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October 2010

Produce of the Month: Candy corn!

caramel chocolate candy corn

Oh, I know, candy corn isn't technically produce, but Sunday is Halloween and I've been obsessing about these flavored candy corns from Brach's.

Chocolate, caramel, caramel apple? That sounds awesome.

Have I bought any? Not a one.

Here's my strategy for Halloween candy this year. I usually go grocery shopping on Sundays, so I am waiting until the very last minute to buy candy this year. And then I'll buy the kind of candy that kids love and parents hate -- something obnoxiously sour or blue or sticky.

And that candy will probably not be surrepticiously squirrelled away by their parents either. I don't know about you, but I've had a Now 'n' Later pull out more than one crown in my lifetime.

And this year, my son is officially retired from trick-or-treating so there won't be the excuse of "Mom and Dad have to sort through all the candy to remove the offending ones with peanut products" (he's allergic).

Because where did those Snicker's and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups go? 



The (he)art of saying no!

portrait of a woman sitting on the floor beside a plate of cookies

My heart is in it, finally.

I've spent the last five days TRULY saying no to all the extras: the handful of Cheezits, the other handful of Cheezits, the scoop of ice cream, the cookies purchased for the kids' lunches. All of it.

HELL NO! I've said it out loud. I've said it in my head. I've been honing how I say it, almost like an art form. One day I counted about 20 times saying no. How many calories might that have been with a yes, or a maybe, or a just this one? I shudder to think.

It feels different and good to say no. I say it to my kids all the time, but not to myself. And my scale agrees, with three whole pounds mysteriously missing even with very little exerise.

An added bonus, I also started saying no in other daily decisions. No to extra volunteering that would cramp my schedule. No to extra fall candy sale purchases that would cost beaucoup bucks just to get my daughter an extra Girl Scout patch. No to an expensive Chuck E. Cheese playdate on this particularly tight budget week.

Looking back on this landscape of no's, I like it. It's empowering. Surprisingly gratifying. And slimming. Maybe I am even pampering myself by saying no? A novel idea. If the result is that positive, could be.

I'm looking forward to another day of no. I urge you to try it too.


I enjoy being a girl (most weeks)

I Enjoy Being a Girl from the musical Flower Drum Song:

I'm a girl, and by me that's only great!
I am proud that my silhouette is curvy,
That I walk with a sweet and girlish gait
With my hips kind of swivelly and swervy.
And have raging PMS where I shove
Handfuls of Cheerios into my pie hole
While watching Bravo reality shows.

OK, the last line was not in the musical.

So, yeah, no weight loss this week. Do I have to post the scale photo? OK, here, bleah:

Toes on scale 102510

After the Twitter Party last Monday, I've gotta admit, I was a little bummed that I didn't make the final cut, and didn't work out Tuesday or Wednesday. But, to crib some more showbiz lyrics, I picked myself up, dusted myself off and laced up the sneakers. So while I just worked out four days this past week, I did cram in 200 minutes of exercise.

I used to blow off exercising on Mondays with some lame excuse that it's Monday and there's too much whatever to catch up on. "I'll start Tuesday!" is what I'd say, and then Tuesday would come and go and ... you get the picture. But now, every Monday, I go to the gym and do my "go like hell" elliptical workout so that I can kick off the week with an hour of hard-core calorie incineration.

I finally got caught up on Pete Cohen's program over the weekend. I was having a bit of information overload, not just with him but with all the e-mails I get on a daily basis. Newsletters full of inspiration and motivation and ideas for perspiration. Sometimes they pile up and I don't read any of it. But I decided to focus on Pete's program now and I've chosen two tools to work on:  Eating slowly and only eating when I'm hungry.

The eating slowly one I don't really have a problem with but I need to be a little more "in the moment" when I eat and do less multitasking so I can remember what it is I just ate.

Eating when I'm hungry has become an alien sensation over the years and it's taking quite a while to rediscover that sensation. I actually didn't eat lunch until 3 p.m. yesterday because I was waiting until I got some sort of sign. Finally, when my head started swimming after standing up, I took that as my cue to eat. I probably let it go a bit too long.

But focusing on nighttime eating will be my focus this week. In one of his videos, Pete asked "Do you eat to stay awake?" Sounds like a crazy question, but I think I do that. Why am I awake at 11:30 watching sports highlights and frittering on Twitter with a bowl of cereal when I should be sleeping?

Later today, I'm interviewing "trainer to the stars" Harley Pasternak on Skype, so that should be cool. I'll have that interview later in the week over at

And now, a very special vlog for Greta:

While I've got you here...

Check out Shrinking Sisters Reviews for my latest post 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 and for a chance to win $150.

Santa's got his eye on me

Finally, Florida's autumnal 85-degree days are here. Now that there's a sorta kinda chill in the air (well, we can pretend), I gaze at my calendar to look over the impending holidays.

Santa pointing

And I discover ... a holiday horror.

NINE WEEKS, FOLKS!!! That's a mere 63 days until Santa comes.

A mere 63 days until the distant relatives comment, "You look great! Have you lost weight?" Or, if you haven't lost weight, "You look great! Is that a new hairstyle?"

I, for one, find powerful motivation in angling for the former compliment. I want to walk into the family get-togethers feeling that I've accomplished something positive -- good for me, and for my family. So, with newly retooled effort, I am trying to tackle the next nine weeks like I would a boot camp.

This is serious. Serious as my 6-year-old gritting his teeth trying to be good in case Santa's watching.

With the same motivation -- Santa's watching, gotta be good -- maybe I can stay on the straight and narrow. And if I do, maybe I can convince Santa to stuff my stocking with some rewards ....  a new holiday dress in a smaller size perhaps.

Feel free to suggest your own holiday rewards!


Mamavation Monday: More info than you care to know!

This week begins the Move It & Lose It Challenge. I moved it (290 minutes) and lost a pound last week. The highlight of my week, as far as healthy living goes, was chatting up (gotta use that term, so British!) Pete Cohen. I won a consultation with the weight loss coach for having the post of the week last week.

One thing we discussed was calories, and the fact that while I've increased my exercise a whole lot the past few weeks, I've been trying to keep my calories low, which may be slowing my metabolism. (Cold feet? Why yes, thank you for asking! Now bring me some fluffy socks.)

So this week I'm going to up the calories a teeny bit to see what happens. Those extra calories will be from lean protein, something that Pete says is very important to us weight-loss athletes (love that term). I'll also be checking out his videos and tips on his website.

Another requirement of the Move It & Lose It Challenge is to post a "toes-on-the-scale" photo. Please to enjoy:

Scale 101710

Look at those monkey toes!

I am a tantalizing 3 pounds away from the elusive PRE-BABY WEIGHT. This has been a tough nut to crack, as the baby now plays a trombone and has a cellphone. But dang it! I'm doing it this week.


Now for the other requirement -- the "before photo." My son saw me splicing the front and back photos together and said "No Photoshopping yourself thinner." He knows me too well (I do that with vacation photos). I also included my measurements on the photo to further dissuade miracle acai berry diet pill spammers from misappropriating my photo to sell their shady products (Oh yeah, and the smiley face.):

Gail front back smiley annotated 1010
Pear shape in the hizzouse! Man, nothin' like a full-body front-n-back to slap you into reality. Junk in the trunk, juice in the caboose -- that's me. But hey, pear shapes have that heathier kind of body fat.

So I'm exceedingly healthy.

Hey, if you haven't voted yet for the Mamavation Mom, today's the last day. I'm one of 6 finalists and really want the opportunity to help motivate people to lose weight in a healthy, balanced and positive way. And join in at the Mamavation Launch Twitter Party tonight at 8 p.m. ET, where the two winners will be announced and you can win prizes.

Ever since I completed the Cleveland Clinic Non-Surgical Weight Loss Program, which included a weekly check-in with a weight loss psychologist, I have had my head screwed on completely straight about making this a reality. As my primary care doctor told me at my last check-up, "Losing weight is hard -- but it can be done."

While I've got you here...

Check out Shrinking Sisters Reviews for my latest post 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 and for a chance to win $150.

Weapon of choice: You can go with this, or you can go with that

120 calories

Channeling a little Fatboy Slim on a Friday morning.

I have a spoon problem. (Not the band Spoon -- love them!)

I'm talking about the ones in the kitchen. I like to jam them into nut butter jars, or hummus containers, or leftover guacamole.

My pal Lynn Haraldson Bering was on the Today show last year, being inducted into Joy Bauer's Joy Fit Club. Before she appeared she wondered what Joy would roll out to illustrate her old eating habits. I said my illustration would be a mountain of teaspoons.

All those invisible spoonfuls of random food can add up -- especially if they're nutrient-packed like peanut butter.

So when I had the urge to dive into a jar of almond butter yesterday, I stopped and swapped. The inner dialogue:

What do you want?

Smooth, creamy, sweet.

All right then, how about some yogurt?

So I dipped into a cup of prune yogurt. Yeah I said prune (haters, step off!). The photo above illustrates what 120 calories of yogurt looks like compared with 120 calories of almond butter. One spoonful vs. a bunch of spoonfuls.

And with that we launch yet another feature -- Stop and Swap! Every now and then we'll point out better choices for when a craving strikes.

And now, time to dance!


Mystery box of goodness

Mechobani Chobanibox Gail's been sharing my address with strangers again.

Came home to a giant box on my carport with the name Chobani on it. Way too big to be my daughter's Halloween costume. Hmmmm ...

Turns out it was full of 12 still-cold selections of all natural Greek yogurt. (Yeah, sometimes it's good to write a diet and fitness blog.)

I dug into the non-fat promegranate first, cause I'm exotic and adventurous like that. One hundred and forty calories later, I was happy.

Have never really tried Greek yogurt on its own. Only ever bought the plain style to make tzatziki sauce to go with Greek-spiced chicken and cukes.

But at twice the protein of other yogurts, and if it tastes as good as other yogurts, why not get a little extra boost?

If you go on their Web page, you'll read that they have a "Master Yogurt Maker" named Mustafa Dogan. Now there's a cool job! You also can print a coupon for a free cup on them. (But I don't think it'll show up on your carport in a mystery box!)