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Thursday, August 11, 2011

The last minute show is finally over. Not much like a few weeks of mad, crazy rehearsing and performing to make one appreciate how precious their free time is. I have the luxury of choosing when I work out, I'm able to make dinner any time I feel like it, if I want, I can hop over to the store and buy fresh fruits and vegetables whenever I want.

Still, don't think I'm going to stop performing - if there's one thing this experience made me realize, it's that I miss being on the stage.

Before the show, I was in a pretty big slump. I was depressed, workouts were non-existent, meal planning didn't happen, the scale was inching up, and I was becoming less and less honest about the junk I was feeding myself. Regularly, there were weeks when the kitchen didn't see a single meal prepped, and the food I was buying every week at the store was getting hucked when it went bad since I didn't feel like cooking.

Then along came that mad, crazy rehearsal schedule which was, basically, a gift. I've often said the things we need are plopped down in our laps when we need them and, just at that moment, I needed that kick in the pants to wake me up and remind me that I still wanted to do this thing.

With that realization, and a commitment to being honest with myself (really, really honest), I've been rewarded with the scale headed back in the right direction, higher energy levels, feeling amazingly great about myself, and a host of other benefits.

However, it got me to thinking, I definitely want performing to be a part of my life. Being on stage is something that has always mattered to me, and I'm going to have to find some way to fit in work, fitness, food prep, food shopping, cleaning, rehearsing and performing all in to the course of a week. Without driving myself nuts.

And to be quite honest, I have no answer to how one goes about doing that. Habit, habit, habit, I suppose. And the best way to build a habit is practice. Practice over and over and over and over.

This week is a good start. I planned dinner every night, went food shopping to have all the ingredients on hand, worked out three days straight, wrote out a meal plan every day, tracked all my food, and am remembering to tell myself every day that I'm worth it.

Hell, even people like me, who've been going for nearly two years need to be reminded from time to time.



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I'm an information whore, and as such I'm constantly searching for random diet related crap. Yeah, I said diet. I give up. From here on out, I'm not going to mince around that word. We're on a diet. Hell, every single freaking person on the planet is on a diet. According to my mistress, Google, the definition of diet is: Noun: The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats. So stop assuming (and yes, that says you're an ass) I'm talking about the evil verb to diet, and get over yourself.

Although, you know what, I'm also going to talk about that stinking verb, to diet, because I can. So there.

Anywho. In the diet related world, there are five million websites, books, gurus out there with tons of great information. Sure, most of it conflicts with everything else everyone else is saying, but who cares. Right?

In my ever wandering search for new internet fodder, I found the following site: Bitch Yourself Thin. Sure, it's a paid community site, but the rest of the content is free, and some of it's a great laugh. And the name of the website really appealed to me. Hie yourself there and check it out, I have spoken. Heh, cos I'm a guru or something like that. Suuurrre.

Moving on.

With my current completely un-PC mood (which means I'm not in the mood to pussyfoot around anything), let's tackle a few books from my bookshelf:

A while back, my sister in law recommended I read "Women, Food and God" by Geneen Roth. It really helped her with her relationship with food, and I figured "hey, what the heck? Can't hurt to try." How I wish Ms. Roth's book could've done for me what it did for her, but - sadly - I just can't finish reading the frakking book. I'll get to page 75 or so, put it down, and never start again. Maybe it's a subconscious inability to read self-help books. I don't know. Anyone want a slightly used copy? I'm happy to pass it on.

Before that, came my Bible: The Beck Diet Solution. This is my tao. When I need to kick myself in the butt and get back on track, this is the book I always come back to. Seriously, I carry it around in my freaking purse. If you want to do what I'm doing, then this is the book for you. Live it, love it, learn it. 'Nough said.

Next comes The 4 Day Diet by Dr. Ian Smith. Yep, the same guy who wrote The Fat Smash Diet: the last diet you'll ever need. Quick question, if that diet was the last diet I'd ever need, why did he write another diet book? DOES NOT COMPUTE. Still, I picked it up in the bargain bin at Barnes & Noble as another "what the heck? Can't hurt to try" purchase. Read the whole thing. BORING. Guess I know why it was in the bargain bin now.

Okay, that's it for this first installment of "Crap from Zan's bookshelf". Have a good one folks.



Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Because I'm Worth It

At my heaviest, I remember spending a lot of time wishing I was prettier and thinner and that I was anything but me. Yeah, those weren't great days. I didn't put a lot of time or energy into myself, and I spent my days looking like a shlump, thinking I wasn't worth it and wondering what the point was of trying to find clothes that fit or waste a few minutes doing my hair and makeup.

And when I didn't bother to do my hair or take a few minutes to choose an outfit that didn't make me look like ass? It just got worse. I'd look in the mirror, loathing the person I saw, telling her how ugly she was and that she didn't deserve to exist.

On the other hand, the days I took the time to take care of myself? Sure, I wasn't thrilled looking in the mirror seeing a nearly 300 lb woman, but I could look in the mirror and see an attractive person, manage a smile, and realize I had the power to make changes for the better.

Seriously, standing in front of a mirror seething self loathing at yourself ain't gonna help you do crap.

Yesterday, I read this post over at A Deliberate Life. Christine puts it five hundred million times better than I can. So go over there and read it rather than get a bad recap from me. Basically it's how all the negative shit we spew at ourselves is self perpetuating. Read it. Live it. Love it.

Now, that we're done with the depressing stuff, remember this whole self talk thing is a two way street. Yeah, we're all pretty used to looking in the mirror and hating everything we see - society has taught us it's okay to detest ourselves. Have you ever tried looking in the mirror and doing just the opposite?

What's that you say? Say good things about myself? That's not right! Well, actually it is. It's really right. Yeah, I used to think that positive self talk was a whole bunch of hooey. Seriously. What kind of New Age, pyscho babble mumbo jumbo were people trying to get me to use? I'm gonna let you in on a pretty well kept secret: it works. It's pretty easy and yes, you will feel silly the first one, five, ten, one hundred times you do it, but you say it to yourself enough and eventually it becomes truth.

Today, people ask me why I spend so much time picking out clothes, doing my hair, and putting on makeup every frakking day. They ask why I spend so much on getting my hair done or buying new clothes when I could just go to Goodwill and buy things that'll pass while I'm still losing weight. My answer? Because I'm worth it. Poorly fitting clothes that don't fit my style and make me depressed just looking at them are not for me.

This attitude about myself didn't happen overnight.

Sure, some days it's a chore waking up early when I'd rather sleep for another hour. And some days I have to force myself to look good. But choosing a nice outfit, doing my hair, doing make-up? The end result always makes me smile.

Other days I wake up thinking it's not worth it, what's the point, why do I bother. You know what? I still do it. Fake it till you make it, I say.

When I'm feeling like hell, I still plaster a smile on my face and say hi to everyone just like a good day. When someone smiles back, the day gets a little brighter.

There will always be days when nothing helps. But going through the motions, making sure you tell yourself the reason you're doing these things is because you're worth it, that's what counts.

Here's my challenge to anyone and everyone: for the next week, every time you look in the mirror, when you're getting dressed, when you're doing your hair or makeup, say "I'm worth it". That's it. Give it a try, you never know what might happen.



Monday, August 1, 2011

That's the Life

So, that show I mentioned last week? It opened on Saturday. Oh, hey, guess what else showed up just in time for my Saturday performance. Gosh, Aunt Flo, it's so nice to see you.

You know what I forgot? Just how difficult it is to have a normal eating schedule while in performance mode. My normal dinner time is somewhere around 7 or 8 p.m. Guess when a show normally starts? Heh.

Before a show, I start getting ready around 3:30 for an eight o'clock go. That's because I'm crazy.

What a lot of non-performers don't get is how much prep goes into an actual performance. Sure, the curtain goes up at eight, which gives the audience plenty of time for dinner and cocktails beforehand. But based on pre-performance rituals, some actors start prepping as early as noon (for an eight o'clock go). Again, that's because us actors are completely wackadoodle.

With a six o'clock call time, my weirdo, crazy need to have hair and make-up mostly done before leaving for the theatre, adding in driving time, somehow food doesn't enter into the equation. Okay, so I'll grab a sandwich before heading into the theatre, then spend four, five or six hours prepping, performing and whatevering. How long do you think that sandwich keeps me going? By the time the performance is over and I've spent another half an hour or hour or so driving home, I'm ravenous. It's eleven o'clock, I need to go to bed to wake up and start getting ready at 9:30 the next morning for a 2 p.m. show, and all I want to do is EAT. With the addition of a perfectly timed visit by Aunt Flo, all I want to eat is cr*p.

Funny how when you're hungry, tired and stopping at the 24-hr drugstore to buy food, your choices aren't phenomenal. Mine went something along these lines: Salsa verde Doritos, Steak and Cheese chimichanga, and Dark Chocolate Reese's peanut butter cups. Ugh. Hey, I glanced at the Healthy Choice meals - right next to the frakking chimichangas. Ah well, must remember to bring healthy snacks with me next week.

Other than that, the show was awesome. It's a great group of people to work with who really enjoy what it is they do which makes it an incredible experience. I'm proud of myself for being able to learn the music, blocking, choreagraphy, etc. so quickly and that people can't tell I only joined the cast three days before opening night.

Well, here's to a relaxing week where I can get back to my normal eating habits, and rest a bit before going back into performance mode.



Friday, July 29, 2011

First things first, from now on, every time I mention/moan/complain about not having sung in ages I need to stop and slap myself silly. If I'm not singing, it's my own damn fault, and I just need to suck it up. So, yeah, I need to be careful what it is I wish for.

The long and short of it:

Two nights ago, I received a call from a local theatre group I used to work with asking if I could fill in (on super short notice) for someone that had dropped from the show going up this weekend. And yes, if you're saying to yourself "THIS WEEKEND?!?! IS SHE NUCKING FUTS?", I most likely am cause I said yes.

Background: The show is part of series featuring lost operettas and musicals from the late 1800's and early 1900's. They're semi-staged, partially open book readings. So I'm not a total effing nut job.

Anywho, I put down my barely touched glass of wine from the bottle I'd just popped open, finished what little of my dinner I could, and hauled my butt over to the warehouse to observe the rehearsal and get an idea of what I just signed up for.

Oh, hey look, I'm kind of a featured dancer. WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?! Helllooooo, fat girl! But apparently, I'm not so fat anymore.

Verdict: cute show. Oh damn, I have one f*ck-ton of music to learn, and just a few days in which to do it.

Fast forward to Thursday: When I wasn't at work (and when I was at work on break and lunch) I was studying music, and trying to memorize at least a few little bits so I wouldn't feel like a massive tool at rehearsal that night. Home from work? At the piano, learning and memorizing music. Believe me, if I had my way, I would've taken most of Thursday and Friday off from work to cram music.

Rehearsal Thursday: Blocking me into the show and learning choreagraphy. Teacher, my brain is full! I spent most of the rehearsal feeling like a deer in headlights, but after a night to sleep on it I've managed to process a good part of the blocking and feel pretty comfortable about it.

Tonight? Show run through at the venue, and blocking me into the last few numbers we didn't get a chance to touch last night.

Tomorrow? Opening night.

Fun times. I'm going to go plotz now.



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Yesterday, I started writing a really emo post about all my worries, my fears, my dissatisfaction, and blah, blah, blah, oh my I feel so sorry for myself bs. Fortunately for me, it just wasn't coming together.

Guess what yesterday was? PMS hormones from HELL. Any day I start off feeling great, get all worked up for no particular reason, have a random crying fit sometime around 1 or 2 p.m., then get caught up in the Pity Party Express - should ring a frakking bell. Helloooooo, PMS.

You know what? I don't want to be emo. Nor do I want to sit around feeling sorry for myself. That kind of attitude ain't gonna change shit.

Here's the long and short of yesterday's pity party: I'm stuck in a rut. In the past three or four months, I can't tell you how many times I've gained and lost the same five stupid pounds. Plus side, I've managed to maintain. Downside, I really wanted to get over the hump into that magical place called ONEderland.

To tell the truth, I know exactly why I'm stuck in this rut. My meal tracking: meh. Exercise: meh. I can tell you what I've been doing instead - gaming, going out, reading comics, drinking, rinse, later, repeat.

And, frankly, my motivation is in the tank. Why? Because I'm at a lower weight now than I was through most of college. Suddenly people are looking at me again. I'm not the fattest person in the room. I'm okay with how I look (mind you, I said ok, not great). I'm maintaining my weight loss. I don't have the urge to eat the same crap I used to eat.

To quote Dr. Horrible, "The status is not quo".

I think I have a subconscious fear of hitting my goal weight, and actually succeeding at this whole weight loss thing. Seriously, who the hell is SCARED of succeeding?

Something has got to give. This indifferent apathy to making any progress is not acceptable.

Okay, I accept I might be apathetic, but that doesn't mean I can't make some changes to see me through these dry times.

Question #1: What has been successful for me in the past? Writing out, keeping up with, and reading (every day) my reasons for losing weight. Planning out what I eat in advance. Light to moderate activity 4-5 times a week. Eating at least one serving of fruits and vegetables with every meal.

Question #2: What goals can I set to get me back on track? Now, I know setting date specific goals has never worked out for me. Look at my ill-fated ONEderland challenge back at the beginning of the year. Heh. See where I am now? Yeah. Great.

Goal 1: Lose five pounds.
Goal 2: Re-write my "Reasons I Want to Lose Weight".
Goal 3: Exercise three times this week.
Goal 4: Track five of seven days this week.
Goal 5: Write a blog even if it's just a sentence or two once a week.

Question #3: What can I do if I continue feeling this indifference to caring about losing weight? You've got me there. Anyone wanna be my weight loss buddy that I can text/e-mail/IM/call when apathy comes calling? I'll do the same for you.

Well, that's about it for now. Sorry for the prolonged absence. Can't promise it'll be any better in the near future, but I'm gonna try.



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I Am Extraordinary

Sorry for the radio silence folks. Didn't have much to write about last week, so rather than post some cr*ppy filler I decided to take a few days off.

Ever wonder when the hell it was you stopped having incredible dreams of what you'd be and/or do? How at some point normal became okay and reaching for your dreams was just childish escapism?

Fighting for your dreams is hard. It's a constant struggle and fight to overcome tremendous odds, and time after time you're likely to fall flat on your face. There are always setbacks and not everyone has the werewithal to keep getting up and dusting themselves off. But those that do are in for amazing things.

When you think about it, starting the journey to lose nearly 150 lbs is another big ol' pipe dream. Really. You give no thought to how many people manage to lose and keep off ten pounds. Just because the commercial says "Results not typical" doesn't mean it can't be done. But if you really thought about it and looked at the stats, reality is quite the opposite. The numbers are bleak. And the chance of being one of the magical few to make it to goal? Incredibly miniscule. But every day someone else embarks on their own quest to do just that.

WHY?!?!

Maybe because deep inside we never want to give up on our dreams. It's that last big dream of which we can't let go. If you can accomplish that, then you can accomplish anything.

Of all the people I knew with big dreams, I was one of the last of my friends to accept "average". But at some point, the sacrifices didn't seem worth it. I was tired of missing parties, never being in on the latest thing, and having days so jam-packed finding six hours to sleep was a chore. So I gave up. I said goodbye to dreams and decided to just be normal.

It's funny how "just being normal" meant I no longer felt alive, and this void opened up inside me. Sure, I got invited to all the parties. And suddenly I knew everything that was going on. And on the outside, I was a laughing, happy person. But a large part of that was a mask to cover up how totally un-special I felt.

So I pretended. And ate. And pretended some more. And ate some more. And that void? It just got bigger. So did I.

Over the weekend, my mom posted some pictures on Facebook of me before I woke up and realized I was killing myself. That person? She isn't me anymore, but I know her pain. The pain of being at the lowest point of your life at the bottom of a pit, feeling like you'll never stop falling and there's no way out.

Funny how, when I realized being normal just wasn't for me, re-embraced my dreams, I slowly started crawling out from that pit of despair.

You can keep normal. Average? Pfft. Soooo done with average. Typical? I think you already know I'm definitely NOT typical. And my dreams? I can keep reaching for the stars. Sure, I'll fall down, and I'll fall down again, but I'll just get back up. And so what if I barely have enough hours in the day? Oh well. What a ride it is, and I haven't even reached the end.

Finally, my weigh-in stats for the week!!!!

Week of 2/13/11 - 2/19/11 Stats

Weigh-in Day: Saturday, February 19, 2011

Starting Weight: 291.6

Previous Weight: 218.2
Current Weight: 215.2
Difference: -3.0 lbs

Total Weight Removed: -76.4 lbs
Total Percentage of Weight Removed: 26.2%

That's right! I smashed that 75 lbs gone mark! w00t w00t!!! Damn straight, I am extraordinary.

Now go have a good one folks, and find that extraordinary person in you!



Monday, February 14, 2011

I've spent a lot of time thinking about my mini-breakdown last week. Obsessing really. Wondering why it was such a catastrophe when I've had far worse binges along the way, and done seriously way stupider crap to my body. Enough people, though, smacked me upside the head to tell me to pull my head out of my ass and look at the big picture. And the angels sang from above. Shouldn't have been this massive revelation, but it was. I've been at this for somewhere around four hundred and sixty something days. And I'll be at it for the rest of my life. These things happen.

I don't actually live my life in this big, food-obsessed, shame bubble. Actually, most of the time I'm pretty well-adjusted as far as eating is concerned (which might be why I freaked out so big time last week). Lemme tell you a secret, sometimes I weird out, get completely irrational for no good reason, and decide to dwell on something. HELLO, OCD HERE. I'm the girl that can't sleep if she thinks the cans in her cupboard are facing the wrong way. So, when something in my world goes just a little haywire, like my eating for a couple of days, I'm likely to think the worst possible things. Then logic kicks in somewhere between zero and crazy.

Our heads are not that easy to figure out, and anyone who tells you otherwise is full of it. Would losing weight were as simple as eating less and exercising more, but these brain-things get in there and muck it right the hell up.

I'm done obsessing.

Really.

For now.

So, happy Monday and Happy Valentine's Day. Based on my normally sarcastic and cynical mien, you might think I don't appreciate a commercially created simply for the purposes of bilking money from millions of people holiday like Valentine's Day. HAHAHA. No, I don't appreciate the consumerism associated with it, but the idea of celebrating love is a good one.

This week I'm going to focus on loving me. Something I don't do nearly often enough. Starting today, I'm committing to doing these three things:

  1. Every time I look in the mirror I will compliment myself;

  2. Focus on eating foods that nourish my whole body; and

  3. Approach my workouts as a way to love my body, not battle and/or beat it into submission.


And, in the spirit of loving myself (yeah, I know how *bad* that sounds), do you wanna know what my gift to myself was this weekend? All that weight I thought I put on with my binge last week is gone! And some.

Week of 2/6/11 - 2/12/11 Stats

Weigh-in Day: Saturday, February 12, 2011

Starting Weight: 291.6

Previous Weight: 219.8
Current Weight: 218.2
Difference: -1.6 lbs

Total Weight Removed: -73.4 lbs
Total Percentage of Weight Removed: 25.1%

That might also be the reason I stopped stressing about the binge. >_<

Finally, I also want to send out a very special Valentine's wish to my DH, who puts up with my crazy, provides a shoulder to cry on when I'm frustrated for no good reason, and supports me in every weird endeavor I choose to pursue. I may not always show you how much I care, but I really do. Thank you for always being there. I love you.

Have a very Happy Valentine's Day folks. If you don't have a special someone to be your Valentine, be your own Valentine and do something to love you.



Thursday, February 10, 2011

Nothing But the Truth

Those cookies I was calling for help with earlier this week? Yeah, they don't seem so tasty anymore (after having one two days ago and one yesterday), especially since I finally forced my ass back on the scale this morning. And my weekend indulgences? Yeah, they seem a little more real now.

Hell, who am I fooling? I didn't track food for four frakking days!!! I ate things I normally wouldn't touch because I gave myself a pass on writing it down. Hello, Mr. Binge, been a while since we last saw one another. And my guilty binge secret? That ginormous bag of "Natural" Cheetos we bought at Costco. You know I didn't even LOOK to see what a serving size was? I just dug in and ate more than half of that bag to my head. Between the DH and I, it was gone by Monday evening. Couldn't tell you what else I ate, but I know it was a lot more than that. Look! I have food amnesia. Ha-f*cking-ha.

Why the Hell do I sabotage all of my f*cking progress like this?????????? I hate, hate, HATE my compulsive freaking eating habit. Seriously. Just when I think I've got this shit under control, I do something like put a massive bag of chips in front of my piehole. Of course, I'm going to sabotage myself.

Yeah, for all of my big talk, this is a constant struggle. I want to have a healthy relationship with food. I really do. But reality is, even with all I've learned, all these bad habits are deeply ingrained. It's said it takes about 20 repetitions or around 30 days to establish a new habit. What people fail to realize is all those other old habits haven't gone away! Every time you fall into the trap of bad behavior, you reinforce old habits instead of strengthening new ones.

Just writing about it makes me feel sick to my stomach. I saw all the warning signs of binge behavior, so why didn't I stop it? And why did I spend so much time laughing about my complete lack of self control last weekend? It wasn't and isn't funny.

There are a lot of ugly thoughts spinning through my head right now. Lots of name calling. Lots of dissatisfaction with myself and giving in.

But enough. I can't continue to beat myself up over this. What I can do is learn this lesson: there's just about enough wiggle room in my life for one event a week (and my progress would definitely prefer one event every other week or once a month). But dinner Friday night, dinner and drinks Saturday night, and binge/bag of chips Sunday and Monday? Way too much.

Hope everyone else has a great day, I'm working at keeping it together and getting that smile back on my face.



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

First, because I haven't posted it yet, and I promised I'd post it weekly:

Week of 1/30/11 - 2/5/11 Stats

Weigh-in Day: Saturday, February 5, 2011

Starting Weight: 291.6

Previous Weight: 220.0
Current Weight: 219.8
Difference: -0.2 lbs

Total Weight Removed: -71.8 lbs
Total Percentage of Weight Removed: 24.6%

Getting on the scale Saturday was a "meh" kind of moment, but not entirely unexpected. We'll just have to wait and see what happens when Aunt Flo has vacated the premises.

So, yeah, yeah, yeah, it's Wednesday and I'm finally getting around to talking about my weekend. I suck. Whatever. My weekend was marked by not one, but two, food-centric (alcohol too) celebrations. I had all kinds of grandiose plans about dealing with them too, until those plans failed. Guh.

Let's take a quick trip on the merry-go-round of my Food Weekend from HELL, also known as I HAD ABSOLUTELY NO SELF CONTROL.

Friday. Original Joe's in Downtown San Jose which is this super old fashioned, Italian restaurant with MEGA portions. Walking in here is like taking a step back in time. Seriously, this is one of those places you'd expect to find Dean Martin sitting at the bar drinking a martini. LOOOOVE IT!

My solution for their mega portions? Order something without pasta, eat half and take the rest home.

Problem: as is the problem with any large group eating out at a restaurant that DOESN'T take reservations, it took forever to be seated. Planned on eating by eight, wasn't seated until after nine by which time I was STARVING. Cue a complete lack of self control: alcoholic drinks? Check. Bread? Check, check, and check. Pasta Based Dish? Oh yeah, baby. Eating the whole plate? Yep. You betcha.

Faaahhhhkkk.

Okay, not a problem. Big hike scheduled the next day which could make up for a some of those extra calories consumed.

Suuuurrrree. Until the moment I decided to give a big "F.U." to food tracking on Saturday. Oh, did I mention that on the way back to the car from Friday's dinner we stopped at this amazing donut place called Psycho Donuts to pick up donuts for breakfast? Score Two for my complete and utter lack of self control.

Not to worry. I'll just keep it light at dinner Saturday night.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Cue Saturday Night. Asia SF in San Francisco. Super late seating of 9:45 p.m. Asia SF is a nightclub/bar/kinda-dinner place. Kinda-dinner means they serve lots and lots of small plates that are essentially appetizers. Lots and lots of appetizers.

Did I mention it was a super late seating? Oh, and it's served family style. And, oh my god, the food was sooooo good. And the drinks, sofa king tasty. Multiple cocktails plus cute little plates of food (see pictures below) equals "Look, there goes Zan's self control flying out the door. Again." Ugh.

And for your viewing pleasure, a few of the small plates served at our table:













Then it was dancing time (and more drinking time). At least, I busted my butt dancing.

Sunday morning, I woke up to the Creeping-Crud-that-Still-Wouldn't-Frakking-Go-Away which meant the order of the day was relax, watch commercials (I mean the Super Bowl), and try to get this thing under control.

Monday, the Neverending Cold of DOOM was still playing havoc with my sinuses, so I decided to call in and try to sleep it off. Also known as lie in bed, watch chick flicks, talk shows, and (to my everlasting shame) the E! Network.

Finally think I've got this crud under control, thank God, but I'm dosing myself with massive amounts of Vitamin C for the next few days just to be sure.

Verdict: it was a fun weekend, and as I think about it at least if I ate too much, my activity increased to make up for some of my indulgences. Need to work on getting immediately back to food tracking (since it took me until Tuesday!), and also need to work on planning better for unforseen circumstances such as ridiculously late seatings. On the plus side, it also means I can let loose from time to time and enjoy a night or two and immediately get back on plan.

Okay, I won't call the weekend a wash, I'll call it living life. Cos really, if you can't enjoy yourself from time to time what the heck is the point?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

On Friday, I wrote the following:

I received the Stylish Blogger Award from the ladies at 2 Fat Chicks With a Mission - thank you!! I'll post more about this hopefully over the weekend, but if not - Monday. Definitely Monday!!

Yeah. I'm a day late now. Obviously, I need to stop saying I'll definitely do something on a particular day. This is a recipe for me being made of EPIC FAIL. Epically epic. See Zan Fail. Fail Zan, Fail.

Okay. It's a day late. Have to stop beating myself up about it. It is what it is.

Here's that award, which is pretty darn awesome. I like awards. A lot.


And the award deets:
  1. Link back to the person who gave the award to you.

  2. Share seven things about yourself.

  3. Pass the award on to recently discovered great bloggers.

  4. Contact those bloggers and tell them they've won.


The award actually came from the fabulous ladies at 2 Fat Chicks With a Mission - Heidi and Erin! Thank you so much!

Seven Things About Me
  1. In my 31 years of life, I've never been off the North American continent. One of my dreams is to get over to Europe for a few (or six) months and explore some place with actual history. Or maybe Hawaii. Or Asia. Or, yeah, I think you get the point.

  2. I hate flying. If I could just taxi cross country, I'd be ridiculously happy. It's also one of the reasons I'm such a huge proponent of bullet trains - which we seriously NEED. Every time I get ready to travel, I always look up every option for getting to a place, but flying ALWAYS wins because of convenience and time savings.

  3. I'm constantly spoiling stories, tv shows and movies for myself. Yeah, I'm *that* person who flips to the end of the book after reading two chapters, reads the last chapter, then goes back and reads the rest of the book. I refuse to spoil it for other people though, but I want to know the ending NOW.

  4. My musical tastes are extremely eclectic. Today, it might be Punk Rock, tomorrow Ke$ha and Miley Cyrus, the next day opera, and so on. If you ever want an intersting musical experience, put my entire iTunes library on random.

  5. I'm a caffeine addict. Really, I am. Funny thing is, caffeine doesn't do cr*p for me. I can drink an entire pot of coffee then fall asleep for six hours. However, if I don't have my morning cup of coffee, I'm a right, miserable b*tch.

  6. I'm OCD and can't tell you how often I've wished my OCD would extend to useful areas of my life - like cleaning. But no, it's random little things like the number of binder clips on my desk, how labels are arranged in my cabinets, and if I locked my car doors. Seriously, I lose sleep over these things.

  7. For the longest time, I wouldn't play MMORPGs because I refused to buy a game *and* pay a monthly subscription fee. Enter Star Trek Online, and my resolve completely disappeared. Awesome game. Have to keep myself from spending all of my free time playing it.


On to the next part, some bloggers to pass this award on to (although some may not necessarily be recently discovered):

Sizing Down the Diva
Results Not Typical Girl - although she's probably received this before, and she's definitely not a new find, I think everyone should read her blog, and she's definitely stylish!!!!
High Heels and Combat Boots - Not weight loss related, but she's super fab!

Okay, I'm off for now. But I'll see you again real soon with weigh-in stats and my Food Challenge from Hell Weekend.

HEEELLP!!!

This is a cry for help! These are sitting in the break room right now, and I want to hide them under my shirt, drag them back to my desk and eat them ALL:



AND:



Chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and chocolate dipped shortbread. GAAAHHH!

Okay, back to your normally scheduled routines, and I'll have the real post for you later.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sometimes I wonder if Aunt Flo likes to pop her head in right as I'm doing well just to say "HA HA, I'm going to f*ck with you". Now I know it's the way the body works; I just need to keep doing what I'm doing and everything will adjust itself next week, but right now IT PISSES ME RIGHT THE HELL OFF. Especially right before a freaking weigh-in day. GRRRR. HULK SMASH.

Okay. Now that that's off my chest, moving on...




We've got another phenomenal weather weekend ahead of us (And I'm not going to apologize Midwest and East Coast, although I do hope Snowpocalypse passes soon) with a forecast anywhere between 70 and 74 degrees all weekend long. Lordy. You bet your ass I'm getting my ass out of the house and doing something out of doors. Like hiking. Surprise. HAHAHAHA.

Yeah, yeah, it's Super Bowl weekend, and what I'm going to say might shock you, but I'm not really a football fan. At all. As in, I'll probably sit on my computer playing games and waiting for commercials or NOT WATCH! Seriously though, I do know what teams are playing and even where they'll be playing, but beyond that I just don't get football. Now gimme some hockey and we've got a totally different story. MMMM, hockey players....

Again, after moving off topic, back to the post I've been trying to tackle since Wednesday:

My Yearly Goal Progress

Last month, when I went off about how much I hate New Year's Resolutions, I did make one resolution:

Continue down the path to health and be the best person I can be.

With that resolution in mind, I set the following goals for myself for the year:


  1. Train for/run a 5K. When/If I complete that 5K, start training for a 10K.

  2. Exercise at least 3x a week.

  3. Make an effort to meet the WW Healthy Guidelines every day.

  4. Post at least one blog a week. See the Wordpress Challenge to post either Once a Day in 2011 or Once a Week in 2011.

  5. Try one new exercise class/DVD/etc per month.

  6. Make it into ONEderland.


It's been about a month since I threw down the gauntlet and figured it was time to check back in to see what progress I've made.

Train for/run a 5K. When/If I complete that 5K, start training for a 10K.

As is the way of things, and with my recent knee troubles, I had to put this goal on hold for the time being. Boo. There's a doctor's appointment with my name on it, though, in the near future where I'll beg not listen to hope for good news from the doctor as to my running prospects. (Seriously though, I do actually listen to my doctor. I trust him - he spent lots of money on school to give me advice. HAHAHAHA. No, no, really, I do listen to him.)

If I get the okay from the doc (cross your fingers for me), plans include registering for either the Disneyland Family Fun 5K on Saturday, September 3, 2011 (cause I love Disneyland, and wanna run in a tutu, or better yet - a princess dress!!!) or the Disneyland Half Marathon - if I'm feeling particularly brave - on Sunday, September 4, 2011. I'll have just under seven months to train, and will decide in June (which is when I hope to register if it isn't closed) which one is actually possible.

Yes, I'm setting my sights high, but you'll never know what you can do until you try to reach for the stars.

Based on my June decision there might be a few other races in my future, but that's all in the mystic never never for now.

Of course, this is all contingent on getting the go ahead from my doctor. I'll keep you posted.

Exercise at least 3x a week.

SUCCESS!!! Well, except for that first week in January. And I was crazy in that first week in January. Or maybe I was sick? Or maybe I was making excuses? Who knows? Lots of questions, not many answers.

Yeah, looking back at my activity logs, it looks like every week but that first week of January I managed to get in at least 3 days of exercise a week, and it's usually closer to 4 or 5. *Victory Arms* \o/

Which brings me to my cross training goal: swimming, biking *and* running (but before I start swimming I need to get some prescription goggles - cos I'm blind as a frakking bat). This is not triathlon training. I repeat, this is not triathlon training. But I thought, hey, what better way to test my fitness level than by seeing how much of each one I could do? Okay, so maybe I'll take a page or two (or all) out of the triathlon training book, but I'm NOT training for a triathlon. Seriously. I'm not.

Make an effort to meet the WW Healthy Guidelines every day.

Unsurprisingly, I have no issues meeting all the WW Healthy Guidelines Monday through Friday, but throw a Saturday and Sunday in the mix and I'm a hot mess. Okay, not quite, but close.

Water really isn't a problem. We don't keep much to drink at home besides a Brita pitcher and coffee beans (and beer!) since neither me or the DH are big soda fans. So, if I'm thirsty, and not craving a yeast-y beverage, water is pretty much my only choice.

In the realm of vitamins I knew I'd never take some ridiculously, large horse pill multi-vitamin. Yuck, yuck, yuck. Since I swear I'm like ten sometimes, I picked up a bottle of chewable vitamins. Yup, I take Marvel Superhero Chewable Vitamins, baby. Spiderman, Iron Man, Captain America, all in chewy, fabulous, fruit-snack-tasting goodness. Oh yeah, they taste like fruit snacks! And I have to stop myself from eating them like candy, that's how awesome they are.

Activity's good too. If I don't have an official "work-out" every day, I at least do a fair amount of walking.

This month: must make an effort to get the dairy and fruits/veggies in on weekends too. I just don't spend a lot of time thinking about food when it's a weekend.

Post at least one blog a week. See the Wordpress Challenge to post either Once a Day in 2011 or Once a Week in 2011.

SUCCESS!! Don't think I have to say much here. If you're reading this, you know I definitely post more than once a week. Once a day? Not happening so much. But three times a week? Definitely do-able.

Try one new exercise class/DVD/etc per month.

SUCCESS!! I've had a Firm DVD sitting on the shelf for nearly a year, but was too chicken sh*t to try it because it had the words Boot Camp in the title. I think it was Bootcamp Maximum Calorie Burn or something like that. You can see it left a lasting impression (she says sarcastically). That's because it wasn't anywhere near as tough as I was hoping and it will now go into the pile of Zan's never going to do this workout again DVDs.

This month I'm thinking of trying the Turbo Kick class at my gym or Group X. Need to make a decision soon though or I'll find the month over without anything to show.

Make it into ONEderland.

Ummm, self explanatory. Haven't made it yet, but I'm getting closer.

Overall, January was a great month. February should be a great month too.

Also, I received the Stylish Blogger Award from the ladies at 2 Fat Chicks With a Mission - thank you!! I'll post more about this hopefully over the weekend, but if not - Monday. Definitely Monday!!

Have a great weekend folks!!!

Image from Bluntcard.com because they're epically awesome.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Granola Bar Goodness

I really intended yesterday's post to go up a lot earlier than it did, but I got a little lost at the gym. Ah well!!

Besides teh shopping trip of awesome wherein Zan began to feel like a new woman because she finally owned bras that fit again, I also managed to fit in some baking time over the weekend.

Over at one of the non-weight loss blogs I follow, HighHeelsAndCombatBoots (she's faboo, you should totally read her blog), I read this post about making homemade granola bars. How crazy is it that until I read that I didn't even realize you could make homemade granola bars?!? Heh.

How awesome would it be, I thought, if I could make my own granola bars with just the ingredients I wanted without having to worry about things like HFCS (the devil!!!) and artificial sweeteners. Sure, it'd probably be a little higher calorie, but fresh and all made by me!!!!! Ooooo, ooo, ooo, and granola bars are perfect hiking snacks!!!! And they'll keep me fuller longer cos there won't be any filler in them!

Obviously, the idea wouldn't be dropped, so I did what any sensible, completely obsessed person would do: started scouring the internet for all different kinds of granola bar recipes, picking and choosing recipes based on ingredients I already had at home (yes, I do keep flaxseed and wheat germ on hand all the time as a matter of fact!), and came up with my own version which is here for your viewing pleasure:

Zan's Chewy Granola Bars



These bars are easily customizable, simply swap out the chocolate chips and pecans for 1 1/2 to 2 cups of your favorite chips, seeds, dried fruits, etc.

Ingredients
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup flaxseed
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp Better n' Peanut Butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and lightly grease and/or line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine oats, flaxseed, wheat germ and flour. Set Aside.
3. In another bowl, combine butter, peanut butter, honey, applesauce, baking soda, vanilla and brown sugar.
4. Add in dry ingredients and stir until well mixed. Stir in any additional items (chocolate chips, seeds, nuts, dried fruit, etc.).
5. Press mixture into prepared pan evenly.
6. Bake at 325 degrees F for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.
7. Let cool for ten minutes, then transfer to refrigerator to cool completely before cutting into bars. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 24 servings.

Calories: 205; Fat: 9.5g; Saturated Fat: 3.9g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.6g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2.0g; Cholesterol: 7.6mg; Sodium: 79.3mg; Potassium: 72.1mg; Total Carbohydrates: 29.6g; Dietary Fiber: 3.9g; Sugars 15.4g; Protein: 4.3g

Each bar works out to 6 WW PointsPlus value.

You can find this recipe over at SparkRecipes.com for a more printer friendly version. Just search for Zan's Chewy Granola Bars. (and if you wanted to rate it and/or review it that would be great too!!)

Oh.My.God. These bars are a-ma-zing. Sofa king tasty. Seriously. The DH liked them, and he doesn't like granola bars or oatmeal cookies. SUCCESS!!! And oh-so-filling. One of these babies can keep me going on a normal day for two hours. Haven't tried them on a hike since this weekend's hike was cancelled, but I'm betting they'll be great!

Okay, gab at ya later!!!

Monday, January 31, 2011

(Post title shamelessly stolen from a friend's Facebook update this morning - Thanks C!!!)

Mondays, in general, are not my most favorite of days (unless it's the Monday of a three day weekend - in which case, they are awesome). Can't imagine many people who regularly enjoy Mondays, but those who do most likely are retired or are some sort of crazy person - my apologies to those who aren't crazy and like Mondays.

My Monday began pretty spectacularly - she says sarcastically - so I'm gonna take a minute to kvetch:

Had a tough time sleeping last night. The DH needs noise in the background in order to sleep and so we head to sleep with the tv going. Normally, it's a show I've seen roughly a dozen times so I can tune it out, but last night it was Farscape. Infinitely interesting and a ton of episodes I haven't seen. Wound up having to poke him awake to change it. Not so much of a problem. Still plenty of time to sleep.

After the television was changed to something relatively innocuous, I started to drift off when what should I hear but pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, etc. Joy. Some kids were setting off firecrackers. Have I mentioned fireworks/firecrackers can trigger my anxiety? Small doses of firecrackers or scheduled fireworks shows (can you say Disney??) are just dandy, but randomly? In the middle of the night? When I'm trying to sleep? I probably would've been fine if it had been just once, but ooooohhh nooooo, it had to happen four times over the course of an hour - every time just as I was getting my anxiety under control and starting to fall asleep. I was moments away from calling 911 when it stopped.

I finally managed to fall asleep between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. so not so much a happy Zan this morning. In the slightest.

To top it all off, I've got the creeping crud that's just bad enough to annoy me, but not bad enough to lay me up. Oh, and I slept wonky on my shoulder/neck Saturday night which leads to even more unpleasantness. GRRRRR.

Okay, kvetching done.

On to my weekend. One or two things aside, it was a pretty awesome weekend.

My Weekend Fail: there were two goals I set for myself this weekend: 1) Check out Gold's Gym; and 2) Buy new black dress pants for work. Neither of which were completed. Bad Zan. No Cookie.

Because I'm basically a glutton for punishment, I decided to give 24hr Fitness another try. It's great to get on my moral high horse about supporting companies that don't care about their customers, and it's another thing to have to drive ten miles (okay maybe five) to use another gym. Remember, the 24hr Fitness is probably half a mile from my house - it's hard to ignore that kind of convenience, and I know I'd use the distance to the other gym as an excuse.

The buying of the pants? Can't tell you why it was an issue, I mean I did go out shopping on Sunday. Heck, I even found myself in a store selling black dress pants! But for some reason it didn't even cross my mind as something to do.

On the other hand, the rest of Sunday's shopping trip was quite successful and made of much less Zan fail. Items acquired: trekking poles (for hiking), ice cube tray for water bottles (this thing is awesome - long, round ice cubes - perfect size), and most importantly - new bras. I've needed new bras for months, and the DH helpfully gave me a $50 gift certificate to Frederick's for Christmas. Yes, Fredericks! In we went, they measured me, suggested a few, I tried them on, and out I walked with three gorgeous new titslings. Goodbye forever, Lane Bryant bras!!!!

Friday, I mentioned planning a Saturday hike, which, sadly, didn't pan out. I was a little upset, but it was probably for the best. The heavens opened up around 3 p.m. and didn't let up for 24 hours. Getting caught out in the rain would have sucked with this crud that's settled in my sinuses. I took the opportunity, however, to get in a longer workout at the gym: 35 minutes on the elliptical and 15 minutes on the stationary bike.

Besides my bra victory, I enjoyed another fabulous NSV in my calorie counting experiment: the Sunday Brunch buffet. Successfully navigated this mine field, enjoyed myself, got my money's worth, and stayed within the number of calories I established as "acceptable" for both breakfast and lunch. It was a revelation actually, realizing that I was eating both breakfast and lunch in the same meal, and not just a late breakfast. Huh.

Finally, since I promised I'd share this, I went to WW for my official weigh-in on Saturday. Here are the results:

Week of 1/23/11 - 1/29/11 Stats

Weigh-in Day: Saturday, January 29, 2011

Starting Weight: 291.6

Previous Weight: 221.8
Current Weight: 220.0
Difference: -1.8 lbs

Total Weight Removed: -71.6 lbs
Total Percentage of Weight Removed: 24.5%

Interesting to note there's about a two and a half pound difference between my scale at home and the one at WW. I share the higher of the two numbers here (the WW scale) and count that as my official weigh-in.

Okay, I've rambled on long enough and covered waaaayyy too many topics, so I'll sign off for now. Have a great one folks. Oh, and I'll be sharing a great recipe real soon!



Friday, January 28, 2011

Owning Up

Recently, I realized something: very rarely do I admit having a bad week and/or seeing a gain on the scale. And I have them. Oh, how I have them.

Something I used to pride myself on was making it to Weight Watchers meetings every week, good or bad, and faithfully reporting my progress be it gain or loss. I got away from that some time ago and I'm not sure why. All I know is that by ignoring that gain, pretending nothing was wrong and that I was skipping along with flying colors was nothing more than lying to myself. It was a massive disservice that kept me from being successful.

You know when I achieved the best results? When I was able to say, "hey, I gained a pound this week, but that doesn't matter, I'll do better next week."

Obviously it was time for a change, of which you might have noticed me babbling on about earlier this week.

Confession time: the past three weeks have been amazingly crappy weight wise. I went from seeing the lowest number I'd seen on the scale (my home scale) in years: 217 to plateauing to gaining five pounds over the course of those three weeks. All while I claimed to be following the Weight Watchers PointsPlus program. I wasn't. My portions were off, I wasn't tracking every bite (okay, I was eating pieces of chocolate - several a day - and saying hey, I don't have to track this because it's so little it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things!!), and I just didn't want to use an equation to calculate what I could eat anymore.

Hence the switch to calorie counting.

So far, this week has been amazing, and I never realized how freeing and straight forward calorie counting could be. By disengaging myself from the Weight Watchers PointsPlus Formula, I'm making better choices instead of trying to figure out how to trick the formula into letting me stuff as much into my piehole as possible.

I haven't hit my official weigh-in day (Monday) since starting my experiment, but I can tell you after hopping on the scale this morning, I'm already seeing results. Can't wait to share with you.

Here's a promise to myself and everyone else: starting today, I will make a concerted effort to share my progress for good or bad every week.

Moving On . . .

Tonight marks the first real test of my calorie counting plan. It's the end of the work week, so it's time for dinner and drinks out with friends. Yes, I celebrate the end of the work week (And how). But it also means going out to restaurants that don't have calories on the menu (cos they aren't chains), and then heading to the pub wherein I will likely imbibe a tad too much beer.

As a side note, I admit one of the main reasons I lost patience with WW was the massive change in Points for Beer, Wine, Cocktails, etc. Now I'm not a massive lush, but I certainly enjoy a night out with friends (and I am most definitely not a teetotaller). What was once a reasonable number of Points to spend turned into more than half a day's worth (to a day's worth on some nights). What?!? Not okay. Really not okay.

Hope this didn't come off as a WW bashing session. I'll get off the subject now.

Well, it's time for me to turn into a pumpkin (not quite), and go plan a hike for this weekend (if anyone wants to go, especially since I'm planning on a Saturday hike and not a Sunday one since it's threatening to rain). Have a super fabulous weekend!!!



Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dear 24 Hr Fitness Jerks:
Dear 24 Hr Fitness Corporate A**holes:
Dear 24 Hr Fitness:

I am appreciative to have a gym located so very close to my home. Seriously, the fact that your gym is less than a five minute drive (yes, drive, because the club is in a pretty sketch area) was a huge selling point, and made me look past the $35/month fee to use the club ($35 for an All Club Sport membership vs. $30 for a one club membership - you do the math).

With the coming of January and the five gazillion New Years Resolutionists, several shortcomings with the club were brought to my attention, most of which I was more than willing to overlook. For instance, the fact that there are usually so many people there that getting on a piece of cardio equipment requires a 10-15 minute wait. Also, that there doesn't seem to be enough equipment to meet customer demand. In the grand scheme of things, though, these problems are miniscule as we head into February.

On the other hand, regularly having broken down equipment is not okay. Over the past several days I have witnessed the following equipment misfunctions/breakdowns:


  • Multiple treadmills (at least five of the sixteen) are unable to go into an incline.

  • Two treadmills regularly just don't work.

  • One of the "newer" ellipticals (of which there are four) has been broken for well over a week.

  • The computer on one of the older ellipticals (of which there are three) continually resets and broadcasts that a button is stuck.

  • One of the stair climbers has been broken down for approximately a week.

  • The stationary bike I used last night was making a god awful thumping sound every time I pedaled (like louder than a room full of people lifting weights), and another stationary bike was completely broken down.

  • There are plenty more, but I think you get the picture.


You see, there hasn't been a visit yet this year where I haven't found myself marching up to the front desk to let them know about *another* piece of broken equipment. And I'm a little tired of it.

At this time of year, it's vital that the club is even more on top of its game in order to keep customers happy and coming back. This customer is NOT happy. And I'm not so sure about the coming back part either.

It's been my observation that any 24hr Fitness Club not of the Super Sport variety is relegated to the back burner when it comes to priority. Equipment at Super Sport clubs appears to be new and cutting edge, while gear at Sport Clubs and below is, apparently, castoff, busted to all hell equipment. And take a look at any Super Sport facility - it's inviting and bright and full of everything that is pretty, but other locations are dark and dull. Further, I understand the motivation in charging a higher membership fee for Super Sport clubs, but a difference of thirty dollars a month is excessive.

As one person, I'm relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things as a 24hr Fitness customer, and I'm unwilling to shell out an additional thirty dollars a month just to feel a little more important and/or "pretty". The only step I can make in response is to no longer support your company. Yes, I'm aware that $35/month is a drop in the bucket, but it's my only recourse. It's true that I'll miss the convenience, yet it's what has to be done.

Thank you for your lack of concern and willingness to fix equipment. It makes me realize your priority is not in serving the community, but in serving your own self interest as a corporation.

No Love, Me



Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Change is in the Air

Sorry for the radio silence, but I've been doing the big think since Saturday. Truth is, I had a post all written up and ready to go, but never got around to throwing it up here. There are two reasons for this, both of which will change how I look at things for a while. Don't worry, it's nothing earth shattering, my life hasn't done a complete 180 or anything like that.

First, change number one:

The running? Have to table it. Yeah, yeah, I know, I didn't start all that long ago, but I'd come to really enjoy it, and it made me feel great.

Why, you might ask? My freaking right knee. Lovely. It hurt a little bit on Friday, but I chalked it up to me not being used to running. However, it came back with a vengeance after my Saturday run (not ridiculously bad, but SUPER annoying). During my hike on Sunday, the ouchie was gone (except for on the downhills). Okay, good.

Fast forward to Tuesday night. I'm at the gym and gonna it give it one more go. If it hurt, I decided I the running was going on hold until I lost a little more weight and strengthened my legs. K. Get on the treadmill (which I somehow managed to get onto immediately - unusual, very unusual). Brisk Walk. Good to go. Stretching. Check, check. More walking. w00t. First running interval.... No go. Shit. GAAAAHHHH! First time my knee had hurt when I was running. Bad.

Okay, RICE (Rest Ice Compression Elevation) time. And tabling time. Guess I'll be making friends with the elliptical for the next month or four. Oh well, it is what it is, and I'd rather not strain myself to the point where I CAN'T exercise.

Change Number Two:

Since starting this blog, I've spouted the Tao of Weight Watchers. Seriously. I've been an ardent supporter of the WW program for YEARS.

Enter the PointsPlus program. Okay, I'm up for something new, and - hey - it still says Points, right? I was pretty gung ho going into the new program, but as each week went by, I was a little less thrilled. Guess what? My weight loss followed suit. Greeeeaaat. Not. I really don't know what it is, but something about the PointsPlus program frustrates me. Maybe I really am one of those "but I liked the Points program" people, who knows?

It's time for a change.

With this plateau on the scale and the feeling like I need to do something to shake it up, I'm gonna try something new (to me): Calorie Counting. Yep. This is monumental (for me). Never before have I tried calorie counting. Every weight loss attempt I made in the past was always with Weight Watchers.

"Officially" I started counting calories on Monday and will keep this going through the end of February. I'm not giving up WW (at least, not yet), but I won't be tracking Points.

If you'd like to join me in the calorie counting fun (or just wanna be friends on SP), I'm over at SparkPeople as ZanSidhe.

Okay. Now that that's off my chest I feel a little bit better. Will talk to you soon (and maybe even post that finished entry sitting on my iPhone).



Friday, January 21, 2011

Okay, I sense a little bit of a theme here this week - SUGAR!!!!

The other day, I copped to the fact that I'm a candy-a-holic. Okay, it's not really just candy, it's pretty much sweets of any kind: cookies, cakes, candies, chocolates, all those great "c" words. And a few others. Yeah, I love sugar.

On the other hand, I'm staunchly anti-HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) and artificial sweetener. I won't get into my reasoning since I don't wanna seem like a crazy woman, but rest assured there are several well worn and used rants that my friends are pretty tired of hearing.

Needless to say, my stance on HFCS and artificial sweeteners makes food shopping so much fun (she says sarcastically). Do you realize how many things have HFCS in them and/or artificial sweeteners?!? Bread. No, really, bread has HFCS in it. WHY???? And try finding a non-fat yogurt without artificial sweeteners!!! Nearly impossible, but I managed to do it.

Allow me to introduce my non-fat, no artificial sweetener, no HFCS little friend:




Trader Joe's Organic Strawberry Probiotic Nonfat Yogurt (it also comes in vanilla, but I'm a fruit flavored kinda girl).

And take a look at this ingredient list:




Oh yeah, baby, organic all the way.

And the best part:




That works out to only 2 Points on WW PointsPlus. W00t! Sooooo tasty, and not that nasty artificially overly sweet taste of other nonfat yogurts (I won't name names but it start with a "yo" and ends with a "lait"). Ick. That evil little container used to be the one concession I'd make in my battle against artificial sweetener, and I felt a little pang of guilt every time I opened one up. But now guilt be gone!!!

Get my sugar fix and it's good for me? Whoda thunk it?

Have a great one folks and I'll talk to you tomorrow (since I already have a post written - ZOMG!!!). And I hope you have a Trader Joe's near you cos this yogurt is - DAYUM - good!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I have a slight problem: Put a piece of candy in front of me, it's gone in fifteen seconds flat. You can probably tell this isn't the kind of candy eating problem where I take a small bite, put it down, take another small bite, put it down, and so forth. Oh, no, no, no, this is the "ZOMG, WANT CANDY, MUST SHOVEL CANDY IN MOUTH BEFORE SOMEONE ELSE TAKE CANDY" kind of problem. Really, I'm like a candy eating monster. HULK SMASH IF YOU TAKE AWAY CANDY!!!!

Anyone else get that kind of desparation when confronted with a piece of chocolate?

Yeah, to an extent, my relationship with food used to be that way too: "Oooo, food, must eat before food disappears everywhere." Seriously. I have no idea where or how this attitude about food/candy came from, but at some point in my sick and twisted little world, I started to feel like if I didn't eat it now, it would disappear and I'd never be able to eat it ever, ever again. nOW, Through hard work and a whole lot of crazy effort, that whole food and me eating thing is a lot more manageable. Candy though? That's an entirely different story.

For the longest time, my solution has been to simply avoid eating candy. Entirely. Which takes every ounce of will in my freaking body. Especially with the jar of candy next to my boss' office calling my name every time I walk by it. Hell, I don't have to walk past it to hear it calling out to me, I'm sitting at my desk right now and I hear it. GAHHHH!!!!

This is not a solution that works in the long run. Fact of the matter is, candy is everywhere and I love candy. I need to find a way to approach it so as to enjoy a little and understand (emotionally AND logically) I can always have more later.

And I have no damn clue how to go about doing that. I'm working on it. Really, I am. For the time being, I'm letting myself have one piece of chocolate a day (or more if I have the Points left) because avoiding it wasn't working.

The Sunday Hike

I apologize in advance, I'm terrible about relating stories that happened in the past. This will probably be REALLY boring.

Sunday morning, some friends invited me out on another hike. There I was, laying like a slug on the couch (okay, not laying, but sitting), contemplating dragging my butt out of the house and driving the forty-five minutes to some out of the way Open Space Preserve. Bear in mind, I live in California in the Bay Area, it was sixty some odd degrees this weekend.

Really? Should there be any debate on this matter? The weather was gorgeous and it was a convenient way to get a good hour plus of cardio in. Logic won out, along with the fact that - in that kind of weather - what kind of idiot stays in? So I rushed to pack some snacks, tossed on some comfortable clothes and ran out of the house to make it on time.

Oh my god. So happy I decided to go (And - for all that I thought I'd be late - I was the first one there). There's this view overlooking the Santa Cruz Mountains at the hike's mid-point that's just breathtaking. Definitely a place I'd go again. The picture doesn't do it justice, but here you go:







The Deets:

Location: Long Ridge Open Space Preserve
Distance: 4.5 miles
Total Time: 2 1/2 hours at an easy pace with plenty of breaks to admire nature
Difficulty: Moderately Easy (not a beginner beginner hike, but simple enough)
Calories Burned: Nearly 900?? (Thank you, Bodybugg!)

I'm constantly boggling over the things I can do now, and over how much I missed before. It makes me realize I'm not willing to miss one more day of living. Now, I'm not crying over spilt milk: the past is the past and I can't change who I was, but I can change who I am and who I will be.

My apologies, this should have gone up last Friday, then it was Saturday, then I forgot all about it. GAH! But here ya go anyway! And, no, this isn't my post for today. I'll be back a little later.

Ooo boy, it's been one of those weeks. Felt like the week of never-ending cr*p, but I'm happy to report I somehow managed to make it through despite Aunt Flo, work stress, and the emotional blahs. BRING ON THE WEEKEND! I think I'm ready to have me a couple of beers, relax with friends and take a load off.

This week could have been a whole helluva lot better emotionally (emo Zan is emo), but - hey - I was spot on when it came to being on plan. That's promising. If I can make it through one of those kinds of weeks, imagine what'll happen over a GOOD week (probably disaster cause it won't be the only darn thing I can control!).

What's on tap for the next few days? Not a whole heck of a lot. W00t!

Anywho . . .

Had a nasty shock this (Friday) morning when I went to track breakfast on the WW iPhone app and it wouldn't launch. Seriously, how the heck am I supposed to track every freaking bite I put in my mouth if I can't get into my rashafrashafracking tracker?!?!?!?!?!

Okay, calm down. Restart the program. Same problem. Uninstall and reinstall. Grr. Go to WW and search the message boards. Umm, hello? Am I the only one having this problem?!? No other posts about it. Must be crazy. Restart program *pull hair out*. Roar. Restart phone. GAAAAHHHH! Okay, time to post on the message board. Dear WW, stop making your app suck. No Love, ME. Actually, it was more along the lines of: AM I THE ONLY ONE HAVING THIS PROBLEM?!?!?! Okay, I'm not. Good. Not crazy Zan. Half hour later: fixed. Meh.

After the week I had, it was just one more thing going wrong I didn't want to deal with. But at least I'm not crazy. Well, not totally. HAHA.

Coming up tomorrow: Week One, Day Three of the C25K, WW Meeting.

My Bravos for the Week:


  1. Made it through the week.

  2. Tracked every day!!!

  3. Exercised six days!!! I earned something like 51 Activity Points this week (9 over the max swappable - WOW!)

  4. Completed C25k, Week One, Days One and Two.

  5. Kept the water intake up all week.

  6. Didn't go postal. XD

  7. Blogged Monday through Friday. - k, not so much.


Yep, I'm definitely ready for the weekend. Can't promise you'll hear anything from me Saturday or Sunday, but you'll see me on Monday. Cheers!

My Saturday Addition

Woke up early today in order to head out to the gym and get C25k, Week One, Day Three in the bag before heading out to WW. Imagine the nasty surprise I had finding all the treadmills full!! And not a hint of anyone getting off!! Grr. Imagine not happy Zan face.

Left the gym feeling helpless and seriously upset with the world. Seriously! The drive home was something along the lines of, "now when am I gonna get this done? I suck. People suck. I'm never gonna be a runner!"

The obvious didn't hit me until I was driving up the street to my house: not everyone has a gym membership, and they manage to run ALL THE TIME. Durrr. Pulled into the driveway, busted out the headphones (and C25k app), and hit the pavement.

How the hell was running through my neighborhood an epiphany?!?

Yeah.

So, I put in a good two miles exploring the few blocks surrounding my house. And one of the great things about living in California? Ohmigod, the weather was gorgeous! Thinking I might make this a once a week occurrence.

Alright, I'm spent, Have a great one folks!!



Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Despite reports to the contrary, I'm still here. Was a busy weekend and a busy day. I'll have a post no later than tomorrow.

Here's a quick recap of what's been keeping me busy:

Running - I finished Week One of the C25k, and started Week Two today.
Had dinner with friends Friday night. Epic Asian goodness. Will share one of my fave WW recipes for General Tso style chicken.
More running.
My BFF got back in town so I had to spend as much time with her as I could.

I'll be back tomorrow!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Yeah, I'd say awesome is pretty much one of my favorite words. Any given day, you'll hear me say "AWESOME" ten or fifteen times and chances are, at some point, you'd get pretty tired of hearing it. I regularly stop myself from saying it in Facebook or Twitter replies, but I'm going to subject anyone reading this to my awesome obsession with the word AWESOME.

Alright. I'm done now.

Seriously.

Alright once more: Awesome.

Now I'm done. >.<



Last week (or the week before, I'm not really sure), I mentioned that I got a BlendTec Blender for Christmas. Kirsten of Results Not Typical Girl asked for a review of said blender, and because this thing is so epic (okay I use epic a lot too!) I was more than happy to oblige. So here ya go as promised.

First, confession time: I knew I was getting my super fab awesomely awesome Blendtec Blender for Christmas (I don't think the DH would - out of his own volition and for fear of me flaying him alive - buy me any kind of kitchen gadget without my express approval). Actually, I was with him at Costco when we saw they were being demo'd/on sale (OMG!!! Something's on sale at Costco - say it ain't so!). After trying several of the absolutely delish demo foods, I was pretty well convinced. Going, going, SOLD! Oh happy day, caloo, calay!

Now, the hardest part was waiting until Christmas to start using the freaking thing. Yep, I wrapped it up so I could open it on Christmas Day and squee in front of my family. But knowing that this was waiting for me under the tree meant I planned part of Xmas Day dinner as blender friendly.

Christmas Day finally comes around (FINALLY!), and I get to unwrap it and laugh like mad crazy because I finally get to open it and USE IT. *Happy Dance*

Can't tell you how to set the thing up because the DH - knowing how super squee I was about this thing and knowing I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off prepping dinner - pre-empted me and set it all up. However, it did come with a nifty getting started guide, the blender (obviously!), and a recipe book. The recipe book, it is my precious and the keeper of such wonderful recipes as tortilla soup and banana chocolate soy milkshakes and fondue and - oh god, stop me now, I'm drooling!

None of the recipe book recipes were part of my Xmas dinner (because it was still wrapped when I was buying ingredients!), but I made the Spinach Parmesan dip I rattled on about in my Holiday Break Recap Post. Yummy. Verdict: super easy to use.

Next up: the fabulously, amazing Tortilla Soup. OMG, so tasty. Follow the recipe and directions for shoveling ingredients into the blender and you have Tortilla Soup of WIN. It's important to put ingredients in in the order specified for optimal blender use.

After that: Banana Bread. Yes, this thing made up the batter for banana bread. Hot Damn. Word of Caution: This is a high speed blender. DO NOT leave something like banana bread batter mixing for too long or it will start to cook in the blender. You don't want to spend $$$ on something like this then ruin it by not reading the instructions (well, you'll ruin the pitcher, but you get the picture).

Approaching New Year's Eve, I realized I had a whole mess of vegetables/herbs/etc that were going to go bad if I didn't use them, so I did what any sensible person with an awesome blender would do: looked up recipes and used all that fresh produce up before it went to waste. Made salsa and pesto and cream of broccoli soup. Oooo, baby, I'll never throw out produce again - not when I can make soups and sauces and dips, oh my!

Truthfully, though, I wanted a BlendTec Blender specifically for the purpose of making my Green Monster Smoothies in the morning. My old KitchenAid wasn't cutting it with my daily morning ritual and took forever to blend to the right consistency. Not this baby!! One button push and it's practically perfect in every way!!!

For now, the verdict is EPIC WIN! Of course, I haven't had it for long, but I have a feeling I'm going to love using this thing nearly every freaking day. I'll share further blending results and maybe some super cool and AWESOME recipes.


In other news, I finished C25K, Week One, Day Two today at the gym at work today (which is deserted at 7am. SCORE!). Feeling quite optimistic about my progress: went just a bit further than Day One, managed a steadier pace, and I feel like my endurance has increased. Really looking forward to Day Three - am I crazy?

Okay, I'll leave you on that note. See ya!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011




There's a red velvet cake in the break room, work has been stressful, Aunt Flo's in town a few days early, and I'm in the dumps. These things are not a good combination.

And do you wanna know what I'm freaking eating instead of cake? Salad. I'm eating a damned salad. Oh, and an apple. Even though I'd rather cut off a massive chunk of that cake and shovel it down my gullet. But I'm Not. Heck, I even considered taking a teeny-tiny sliver of that cake and shoving *that* down my piehole, but the mood I'm in? Not a good idea.

Yeah, the past couple days haven't been particularly great in the Land o' Zan. It's been an emotional roller coaster ranging from irrational sadness to super happy to Eeyore glum to complete disconnect. None of which are particularly healthy, but this too shall pass.

When I get into these kind of places, the only solution is to rely entirely on WW and give a hearty "F*CK YOU" to everything else. And lemme tell you, my inner dialogue is raging right now, saying god awful things like "you'll never lose this weight, so just have a piece of cake already", "no one cares how far you've come, you'll always be fat", "you'll be stuck at this weight forever so you may as well enjoy yourself" and more.

Yeah, learning to silence and/or ignore those voices is a b*tch. And ignoring them in an emotionally vulnerable state (like now)? Totally crap-tastic. But never fear, WW auto-pilot is here. I've been following WW long enough to know I can make it through these kind of days/weeks/months and keep on going. And it's a comfort to know I can throw myself into a workout to disconnect from that out of control feeling if only for a little while.

Okay, I can deal with an Eeyore kind of day. They happen. They've happened. They'll happen again.

Image from Pooh Clipart

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Running. It's the white elephant in the room whenever you talk about working out, and for the longest time, I've babbled on and on about wanting to be a runner and my admiration for runners and running. Until now it was all talk. Some time back, I realized all it was ever going to be was talk if I didn't do something about it, and in typical Zan fashion threw myself head first into researching how to get started running.

Nope, it wasn't enough for me to throw on an old pair of shoes and hit the pavement.

If you've done any research, or have eyes, you'll know it's ridiculously easy to hurt yourself when running/jogging/living(?), so taking a few minutes to crack open a book or do an internet search is a pretty damned good idea. For instance, I've long noticed that my feet roll out (heck, if you look at the bottom of my shoes, you'll see that), and throwing on any old pair of sneakers would likely have been a really, really, really bad idea. Then there's the HOW in How to Start Running which is by no means as simple as hop on the treadmill and go. If you're like me, and have never run a freaking day in your life, you need to take it really slow. In my case, that would be the C25K program, or the Couch Potato to Running a 5K Program.

Okay, research in hand (that's not all of it, but most people out there aren't idiots - they can find this information themselves), the next step was procuring said running gear. Sturdy Sports Bra: Check. Workout Clothes: Check. Running Shoes: Uhhhh.... And this is where our heroine got stuck because I couldn't/wouldn't get off my ass to go and buy a pair of running shoes. The inner monologue went something like this (in my best whining voice): "But running shoes are 'spensive and I don't know where to go to BUY running shoes" and "going to a sporting good store is SCARY" and "I'm too big to go buy running shoes at a sports store, they'll laugh at me" and so on and so forth.

Eventually, I got tired of the excuses. Something finally clicked, I couldn't tell you what, and last Friday I took my lazy butt to the Sports Basement and bought myself these beauties:






My first pair of running shoes: Mizuno Wave Rider 13s. Price-y but pretty and they felt good on my feet. Woohoo!

And you'll never guess what I did today. Okay, you probably guessed since I'm babbling on about running, but I'm gonna pretend you didn't guess. I ran. Okay, I jogged. And walked. Then jogged again. Then walked some more, and made my way through Week One, Day One of the C25K. I'm pretty stoked and super excited to keep on going. I'll update my running progress the next time I run.

And for those of you who are scared of running like me, but want to do it, I'll leave you with a few links:

About.com's Running Page - Lots of resources for beginning runners. Check it out.
Couch to 5K - Not the original program, but another great resource including a link to the guys that started the craziness.

Have a great one folks!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Those Monday Blahs

Mondays are not my best of days. Okay, I'm a right gumpy b*tch come Monday morning: slow to wake up, wishing it was Saturday again, and dragging in general. Then there's that whole motivation thing which isn't at a high point. Oh, did I mention the generous measure of guilt over not following my plan as well as I could over the weekend? Yeah, that's Monday wrapped up in a nutshell.

As it goes by weekends, this one was pretty unusual. See, I'm usually not the best about sticking to my "on plan" guns any given Saturday-Sunday period, but *this* weekend I worked out both days, managed to drink enough water (and a little too much beer - HAHA!), and stayed pretty close to my DPT (Daily Points Target). Weird, man, seriously weird.

Funny then, I should still feel that inevitable weekend guilt upon waking up this morning. WTF?!? Is it spillover from other weekends when I seriously screwed the pooch? Do I just need to feel guilty about something? Because there's plenty of other good sh*t to feel bad about.

Eh, Whatever.

Somehow, I need to make Mondays more productive and less grumpy/guilt-ridden, whether it's waking up early enough to work out or just getting back into my Meatless Monday habit (yeah, that stopped a while back - did I mention?). Maybe doing both? I dunno, but something's gotta give.

And, speaking of being productive, I need to get my butt back on my Countdown to ONEderland Challenge. Wondering if I ought not have a specific "Goal Date", and just update every week until I hit that magical 1XX number. Might be more of an incentive to keep posting about it.

Things to think about.

Anyhow, Saturday morning I woke up early enough that I decided to head out to the southside of San Jose and go visit my old WW leader at her 10:30 a.m. meeting. Wow, I've missed her A LOT. A LOT A LOT. Like so much a lot that I decided it's worth waking up that early every Saturday just to attend her meetings because my Monday night leader SUCKS. Well, she sucks in comparison. Only thing is it's a HUGE meeting. Seriously, I've never attended a meeting that had 50+ people in attendance. Yes, it's the New Year, but they meet in a ridiculously large room that leads me to believe - even without the New Year Resolutionists - that meetings stay large year round. Dunno how I feel about being just one of so many, but I think it'll be worth it.

And since we're talking about WW, and I've gotten out of the habit, here's this week's Weigh-In Stats:

Week of 1/3/11 - 1/9/11 Stats

Weigh-in Day: Saturday, January 8, 2011

Starting Weight: 291.6

Previous Weight: 225.8
Current Weight: 222.4
Difference: -3.4 lbs

Total Weight Removed: -69.2 lbs
Total Percentage of Weight Removed: 23.7%

And coming up in the next day or so: Countdown to ONEderland Challenge Update and my long-awaited I'm gonna get myself running post.

Hope your Monday is going well.



Friday, January 7, 2011

I, like a million other people, am not really big on the whole New Year's Resolution thing. That's likely because I find myself saying "this is the year I'm gonna set myself up for failure by making some entirely unrealistic goal, but since I'm so optimistic and ready to go because it's a "New Year", I'm the one that's gonna succeed and be different than 99% of the world's population." Ha ha ha. Sure.

Oooo, sarcasm, I has it.

If you couldn't tell, yeah, I've failed at nearly EVERY SINGLE RESOLUTION I'VE EVAR MADE. The fact is, the expected nature of making one's self commit to some half-assed aspiration because everyone else around you is doing it is ridiculous. You're a lot more likely to succeed at something if you come to realizing that goal on your own time. Still, having been asked five bazillion times what my New Year's Resolution for 2011 is, I came up with this: my New Year's Resolution is to continue down the path to health and be the best person I can be.

Yep, that's it. Short and sweet and simple. And, ooooo boy, people get frustrated with me. "Don't you wanna lose the rest of that weight this year?" "Why don't you set up something specific?" "That's a write off if ever I heard one."

You know what I say to those people? KISS MY ASS. This isn't about making anyone but myself happy. And what makes me happy? Keeping on keeping on the way I've been going for the last thirteen - fourteen months. Sure, it's not coming off super fast, but it's coming off, and it will keep coming off until I reach goal. What I want is to be healthy. End. Of. Story.

With the whole resolution-ing thing out of the way, I decided to set a few health related goals for the year in order to help me meet said resolution of continuing this healthiness journey and being the best Zan I can be:


  1. Train for/run a 5K. When/If I complete that 5K, start training for a 10K.

  2. Exercise at least 3x a week.

  3. Make an effort to meet the WW Healthy Guidelines every day.

  4. Post at least one blog a week. See the Wordpress Challenge to post either Once a Day in 2011 or Once a Week in 2011.

  5. Try one new exercise class/DVD/etc per month.

  6. Make it into ONEderland.


You may have noticed there's only one "weight" related goal in that list. Yep, and it's going to stay that way. I will not stick a date on something so variable as weight loss.

I realized it's been too long since I've posted any progress pictures and should probably remedy that. Once I get the pics from Xmas and the Holiday Break sorted, I will fix that.

For the time being, I give you a hastily snapped bathroom pic:

Zan 1-7-10

Have a great one folks.



Thursday, January 6, 2011

Holiday Break Recap

or Learning to Trust Myself

First: sometimes I don't know why I say certain things, like I'll blog over my Holiday Break. Yeah, not so much. The only time I sat down at the computer for any appreciable period was to play Star Trek Online (haha - yes, I'm a Trek geek too - surprise!). No updates on my Countdown to ONEderland challenge either, which I promised myself I'd do even if it was the only thing I posted over the winter break. Ah well, it is what it is.

One would think having eleven days off from work means I'd have plenty of time off to do everything I wanted/needed to get done. Somehow, though, that wasn't the case (maybe if I was a slightly better planner??), and I found myself even busier than normal. How the heck did I manage that? It wasn't like I was working.

Okay, so I slept in every day.

And I played video games.

And I went to/watched several hockey games.

But my parents were in town for a week and I had to cram in as much possible time with them as I could since I don't see them very often.

And I hosted Xmas day (including brunch, presents AND dinner).

And we hosted a New Year's Eve party.

And I got crazy sick right after my parents headed home.

Alright, that's how someone manages to have eleven days off and not feel like they've had a break.

Confession time: What things didn't I do while off on my holiday break? 1) Step on the scale; 2) log my food; or 3) exercise all that much. I won't make excuses, I blew it off because I could. Yes, I ate chocolate bars, drank too much, and had an all around too damn good of a time.

I was prepared (and frightened), when I finally stepped on the scale yesterday morning, to see a gain of 4 or 5 pounds. Hell, I expected it. What didn't I expect? To see that despite all the excess, the not logging my food, the not stepping on the scale, and the not exercising, I somehow managed to lose half a pound. WHAT?!?!?!

The lesson I learned? I can trust myself to have a good time, still make good choices, and get back on plan.

As promised, here's the menu from the Xmas Dinner I hosted. It turned out really well, and no one realized that most of the recipes came from the Weight Watchers website.

The Xmas Dinner Menu:

Appetizers:

Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce

Spinach-Parmesan Dip - PointsPlus Value: 1 Point

8 Servings - I specifically chose this recipe in order to try out my new blender (the DH bought me a BlendTec consumer blender for Xmas, ZOMG!!!), and wow, was this good. It was very similar to pesto in texture and taste, and ohmigod, so good, if a little on the thicker side. And 8 servings? Oh yeah, that was like 1/4 cup servings. My tsp - tbsp servings? 32+ servings!!! Crazy, man, crazy.

French Bread (to go with the dip obviously)

Salad:

Spinach Salad with Pears, Almonds and Cranberries - PointsPlus Value: 6 Points (3 Points when made as 8 servings)

4 Servings - Mmmm, tasty. This recipe made 4 very large servings of spinach salad, and boy, was I glad I only made the recipe once over. Initially, I'd planned to double the recipe and serve everyone the recommended serving size. The whole recipe wound up feeding 8 people with at least one (full) serving left over. Glad I remembered that WW recipes are usually dinner sized salads.

Main Meal:

Ham from Costco. I'll admit when it comes to cooking, if I can buy it premade, I'm gonna. Less to worry about. Just heat and serve. There was even a glaze included with the ham, but it would've required me to pay too much attention during the cooking process, changing oven temperatures and reapplying glaze. Too much work for me. Still, it was very good, though, even without the glaze.

Stuffing with Sage and Chives - PointsPlus Value: 3 Points

8 servings - I loved making this because it was so wonderfully fragrant. In the future, I would probably add a half cup or cup more chicken broth in the making because it turned out a little dry. Verdict: really tasty, but - like I said - a little on the dry side.

Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots and Gremolata - PointsPlus Value: 1 Point

8 Servings - I'm a huge fan of the green bean, especially fresh green beans, and this was phenomenal. The flavors weren't hidden by the shallots and gremolata, and it was even better reheated a few days later.

Mashed Potatoes with Garlic - PointsPlus Value: 4 Points

8 Servings - Meh. They were mashed potatoes, nothing all that special, and as I think about it - tasted the most like "diet" food. In the future, I'd probably just make plain, old, boring mashed potatoes and huck this recipe in the bin.

Dessert:

Cookies from my cookie baking craziness the days before

Some ridiculously sinful confection of chocolate cake topped with brownies and fudge from Safeway.

I can't tell you how proud I am that I made it through Xmas day (assisted in part by much, too much, wine), and with the fact that I managed to cook and serve an ENTIRE dinner that people enjoyed. Believe me, there were times I thought I wouldn't make it (hence the wine), or tear my hair out (MORE wine!), but in the end I made the correct amount of food and chose some delicious recipes.

Well, I'll sign off for now, but you'll hear more from me soon!



;;


Small goals are the key to success or so I've been told. To kick off my weight loss journey I wanted to give myself a visual tool to see how my progress is going. For your viewing pleasure, the ticker for my first goal of losing 20 pounds: