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June 2013

I don't cry anymore


No crying allowed
Cheer up baby, and go for a walk. (You can walk, can't you?)

At last year's Fitbloggin' conference, I was sitting in a session next door to one titled "When You Have a Lot to Lose." While I teeter on the edge between "a good amount" and "a lot" to lose, I chose to attend the other session. While we were discussing keywords and SEO, the sound of crying was wafting from the room next door. 

I thought to myself "Man ... I don't cry anymore when it comes to weight."

But that steely resolve took years of work. 

Losing weight sucks -- know anyone who enjoys the process? And in the past, if a doctor, or a friend or family member would talk to me about it, after a while, the lower lip would start trembling and then the waterworks would start. 

Looking back on that now, I think "boo freakin' hoo." 

What is there to cry about? Crying turns you into a victim. It doesn't solve anything, and mastering weight loss is about solving stuff.

Besides, you'd have to wail and cry for hours and hours to burn any significant amount of calories. :)

The last time I got emotional about my weight, I was able to pinpoint what set me off, and it was just pure frustration. Take my eye off the ball and BLAMMO, the weight comes right back.

It's freaking tiring to weigh and measure food, to write stuff down, snap barcodes on your phone, to tell the waiter to put the dressing on the side, wrap it in lettuce, take off the sauce -- all that crap. But is it worth crying over? Hell no.

(You'll notice that I haven't mentioned exercise because I absofreakinlutely love it and when it comes right down to it, exercise is only about 20 percent of weight loss. As the bariatric psychologist at Cleveland Clinic Florida told me "You exercise for health; you eat to lose weight.")

This may just be my own case, but freeing myself from attaching emotions to weight loss involved accepting the shitty truths of losing weight -- I am hungry a lot, because for me to lose weight, I have to keep the calories low, given that I have the metabolism of a manatee. I can choose to eat more calories but those days will not be weight-loss days. Or, I can strap on the running shoes and pound out a few miles to earn more calories. 

Please don't take offense to this post if dealing with weight issues still brings up overwhelming feelings. It did for me for a long time. But after a few years of working issues out with a psychologist who herself has lost more than 100 pounds, we carefully pulled the thorns out and I can tackle the situation with a relentlessness that transcends any plateau. 

I don't give up. Like ever. Calories don't take a holiday just because I'm on vacation. There is no "vacation mode."

Just last night we went to a Seattle Mariners game, and we circled the concession stands until I found a place that served something "safe" yet enjoyable. (It's gotta be enjoyable. I don't ascribe to the "food is fuel only" school of thought.) I ordered a grilled salmon sandwich with "dry" slaw on top. I told them to hold the tartar sauce and gave the top half of the ciabatta roll to the skinny teenager. Halfway through the game, the kid and I had a little frozen yogurt, but I knew I could because we hiked through the woods for 2 hours that morning and we burned beaucoup calories.

Those occasional plateaus aren't a mystery; bodies aren't that complicated. Calories have consequences and some days it's damn hard to keep a lid on them. But instead of throwing in the towel, you grab the wheel and steer it back on the road.

Lids, towels, steering wheels -- whoa, what a pastiche of metaphors!

So to all of you who are arriving in Portland for Fitbloggin', find me and say hi. I may pop into the "When You Have a Lot to Lose" session -- I'll be the cynical one in the corner offering tough love; I know I'll be sitting in on the Tackling the Taboo of Therapy" session because I talk about therapy the way others talk about getting their hair did.

And now for a musical interlude:

Travel: Unplugged and plugged in

Fitbit june23
Yesterday's Fitbit dashboard is why I don't worry about backsliding on vacation. We parked our car at the bottom of a veritable mountain (when you live in the swampy suburbs of Florida, everything is hilly) and trucked it uphill to the Space Needle, over to a couple of museums, over and downhill to Pike Place and up and downhill back to the car.

The hotel's free breakfast is kind of limited, so my brekkie of choice for the next couple days will be instant oatmeal with a tablespoon of peanut butter melted in. But really, it's yummy and filling so I'm not complaining. 

And alongside my oatmeal bowl and spoon is my phone, so I can log it all into My Fitness Pad, because even though we're vacationing, there is no vacation for the weight loss goal. 

The Fitbit and MFP app keep me aware of the calories out and in and I'm not taking a vacation from that. It's sooooooo easy to go off the rails -- I don't feel like coming back with a surprise on the scale.

I try and make sure one of my meals is a big salad, and I found a blackened chicken salad with baby spinach last night that fit the bill. I also seek out what I call "vacation vegetables," and I pilfered some steamed broccoli and carrots from the teenager's plate (he was more concerned with his order of garlic mac and cheese topped with barbecued pork but I made him eat a couple of stalks of broccoli).

Vacation Vegetables can be had to come by but I even found some at McDonald's. I got one of their McWraps for lunch -- the sweet chili chicken -- and it had a fair amount of cucumbers and assorted greenery among the grilled chicken. It was a decent size and 360 calories. The cashier asked me if I wanted it as a meal and I offhandedly said "no, I don't need the fries" and I swear the person next to me nearly had his head explode. He looked at me like I was nuts! 

But I keep in mind a little tip from Diet Free Life's Robert Ferguson: If you want fries, you skip the bun/tortilla/bready thing. If you want the bun, then no fries. And if I was jonesin' for fries I would have ordered a salad.

Simple as that.

Scale vacation!

Oh hello copy
My favorite characters from 'The Kroll Show' on Comedy Central.

Greetings from the opposite side of North America. I kinda forgot to weigh in and blog yesterday because I was feverishly doing laundry, triple-locking doors, buying Heat championship T-shirts and basically getting ready to get the heck out of Dodge.

I did manage to jump on the scale this morning:

I could have sworn I weighed less last week, but according to the scale, I didn't and dropped a pound and a dash this week and for that I am grateful and surprised. I've been buzzing around, getting ready for Fitbloggin' and writing a bunch of articles in advance for Examiner, plus I took on a book editing project, which was a great way to spend my time on the plane today. 

So I won't be stepping back on the scale until July 4 (what a way to celebrate!). I'm not worried, though -- I pretty much never gain weight on vacation and usually lose a little. 

Lots of walking, lots of activities, no fridge -- I think I'll do fine.

And now a question: How do you do when you're out of town?

Weekend highlights -- literally

Pay no attention to the hypothyroid-ravaged eyebrows.

In my vain attempt to fool all y'all about the fact that I'm 51, I cover the rapidly encroaching grays with grocery store haircolor, and the last attempt turned the top of my hair into a murky dark brown.

Saturday afternoon, a hairstylist at Ulta caught me trolling the haircolor aisle and informed me that highlights were 25 percent off and that they'd probably come out better than whatever I was dreaming up. (Let's see ... root touch-up kit three shades lighter ... paint it on like highlights ... yeah, I was going there.)

So for 30-something bucks (I know!) my hair is now much sassier and it doesn't look like a 5-year-old colored it.

Know what else is sassier? My body-fat composition.

Listen, I know I lose weight like the melting of a polar ice cap. But if my Withings scale is to be believed, my body fat is shrinking in a larger proportion to the total number on the scale. And last Friday it dipped below 100, which seems pretty cool.

Fat loss
Kind of a wacky roller coaster ride but it's a downward trend. I had been stuck at around 114 pounds of fluff for the longest time and lately the fat has been melting off, which is the whole point of all of this.

Gotta share a couple of recipes I made the extended fam for Father's Day dinner last night. First off was a longtime favorite, which I first had at the inaugural Fitbloggin' conference in 2010. It's called Crunchy Greens and Apple Salad and you can find it on this page. (I'd link to it but it's a Javascript page and the specific recipe doesn't come up; just click on the recipe link in the left column.) I used a 12-ounce bag of cleaned and precut organic kale and it made LOADS. If you use an entire pound of greens you'll be able to feed your entire neighborhood.

I also made a vinaigrette-based potato salad, which went over big with the teenager. I clipped it out of "Prevention" magazine last year and you can find the recipe online here. I had run out of capers, so I doubled up on the olives. I didn't cook the potatoes on the grill -- it was busy cooking a bunch of beef kabobs. I just boiled the potatoes, drained them and shocked them with cold water and added the rest of the ingredients while the potatoes were still warm so they'd suck up all the flavors.

Between the kale salad, the potato salad and the kabobs, interspersed with mushrooms, zucchini and grape tomatoes, I realized that I made a 100 percent "perimeter" meal.


First up, the scale:

Good number, given that it's the first week of summer vacation and my schedule is thrown asunder. 

I didn't get in my usual Monday walk because the kid and I were going to start going to the gym every other day and he woke up with a sore throat. We made it to the gym on Tuesday, and I spent Wednesday morning at a job interview (yes, you read that right. Ain't saying a word about it unless I get it). 

Wednesday, I noticed I was sore as heck (and surprised). 

I've been working out five days a week but it's pretty much been the same thing. Tuesday, I climbed up on the elliptical for the first time in months and apparently it worked a whole bunch of different muscles, as did the kettlebell squats.

Guess I should be mixing things up more often. Lots of things felt mixed up this week but in good ways. 

Yet, I shouldn't blame the kid's summer vacation for me slacking off the workouts. He's a big boy -- I can certainly sneak out of the house in the morning while he sleeps his Teenager Beauty Sleep.

And that's what I did this morning. It was hot and I really wasn't into it but once you're a couple miles from home, you've gotta get back, and hailing a cab isn't an option.


Whee! Watch it drop!

I know it's not much, but I was never more happy to see that quarter pound drop than I was this morning.

Those three numbers above were last Friday, this Monday and today, which I finally was surprised with that think that sorta rhymes with "consternation" or "frusTRUation." Just one of the thrills that comes with being 51.

Like I always say, it's not a cycle, it's a roulette wheel.

Anyway (TMI, right?), I adjusted my calories from what My Fitness Pal was telling me I COULD eat, and I'm sticking with what I SHOULD eat, which is 1,400-1,500 a day. I'm drinking lots more water, fitting in more vegetables and sleeping more.

Y'know, all those crazy, sensible things.

I'll be spending the weekend flushing out my PMS bloat and will check in with Mr. Withings (my scale) to see how the de-bloat is coming along.

The weather has been pretty swampy and rainy so today's walk is out of the question but that doesn't mean I need to sit here on my caboose.

So if you'll excuse me, I think I'll fire up the DVD player and have a pre-dinner Zumba dance party with my oversized maracas (no, really, they are maracas -- what did you think I meant?).

I bought them last year at Fitbloggin' from Zumba instructor and force of nature Sue O'Lear, aka Mrs. Fatass, who just opened her own fitness studio in Wilson, NC, with her partners from Trio Fitness -- is that cool or what?

Seaweed and eggs? Trust me on this

Closeup seaweed and eggs
I love seaweed, so much so that I once nibbled on some at the beach. I don't recommend it -- way too gritty and not very tasty.

I used to buy toasted nori sheets and make snacks with them by ripping them into squares but lately seaweed snacks have soared in popularity so I don't have to do that anymore. 

Seaweed and eggsThe array of seaweed snacks is growing and recently Vitacost sent me a pack of gimMe seaweed crumbles. It's one of the new products that has added to its product lineup. I've been shopping at for YEARS (they have great prices on supplements) and I never really thought to order food with them.

The entire bag is 100 calories and it's really good. Seaweed is one of those foods that lends umami to foods. What's umami? In Asian cooking, it's known as the "fifth taste,"  the other four being sweet, salty, sour and bitter.

I tried the sesame flavor, but gimMe also comes in very un-Asian flavors like cheddar cheese and honey dijon. 

I was eating it straight out of the bag but I wondered what I could do with the fine, little shreds of seaweed, speckled with sesame seeds. They'd be great on a salad or sprinkled over a salmon fillet, but something about the combination of eggs and seaweed spoke to me.

Turns out, that very combination is also called gaeran mari, or a Korean stuffed omelet. And I also found out that gim means seaweed in Korean, hence the name gimMe.

There's really no recipe -- just make some scrambled eggs and sprinkle the seaweed on the finished eggs. The salty, crunchy seaweed is a great contrast to the soft and rather bland eggs and adds just a few calories. It's also a great way to add trace minerals to your diet and cut down on sodium.

Disclosure: sent me the product but I was not compensated in any way for this post and all opinions are mine.