Saturday, February 27, 2010
On our way to the first open house. I like this part of the Mission. I wonder if Jen thinks it's too gritty?
Whoa! Watch out for the girl with massive dreds and a huge cello on her back. Cello? Really? Oh, Mission hipsters. God love 'em.
Ooh, look how pretty that mural is! I love all the Mexican influence here. The color. The culture. And mmmm - it smells like burritos.
CRAP! It smells like burritos!! I canNOT live here!
Moving onto the next open house...
Friday, February 26, 2010
I ask you ... how do you look at a menu such as the one from Bungalow 44 in Mill Valley, CA and not want to eat everything in sight?! I guess the answer is, "don't look".
But, looking - and drooling - is exactly what I found myself doing last night as I met a friend for dinner.
For starters, we'll have the homemade burrata mozzarella paired with 3 kinds of salami on rustic bread (a new addition to the menu). Then for dinner, I will start with the Butter Lettuce Salad (Jicama, Apple, Napa Cabbage, Pecan, Creamy BBQ Dressing) followed by the Filet Mignon (Wild Mushroom and Potato Gratin, Baby Green Beans) - but instead of the green beans, can I get a side of Mushroom, Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese? Oh, and we'll split a side order of the Cayenne Spiced Onion Rings as well. Why not, let's splurge! Total gluttony! For dessert? Oof, I am so full. Why not ... how about the Bungalow Beignets w/ Espresso Crème Anglaise.
Aaaanddd ... roll me home.
Of course I didn't eat that. But is that what I wanted to order? Yes. Have I been known to order like that before? Definitely.
But, it was all a choice. I knew I was going out, so I checked the menu online prior so I wouldn't have as much temptation when I actually sat down. Sure, my friend's dinner looked (and tasted - yes, I had a very small bite of the spare ribs) richer and more glorious than mine, but at the end of the night, I was happy with the way I felt making smarter ordering decisions.
So, what did I have?
Starter: We split the crabcakes (watercress cream sauce on the side)
Salad: We split the Roasted Beets and Arugula w/ Bacon, Avocado, Skyhill Farms Goat Cheese - hold the bacon
Entree: Fish special of grilled Sea Bass, grilled asparagus, and baby potatoes - light oil, no butter with the roasted red pepper vinaigrette on the side
I still don't know how many points everything was, but I estimated high and for me it just means I will need to stay on a tighter track for the rest of the week.
Truth be told, that burratta salami dish made an appearance in my dreams last night though.
Ha! I love that there is a woman IN this post office calling THIS post office to tell them how "idiotic" it is for them to have a lobby greeter…"He should be behind the counter!" Agreed!
All they have are polar bear postcard stamps? That's going to be so inappropriate. Oh well.
Good god, that cheese steak place smells DEVINE! Keep walking..............
I have to be honest, though, I was none-too-happy after Wednesday night's weigh-in. After losing 6 pounds my first week, I was so on board with Weight Watchers that I was ready to get a Weight Watchers tattoo. Throughout the next week, I continued to track obsessively, stay away from Red Light foods (see Red Light District post), and overall make healthier choices.
And then I weigh in Wednesday night to find I hadn't even lost a full 2 pounds?! After the meeting, I found myself saying really eloquent things like, "This is bullshit!," and "What a waste!," and "Uggggggh!" And then I heard myself say "I am making all these healthy choices, and for what?!"
Um. Silly way of thinking, maybe? Defeats the whole purpose of Weight Watchers, maybe? Uh, yeah.
I realized after my silly rant that Weight Watchers is a lifestyle change, not a crash diet. Admittedly, I have been guilty of participating in many a crash diet fad in my time. But the problem with those fads is that first of all, they are not really good for you; they don't encourage good health and nutrition. And more importantly (to me, that is) is that once you go off the diet, you gain all your weight back! Lame!
So even if I only lose 1 pound per week on Weight Watchers, at least I know that it is a pound that will stay off for good. Yayyyy Weight Watchers!! Tattoo, anyone?
1 It has been pointed out by an anonymous member of our WW group—let's just call her M. Molen. No, no, that's too obvious. How about Miranda M.—that our Backstreet Boy/total weight loss tracking is slightly inaccurate because we do not subtract from the total any weight that is gained by group members. So, for the sake of being 100% accurate, after Week 1, our total weight loss was 13.5, not 16; and in total, our total weight loss is 18.3, not 21. Thank you.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tonight we talked about "Red Light Foods". What are those items hanging out in the fridge that may lead you to a state of utter abandonment and lascivious gluttony? The answer for me, my friends, is CHEESE. I like goat cheese or cheese from a cow and even sometimes sheep. I like gouda, feta, and spicy pepper jack. I'm not opposed to handfuls of parmesan on my pasta, a heap of cheddar in my eggs, or an honorable cheese platter for dessert. I could imagine worse fates than being spoon fed creamy buffalo mozzarella or melting classic American between two buttery slices of bread for an afternoon snack.
But I know that if I give in to all of my temptations all of the time, I will turn out to be one of those people that needs to be hoisted out of my apartment with a crane upon expiration. And that, is truly, a repulsive thought.
So unlike the drooling men peering into windows in the Red Light District, I will not give in to my every temptation. But that doesn't mean I won't have any fun either. It's about saying no to the cheese platter, but saying yes to a slice of slim milk American melted on a whole wheat tortilla (2 pts!). Maybe I don't need a cup of goat cheese on my salad, but could mix a tablespoon up with some breadcrumbs and herbs and stuff a tomato instead (3 pts!). And though indulging in a bit of cheese may not seem as immoral as propositioning a prostitute, it's all about managing temptation. So be strong my friends. Don't give in. Because even though it may taste or feel oh-so-good while you're doing it, the guilt (or venereal disease) you may experience afterward are simply not worth it.
By ANAHAD O’CONNOR
Published: February 22, 2010
For ages, mothers have admonished children at the dinner table to slow down and chew their food. Apparently, they’re onto something.
Researchers have found evidence over the years that when people wolf their food, they end up consuming more calories than they would at a slower pace. One reason is the effect of quicker ingestion on hormones.
In a study last month, scientists found that when a group of subjects were given an identical serving of ice cream on different occasions, they released more hormones that made them feel full when they ate it in 30 minutes instead of 5 . The scientists took blood samples and measured insulin and gut hormones before, during and after eating. They found that two hormones that signal feelings of satiety, or fullness — glucagon-like peptide-1 and peptide YY — showed a more pronounced response in the slow condition.
Ultimately, that leads to eating less, as another study published in The Journal of the American Dietetic Association suggested in 2008. In that study, subjects reported greater satiety and consumed roughly 10 percent fewer calories when they ate at a slow pace compared with times when they gobbled down their food. In another study of 3,000 people in The British Medical Journal, those who reported eating quickly and eating until full had triple the risk of being overweight compared with others.
In other words, experts say, it can’t hurt to slow down and savor your meals.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Eating at a slower pace may increase fullness and reduce caloric intake.
Monday, February 22, 2010
I'm proud to say that, while I held the little tin of cashews in my hot little hands, I put them back and opted for the pretzels. 3.5 points opposed to 12!! Feels good to make a good choice!
P.S. And don't worry, I've got a nice glass of Chardonnay to go along with my sensible snack.
5 martinis, however, are 15.5 points. And, if we're being honest, 6 martinis are worth 19 points.
Let me start at the beginning...
The date? February 20, 2010
The location? Modesto, CA
The occasion? Tristan & Ian's Engagement Party
Upon arrival at said party, I found myself surrounded by delicious appetizers - mini quiche, spanikopita, cheese platters, veggies & ranch ... you name it, all the good party foods were present. Instead of indulging in those high-point foods, we made our way to the proteins and chose wisely ... avoiding the bread to make a sandwich, we got creative and made lettuce wraps with tri-tip & horseradish and grilled chicken with veggies and mustard.
A few small wraps later and I was satisfed! (Full disclosure, I did have one mini quiche.)
Feeling full and pleased with my dinner choices, I was ready to mingle over a few drinks and managed to find my way to the martini bar. Again. And again. And again. And again.
For story's sake, I'm going to skip the middle part of the evening where we went to a bar and I promptly ordered my sixth (and final, thank you Loreal) martini before rambling on and on about my lazy eye and telling people about Miranda's 9-month around the world trip. (It was actually 4 months and not really "around the world")
Instead, I'll just tell you what I learned.
Six martinis equal 19 points and, apparently, that's just how many it takes to convince yourself you're wearing shoes when you're not, or to play with a ladybug on the hotel room floor for 20 minutes, or to become invisible so the Ren Folk in the hot tub 8 floors below won't see you staring at them out your window.
It probably wasn't the smartest way to ingest 19 of my 28 daily points, but it sure was fun (or so I am told).
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
When discussing our weight loss over sushi after the Wednesday night meeting, we realized that together, we lost the equivalent of a small child. This inspired us. I mean, if after one week, we were able to shed the weight of a small child, then what would we be able to accomplish after months and months of dedication?
The answer? Two words: Backstreet. Boy. That is decidedly our new goal. That is what we will accomplish after we all hit our goal weights. Sure, we will be healthier, happier, and we will look better. But the coolest part is that we will lose the equivalent of one Backstreet Boy!
We invite you to follow along (and sing along) as we make our way towards this goal.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
And no, I am not referring to television GRP levels ... ok, bad media joke but at least Miranda will get it.
What I am referring to is the weight I have put on as a direct result of my occupation.
3, 4, sometimes 5 days a week, I find myself in a kitchen that's brimming with leftovers ... from morning meetings, lunch meetings, and everything in between.
I work in an agency with a high contingency of food accounts and, while Milk does a body good, an endless supply of chips (Frito-Lay), nuts (Emerald), and chicken nuggets (Foster Farms) decidely does not.
And that's just from within these walls! Day in and day out, sales reps come by for meetings and, inevitably, they bring snacks. Whether it's pastries for a morning meeting, sandwiches for a lunch meeting, or coffee and cookies for a mid-day pick-me-up, it's everywhere all. the. time. If I've had one cupcake from every cupcake shop in this city, I've had 10. Oh, and during the holidays? Forget about it!
Food. It's my occupational hazard.
This morning was my first test ... from the picture above, please note the delicious almond croissant in the background (my favorite from La Boulange). In the foreground, some fruit.
What did I choose?
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
This is exactly the type of behavior as to why I find myself in the spot I am today. For years now, I've been saying, "If I didn't drink I'd be 20 pounds lighter."
San Francisco is a foodie town. Everything here revolves around the restaurant and bar scene, because it is among the best of the best. I literally had never tasted really good food or wine until I moved here nearly 13 years ago. At that time, I was a vibrant, world-at-my-fingertips 22-year-old. It seemed to matter what I did, I didn't gain a pound.
"Ain't got a care in world, but got plenty of beer; Ain't got no money in my pocket, but I'm already here"
These days, I've got a lot more coin for fancy dinners out, an extremely heightened love for wine among other boozies, and a much slower metabolism. When I am honest with myself, I have to admit that that 22-year-old was almost 50 pounds lighter than she is today. Mind boggling.
Just as the clock has ticked from 22 to 35 years, so do the months, weeks and days until my wedding. I've got a substantial amount of LBS to lose before the "big" day, and thought I could do it on my own by just counting calories and cutting back. Well, that has proven itself wrong-o time and again, most recently in January 2010. The "Bridiet 2010" was barely 6 weeks into itself and already an epic failure. Luckily this group stepped in and it persuaded me to take different action. Just a week into Winos on WW, I can already see the difference it is making in my daily life. Like mandatory workouts before letting myself show up at the after work happy hour. Result: half the time at the bar, only one glass of wine consumed (as opposed to the usual three and some fatty snacks). Or volunteering to drive the group home from dinner. Result: only 2 glasses of wine over the 3 hours (as opposed to a usual whole bottle). With these kind of choices, I can surly make my goal weight and maybe then some, in time to walk down the isle.
Because the social invitations aren't going to stop, and neither should I. But I can go about it in a better way.
"Don't stop, make it pop, DJ, blow my speakers up; Tonight, I'mma fight 'Til we see the sunlight; Tick tock on the clock, But the party don't stop, no"
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Hi all, from the snowy big apple. I'm excited to be invited as a guest blogger, bringing you low point meal ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Today I'll start with a typical at-work lunch. Keep in mind that I do have access to a fridge, microwave and toaster oven at my office. I also keep a set of measuring cups in my drawer. (I know, crazy, but I find that you have to be a little militant for this thing to really work and I think measuring portions is key.)
So, without further ado...
Good luck with tomorrow's weigh in SF crew!
~Jen's sista Susan
PS. This was my very first blog post ever!
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Michele: Remember the prom? You got so thin by then.
Romy: Oh, I know. I was so lucky getting mono. That was like the best diet ever.
Ha! Okay, I know, I know. That's cheating. This blog is about losing weight the healthy way, on Weight Watchers. But the truth is that being sick actually has been a good exercise in getting used to this Weight Watchers thing. Case in point: the other night a couple of high school friends who I hadn't seen in a while were in town so I went to meet them for a drink. They were at Frjtz, which is basically an upscale French Fry joint. Being on the sick side, fries didn't sound so appealing to me. So the first smart decision I made was to get full on low-point sushi before I met them. Loaded up on nigiri and even had a beer--all for 9 points. So far so good.
When I got there, they were all drinking, of course. Instead of jumping right in and ordering a ketel cranberry like I normally would (points galore!), I decided to hold off a bit and sipped on some water while we caught up. Then I ordered a glass of wine.
After we left Frjtz, we went to another bar in the Mission. Again, being sick, I wasn't in the mood to pound drinks, get wastey-pants, and start a dance party--which is generally my M.O. So instead, the whole night, I alternated between a bacardi and diet and a glass of bubbly water with a lime.
Overall, smarter decisions. And even though the impetus for making these decisions was my feeling less-than-stellar, I came to realize that it really wasn't *that* much harder, and it will totally be doable even once my health is fully restored.
The best part? I was still able to start a dance party in the street outside of the bar at the end of the night.
We tried this recipe last night since Loreal's family was in town and we wanted a hearty, easy dish enough for 6 people. Although I made few revisions (ground beef 93/7 instead of chicken, whole wheat pasta, and added veggies including mushrooms and onions + fresh basil), it was delicious! Highly recommended.
POINTS® Value: 11
Preparation Time: 30 min
Cooking Time: 50 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy
This tasty Italian casserole is a snap to make. Just use uncooked noodles and layer the other ingredients as usual. The dry pasta will absorb the extra liquid while cooking so you can say goodbye to runny lasagna!
1 spray(s) cooking spray
52 oz marinara sauce, store-bought
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion(s), chopped
1 pound(s) uncooked ground chicken breast
30 oz fat-free ricotta cheese
2 large egg white(s), lightly beaten
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
9 item(s) dry lasagna noodles
20 oz chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
12 oz Kraft Natural Cheese Low-moisture part-skim mozzarella, 1 1/2 cup shredded
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a large, deep lasagna pan with cooking spray. Measure 2 cups of marinara sauce; set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir until almost tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add chicken; cook until no longer pink, stirring frequently, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add remaining marinara sauce to skillet and stir until well combined; set aside.
3.Mix together ricotta cheese, egg whites, garlic powder and Italian seasoning in a large bowl until well combined.
4. To assemble lasagna, place 2 cups of reserved marinara sauce on bottom of dish. Layer with 3 noodles, 1/3 of ricotta mixture, 1/3 of spinach, 1/3 of mozzarella cheese and 1/3 of chicken-sauce mixture; repeat layers ending with chicken-sauce mixture. (Make sure to spread ingredients to edge of noodles.)
5. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake lasagna for 20 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and bake until cheese is melted and edges are bubbly, about 20 minutes more. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before slicing into 8 pieces.
Last month, I met with a friend of mine who set me up on her budgeting system. She came over for (pre-Weight Watchers) appetizers and wine while I pulled out credit card bills, bank statements, past-due medical invoices - everything I could find in the "I'll get to it later" pile. We worked through my new salary, outlining fixed expenses and setting up a monthly budget for everything from gas to groceries. I have a spreadsheet set up where I enter every penny I spend on a daily basis and, at the end of the month, all my entries are input into a larger budget document so I can track my progress. Good story, huh?
Point being, I started having to be accountable for every penny I was spending and in a lot of ways, this process was a good precursor to joining Weight Watchers. On only day 14 of the budget tracking and day 4 of Weight Watchers, I feel more in control of my life. Sounds cliche, but so do all the things Loreal and I find ourselves saying while we prepare for a meal, or after we eat it.
Case in point, after breakfast this morning (see below), we caught ourselves saying things like "I feel better just having made a smarter decision about what I eat" and "It feels good to be aware of what we're eating".
Valentine's Day Breakfast
3 egg white omelet w/ fresh veggies (red pepper, mushroom, and spinach) = 1 point
Coffee w/ 2 tbs 1% milk & splenda = 1 point
100 calorie English muffin = 1 point
1 tsp margarine = .5 point
6 oz OJ = 2 points
Friday, February 12, 2010
And me, I have always been A Real Fatty. Always. Fatty. It started with my love of raw hamburger and cheese filled hot-dogs & progressed to a full blown wine and cheese addiction as the years went on.
My Mom tried everything to help her youngest, fattest daughter. My parents sat me down one evening and said “Tristan, we are going to send you to nutrition counseling- to learn to have a healthy relationship with food.” You know what I was thinking? “Oh goodie- I hope they have snacks there!” They didn’t. And the counseling didn’t help either.
Then my Mom signed me up for The Diet Center. I don’t remember much from that period, except for drinking hot lemon water and being hungry for most of the 6th grade. Slim fast, colon cleanses, Atkins, eat right for your blood type- fat & hungry through all of the failed attempts.
Though my weight has always fluctuated, I reached an all time high in July of 2009. My Mom has passed away the year before & I comforted myself with plenty of wine, cheese, and anything else I could put in my mouth (like a bowl of white rice, covered in cheese, with salsa & sour cream on top- mmmm!). I work in a hospital & wear scrubs to work. One day I realized that the hospital was making the medium scrubs a little smaller than usual. Oddly enough- my jeans were smaller too. So, I started wearing sweat pants, all of the time. And feeling miserable.
Thankfully, my friend Beejay knocked on my door & said “Hey- I am going to go to weight watchers & start exercising again- do you want to come?” I thought “Hell NO I don’t want to go- I want another bowl of cheesy rice!” But in the end, I wanted to feel better, so I joined. Six months later and twenty pounds lighter, I feel like the veteran of this group. I have ten huge pounds to goal weight, but I am inspired by the excitement of this group and can’t wait to see what happens. I am about to head to the gym, but only because I want to have some activity points for wine tonight. Eleven of them.
In his office, he hung up a sheet of paper with a bold, underlined statement that said something about working out and wrote a list of "Do Not Eat" foods. Included on this list, among other things, was:
*Chili from Boudin (not even when hungover!)
Easy enough, I thought. No chili, no fried foods, light on the butter. Done.
I think I told my sister I had joined, as she had also gone through a major transformation with the help of Weight Watchers a few years before. She was encouraging enough, sending me lists of her go-to snacks and recipes. And I was really good for a few days; watched what I ate and tried to exercise, but I didn't have any real motivation, and the plan fizzled a week or two later.
Before even joining for the first time, I remember going home for Christmas after my sister had lost a bunch of weight and not only did everyone swoon over how great she looked, I could tell she felt better. It was a lifestyle change for her, and it didn't seem like it was this daunting task of a diet with all sorts of restrictions and rules. It was simply that she was more conscientious about what she ate, portion size, and making time to work out. She always told me, when she started Weight Watchers, it was the right time in her life to start the program and she was more motivated than ever to stick with it.
After my first failed attempt, I tried again a year later after what I am sure was some grandiose New Year's resolution. I logged on to WeightWatchers.com, entered my credit card information, got access to the tools, and sat back and waited for the pounds to come off. Turns out, the program doesn't work that way.
This time around, I stuck with it for a month or so. Counting points, logging my foods in the tracker, but never really staying accountable for what I was eating. I would estimate and cheat - a burger? Eh, maybe 7-8 points. A few fries? It was just a couple ... I probably shouldn't even count it. And then there's the booze. Need I say more?
I think I told my sister I joined again and this time was it. This time I was going to stick with it. Again, she was encouraging enough, sending me lists of her go-to snacks and recipes. And I was really good for a few days; watched what I ate and tried to exercise, but I didn't have any real motivation, and the plan fizzled a week or two later. Oh, you've heard that story before?
Well you won't be hearing it again.
This time - the third time - is the charm for me. This time, I am accountable. Not only by my friends whom I will see every Wednesday for our weigh in, a meeting, and some low-point sushi. And not only by my girlfriend who is in this with me. But most importantly, I am accountable by myself. To get healthy, work on the strength in my back, lower this high blood pressure that, if I am being honest, scares the bejeezes out of me, and to simply feel better.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
That's right. My first meeting. My first Weight Watchers meeting. I never thought I'd succumb to any kind of commercial weight loss plan. Never thought I'd attend a Weight Watchers meeting in my life. And certainly never thought I'd be nodding emphatically at a cheesy inspirational line like the aformenetioned. (After Victor said the line about loving yourself, he proceeded to dole out star stickers to members who contributed thoughtful insights about the weight loss process. No joke.)
But things change, right? And it's a new year, and there are new resolutions. Ones that I intend on keeping, for once.
When Tristan and Miranda started talking about the weight they had been losing on Weight Watchers, I became intrigued and started asking questions. How does it work? How many points can you have in a day? And, most importantly, how many points are in a bottle of wine? The answer is eleven--this blog's namesake. Tough, but doable, I thought.
So when Miranda approached Jen, Erika and me last week and suggested that every Wednesday, the four of us attend the Wednesday night meeting and go out to our favorite sushi place afterwards? Well, done and done, I said. (After, of course, I made Miranda give a detailed description about what, exactly, happens at the meetings and what, exactly, she meant when she said "confidential" weigh-in. "It means it's posted on YouTube and closed-circuit TV," Erika joked sarcastically.)
Getting on the scale for the first time last night was tough for me, but I got through it. (I'm sure the promise of delicious salmon nigiri afterwards didn't hurt.) And as I sat in the meeting afterwards listening to Victor talk about loving yourself while doling out star stickers, I took a good look around and realized, to my own shock and amazement, that he was right, and that this was exactly where I should be in order to get where I want to be.
The thought stuck with me as I sat in Warakabune 30 minutes later chowing down on salmon nigiri. (Only 2 points!)