134lbs. That’s a HUGE difference!

I think when I was in high school – I was probably about 125 pounds. College got me up to 130-135 which is where I stayed for a good long time. Then… I got pregnant with my first kid. I used the pregnancy as an excuse to over indulge and after it was all said and done – I was at 145 (which really isn’t TOO bad). As the years crept by, I think that great metabolism I used to have went away. Soon enough I was at 150lbs, then 160lbs. 160 was definitely the wake-up call. I did the South Beach diet, and got myself very briefly down to just under 150. It didn’t last. Then I got pregnant again, and after all was said and done on that one – I was at 155lbs. This of course, slowly crept up to 160 – which I was almost willing to accept. But when I saw it going OVER 160 – I realized it would never end. If I didn’t make a change, I would just continue to gain weight.

I tried to do South Beach, but just couldn’t be that rigid again. I tried a couple of other “fad” diets – of course, these do not work. So I tried Jenny Craig. This did work for a while. I was on Jenny Craig for about 3-4 months. I ate the food out of the boxes – it wasn’t bad. I had a lot of crazy-hungry days, but I just dealt with it. I did everything online – and instead of going in to see them, a consultant called me once a week. When I got my weight down below 150 – she cheered and said “SAY GOOD BYE TO THE 150’s!!” I was happy, but didn’t really feel the excitement. I had been down there before. I wasn’t convinced I could stay there. After all, I didn’t want to live on Jenny Craig food forever.

I ultimately got down to 145lbs. It felt like I was there for just a day. By this time I was sick of Jenny Craig and desperately wanted to eat normal food again. I had been exercising at Curves, but was SO bored with it. I was in over my head with work – and every minute I couldn’t put in trying to finish the project I was doing at the time, made me crazy. So I quit everything.

Just a few months later I was back up to 155lbs. I’d lost 15lbs on Jenny Craig and immediately gained 10 of it back. Not good. I needed a new plan.

The first thing I did was join 24 Hour Fitness. I thought that if I just “ate less” and exercised regularly, I could lose weight.

Well, that was partially true. In the end that didn’t work. I lost maybe a pound – maybe two – over the course of two months. WTH? So I signed up with a personal trainer and my first complaint to her was the weight loss. “I’m eating less – I’m working out – THIS ISN”T WORKING!!!!” She told me she wanted me to write down everything I ate. Just one potato chip? Write it down. EVERYTHING that went into my stomach. And if possible, include calorie, protein and carb information. I was to bring my food log for the week the next time I met with her.

This was a turning point. Since I do everything online, I went looking for a way to log all my food through a website or something. I found a number of free tools (, livestrong/the daily plate) but I wasn’t thrilled with the features or interface. After a number of Google searches, I found THIS had everything I needed. I liked the interface and while it wasn’t free, it wasn’t expensive either. I figured, I’d try it – and just cancel after awhile. Now? I think I’m hooked on that site for life. (Well, at least it isn’t like living on Jenny Craig food forever!)

With MFD ( I can track my weight, my food. I can build recipes, enter custom labels for foods that aren’t in their database (although they have a pretty extensive database). I also read the forums – there’s a lot of good information I’ve found there.

I never thought I’d be willing to “Calorie Count” – it always seemed like a “chore.” But I feel very strongly now, this is the only way I’m going to be able to do this.

The first day, and almost every day since, has been an eye-opener. While I thought I was eating less, I really wasn’t. When you broke it down meal for meal, calorie for calorie, I was actually taking in WAY more calories then I realized. All the diets that can promise results, whether they’re low-carb, low-fat, in a box, in a shake – they all come down to one simple fact: it’s basically a math equation.

Calories out > calories in = weight loss.

This is true for everyone, except where medical issues make it not the case. (There is a fantastic post in the forums on MFD by a guy named Charles who lost 300 something lbs this way. He said basically the same thing.)

Once I started counting the calories, I started to lose weight.

That’s not to say I didn’t hit plateau’s. I have. And each time, I learned something new – and had to adjust my thinking. The first plateau I hit, again, went back to the personal trainer and had measurments taken. While I hadn’t seen numbers dip on the scale, due to the amount of exercise, I was gaining muscle at almost an equal proportion to fat I was losing. Another plateau I realized that what I considered to be a portion as specified from a label – wasn’t what I was actually eating. I started weighing and carefully measuring out my food so I would know exactly what I was eating.

Now – I am currently sitting at about 136lbs. And I’ve been here for a few weeks – so it’s definitely not like the “day” I was at 145. I’m certainly within my healthy range and my obsession to LOSE weight is waning. I can still see some fat that has settled on my belly and love-handles. I would love to see it gone. But I know now that I’m this close, it’s going to go extremely slowly. Figure – probably .5 lbs every two weeks or so. So instead, I’m focusing on getting in shape. I want to build up some endurance and be able to run for longer periods (I feel like a wimp saying running for 2mins makes me tired. I know I can do better than that!) and I want to build some definition to my arms and shoulders. (=sigh= resistance training)

I don’t consider what I’m doing a “diet”. Diet’s come and go. You go on them. You go off them. You gain the weight back. What I have tried to do is change my lifestyle. I am making myself extremely aware of what I eat. For me, it’s the only way I know I’m going to keep the weight off. I am a mindless eater. If I see it, if it’s on the counter – I’ll eat it. If there’s a bag of chips by the computer, they’ll be gone and I’ll barely have the recollection of eating the entire thing. By making myself accountable for everything I eat – I know I can take control.