Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I am a Social Butterfly

Our euchre party was a hit! We had 21 people for ice cream at 7 (I had a very small dish, which was really not enjoyed much because I was nervous and talking to the guests, but anyway...) and 15 played cards. Since we had an odd number, three of us sat out each game. That gave me plenty of time to socialize. I find it difficult to start a conversation with someone I don't know well, but if they answer in anything besides monosyllables, I can keep going for ages.

Everyone stayed until midnight and all claimed they had a wonderful time. I think they truly did -- as they left they were all making plans to have a neighborhood cookout on the Sunday before Labor Day. Whew. The best part was that T's dad said he was so pleased that he was grinning from ear-to-ear when he showed up for the golf tournament on Sunday morning, wanting to tell dad all about it.

I was really exhausted on Sunday and a bit unmotivated. The dog got me up at 6am to walk after only 5 hours of sleep. I had all kinds of plans to organize my craft stuff while T was golfing, but only made it as far as the chair, where I read Harry Potter for a while. I tried to nap but C needed computer help. After going to the golf course to see the awards given out (this is T's family's 82nd annual golf tournament!), we went to dinner at Applebee's with a bunch of family members. I was sooooo hungry, but really WANTED a salad. I could almost taste the crunchy freshness of it as I thought about what I wanted to eat. I tried one of their Weight Watchers endorsed salads and it was pretty tasty, except for the dressing. Fat free dressing is vile and should be outlawed.

Yesterday my "dessert" after dinner was Nutrisystem chocolate cake. It really bore little resemblance to cake and had a strange taste to it. Although most of their food is all right, the desserts truly leave much to be desired. I'd just chuck them and eat some chocolate except for the fact that I paid so much for them -- and they're really high in protein, which helps keep me full longer. From now on if I'm full after dinner I'm skipping it. I'm getting enough calories without it anyway.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

It's Only Food

Our euchre party is tonight and I'm kind of nervous. We have 10 couples coming (!) so someone out there likes us (We invited 12). I should get off the computer and take a shower -- I have to go buy beer and stuff -- and run to the library for the new Harry Potter book. We got our copies yesterday at the library, but I refrained from doing more than taking one out and looking at the cover. I didn't even open it (patting self on back). T and I were 13 and 14 on the hold list, so I'm sure we'll get one of the copies when they check them in to trigger the holds. I ordered one from Amazon too, but with three of us fighting over it, I thought we'd need more than one copy.

I haven't weighed myself, but my wedding ring once again slides easily on and off my finger. Whew! I've been eating in a "low GI" manner for almost two weeks and I feel really good. I'm definitely on a more even keel emotionally, and even though my period is due to start in a couple of days, I feel normal -- not like the usual cranky woman I usually am at this "time of the month". I'm keeping a close eye on my "diety" thoughts and avoiding any of the strange behaviors I had problems with the last time I lost weight. Last night we went to a shower and I started feeling anxious about the food. I reminded myself that I was going to eat away from home a thousand more times and I'd have to cope. It's only food and can't attack me. It was fine. I skipped the stuff I don't love (store bought potato salad & cole slaw), ate slowly, had small helpings (too small in fact -- I was hungry by the time we got home at 9pm and ate a NS snack), and only a few bites of cake.

The Nutrisystem food is okay. It definitely doesn't measure up to my cooking, but after jazzing it up with spices, hot sauce, etc. it's all right. There hasn't been anything terribly icky yet. I'm thinking that these women on the NS message boards who are "so full" and "having trouble eating all the food" and are "never hungry" are COMPLETELY INSANE! Yes, I am pleasantly full after each meal, but I'm quite hungry again within 2-3 hours of breakfast and lunch. I'm going to have to change something because I wake up ravenous, eat breakfast after walking the dog (around 5:45am or so) and I am so hungry by 10am that all I can think about from then until lunch (at 1pm) is FOOD. That's just not right -- and I don't want to end up an obsessed binge queen again. With NS you do add protein to each meal, so I think I'll try taking a break late morning and eating a small snack to see if that helps.

All right -- off the showers with me!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Feeling Good! (and another recipe)

My SIL made this recipe from Cooking Light three years ago at our family reunion. I never made it at home until a few days ago, and boy is it good!

Chicken and Noodles with Peanut Sauce

5 oz Japanese curly soba noodles (chucka soba) – though I think you could use angelhair pasta
½ c low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 c hoisin sauce
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
2 T rice vinegar
2 T catsup
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 T dark sesame oil
1 lb chicken tenders
1 ½ cups red bell pepper strips
1 T bottled ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
½ cup minced green onions

Cook noodles according to package directions and drain.
Combine broth and next 5 ingredients (through red pepper) in a bowl; stir well with a whisk.
Heat 1 tsp oil in large skillet over med-high heat. Add chicken; saute 4 minute Add bell pepper; saute 3 minute Remove from heat. Combine chicken and noodles in large bowl.
Heat 1 tsp oil in pan over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; cook 15 seconds. Stir in broth mixture; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
Pour broth mixture over noodles, add 1/4 cup green onions and toss well.
Sprinkle with 1/4 cup green onions and serve.

5 1-cup serivings: CALORIES 353(28% from fat); FAT 10.9g (sat 2g,mono 4.3g,poly 3.1g); PROTEIN 28.5g; CHOLESTEROL 53mg; CALCIUM 21mg; SODIUM 663mg; FIBER 2.3g; IRON 1.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 36g
For the past 9 days I've been trying to eat carefully -- less sugar (hardly any dessert), and trying to keep my calorie intake below 1800. I've succeeded for the most part and I feel less crabby. I haven't been ravenous either. When coworkers have brought treats that look irresistable, I've cut a tiny piece (2-3 bites) and savored it -- and been okay with that.

I've been reading up on a low GI diet and it sounds doable for me. I really, really don't want to "go on a diet", yet I really, really want to lower my cholesterol without medication. So, I'm in. I decided to start with a couple of months of Nutrisystem to get me used to eating a low GI diet without having to think about it much. I feel like a big betrayer of my IE sisters, but I need to do what's best for my health and obviously eating less -- and less saturated fat -- IS what my body needs. I got my first shipment of food last night and it doesn't look too bad. The calorie intake is way too low -- 1100-1300 a day or so. Mine will be higher. For one thing, I can't stand the thought of eating yogurt with artificial sweetener, so I'll eat my regular Stoneyfield lowfat yogurt. I refuse to plan my life around food, so I will still be eating out at restaurants and other people's houses (and not bringing my own food, for heaven's sake), and eating a few bites of coworkers' treats. I refused to go to bed feeling ravenously hungry. I'm going to keep a close eye on my diety thoughts and not let this overtake my life.

I thought about what on earth I was going to tell my girls. I definitely did not want to tell them I was on a diet. In the end, I told them that my doctor told me I had to start eating differently to lower my cholesterol and that this special food would help me for a couple of months until I got the hang of it. They seemed to have a "whatever" attitude.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Dinner is served -- a recipe

I made this last night and it was quite delish! I have no idea what the nutritional info is -- recipezaar says about 400-some calories per serving but they say it's 6 servings and they use sour cream and 2 full cups of regular cheese. I used lowfat plain yogurt and only 1 cup of cheese -- and we had five at dinner but only ate half the casserole. I'd say it's more like 8 servings.

It looked a bit time-consuming, so I made the rice the night before and stuck it in the fridge. I also mixed up the other ingredients (except the onions & olives) and put it in a bowl in the fridge too. Then I just combined it all and put it in the oven the next evening.

Southwest Vegetarian Bake

3/4 cup brown rice, uncooked
1 1/2 cups water
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (11 ounce) can mexicorn, drained
1 (10 ounce) can Ro-tel
1 cup salsa
1 cup lowfat plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup chopped red onions
1 (2 1/4 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

In a large saucepan, bring rice and water to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes, until tender.

In a bowl, combine beans, corn, tomatoes, salsa, yogurt, cheese, pepper and rice.

Transfer to a 2 1/2 quart baking dish coated with nonstick spray. Sprinkle onions and olives over top.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Let stand 10 miutes.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Getting a Life

As I mentioned a few entries back, one thing I KNOW I need to do is come out of my shell a bit, reach out to people, and quit hibernating. T and I have been talking about having a card party for the past couple of years. Since I am usually the "organizer of us", I've conveniently never gotten around to actually having the party. It's not that I don't enjoy socializing. I do enjoy it -- while also finding it torturous in some ways (am I the fattest woman here? are my clothes too matronly? do I look way older than all these women? is my arm flab obvious?). When I was skinny, I found it torturous in other ways (am I the fattest woman here? are my clothes too matronly? do I look way older than all these women? why, oh why do they have to have so much food?!?).

I find hosting gatherings especially stressful. Even after two years our house isn't really decorated, and I see the flaws everywhere I look (hmm...kind of like my body?!). The sensible part of me knows that people do not come to your house because you have great curtains, nice artwork on the walls, or an especially clean floor. Seeing my MIL in action taught me that. Their house used to be REALLY shabby -- curtains practically in tatters, throws on all of the furniture because the upholstery was so worn, and carpet stained and threadbare. She isn't even a very good cook. Yet she never hesitated to invite someone to dinner or host a party for the extended family. She is very secure in the knowledge that people enjoy her -- not her house.

Anyway, T finally said, "Okay, let's pick a date and have a euchre party". I said okay and chose July 21. I still had an escape route because we didn't have any invitations. Lo and behold I came home from work last Wednesday to find T at the computer making up a flyer. EEEK! We delivered them to about 10 couples in the neighborhood. So far no one has called to RSVP. I'm already nervous.

In other news, we went out to dinner last night at a restaurant not known for its healthy food. I had looked up the menu online and decided to order baked chicken, a plain sweet potato, and green beans. As the afternoon wore on, I could feel myself weakening (as I amost always do), especially as I grew hungrier. We got to the restaurant and I briefly had a mental fling with the french fries, but stuck to my original choice (except for the green beans which were swimming in some disgusting sauce complete with bacon bits -- got a salad instead). I didn't finish my dinner and was really full. We went to my inlaws afterward for ice cream and O Henry Bars (some odd bar cookie with oatmeal, peanut butter, corn syrup, and chocolate beloved by all of T's family). I wasn't really even tempted to eat any. I was quite full and decided my cholesterol would thank me. One day down....forty years to go.

Monday, July 09, 2007


No -- not my dad. We had breakfast with him yesterday and he actually agreed to give up two of his four cats so that his current house doesn't get as disgusting as his old house did.

No, the last straw is that I have gained so much weight I can't get my wedding ring on or off without a struggle. I weighed 172 this morning. I'm kind of appalled - 10 lbs below my highest weight ever (well, not counting the 199 I weighed when pregnant with R). I have to lose weight. Well, no I don't HAVE to. I could get my ring made larger, buy larger clothing, and go on medication for my cholesterol. That option isn't too appealing.

I found out recently that my cholesterol is high for the third year in a row. My good cholesterol is great, but my bad cholesterol is a bit high and my overall number is something like 271. I was told to "eat a lower fat diet and exercise" and come back in a few months to have the test redone. Eeek. The implication was that if my level doesn't fall I will be put on medication. I do not want that. I have spent the time since hearing the bad news waffling between thinking "Hey, dad is on meds for his cholesterol and he eats whatever the heck he wants!" and "OMG! I'm too young to be on daily medication!"

The truth is that if I want to attempt to control my cholesterol through diet and exercise, I will have to change the way I eat -- forever. I can't really be a "normal eater" and eat whatever I feel like whenever I feel like it. I will have to seriously limit my saturated fat intake and make things like french fries, hamburgers, and desserts a treat. I haven't been able to do that for the past two years, but with medication looming in my future perhaps I can do it now. I would like to lose weight for other reasons too -- my knees and back were so sore after helping dad move and my knees are hurting more often these days. I'm also having frequent problems with foot pain. My doctor thinks it's because my feet tend to roll in when I walk, but they've done that since I was a kid, and I only started having problems in the past year or so. I can't help but think it is weight-related.

So, there you go -- the many reasons I should lose weight. Now, the question is how to do it in a healthy way without turning into Susie Obsessed. I've been trying to lose weight for the past 18 months or more and have only succeeded in gaining 20 lbs. Sigh.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

A Harrowing Week

My brother and I showed up at dad's house last Friday to "finish up" the packing. At most, 45% of dad's household was packed. I immediately ate five doughnuts. I calmed down (or the sugary carbs calmed me down) and we spent 13 hours packing with intermittent, desultory help from dad and his two sisters and his niece (who had come to stay for a few days -- a fact dad failed to share with me). My brother was throwing loads of useful stuff into the dumpster and I was upset with him until I realized he was right -- that was the only way we'd be ready the next morning. The waste was jaw-dropping but it was far too late to sort out things to go to charity or into a yard sale. We left without even a "thank you" from dad. In fact, he and his sisters headed off to dinner without asking if we might possibly be hungry!

We spent Saturday helping him move and unpacking a bit. Monday we spent several hours cleaning and cleaning and cleaning some more. His house is absolutely filthy. I spent two hours scrubbing one bathroom and didn't even finish. I moved on to the walls, which were covered with cat sneeze leavings (disgusting, I know!). The fridge took about five scrubbings to get the caked on vegetable matter, jam, and other mysterious food leavings off. It was truly awful. Yesterday after taking my girls to see T in a parade, I went out again to clear more stuff out -- and the dumpster is almost full again (this is a 10-yard dumpster, which is the size of four pickup truck beds).

Meanwhile, my brother asked dad for his mail and checkbook registers so he can try and figure out how dad will pay his bills. Dad dithered before admitting that he hasn't recorded anything in his checkbook register since mom died, nine months ago. He seems to have completely lost touch with financial reality. He doesn't even have enough money to live one more month in his old house, but was telling my inlaws last night that he's hoping to take a trip to Wales, Scotland, and Ireland next year. I'm deeply disturbed and very worried. We're going to have a "talk" with him before my brother goes back to Seattle, but I don't know that he'll listen. We had a talk with him about finances nine months ago and he seemingly paid little attention to anything we said. I suppose there's only so much you can do. I don't want to be his mom -- and he is certainly not senile.

I suppose the only bright spot is that after the doughnut debacle, I didn't really allow all of it to affect my eating. I probably overate this past weekend some of the time, but I didn't binge because of the stress, and I didn't graze all day to avoid everything.