Monday, November 30, 2009

“I was just trying to help” (lyn)

Whether explicit or implied, when someone says they are just trying to help, they usually are not.  I frequently find this misused phrase a license to say something to someone that they are not going to like, as in:
“Have you tried going to different places with your resume to see if they are hiring? I was in a Saucony store the other day and saw that they were looking for sales people,” delivered to me by a stay-at-home mom with a successful husband who owns his own company.
“I didn’t think you could eat bread while you are on Weight Watchers,” addressed to me by a very slim person eating a pasta dinner as I prepared a one-slice-no skin-chicken sandwich. 
Sometimes the best help is in the doing, not in the saying.

well-intended but misguided (m)

Driving Harrison to school this morning, listening to a Boston radio station.  They are interviewing a woman named Angela who is a casting director (I think) for one of those reality tv shows for very large people who want to lose weight.  Not "The Biggest Loser", but a new show where the people are "ginormous".  The uneducated-sounding Angela is regaling us with a story of how she just came back from her high school reunion and one of her former classmates was so big, that Angela took it upon her fine self to give this woman her business card and told her to call her and maybe she could get her on the show.

The classmate's response?  She turned her back on Angela and walked away.

I can write the rest of this story for the classmate.  It goes like this:

1. the nasty comment ruined her evening
2. she went home and cried....and then, maybe ate some more
3. she couldn't sleep all night
4. she woke up humiliated and angry.

Why did Angela think it was okay to do that?  What if the classmate handed her a card for diction lessons (which she clearly needed) or a phone number for a continuing education course (again, which she clearly needed)? What right do people have to say such hurtful things to other people under the guise of "helping them"?

I once had a hair colorist who was a great technician.  She won all sorts of awards.  However, I dreaded going in there as she was always on me about my weight.  She would talk loud enough for others to hear and told me she "was concerned for my health.  I don't want you to get diabetes."  Meanwhile, it was no secret that she was an alcoholic and heavy user of recreational drugs but I never expressed my concern for her liver...out public.

The DJ told Angela he thought she was being insensitive to the classmate.  Angela laughed and said she disagreed as she was "only trying to help".

Is she right or is she wrong?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

food, glorious food? (m)

Ah, the holidays.  The kids are home from school, friends come over, Thanksgiving on Thursday, birthday extravaganza on Saturday night.....all connected by one constant: food.

Wednesday-- Sam arrives home from college around 1 p.m.  He's "starving" (he inherited the "food gene").  I was at the rink with Harrison and Sam called to ask me to bring home a super burrito from Anna's Tacqueria.  The thing weighed about 2 lbs.  "All right if a few friends come over tonight?" he asked.  They are big guys (one is 6' 5'', 300 pounds).  I make a quick run to the supermarket and stock up, but I'm in a sweat wondering if I've bought enough.

I get home, put the stuff out and then they descend.  Theoretically, these guys ate dinner at home.  They swarmed like locusts and devoured bags of tortilla chips, jars of salsa, popcorn, pretzels, brownies and lots of water and Gatorade.  I wonder what would happen if they hadn't had dinner.....would I still have a couch in the family room?

Thursday--Thanksgiving.  I know we covered this.  But really, what other holiday is focused exclusively on food?  It's a day of  non-stop eating.  I had to white knuckle my way through this one.

Friday--Sam's friends return and would I make my bourbon balls? asks one.  I love this kid, so I make the bourbon balls (mini meatballs, soaked in bourbon, brown sugar and ketchup), and stock up again.  Harrison and I go to a reunion with people from his grammar school.  Chinese food.  I had steamed chicken and salad and fresh fruit ( I told the host mother I was on Weight Watchers and she obliged...very nice of her).  Everyone else ate crab rangoon, fried rice, General Gao's chicken (fried) and pumpkin pie, chocolate pudding and ice cream.  We had so much fun, I almost forgot to pity myself that I couldn't eat what everyone else was eating.

Saturday--Sam heads back to school, but not before a hearty breakfast of a 3-egg and cheese omelet, toast, yogurt parfait (yogurt, fresh raspberries, honey, cinnamon and granola), hot chocolate and cranberry/orange juice.  I make him and his friend peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and pack fruit and water for the drive back to New York. 

Just when I thought I was out of the woods dealing with food, Harrison asks if about 12 skater friends can come over to celebrate a birthday for one of them who just turned 16.  I say yes.  These kids are in training and the coaches are on them about proper nutrition and portion control.  I ask what I need to provide and Harrison says "We'll take care of it.  Everyone is bringing something.  You and Dad just need to pay for the pizza and provide drinks."  I get bottled waters, juice, skim milk and clean the house.  Then, I take my mother out shopping (the less she sees the better.  I know the kids will go in the hot tub and the girls will be in little bathing suits and my mother will freak).

She and I come home from shopping around 9 p.m. and there's "contraband" everywhere:  Cheese Doodles, pretzels, chips and salsa, pizza, brownies, soda, cake, ice cream, M&M's.  They are all on sugar highs and laughing like hyenas.  I took a picture and threatened to put it on Facebook where the coaches could see it.  It's nice to have leverage.

After they left, I cleaned up and realized that I made it through a tough few days.  I had a handful of M&Ms and a slice of pizza for dinner.  Points-wise, not bad, but hideous nutritionally.

I'm sick of food.  I'm sick of thinking about it, shopping for it, preparing it, serving it, avoiding it, cleaning up after it.

Maybe this will cure me of my obsession with it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

vacation over (lyn)

Came home.  Unpacked.  Updated blog and backdated weight watchers food log.  Had the most perfect holiday but foolishly feel like I'm starting over (although rationally I know I'm not).  Gained about two pounds.  Hope to be, at worse, even for this week.

Friday, November 27, 2009

the family photo (lyn)

We all awake to pouring rain.  There goes the morning walk.  That particularly disappoints no one, but today is supposed to be picture day.

About a month ago, my mother decides that she’d like a family photo.  She asks Ardyce, the local photographer, if she’ll be available on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and Ardyce says yes.  The plan is to have this photo taken on my parent’s beach (that’s what we call it, anyway, as it’s a private beach less than a half mile from my parents home).  And it truly is beautiful-replete with rocky jetty, small dunes, little sailboats in the summer, and even a distant lighthouse.  We decide to dress alike:  jeans with white tops, something simple that we all have. 

But since today is raining, our first thought is to cancel the whole thing.  After much debate, we decide to try it.  So we all dress in our “outfits” and wait for Ardyce to arrive.

We discuss a few options.  In searching for some creativity, Jean even suggests a photo with everyone holding umbrellas.   That idea is quickly nixed.  Besides, who has thirteen identical umbrellas?   We decide instead to take the photos in my parent’s woody back yard.  It all feels a bit contrived.  The thirteen of us dressed alike.  Someone jokingly suggests that after the pictures we could go into town and stand around caroling, given our look-alike wardrobes. 

We take some photos in the drizzling rain.  It’s chilly, so we rush back into the house when Ardyce feels she’s taken enough.  Once inside, some of us want to give the beach a shot.  This is not an easy sell.  But eventually, we all pile into three cars and head for the beach. Some, complaining all the way. 

The huge puddles in the small parking lot make it almost impossible to even get onto the beach.  That, and it’s raining harder now and the wind has picked up.  Even if we could make it onto the beach and take off our coats to reveal our matchy-matchy outfits, our hair would be wrecked before Ardyce has a chance to snap even one picture.  We get back in the cars and drive home. 

We still have the backyard photo.  And as Adam (my oldest nephew) says, “Even though we didn’t take the picture on the beach, we’ll always have the memory of attempting it.” 

As for the Friday night ziti dinner: I skipped it and ate instead a salad and turkey sandwich, but ruined it all with Dana’s delicious pie for dessert.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

thanksgiving on the cape (lyn)

Alexander and I take the Acela up to Boston and arrive around 11:30; Jean and her family pick us up.  We get in the car, and Jean says, “So, how much have you lost?”  I tell her and she smiles, then motions with her hands to communicate that my face looks thinner.  I admit, I’m a little disappointed as I expected a big WOW.  But at least it’s something.

We arrive at the Cape around 1, and my mom comes out to greet us, and gives me a big hug and immediately tells me I feel so much smaller, even with my coat on. 

We enter the house.  My father also gives me a warm hug and says, “You look great.  I love your hair.”

About 15 minutes later Valerie and her family arrive.  Jason, the middle son, always notices and says the right things.  First words out of his mouth, “Wow, Auntie Lyn, you look skinny.”  I don’t look skinny (I now know that from looking at the holiday photos I took such as the one below with my very fit sisters and mother) but certainly skinnier.  

Soon after I get some more favorable comments, including:
“Turn around.  Yes, you can really see it from the back.  Your ass is half the size it was.”
“You look great.  I mean you didn’t look bad before but you really look good now.”
“You lost your double chin.”
And my favorite: “You look like you again.”

I start the day with restraint.  I only have shrimp, red peppers and tomatoes (no dip) for appetizers.  This was particularly difficult given the many more appealing options that were offered (baked brie, pigs in a blanket, spinach spanakopita triangles and creamed herring). 

At dinner, I eat pretty much as planned.  But then I totally blow it and have three different desserts:  a small piece of blueberry pie, a small piece of apple pie (both from my favorite pie-maker, Dana’s Kitchen in West Falmouth), and a small piece of chocolate layered cake in celebration of the three November-December birthdays.

I use up all my bonus points for the week and then some.  And I don't care.

It's a perfect Thanksgiving, and everyone is happy and glad to be together.  It's nice to really like your family.  And I do.

another year, another thanksgiving (m)

Same place, same time, same people, same menu, same snafu with the turkey (the one in the grill was ready two hours after dinner).

The cousins laughed,  the sisters-in-law cooked, my mother visited with her grandchildren, the fire was warm, the music was upbeat, my brothers and I did the dishes and then we celebrated the November brother, Joe and my son, Sam.

I ate according to plan and was satisfied enough.

Did we play any games?  Sort of.  My brother, Phil, suggested we survey people for what worked and what didn't (e.g. turkey breast vs. whole turkey, grilled or oven-cooked; mashed potatoes versus twice-baked potatoes; which casseroles to repeat versus which to eliminate).

My weight loss went unnoticed except by my mother.  However, since she is the most alert one in the group, it was enough for me.

All in all, a pretty good day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

menu preview (m)

We are going to my older brother's house for Thanksgiving.  We have been doing this for over 30 years.  The menu will not change; it never does.  It never bothered me until I was on this diet.

Here is what we will be having:

-celery stuffed with cream cheese
-powdered dates
-veggies, dip and cheese

Main course
-my niece's mashed potatoes (lots of butter and cream)
-my sister-in-law's mixed vegetable casserole (with cheese....we don't know what vegetables are in there)
-my sister-in-law's other vegetable casserole (squash, apples, corn flakes and butter)
-homemade stuffing
-corn (with butter)
-peas (with butter)
-cranberry sauce
-assorted rolls (and butter)

-5 types of pies (apple, blueberry, coconut custard, pumpkin, pecan, chocolate cream)
-birthday cake for my brother (coconut)

If I plan correctly, I can bring some of the veggies over from the appetizer section and add them to some turkey and one roll. 

Now, my Weight Watchers leader, Karen, told us to break from tradition and start new, healthy habits.  Here were some of her (and the group's) suggestions:

-play touch football (Can you see it? "C'mon, Nana, throw the football")
-take a long walk (with a torn meniscus and torn ligament)
-dress like Pilgrims and Native Americans for fun (oh sure, like iParty makes plus-sized Pocahontas outfits, and even if they did...)
-bring only healthy foods (veggies, lots of fruit).  Arrange them into a festive display (e.g. a wreath of apples)
-play games like cards
-draw up lists of what you are thankful for

Clearly, Karen never met my family.  Once they sit down to a meal, that's it for about 4 hours.  I wouldn't even dare suggest these things, even in jest.  I did offer to bring a salad, but I was told "no one wants salad".  What am I supposed to do?  Bring a salad for myself in Tupperware?

As I see it, here are my options for tomorrow:

1. stay home and pretend to be sick
2. go, but stay in their bathroom and pretend to be sick
3. go, but suck it up and not eat anything but turkey and the appetizer veggies
4. go and stuff myself until I really am sick
5. go, eat a little and do the dishes for them.

I'm leaning towards #5 but I might vary it by incorporating one of the tips from Karen.  I will dress up like a Pilgrim maiden and offer to do the dishes after I inhale my slice of turkey.  Then, we'll play Bingo.

week 10, and I’ve lost 18.6 pounds (lyn)

So, I didn’t quite make my goal of losing 20 pounds by Thanksgiving, but I almost did.  I lost 1.8 pounds again this week, for a total of 18.6 pounds since September 16th.  I feel so good about it, and I know I look so much better than I did when I started.
The rest of the day I spend getting ready for the big reveal.  I have my hair colored and highlighted, my brows waxed, my nails all painted a pale pink, and my clothes all tried on and packed.  Lots of blacks for maximum affect.                                 , 
I last saw my parents and my sister Jean (and her family) on September 12th when I was in Massachusetts for a family Bat Mitzvah.  I almost didn’t go.  I was embarrassed, and feared that there would be too many relatives at the Bat Mitzvah who hadn’t seen me in a while and who would be furtively eyeing each other and whispering about my weight gain.  I was still recovering from my mother’s stinging comment in late August about a friend of hers not recognizing me because I’d become so heavy.  I wanted my extended-family to see me as the skinny girl I no longer was.  In the end, of course, nobody paid any attention to me, but I was still self-conscious in my tight-fitting (because it no longer quite fit, not because I thought it was sexy) black jacket and skirt.
Tomorrow Alexander and I are taking a train up to Boston, where Jean, her husband and two kids (ages 11 and almost-17) will pick us up, and together we’ll drive down to the Cape, where my other sister (Valerie), her husband and her three sons (ages 23, 27, and almost-29) will be joining us (having driven up from Long Island).
I am excited to be going to the Cape for Thanksgiving, something we haven’t done in 12 years.  While all thirteen of us are almost always together for Thanksgiving, over the past 12 years, we have either celebrated at Valerie’s home in Long Island, or Jean’s home in Massachusetts.  My NYC apartment is too small to accommodate such a large group, so I’ve never hosted.  (I’m oft reminded of this in comments like, “You have no idea what it’s like to entertain”).  I do host book club once or twice a year, but I know this is hardly the same thing.
I sometimes wonder if I like the concept of Thanksgiving more than the actual being there.  I do love my family, and we are all close, and it’s usually a lot of fun. But I always feel like a child when I’m back at home.  And worse, I think I become one.
I’m also nervous about eating away from home for almost 3 days.  I’ve already accounted for Thanksgiving dinner, but there is also a lot of other eating that goes on.  Friday night my mother has already told me that she’s prepared a ziti casserole (about 9 points per cup). So my choices for that dinner will be to: eat the ziti with abandon and not beat up on myself; OR try to eat a small amount and fill up on salad OR pick up something less fattening that I would love (like a lobster roll with 1/3 pound of fresh lobster meat for 8 points).  I like the last option best but I’m afraid this might offend my mother.
I know these are small concerns.  Because really, I cannot wait to see my family and celebrate Thanksgiving with them.  The laughter and warmth that I know will be there will surely compensate for the extra points.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

nothing's easy (m)

This is the week I set aside to take care of me.  Odds and ends.

Started yesterday with dental work.  A cavity, if you can believe it.  I brush 5x per day, but I also have the dental DNA of a jack-0-lantern from my father's side of the family.   This is not my usual dentist, so I'm not used to these people.  Amy, the hygienist, is having a bad day and it's only 10 a.m.  First, she is hypersensitive to the mask she has to wear (she's got red blotches all over her face).  She and the dentist discuss options for her so she doesn't break out.  On my time.

"All I want to do is scratch my face," she says.  Meanwhile, she is directly over my mouth while she is saying this.  The imagery is appalling.  Then, the dentist asks if Mike (her boyfriend) is going to her family's for Thanksgiving.  Long pause.  "He broke up with me," she says, her voice cracking.  How? By text message on her cell phone.  Now I'm a very sympathetic person but I don't need this drama while I am having a hole drilled in my head.  Amy is so discombobulated that water is spraying on my forehead and the suction thing is not on.  I'm so numbed up, I can only get one word out: "drainage."

It was over in 40 minutes.  I think the five-implant procedure went more smoothly.

Then I went for my first physical therapy appointment.  The doctor never sent in the Rx to authorize the treatments.  The front desk froze.  No Rx?  No soup for you! 

I had to hobble up two flights to the doctor's office (same building) to get the paperwork.  I felt like Dorothy bringing the broom to the Wizard of Ox.  "Here's the script.  Now let's start," I said.  My therapist, the fetching Tara, tells me that she had a similar problem with her meniscus and opted not to have the surgery.  Just as I'm feeling vindicated, she looks at me and says:  "This will either make it better or it will make it worse." Wonderful.  Wouldn't it be nice to have a job where success and failure were equally probable and you still got paid the same regardless of the outcome?  I can't  imagine telling my boss "Well, the market shares either will go up or they will go down."

Finally, today, I had the guys come to re-install the storm windows on my screen porch.  I had my husband put the windows in an easily accessible place.  The windows were numbered to correspond to the screens they would be covering and I even matched up the screws.  All this "crew" had to do was put them up and screw them in.

They arrive two hours late...don't speak English...have not been told what they are coming to the house to do and--this is my favorite part--don't even have a screwdriver.  No tools at all, in fact!

I feel like Holly Hunter's character in Broadcast News (the movie) where the newstation owner says: "Well, isn't nice to be the smartest person in the room?"  She replies: "No.  It's awful."

What's all this have to do with anything related to Weight Watchers?

Weight Watchers is reliable.  You count your points and you lose weight.  No idiots to get in your way.

"you've come a long way, baby" (lyn)

Last night, I actually prepared for book club, by doing more than just reading the book (The Help).  I planned my outfit.
Since our last meeting exactly four weeks ago, I’ve lost another six pounds,  I know this doesn’t sound like much, but I was hoping that the cumulative effect of losing almost 20 pounds would be noticeable.
I contemplated wearing my new, size 8, black lululemon “groove pant” as the salesperson in the lululemon store told me I looked fabulous in them.  But nice as she was, especially with her New Zealand accent, she did work there.  So I needed to be cautious of her flattery. These new lululemon pants cost me nothing, as they were a replacement for a size 10 pair I bought in August and never wore. The returned size 10’s were much slouchier than the version I “bought” yesterday.  (If you’ve never shopped at lululemon, you should.  Their clothes are comfy, reasonably priced, and make everyone look good).
In the end, I just threw on a pair of jeans.  It almost didn’t matter as my hair needs coloring and my pseudo bangs are messed up.
I ate only a leftover pork chop and some broccoli for dinner, as I didn’t want to overeat there.
I think that maybe there was a secretive pre-meeting before I arrived and someone added me to the agenda.  I imagine the conversation going something like this: “Just to avoid her bringing it up again, let’s be sure and say something about her weight loss.”  For soon after arriving, someone said, “Wow. You look great.  I didn’t think you looked bad before but you really look good now.”  Reminded me of an old ad for Virginia Slims.
Again, the food was plentiful and looked delicious.  Two different dips and French bread.  A variety of cheeses and salami.  Two different quiches,  mallomars, fruit, and lots of wine. 
I drank only water and ate only grapes.  
The conversation was lively, and covered a wide range of topics, from SAT prep (most of us have kids who are high school juniors or seniors) to race relations  (sparked by the book we were discussing). 
While the women in the group all live in New York City now, some grew up elsewhere, including Nebraska, Kentucky, and Holland.  It’s an interesting mix of very smart, liberal, insightful women.  Although I may not always enjoy the books we choose (although I did this week), I always enjoy the company.

Monday, November 23, 2009

faith (m)

One Easter Sunday, about 12 years ago, we went to Mass at a church in Palm Beach, Florida.  It was a new church for us as we were on vacation.  I remember the beautiful building and the very blonde people in attendance.   But what I most remember is the sermon.

 The sermon was about faith.  The priest talked about a boy holding onto a kite on a foggy day.  The boy cried when he couldn't see his kite and told his parents he "lost" the kite.  They told him it was still there even though he couldn't see it.  "How do you know?" asked the boy.  The parents told him to "feel" it.  The little boy looked at the string wrapped around his finger and concentrated on feeling the kite.  When he felt the "pull", he smiled knowing the kite was there.

Even though I've lost 28.4 pounds, most people I know can't see the change in me.  I am discouraged that I will ever be normal sized.

Yesterday, my younger son hugged me to thank me for taking him to his competition and putting up with the stress of the week.  This "thank you hug" was longer than usual.  When it was over, he smiled and said, "I'm really proud of you.  I can feel a big difference in your size."

Just when I was about to lose faith in myself, he restored it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I could but I'm not (lyn)

I’m sitting at my computer contemplating what to write about.  I feel like Carrie Bradshaw, but while she is pondering sex and relationships in the City, my thoughts are more mundane. 

I could write about the new Nespresso Aeroccino Plus 3192 that I purchase this weekend and then can’t get my 2% milk to froth (despite an accompanying two-page illustrated instruction booklet in four different languages).
Or, I could describe my amazement in learning that WW assigns the same number of points to 4 pieces of salmon sushi that it does to four pieces of salmon sashimi.  Knowing this, on Saturday night I order in something called ‘American Sushi’ (isn’t that an oxymoron?) from an excellent ‘fusion Japanese’ restaurant called Wasabi Lobby.  The name may be ridiculous, but the food is near-perfect.
Or, I could write about Alexander’s SAT tutor that we meet for the first time today.  But J. doesn’t have any amusing characteristics (he just seems smart, humble, approachable, experienced, and likeable).
Or, I could tell how I discovered that Staples gives $3 rebates (now mailed to you) for used printer cartridges on ink jet printers.  I already knew this about the laser toners, but not the ink cartridges.   Had I known, I could have put $12 (from the four cartridges I tossed earlier this week) toward the purchase of my Nespresso Aerocccino Plus.
 But since all these things would not make for compelling reading, I’ll spare you the details.  Suffice it to say, it was a quiet weekend.  Home with my son, reading, watching TV, and eating just the right amount.

emotional day (m)

My neighbor's brother died this week.  49 years old.  Lung cancer and yes, he smoked but it still stinks.  M was a special guy.  He was born with several handicaps...mentally and physically and struggled all his life.  He did odd jobs for his brother (my neighbor) including mowing the lawn.  He would sing Polish songs at the top of his lungs.  Some of our other neighbors were appalled.  I would open the windows so I could hear him better. 

When we first moved into our home 12 years ago, my son Harrison and my neighbor's daughter C were hanging out together in my living room one day while I unpacked boxes.  I guess I didn't notice they left the house.  Some time later, the doorbell rang.  I looked out and there is this strange-looking man holding the kids' hands...Harrison in one hand and the girl, C, in the other.  Turns out the kids went to her house and M found them by the edge of the pool.  Harrison was only four years old and didn't know how to swim.  I have no doubt that he saved their lives. That was how I first met M.

M's funeral was this morning, Saturday.  My neighbor knew we were in New York last night and were staying over.  She told us she understood if we didn't make it to the funeral.  There was no way I was missing that funeral, so we left New York at 5 a.m and drove back to Massachusetts.  The funeral was a spectacular send-off for a very special guy.  It was emotionally draining, but beautiful.

Got home, unpacked and remembered we had a 50th birthday party for a woman I don't know that well.  I was so tired from the week I just wanted to curl up in a ball and sleep.

We went.  It was a huge bash.  We sat with interesting people including a professor from Notre Dame who is with the United Nations, specializing in issues affecting migrants.  We debated health care coverage for illegal aliens much to the chagrin of our tablemates.  The woman next to me told my husband he looked like Dick Cheney.  That stopped all conversation.

The daughters did a video presentation for their mother.  Old photographs, set to music.  It showed a woman who loved her family....lots of silly Halloween costumes, special birthday extravaganzas and lots of trips throughout the world.  The eldest daughter thanked her mother for the gift of music and sang a song to her.  I was in puddles by the end.

I don't remember what I ate today. 

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"i stashed the bill in my shirt" (m)

Sound familiar?  Those words are from Harry Chapin's famous song, Taxi.  I was enthralled with that song  when I was in high school.  If you know the story, the taxi driver picks up a woman and realizes she's someone he used to date.  She became a successful actress and he became a druggie and a cab driver.  She gives him a generous tip.  He "stashes" it in his shirt.  Well, what would you do?

Anyway, came home from Delaware late Thursday evening and drove to New York for Sam's first hockey game of the season.  Ate according to plan all day, even packed a bottle of water and a couple of apples for the four-hour car ride.  The game didn't start until 7 p.m. and ran until about 9:30 p.m.  The coach was hosting a reception at a restaurant afterwards.  My husband and I assumed dinner would be served and we made it through the game without being too famished.

Sam played well and looked great.  It was wonderful seeing him.  He turned 20 years old this week and seemed to grow up even more since just a few weeks ago.  He's a man now and I had to fight back tears when he came out of the locker room, freshly showered and wearing a suit and tie.  Where did the time go?

My husband and I talked to him and then found out the reception was for parents only.  I came all this way to see my son and now I had to spend time with strangers.  Great. 

Got to the Italian restaurant. It's about 10 p.m. at this point and I'm dizzy with hunger.  My knee is angry from going up and down stadium steps all week at the skating competition and from sitting in a car for four hours.  I popped 800 mg of Advil (4 tablets) and realized I needed to eat something.

I looked around.  A large pan of ziti and 5 boxes of pizza.  That's it.  That's what was served at the parents' reception. 

I threw some ziti on my plate and stuffed them in my mouth.  Well, what would you do?

dieting on the road (m)

It was the Eastern Sectional Championships this week and I had to follow my Weight Watchers diet from Room 305 in an Embassy Suites Hotel. 

There is an apartment complex in Cambridge, Massachusetts along Storrow Drive near Mass. General Hospital right in the heart of a heavily congested traffic intersection.  There's a famous sign there that says:  "If you lived'd be home now".  

I decided this week that if I lived in an Embassy Suites Hotel, I'd be thin now.

Why?  Three reasons:

1. Personal Chef.  Every day I had the chef make me a veggie egg white omelet.  I also had a piece of fruit and a cup of tea.  I would not cook like this for myself every morning.  Plus the omelet filled me up through dinner time.  The chef and I became friends.  He greeted me daily with "veggie egg white, no fat, no tomatoes, no cheese, right?" Now I know how Oprah lost all that weight.  Staff.
2. No food in the room.  No snacking temptations.  I had a couple of those Weight Watchers candy bars with me, but they are so cloyingly sweet that one per day is more than enough.  It was like being at fat kids' camp.
3. Open floor plan.  Picture a large square with the courtyard in the middle of the ground floor and all the rooms around the square so that you can see every room.  Straight across from our room was the coach's room.  I had parents on either side of my room.  In other words, there is no privacy.  One night, I made light popcorn in the microwave.  Don't you think one of the mothers smelled it and knocked on my door and said "Can you have that on your diet? I'm just trying to help".  AAAAGGH.

The final ingredient for the week has nothing to do with the hotel per se, but was a big component to this week's weight loss: stress.  Watching your kid compete in this very solitary sport is extremely stressful.  One father turned to me and said "I'd rather testify before Congress" (he should know...he did testify before Congress on live television).  I felt my stomach churn like never before.

The good news is that I get to do this all over again in mid-January at Nationals.  That should be good for a 3-pound weight loss during that week of competition.

shopping spree (lyn)

It’s a beautiful Saturday and I decide to go shopping.  Sometimes I run from store to store and find nothing.  But today I am lucky.  I find the perfect items, and despite the sizes being all over the place, everything fits perfectly. 

I can now add to my wardrobe:
      A Theory white blouse, size M
      An Agnona white blouse, size 44
      A Haat long black skirt, size 2 (as in sizes 1,2,3,4 not 2, 4, 6, 8,10,12)
      A Ballantyne plum V-neck cashmere sweater, size 40
      A Chanel black-brown-white tweed skirt, size 40
I find everything I want in a closet I rarely open.  It truly is a beautiful Saturday.

Friday, November 20, 2009

mistaken identity (lyn)

I decide to have keys made today.  I don’t really need another set, but I do need an excuse to use my new copper key ring prize from Weight Watchers.   The locksmith tells me I’m sexy.  I think he’s kidding but I take the compliment just the same.  I go to the library to pick up a book, and then stroll over to Agata’s to buy lean turkey to make into burgers for dinner tonight.  On a high from the locksmith, I hear a voice behind me say, “You are so cute.”  And I’m not even wearing makeup.  I am feeling so good.  I smile and turn around to thank the voice and see a woman, scrunched down and talking to a little white dog, hitched to a pole.   I feel foolish, although she doesn’t know my mistake.  But it’s still a good day.  The pants I put on this morning to wear don’t fit anymore, and I bought them just a year ago.  And Alexander comments that I look good (“skinny on the top and normal on the bottom”).  Another 15 pounds and I should be skinny all over.

on the road again...and again (m)

Headed to New York for Sam's hockey game.  Just weighed in: down 2 more pounds.  Total to date: 28.4 lbs.  Feel lighter.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

on the road again (m)

Another month, another skating competition with Harrison.  This one was to take the top four skaters from each of the three regions on the East Coast (Maine to Florida) and select the top four skaters to move on to Nationals.

We left Monday evening and flew down to Baltimore.  I ate a typical breakfast (one light, multi-grain Thomas' English muffin with I Can't Believe it's yada yada spray and one dropped egg with Pam--3 points).  Lunch was a turkey sandwich on Pepperidge Farm multi grain sandwhich bread (100 calories) plus lettuce and mustard (3 points).  I packed a few diet bars and was armed to the teeth.

H's coach came down with us.  Picture a thin, younger, better-looking Brad Pitt.  He's a Swede and fastidiously healthy.  We boarded Jet Blue and I got a water for a snack and plugged in the headphones and turned on Seinfeld and laughed all the way to Baltimore.  Dinner was a Chobani yogurt.

We rented a car at Avis and that transaction turned out to be the long pole in the tent, logistically.  The car wasn't ready and they tried to convince me to take a Grand Marquis.  I asked them if they thought I looked like an 80 year old white male.  I had reserved a Jeep SUV.  They had none.  "How about a Saturn SUV?", they asked. I turned to the coach and asked if that was a lesbian brand car.  He said yes.  We agreed to take the car only because it was late, but I put on lipstick just to be on the safe side.

Got to the hotel very late (11 p.m.).  I was so relieved that the long day from hell was over and I even reflected upon how good things were to that point:

-seatbelt was loose on the plane
-ate fewer points than my allowance
-smooth flight, on time arrival
-easy conversation with the awkward moments.
-convinced myself I looked a notch thinner

Just when I thought this would go down as a day in the "Good" column, we pull up in front of the hotel, take the luggage out of the car and I hear peals of laughter.

Apparently, Harrison unzipped my suitcase to get his iPod out and forgot to zip it back up.  When he pulled the suitcase out of the car, my clothes fell out....underwear first.  I felt like Bridget Jones when Hugh Grant's character discovers she wears those "mama bloomers".

And, just like that, my nice day came to an abrupt end.

foods I eat and foods I avoid (lyn)

This is my first diet.  Ever.  And I am so glad that this is the diet I chose.

It is not gimmicky. 
It teaches and rewards healthy eating.
It is easily sustainable.
it is inclusive: no specific food is off limits.
It works.

I’m rarely hungry.  I don’t find it that difficult, and I love the results.  Follow the rules.  Track your food.  Use a food scale.  Stay within your points.  And you will loose weight.  It is actually very simple. 

So, for those interested in the dieting part, here are the kinds of foods I now eat and some I avoid. (CAUTION:  For those reading this blog who don’t care about the dieting elements per se, skip this posting, otherwise you’ll be excruciatingly bored!).

•      Cup of blueberries (1 point) or strawberries (.5 points)
•      VitaMuffin-the chocolate is amazing (I didn’t like the blueberry); put it in the  microwave for about 35 seconds and it tastes like a brownie, with gooey chocolate bursting from it; hard to believe it’s healthy (1 point)

•      Toasted Arnold’s sandwich thins (100% whole wheat) with whipped cream cheese and 1 oz. of lox (3 pts.)
•      3oz. of Fage Total 0% Greek yogurt (1.5 points) with cut up strawberries or blueberries
•      Shrimp cocktail
•      Toasted Arnolds sandwich thins with 2 slices of turkey, lettuce, tomato and Dijon mustard (3 points)
•      Toasted Arnold’s sandwich thins with 2 slices of WW cheese and tomato (3 points)
•      Salad:  lettuce, tomato and cucumber with balsamic vinegar dressing (only the dressing adds points)

•      Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop (94% fat-free butter), (5 cups for 1 point)
•      Pringles, light fat-free, 15 chips (1 point)
•      WW mini bars: chocolate caramel, very good as is, or keep in the freezer-they take longer to eat this way (1 point)
•      WW mini-bars: dark chocolate raspberry, so good even my son loves them (1 point)
•      A cut up apple (buy an Oxo apple corer and divider; I really think it makes every apple taste better) (1 point)

•      Sushi or sashimi (I have this about once a week)
•      Steak with vegetables (I eat prime strip, trim the fat, and allow for about 10 ounces); I only treat myself once a week or less
•      Pork loin (marinated in honey and Dijon mustard) with vegetables
•      Smart Ones Ravioli Florentine-my favorite of the frozen meals (5 points);  I usually eat with a salad and/or vegetable and not more than one per week 
•      One slice of medium pizza; have only had 2 slices in 9 weeks (6 points)
•      Steamed vegetables
•      Roasted vegetables (a teaspoon of olive oil, kosher salt, and roast at 350 for a half hour or so)
•      Grilled shrimp with vegetables

•      Angel food cake (I buy two slices, with frosting, at a local bakery and cut off most, but not all, of the frosting….I count each piece as 5 points, and eat throughout the week)
•      WW English Toffee Crunch ice cream (my favorite of the ice creams), 2 points and satisfying enough

Foods I haven’t eaten since September 16, and miss

•      Ice cream cone at local ice cream store
•      Burgers
•      French Fries
•      Tuna sandwich
•      7-layer cake from Zabars
•      pies of any kind
•      Caesar salad
•      Pasta (other than WW)
•      Mozzarella
•      Muffins, donuts, Danish, etc.
•      Nuts

Foods I rarely eat

•      Starches with dinner (used to have potatoes or rice with most dinners; now I’d rather just have vegetables)
•      Avocado (used to be included in every salad and on every sandwich)
•      Lots of olive oil and butter (in cooking); I try to use as little olive oil as possible and never use butter

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

16.8 pounds in two months (lyn)

AT 6:45 am Karen and I leave for our 3.6-mile walk.  Today actually feels like fall.  43 degrees, but nice.  As we are walking around the reservoir, Karen asks, “So whatever happened with your cable?  I haven’t gotten around to reading your blog in a few days.”  I’m touched that a friend of mine is keeping current with my life through this blog.  It reminds me of another friend who was recently dating a guy who is a published author.  He was the chief investigator in a famous criminal case and had written a book about it.  He also included some personal information about himself in the book.  One night my friend asked him what his plans were for Thanksgiving.  (Apparently he does the same thing every year).  Rather than give her an answer, he responded with:  “It’s in the book.”  They have since stopped dating.

I get to my Weight Watchers meeting, as I usually do, about a half hour early.  One of the women in the group looks at me and says, “Wow, You look great.  I can really see it now.  You are definitely slimming down.”  I feel like I’ve just been crowned Model of the Year.

I weigh in and I get a big smile from Robin,  “1.4 pounds.  You are down 16.8 pounds since starting.  That’s fantastic.”  It’s so good in fact, that Steve, our ferociously entertaining leader, gives me a prize.  A copper key ring.   I am very proud. 

At today’s meeting we do a little exercise.  We put stickers (representing the different foods we expect to eat for Thanksgiving) on a paper plate.  I feel like I’m back in second grade doing an art project.  Each food has a point value.  In the end, my paper plate totals 32 points.  Since I get an extra 35 points a week, I am thinking that this is not horrible, though it is 14 points higher than my daily point allowance.

We go around the room and people shout out their points and explain their eating strategies for Thanksgiving.

The only man in the group says he has 0 points on his plate because “our family doesn’t celebrate this holiday.”  He appears to be American.  And since Thanksgiving is a non-religious holiday, I can’t imagine why he and his family skip this, my favorite holiday.  Steve doesn’t ask and he doesn’t offer.  I get stuck on wondering why.  Maybe he has a close relationship with some Indians?

Another person says she doesn’t need a strategy for not overeating since she is going to her sister-in-law's house, and her sister-in-law is a miserable cook.  In fact, she says, “It’s difficult to eat anything she prepares.”

One woman asks for strategies for refusing food that she expects will be pushed on her, as in, “You must try this.  It took me 18 hours to prepare it, and I’d feel awful if you didn’t take any.”  One suggestion was to simply lie and say I’ll try some later, and if asked, say it was delicious.  This strategy was offered by one of my favorite people at the group, who also happens to be the daughter of a rabbi.

I’m thinking of packing my paper plate with all the little stickers over it to help me stay on track.  But I’ll have to weigh the benefit of doing this against the ridicule I’d get if anyone finds this plate in my suitcase.