Friday, October 23, 2009

Three Little Words

I admit I didn't see it coming. I was not ready. I had no idea that three words could have this effect on me. I have been afraid of commitment ever since...well that is another story. Now here I am. You turned my head  around with those three little words. I never had a chance.  I wanted it so desperately. You knew that. You played with my weakness, my fear, and my heart. Even with my integrity. I really didn't want to do it; not now anyway, maybe later when I got things together. When I was ready. All because of those three little words: Do It Anyway! Now I just can't get those words out of my head. They are there when I wake up, and I just can not ignore them.

Those three little words are in a book that I found on my book shelf when I was decluttering about a week ago. I am always talking about decluttering. It might seem that I have a house full of stuff piled up ceiling-high with a path through the clutter from room to room. Not at all. It's just that my lifestyle has changed. I no longer work and have no use for the clothes, shoes, accessories, and other accoutrements of a working woman. I always wait until I feel ruthless about getting rid of things I no longer use; then I take care of just one thing, a closet, a chest, or even just a drawer. When I start to get iffy about tossing something, I know I am weakening so I stop. That is exactly what happened when I was clearing a bookshelf the other day. I found a book by Linda Spangle, RN, MA, called 100 Days of Weight Loss. I literally had this book hovering over the paper recycling can when I started looking through it. It ended my decluttering for the day. I have no idea how long I have had this book, but I am glad I have it. I really like it. So far it has been easy to get through each day. Spangle calls them Daily Mini Lessons. There is even a web site where a journal and other forms can be downloaded free. I do not like writing down what I eat every day, but these mini lessons so far have not asked me to do that, and they are thought-provoking and quick. I know at least one works because on Day 3, the mini lesson on exercising seduced me into exercising. I was putting it off as long as I could. I wanted to conquer other things first: drinking water, menu planning, even portion control. Anything but exercise.

Now I am committed to exercise because of this book and my integrity. How could I ignore those words and write this blog honestly? I certainly would not want to be like that lady who used a picture of an attractive Russian mail order bride as her after picture when clearly her before picture looked better than her real after photo. As it turns out, she may wind up on a very restricted diet after all.

So what kind of exercise am I doing? Pilates? aerobics? resistance training? No, no, and no. I am doing a workout called Vertical Abs. It lasts 10 minutes. What can I accomplish in 10 minutes? Well more than I could if I was sitting on my astilbe. A person like me who really hates to exercise would be the one to find a 10 minute workout. I know that I need to do more to see more results faster. But just because I was seduced doesn't mean I have to go all the way the first time. I can build up to 15, then 20 and maybe even 25 minutes per workout. For now I am committed to 10 minutes with Joyce Vedral. Why Joyce and not Gilad, the Isreali Stud Muffin or some hot young babe? Well Joyce is 65 years old. While she may be in perfect shape, she is realistic. She decribes her family's body type as boxes with wheels. When I read her biography, I saw that she has a background similar to mine: single parent working two jobs, one at the former NYC Board of Education (now known as the Dept. of Education). She tried and failed many times including coming in last in a beauty contest. I have never entered a beauty contest, but I like Joyce's spunk. I look at her and think that I could really do something. That is why I am working out with her. She is realistic and for me, very motivating.

One last thing. I am now a daily water drinker. I drink between 5 and 8 glasses a day, most of the time it's 6 or 7 glasses. My glass turned out to be inaccurate. It holds 6 1/2 ounces and not 8. But I am satisfied. I will add to it until I reach 64 oz a day. I have only faltered a few times, and when I did, I seemed to crave water later in the day. My next counter will be for my 100 Day program.

Thanks for reading. I'd love to hear what works for you. And if you have a few tips, I'd like to post them, with your permission of course.

Friday, October 16, 2009

You call THAT Lunch!?

No matter how big the picture is, this meal or snack just does not work for me. Sprinking herbs on it doesn't fool me for a second. I have seen people with bigger toenails than that piece of cheese.  And 1/4 of a slice of a tomato? Puh-leeeze. I would burn more calories watching tv than eating 1/4 of a slice of tomato. In fact my research shows that even a person weighing 200 pounds burns 45 calories when eating for 20 minutes. A 1/4 slice of tomato, depending on its size, is anywhere from 5 to 15 calores. I could give you all kinds of wacko math, but I am not counting anything anymore. No more dieting for me either. And I do know the idea is to burn more calories than one eats. Yes, I know it very well from years of experience dieting, counting, measuring, reading countless books on diets, food plans, and ways of eating. Let's not forget writing down how it made me feel. I call that period of time  The Years of Failure.

The word "DIET"  may evoke images of tiny morsels dressed up to trick us into thinking we are eating gourmet food. Or it may bring lettuce and black coffee  to mind.  All kinds of emotions churn around, emotions that make a person hungry. Very hungry. Because if we are going on a diet, we won't be able to eat the things we love, like the cake, the cookies, the mashed potatoes, and my all-time favorite, the ice cream.

I decided this is all coming to a stop. No more diets. No more counting every bite that goes into my mouth. No more food journals. No more diet book or exercise DVD of the week. Well what then? I've got to do something. I know the answer; at least it is the answer for me. It is not a secret or magic. It is, in a word,


Without change nothing new will ever happen. Without change, everything stays exactly as it is, everything including my hips. Without change, I will have very convenient excuses for eating all of those unhealthy things that will shorten my life.

"We went out; there was nothing healthy on the menu."

 "It's the holidays; we have our family traditions. I just can't do anything between Halloween and Valentine's Day. Make it President's Day. I always make a cherry pie."

"I'm starting Tomorrow, Monday, after vacation, the day after President's Day."

"The kids had a candy sale."

"Mabel baked this for us; we can't throw it away."

"Just one taste, bite, spoonful, handful won't hurt."

I could go on with the excuses. On and on fooling myself. It is easier; it's comforting.  I've made it this far. I feel safe when everything is  the same. So far I have controlled my diabetes most of the time. I could delude myself with that. But that is not what I really want.

 I know three things. One is that change is very very difficult; the second thing I know is that I can change. Finally I know this change will be better in inumerable ways.

 Ironically, this all started with my beloved ice cream. I have always said that I could eat ice cream every day. It is my absolute favorite thing in the world to eat. One day last summer there was a sale at the super market. Buy One Get one! I could not resist. I would prove that I was in control; I would make that ice cream last for weeks, even months. Sure I would. One day it was my lunch. Another day I had 2 helpings. I will spare you the gruesome details. Oddly enough I have not really wanted ice cream since then. I have pretty much eradicated my desire for sweets. That is not to say that I won't go down Candy Lane or Cupcake Boulevard again. I probably will, but I truly believe that it will not trigger a monster sugar fest.

I did one thing differently. I decided to have 1 ounce of semi-sweet chocolate morsels at night while watching tv. The rich decadent morsels melting  slowly and sweetly in my mouth have proved to be very satisfying. Now that dark chocolate is actually healthy, I swear it tastes even better.

So this is my plan: Baby steps. One small change at a time until it seems like something I have always done. It will take time, and there will be days when I struggle. I know that when I get to exercise, it will be extremely difficult. But right now, I am trying to stick to things that I believe I can accomplish.

If you have read this far, thank you for sticking it out. Please share your views. Tell me what works for you.

Marie, who is effortlessly drinking losts of water every day.

Monday, October 12, 2009

You made chicken fingers with WHAT?

Hello Everybody,

As promised, I am posting two chicken recipes from Hungry Girl. I just love Hungry Girl. I am finding that a lot of products I buy lately are Hungry Girl Approved.  She also comes up with some great tasting recipes no matter what kind of food plan you follow. I tried her No Harm Parm, a recipe  for Chicken Parmesan; it was great. I don't even like chicken that much, but her Fiber Fried Chicken Strips were so crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside, I have already made them twice. I must admit, seeing Fiber One as the main ingredient for the breading did make me wince. But I tried it anyway, and I am so glad I did. I did make one adjustment to the recipes; I am not a fan of garlic salt, so I used garlic powder and a little kosher salt.  I can't wait to try this again with some salt-free seasonings, like Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Seasonings.

I hope you enjoy these dishes as much as I did. Have a good week, and don't forget to drink up!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A View from the Refrigerator

On Monday I went to the supermarket. However, bottled water is one thing I did not buy. Why? Because I live in New York City, where the tap water tastes just great. It is so good, that when a local tv station did a feature  on our water a while ago, a taste test was included. Tasters not only could not tell the difference between NYC water and bottled water, some of them even ranked it above Perrier and other alleged "premium" waters.  How lucky can a water drinker get?

 I have a Brita Water Filter, which I forget to fill half the time. I think the reason it seems to taste just a little better is because it's colder. And my mind tells me the Brita is taking care of the few things that the water plant may have missed.

So far I have increased my intake of water almost effortlessly. I am not counting how many glasses I drink each day. That would, in my opinion, make it another dreadful chore, like counting calories or carbs, or points or...well, I'm sure you get the idea. I must walk through my kitchen to get to the computer. I now stop for a drink along the way. Not every time, but a lot. And it is effortless. I also use an 8 ounce glass. That helps me. When I tried using a 16 ounce glass, it sometimes became difficult to get it all down.

Now about those calories, carbs, and points. I have tried them all. They did not work for me, not because they were not sound programs. I think it is because I was focused on how many pounds I could lose in a day, week, or month. The counting and recording became too much of chore and also a reminder of one of my shortcomings. My goal here is to make it effortles or at least to trick myself into thinking it is effortless. So far it has worked for the water.

One small step at a time means I will wait to share what I am doing or planning to do regarding exercise and an eating plan. In the meantime, you might want to take a look at Hungry Girl. No matter what plan you follow or don't follow, Hungry Girl has something for you. In my next post (which will be shorter, I promise), I will share with you two of Hungry Girl's recipes that I love.

Drink up and thanks for posting everyone. I won't be commenting on each post, but from time to time, I will acknowledge your wonderful responses. Thanks for visiting.

Monday, October 5, 2009


I have been thirsty all day. It is because I knew my first step in this process would be to strive to drink more water. I used to drink water a lot. Then Sam came along. Sam was my cat, and he loved water. He loved it so much that I could not set a glass down without him drinking from it. He even drank from the glass when I held it. Sometimes when I used a tall glass, he would almost get his head stuck in the glass trying to get to the water in the bottom. Without fail, he would knock the water over or nudge the glass in my hand until I was soaked. Then I started putting it in a bottle with a cap. He would nudge the bottle until it fell over and became a roly poly toy for him. So I stopped; it became too inconvenient. Well Sam has been in kitty heaven for over two years, and there is no longer an excuse. Good old Sam, unlike me, he never gave up.

I like water. Water is really good for you too. Nothing really is as refreshing. I can even drink it at room temperature. I like it plain, or with a little lemon or orange juice squeezed into it. I love the way it makes my skin look better. That is why I chose it as my first commitment. I am going to give myself three weeks to make drinking water a habit. In his classic work, Psycho-Cybernetics, Dr. Maxwell Maltz claimed that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. However, more recent research claims it takes more like 66 days. That is just over 2 months. Not too bad, but I will try Dr. Maltz' 21 day theory; if at the end of 21 days I am not happily drinking water without giving it a second thought, then I will add another 45 days.

Here is how I plan to do it. I will drink an 8 ounce glass of water when I wake up. Then have one about a half hour before each meal. I recently read that doing that fills you up and that you won't eat as much at your next meal. Here's the change that will probably require the most work on my part; I will drink water instead of snacking! I can already see the calories saved, not to mention the money saved. I am ignoring the few days of misery in the beginning. This would probably not be a good time for my friends to call.

Every glass of water is going to be like one less cupcake for me. I know; it IS a stretch; even I don't eat that many cupcakes...or cookies, or whatever in a day. But I like visualizing a pile of cupcakes going somewhere other than on my hips.

If you would like to join me in this commitment to drink more water, please post. Set your own goals. If you need more information, you can find it here. If you are already drinking 8 or more glasses a day, post your comments or tell us what works for you. Please limit your comments to the subject of water. There will be all sorts of good things on this blog. But for now, it is all about the water.

Thanks for visiting.