Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Three! Three! Three Updates In One

WW Weekly Wrap Up #4: ‘Cause I’m Dressed Like A Cat?

In the words of Paula Abdul and M.C. Skat Kat (alright, and Peter Griffin): ”I take two steps forward, I take two steps back.”

Apparently, I had a bad week.

I poured back over my memory of the last week, because I’m not sure what happened or where I went wrong. It wasn’t Easter because [brace yourselves] I didn’t even touch the candy I put in 4.0’s basket. That is, until the weekend.

Wait, what’s that glow emanating from the ether above me? That would be a light bulb.

Last week was precisely why I need to start tracking.

So it was time to finally get my eTools account straightened out and start tracking.

Check and check.

Too bad I forgot add “prepare myself for shell shock” to that list.

Luckily, I have my buddy on the other side of my cubicle! Having my co-worker's support reminded me that when I started this leg of my journey, I told myself that I wasn’t necessarily going to fall in line right away. I have other priorities that could be adversely affected by sudden drastic changes to my diet.

Have you found your buddy?

On a different note, in getting my eTools setup ironed out, I found out that I’ve re-achieved a former 10% milestone from when I started WW during law school. (Yep, that means I weighed even more then than I do today—10% more!) Regardless, it made me feel much better about where I am right now to see where I’ve been not that long ago.

Week 4 Stats: +1.6
Total to date: Big Fat Goose Egg (how many points is that?)

WW Weekly Wrap Up #5: The System Works!

I was never one to have perfect attendance when I was a kid. I liked daytime T.V. too much to not fake sick sometimes. OK, as often as I could get away with it. And my first week of incorporating tracking was really no different.

But this week, I really can’t complain. All I did was track. I cut back here and there, but I was nowhere near staying within my range. But I’ve been eating with pert near wild abandon since my son was born in October. I hit the wall with that approach when I came back to work. So any cutting back, no matter how small, probably made an impact.

I am admittedly still eating well beyond my allotted daily Points value, not to mention my weekly Flex Points allowance. But seeing the horrifying statistics there in print definitely made me think twice about what I put in my mouth. As long as I have the time to actually lay down the tracks and add up the points.

So yeah, the system works. I’m living proof. At least for this week!

Week 5 Stats: -2.6
Total to date: -2.6

WW Weekly Wrap-up #6: [Insert Witty Subtitle Here]

Maybe it’s because I’m behind on posting my updates. Maybe it’s because I’m getting increasingly more busy, day in and day out. Maybe I’m just without a muse this week.

Another thing I was without this week: progress. As I mentioned in our meeting, I fell off the wagon. The Points-tracking wagon, that is. It was just not what I wanted to do when I got home at night or when I had an extra moment to spare during the work day. I did, however, not deviate too much from the same food choices throughout the week. So I roughly knew that I wouldn’t be too terribly far off track.

But it brings me to another point (of contention, of course!) Late last year, WW had this commercial that annoyed the dickens out of me. You know, the one that said “all [WW] takes is [like] 35 minutes a week.” Or some such claim.

I call bullshit. (And I really did. Each and every time that exasperating thing aired!)

If you’ve ever tracked points, you know what I’m saying. Following the plan takes WAY more than just the time it takes to attend a meeting each week. Unfortunately (for this rant) I know the plan works. It’s just sooohohoooo haaaaaard.

Yeah, yeah. Pity party for one.

Anyway, in the interest of time (and to spare you from the boredom likely setting in by now) I’ll leave it there. Here’s hoping for a more relevant (not to mention timely) update from Week 7!

Week 6 Stats: +0.4
Total to date: -2.2

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Blog Challenge #12

This week's prompt: Write a haiku! (or maybe three?)

Sitting at my desk
Watching the rain hit the trees
Drip drip drop drip drop

Too lazy to bake
3 of 7 Wonder Bar

Afternoon treads on
Outlook reminder pops up
One maid-a-milking

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Blog Challenge #11

What's a skill you don't possess that you wish you did?
This is a tough prompt for me to tackle. My immediate thought is “don’t get me started! Don’t even get me started!” An exercise such as this is like my own personal Pandora’s Box because, simply stated, I am undoubtedly my own harshest critic.

So I’ll go dig deep and use my elementary school report-writing “skills” as a jumping-off point.

Skill: A developed talent or ability., citing American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed.


Allow me to explain. Looking back on my life thus far, I feel I have lived the quintessential “Jill of all trades, master of none” life. OK, maybe not all trades, but a good many. And I could get by in all of my endeavors, be it athletic, artistic, academic, or social. But I never really had a talent or ability that I excelled at enough to really have it develop into a mastered skill, per se.

I don’t have anything that’s my thing. You know, the type of thing that a person would say: “You should call her. She knows everything there is to know about that.” As Fella would say (about his self), “I don’t have quite that intense of a personality for such things.” Which is, of course, a load (his “things” are: old cars, architecture, history and politics, and geography--or perhaps more accurately cartography). His things he can speak on with authority.

So what is it that I would like to speak with authority on?

The smartass in me answers, “What wouldn’t I?!” Which, really, is just another diversion tactic from answering the question.

So here goes nothing: I’d like to possess mad cake decorating skills.

All that lead-in blather for that?! I know, I was hoping for something loftier myself, but that’s what I came up with.

Is there anything you can do to gain that skill?
There’s plenty I can do. There are Wilton® classes at craft stores. And there’s always the culinary program at DVC. To name a couple.

Why haven't you done it?
Why, time, why else! The constraint of time is the bane of my existence. It was the basis of my conversation with my checker at Trader Joe’s on Sunday, who, after awhile conceded defeat to my schedule, just as I seem to have.

I should make time, I know. And someday I will. Right after I do all the other things that make up this Jill’s life right now.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Blog Challenge #10

This week's prompt: Did You Build Forts as a Child?

I have to admit here, I don’t know as I could take any credit for any fort-building initiatives in my childhood. You see, I had (ok, still have) this older brother. And he had a thing for building things. Lincoln Logs, Leggo’s, popsicle sticks, toothpicks, wood blocks--you name it, my brother built things with it.

Oddly enough, we didn’t have a couch situation that enabled us to build forts with its cushions. Perhaps that was a strategic move on our parents’ part. So what I remember most, is building snow forts for snowball fights in the winter. Brother needed extra man power to pack the snow in good. Being the "yes man" little sister that I was, dug my heels in and went to work until the frostbite nearly set in.

And what thanks did I get in return? A turncoat. That’s right, from workhorse to target, I was powerless against his reign of terror. Well, almost powerless. The perfect pitched screech and crocodile tears always swayed the jury of our parents. He may have been older, but I was pretty shrewd.

But giving credit where it is due, were it not for my brother, I’m not sure that I would have ever thought to build a fort of my own accord. In fact, I’m fairly certain there are a lot of things that I wouldn’t have known, done, or seen were it not for brother paving the way before me.

Thanks brother (if you ever read this).

Friday, April 9, 2010

Food Substitutions

Here's the article on the food substitutions that I mentioned in the @Work meeting yesterday.


Allergen-Free Ingredient Substitutions
Don't let food allergies discourage you from baking tasty treats. Try these allergen-free ingredient replacements from Cybele Pascal, author of "The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook."

Ditch the Dairy
In baking, dairy is used to provide moisture but also contributes to flavor and body, and its sugars help with browning. Vegan milks can easily mimic all of these qualities.

Rice Milk
Use rice milk anywhere you might traditionally use cow's milk -- it is easy to find and has a mild flavor. Rice milk is generally made from brown rice. It is thinner than other nondairy milks, but it still provides yummy moistness.

Hemp Milk
Hemp is the most nutritious of vegan milks, and it has a rich, nutty flavor.

Egg-Free Baking
Eggs provide moisture, richness, binding, and leavening. You can use a variety of alternative ingredients in place of eggs.

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce = 1 egg
Applesauce works as a binding agent and is a great substitute for eggs, oil, or shortening when you want to reduce the fat.

1 teaspoon baking soda + 1 teaspoon cider vinegar = 1 egg
This is an old baking trick from World War II days, when eggs were rationed. It provides leavening in place of eggs. Add the baking soda to the dry ingredients and add the vinegar to the liquid. Wait to combine the dry and liquid ingredients until the very last minute, because the chemical reaction occurs as soon as the baking soda and vinegar meet.

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal + 3 tablespoons warm water = 1 egg
Flaxseed works just like an egg, doing everything but leavening. It's moist, rich, and binding. Flax is often processed in facilities along with tree nuts or other allergens, so be sure to check with the manufacturer before consuming flax if cross-contamination is a concern for you.

Peanut Butter Proxy
SunButter (sunflower seed butter) is a great replacement for peanut butter and other nut butters.

Copyright 2010 Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

WW Weekly Wrap Up #3: Well That’s Different!

After week two, my pediatrician recommended that I make a few dietary changes. OK, maybe not my pediatrician, but 4.0’s. I was supposed to add more fruit and dairy, and while you’re at it, vegetables, too.

You know, more of those pesky “filling foods.”

So add I did.

And I was really hoping that by adding a fruit & yogurt smoothie to my early morning, I would be able subtract the number of feedings I require in the late morning. This was not the case.

Unlike most “normal” human eaters, adding what amounts to another meal doesn’t stick with me. No matter what or when I eat in the morning, I’m hungry about every two hours (e.g., 6 a.m. breakfast, begets an 8 a.m. snack, which leads to a 10 a.m. nosh, etc.). So usually I power through on a glass of OJ until I get into the office and have my breakfast at 8am. Why add the extra calories from an extra meal, right?
Imagine my surprise when the scale went down at weigh-in.

So by adding I did subtract? Hmmm.

This is where I have to confess: I really have no idea what I’m eating day in and day out. I’m so not on track with tracking. I haven’t so much as counted a point thus far. I’m far too paranoid to find out what I’m consuming, because I’m far too scared of the reaction I will have to finding out what I’m consuming.

Denial sure ain’t just a river in Egypt!

So perhaps by adding the smoothie to the front of the day, I dropped something I was eating on the flip side. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps!

After all of this, I decided to actually look at program materials on these magical, mystical filling foods: “People tend to eat the same volume of food each day—by filling their stomachs with food, they avoid feelings of hunger. If you eat foods that are high in volume, but low in calories, you’ll feel satisfied even as you do what you need to do to lose weight. […] They’ll fill you up on fewer calories.” Book 1: Food Plan Basics: Start Eating Smarter, page 17. (Emphasis added).

There’s no disputing that filling foods are…er, filling. I mean, it’s right there in the description. And sure they may quell hunger, but do they really satisfy? Maybe that’s the carb- and chocoholic in me talking. But I’m still left wondering, why when I add filling foods am I not fuller?

Maybe it’s just the way my metabolism works. Maybe it’s a mental or emotional thing. Maybe it’s a great mystery that I’ll just never fully understand. But I guess if it means I get to subtract at the scale each week, I’ll keep adding until I’m full.

Week 3 stats: -1.4
Total to date: -1.6

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Blog Challenge!

What's an Easter memory from your childhood? How is/will your child's Easter celebration be different or the same?

As I was preparing for 4.0’s first Easter, I couldn’t help but reflect upon my Ghosts of Easters Past.

Spring break never seemed to coincide with the holiday. My first year in law school, I remember thinking I was going to make myself a nice Easter dinner since I was spending it alone (I splurged on lamb!) Unfortunately, I got a little over zealous with the garlic. To boot, I suddenly came down with the flu and started feeling like death not long after I tried to stomach the over-garlicked spread. It was awful and all I wanted was my mommy to make it all better. So when I hosted a potluck Easter the following year, I made ham.

One year in college, a bunch of my sorority sisters who hadn’t made the treks home to celebrate decided to have a potluck at the house. I think I ended up bring dinner rolls. I don’t remember much more about it than that, except that I was glad to have friends to share the day with.

As I was shopping for the final touches for 4.0’d Easter basket (read: candy for me and Fella) I recalled the goodies my brother and I got from the Easter Bunny each year. There were definitely some constants: these little cartons of chocolate eggs, foil wrapped chocolate bunnies and eggs, jellybeans (Jelly Bird Eggs, actually), and maybe a Regal Chocolate Rabbit. Somehow I remember getting spice drops, too, but I could be confusing that with the candy we were traditionally given on Valentine’s Day.

Regardless, I found myself wishing I could pick up the same candies for my guy (who can’t even eat it this year). Now that I think about it, I’m sure I could order most of the above, but that would take a little foresight on my part (got to work on that). And now that I’ve had time to contemplate, I wonder: do I really want the focus of 4.0’s memories to be on candy like his food-troubled mother?! Things that make you go hmmm.

What I’d really like for 4.0 is to have are memories like the one I have of my Easter in Memphis. We shared the holiday with relatives we didn’t get usually get to share any holidays with, including my second cousin five months my junior. I remember we each got Barbie umbrellas and I was SO in love with mine. I kept treating it like a parasol. I mean, we were in the south after all. Oh how I longed to be a southern belle!

Looking back, what resonates with me most now was how special it was to spend the holiday in a different place with different relatives than we were used to spending the holidays with. I want 4.0 to relish the time he spends with his family, especially since so many of my relatives are far-flung . I certainly want him to have a greater appreciation of his extended family than I did when I was younger. Hopefully he’ll take after his father that way.

It does strike me as odd that being a religious holiday, I don’t have much memory of the church part of Easter. I am sure we attended Easter Mass (or at least ¾ of us did), it just left no impression on me. But can a child really get his head around the religious meaning of Easter anyway? I mean, Christmas is easy—we all have birthdays like the little baby Jesus. Getting that. But death and resurrection? Not exactly hitting close to home.

So how will my child’s Easters Yet to Come differ from mine past? Really, I hope not much at all.