Wednesday, September 30, 2009

antonucci's (lyn)

Tonight is my first night eating in a restaurant since I began this program exactly two weeks ago.  It's Zelia's birthday and five girls (you can still be a girl at 50 plus;  my mom at 80 still calls her friends girls) and I go to a great restaurant, Antonucci's.  It's noisy with activity, and we fit right in, becoming one of the more boisterous tables.  Of the six of us, four are size fours (or less), including a triathlon athlete.  She orders ravioli and justifies it by declaring she'll be running in the NYC Marathon in a month.  As if she needs any justification for anything she eats.  She's fit and looks fabulous, as does everyone at the table.  I skip the wine (I'm not much of a drinker anyway) but after wish I'd had some as everyone loosens up.  I don't like eating foods I can't easily calculate, but eat half anyway of an amazing pear-walnut-gorgonzola salad with a pumpkin vinaigrette dressing, followed by veal scaloppini and vegetables.  I skip the bread and tempting tomato sauce with goat cheese at the beginning of the meal and the chocolate flourless cake at the end of the meal, and sip instead decaf cappuccino.  I leave sated from the laughter at the table.

Oh, I almost forgot the most noteworthy news of the day...this morning at my WW weigh-in, I was down 3.6 pounds!

cheating? (m)

If you chew a mini-Snickers bar until it is thoroughly masticated and then spit it out, does it count?  

Or is this the equivalent to Bill Clinton smoking pot but saying he didn't inhale? 

I'd be interested in your thoughts.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

venus rising (m)

 Got on the scale this morning.  UP two pounds since Sunday.  Will not weigh myself anymore.

Decided to step it up by exercising.  The only problem is that I pulled a hamstring in my left knee a few weeks ago and I can't do my favorite activity:  walking along the Charles River in Cambridge in the afternoon.  I decide instead to go with Plan B--the pool--for some non-impact exercise.

I belong to a great health club with multiple locations.  The site nearest my house is gorgeous and is where the Boston Celtics train.  I've even seen Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen there.  Very tall. Their cachet draws alot of people and since my body is not ready for prime time, I choose another location.  Here--at this other location-- the clientele looks like the cast from Cocoon.  At least with these folks I have youth on my side.

The drama of getting into the water from the locker room always reminds me of the Yellow Polka Dot bikini song ("she was afraid to come out of the locker...she was afraid that somebody would see").   I go from the locker with my cover- up on over my bathing suit...get as close to the pool as I can....and then in one quick, Cirque de Soleil-like flash, the cover -up is off and I'm in the pool.  Magic.

The water covers me up to my chest.  Perfect.  I start tooling around with a kickboard and do some lunges and then some laps (also with the kickboard).  One hour later, I feel I've worked out.  I get up to go and notice some of the elderly folks standing by the edge waiting to come into the pool for the arthritis class.  I wait to let them in, but they are waiting still.  Within a minute or two, I suddenly feel exposed.  I look down, and the water level is at my knees.  MY KNEES.  I'm completely exposed in a wet bathing suit!  How did I not notice the water was this shallow when I got into the pool? I feel like Botticelli's Venus rising on the half shell.  I start to move to get out of the pool and the attendant screams: "Hold up, please, until I finish!". 

As it turns out, the floor of the pool was being raised so that the elderly would have an easier time getting into the pool.

Tomorrow, I will try the ARC trainer in my house.

morning after (lyn)

I get up.  It's 7:30 and I'm going to exercise.  Feel compelled to after last night's dinner.  It's 58 degrees so my first big decision of the day:  sweatshirt or not.  I look out the window and see people passing both in lightweight coats and without.  No help.  I opt to go sweatshirt-less.  It's 7:37, according to my digital cable box.  My son is still home.  As careful as I am to avoid the land mines he's set, I step on one.  "It's 7:37," I shout from my room (the school bus is scheduled to arrive at 7:37).  "Why are you up," he screams, "this is why I hate for you to get up in the morning.  You make me nervous."  He leaves and doesn't call, a good sign.   I assume he made the bus but I don't know for sure.

I call Pam, my sometimes walking partner.  She hurt her knee and though she can come, she'd have to walk slowly so I decline.  I put on my iPhone, filled with both songs I've selected as well as ones Alexander has chosen for me (he knows my music preferences pretty well, and never includes raps songs laden with ho's and bitches). I leave my east side apartment at 8:00.  I go a half block and think it's too windy.  Maybe I'll go home and do this tomorrow.  I'm tempted, but remembering what I ate last night, I decide to forge on.

 I snake through the east side, carefully avoiding baby strollers, long-leashed dogs, and people walking side-by-side and taking up the entire sidewalk.  I walk/run by the pop-up fruit and vegetable stands that dot every other corner, the colorful fruits at the small store on Lexington and 80th, the expensive stores on Madison Avenue, and enter Central Park around 85th and Fifth, 15 minutes and one mile later.

I walk/run around the reservoir (1.58 miles) and randomly think what I'll write, eat, and do today.  I don't mind the routine errands I'll be doing, and look forward to the movie screening tonight with three friends.  I think how beautiful Central Park is, and how being there in the morning is reason enough to want to exercise.  

I zigzag around the puddles that remain from last night's rain.  I feel good that I'm out on this beautiful fall morning.  I calculate in my head that I'm doing a 3.6-mile route, which is equivalent to 72 city blocks (20 blocks to a mile going street to street; 10 blocks to a mile going avenue to avenue).  So if I run   7 blocks or so I can say that I've run 10%, and briskly walked 90%.  That's about what I will do today, though I hope to increase the run portion of that ratio.  (I find a steady routine of exercise a harder commitment to keep than watching what I eat).

I'm home by 8:55.  I made the right decision regarding the sweatshirt.  I calculate my speed.  3.6 miles in 55 minutes, about 15 ½ minutes per mile, not horrible.

I feel energized and good, ready to start the day.

Monday, September 28, 2009

atonement (lyn)

Meet Debbie.  Five feet tall, blond, and 111 pounds (she later tells me).  I am sitting next to her while getting a manicure after Temple.  Alexander tells me that G-d must be cringing since it is Yom Kippur.  I don't have a magazine to read so I engage the 60ish woman next to me in conversation.  After trading book recommendations, we somehow get on to Weight Watchers and Debbie's a lifetime member.  The number of people who at some point in their lives have been on it surprises me.  Anyway, Debbie "needs" to lose 5 pounds as her clothes don't fit.  She offers advice on the foods she likes that are low in points.  I never ever would have thought that talking about weight loss could be an icebreaker.  Though I must admit, I was hoping that when I told Debbie I was on Weight Watchers she would have looked at me astonished and said, "You!  You're kidding."  She didn't.  I get home and my son asks, "Are you happy with your manicure?" "Yes," I reply, to which he quips, "Well, I'm sure G-d isn’t.” This is my punishment for asking him to (a) fast until sundown and (b) do a practice PSAT test.

At 4:12 we are on a train to Rye to break fast with family.  I am starving and hope I can keep to my strategy of eating in moderation.

It's 9:05 pm; I'm now back home, and I didn't do horribly tonight.  I anticipated the bagel-lox-cream cheese combo but was unable to resist the creamed herring and egg salad appetizers, though I did skip the crackers, knowing I couldn't eat just a couple. I was also lucky to sit next to food-conscious Adam, my 28-year-old gorgeous nephew who is running this year in the New York City Marathon.  Knowing that I'm on a diet, he made eating even one cookie too unappealing, so I just had fruit for dessert.  "If you tell everyone you're on a diet, then you can't then have a cookie."  He even moderated my cream-cheese intake.  "Here, this is all you get," he says as he passes me the cream cheese.  And Jill, my brother-in-law's sister (who hosted tonight) gave me a scale (a really great electronic one-she happened to have an extra one).  I'm still afraid that having a scale in the house may cause me to weigh-in too often, but if I try really hard not to, I think I might find the scale motivating, assuming the numbers are going in the right direction.

nice girls finish fat (m)

That's the title of a new book.  My friend helped publish it.  I read it and recognized alot of things about me in there.

The premise is simple.  In order to lose weight, you have to put yourself first.  Just as we are advised to do on airplanes when they tell parents to put their oxygen masks on first, then on the child.  This is an alien concept to the daughter of a long-suffering Italian mother.  Put myself  FIRST?  I don't know if I can.

Besides, how do you apply this to diets?  Take tonight, for example.  I microwaved a box of Weight Watchers ravioli.  I did not like them.  Too much basil, the sauce was like tomato paste straight from the can.  The cheese, well I don't know if that was real cheese in there or not.  I know Lyn likes these, but I grew up eating only homemade ones so this was a shock to my system.

The rest of the family looked at me as if to say "what are we going to eat"?  Seriously, I'm hanging by a thread every time I go into the kitchen and I have to worry about serving a parallel meal to these people.    My son, H, wanted broccoli with olive oil and garlic over mezze rigatoni with freshly grated pecorino cheese on top.  My husband does not eat that, so I made him French toast (WASPS can eat breakfast food 24 hours a day). 

You know those t-shirts that say stupid things like: my Grandpa went to California and all I got was this lousy t-shirt"? Well, I felt like making a shirt for myself that said:  "I've been cooking in my kitchen for two hours and all I got were 5 cardboard ravioli".

Dessert was going to be one of those great Weight Watchers ice cream bars (2 points of Heaven), but my husband polished off the box last night.  Beautiful.

Since I've retired, I somehow have less time than when I was working.  I am going to carve out more time for myself so that I can use it to exercise.

I will do this by saying "no" to some of the volunteer projects I've been sucked into such as organizing plantings for the neighborhood common areas.  I picked out the plants at the nursery (3 hours), schlepped them home in my car (tons of dirt spilled, plus a bee got in and almost caused me to drive off the road to avoid being stung), and supervised the placement and planting.  All I got out of that  project was 4 phone calls from neighbors complaining that the loam smelled foul (it truly did, but the plants look beautiful and the smell wore off after two days, but still, I didn't need this aggravation).

Starting tomorrow, there's a new sherriff in town.  I'm getting tougher.  No wonder the expression is Lean and Mean. 

Sunday, September 27, 2009

set point theory (m)

I am on the Board of Directors at one of the top medical schools in the country.  As a result, I receive regular news bulletins about the latest scientific discoveries.  I understand very little of what's written in these reports.

There was, however, one recent article which, not only did I understand, I actually could have written for them.  It had to do with mice and obesity.  The title of the article was something like: Obesity:  Is there a Second Set Point?

In humans, a "set point" is the weight which your body is biologically and genetically determined to weigh (within a certain range).    So, for me, that would be about 140  pounds.  For most of my adult life, I had been at this level.  I'd have to starve myself and/or exercise like crazy to get below this range.

Back to the mice.  The scientists started by weighing each one to determine their normal weight (set point #1). Then, they gave them as much food as they could eat.  The mice stuffed themselves with abandon and reached a new level where their weight eventually topped off.  Even though they could keep eating, they didn't gain significantly more weight.   Instead,  they pretty much stayed at this new, higher level.  This was "set point 2" for the mice.

Why am I telling you this?  Because, today, I weighed myself for the first time in a long time and weigh exactly the same as I did the last time I joined Weight Watchers, 15 years ago.  Voila.....set point #2.

Now, the good news is that the mice lost weight and went back to their original weights (set point #1) when they were deprived of the all -you -can -eat -mice -buffet.

The bad news is that I can't talk to the mice and ask them how they felt on their diets.

add, subtract, multiply, divide (lyn)

I had no idea there would be so many calculations involved.  My mother would not have been able to do this.  A few years ago a recipe called for heating something in the microwave for two and a half minutes.  She set the timer for 2.5!

Tonight I’m splurging on lamb chops.  As I think I’ve written, I’m allotted 20 points per day for food  (every food has a point value) and 35 extra bonus points each week (these can be disbursed any way I want).  On Monday morning, any left over bonus points disappear and I'll start again…you don’t carry over.  And, you can earn activity points through exercising (yes, there’s a point value for every imaginable activity, adjusted by your weight and level of activity). These can be traded for more food points.

So in order to figure out how many points I’ll need to record for my lamb chop dinner tonight, I have to do a few calculations.

Step 1:  Determine points per ounce. 
The Weight Watchers (WW) website indicates that 3 ounces of “lamb, chop, cooked” equals 6 points.  So, it's  easy to calculate that lamb chops are 2 points per ounce.

Step 2:  Determine total weight of the Australian Rack of Lamb, frenched, that I am making for dinner:  
1.67 pounds.

Step 3:  Convert pounds into ounces.  
One pound is 16 ounces, plus .67 pounds (not to be confused ala the microwave incident  with .67 ounces ) is .67  X  16 = 10.72 ounces, which I round up to 11 ounces.

Step 4:  Compute total ounces of lamb.
 16 ounces + 11 ounces = 27 ounces (same as 1.67 pounds).

Step 5:  Compute ounces per lamb chop in rack. 
There are 7 lamb chops in the 27 ounce rack.  Therefore, 27 ounces divided by 7 = 3.9 ounces per lamb chop

Step 6:  Determine serving size.
 I’ve been deprived of meat all week, so I'll have 3 of 7, so 3.9 ounces X 3 lamb chops = 11.7 ounces

Step 7:  Calculate total points.
11.7 ounces times 2 (no. of points per ounce) =23.4 points, rounded up to 24.

So that's it.  24 points (more than a whole day's worth of points) for 3 lamb chops.   I think I deserve activity points for all these calculations!

After all that work, I decide to go online and read about Australian rack of lamb (still can't believe I am this motivated) and learn that it is very high in saturated fats.  So I give the whole 1.67 pounds to Alexander (who is very slim and who of course didn't finish it) and bought myself a prime shell steak...6 ounces for 10 points, and worth every bite.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

dear followers (m)

As some of you know by now, my mother stays with us on the weekends.  She's my biggest fan and harshest critic.  I know she would love to see me thin again.

This morning she asked about yesterday's weigh-in.  Two point two pounds, I said.  She rolled her eyes.  Clearly, this was the wrong answer.  That's the average for Weight Watchers, I said....two pounds per week.  "Why, you're average?" she snorted. 

Phil, my brother, suggested we have a mother-daughter bonding session at an apple orchard/vineyard.  It was just a ruse to pick up dandelion wine for him--something he's "always wanted to try".  The place was a circus with hundreds of people.  Try steering an 84 year-old amidst a crush of people in a rickety barn with warped flooring. I was relieved to see the wine section so close to the front door.  Here, try some wine, I told her.  She sampled the peach wine.  "Awful".  Okay, how about this (dandelion).  "Cat piss" she proclaimed.  She wanted a cider donut but the line was too long.  She settled for a raspberry scone.  "Want some?" she asked.  No thanks, I already had lunch (pita pocket, turkey, lettuce and mustard and a small apple.  Breakfast was Special K, skim milk and a nectarine).

On the way home, we stopped at the Clam Box in Ipswich--one of her favorite haunts.    Huge line. Two hours later, she had a plate of fried clams and onion rings.   I got an unsweetened ice tea. "Want some?" she asked.  No thanks, I'm all set (I wasn't).

"Why are you sticking to this diet?" she asked

Why, indeed?  What's the difference between this time and all the other times?  Two things:

1. Weight Watchers--it's healthy, simple and proven.
2. You

Yes, you.  Our followers.  I feel accountable to each of you.  To the woman who is "rooting for me in cyberspace" and to my friend, Michele, who is offering me tips and taking the time to comment on some postings.  And to Hazel who says this is motivating to her.  And to Mary who got me thinking about Weight Watchers because she joined and then went with me to my first meeting.  And to my nephew, Chris, who thinks I'm brave to be putting myself out there like this, exposing my feelings.  And most of all, to my son Sam who admitted to reading this blog every night.  It's a nice way to connect with him.

So, Followers, I appreciate your support.  Hang in there with me.  This is going to take time.

And by the way, I'd love to know who follower "proffer 98" is.

losing patience (lyn)

It’ll be 25 years in January since I moved to New York from Boston, and this city still amazes me.  I feel very lucky to live here.  So, here’s another reason why I love living here…discovering another under-publicized gem.

In the middle of the Upper East Side, on a quiet residential street, all these vendors come on Saturday morning and set up shop…a little makeshift Farmer’s Market.  Vendors from “the country” selling gorgeous red baby strawberries, vine ripe tomatoes, fresh cider, home baked breads, fresh fish, homemade pies, recently picked apples, maple syrup and honey, all gather together to sell their delicious foods.  How did this even happen? Who had the brilliance to coordinate such an event?  How did I not know about it, since I live only three blocks from it?  In any case, this morning I went, and though I spent almost $30, it was all on vegetables and fruits.

By the time I returned home, I realized I had to leave.  I quickly ate a low-fat, low—calorie mini-pita with melted WW cheese (quite good), grabbed an apple and ran out the door to go up to Horace Mann (about an hour by public transportation) and watch my son’s first high school football game.  As expected, his team lost 6-38.  Despite being hungry, I was able to resist the post-game lavish spread of friend shrimp, egg rolls, sushi and other delicious-looking foods, prepared by what appeared to be a gourmet chef posing as a Korean mom.  I ate only a few of the vegetables, and felt pleased but not satisfied.

Dinner was equally unsatisfying.  I bought prepared red snapper (tasteless and awful) and lots of vegetables (good but not filling) and one of those surprisingly tasty WW ice creams. 

I rushed to meet Zelia to see another play (three plays in one week is not typical for me) and now I’m home hungry with a ton of extra points.  I think I’ll make a fruit salad.

It seems like I’m hardly eating and should be feeling skinnier; I don’t.  I guess I have to remind myself that it’s not even been two weeks since I started this new way of eating (which is to say a lot less than before), but still, I feel I’ve barely lost anything.  Like M’s snowman, I’m expecting to melt soon.  Why’s it taking so long?????

family and food (m)

First, the Week Two results:  I was down 2.2 pounds, bringing my two-week total to 12 pounds.  Elaine smiles and sticks something on my book...a gold star.  "Here you go...this is for breaking the ten-pound mark.  We never get tired of gold stars no matter how old we get, right?"  I used to live for gold stars. I must say, I was as excited as a second-grader when I saw my book with the star.  I even kept it open for others to "accidentally" see.

Tonight, we had our second 25th anniversary party.  This time with family. Phillip and his wife hosted it and it occurred to me that Phillip was magnanimous in choosing tonight as this was not one of his days to eat.   My mother, aunt and two brothers and their children were there.  My two sons were not and it made me sad.  The oldest, Sam, is in college in New York.  The other, Harrison, was at a farewell party for his good friend who is moving back to New York tomorrow morning. 

Food is central to every gathering for my family.  There is always too much of it and there is a whole after-meal scene where people scurry to divide the leftovers into Tupperware containers so that everyone gets to take home a "plate".  It's exhausting.

My husband gave a toast in honor of our anniversary and thanked my family for making him part of theirs.  It made me think of his family...New England Yankees.  Dinners at their house were a simple protein, salad, and one starch.  Dessert was on only special occasions and only one thing.  An Apple Pie, for example.  I remember getting hammered one Christmas during the cocktail hour where the gin kept coming and there were only radishes and celery for appetizers.  Dinner was Welsh Rarebit and creamed onions on saltine crackers.  Christmas Dinner.

Maybe the marriage has worked all these years because we have blended two extremes and normalized them.

Friday, September 25, 2009

10 days and no cravings (lyn)

My day:
  • 8:30 am:  Calming a totally stressed-out teen who overslept (as did I) and is now worried about having missed his first period Physics class.
  • 9:00 am: Trying on a pair of jeans expecting them to feel looser but can barely pull them past my knees.  Relieved to find out they are my son’s, not mine.  Phew.
  • 9:30 am:  Sharing coffee with my neighbor and her two gorgeous kids, ages 1 and 3.
  • 10:00 am:  Reading the WW web site looking for low-numbered foods, making weekend plans, paying bills and backing up my computer.  Then, looking up the value of risotto (not worth it);  lamb (worth it); and a slice of apple pie (forget it!).
  • 12 noon: Eating miso soup for lunch.
  • 1:00 pm: Having hair colored, overdue by at least two weeks.
  • 3:00 pm:  Buying WW dessert ice creams, already anticipating the fun of eating them...  only two points.
  • 3:15 pm: Snacking on four shrimp (3 ounces) and buying dinner for my son.
  • 4:00 pm:  Scouring the net for job opportunities, answering ads, networking, and lamenting on the frustration of doing this and not seeing results.  (It's why I like Weight do it;  you do it right;  and achieving results is a reasonable expectation.  Not so with job-hunting.)
  • 6:00 pm: Dining in, solo, on spinach and 1/3 pound grilled salmon and one surprisingly satisfying WW ice cream bar.
  • 8:00 pm: Meeting friends downtown to see a FREE off-Broadway Horton Foote play, The Chase (one of a million reasons why New York is the greatest city in the world, really).
  • 11:00 pm: Writing this blog.
 Given the "oh-so-frenetic" pace of the day, it was easy to avoid thinking about the foods I no  longer eat.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

snowman (m)

Two weeks on Weight Watchers.  Notice I did not say "diet" because the leader at my center says it's not a diet it's a "live it"!  Two weeks on this "live it" and I admit I feel better.  I feel more in control of my life; I feel fewer aches and pains (the arthritis journal said a ten pound weight loss translates to 30% less pain.  Thirty per cent).  I feel like I turned a ship around. 

Yet, no one has noticed.   I went for a massage today.  I've been going to the same person for two years.  She notices everything, but did not seem to notice any difference in my size.  I got my hair cut, too.  My hairdresser didn't notice either.  Once, I gained five pounds in between haircuts and I noticed he styled the hair to cover my face more.   He didn't do that this time, but he didn't say anything, either.

One winter, when I was a little kid, there was a snowman outside the window of my classroom.  It was a large snowman and had a hat, pipe and scarf along with coal eyes and buttons.  I loved to watch that snowman.  One week, it was sunny every day.  I waited for him to melt.  For four days, he looked to be the same size, but when I went outside, I noticed he looked more deflated, even though the size impression was still large.

On the fifth day, the snowman looked smaller.  Maybe that is how it will be with me.  One day --hopefully soon--someone will notice.

Meanwhile, I will content myself with the satisfaction of knowing I am melting.

my parents sign up (lyn)

CAUTION:  don’t send your parents a link to your blog unless you are prepared for their criticisms. 

Yesterday I decided to let my parents see my blog, and know of my latest membership.  So I sent them the link.  My 86-year old dad (who is still pretty cool and does his banking online) knows what he knows about the computer and that’s it.  It didn’t take me as long as expected to walk him through the steps of clicking on the link to open it.  That accomplished, we moved on to, “now you need to scroll down to the bottom of the blog and read from the bottom up, since it’s in reverse order.”  That took a bit longer.  Next I explained how to bookmark the blog so he could look at our updates.  He accomplished that quickly.  I feel proud that Two Girls and a Diet now has a place on my dad’s bookmarks bar between Citizen’s Bank and Celebrity Jews.

My dad printed out my blog for my 80-year old mom, who looks gorgeous, is active, is totally together, and has zero interest in the computer--she never lived up to her declaration three years ago that “if we get an Apple I promise to learn."

So my mom, after reading portions of my blog (somehow only a partial-blog printed out) said,    “You only lost 1.8 pounds the first week?  When I did Weight Watchers I lost about 2-3 pounds a week!”

I guess I need to try even harder.  And I thought I was doing so well.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

penance (m)

The day after the anniversary dinner.  I decided to pull back and make up a little ground from last night.

Breakfast-Greek yogurt, 1/2 an apple, cinnamon and one tsp of honey

Snack-100 calorie bag of popcorn , one apple and one McDonald's small coffee (free promotion still going on.  I went to my back-up McDonald's thinking I was being incognito--"HI!!!!  Where you been, lady?  No McSkillet burrito today??"  Thankfully, I was alone).

Lunch-turkey breast on salad with Newman's spray dressing (Balsamic Breeze--and you get about as much satisfaction as if real dressing blew off someone's dish in the next town).  One slice of dark rye.

Dinner-1/2 sweet potato.  I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spray (I can't believe someone named it that) and an egg white omelet with veggies.

Snack-a Weight Watchers chocolate chip brownie bar.  NASTY.  I wonder if I can take the box back like that woman did last week.  Made a note to check their refund policy.

Water: check.  Oil: check  Milk:check

Going to bed with Vanity Fair.  I have to have some satisfaction.  Jackie O is on the cover.

not horrible, but not amazing either (lyn)

Almost two pounds.  One point eight to be exact.  That’s all I lost this week;  I was hoping it’d be more, but at least it’s something.  At the meeting this morning, after weigh in, I learned I hadn’t prepared right.  Unlike M who had a whole strategy for her weigh-in, I had none.  In fact, I had coffee and an English muffin with jam before the meeting.  How stupid was that.  At the meeting, I told the “class” about this blog, and encouraged people to join.  So far, no one has, but maybe they will.  One older woman approached me after class and said, “I think what you are doing is great, but could you please explain to me exactly what a blob is!” 

People at the meeting discuss the difficulty of tracking what they eat, but I do it on line and actually like the approach.  It’s funny, now that I am committed, I like the discipline of recording every meal.  When I am at home, I know I can follow the rules. 

After the weight watchers meeting I dropped by my friend Zelia’s house and upon seeing me she commented that I really did look thinner.  At a loss of less that two pounds, I doubt I really do look thinner, but it was encouraging to hear her say that as I know Zelia, and she is a friend who never sugar-coats.  Zelia was living in her home country of Brazil this past year, and in March, Alexander and I visited her in Rio (she has a son and a daughter who are in school with Alexander and about the same age).  One day Alexander, Zelia’s son Rodrigo, and I spent an afternoon at Ipanema Beach, and I came home with a lopsided tan (one side of my face was burnt, and I had a red circle around my left eye).  With characteristic bluntness, Zelia looked at me and said, “You look like a little monster.”  So I know today she was telling the truth.

At night I went to see an off-Broadway play that my friend Meredith had opted out of (we have a subscription to Playwright's Horizons where this play was performing so the ticket had already been paid for).  Charles Isherwood of the New York Times  had described the play we were seeing as “a boring bust,” and that was kind compared to other reviewers.  So Meredith didn't go and I couldn't give the ticket away.  To make up for what I anticipated to be a boring night of theater, I thought I'd at least get some exercise in.  The humidity was about 100% .  By the time I'd completed my 3-mile walk, I was drenched. But still I thought, this is good.  

A part of me wants to fast-forward to Thanksgiving and see if I'm down 10 pounds, but I love autumn in New York and my son (who'll be leaving for college in two years) and I wouldn't want to fast forward through either.  

life happens (m)

Twenty five years ago, on a day much like today--sunny, dry, slightly breezy--I got married.

I wore a beautiful Princess Diana inspired dress and was at my fighting weight.  Looking back at the pictures, I shook my head in amazement that I never felt I was thin enough.  A perfect size ten, yes.  Perfect?  No. 

My bridesmaids all have gained weight (two of them you've "met" in this blog).  So have all of the guests.   So, too, the groom.  That made me feel less of a truant, but none of them have as far to go as I have.

I put the pictures away and focused on the present.  Dinner out tonight with our best man and his wife.  How to plan for that?  First, I saved as many points during the day as I could.  Just coffee for breakfast (McDonald's is having a "free coffee" promotion all this week--I went through the drive thru and they asked where I had been.  Was I that much of a junkie?).  A meeting in Boston (water) and then I had seven hours to kill.  By 11 a.m. I felt lightheaded.  I got a turkey sandwich with lettuce and mustard and ate half.  Definitely took the edge off.  I drank more water and ate a small apple.  Good.

Two o'clock in the afternoon.  Four hours to go.  I took a nap and killed some time.  I took a bath and killed some more time.  I'm going to make it.

Got to the restaurant at six.  Let's have cocktails!  Why?  I'm ready to eat.  Why does this world revolve around alcohol?  Can't we just sit down at the table and order dinner?   We sit down and the best man (God bless him) starts with a toast.  The same toast he read at our wedding.  I remembered he had it translated into Italian.  It was very touching and prophetic (he wished us great children, much wealth among other things).  Michael, the best man, knows the owner who leaps out from the kitchen to explain our "very special anniversary dinner".    The bread basket arrives.  Get it away from me.  The appetizers arrive --a sampler for each of the four of us.  Asparagus wrapped in proscuitto, stuffed mushrooms, gorgonzola cheese stuffed inside peppers, fried zucchini.  I break down and eat it---no I inhale it. 

How many points?  Who the hell knows?  I had a vision of a pinball machine where the ball gets caught up in those rubber thingies and points rack up like crazy.  I remember there are 35 points to play with and you can't "roll over" (like phone minutes in those tv commercials).  Otherwise, I'd be mortgaged into November.

Next course, a surprise.  The chef's signature butternut squash ravioli.  I'm totally screwed at this point.

Dinner was baked haddock and grilled vegetables.  I did resist all but one teaspoon of the dessert.

By the time I got in the car, I was hoping I hadn't gained weight this week.  Forget about losing weight.

I got home and my younger son had a surprise for us.  He baked us a cake!  Happy Anniversary!

I licked a little of the frosting, thanked him profusely and went to my room.

Life happens.  Roll with it.  Tomorrow's another day.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

nervous about tomorrow (lyn)

Got up, put on a pair of slimming black pants and a clingy Michael Stars pastel green Tee.  I could see more of my waist and less of my stomach, and felt good.  It might just be my imagination but I am feeling lighter.  I wish I had a workout buddy here like I do a dieting buddy in Boston.  I know that would motivate me to be exercising more.

Had coffee for breakfast (ran out of time for the fruit and yogurt) and an  English muffin with chicken and grape tomatoes  for lunch.  I’m looking forward to sushi for dinner with my son tonight, and watching the DVR'ed premiere of The Office.

Tomorrow is weigh-in.  My goal is to lose 5 pounds/month and to reach my goal no later than June 16th.  I’m hopeful.

Monday, September 21, 2009

navigating landmines (m)

This is a tough week.  Dinner party on Monday with a group of women then my 25th Wedding Anniversary on Tuesday (dinner out) and then a family celebration on Friday

Let's start with tonight.  7 women and six bottles of wine.  Good thing I brought the shrimp cocktail as I can't think of anything more ridiculous than wasting precious calories/points on alcohol.  That will never be my problem (unless, of course, you subscribe to Overeaters Anonymous where all grains are created, bread.).  The women are all very thin.  The skinniest says hello, would you like to take your jacket off? I told her that the jacket doesn't come off.

Dinner was grilled chicken, salad with a little Caesar dressing (not good, not bad).  I took a small amount of each and was dying for a little more and then I saw the cat walk on the counter and eat out of one of the serving dishes.  I lost my appetite and made a note to get a cat.

Someone brought dessert:  a homemade flourless chocolate cake and an almond torte.  People were moaning like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally over the flourless chocolate cake.  I had to try it.  One. Small. Bite.  Big mistake.  No, I didn't have any more, but that was the hardest thing I've pulled away from since I started this diet.  I got the recipe.  At this rate, I'll be able to eat it in 18 months.

I'm not hungry, just a little deprived.

Good Night.

like the feeling of eating less (lyn)

Alexander (my son) no longer wakes me before he leaves for school.  He’s a junior at Horace Mann (a highly competitive NYC private school). Alexander has to leave the house in time to catch a 7:37 bus.  He leaves at 7:36.  True, the bus is on the corner.  But even still, if he sneezes and has to get a kleenix, he’ll miss the bus.  He says he’s weighed the cost-benefit of my getting up and has decided that the potential benefit (my making him and serving him breakfast) does not outweigh the cost (my reminding him of what he has to do, and my urging-he'd say nagging- him to leave earlier than 7:36).  He’s taking AP Economics and this, so far, is what he’s learned.  I don’t object, though, because this way I don’t have to look at the omelets I make for him.  And, I get to sleep later.

So today I awoke at 10, which is about two or more hours later than I usually do.  I had to rush to get to an 11am meeting on our school benefit at a nearby Starbucks, and didn’t have time for even a 1-point English Muffin.  So while hungry through my 90-minute meeting, I didn’t mind as that gave me more points for the rest of the day (even though we are NOT supposed to hoard points on this diet).

Tonight I’m going to theater with a friend of mine, and as is my habit now, I’m skipping eating out beforehand.  I find it much easier to eat at home.  

I remember having a feeling of superiority when I used to run. I specifically remember being in Central Park on a very cold January day, and running in a short sweatshirt, passing people bundled in their down jackets and shearling coats.  I had a similar feeling today as I picked no-fat yogurt, roasted vegetables, and plain chicken off the shelves at Agata Valentina, the gourmet grocery a half  block away.   I could walk by the tempting cheeses easily, snub the prepared hot foods (with the exception of the vegetables), and ignore the desserts, and not even feel tempted.  I stared at the skinny girl in front of me in line and thought that in a few months, I too, may look good from the back.  Or at least not bad.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

weekend review--you can have that? (m)

I made the mistake of telling several people around me that I am doing Weight Watchers.  I now feel as though I am on one of those reality tv shows where the camera follows you everywhere.

Even though I am about 99% compliant with the program, everyone is questioning my every choice.  I've carefully explained the point system to whoever will listen, shown people the dining out guide ("See, Filet-O-Fish is in here if you want to use the points that way") and been so good especially when compared to my previous patterns (more like the opening scene in The Miracle Worker where Helen Keller grabs food from everyone's plates).

Last night, my younger son heard me folding a bag of candy.  STOP-don't eat that he remonstrated.  Calm down, I'm folding the bag to put it in the cabinet where I don't have to look at it.  At dinner in the restaurant, my mother saw me put a teaspoon of olive oil on my salad: "You can have that?"  Yes, I said.  Then the fish with the bread crumbs on the top:  "You can have that, too?" Yes, I said.  Then the zucchini and brown rice: "You can't have that, can you?".   AAAGGGHHH.  Finally I said, don't ask me another thing unless I eat an entire cheesecake, okay?  Well, I'm just trying to help, she said....I think you may have lost one of your chins this week and I want you to keep going.  You were starting to look like the bartender in Casablanca.  Nice.

But there is one bright spot besides the weight loss itself.  It's the support from total strangers.  One person wrote: "you have a friend in cyberspace rooting for you".  I was very touched by that.  I thought of it several times today and it helped me get through my day.

If you are reading this and want to offer support, I'll take it.  I've never asked anyone for anything before, but I think this will help so much.

Thank you, friend.

feeling guilty on day 5 (lyn)

With all my good intentions, I totally blew it last night.  The mini-hot dogs in a roll did me in.  And then the seven-layer cake for dessert.  Although I only took one piece, that with the two slices of beef tenderloin, chicken, creamed spinach, and apple sauce, I totaled about 54 intake goal for 2 1/2 days.  So today, noticing that I needed to make up for last night, I ran/walk a brisk 4.2 miles, all the time imagining a thinner me.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

is it really only day 4? (lyn)

Today is Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the new year.  Before going to Temple this morning I agonized over what to wear (as if anyone besides me cares).  I had already chosen my staple-black skirt, but searching for the right top was a challenge.  After trying on a beautiful short tweed jacket that hangs unused in my closet, I opted for the matching Missoni black top.  A week ago I tried the same outfit on for my neighbors' hip young babysitter who thought it pulled in all the wrong places.  I wore it anyway.

So sitting it Temple, I'm thinking that I can really do this.  It’s the new year, and I want to look different by June.  I am pretty much a rule-abiding person, and can be quite disciplined.  As the rabbi is discussing the importance of Israel to the Jewish people, I'm thinking that at 5 pounds a month, June is giving me more than enough time to meet my goal.  With all my weight-focused thinking, it was easy to decline the cookies offered to us as we exited the synagogue.

Tonight, though, will be a challenge.  I am celebrating the new year with family, where there will be platters and platters of good fattening food.  I’m already planning my strategy-avoid the pre-meal trays of chopped liver, creamed herring and egg salad, and stick to the veggies without the dip, if possible.  Then, splurge on the meat.  I can eat, and should eat, 20 points a day, and have only consumed 6 so far today (coffee with a little half and half, an English muffin with jam, no butter, and an apple and some popcorn.  (As I write this, I still cannot honestly believe that I now look up the point value of foods on the Weight Watcher’s website.  It all feels so not-me).

I'm a black-and-white person.  I've always been good at setting and reaching goals that can be judged objectively.  I am not as good at reading subtleties.  I was horrible at office politics, and often (surprising only myself) got into trouble by innocently saying or doing the wrong thing.  I don't like passive-aggressive people.  I don't want to have to guess what someone means.  So setting a numeric goal, well that I like.  Either I’m successful or I’m not.  And even better, I am in total control of the outcome.

week one weigh In--it's working! (m)

I strategized the weigh-in.

First, I had hot chamomile tea with lemon the night before to get things going in my system so I would "go to the bathroom" first thing in the morning.

Second, I got up an hour earlier and moved around alot so my lazy-ass system would kick in.  It did.  I took that as a good-luck sign.  My brother Phil called just afterwards and detected a happy tone in my voice.  I told him why.  He was mortified ( meanwhile, he stays thin by eating every other day...).

The Weight Watchers class starts at 10 a.m.  My friend, Mary, told me to get there by 9:30 for weigh-in.  I packed my breakfast and arrived at 9:15 a.m.  Someone walked in the door.  It's open?  I ran right in.  Only one person ahead of me.  This is good.  It will be over within a few minutes.

Uh, oh.  The woman ahead of me is a problem.  She wants to return a box of some Weight Watchers product even though she's eaten a portion of it.  Turns out it's the bars with nuts and twigs and dried fruit.  The woman behind the desk is exasperated (It's my nemesis, Elaine).

I use the time to go through my pre-game check-list:   Bladder Voided-check; Bowels Empty-check+; Jewelry Off-check; Light-weight clothes on-check minus (I wanted to take the denim shirt over my tee shirt off and had planned to do so when no one was there, but now a line has formed and I can't risk my friend Mary seeing my arms).  Elaine and the woman are still going at it. But you recommend these to me and told me they are your favorites, says the woman.  Just because they are my favorites doesn't mean you'll like them.  Besides, you asked me what I liked, says Elaine.  I turn around: the line has grown to ten people and we're all pissed.

The talk in the line turns to which products people like.  I half-listen.  Something catches my ear.   I hear something about swine flu.  A woman thought she had it last week when her stomach began to rumble.  Turns out it was one of the Weight Watchers's candies.  You can eat the whole box for only ONE POINT and one of the ingredients has a laxative effect.  Says so right on the label.  My head spins around like the girl in the Exorcist:  "which candy, which candy?" I ask.  I must have this item.  Sounds like my perfect food concept.  You consume it in its entirety, has little to no calories and gently and politely leaves your system. The woman behind me shows me the candy.  It's in my shopping cart immediately.

Elaine and the woman ahead work out a deal.  I'm up.

I get on the scale.  Now, remember, Elaine--I don't want to know my weight, I say.  She turns to the other employee next to her (who just showed up--where the hell have you been everyone wants to know) and asks if they can do that. Meanwhile, I am still standing on the scale.  This has never happened before.  Does that affect the reading?  I'm trying to figure out if it makes the numbers go up.  You're killing me, Elaine.

Okay, she says.  There's a smirk on her face.  You don't want to know your weight?  NO.  Not even your progress?  Yes, of course.  Just the delta...the difference...what I lost or gained. (I'm trying to find a way to get this concept into her head).  Oh, so you DO want to know what you lost?  YES!

Okay, you lost 9 pounds!  Her colleague comes over and says "actually, she lost 9.8 pounds, Elaine".

Nine point eight pounds.  And it's still September.  I thought I wouldn't get to that point until October.

I could kiss Elaine.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

you are what you eat so I want to be Japanese (m)

Six days in and I'm sick of this.  I really don't like having to count and account for every flippin' thing I put in my mouth.  I find the process of keeping a journal exhausting.  I'd rather not eat than: a. use the slide rule to find out how many points something has (calories and fiber on one side of the slide rule, fat on the other ) and b. write the answer down.  I think the journal is a trick to deter us from eating versus seeing what we ate.  I can only imagine what would happen to me if I wrote down every thing I USED to eat.  Probably Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Breakfast was yogurt, cinnamon and half a banana.  Lunch was a grilled chicken roll-up (small) with barbecue sauce (one teaspoon) and an apple. Dinner was surprisingly good.  I decided to get sushi versus eat anything in my refrigerator.  I called Lyn and had her look up the points for sushi.  I was very surprised, encouraged, and happy to hear you could eat reasonable quantities without breaking the bank.  I had tuna sushi, a salad (what IS that orange dressing they put on the salad?) and two gyoza (pork dumpling).  Tasted great and did the job.

No wonder the Japanese are so thin.

Weigh in tomorrow.    I have a significant amount of weight to lose and am hoping I've made a tiny dent. I asked my husband if he thought I looked any thinner and he turned to me in astonishment and said:  "Are you shi-----  me?"

starving and unsure (lyn)

It's 9am and I'm starving.  I went to bed hungry and now I woke up hungry.  I feel like I'm on an abbreviated and extended Yom Kippur....abbreviated in that I get to eat a little, but extended in that this is supposed to be my life now, everyday.  Perhaps it's because I'm just beginning, and I've never done anything like this ever, but I am becoming obsessed with food and points.  I even woke up twice last night. I haven't eaten a thing yet as I am still contemplating skipping coffee altogether as that will allow me an extra point later on today, and since I only get 20 points a day...still not sure I can do this.  I'm thinking I need to see my jeans fitting better soon to get the incentive I need.  And it's not even been 24 hours since I joined. 

It's now around noon and I have a headache, probably because I gave in and had my morning coffee with a little half and half but skipped the muffin.  Probably not a wise choice.  Then, I went grocery shopping and spent $75 on items I've never before bought.  Things like lo-fat mayo, no-fat cheese, and those frozen Weight Watcher dinners.  I only bought those because it's easy to count the points;  you just read the number right off the package. 

I imagine my skinnier self and that keeps me focused.  

I'm already thinking of Thanksgiving-fearing the food but hoping I'll surprise my skinny sisters and mom with my progress.  

My soon-to-be 80 year old mother walks 3 miles about 5 times a week, all year, regardless of weather.  This summer, my son and I spent July an August with my parents on the Cape (in North Falmouth Massachusetts, a truly picturesque historical village), and got more familiar with their habits.  For example, my mom's everyday topics of conversation always include:  the weather, as in, "What's it doing outside?"  The price of gas, as in "How much is he getting?" referring to every gas station she passes.  And finally traffic, as in, "What's the traffic like coming over the bridge?" Even if she doesn't plan on going over the (Bourne) bridge.  She is mildly obsessed with bumpa-ta-bumpa traffic.  My mother looks fabulous, and acts and looks so much younger than her 80 years.   Her legs are better than mine;  well, her legs are better than most, regardless of age.  (My dad is not a walker.  He just stopped playing tennis three-days-a week last year because at 85, he pulled his groin).  I come from good genes.

I have one very fashionable, very beautiful younger sister who lives in both Long Island and New York.  She's naturally thin.  My other sister, the baby of the family, is also very thin and she works out about every day for hours.  She is a country-girl.  Lives in a small town in Massachusetts.  Both my sisters can wear anything and look incredible.  Good that the men in my family fluctuate in weight.