Monday, September 29, 2008

How Margaret Cho lost weight

I've always been a voyeur of sorts. Not the sexually perverse kind. I'm interested in how other people live their lives. I like to peek into their lives, know their back story, see how they interact with the world. So when someone famous famously loses weight, I'm curious about how she did it. I'm a fan of Margaret Cho. She's fantastically outrageous but also very honest in her comedy. I've seen performances where being fat and losing weight were part of her routine. She's been up and she's been down. She's down now and looking very good. I read an online account of how she lost weight. Sounds like intuitive eating to me. I wonder if she visited Elise Resch or Evelyn Tribole for counseling. They're my heroines. I've taken several workshops with them. Learned a lot which I apparently have been unable to put into practice in my own life.
So Margaret says she eats everything and it is great to be able to lose weight eating junk food. Um, that's not exactly what I want since junk food doesn't really appeal to me very much. I would rather starve than eat a McD's. I've never even tasted a Toaster Strudel nor do I long to do so. But I sure would love to continue to eat what I like and want to eat but learn to do it in an intuitive and mindful way. So far I have been unsuccessful at mastering that skill.
I once read that some people with eating issues (I hesitate to say "disorders" but I surely have eating issues) should stay away from their "trigger" foods--foods that they will overeat. For me, trigger foods are almost all the foods I like to eat. Anything that tastes great is a potential trigger food. How can I continue to eat well and be mindful about it?
I shall now go off to the gym to sweat while I ponder that question.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Woulda Coulda Shoulda

My uncle used to warn against saying "woulda, coulda, shoulda". He believed that a person should take responsibility for her actions and not second guess what woulda, coulda, or shoulda happened.
So I take full responsibility for the deliciously juicy burger I ate last night with two...not one...baskets of sweet potato fries. I know I shoulda ordered a salad. I know I coulda ordered a salad. I know I woulda ordered a salad if I had stopped and thought about it.....No. I wanted a burger so there's no shoulda, woulda or coulda about it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Diets work for me

Diets don't work. That's what *they* say. But here's what I say....diets work for me when I stay on them.
I've been "off" WW for a while now. I lost slowly but steadily when I followed the diet. Now I'm not following the diet although I'm eating well. I'm eating chicken and fish. Eating brown rice and whole wheat bread. Oatmeal. Fruits and veggies. 1% milk. And I'm slowly gaining weight.
The "cheating" that I do on the weekends when we eat out is really not that different from what I was doing when I was on WW. And I haven't had to review a restaurant in a few weeks so I cannot blame the weight gain on that.
There's something about a set regimen that keeps me focused. And more than anything, it's the competition! I like a good game and I have to win any game I play. So when I am on a diet, I expect to lose weight and I make it happen. I may only be competing against myself but that's good enough to get me to work hard.
I'm going to have to go back on WW if I expect to lose more fat. Being a dietitian, knowing what to eat and how much to eat just isn't enough.
So, let the games begin. But they don't begin until Monday. Sorry about that. Don't want to enter the competition with a disadvantage....too much going on this weekend.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Biggest Loser

Of course I watch The Biggest Loser. I watch it while I'm eating dinner. Oh, according to healthy eating principles I shouldn't be watching TV while eating but that's what I do when my husband isn't home eating with me. I know I should be concentrating on my food, on the flavors but especially on recognizing when I'm satisfied but I love to eat while reading and/or watching TV. It's a pleasure I refuse to give up.
I have a love/hate relationship with The Biggest Loser. I love how hard the contestants work. How much they learn. And I love to see the physical and sometimes emotional changes (like improved self esteem).
I hate that they make them take off their shirts. Why do they have to be weighed shirtless in front of the world? We know they're fat. And most of us know what being fat looks like. A peek in the mirror as you exit the shower should be just about enough to enlighten you about how fat looks on the human body. So why? It might be instructive to show them at the beginning of the show and then when they've transformed themselves but not every week. There's little to be gained. But that's just me.
I love that we watch them go from couch potatoes to strong willing exercisers.
I hate that we never see them with the dietitian. We see the contestants with their trainers and with the docs but never the dietitian. Why?
Sure the exercise is part of the weight loss. They work out all day. It becomes their job. With that many hours of exercise, lots of calories are burned and lots of muscle is built. But truly it is the reduction in intake that in the end is the reason for their loss of fat so why concentrate so much on the trainers and exercise and not at all on the dietitian.
Oh, and Rocco. Give me a break. He's giving us shopping and diet advice? Rocco? There are so many dietitian chefs who could do a better job. I know. They're not celebrities although there are a few. Would be great to see someone like Ellie Krieger on there doing the cooking/shopping segment. That would add some credibility at least. Let's see, Rocco is the former star of a very revealing reality show and the former chef at a failed restaurant and celebrity whose star has fallen a few times too many. He's got no nutrition background but he's teaching the contestants how to shop and how to cook healthier fare. Credibility?
But you know what I hate the most? How they waste time. They've dragged the show out to two hours but they don't show two hours of footage. Repeating stuff after the commercial break is annoying and makes me leave at the commercial and not return until the repeated segment is over. I wonder if the advertisers know that.
I want to say, "Move it" to them. Move the show along a little. The pace is too slow. At least for me.
But I keep watching it. I wouldn't call it entertainment. Watching people sweat, deny themselves and complain. No, that's not entertainment.
I don't identify with the contestants. But I do root for them. I feel their pain.
I would like to see previous successful (meaning, they maintained their weight loss) contestants return to work with the new ones. Last season's winner was particularly motivating to me. She beat out a guy who was a killer with exercise. She has an amazing will.
Excuse me while I go make some oatmeal with water, sweetened with a little banana. Yum. Yuck.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I've been thinking. Because I have been trying so hard to follow a healthier diet, I've avoided all the foods that most people consider indulgences. Pizza. Ice Cream. Fried foods. Chips. So my diet has been pretty boring (yes, I'm a great cook and I am trying to make tasty meals but it's still pretty boring to eat this way). Also, I still do consider those foods to be indulgences so that when I do eat them, I overdo because I indulge.
If I'm ever to win this battle, I have to learn to eat all foods even the ones that are triggers for overeating for me. How to eat one slice of pizza? How to eat only one scoop of ice cream? I don't know. I think my main issue with food is that if it tastes really good, I just want to keep eating it until it's gone.
With ordinarily tasty food, I can stop when I am satisfied. But with really good food, no way. Even if I know I can eat the rest later or the next day, I still want it all at one sitting.
I'm not sure how to overcome this indulgence issue.
I'm still thinking of pizza. Would love to eat a whole 8 slice cheese pizza. I mean, that's my pattern. Buy one pizza, open the box and start eating. And that's exactly what I want. When I say I want pizza, I don't mean a taste or one slice...I mean one whole entire pizza.
Not actually sure I could still eat that much without getting sick but that's how my mind works.
I'll have to do some reality testing soon. One slice with a salad and a diet coke. That's on the menu for later in the week.
I can't wait.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Pizza. That's all. Just pizza. Yesterday while driving, notions of pizza began creeping into my thoughts. Maybe it's because I'm still lamenting not having had my NY pizza a few weeks ago. Or just because longings for foods that I haven't eaten in a while are beginning to nag at me. I've indulged. I've eaten out. I've gone astray. I had one huge delicious Carvel sundae. I've had french fries. Chinese food. Pasta. The forbidden list too long to go into here. But I haven't had pizza. Oh, there are other foods I've avoided. Like fried chicken. Or rather, the crust on fried chicken. Oh, my heart flutters at the thought. Swoon. Sigh.
But right now pizza is on my mind. Not fancy pizza. Not upscale pizza. Just good ole NY style pizza. Not extra cheese. No pepperoni (yuck). Certainly no ham and pineapple. Give me a break.
I'll work on extinguishing the pizza obsession but if I cannot transfer the images from pizza to broccoli some time soon, I'll give in to temptation. It actually worked well with the Carvel. I had my fill. Delicious though it was, I'm okay for now. One week without visions of pints of ice cream.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fallacies about gaining weight

I was just watching The View. I should be working but I'm finding lots of ways to seduce myself away from work. One of the pitfalls of working at home. There's laundry to do--something I have no desire to do but pit laundry against working and I'll choose laundry. Anyway....I was watching The View. Barbara Walters said it had taken her one year to lose fifteen pounds and that she gained back three this past weekend by eating one box of popcorn. (Cue laughs from the audience.) So a wisp of a woman is lamenting the gain of three pounds. And lamenting how "easy" it is to gain weight when it's so hard to lose.
I've lamented the same issue over and over but then it occurred to me while I was unloading the dishwasher (yes, another ploy to keep me from working) that it isn't easy to gain weight. We have to work at it and work hard. You don't gain three pounds from one box of popcorn unless it's the huge box and you've poured on lots of fake butter and lots of salt. Then maybe...just maybe...if you also spend the weekend in bed or plopped on the couch not expending any calories, you might...might...see some weight gain (more probably from water retention from salt!).
No, it isn't any easier to gain than it is to lose. It's just that when we go off our "diets" we tend to go way off, eat lots of calories, exercise less. Then after one week of indulgence when we notice a weight gain, we're convinced that it was just one itty bitty box of popcorn that did it.
I spent two days in LA eating large quantities of food. Then I went to NYC where I ate not large quantities but lots of foods that are high in calories. Thankfully, I walked a lot and went to the gym to offset the calories somewhat. But still I gained two pounds. I'm not shocked. I ate for those two pounds. I ate dessert. I drank some Pepsi. I ate bread. French fries. Burgers. Pastrami. Bagels. Bialys. Cream cheese. Chinese food. Etc.
In other words, I earned those pounds. I worked hard for them. As hard as I work to lose weight.
No, Barbara, it isn't easier to gain than it is to lose. It's just oh so much more fun and mindless to gain.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Response to comment

Now if I were just a teeny bit computer literate, I would know how to write a comment back to a comment but whatever.
Someone suggested that Carvel has good fat free sundaes. Okay. Here's the thing. Fat is not the issue here. It's calories. One small Carvel hot fudge sundae is 500 calories (read it and weep!); one small fat free is 380 calories. A savings of 120 calories and that's lovely but it isn't going to make anyone thin. Unless she is in the habit of eating one a day(and I want to meet that person!), then it will be a savings over the week. But for someone like me who just wanted to splurge, there's no reason to "save" 120 calories. Of course, I ate a large which is probably 1,000 calories!!!
This is one of the issues that confuses people: Just because something is fat free doesn't mean it's a better choice or that it's a healthier choice. In the case of hot fudge sundaes, I'm not sure we would call the fat free one a "healthier" choice. An apple would be a healthier choice!
The majority of calories probably comes from carbohydrates, namely sugar, since the dessert is still quite caloric (BTW...a small serving of Carvel is a's one bite) so saving the fat calories is not such a big deal. I bet a sugar free hot fudge sundae would be way less calories but all way less tasty.
At least, that's the way I look at it. I splurge for pleasure. So I want the real thing. My overall diet is exemplary--fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean poultry and fish, low fat dairy. It couldn't be any better. I eat about 8 fruits and veggies a day. I meet my calcium needs from dairy alone.
The hot fudge sundae is something extra (although we cannot discount the calicum the ice cream provides!). It's purpose is pure hedonism. Nothing to do with nutrients or health. Unless you count mental health.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

10 reasons why I should be leaner (but I am not)

10. I work out every day (except for Friday....everyone deserves a day of rest).
9. I eat fruits and vegetables naked and raw. I don't need sugar or cream or butter or cheese to enjoy a plant food.
8. I don't really like butter and bread is certainly not one of my vices.
7. Chocolate? Take it or leave it. Unfortunately, I take it more than I leave it even though I'm (gasp!) not really a fan of chocolate.
6. I can forgo spaghetti, rice and potatoes...supposedly the bugaboos of most dieters.
5. I eat oatmeal.
4. I eat chicken without the skin. I eat fish.
3. I don't like fast food. Never ever eat Micky D's or Wendy's or Burger King or Taco Bell. In fact, (gasp again!), I've never tasted Wendy's or Burger King or Taco Bell.'s a secret...I have eaten KFC. But never tasted Church's. But have tasted Popeye. Once. When we were in Huntsville, Ala. I mean, what are you going to eat in Huntsville?
2. I like steak but don't long for it. I'm not into big huge juicy rare steaks plopped on a plate with a piece of parsley for garnish. I surely don't care about baked potatoes slathered with sour cream (yuck) and butter. Onion rings. Well, that's a horse of a different color.
1. I'm a good girl. I'm a virtuous girl. I deserve to be leaner, thinner, slimmer, more svelte. I deserve it!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Me and Dara Torres

It's going to be a virtuous and successful day. I can feel it already. And it's not even 8 a.m.
Yesterday I hung a photo of Dara Torres on my frig. It's the one that appeared on the cover of Time. The ripples of her abs, the strength of her toned arms, the look of determination on her face are motivating to me. I know that a woman of my "age" cannot transform her body into the body of an athlete. But I can dream. And I can make believe. When I look at that photo, it's like looking in the mirror. I know that's not true. It just "feels" like that. I'm pretty good at that kind of make believe. In aerobics classes, I position myself right behind the instructor. That way, when I look in the mirror, all I see is the aerobics instructor. I make believe it's me. It works really well. I marvel at "my" tight butt (standing right behind her makes that easy). It does wonders for my ego.
Why is today going to be virtuous? Because I am feeling "cleansed" of all the crap I was eating when on vacation. Not cleansed in a literal sense. I have just been eating well for the last few days and I'm feeling good. Strong. Like I've licked least for today.
But the weekend is upon us. The weekend is when we eat out. Enough said.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I am apparently the master of my fate. The fate to be fat again. I almost believe that the sly weight watcher's leader did not secretly plan to derail my weight loss attempts. What I do know is that since I stopped going to WW, I have gained weight. Weight I had lost through hard work and determination. Weight so easily gained back by just plain eating. Great delicious food. Again, no regrets. In fact, since I have indeed gained some weight back, I wish I had eaten pizza and dim sum. At least pizza. And dim sum.
I think I understand why not going to the meetings was a mistake. I'm competitive. Offer me a chance to win something--to come out on top---and I'm in. So each weigh in was a competition for me. I had to win. And I did. Every time until that one time. And that's when I left. I gave up. Big L on Sharon's forehead and not for weight LOSS!
You learn something about yourself every day. Some days what you learn ain't so pretty. Today is one of those days.
I'm not going back to WW. I really cannot afford it right now. Is that an excuse? I really don't want to. Money notwithstanding. I don't want to go to listen to those mundane pep talks meant to get me fired up about NOT eating. I can't submit to the scale monitored by someone whose only accomplishment is having lost and maintained her loss. Of course, I so much want to be a member of that club!
Until I am inducted into that club, I'll stay home. Nursing my wounds--in this case, my ever expanding waistline--planning my next attack on my weight.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The confessional again

Here I sit....butt planted firmly in front of the computer on a chair covered with an old towel that protects me from cat hair imbeded in the fabric from a cat long dead. That about sums up my mood for today. Back on track? Hah! Not even close. I probably should go back to the early posts on this blog to remind myself about how I should be eating, would be eating if I had any self control at all.
Macaroons. French macaroons. Baked by someone who knows how to bake French macaroons. Chocolate ones. Vanilla ones. Pumpkin macaroons. Big ones. Little ones. Filled with heavenly buttercream. That's all I'm going to say about them. Two. I ate two of them. One small. One large. I wasn't going to have any. But they were there. My hand reached for one. No one slapped it. I was hooked.
I'm a bad bad girl.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Excuses and other bad habits

I'm the master of excuses. Like the one about the weight watcher's leader who I believed falsified my weight! That was the excuse to stop going to the meetings even though I could have...should have...just chosen a different meeting to attend. Now it's that we were away, eating a lot of food (aka calories!) so I just continued when we got home last week. I mean, if I were counseling someone about losing weight, I'd warn her about these pitfalls. But I fall into them with my eyes wide open.
So last night, to cap off weeks of excessive eating, I had a LARGE Carvel hot fudge sundae. Not a small. A large. I ate it all. Down to scraping out every last bit of hot fudge. I gotta was delicious and worth every single last calorie. I've been thinking...obsessing...about a hot fudge sundae for weeks. So I decided to give in. And to give in big. It was delicious. Creamy. Warm. Thick. So utterly satisfying.
Today is a new day. The past is past. It's been a good day so far but I have a dinner meeting to attend tonight. I may have some problems with the meal. There won't be many choices so I'll just have to do the best I can.
And another dinner meeting tomorrow night. Also no choices and most probably some gorgeous French macaroons for dessert. I know I can skip the dessert. They are wonderful but I've had them before-in large quantities. I'm okay with forgoing the macaroons.
Excuses put to rest. Bad habits being tamed. On board again.

Friday, September 5, 2008

fat clothes

I read an e-mail today from a writer who is researching an article about people who save their fat clothes. It got me thinking about my wardrobe. I still dress like I'm trying to hide something. Now we all know that no matter how baggy the clothes, we're not actually hiding anything. If you normally wear a size 2 and you go up to a 4, then maybe a loose fitting top might fool someone but for those of us who are a bit larger than that, baggy clothes don't fool anyone.
I wear loose fitting tops not so much to try to fool people as to protect myself from the embarrassment of showing off how fat I am. It's not that I think people don't notice that I'm fat but that they just don't have to see the rolls around my middle or my protruding belly so I choose to wear a flowing top to "protect" them. But I surely don't think I'm fooling anyone.
So why do I dress like I'm hiding behind my clothes? Because I am comfortable that way. Belts, tucked in shirts, clingy tops....not for me. At this point in my life, a firm body will not be the end result of weight loss and exercise. So there's nothing to "show" hence the more comfortable loose clothing.
But should I save my fat clothes? The stuff that is too big...too flowing. Does saving that wardrobe imply that I expect to get fat again?
Well, it's happened before. I've been down and I've been up. And I've been way down and I've been way up. I've surpassed my fat clothes a few times but refused to buy bigger sizes. I still own a few pieces of my skinny clothes. I would wear them today...they're timeless in their style...if I could ever fit into them again. Alas, that is not going to happen. My body has changed (it's gone south) so that no amount of weight loss will help me get into those lovely pieces of fashion history.
Bottom line: I save my fat clothes. History has a way of repeating itself. I want to be ready.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Back on track

It's been both hard and easy to get back on track. Stopped by Trader Joe's yesterday and was oh so tempted by the huge container of Cherry Garcia in the freezer. And those frozen cakes. They looked pretty good. Oh, and the pizzas. Yes, the freezer case should be off limits to anyone trying to eat a healthier diet. Of course, the freezer section is also home to fish fillets, fruits and veggies but those don't tempt!
The last aisle, the one with the corn and potato chips and my favorite....the bagel chips...that's one I should avoid as well. I could taste those crispy salty bagel chips as I perused the display. I used to use them in place of croutons in my salads. That is, until I read the label. Damn those nutrition labels.
Since I'm not a chocoholic, standing on line at checkout next to the chocolate bars doesn't tempt me. Whose idea is it to put candy bars at the checkout? Why not cantaloupes? Or whole grain cereal? What's with the candy bars?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I came. I saw. I ate

Back from my trip. Heavier. Happier. Relaxed. Unfazed.
Pastrami. Egg creams. Pickles and pizza. Chinese food. Turkish food. Greek food. Fries and knishes. Bagels and bialys. What can I say. It was there. I came. I saw. I ate.
No regrets. Could have eaten more but didn't. Never ate past satisfied. Avoided three course meals. Ate only when hungry.
But most foods were calorie dense. Lots of fat. Quantity was not the issue. Calories were.
So many choices, so little time.
Wedding we attended was catered by Abigail Kirsh. Supposed to be "big" caterer. Food was so-so for the most part. Lovely cocktail hour with lots of pretty good food: lamb tenderloins, pasta station, Israeli couscous salad, breaded and fried cauliflower (my favorite!), veggie salads, passed hors d'oeuvres like duck spring rolls (didn't like and actually...pardon me..spit it out) and mini hamburgers (adorable) and baby BLT sandwiches (so cute).
Dinner was less successful: Green salad with goat cheese (ho hum); truffled sea bass (okay) with mashed potatoes and cooked spinach; "s'mores" dessert which was a concoction including homemade marshmallows (those were worth eating) atop a graham cracker crust layered with a chocolate mousse. It was okay. Not great. But I ate it. All.
So we are 'back in bowl' as we like to say. That means, we are back on track. On my way to Trader Joe's to stock up on veggies. Actually happy to be eating simply!!!
But that will change. Once Friday comes around. I'll be back at the restaurants. Trolling for new and exciting food.
The struggle continues.