Friday, July 26, 2013

Fab Friday Tips (Produce), Tricks (Lettuce) and Inspiration (Thriving through a Family Reunion)

Well it's Friday and it has been quite a week. More on that later!

The tip of the week is to buy your produce for several days and prep it all at once. For instance, chop bell peppers into both strips and chunks and put them in sandwich bags, about a pepper's worth of strips or chunks per bag. Wash the grapes and divide them up into kid sized bags. You get the idea!

The trick this week is one taught me some time ago by the indomitable Pam Tischler.  It is a sanity saver and makes your lettuce last -- crisp and ready -- up to a full week. Here's how you do it::

Throw the head of lettuce into a clean sink of cold water.  Pull the leaves out and gently spin dry them.  Then lay them out one leaf at a time onto paper toweling. Gently roll the towels back up, replace into your produce bag, close with a tie and throw them in the vegetable drawer. Or use a big zipper bag if you are not as cheap as I. When you are ready for a leaf for a sandwich or several for a salad, unroll and use as many as you need.  Isn't that cool? Trust me on this, it saves twice as much time as it takes and you won't wind up letting half the lettuce spoil because it's ready to use.

My Weight Watcher's buddy truly inspired me this week. She joined just before heading off to a family reunion where she did none of the cooking and had no input into the menu. Yet she managed to stay on program enough to lose weight. Give her a hand, ladies and gentlemen! It is truly amazing. One trick she and her hubby used was to keep a bag of apples in their cabin. As they hiked to each meal, they ate an apple so when they got there, they weren't ravenous. She also saved her calories for the things she really loved (read, "homemade") and passed up the more ordinary fare, like cake from the bakery. We weighed in on Wednesday and Thursday, she was off to the beach for a family vacation. I wish her as much self-control this week!

I, on the other hand, gained 5 pounds! On Tuesday, I wound up back in the hospital and got sprung Wednesday afternoon so that I could check into a different hospital on Thursday for a fairly urgent procedure. While in the first hospital they pushed the fluids through IV and drink because my blood pressure was very low and they were trying to bring it up. As a result, I carried all that liquid to the scale in my veins Wednesday night. I was surprisingly nonchalant about it. I had  forgone the delicious sausage gravy and biscuits the hospital served and taken an small egg-white omelet and fruit for breakfast. I'd had a large salad for lunch and was well within my points range for the week. No point in getting upset about elements beyond my control. I'm home from both hospital stays now and if my recovery goes well, I should have a good showing on the scale this week!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Work Space

Did I mention I went back to Weight Watchers? A friend wanted to re-join and I seem to have leveled off, weight wise, so I said I would go back with her. The inspiration and support makes a difference to me. I lost 0.4 pounds last week, so I'll take it.

There are two things I love about Weight Watchers and always have. One, you can eat literally anything; you just assign a points value to it. I can certainly have an ice cream dinner if I wish to, but I'll definitely temper my consumption because a cup of ice cream is 10 points. That is a third of my daily allotment. Yikes.

The other thing I love is the practical help they give you. This year's focus is on routines and spaces. At our meeting last week, I committed to myself to take charge of my work space. I am tired of being hungry at work! My workmates often eat out and so I join in but try to make a healthy choice and I wind up being hungry. Therefore, something had to give.

 Thursday, I dropped the Littles at day care an hour earlier than I had to and went to the grocery store on my way to work, confining my purchases to my lunch time stores. We have some free cupboard space in our office kitchen and I can usually make space in the fridge by throwing away old stuff, so I wasn't worried about space. I was going to take a picture of my stockpile but I got intimidated carrying everything in and chickened out!  Here's what I purchased:

Pantry food:
Dr Kracker (a favorite whole grain snack)
Regular snack crackers, thin ones
Almonds (in a can so they stay fresh)
2 bananas

Freezer food:
A loaf of whole-grain bread (we have a toaster at work)

Fridge food:
Non-fat greek yogurt
Grape tomatoes
Good cheese (an ounce will do me!)
Turkey diced and packed in two ounce cups

A good knife
Lidded plastic containers (for leftovers)
Water bottle for my desk

Unflavored sparkling water
Diet soda
Izzy-esque 4 pack (love those but they're so expensive)

That day I had an absolutely delicious 8 point lunch. And it was so filling. Really good cheese (Double Gloucester), a couple of crackers, a piece of toast, raspberries, turkey, grape tomatoes. I ate and ate.  Every few days I will replenish the meat, cheese and fruit and I will be set for a long while.

No more being fat and hungry at work! What ideas do you have? I dare you to take a picture of your work space pantry!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fun Friday! Tips, Tricks and Inspiration!

Woot, woot! It's Friday.  I am posting late after a fun day with the kids but it's still Friday, so it counts, right?

My tip of the day is actually a question: Why are you taking a multi-vitamin? I have eschewed them for myself, finally, but in the spirit of full disclosure, I am still giving them -- irregularly -- to the kids. There is so little evidence that vitamin supplements do what we want them to and yet, inexplicably, millions of us take them. Check out this interesting Fooducate article and let me have your thoughts, please.

Do you have any tricks for eating out?  My favorite trick used to be to get a to-go container when the meal was delivered and put half of it away to take home. The down-side to that is that if it is as tasty as I hope it will be, then I will actually eat that half the next day. In fact, I have moved restaurant food to the category of "occasional treat" and therefore, taking it home to eat again, I am still  eating it and even though the calories are more reasonable, does not really fit with my larger goals. Now, I split a meal. I like it not only for the calories saved, I am very much enjoying the aspect of choosing my meal with someone else; quite often I wind up with quite a different meal then I'd have selected on my own. There is a sweetness in sharing that brings intimacy to the meal. I love it!

I have been inspired by Hunt, Gather, Love  (a Paleo Diet blog) for some time. I am not a person who has embraced Paleo, but there are aspects of it that appeal to me. So I was surprised by her April post entitled, "Breaking up with Paleo." Her reasoning made sense to me; for me, I just can't understand why if all this beautiful food grows on the earth, why should I avoid it?  I have successfully avoided most breads for months now consuming processed starches about once a week and as an exception. Otherwise, we mostly shop and eat from the outside aisle and serve a lot of potatoes, rice, oatmeal, legumes and grits as starches. Since I started restricting breads and processed grains, I know I do experience a "sugar crash" after I eat them and I also know that it does not happen for me after potatoes, rice, oatmeal, beans or grits. I do not think I'm willing to live without them even temporarily so Paleo is out for me. I love the "purity" of it though, and will keep learning from the Paleo community.

I hope you've found something useful here. Have a wonderful weekend!