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July 2010

Write it before you bite it

Part of my weight-loss success this past week (5 pounds, thanks for asking!) was successfully writing down my food and exercise.

The week before, I gained weight. And I was annoyed. My "team" at Cleveland Clinic asked whether I'd be keeping track of my food. Problem was, I was doing a little online and a little on paper -- a half-assed job of both. So I started writing it down.

Fitbook And when I say writing, I don't mean "click-click-click-enter." No, it's old-school pen on paper. I have tried countless food journals, and there are half-filled journals littering my house as evidence. But I finally found one that I'll be able to stick with -- the Fitbook by Fitlosophy.

Various Twitter and Facebook friends had been raving about it so I set about to find one. Lo and behold they sell them at my gym. 

And because of its compact, square shape I can carry it everywhere. It's around 6 by 6 inches with a sturdy spiral spine into which a cute little Fitbook pen resides. Every week for 12 weeks you write down your weekly goals, and every day there's a separate page for exercise and one for a food log.

I had been writing down food as I nibbled along, but that can get me in trouble if I start tallying things up and discover that there are no calories left for dinner. So spinning around the phrase "bite it and write it" I now "write it and bite it." I try and plan out my day beforehand so there are no surprises. And if the meals add up to less than my allotted calories, I know I have room for extras.

An update on Carol

Her surgery went well and she's awake and talking.  But no head-banging yet.

Send good thoughts to Shrinking Sister Carol today

The Shrinking Sisters are cursed with really lousy necks -- herniations, out of alignment, bone spurs -- you name it, we've probably got it.

Frankenstein While I (Gail) am living with my "bad Lego project" of a neck, Shrinking Sister Carol right this minute is having surgery on hers. Her neck has been giving her all kinds of grief and she hasn't been able to exercise, let alone sleep.

She'll be getting some hardware, some fusing and probably a cadaver disc or two.

So send good thoughts up to the hospital this week -- she's hoping to be outta there by the weekend.

Sunday funnies in the coupon section

Since I've been eating cleaner, I've been using fewer coupons. There are still plenty of great deals to be had on toiletries, paper goods, detergent, dairy products and cereals, but there are loads of garbage discounts out there.

Some Sundays the coupon section is chock full of ridiculousness. Mostly it's collector plate and doll ads (note the lifelike eyelashes and tiny toenails!) but sometimes it's this:

Looking for more laughs?

Check out Shrinking Sisters Reviews for The Daily Laugh. I'm part of a dozen bloggers who are writing every month on the foibles of living a healthy life. And check out the Daily Laugh Hub for other bloggers' stories.

Fun with leftovers! The Chicken Waldork Wrap


We all know about my love for smoothies. But what I can't throw in a blender I often wrap in a tortilla.

Today's lunch was inspired by the hunk of leftover rotisserie chicken in the fridge. I call this the Chicken Waldork Wrap.

WalDORK because I wasn't quite sure what went into a traditional Waldorf salad so I used raisins instead of grapes. Also dorky? I forgot to take the sticker off the apple (more fiber!).

Usually chicken salad is bound together with mayonnaise, but I wanted to keep the fat calories for the walnuts. So I used a quarter cup of nonfat Greek yogurt and a squirt of lemon juice, which worked out just dandy. Here's the full recipe, with nutritional info computed by

Chicken Waldork Wrap

  • 1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 3 oz. chicken breast, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon raisins
  • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 medium apple, chopped (remember to take off the sticker!)
  • 1 small stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Flatout Multigrain wrap

Combine all ingredients and mix. Spoon into wrap and roll.

Calories: 313.1

Total Fat: 8.5 g

Cholesterol: 49.3 mg

Sodium: 372.1 mg

Total Carbs: 31.8 g

Dietary Fiber: 10.1 g

Protein: 35.9 g

Want a laugh?

Check out Shrinking Sisters Reviews for a new feature. We're teaming up with BlogHer and The Laughing Cow for The Daily Laugh. I'm part of a dozen bloggers who will be writing every month on the foibles of living a healthy life.

Looking at the gym from a kid's perspective

Hey -- I've been away from the blog a bit but that doesn't mean I was on my duff with the bonbons.

Oh no, fitness pals -- I've been chugging away at my Cleveland Clinic Non-Surgical Weight Loss Program and doing smashingly well. I haven't weighed in this week but in the first few weeks I'm down around 6 pounds, averaging an astounding (for me) 2 pounds a week. Just with diet and exercise -- no medical interventions needed.

I've been trying really hard to stick to the 1,200-calorie 30ish-30ish-30ish meal plan but I'm probably averaging closer to 1,300-1,400 calories.

I've been stepping up the exercise and am at at least three days a week of intense (sweaty) exercise but that needs to improve, too. As does my nighttime fridge foraging. Carrot and celery sticks are OK but not when they're enrobed in too much hummus.

Legs and feet of women riding stationary bicycles

But I have a new workout partner -- my 12-year-old son. He's finally old enough to join the gym so last week he had his first training session. I signed him up for three sessions because he might as well start things off on the right foot. I also signed up for three sessions with a trainer so we could work out side by side.

Here's the interesting thing I noticed about his gym experience: While many adults look at exercise as a necessary evil, he still looks at it as a fun activity. After our training session, we cooled down on the recumbent bikes. I set my bike on manual and pedaled along at a comfortable clip. He started that way but said to me "Hey, what's this hill climbing program?" and proceeded to push that button and push his limits.

Different mindset.

While I'm happy to cycle down to 100 bpm, he's cranking away at 135 bpm, bless his fit little heart. And the training room was no different. While he dutifully did his lunges and bicep curls on the resistance ball without a peep or grimace, I was on the other side of the room freaking out my trainer. "Are you OK?" she asked with concern in her voice.

"Yeah, I just make funny faces and squeal when I work out."

Maybe it's because my son still has to answer to baseball coaches and P.E. teachers that he silently and dutifully worked out while I looked and sounded like Biggest Loser week one.

We're heading to the gym this afternoon, and my goal is to be as good an exerciser as my kid.

Building a better breakfast burrito


I managed to convince the husband and son to join me in a 5K this evening, so it'll be a great way to kick off the holiday weekend.  Any holiday can do serious damage to a healthy eating plan if you're not careful.

Since the Cleveland Clinic Non-Surgical Weight Loss Program has me on a 1,200-calorie eating plan, I've been relying on foods that give me the most bang for the caloric buck, which is a great thing.  I've learned I really can get by on that many calories a day (between 1,200 and 1,300), and I've noticed that I'm eating far more fruits and vegetables and my sodium consumption has also dropped.

This morning I whipped up a breakfast burrito that has little servings of all kinds of good stuff: eggs (Egg Beaters, actually), refried beans, cheese and salsa.  I posted it over at SparkRecipes (great place to calculate recipes!) but here's the recipe:

Breakfast Egg, Cheese & Bean Burrito


1/4 cup Egg Beaters, any flavor
Mission Carb Balance 8-inch tortilla
1/4 cup fat-free refried beans
1 wedge Laughing Cow Light, any flavor (I used the new Queso Fresco & Chipotle flavor)
1/4 cup diced tomatoes with green chilies


Cook Egg Beaters in a non-stick pan until set. Remove from heat.  Spread beans and cheese on tortilla and place Egg Beaters on top of beans and cheese.

Roll up and top with tomatoes.

Number of Servings: 1

Nutritional Info

  • Fat: 5.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 30.5g
  • Calories: 235.0
  • Protein: 17.0g