Sunday, February 27, 2011

In which I finally try a green smoothie

I tried a Green Smoothie tonight for the first time...and I liked it.

What makes it green? Spinach. What makes it delicious? Grapes, pineapple, 1 banana, 1 apple, 1 orange (I was also supposed to add a carrot, which I thought I had but didn't).

Since I bought my Vitamix, I always had green smoothies in the back of my head, but I never had the guts to try one because it's, you know, green. And drinking spinach? Blech.

But the nutrients are off the charts, and proponents say the sugar in the fruits neutralizes the bitterness of the spinach (or any other leafy greens you substitute - you can check out demo videos here and here).

I finally gathered up the courage (and all the ingredients), flipped the switch, poured a glass and really liked it. It's the first smoothie I've ever made that was sweet enough on its own - no need to add sugar or a substitute. It was super sweet, the orange and banana really came through - no trace of spinach. The consistency was creamy and it was ice cold thanks to all the ice cubes I tossed in before blending.

I can definitely see drinking several of these a week - and I'll have no trouble getting my 5 A Day.

And in workout news, no childcare = no gym = no run. Boo. But, I did get in a 3-miler with Leslie, which was its usual good, sweaty time.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

C25K Week 7 Roundup

This was the first week in the 9-week plan in which, aside from warm up and cool down, there were no walking intervals. Just straight running.

This week called for three 25-minute runs and I completed them all. The first was better than the last two, but not every run is going to be super easy.

Next week, the penultimate week of C25K, brings three 28-minute runs. My Week 8 start will be delayed by 2 days due to a stomach bug and 2 missed gym days due to family scheduling/no-babysitter conflicts. However, I think the time off from running (but not exercise alltogether) will give my body a nice rest and recovery period so I can jam on these final two weeks.

I had my first - and perfect (read: flat) - 5K all picked out for April, only to just realize that months ago I committed to something at the same time that I can't get out of (and of which I am an integral part). Trying to wriggle out of it, but I did give my word months ago to this other event, so if I can't get out of it easy, I will have to pick a new 5K. Very bummed.

In which I get a new sports bra

This post is more for the ladies than the gentlemen, so feel free to bail or head off to a more testosterone-filled spot on the Internet.

That said, a good sports bra is super important if you're engaging in moderate- and high-impact workouts. When I began exercising, all I had was the standard "uniboob" pullover sports bra, which I bought at Target.

For the smaller chested, that may suffice, but if you've got a lot upstairs, say a Farmer's Porch, then you need more infrastructure. And if, like me, in addition to that Farmer's Porch you've got a porch swing, two Adirondack chairs and a lazy dog, you need much more support.

"Get Sports Bra" was one of those To-Dos I figured I'd get to when I got to it. It was not a priority, even when running, but I knew it would be sooner than later.

A couple of weeks ago, @MelGetsFit tweeted about Enell, which makes sports bras for the more-endowed. (If you don't follow @MelGetsFit, do so immediately. She shares a ridiculous amount of great weight-loss/fitness info.) I took this as a sign it was time to right my bra wrong.

Enell makes it very easy to determine your correct size and even learn how to put it on. It's more than a bra, more like a half-tank-top with a lot of support. I've been running in my Enell Sport bra for a week now and I love it. The support is fantastic and it's very comfortable.

If you think you need a little more support up top, check them out.

Friday, February 25, 2011

In which I close the book on Journal #2

This past Tuesday marked my six-month anniversary rejoining Weight Watchers, and it saw me complete my second 3-Month Journal.

I'm a faithful tracker. I find it keeps me honest and is a repository for favorite foods, combinations, Point values and more.

Also, I am incredibly forgetful and if I didn't write down what I ate, I'd forget and end up going over Points because I forgot I snacked on X, Y or Z between meals.

Now, onto #3...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

In which I place 5th in the Challenge

The Power of One Challenge is over and I came in 5th out of 280 entrants, losing 7.32% of my body weight (19 lbs) over 8 weeks!

This is pretty cool as I never entered a Challenge before and didn't really expect to make the Leaderboard at all. I was already 4 months into my weight loss, how could I stack up against people just starting (when, in theory, your losses are the biggest)?

But I guess this proves one thing: If you work hard, you can lose weight, regardless of where you are in the process (beginning, middle or end).

I don't have any magic formula or metabolism (Lord knows the latter is true). I don't have any secrets. I don't do anything special or exotic. All I do is follow the WW program and work out 45 minutes four times a week.

That's doable. Very doable. If you're discouraged or stalled in your weight loss, just remember, as Ben noted:

If you want to do it, all you have to do is do it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

In which I finally get Nike +iPod to work

I'd run with the Nike +iPod Sport Kit twice and had yet to get it to work correctly.

It wouldn't calculate a pace and said I had only run a fraction of a mile in 25 minutes, which although I am slow, was quite wrong. I tried Googling an answer and realized: I had the sensor in upside down. Duh.

So my run this morning was calculated correctly, see above. It wasn't my best run, I had a hard time getting into a good rhythm and the time didn't fly by (forgot to load the new playlist on the Nano, again, duh) but I finished, so that's a victory in my book.

And I finally got the sport kit to work, so another win.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Week 24 Weigh-In: 6 Months In

Today marks my six-month anniversary since rejoining WW.

I missed the actual meeting due to a school vacation commitment with the kids, but I drove straight over to the center afterwards to weigh in. This was a necessity because:

A) I wanted to know how I did.
B) Since it's WI day, I don't eat or drink before the meeting, so I was starving.

I stepped on the scale and heard Donna's trademark, Goooood, so I knew it was at least a loss. -2 on the nose, putting me just .4 away from -65.

It's pretty amazing it's been six months, it certainly has gone fast.

I have lost:

  • 64.6 lbs.
  • 22% of my starting weight.

    I have gained:

  • Energy.
  • Self-confidence.
  • Self-esteem.

    My energy level is so much greater, especially around the kids, and my attitude is much sunnier. I feel happier and much better about myself. I wasn't depressed before I started WW but, regardless, life as a fat person sucks. If the world's not putting you down, you're doing it yourself.

    Life then was all about "can'ts" due to my weight. Now, it's all about "can."

    But the biggest thing I think about today is What if I didn't start? What would life be like now?

    I'm pretty sure I know what it would be like, and let me tell you, life now is much, much better.
  • Monday, February 21, 2011

    Recipe: 'Cold Stone' Black Forest Dream Ice Cream

    Super WW blogger Mel tweeted a photo over the weekend, which included her light homage to Cold Stone's Black Forest Dream ice cream (my favorite).

    So, of course, I had to give it a go.

    While Mel used a single-serve container of plain Chobani, I used 8 oz (3 Points) as I had the big tub already open in the fridge. I added 1/4t of vanilla and a little Truvia. Then I added 1 cup of frozen cherries that I defrosted a bit in the microwave. Last, I crumbled up a thawed chocolate VitaTop, (3 Points) stirred it all and put it in the freezer for a half-hour.

    You know I was there, spoon in hand, the second the 30 minutes was up. The results were delicious, and for 6 Points, a yummy dessert I will enjoy again. Check out the NI on a small serving of the Cold Stone original, which is 28 Points! I get 33 Points a day, to give you a relative scale.

    In other news, crushed 40 minutes on the elliptical at the gym, despite feeling like my head would explode thanks to a head cold. Felt great! Well, except for the head/nose deal.

    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    In which, amazingly, I run faster

    Today was Week 7, Day 1 of C25K.

    From here on out, it's all running, no more run-walk. I did my warm-up, then hit the + on the speed control to head to 3.7.

    Now just a couple of weeks ago, 3.5 was the fastest I could run. Last week, 3.5 seemed too slow, so one day I ran at 3.6. Then, on Friday, 3.6 seemed slow so it was off to 3.7.

    Today I ran for about 5 minutes at 3.7, then felt that now-familiar sensation that the belt is going too slow. I bumped up to 3.8 and ran for the rest of the workout there. My heart rate was below 80% (barely), but I could breathe and I could pass the talk test (if need be).

    It's pretty amazing. When I started this in late December, I'd see people running at 4.0 (which isn't even that fast) and marvel. Now, I'm creeping closer without even really trying.

    One funny tale from the treadmill this morning. My iPod had just announced "5 minutes remaining" and then I hear the familiar, powerful horns of the theme from Rocky, "Gonna Fly Now", plucked out of my playlist at random.

    As my iPod counted down, 4 minutes remaining, 3 minutes remaining, 2 minutes remaining, I was pumping along to that pretty motivation tune, as the chorus wails:

    Getting strong nowwwwwwwwww
    Won't be long nowwwwwwwwwwwwww.

    Friday, February 18, 2011

    C25K Week 6 Wrap-up

    Another milestone in C25K this week as Day 2 was the last day of run-walk combos. From Day 3 through the remainder of Weeks 7, 8 & 9 it's solid running post-warm-up.

    Today, Day 3, I ran for 25 minutes straight. Warming up my left foot felt a little achy, but I started running after the warmup and sure enough it was not a problem for the whole time.

    One of the problems I have running on the treadmill is watching the timer on the display. Just like a watched pot never boils, so too a watched timer never speeds up. I'd try not to watch it and sure enough I'd sneak a glance here and there and think, "Ugh, 2 more minutes until walking?"

    But today I tried out the Nike +iPod Sport Kit. It contains a sensor that goes on your shoe (or in your shoe if you run in Nikes, I don't) and an adapter that plugs into your Nano, iTouch or iPhone. The sensor transmits your pace and distance to the Nano, etc.

    Today I programed it for a 25-minute run. Once my warmup was over I started the Nano and listed to my running playlist. Every 5 minutes a voice would chime in, "5 minutes completed...10 minutes completed," etc. I got a head's-up at the halfway point and from there it counted backwards, "10 minutes remaining...5 minutes remaining." It was great to just run and not worry about checking the timer on the treadmill display. It's a mind game, but I was able to listen to music, watch TV, ignore the time remaining and just run. It made the workout go pretty quick.

    However, I didn't calibrate the sensor beforehand, so it told me in 25 minutes I ran .8 miles and burned 10 calories (the treadmill said 2 miles). I'm slow, but not that slow. I'll calibrate it this weekend before I run Sunday morning. I'll post a more detailed writeup on Nike +iPod later.

    So Week 6, done, onto Week 7 - 28-minute runs each day. Doable!

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    In which the sweatshirt fits

    Tried on a favorite sweatshirt today that hasn't fit since I bought it.

    It's a black Pirates of the Caribbean hoodie I bought during our last trip to DisneyWorld, March 2006. That was so long ago, we only had one child!

    The hoodie is an XL and was very tight to zip then - and I find Disney very forgiving in their sizing (I was 6 months pregnant with my son at the time). But I bought the sweashirt anyway because it was so cool and I love PoTC. It has sat in the closet for years.

    Yesterday was an unseasonably warm day for Massachusetts in February, and I was happy to ditch my winter vest for something lighter. I poked around and found the sweatshirt. Tried it on and it's actually loose!

    That's one of the great things about weight loss, those surprising Non-Scale Victories (NSVs) that pop up when you least expect it.

    In which I make the challenge leaderboard

    Well, this was a nice surprise.

    I joined The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans' Power of One Challenge (that is a mouthful) after the New Year. It's free and challenges are a fun way to keep motivated.

    Every Wednesday I plug in my current weight and every Thursday I don't make the Leaderboard...until today - #7!

    I'm actually surprised I made it at all. I would guess many of these people are just starting their weight losses, so their losses will be bigger than mine. But, still cool!

    And, in other news, I think my stomach is broken. Kinda. I had a stomach bug Monday and although I am no loner nauseous and all my energy is back, I'm not hungry and no food is really satisfying or desirous.

    Seriously, if you offered me a piece of cake right now and said, "It will be 0 Points," I'd pass. I wonder, is this how people without food issues feel about food? It's probably not a bad thing at all if it continues.

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    In which my hips hurt

    The last time I ran regularly was in 2003, the magical year I gained WW Lifetime status.

    I did C25K then, too, and as I transitioned from less walking to more running, my hips would be pretty sore all day after the run - and the following day, too. When the weather got better and I started running outdoors, my hips, particularly my right, was even more sore (sore-er?).

    Now, as I loop around C25K again and embark on more running and less walking, here comes that balky right hip again.

    But this time, instead of thinking it's some genetic malady or I'm Just Not Built To Run, I Googled "new runner sore hip." .2 seconds and I had an answer: My hips need to be strengthened, and it's a problem common to women. Really, after 3 pregnancies and carrying children of various weights for the past 5 years, my hips still aren't strong enough?

    Apparently not.

    I did a little more clicking and found a video series on Runner's World, The Never Get Hurt workout. I'm going to try it on non-running days and try to get those hip flexors pumped up.

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Week 23 Weigh In: Courtesy of Ralph

    I woke up Monday morning with an upset stomach. Didn't feel great, but OK enough to head to the gym. Thirty-five minutes of my 40-minute elliptical workout were good. I felt like death warmed over in the last 5, so I bagged it and sat down to change my shoes.

    Then I felt bad. Got home, felt worse, got sick in such a spectacular fashion, it genuinely frightened my children who overheard. Spent the rest of the day feeling like I was repeatedly run over, then backed over, by a truck.

    Ate 10 bland, cautious Points all day (I'm supposed to eat 33) and was amazed I got those down.

    Cue Tuesday morning, I wake up feeling 100% better and ready for weigh-in. Because if I have to be put through the wringer of a stomach bug, I want it the day before my weigh-in.

    Got to the center, stepped on the scale, -2.6. Nice! And it brings me into a new decade, the 2-teens.

    When I got home and entered my weight into WW's eTools, I got the stupid warning, "You're losing weight too fast." You can read the screencap for all its idiocy. I love the part where they want you to click on a link to "learn how to lose weight more slowly." As if.

    Now, onto the final week in my second 3-month tracker, meaning I'm coming up on my 6-month anniversary on WW. Seriously, that went pretty quick.

    Sunday, February 13, 2011

    In which I realize something cool

    Today was an interesting one at the gym as, for the first time, C25K got a little easier instead of harder.

    Last Friday I closed out Week 5, running for 20 minutes straight, the longest stretch yet.

    Today, when I looked up Week 6 Day 1, I was psyched. Instead of warm up, run 20 minutes, cool down, it was:

    Warm up.
    Run 5 minutes.
    Walk 3 minutes.
    Run 8 minutes.
    Walk 3 minutes.
    Run 5 minutes.

    Driving to/walking into the gym I realized, "I can do this, no problem. I ran 20 minutes without stopping."

    And, so I did. The cool part was, I felt good enough to crank the speed up on some intervals, too.

    There's a 5K I want to run in March, which will be right after I finish Week 9. I'm concerned, though. I haven't done any road running so far due to the snowy/icy street conditions. I have to get some road running in if I want to make it through without killing my legs.

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    Recipe: Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

    I don't know why I was so late to this deliciousness as it's a well-known healthy dinner.

    My friend and fellow amazing Lifetimer Flo mentioned she was whipping it up one night and I decided I needed to get on that for a couple reasons:

  • It's insanely low-Point and you get your veg in.
  • It's wonderful and a great substitute for regular pasta, which is relatively high in Points for a serving. And I've tried whole wheat pasta, not a fan.
  • It features Trader Joe's Meatless Meatballs, which I loved and ate so often when I was pregnant with my oldest, I got sick of them. I haven't had them in years, so now was a good time to spark my love affair again.

    My grocery store had 1 spaghetti squash left when I went, of course. And it was huge - 5 lbs.

    I asked friends how to cook it and was told to puncture the skin with a fork and nuke about 10 minutes, or longer, until the skin is soft. Took about 15 minutes for my giant squash, after which I sliced it open and let it cool. Once cool, I scooped out the seeds and then using a fork, raked the squash, which resulted in the "spaghetti."

    I added a 1/4C of Newman's Sockarooni sauce (1 Point), 2T of parm-reggiano cheese (1 Point) and 1 serving (6 Meatballs) of TJ's Meatless Meatballs (4 Points). It was awesome.

    Sure, you'll never confuse it with real spaghetti, but it was delicious and a ton of food for the Points (my favorite thing).
  • Friday, February 11, 2011

    C25K Week 5: Milestone time

    Today was a big day at the gym.

    It was the final day of C25K Week 5, in which I would warm up, run 20 minutes straight, then cool down. No run-walk-run, just run.

    I had two good workouts earlier this week, so I was cautiously optimistic I could make it.

    The first sign was a good one - not one treadmill was occupied at 6 am (the only significance is I like to pick my treadmill, I've got no problem running in front of others). After 10 minutes of warmup walking, I cranked up the speed to a blistering 3.5 (LOL) and lifted off. The first 5 minutes or so were a mind game, but soon I got in a good rhythm, ignored the timer on the treadmill and just watched the local news and SportsCenter.

    Several minutes in I went up to 3.6, then 3.7. I checked the timer and I was halfway done. I felt good - warm, limber and smooth. I watched more news and told myself to run to the next commercial break, then I could check the timer again. When the commercial break kicked in, I looked and I had 1 minute left. That's it. Quickly, it was over and I did it. I ran for 20 minutes straight, a distance of 1.71 miles. I hadn't run for more than a mile straight in 8 years.

    I enjoyed my victory cool down and hopped off the treadmill triumphant - all before 7 a.m.

    Week 6 start Sunday and I realized I'm more than halfway done with C25K. Just 2 weeks ago a 5K seemed very far away. Now, it's time to start checking out races for the spring.

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Recipe: Dark Chocolate Cake

    This is one of those You Put What In That Recipe? deals.

    This week's weekly handout at WW featured a dark chocolate cake recipe. Big deal. But, the secret ingredient was...sauerkraut. Eewwww, I know, but I had to try it.

    The kraut was disgusting and smelled vile, stinking up the whole kitchen. I wanted to play Taps when I put it in the mixer, figured I just killed perfectly good ingredients. But when it was baking, a delicious aroma wafted out of the oven, enveloping the house.

    I took it out, let it cool and then cut it up. I forgot to take a picture of the whole cake, which looked beautiful, that's how excited I was to see if it really tasted great.

    Sure enough, it did. You can't see, smell or taste the kraut. I gave 2 pieces to a good friend to try, telling her only it was a WW recipe. She called me later that night and said it was so delicious, "you wouldn't know it was Weight Watchers!" Then I sprung the secret ingredient on her, and she was amazed.

    The recipe is so good, you could share it with "civilians" (my term for non-WWers) and they'd never know. Have fun, give it a try!

    Dark Chocolate Cake

    2C all-purpose flour
    1 1/3C sugar
    1.5t baking soda
    2/3C unsweetened coca
    1/2C melted butter
    1.5C hot water (I used black coffee)
    1t vanilla extract
    1C sauerkraut
    1t unsweetened coca

    Preheat oven to 350 and coat bundt pan with nonstick spray.

    Combine flour, sugar, baking soda and 2/3 C of cocoa. Add melted butter, hot water and vanilla extract. Mix well. Add sauerkraut and blend thoroughly.

    Pour batter in pan and bake 55-60 minutes until tester comes out clean. Cool cake in pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack. After cake is cooled completely, sprinkle with 1t unsweetened cocoa before slicing into 14 pieces.

    1 piece = 6 pts

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    In which cookies don't control me

    Baked goods are my red-light foods. They can cause me to make bad decisions. Which lead to more bad decisions. Which lead to more guilt, more bad decisions and adios Weight Watchers.

    So, as you may surmise, I don't bake much anymore.

    But, I do have 3 little kids who loved baked goods, and since I refuse to turn my home into WW Boot Camp, they should enjoy their treats (in moderation), too.

    When planning and shopping for Sunday dinner today, I walked past the refrigerator case and decided, "I think I can handle this today." I grabbed one of those break-and-bake packs of Nestle Toll House Cookies and put them in the cart.

    I baked them. Everyone enjoyed them. And I didn't touch one - not because "It's not on my diet" (hate that phrase), but because I know where they lead. I chose not to partake. And, frankly, I decided the 4 Points per cookie could be better enjoyed on other food.

    Here, three days later, there are still a few cookies left and I haven't had the urge to even consider them. I saw them on the counter and I thought, "You're still here?" Seriously, I've never seen one batch of cookies last so long in our house.


    In which I wonder: Adios Resolutionistas?

    This morning I was greeted with a beautiful sight when I got to the gym at the usual 6 a.m.

    Every treadmill was free.

    Since New Year's, there were traditionally 3 to 5 of the 6 treadmills occupied when I arrived. Sometimes they were all in use. But, usually one or two would free up within 5-10 minutes.

    I know it's stupid, but when I drive the 10 minutes to the gym, it's always in the back of my head, "What if there are no free treadmills?" I know there's plenty of other cardio equipment, but I psych myself up to run and keep moving forward in C25K, so I want/need a treadmill.

    Anyway, I hope it keeps up. It's one less thing I have to stress about in regards to working out.

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    Week 22 Weigh-In: Anxious

    So, last week I drove in a snowstorm to my meeting, only to be rewarded with a gain of .4, my first since rejoining.

    It bugged me for most of the week. But I KOKO'd and had a good week, food-wise and especially workout-wise.

    But, I won't lie, I was nervous returning to the scale. What if I was up again through no fault of my own? What if I'm doing everything right and nothing's working? All sorts of negative self-talk assaulted me Monday/Tuesday morning.

    However, gun-shy I returned and stepped on Donna's scale. I swear the 10 seconds it takes to capture your weight takes forever. Donna gasped. "You're down so much!"

    She wasn't kidding, -4.6, for an even 60 lbs gone. I hadn't lost that much in one week since my fifth WI, Oct. 12.

    The skies were blue again! The birds were singing! I could have probably done cartwheels throughout the meeting room.

    And, although it was awesome, it is BS. For the most part, I ate the same food and exerted the same effort in workouts in those 2 weeks. One week I was dashed, another I was walking on air. I know the scale is crap. Just a number - one number - at one exact point in time. And I know in my head it kinda means nothing, but is one piece of a larger, healthier puzzle.

    But in my heart, damn, it was awesome.

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    In which I remember to remain humble

    I love the original Star Wars, especially when scene in which Han and Luke are taking out Tie Fighters, and Han warns a celebrating Luke, "Great, kid. Don' get cocky."

    I thought of that today when my new winter vest arrived. I didn't want to buy a new one halfway through winter and halfway to goal. However, my old vest was now 3 sizes too big and not very warm. LL Bean was having a sale, so I got a new vest, an XL. A women's XL, no less.

    I checked out the sizing specifications online and I knew it would fit, but just barely. I tried it on and it is snug. Not zipper-busting tight, but snug. Which, I think, is good. It's a daily reminder: You are not done yet.

    It's easy to become complacent after you've had some success and think you've got it all figured out. And that's a dangerous time. In my life, complacency leads to weight gain. So I think this new vest is a not just a piece of clothing, but a kind of reminder: You're doing great, but you've got a ways to go. Don't get cocky.

    Sunday, February 6, 2011

    C25K Week 4 Roundup: I think I can

    Week 4 was awesome. As sketchy as Week 3 was, 4 was so much better.

    The run/walk intervals, for the first time, were more run than walk. Longer time running, shorter time walking in between. I had some great runs. I felt challenged but not in cardiac arrest. I felt controlled and confident. I felt, kinda, like a runner. A slow one, but a runner nonetheless.

    So, onto Week 5. It's over the halfway point and onto my longest continuous run - 20 minutes straight. Here we go!

    Friday, February 4, 2011

    In which I invent a new favorite salad

    I'm not a huge salad freak because lettuce doesn't really do it for me.

    Sure, I'll order a salad here and there, but I never find lettuce especially satisfying as a base. But the other day I was perusing some WW online recipes and I found one for "Flatbread Salad," which basically is a salad on top of a piece of flatbread. But, the recipe called for feta (a cheese I was never crazy about until recently) and bacon, so it immediately piqued my interest.

    This discovery was on the heels of a recipe I found on the back of a bag of shredded Red Cabbage. A friend brought over a huge salad to share recently and it had a ton of red cabbage in it, which I loved. So off I went to get some Red Cabbage to add to a salad, and on the back I found this:

    Braised Red Cabbage

    1T canola oil
    10 oz Shredded Red Cabbage
    1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
    1/4C white balsamic vinegar
    1T packed brown sugar
    3/4 cup crumbled cooked bacon

    Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add cabbage, apples and 1/4C water. Cover and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in brown sugar and bacon, serve hot.

    Makes 4 1-cup servings.

    The thought of it warm was kinda blech to me, so I just made it cold, the cabbage, apple, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar (1 pt) and bacon (2 pts). It was great and very low Point.

    Eventually, the two recipes merged in my mind to result in:

    New Favorite Salad

    Shredded carrots and red cabbage (as much as you want)
    1T brown sugar (1 pt)
    1T balsamic vinegar
    1 oz feta (2 pts)
    4 slices Oscar Meyer precooked bacon (2 pts)
    1 Flat-Out wheat wrap (3 pts) I cut it up and use as croutons on top.

    That's a massic amount of food for 8 pts. What I really like about this salad is you can remove ingredients at will if you have fewer Points to spend. Some days I don't have 8 Points for this, so I'll leave out the wrap and it's just 5 Points. The bacon is a fantastic Points bargain. 4 slices is a good serving and super flavorful.

    Wrapping this up, I realize this is the nerdiest post ever. Yikes. But it is good.

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    Week 21 Weigh-In: Valuable lesson learned

    The ridiculous winter here in New England has messed with my weight-loss endeavors mightily since the New Year. It's delayed several gym mornings (putting me about 1 week behind on C25K) and one weigh-in due to commuter storms, bad roads, etc.

    Last week, my weigh-in was delayed by a day and, dammit, that was not going to happen again. I work hard all week for those 30 seconds on the scale and I want to know how I did. I woke up and, as predicted, it was snowing. My husband decided to work from home and although it was snowing, I called the WW 800 number to see if my meeting was on. After waiting 10 minutes to get an agent (seriously, WW, you need more agents or post the cancellations online...), I was told the meeting was on.

    It was snowing, but I was going.

    I got in my trusty, superlight weigh-in clothes and slowly took off. The conditions on my small cul-de-sac were bad, but then again they always are until much later. I got on our main cross street. Roads not good. About a mile down the road I think, "Maybe I should turn back." But, stubbornly, I wanted my numbers right now and waiting one more day was out of the question. Maybe I would screw up! Maybe I would jinx myself! And, given the storm was supposed to last until the following day, it meant delaying weigh-in by 2 days.

    The main Route to the meeting was terrible. Again, I think, "Turn back." But I don't.

    A trip that takes about 20 minutes took about 35. I pull in, head into the center and Donna The Wonderful Receptionist says, "I can't believe you're here." Even our leader called in, but the center was open for weigh-in.

    I unbundle. I step on the scale. I hear Donna clicking. I don't hear her traditional, "Good!" I hear nothing. Then, I hear, "You're up .4."

    I stubbornly drove through a snowstorm for a gain. A gain! My first gain since rejoining. What a kick in the gut. Then, insult to injury, I have to drive home in a snowstorm, which was getting worse. On the way home I was full of coulda-woulda-shouldas. I had a good OP week. I had two parties I attended over the weekend, and I made the best choices I could. I didn't regret any food choices I made over the week and made all my workouts.

    I was left with a nagging feeling that I failed. Something "went wrong." Somehow, I screwed up. But, how? But, after time I realized I didn't screw up at all. I had two weeks of very large, consecutive losses. No doubt, this was just my body adjusting, taking a pause, before it started downward again.

    Weeks with a gain, especially an unearned one, are terrible. All that hard work, for nothing!

    But it wasn't all for naught. There were good choices in tough food situations. Great workouts and numerous excellent decisions day after day. It gets so easy to get super-focused on the scale. But the scale is just the end game. It's everything that leads to it that is the real victory.

    So, onward and downward.