Saturday, July 24, 2010

To Have and to Hold...On to Pounds!

It is exactly one week until my father walks me down the aisle. It has been a blur of activities, mostly fun, but some stressful. I had heard that in the weeks prior to your wedding, pounds magically fall off! “Don’t worry, Tristan, you will drop, like tons of weight right before the wedding.” Well guess what, that DOESN’T happen. It is true that I am just three little pounds away from my goal weight, but I am here to report that it was done through good, old fashioned weight watchers hard work. After the famous nacho blow out (with fellow bride and wino, Erika), I knew something had to change. I began watching portions and counting points- something, I confess, I hadn’t done in months. With all of the wedding activities, I was able to maintain, but not lose. So two weeks ago, I made a few small changes: more protein, less quantity, and fewer sips of wine. The result: 5 pounds and more nipping in of the wedding dress.

As I stood in the fancy-pants bridal salon and took a look at my arms, I realized that I have lost 28 pounds. It took a whole year to get it off and I am still not at the finish line. However, I am ready to take my fathers arm and to smile, knowing that I worked hard to get where I am. Just because I am getting married, doesn’t mean that the barn door is open for cheese and bread fest. Instead, I will continue to strive for the balance weight watchers has helped me achieve. When I started at weight watchers, my motto was “Slow and steady wins the race.” Instead of thinking that I had to lose 30 pounds (sounds scary, doesn’t it!), I just took it day by day and bottle of wine by bottle of wine. And now, I am the bride I want to be. Thanks to all of my fellow winos & to my fabulous fiancé for supporting me and for tell me to slowly back away from the gummy worms.

Signed, The Future Mrs. Margetson

Three Words:

It means "milk caramel" in Spanish and its DELICIOUS. It is said that dulce de leche originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1829. I'm sure everyone has heard of it by now. In 1997, Häagen-Dazs introduced a dulce de leche flavored ice cream; in the same year, Starbucks began offering dulce de leche flavored coffee products. And in 2009, the Girl Scouts introduced a dulce de leche flavored cookie.

A few months back I blogged about wanting to slim down for an upcoming wedding I was going to in Buenos Aires. My goal was to lose 10 - 15 lbs. Well, I didn't quite make my goal, but I was down about 9 lbs by the time I left. I got home on Wednesday morning after an awesome week of visiting with friends, exploring a beautiful city, drinking incredible Malbec wine and indulging guessed it, copious amounts of dulce de leche.

I think we can all agree that its pretty difficult to count points while on vacation, especially in a foreign country where the nutritional information, if its even listed, is in a different language and usually a different unit of measure! Anyway, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

How many points do you think this would be?

Yes, that's what homemade flan is supposed to look like. And because flan isn't rich enough, you simply must add about a 1/2 cup of dulce de leche on the side...and you MUST eat it ALL. It would be rude not to.

Or what about a portion of one of these dulce de leche flavored desserts?

I don't know either...but let me tell you, it was worth it!

I think that crazed look in my eyes says it all.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Skinny Bitch

I recently started working more closely with someone in my department at work on a new project. Lets call this person Skinny Bitch. Skinny Bitch is funny, nice, super cute, a great dresser, and, you guessed it….skinny!

This week, Skinny Bitch and I happened to be walking out of the office for lunch around the same time. Skinny Bitch asked me where I was headed. I paused in my head for a second, wondering if I should tell her I was walking down to Weight Watchers to do my weekly weigh-in. But I then immediately told Skinny Bitch this info, because hey, I'm telling the freakin world about it on my blog, I can let this co-worker know what I'm up to. She's a Skinny Bitch, so she probably won't understand, but whatever.

As I blurted out my lunchtime errand, she mumbled something about knowing about that. I shrugged it off and went about my merry way, wondering what indulgent lunch she would come back with. Because as we all know, or assume anyway, Skinny Bitches can eat whatever they feel like and it NEVER comes back to haunt them.

Later that day, Skinny Bitch and I were standing around the same post-work happy hour. She was nibbling on a cheese plate, one of my favorite things in the whole wide world. Figures! As we sipped out drinks and chatted, she asked how my trip to WW went. "Oh great," I responded. "Down a little more than a pound this week!"

Skinny Bitch then proceeded to tell me how much she digs WW and had previously lost 35 lbs, yes THIRTY-FIVE pounds, on the program. My mind was spinning! How could this be?! She's so…….SKINNY. She shared with me how she used to be a bit chunkier and I listened in awe. Though she no longer does the weekly WW thing, she still abides by what she learned from the program. The big things she did to achieve success: 1) add veggies to everything, and 2) cut all portions in half.

Well, what I learned that day was that WW works! And that you never know who around you might have gotten their skinny-on by counting points. Just look at Skinny Bitch! She is proof positive that someday, someone just might, if I'm lucky, call me Skinny Bitch too.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It Takes Two

In May, after about three months of Weight Watchers, I decided to take my weight loss journey to the next level: I signed up to run the Kauai Half Marathon.

My event is in September, and for the past six weeks, I have been wrapped up in hard, intense training. Short runs. Long runs. Sprints. Intervals. Sit-ups. Push-ups. Boot camps. All of it.

I am not a runner. In fact, when I went on my first run after signing up for the marathon, I couldn't even make it to the end of my block without stopping to walk. So I obviously felt a huge sense of accomplishment last weekend when I ran eight miles without stopping. A five- or six-mile run is no sweat for me, now. Amazing, right?

However, I got on the scale last night and came to realize that despite all of this intense training, I haven't lost a single pound. Despite running 25-30 miles per week, despite giving up my Wednesday sushi nights to track workouts, despite the sit-ups that keep my abs sore for days and the hard runs that cause my knees to nearly buckle when I get out of bed in the morning... I still weigh exactly as much as I did before I started running.

Why? Because Weight Watchers isn't just about eating right. And it's not just about moving more. It's about doing both. And I realized that since I've kicked up the workouts, I've also kicked up the calorie consumption.

"Oh, it's fine if I eat these two oatmeal raisin cookies—I ran 6.5 miles this morning!" As it turns out, this is not true. (It's also not true that it's okay to drink strawberry milkshakes after a workout, or that a chocolate croissant is fine to have with coffee in the morning if I'll be working it off later that day, or that I no longer need to track my wine intake now that I work out regularly.)

So it's back to tracking and healthy eating—but without giving up the hard workouts. Because my goal weight is just as attainable as that marathon finish line. Even if, in the meantime, both of them are kicking my ass.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Divine Deliciousness - Sea Bass with Fennel Rice

My roommate and I cooked an amazingly delicious dinner the other night and I just had to share the recipe.  The ingredients aren't cheap, but this may possibly be the best meal I've had in months!

Roasted Sea Bass with Tomato and Green Bean salad

Makes 4 servings
6 pts/serving

Saute 1/2 lb of green beans in a medium saute pan just spray pan with 0 calorie olive oil cooking spray for about 10 minutes until tender.

Mince 1 garlic glove and mash to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt.  In a bowl, whisk together garlic with 2 tbsp red-wine vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Whisk in 2 tbsp olive oil.  Toss with green beans and 1/2 lb grape tomatoes (mixed colors if possible), 1/2 lb cherry tomatoes (mixed colors if possible) and 2 tbsp of capers.  Cut large tomatoes in half if necessary.  Let stand and stir occasionally while fish cooks.

Preheat oven to 425 with rack in the middle.  Spray a 1 1/2 to 2 quart baking dish with olive oil spray.

Rub flesh sides of 4 6-oz fillets of sea bass with 1 tablespoon of oil and season with 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper total.  Slice 1/2 of a red onion in thin slices and divide into 2 portions.  Sandwich each portion and 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh oregano between 2 fillets of fish.  Tie the fillets together with kitchen string and transfer to the baking dish.  Roast fish in oven until just cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Cut strings and serve 1 fillet per person topped with salad.

Fennel and Golden Raisin Rice

Makes 4 servings
4 pts/serving

Cook 1 medium onion (diced) and 1 large fennel bulb (stalks discarded, also chopped) with 1/3 cup golden raisin, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes stirring occasionally.  Look for the onions to become translucent but not caramelized to determine when the mixture is cooked to perfection.  Add 1 cup long grain white rice and cook for about a minute.  Add 2 cups of water and bring to a strong boil.  Thightly cover and cook on low heat, undisturbed, until water is absorbed, about 22 minutes.

Remove from heat.  Let stand for about 10 minutes, then serve with the fish dish above and a glass of French Chardonnay if you so choose!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

When you're sliding into first, and you feel a great big burst...

As some of you may or may not be aware, Wino Tristan and I held a dueling bachelorette party at an all-inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta last weekend. Our enthusiastic and generous friends attended and we all ate and drank a lot. Because everything we ate and drank was "free", it is anyone's guess as to how many calories were consumed by any one person. Endless mimosas, omelets made to order, waffles, an entire spread of authentic Mexican food….and this is just breakfast, folks.

By the time I got home, I felt like I'd had my fill of food in general, and Mexican food specifically. I was ready for the end. What I wasn't ready for was what came next…

I woke up on Monday morning to a little tickle in my throat. "Maybe I'm coming down with a cold," I thought. By 9 p.m. I was projectile vomiting chunks of food that made me recall every little thing I'd eaten that day. When I emailed my friends about what was going on, guess what the #1 response was: Well, at least you'll lose some weight!

I must admit that this thought crossed my mind as well. After countless plates from the make-your-own-nachos-bar at the resort, I was fully prepared to have a gigantic +5 lb gainer on my Weight Watchers score card this week when I weighed in. But after 48 hours of the runs, I was actually down to my lowest weigh-in to date! Wow, maybe this flu thing does have something to it!

But as I am on day three of non-stop diarrhea, I am also now asking myself, what kind of sick society do we live in where we all get excited about being sick?! A quick-fix to an over-indulgent weekend is the good fortune of coming down with a 72-hour virus. In the meantime, I'm laid up on the couch, unable to proceed on with some of my more healthier aspects of life, like getting to my bi-weekly weight training class. On the flip-side, I've also now missed two, count 'em, 2 happy hours in as many days.

Look, I'm seriously glad there was little consequence to the weekend of debauchery on my body, but it is time that we do not look forward to puking our guts out to get ahead on the scale. As my flu comes to an end, it is now time to re-calibrate my health eating and working out habits, so I can get ready for the next event the healthy way. Two weeks until Winos Tristan's wedding...time to eat salad and get the running shoes back in action.

(Pictured: Tristan and Erika's childhood-to-now friend, Lisa, displaying one of numerous plates of nachos made over the weekend.)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Homemade Granola

I love granola, but the store-bought varieties tend to be high in fat and calories, which as we all know, equals high WW Points values. Plus, its expensive! I recently found a recipe in Bon Appetit magazine for homemade granola. After a few tests and tweaks, I think I may have found the perfect, all natural, low Point, wallet-friendly recipe.

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp + 1 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries

  • Preheat oven to 300.
  • Mix first 7 ingredients in large bowl.
  • Heat honey and oil in saucepan until smooth.
  • Pour honey mixture over oat mixture and stir thoroughly.
  • Spread on non-stick baking sheet.
  • Cook for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Allow to cool, then mix in fruit.
  • Store in air-tight container or ziplock.
Servings = 20 (1/4 cup)
WW Points = 2

I like to eat mine over WW vanilla yogurt with 1/2 cup of fresh fruit tossed in.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Celebrate This. Bitch.

I have a lot of friends.  This is a good thing.  When I need a drink after work or want to spend a Sunday in the park, I have a long list of people I can call.  I'm never bored or lonely.  And when I'm down or need a listening ear, there is always someone there for me.  Knowing this makes me smile.  

But lately, there's been a lot more events to attend...

Two friends are getting married soon.  Another just got engaged.  Several have birthdays around this time.  One just had a baby.  Another is celebrating her son’s first birthday.  It's fourth of July.  There are BBQ's and parties and weekend getaways galore.  

It seems like all I do these days is celebrate...  appetizers to make, gifts to buy, glasses to be raised.  And every time I toast to someone else's new found love or the emergence of another human being from their uterus, I'm forced to slurp up another glass of calories or shove another fried cheese ball down my pie-hole.  Apologies for the vulgarity here, but I'm ready to take those personally monogrammed towels and strangle myself with them.  I’ve had it.  I’m done.

I’M TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT HERE PEOPLE, and your need to celebrate your life transition is really hindering my progress.  I’m glad you have found the love of your life.  I’m thrilled your baby has 10 fingers.  I couldn’t be happier that you’ve reached the 34th year of your life without having a nervous breakdown.  But I don’t want to get fat again to prove it! 

Why does celebration always entail ingesting the most indulgent food and drink???  Can’t we acknowledge all this excitement with a brisk walk and some carrot sticks?  How about 100 sit ups and a Zone bar?  Maybe a pilates class followed by a protein shake?  No?  Doesn’t sound fun?  What do you mean? 

Ok, alright, fine.  We can skip the chin ups before we hit the champagne.  But you better believe that I’m bringing my own snacks to the party and cutting that wine with some seltzer next time.  Your celebration will not equate to my physical inflation.  Your fabulous event will not be my spiraling descent.  I can do this dammit! 

With a little luck and a lot of tracking, the next time I pop a bottle of bubbly, it’s going to be in celebration of my own success.  No, I'm not talking about finding my soul mate... simply reaching my goal weight.  Think I can register for that?