Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Battling Holiday Weight Gain


This time of year, I always manage to put on a few pounds. What can I say? It's hard to resist the bowls of candy, fresh baked cookies, tables of finger foods, cheese plates with dried meats, and endless desserts. After Thanksgiving and eating all the Halloween candy we had from getting ZERO trick-or-treaters this year, I gained 6 POUNDS! I'm tired of the scale moving in the wrong direction... so on Saturday, I joined a gym and started logging my points (including activity) and nutrition (dairy, veggies, water, etc.). As of Tuesday, I have already lost two of those holiday pounds. 

I signed up for this gym for its group classes. I have started going to a group class every day. So far, I've done: 

  • Dance
  • Yoga
  • Kickboxing
  • Combo:  step, weights, abs, balance
I'm trying to get Dan to try a cycling class, but I'm far too scared to even step foot into the cycling room. I'd rather stick to dancing, thanks.


Stay tuned for more entries from me, considering I'm back on the wagon again. Unfortunately, working out every day means I'm losing free time. I'll be back to let you know how it's going and provide tips on battling those holiday pounds. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Our Bitchin' Kitchen is now on YouTube!

Have you watched Our Bitchin' Kitchen on YouTube yet? 

We're preparing Weight Watcher friendly recipes and cooking up lots of laughs in the process.  Subscribe to our YouTube channel here for notifications on our most recent uploads.  We're cranking out new episodes each week, so stay tuned.  Show us your support.  Like the videos!  Leave us comments!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Our Bitchin' Kitchen

Dan and I have been spending some quality time in the kitchen lately. I realized that people are missing out on how entertaining we are when we cook so we agreed to start recording us cooking. I think it's amusing. The first few videos are fueled by alcohol, but it only adds to the entertainment value. Alcohol or not, we're an interesting pair.

As a teaser, here's our unedited footage of Episode 2-2: Cornbread. Enjoy!

Right now, we're in the editing stage... I say that, but we have no idea what we're doing. We got some video editing software, and Dan spent all night running something. All I know is that they're still not done "the first step." Blah. So, stay tuned for episodes of "Our Bitchin' Kitchen," where we make everything from pumpkin cupcakes to dinner from a box.  

In the mean time, happy eating, everyone!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Where have you been?!


Copy of our wedding cake flavors
from L & M Bakery (Delran, NJ)
Ok, I deserve that. I've been AWOL for awhile now. I've been avoidant. Here's why-- On Columbus Day, Dan and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary! *Side note: I realized that it's been a year since I fit into my wedding dress... and I've only lost 15 pounds since. Blah. 

For our anniversary, we went to NYC, saw Mary Poppins on Broadway, stayed at a trendy hotel in Times Square, and ate our way around the city. We had a blast! We had tea and scones with Alice, geocached in Central Park, ate pizza/pasta made by an Iron Chef, drank champagne for breakfast, ate "the best falafel in the Village," shared the BEST waffle we've ever tasted, relaxed with beer, wine and cupcake pairings, and came home to one of the tastiest burgers made by an Iron Chef. Needless to say, I gained about 7 POUNDS after two days in the city. WHO DOES THAT?! ... This girl, apparently. Bleh.

I've been trying to get the weight off since we came back, but by trying I mean more like, I'm trying to be good... and not counting my points... BUT I've been making better decisions... when I'm not snacking on Halloween candy or coaxing Dan to go out for tacos. UGH! Well, today is weigh in day. The verdict? I'm back to where I was before the NYC trip. I've lost the anniversary weight, and I'm back in the game. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Still not as great as Zumba


Everyone who knows me knows I love Lady Gaga, and Richard Simmons is quite a character. I have always got a kick out of Richard Simmon's excessively short shorts and his cheesy inspirational comments. Well, this Simmon's dance number is amusing, but it's not nearly as fun as Zumba! Lol.

September: Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Today, more than 23 million children and teenagers in the United States are obese or overweight. Health and medical experts are now labeling child obesity an epidemic.  Childhood obesity puts nearly one-third of America’s children at early risk for Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and even stroke.  September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, giving elected officials, educators, physicians, and readers like you the opportunity to take a stand and fight childhood obesity. 

There are plenty of sources out there telling you how to raise your children. I don't have children of my own, so I feel I am in no position to tell you how to raise yours. However, I was definitely part of the child obesity statistics, and I can speak from personal experience.

Maple Shade Softball- 8 Years Old
As a child, I recall one moment on the scale in particular. In forth grade, we were doing a gymnastics unit in gym class. I was so excited because my younger sister was in gymnastics, and I was dying to try it. I'm not sure why, but before the tumbling unit, all the students were weighed. I stood in line patiently--  back when I was too young to have scale anxiety. The number on the scale still sticks with me... 146 pounds... I was 146 pounds in 4th grade?! Granted, I was about 5 foot tall, but still... I get sad thinking about it. That gym unit is when my weight was brought to my attention. I remember the gym teacher's surprise when she read the number on the scale; that's when I knew I wasn't like everyone else. When we finally got to the trampoline and tumbling activities I was so anxious to try, I recall the teacher telling me that I was too big-- she couldn't spot me doing a flip. I was crushed. At eight years old, I was "too big."

Growing up as "the fat kid" has really impacted who I am today. Growing up, there were a number of children that made my life hell as I was their target everyday for any weight-related insult, whether it was ridiculing the size of my lunch box or whether I packed a cookie for a snack. Their taunting continued until I graduated high school. I couldn't go to gym class without the girls reminding me about my weight with such comments as, "You need to call Jenny [Craig]!" or acting as though the ground was shaking when I walked past them. I still cannot forgive those girls for how terrible they made me feel.

Senior Year of High School
Now, despite losing 85 pounds, I still live with what I have labeled as "fat-phobia." For instance, I find myself determining if I'm the fattest person in the room. I cannot be the first in the buffet line and will never eat the last of something. I check the weight requirements on amusement rides, rafts, etc. I hate sitting in an aisle at a restaurant and feeling like I'm sticking out in people's way. I could go on and on. Looking back, I can't help but wonder what life would have been like growing up "average" sized. My mom tried-- I remember following whatever diet she went on. As a kid, I did Weight Watchers, tried Metabolife herbal supplements, and tons of other diets. I hated the word "diet." I remember when my mom forced me to cut chocolate and potato chips out of my diet. I lost 30 pounds in a summer! I was so proud of myself.  Unfortunately, that success was short lived. As I got older, I was gaining at least 20 pounds a summer. It wasn't until over halfway through college that I was so scared of the scale that I decided to make a change. At almost 250 pounds, I had had enough.


When I think back and wish my parents had done more to help me with my weight, I cannot help but struggle to come up with a solution. It's not easy once you get far enough into the problem. There's a new children's book out called, "Maggie goes on a Diet." It's meant to help children with weight issues. It's one approach, but this book is definitely not what I had in mind. Using the term "diet" with a child puts all kinds of body image pressures on them that they don't need. We should be teaching our kids healthy eating habits-- they should understand the concept of a "treat." We should limit TV/video game time to get them out of the house and playing. Get them involved in something active that they love, like sports, dance, biking, cheerleading, etc. Take them to the park instead of a movie. Treat them to toys or activities instead of food. There are tons of changes that could be made before the problem gets out of hand. I just wish I could save the 23 million obese children from the humiliation and pain I endured growing up. I wish I made the decision to  live a healthy life much sooner.

Thanks for listening today. Remember, you too can do your part to take a stand against childhood obesity. Help save our children.  







Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Geocaching with DK Brownies

Thanks to Dan, we started a new hobby, geocaching! I was hesitant at first because I'm more of the "window shopping at premium stores I cannot afford" than "trudging through the woods" type. However, we started gradually by finding cache just off trails in the park before he convinced me to go bushwacking so far into the woods that we stumbled upon a tent community and started questioning if we were too lost to find our way out. Lol! Despite my fear of ticks, bugs, dirt, and all things outdoors, we have a great time. 

What is "geocaching?"
Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.

Where can I find geocache?
Geocache can be found all over the world. Cache may be at your local park, at the end of a long hike, underwater, or on the side of a city street. I like geocaching because it takes us to places we've never been before. It has helped us explore many of our local parks. We found all 8 cache located in the Joe Palaia Park. Dan has navigated through the woods in Green Spaces behind a few of the local schools and even in the woods across the street from his Mom's house in Delran. To locate cache in your area, log on to the official website and create an account.   

What do I need to start?
Technically, starting can be as simple as using a smartphone (or GPS enabled device). Enthusiastic participants can use a professional GPS, personalized caches, and create their own geocaches for others to find. Personally, we started with the geocache application on our smartphones, some bug spray, and a few small items to place in the cache we found. Based on our travels so far, I highly recommend bug spray, outdoor shoes, pants, and a hat. We have encountered many thorns, mosquitoes, and plenty of mud while we  walking in the woods off trails (referred to as "bushwacking"), so I suggest dressing the part.

Remember to bring something to put in the first cache you find! If you don't have anything on you, etiquette asks that you leave a dollar. You're supposed to record your name in the log, take an item, leave an item of equal or greater value, put the cache back where you found it, and record the find on the official website. It's also helpful to bring a pen for the log because sometimes the cache is too small to hold a writing implement or the enclosed pen doesn't work.  

What can I expect to find?
For the most part, we've found our fair share of random junk. Inside the cache, it often looks like the prize counters at a Chuck E Cheese: pins, army men, small plastic toys, playing cards, poker chips, key chains, etc. However, some cache have trackable items ("travel bugs") that have traveled throughout the world, some with a specific destination in mind. We've come across items such as wine corks, business cards, travel bugs, a toy giraffe, a $30 silver spoon, sand dollars, personalized poker chips, and CDs/DVDs. We often leave items from previous cache or Magic Cards.

Mr. Bendy-- a travel bug Dan found that came all the way from Ireland

I want to make my own geocache for people to find. We've seen containers ranging from Mason jars and camouflaged mayo jars to store-bought geocache boxes, ammo cases, and nano containers disguised as a wad of chewing gum. We're just getting started with this hobby, and we have so much more to explore. Now, when we travel places, we find ourselves researching if there are an geocaches in the area. Plus, it is a great way for us to get some exercise and enjoy the fall-like weather. Recently we're walking miles as we wander from cache to cache in the large local parks.

Our geocache username is DK Brownies-- Find us on Geocaching.com! If you decide to give it a try, we'd love to hear about your experience.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Weekly Weigh-in!

After a few months away from the Weight Watchers program, I'm back on the bandwagon. I slipped off this weekend when we went out to eat, dinning on fried mozzarella balls, rigatoni with meatballs, and cookies with milk at Brando's and cheesesteak nachos and a fried chicken sandwiches at Chickie & Pete's. In my defense, I went to a yoga class, Zumba class, and geocached through the woods for hours last week. 

Overall, I lost 2 pounds! That's not bad for my first week back :)  Imagine the pounds I can lose this week if I count all my points, including on the weekends! I'm doing Zumba twice this week AND yoga. Here's to hoping for a three pound loss in the coming week!

Losing those two pounds put me back to where I was before I took a weight loss break for the bar exam. I've lost 85 pounds overall. I am 15 pounds away from 100 pounds!!! I cannot wait to lose those 15 pounds! It will be such an achievement. I'm 32 pounds away from a normal weight for my height (currently set as my goal weight). It's seems like such a small number in the grand scheme of things, but many people set out to lose that kind of weight from the start... I have a long way to go, but I've come too far to give up now. 

Zumba: More Fun than "Sweatin' to the Oldies"

On Saturday morning, I conjured up the guts to try Zumba. I had such a great time, and I can't wait to go back. In fact, I am going to try to rearrange my evening so I can go tonight AND on Saturday mornings. 

For those of you who aren't familiar with Zumba, it's a Latin-inspired dance fitness program. It reminded me of a modern version of the Jazzercise classes my mom did when I was a child. It took me back to when I used to do the Richard Simmon's "Sweatin' to the Oldies" videos with Mom, who was so embarrassed she made us pull the shades down when we did it. Mom, if you're reading this, you would love this workout and could dance to it without feeling ashamed for liking it. For me, Zumba was like dancing at the club. I knew about half the songs-- we warmed up to LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" and danced to Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie," to name a few. If only the class incorporated my favorite song of the moment, Maroon 5's "Moves like Jagger," I'd be in heaven.

The dance moves took us from warm-up stretches and workout to cool down. You're always moving. There is lots of "booty popping," which acts like standing crunches for your abs while working your upper body, and hip rotations that make you feel sexy until you start to feel the burn. The combination of Latin-inspired moves and upbeat popular music makes it easy to forget that you're working out. However, according to my Polar heart rate monitor, I burned close to 700 calories that hour, and did it all with a big smile on my face. My favorite part was that I was dancing again. I swear I was born to dance-- I've been dancing since I was 3 or so and even won my fair share of dance-offs. You don't need to know how to dance to do Zumba, you just need to like dancing-- I love it, so I'm able to really get into the moves and see them for more than a workout.

Neptune Township is offering a variety of affordable activities to its residents this fall, including the Zumba class I attended provided by Jersey Shore Zumba. It's only $5 per session, which is such a great deal compared to the classes offered at local gyms. The classes are offered twice a week in the gym of the local elementary school. Carol, the instructor, keeps it fun and casual, so there is no pressure to get the steps perfect. The point is to move and have fun doing it. Zumba attracts people of all ages and sizes, and you don't need a dance background to keep up. I highly recommend that you visit the national Zumba website and locate a class near you. If you're in the Jersey Shore area, check out Jersey Shore Zumba to find out if Carol is offering a class near you. Maybe I'll see you there! I'll be the one in the front-center (like the good student I am) grooving to the songs (and singing along) like I'm at the club. Don't judge... lol. 


Friday, September 16, 2011

Cauliflower, it's what's for breakfast!


The other day, Dan and I made Gina's cauliflower fritters as a side dish to a mushroom risotto. I was trying to maintain a "vegetarian" dinner, but in hind site, it wasn't the best combination. However, we really enjoyed these cauliflower fritters. They taste a lot like a potato pancake, but they're made of cauliflower and are only 3 WW Points+ for two fritters! We topped them with ketchup and ate them like hash browns. 

The past few days, I've eaten the leftover fritters for breakfast as hash browns topped with egg beaters, some shredded cheese, and either ham or salsa. It's hard to believe that these fritters are so low in points because I feel so guilty eating them. Plus, it's a great way to get a vegetable in for breakfast!

If you're craving hash browns or potato pancakes, I high recommend trying Gina's cauliflower fritters. You can find the recipe here. I would suggest using frozen cauliflower that you cook until barely warm, rather than  fresh, to save time. 

Happy eating, everyone!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Need to Shop

Last night, I went to bed hungry. I was craving a cheeseburger or tacos (thanks to a late night Taco Bell commercial). It's the first time I've felt hungry in awhile. Then again, I haven't been hungry because I haven't been watching what I eat.  However, even when I eat healthy, I don't go hungry. I could have a piece of fruit if I had no points left or a light snack if I had the points. As we got ready for bed, I looked at Dan with big puppy dog eyes hoping he would give in and come along for a late night snack of greasy food. Thankfully, he didn't. 

I had used all my daily points and was still hungry. This tells me that I'm not eating the right foods, but I knew that. Sure, you can eat a serving of Pizza Rolls (6) for 5 WW Points+ for lunch, but it's not nearly as nutritious or filling as a veggie burger loaded with veggies and some baked chips on the side. I miss fruit and veggie snacks! I miss my Babybel cheese! I haven't been snacking these last few days because I don't have healthy snacks to munch on. I DO have bags of peanut and peanut butter M & Ms on my kitchen counter that wink at me when I walk by. 

I'm going to the grocery store tonight because following the WW Points Plus system can be difficult without having the right foods in the house. Here are some of the items I'm going to pick up to keep in my "dieting tool box:"
  • Apples
  • Special K Chips
  • Egg Beaters
  • Non-fat Greek yogurt
  • Hummus
  • Babybel cheese wheels
  • Baby carrots
  • Boca Burgers
  • Lorna Doone 100 Calorie Packs OR WhoNu cookies

Monday, September 12, 2011

FAIL



You have GOT to be kidding me. 

Today, after breakfast, I decided I was going to start logging my points again. Despite trying to stay within my daily point allowance, I exceeded my daily point allowance by FOUR points!!! Stupid lunch! Last night, Dan and I made mushroom risotto. It took forever to make, but it was well worth the time. Like usual, we ate leftovers for lunch. Well, the same risotto that is 5.5 points (under the old system) is 11 points+!!! That is insane! Then, the "homemade" dressing by Good Seasons dressing I made had the same points for two tablespoons as a half of a cup of my favorite homemade bolognese sauce.Unbelievable... This is a great example of why it is so important to know the points for a dish before you eat it. This is also why the WW Points system works for me-- without assigning points to each of these items, I would have had no idea that a little salad dressing is as bad as my ENTREE!!! 

Better luck next time. Happy eating, everyone!

Picking myself back up again...

Not only have I not been blogging or counting points lately, but I've also stopped making good decisions as well: "Sure, I can eat peanut M&Ms for breakfast!" and "White Castle sounds like a great idea!" The buck stops here. I've been avoiding my scale. The number has climbed about four pounds, and I'm ready to find my zen again. I miss eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly.

Top 10 signs it's time for me to get back to Weight Watchers:

  1. It's getting very difficult to chose the healthy option when we're out.
  2. I having serious body aches from lack of daily movement.
  3. I starting to I forget what nutritional facts are used to calculate PointsPlus.
  4. I've picked up Dan's habit of having dessert each night.
  5. I couldn'tt find my where I unpacked my heart rate monitor from the move in August. 
  6. There's nothing but dirty silverware in the dishwasher (in other words, I haven't cooked in ages).
  7. The produce drawer in the refrigerator is empty.
  8. I avoid the scale like it's the plague.
  9. I'm planning bike routes around my favorite bakery.
  10. I haven't had to buy new clothes in a long time.
Enough is enough. I just ate whopping 8 point breakfast, and I'm determined to stick to counting this week. Maybe I'll even hit the gym after dinner. One thing at a time...

 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back at it Again

Maybe it is the lack of sleep, or waking up to an ocean view, but I feel inspired to start running again. I want to complete the Couch to 5K program and be able to run a 5K nonstop. As I have mentioned many times before, I've never run a mile nonstop, let alone just over three of them. Dan and I participated in our first 5K race last August as members of the NH Attorney General's team. Today, I decided I want to run another 5K race. I am determined to complete all nine weeks of training and at least beat my pitiful former time of 44 minutes.

I decided that I want to run in the Long Branch Trick or Trot on October 23, 2011. The proceeds benefit homeless animals at the Monmouth County SPCA. The organization is close to my heart because we adopted our first "baby," our evil cat Spyder, from them almost seven years ago. I love the animals and supporting no-kill shelters like the Monmouth County SPCA. I am going to do it! The only catch is that this is not a 5K race (3.1 miles). Instead, the Long Branch Trick or Trot is a four mile race. To quote Dan, "See this? I got this." I can do it, and I'm going to do it. Who is with me? For more information on the race, see the listing on Jersey Runner here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ocean Twp. Italian-American Festival



Last night, Dan and I took our friend Kate to the Italian-American Festival in Ocean, NJ. We had never been before, but we know that many of the locals attend the festival each year, so we decided to check it out. 

Parking: The festival takes place for five days in Joe Palaia Park. Thankfully, the police really have the traffic situation under control, and it wasn't difficult to drive to and from the event, even leaving at the end of the night. It was worth the voluntary $1 parking donation to the Ocean PD. 


Attractions: My favorite attraction was the petting zoo. There were not many animals, but at least there was a variety. We were surprised that patrons had to pay $2.00 to enter the petting zoo and an additional $1 for two cups of feed, but I guess it is understandable considering there was free admission to the festival. I got up the courage to feed and pet the animals. It was very cute! The alpaca felt like a teddy bear. The zoo also had the typical over-eager goats, sheep, baby goats (kids), chicks, ducks, rabbits, a cow, and a pony. I enjoyed feeding the cow and giggly like a child as its tongue tickled my hand. There are other events and attractions like spaghetti and cannoli eating contests, gymnastic demonstrations, make-you-own sand art, carnival games, free chair massages, and hourly 50/50 raffles, where we heard them giving away things like battery-operated blenders and car wash packages.

Shopping: There were not many booths of merchandise for sale at the festival. The two booths that stood out were the Native American booth and the Italian T-shirt booth. The Native American booth had lots of jewelry, pretty summer dresses, and handmade tchotchkes for sale. There was also a booth selling gaudy Italian merchandise, such as bracelets and T-shirt brandishing phrases like, "I only date guidos." I considered getting a red V-neck ladies shirt that read, "Sicilia." Represent! Just kidding. I may live on the Jersey Shore, but it's nothing like the MTV reality show.

Food:  The whole reason we went to the festival was to enjoy some good Italian food. Instead, the festival was full of your typical carnival food, which is not always a bad thing if you don't mind food dripping with grease, covered in cheese whiz, and/or coated in powered sugar. Between the three of us, we had a deep fried brownie (oreos were also available), mozzarella sticks, a cheesesteak loaded with onions and peppers, a couple beers, a giant lemonade, and what was called a "bucket o' fries" swimming in cheese "sause." We enjoyed the misspelling of "sauce" on the sign as much as we did the fries, which were served in what resembled a large dog bowl. Festival patrons could also purchase alcoholic beverages, kettle corn, old fashioned soda served in a metal stein, funnel cakes, caramel apples, meatball sandwiches, butterfly fries, gyros, and much more.

Rides: For the first time in my life, I got up the courage to brave the Zipper. I grew up hearing all the tales of riders vomiting and being tossed in the cage along with it for the remainder of the ride. I also know my stomach's low tolerance for spinning rides. After paying $12.50 for 10 tickets so Dan and I could ride, I stood in line behind a bunch of squealing pre-teens as Dan, my fellow rider, slugged two beers before we rode the Zipper. As the cage of the ride closed before us, I couldn't help but think about all the carnival ride casualties you hear about on the news. I think it was the lawyer part of me trying to get out of the death trap. I survived what I affectionately labeled as "a swingset on crack," but I screamed every time our cage flipped or my butt left the seat and pleaded with Dan to stop trying to flip us as we waited to disembark the ride. 

We all had a great time and it was a wonderful way to spend a cool summer night in Monmouth County. The Italian-American Festival runs until Sunday. If you're in the area, you should check it out. They're having a firework display tonight. For other nightly events, check out their website.



Two Month Recap

I haven't posted for two months, and I have really missed blogging. As I have said before, when I'm not blogging, I'm not sticking to my points. I guess it is save to say that the scale has missed blogging too.

Since we spoke last, I practically did nothing but study for the bar exam. All the days start to blur together. It was a dark period of my life. Ha!


  • Dan and I moved out of our apartment in NH in mid-July. Our lease was up, but we still did not have a permanent place to live. 
  • I stayed with our friends in NH for two weeks in July while I studied around the clock for the bar exam. They provided me with a fantastic study environment, their sympathy, tasty home-cooked meals, and some much-needed laughs.
  • I took the NJ bar exam on July 27 and 28. Those were two terrible days of my life that I pray I don't have to repeat again in February. At the end of the two days, I felt like everything had come to a close, and I thought I would feel lost without school in my life. School has been a huge part of who I am since I was 5 years old. Now, at 25, I have to put school behind me and discover what I like to do in my free time. Silly me, thinking I would have free time!
  • The weekend after I took the bar, Dan and I moved into an apartment on the Jersey Shore. Dan and I did some moving on our own, but fortunately, two of our friends helped us with the bulk of it. We're grateful to have such wonderful friends. It wasn't easy giving up on the house we were buying. The short sale process was dragging on without an end in sight. We felt that four months was long enough, and it was time to move on. We learned from the process and have no regrets. So far, we love the area of our apartment, and we're only a few miles from the beach. When we find the time, there's always something to do.


Well, it's time to get back on the wagon today and start counting my points again. I don't care that it's a Friday. I used to wait to start a diet until Monday. I would go out and basically binge the weekend before, eating everything that I "could never have again." Let me tell you, this was the worst strategy EVER. Not only would I pack on the pounds and make myself crave the indulgent meals I had just days before, but I had the mindset that there are forbidden foods. I love following the Weight Watchers Points system because I never feel like anything is off limits. So, I'm not scrapping my week's dinner menu I have planned or throwing out food in the cabinet; I'm merely returning to counting my points. It will be a wake-up call to see how much I've been overeating. 



And, begin! Happy eating, everyone!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Taste of Home


I always wonder if everyone has the same problem I do when it comes to food from back home. Maybe it's just all the delicious food we have here in NJ. The cuisine here really reflects the NYC and Philadelphia influences. 

I am originally from South Jersey. I usually tell people unfamiliar with the area that I'm from a small town near Cherry Hill. If that is not enough, I tell them it's just outside of Philadelphia. When I am away from my hometown, I miss things like good pizza, rolls, diners, delis, cheesesteaks, Wawa, etc. Looking back now, I can see why I was obese my entire life. The food here is phenomenal.

Well, Dan and I temporarily relocated to South Jersey while we wait for our house to finally close. His mother was kind and patient enough to take us AND our two cats in. Dan and I have to commute an hour and a half for work and bar prep classes each day. Unfortunately, the commute has replaced my daily exercise time. To make up for it, Dan and I went on a long walk through Pennington Park.   However, that one workout does not compensate for all the local eats I have enjoyed recently.

I had veggie pizza (and salad) on Friday, a six-inch Italian hoagie on Saturday (which totaled 28 points!), and a six-inch chicken cheesesteak hoagie today. I regret eating all those unhealthy meals in the same week, but I enjoyed every bite of them. I think they have satisfied the craving, and I can get back to my usual eating habits. I have to say, it tastes good to be home!

What is one dish or food that you love from back home?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

U.S. News Ranks Best Weight-Loss Diets

This morning, while munching my breakfast, I heard HLN report that U.S. News ranked the Best Weight-Loss Diets. I was interested to see the criteria they used, where popular diets fell on the list and, of course, which diet came in first. As someone who has had tried their share of weight loss diets, I was interested in seeing what the "experts" thought. 

Coming in first- Weight Watchers! I cannot say that I am completely surprised. I have spoke to many people who have experienced success on WW. Some experienced success long ago, but still speak of it fondly. Many former WW participants still stick to some of their WW-trained habits and are happy to share their advice. One of my favorite aspects of the Weight Watchers diet is that participants are eager to convert others to the diet. In fact, I wouldn't be here today if my close friend and my mother had not encouraged me to try the program. When you see those around you experiencing great results, it is hard not to give it a try. I would like to thank them for helping me change my mind about WW, change my eating habits, and change my life.  


Enough with the emotion-- back to what I'm sure you are here for-- the results. Jenny Craig and the Raw Food diet also made the top 3. I think it's interesting that both Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers have a large emotional support aspect about their program- maybe that is the key to successful weight loss. After all, I'm here blogging about my journey in hopes that I can find others that can relate and one day inspire someone else to turn a new leaf. I think they're on to something there.

I wish I had more time, but I have to get back to studying for the NJ bar exam. If you are interested in reading about the criteria used in the rankings or how other diets fared, check out the full list here.

Happy eating, everyone!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Too Busy to Chat

I'm sorry it's been so long since I have updated the blog. Since I last blogged, I went on a week-long trip to Disney World, graduated law school, and temporarily relocated to NJ to begin studying for the bar exam while we wait to close on our first house! Rest assured, I have not given up on my weight loss journey. My weight loss may have slowed, but I'm still determined to keep losing weight. 

Today is Tuesday... Weigh-in Day! Despite all my stress and cost-saving eating habits, I still managed to lose weight. I'm proud to report that I have broken into the next 10 pound range AND--- wait for it--- I finally surpassed by "short term" weight loss goal. When I was at my heaviest, this is the weight I thought I wanted to be. I always told myself that I didn't want to be so thin that I lost my curves. Needless to say, I can still appreciate my goal, but feel I can afford to lose another 34 pounds, especially considering my BMI is still close to obese. I'm supposed to go indoor rock climbing now that I reached a goal. However, I think we need to put the money towards something else right now-- like items we need such as a new bathing suit, washer/dryer,  lawnmower, etc. I'm boring... I know. Lol!

Total Weight Lost:  83 pounds 

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Partial Victory


We are amid finals, people!  I just want to take a moment out of my very busy schedule to say that I stepped on the scale this morning, and I had to step on it again because I was in utter disbelief.  I am down 4.4 pounds since early Tuesday morning.  I'm sure you noticed that I did not post my weekly weigh in on Tuesday.  I gained 0.8 pounds :( Lets not talk about it right now;  it's depressing, and I have to get back to my work.  I learned my lesson.  Never go over all my points-- including the weekly ones.  Back to the good news... 4.4 pounds! I'll take it! I pray it stays that big of a number until Tuesday ('official' weigh in days).

Happy eating!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Uncovering Victoria's Secret


I went to the Burlington Mall in Burlington, Massachusetts with some friends on Saturday. I started my trip by attempting to eat healthy at the Cheesecake Factory. FYI: stay away from the low carb cheesecake; it's not nearly as healthy as it sounds! We tested furniture at LoveSac, a store whose name  always makes me chuckle. We even spent time mocking some of the items at Anthropology, where I really liked the ornamental knobs, but the rope magnifying glass was a bit much. Eventually, we stopped in Victoria's Secret because, after all, we had a coupon. 
With the help and patience of a friend, I bought my first ever Victoria's Secret bra. It may sound silly to some of you, but it was a big moment for me. I've always been too large to fit in their sizes. Eventually, I barely fit into some of the extended sizes, but I was never able to find anything in colors other than black or nude. Well, the fitting room attendant measured me and revealed that I had lost an inch and a cup size since I was last measured. Woot! I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant to believe her. Then, she left me with a bin of bras in my size. 

I encountered some bras that were definitely not acceptable... How can I put this delicately? Some bras were definitely not "industrial" enough. Lol. Let's be serious, Vicky's-- two hooks to restrain these?! I think not. With the recommendation of my friend, I discovered the Incredible by Victoria. It truly is as incredible as they say. This line of bras has self-adjusting straps, which are AMAZING, especially for short people like me who find that bra straps don't go short enough. It's smoothing and comfortable, and they had it in bright pink. I had to have it. The bra was $48 before the coupon. I love it and cannot wait for a sale and more coupons so I can buy more.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's for Dinner?


Quinoa Bowls! 


I aim to make one vegetarian meal once a week in hopes of reducing our dependence on meat. Plus, it feels healthier. We have made great strides over the years. Years ago, a vegetarian meal used to consists of pasta with marinara sauce. Then, we moved on to meat substitutes like veggie burgers or fake chicken patties. We still buy those, but as routine meals, not as something specifically vegetarian. A few weeks ago, I saw a recipe for lemon parmesan vinaigrette on one of my favorite blogs. Andrea, the author of the blog, said that one of her quick meals is "1 cup quinoa + 1 cup beans + 1 cup vegetables." 


Prior to this blog, I had barely heard of quinoa. From what I found, quinoa is an ancient gluten-free crop from South America.  Its protein content is very high (12%–18%),  and it contains a balanced set of essential amino acids. It is a good source of dietary fiber and iron, amongst other thingsAfter I read up on it a little, I was intrigued enough to try it. I nonchalantly included it on the weekly grocery list. Poor Dan was so boggled to find it on the list when he was at the store without me. He couldn't even find it on the shelf without some help from a store clerk. As it turns out, it was located in the gluten-free section, not the organic section. 

When we went to prepare the quinoa, Dan learned that it needed to be rinsed prior to cooking. We don't have a sieve... We got resourceful. As I cooked the quinoa, Dan made childish comments about its appearance, oatmeal-like smell, an threatened to eat something else if the dish didn't come out. This is unusual for him. He usually has confidence in my cooking. After I tossed the quinoa  with  beans, veggies, and drizzled it in the vinaigrette, he was less skeptical. In fact, he said, "I could eat this every day." If I had to describe it, I'd say it looks like tiny beads (seeds) but tastes a lot like rice (or couscous, if you've had it).

Now, we're experimenting with different variations on the dish. Our favorite so far is what we would like to call, Bruschetta Quinoa:   
  • 1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1 cup store bought tomato bruschetta
  • 4 ounce can of mushrooms, diced small
  • 1/4 of a white onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat grated parmesan cheese
We cook the quinoa as directed. As it's cooking (about 15 minutes), I sautee the veggies with Italian seasonings and olive oil spray. I add the beans and vinegar when the veggies are the right consistency. Sometimes I like to add red pepper flakes, a dash of sriracha, and a dash of Splenda for a sweet and spicy flavor. I toss the quinoa in a bowl with the cheese and veggie/bean mixture. Then, I add the cold bruschetta mix (to prevent from cooking the tomatoes) and toss. Dan likes to drizzle his in balsamic glaze. SO GOOD. It smells and tastes a whole lot like TGI Friday's bruschetta chicken pasta. Dan, who doesn't like beans, eats this dish up. It's only 9 WW points+ for a 1/4 of the recipe (an additional point if you use the balsamic glaze). Due to the grain's high protein levels (plus the addition of beans and vegetables), this dish is surprisingly filling. Give it a try! Go veggie for a night!

Our next variation is going to be a Mexican quinoa bowl: black beans, peppers, corn, salsa, etc. It should be good! 



America's Top 10 Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants

Anyone who knows me well, knows I live a very busy lifestyle. My mother and grandmother hear that excuse from me all the time, but it's true. I've learned to keep quick meals in the house to avoid the temptation of going out to eat, but sometimes dining out is inevitable. Unfortunately, depending on where you live, it can be difficult to find fast food restaurants with healthy options. Here in NH, I tend to stick to places with nutritional information (like Subway or Panera) or places with easy to calculate dishes (like a chicken gyro or Greek salad). However, back home in NJ, there are restaurants that have an array of healthy dishes on their menu, such as SaladworksMuscle Maker Grill, and even Wawa. 

The other day, I heard that Health.com rated the top 10 healthiest food restaurants.  Check it out! You may be surprised by some of the eateries that made the list, like McDonald's! The website rated the restaurant chains on factors such as "the use of healthy fats and preparations, healthy sodium counts in entrĂ©es, availability of nutritional information, and the use of organic produce." Who came in at number one? Panera Bread. That's kind of funny considering I don't go to Panera unless I have a lot of points left . However, I do find that their nutrition calculator is very helpful. I usually get a 1/2 order of the Asian sesame chicken salad and cup of black bean soup. Since it's a sensible meal, sometimes I even live dangerously and order the whole grain baguette instead of the apple.


What fast food restaurants do you go to for healthy choices?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Weigh-in


Boy did last week fly by! It's Tuesday already, and it was time to step on the scale. I lost EXACTLY a pound this week. Yup-- a single pound... again. I think it has a lot to do with my schedule last week:

Two slices of Kate and Al's Pizza
Tuesday was an average day. Wednesday night we went to the car dealership to discuss our lease agreement. Since we got out of there so late, we just went to Remi's Place, where I had a chicken gyro and Greek salad with tzatziki sauce (no fries!). On Thursday night, we traveled to NJ. I packed lots of healthy snacks like fruit, veggies, and cheese for the road to avoid being tempted by all the tasty restaurants along the way. Friday was terrible; I ate out for every meal! I started with a breakfast of scrambled eggs, a piece of toast, and fresh fruit (SO GOOD!) at the Hudson Cafe in Atlantic Highlands, NJ. Then, we went for our home inspection. Things are still positive on the home front! For lunch, I had a healthy grab-and-go from Wawa. I had a snack of Laughing Cow cheese and a hunk of baguette before going to the Dolphin Diner in Burlington, NJ. I was so hungry when we got there (big problem). I had a salad w/ oil (barely) and vinegar, a MOZZARELLA STICK, and half of my chicken piccata over linguine... which I proceeded to finish when we got back to the house. Saturday, I had a sensible breakfast. For lunch, I indulged in a slice of my favorite pizza from Kate & Al's, and snacked on Jo-Jo potatoes (think hunks of potatoes covered in KFC breading) throughout our journey back to NH. We stopped at our favorite pit stop for dinner, the Mount Kisco Coach Diner, where I had chicken noodle soup, 1/2 of a healthy wrap, and... a napoleon. I was splurging there! I'd been good (mostly) all week! Fine... you're right. I regret every bite (almost). Haha! Ever since the trip, I've been good. I swear! I wasn't even that bad... right? Sorry for running through what is just shy of a food journal. I like to share my food travels. Plus, it hold me accountable if I have to admit that I really did eat breaded potatoes, pizza, and a napoleon in the same day. 

Napoleon (I was hoping for the kind
with fresh berries)
Moving on to my goals last week-- I failed terribly. I cannot even say that I aimed to use as little of my weekly allowance points as possible... I want to believe that I did, but I'd be lying to myself. Sure, I was good  most of the time, but Saturday... well, I went up in flames. I didn't exercise... not even once! I'd like to count strolling through Ikea for HOURS, but that is not at all what I had in mind. For the most part, I stuck to one "not so great" treat per "splurge" occasion... with the exception of the pizza and Jo-Jo moment. For the record, although they were purchased at the same location, I didn't eat them at the same time. See that there? I'm trying to rationalize it! Finally, I did not meet my goal of losing two pounds this week. It stinks because I'm pretty sure I lost this pound early on in the week. I could have done so much better. Stupid traveling.

This week's goals:

  • Workout at least THREE times this week (one at the gym).
  • Do not use more than 10 of my Weekly Allowance Points. I'll be celebrating the last day of law school classes EVER on Friday so I'm sure I'll be using a chunk of my points celebrating.
  • Lose at least two pounds. Enough with this single pound nonsense.

Now, I'll leave you with the numbers:

Total Weight Lost:     78 lbs.
Short-term Goal:       4 lbs. away
Goal Weight:             39 lbs. away

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Biggest Loser: Season 11

I'm not big on television, which could be because I have a lot more important things to do with my time like mountains of homework, applying for jobs, packing, or,  God forbid, working out. However, on Tuesday nights, after I get home from my evening class on judicial opinion drafting, I like to watch two hours of the Biggest Loser (Season 11) while I eat dinner, blog, and just relax.

This is the first season of the Biggest Loser that I have actually followed. I used to get frustrated with this show after reading articles about how the contestants purposely dehydrate themselves for weigh-ins to exaggerate their numbers. This show was also the first place I heard about excessive skin issues due to a large amount of weight loss. Now, I watch this show to hear the contestant's stories, watch them change their lives, and see how other people my weight look. I know it sounds stupid, but I'm so used to being the fattest girl in the room. I don't know what someone "my size" looks like, and this show gives me a better understanding. Granted, I have to consider height and  body type, but it's a good estimate. I also like to see if the contestants have hangy bat wings like me or tummies that resemble a sharpei after losing lots of weight.  

I'm bummed that the contestant I was routing for went home last week. His name was Moses. He was a Tongan man with a whole lot of weight to lose. He was on the show with his young daughter. I'm not sure who I'm routing for now, but the show still keeps my attention as I watch the contestants transform. Tune in to Season 11 of the Biggest Loser Tuesday nights on NBC.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

One is the Loneliest Number

It's that time again. That's right; it's Tuesday already. I stepped on the scale this morning expecting a two pound loss. Unfortunately, I missed it by a pound. This makes two weeks in a row that I only lost one pound. I'm bummed, but: 1) at least it is a loss; and 2) I know where I am going wrong.

Where did I go wrong? This past week, I used 38/49 points. Bingo! I have to stop doing this. Weight Watchers says that you can use your 49 Weekly Allowance Points and still lose weight. It's true, but these one pound losses are not enough for me any more.

Looking back on last week's goals:

  • I counted every point every day, whether I ate, tasted, or drank it
  • I exercised three times last week (bike riding, dancing, and a long walk)
  • However, I did not succeed at distributing my points evenly throughout the day. I'm still going far over my daily points at social events and not eating enough points on a day to day basis. I need to regain a balance again... which brings me to my goals for this week.

Goals for this week:
  • Aim to use as little of my weekly allowance points as possible
  • Exercise at least 3 times this week (at least one at the gym). This is going to be tough considering we are traveling to NJ this week for the home inspection.
  • Make only one "not so great" food choice per "splurge" occasion. Eating out is inevitable for me, but I want to aim to make better choices. 
  • Shoot for at least a two pound loss next week!
Happy eating everyone!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sewall's Falls Recreation Park

Despite all the work we have to do, Dan and I went for a long walk today around the neighborhood today. Most of our walk was on the trails through the Sewall Falls Recreational Park along the Merrimack River. We walked more than four miles, and I accumulated 7 Activity Points. It was nice to get out in the fresh air, enjoy the sunshine, hear the rush of the Merrimack, and get the heart pumping. The walk also gave Dan and me the opportunity to talk about all of our upcoming adventures, especially moving next month. Somehow, we need to accumulate stuff to fill this new house-- like a dining room set, guest bedroom furniture, lamps, patio furniture, etc. I plan on making a pilgrimage to Ikea once I start working (I need a job first) and shopping the newspapers/Craig's list in hopes of finding nice, affordable furniture. Until I find a job, we'll have to get used to the echo of an empty house and make excuses not to have anyone over. Lol.

We use a free website called Map My Run to calculate walking, jogging, and biking routes throughout our neighborhood. I find that it is easier to calculate distance than sites like Mapquest and Google Maps. Plus, it allows you to plan routes that may or may not follow streets, which I find gives me more accurate calculations. There are tons of features on the website that I have not begun to explore. I know you can find routes in your area designed by others and even find out the elevation along your route (helpful in a hilly area like NH). Try it out. Let me know what you find.


Sunny's Table (Concord, NH)

Dan and I went to Sunny's Table on Depot Street in Concord on Saturday night with another couple. I've heard great things about the place and have been meaning to try it for awhile now. I picked Sunny's Place because I was having a serious craving for Korean food, and it seems to be the only restaurant in town with Korean items on their menu. 

The waitress brought a small dish of pickled vegetables (basically all carrots) to the table while we perused the menu. I started with chicken lettuce wraps that were very spicy, but refreshing and delicious. I think they were my favorite dish of the evening. Our friends had sesame potato spring rolls. Dan had a dish called Angry Shrimp. For dinner, I had my heart set on some beef bulgogi, but I was disappointed to discover that the Korean barbecue on the menu was pork, not beef. I ordered it anyway. It came as a two thin, very tender, perfectly grilled boneless pork chops with spicy barbecue glaze. It was served with jasmine rice, homemade kimchi, and fresh green beans and carrots. One friend ordered the same. I only ate one of the pork pieces, half the rice, and all the veggies (because I know I should, not because I was full). Dan had a steak with scallion butter, rissoto, and veggies. Our other friend had a beautiful plate of chicken teryiaki that looked like it was out of a magazine (nicely grilled,  light on the sauce, colorful veggies, and rice). The dishes were full of flavor. The portions were just enough. The prices were a bit high, but I think it is comparable for fresh, local, natural ingredients. The service was friendly and attentive. We decided to pass on dessert in hopes of hitting Arnie's for ice cream. I actually managed to have dinner there and stay within my daily Weight Watcher point allowance. It helps that the dishes had lots of  flavor, less fat, more vegetables, and no bread for the table. All in all, I'd go back and try other dishes. I think I want to try having lunch there.

Arnie's was closed so we went to Friendly's for ice cream. I'm not going to lie, I felt like an alcoholic walking into a bar as I followed everyone into the restaurant. I was already planning what I would eat to avoid self sabotage. Dan was kind enough to look up nutritional information on his phone so I could find out if the non-fat yogurt was a better choice than the sugar-free ice cream (FYI- the frozen yogurt was the better choice). I am used to proper portions by now so I only ordered a single scoop sundae. I didn't even know they offered single scoops. Dan, on the other hand, indulged in a five scoop brownie sundae swimming in hot fudge and caramel sauce-- I envy him. I made the single scoop sundae into a strawberry shortcake sundae by adding strawberries, whipped cream, cake pieces, and a cherry. It was delightful, and it really hit the spot. I didn't feel like I was missing out. I didn't have any daily points for dessert, so I had to tap into my weekly point allowance. Fortunately, the sundae was not that bad for me. I knew it was a splurge to get the cake pieces and such, but the whole sundae was 7 WW Points+. Yay for making better choices! On a side note: I had no idea whipped cream is 2 WW Points+. That's as much as the scoop of ice cream. That's insane! Now that I know, I'll skip it next time. I'm still not making the best choices, but I'm definitely making progress without feeling like I'm sacrificing. It truly is a lifestyle change.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

30 Activity Points Worth of Dancing

I survived Barrister's Ball (also known as Law School Prom). I have to say, I feel like an adult for being able to stay out late the night before and still make it for a marathon of bar prep sessions early the next morning.

Arriving at the ball
I followed some wise advise and ate dinner at home before going to the event. It made it so much easier to pass up the stuffed mushrooms, stromboli, mini meatballs, coconut chicken, and the dessert buffet. I managed to eat four hors'devours, a half a piece of cake, and a mini cannoli the entire night. In retrospect, the desserts were a poor choice, but they were well worth it. The desserts were the only thing that pushed me over my daily points. In other words, I didn't use many Weekly Allowance Points. The insanely long line at the bar deterred me from drinking. I spent my time on the dance floor instead. I managed to drink two small, white wine spritzers throughout the night. I drank lots of water to stay hydrated. I was dancing so hard that I desperately needed the water. I calculated my points today, and I supposedly burned 30 Activity Points from two hours of dancing. Amazing! That would definitely explain why my body aches worse than if I had gone to the gym. I don't spill my Activity Points into my daily allowance or else I would have tons of points remaining. 

All-in-all, I had a great time and have no regrets. Looks like I need to go to more dance parties...

Dan and me at the end of the night

Friday, April 15, 2011

Social Events are Evil


I mean it. I think that social events, like last night's champagne toast for graduating law students and tonight's Barrister's Ball (aka Law Prom), are diet killers. I even ate like a rabbit and still consumed 25 WW points+ at a two hour cocktail party. Believe me when I tell you, I had 10 WW Points+ worth of champagne. You have to be kidding me!  Three glasses of prosecco equates to 10 WW Points. That's horrible. Other than that, I filled up on raw veggies and fruit before snacking on a small amount of hot spinach dip on pita, two mediocre passed hors'devours, and a mini cheesecake bite. I can only pray the food is bad at the event tonight. LOL. In all seriousness, I have saved my weekly points for these two events. I'm just going to stay aware of what and how much I'm eating. Wish me luck!

A toast to three years of torture.. I mean, law school :-p