Food and Weight: An Ongoing Journey

Archive for November 2012

I gained this week, but I got a pleasant surprise.  See my home scale said that, in my nightgown I had a 4 lb gain.  And I’m retaining solids again.  Knowing I was going to take a hit, I figured I might as well change from summer weigh-in clothes (light knit stretch pants, tee shirt, no socks) to winter weigh-in clothing (jeans, heavy-ish sweater, thick socks).  So I got to the center, got on the scale, and was surprised to find only a three lb. gain.  This pretty much mean that the total gain was half heavier clothes and half retained solids.  Not bad at all, considering that I had three Thanksgiving dinners this week.

Last Thursday, I was at my cousin M’s; Saturday I was at my cousin I’s; and Sunday I made belated Thanksgiving for myself, my WW buddy C, the roomie and my ex.

So my current weight is 246.4.  Not the greatest, but not terrible, either.


Since I don’t quite get the ActiveLink stuff yet, I wore both that and my trusty pedometer all week.

November 23:  4,734 steps

November 24:  2,469 steps

November 25:  220 steps

November 26:  2,230 steps

November 27:  469 steps

November 28:  86 steps

November 29:  1,968 steps

Will post more tomorrow — I had a long day, and want to get some sleep!


…and I promise not to make a habit of that.

Yesterday was hard.

I did get my internet back on Tuesday, but then something was wrong with the roomie’s internet.  After spending the better part of the day and night trying to get it back, I gave up and went to bed.

Woke up yesterday feeling incredibly bleak.  It was the 28th, and we had no money until the end of the month.  I had, while working on the roomie’s internet, called the friend I was supposed to be meeting and postponed that until Sunday, which is the last possible day to see one of the two exhibits at the Brooklyn Museum that we had been planning to see.  Got notified by the bank that two more payments were declined — and this is still stemming from the deficit caused the last time the roomie screwed up (in October).  She is not happy about having to put more money than usual into the account for our expenses, but I am not happy about incurring hundreds of dollars in bounce fees because she got scared of a creditor.

So I stayed in bed mot of the day, feeling hopeless and — something I try not to do — sorry for myself.  And when I did get up, I jut ate what was in the house — a small corn muffin for breakfast, and two bowls of chicken and rice (one for lunch one for dinner).  I didn’t bother with portion control, nor did I bother tracking.  I also did a little phone tech support for my sister, and sat on the phone for an hour with a Cablevision tech, and about an hour with a techie friend trying to get the roomie’s internet back.  The techie friend and I managed to narrow down the issue to that the roomie’s computer is not seeing the router, even when it is directly plugged in to the computer.  Fortunately, I made the roomie purchase a service contract, so she is going to take the machine back to the store and have them fix it.

Anyway, the upshot of all the above is that I have been feeling particularly down and miserable, and I reverted to what my old eating habits were.  I didn’t think, I didn’t choose to do so, I just reacted the way I have so many times before — shoved down the frustration, anger, helplessness, and hopelessness with food.

However, now that that ha happened, I have acknowledged that I did so, and will not beat myself up over it.  I am going to move forward, and work at being more cognizant of what is going on WHEN IT I GOING ON, so that I can deal with the issues in a more appropriate manner.

While I was at the doctor’s on Monday, I was able to obtain a clearance from him for dental work, so I have an appointment today at 2:30 with the new dentist.  I really love my old dentist, but he is not on the list of dentists approved by the Medicaid dental plan, so I chose the dentist nearest my house.

Anyway, I again apologize for being late with this, and I will have my regular accountability post on Friday.


I’m typing this from the library because my router has died.  When I worked this out with the tech last night,we figured tat I’d just have to go and buy a new router.  However, the tech talked to his supervisor, and tomorrow, Optimum is sending over a router — free of charge — and a tech to hook it up.  I couldn’t do it today, because I had a doctor’s appointment, so could not wait around for a tech.

The good news is that the new blood pressure meds seem to be working very well — my blood pressure was 110/70; something that hasn’t happened since I gained back the weight.  The bad news is that, by the end of the day, my left ankle resembles a baseball.  So the doctor and i discussed it, and agreed that, so long as the swelling goes down when I sleep at night, I will stay on my current meds.  He sent my pharmacy a prescription for Singulair, for my asthma, but the pharmacy has to call him because Medicaid rejected my prescription.  He will have to call them and do a prior approval.  Such is life, when the government gets in your healthcare because you cannot afford health insurance on your own.  Still, the jumping through hoops to get meds is better than not having them.

I made a late Thanksgiving dinner for Marc, the roomie, and Claudia yesterday.  We had turkey breast, butternut squash, Claudia’s broccoli/cauliflower mash, spaghetti squash, salad, homemade cranberry relish (using Splenda instead of sugar), my pistachio pie, and Claudia’s pumpkin pie.  I loaded my plate with veggies, and took a heaping bowl of salad (fat-free dressing on the side for dipping), and had about 6 ounces of turkey (mind, this was a combination late lunch/early dinner, or I would have halved the amount of turkey).

No questions this time, since this is pretty much a drive-by posting…our library only lets you use their computers for half an hour.

See everyone Wednesday!

The good news is that I went into doing Thanksgiving with a plan, and I stuck to my plan.  The bad news is that my body is up to its old tricks a bit, so I gained .2 lbs.  But my body’s old tricks can cause me to be holding 3-4 lbs. of solids at any given time, so .2 lbs. is nothing.

I took my turkey (and some skin — I will give up almost anything, but not my poultry skin; especially when it’s nice and crispy!), and then proceeded to load up my plate with veggies.  What my cousin did was to set up all the food in the kitchen on her counter and side table, and we ate in the dining room/living room, which was great, because once you fixed your plate you were away from the food. Her husband brought our beverages to us, so what was on the table was what we were eating and drinking, without a lot of temptations or distractions.  She had rolls and salad on the table, so I sat at the end away from the rolls, so I couldn’t see them.  Not that I was worried — there was so much good, healthy food that I was not gonna waste points on store-bought rolls, no matter how fluffy.  I heaped a salad bowl with salad, and topped it with a little bit of Ken’s Lite Sweet Vidalia Onion dressing.  I sat at the end of the table, with my sister, her fiance, my cousin’s daughter, and my aunt from Texas and we had a really great conversation.

The food (besides the turkey) was my sister’s garlic turnips, butternut squash, mixed veggies in olive oil (I only had a little of that), kernel corn, stuffing (I only took one spoonful), mashed sweet potatoes mixed with mashed carrots, and some rice pillaw with chicken (my cousin’s daughter-in-law is Indian, and Jaya’s mom made the pillaw, which was fabulous), and Jaya’s eggplant parmesan (which I had one spoonful of, and it was well worth it).  When it came time for seconds, I took a second spoonful of the turnips, and a bit more of the turkey skin.  For dessert, I split a sliver of pecan pie with my aunt, took one of the cookies that my cousin’s grandson offered me, and a taste of the raspberry/almond torte that my sister brought.

So, my weight for this week is 243.4.  I am pleased, and I met the challenge to lose 8 lbs. by Thanksgiving!  I am, on the whole, pleased.

I have been wearing my AcitveLink device, but have no information to share yet, since I am still in the assessment period.

I have also been tucking my pedometer into my pocket every day (when I have gone out).   Sadly, I am till not walking every day, but I will get there.

  • 11/16:  3,857 steps
  • 11/17:  1,205 steps
  • 11/18:  731 steps
  • 11/19:  0 steps
  • 11/20:  0 steps
  • 11/21:  0 steps
  • 11/22:  545 steps

My next challenge is going to be tomorrow; I will be travelling to White Plain by public transit, to visit my cousin Ira and his family, who will be having my aunt from Texas over.  My sister and her fiance will be taking me home but, given that they got hit badly by Hurricane Sandy, we agreed that having to travel from Long Island to Brooklyn to pick me up, then back to Queens to get to the bridge out of the city, would just be far too long a trip, especially given the cost of gas.  Fortunately, my cousin and his wife are into eating a lot of what we on Weight Watchers call Power Foods, so I am not terribly worried.

Oh, and I have applied for the SNAP (food stamps) program.  I did this after a lot of thought.  Yes,  I have been surviving, but I need to be able to buy more Power Foods for myself, to support my weight loss and getting healthy.  Given that my pension will not support my doing that, I am applying for aid.  The plain truth is that eating more nutritional foods will support my getting healthier, and if I can do anything to improve that process, it really behooves me to do so.

So, going forward, what can you do that will support your efforts to get healthy, lose weight, or whatever your health and other goals are?

See you in a few days!




Okay, folks.  This is it.  Tomorrow is the beginning of the big holiday season.  No matter what you celebrate, you have likely been conditioned to base a large part of those celebrations around food.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  More than almost any other holiday, this is geared totally around food (although, in truth, it should be geared around people and reflection on what we have that makes our lives good).  People make huge dinners, and expect their guests to stuff themselves.  Or they arrange to have food in restaurants, where their plates are over-stuffed.

For me, I have a plan.  My sister and I are going to a cousin’s for Thanksgiving.  I called my cousin, and we talked about what she was having for dinner,  and I offered to bring a dessert that everyone could enjoy and would keep me on track without making me feel deprived.  I am planning to take no more than a spoonful anything on the table, because even though my cousin believes that she cooks healthy, she cooks differently than I do, and uses oils an sauces that I would not.  Also, her daughter-in-law will be bringing some Indian food, which I love, and she’s a really good cook, so I see no reason to deprive myself.  Further, y sampling a little of everything, I will be minimizing the chance of other trying to feed me thing I haven’t taken, and comments about my diet.

When it comes to desert, I am not only bringing a pie I make, but I’m bringing a can of Fat-Free Reddi Wip, so that when I am at the table, my dessert will be no different (at least visually) to anyone else’s.

Beyond that, I’m planning on concentrating on the people there, rather than the food.  These are my family, and I don’t get to see some of them anywhere near enough (one of my aunts lives in Texas), and I know that time I spend talking with them will not be time spent eating.

I am also planning on having breakfast before I go to my cousin’s.  I know many people think that skipping breakfast will help them stay on track at Thanksgiving dinner.  For me, however, all it would do is make it harder for me to stay on track because I would be more likely to overeat, for two reasons:  First, I would be inclined to feel that skipping breakfast would entitle me to eat more, which is dangerous. Second, I would be more hungry, which would lead me to eat more.

And, finally, if I need them, I will use some of the 49 weekly points my program allows me each week, just for such occasions.

What I will try not to do is get upset if/when people who do know I am trying to lose weight ask “Can you have that?”  I will simply explain that there are no forbidden foods on the program I am on, and let it go at that.

So, I know how I will handle the holidays and holiday parties.  What strategies do you employ to handles such occasions and till keep on track with your program?


Disclaimer:  Okay, I’m Jewish.  That said, I am also an American and a New Yorker.  Also, my grandma worked for Macy’s for most of her adult life, as a salesperson. End Disclaimer

When I was growing up (in the 1950s and 1960s), the Christmas season began the moment that Santa and his sleigh appeared onscreen at the end of the New York Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and not one second sooner.  It was the way things were in my entire neighborhood (Richmond Hill, Queens, NY), and we were fine with it.  The day after Thanksgiving was, of course, Black Friday (originally named because this was the biggest shopping day of the year; the day that could flip a store into the black, and not for the behavior of the shoppers).  Heck, the whole weekend was when most people did their Christmas/Chanukah/whatever (there was no Kwaanza then, and most folks in my neighborhood didn’t celebrate Yule) shopping.

Now, as online retailers started taking away some share of the brick and mortar retailers’ profits (not to mention competition among the brick and mortar retailers themselves), the brick and mortar retailers started pushing back.  First came early bird specials, which could start at any time after, say, 4 am.  These were followed by Midnight specials:  stores opening at the stroke of Midnight between Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

Now, some of the larger brick and mortar retailers are pushing to have  stores open on Thanksgiving Night or Day, in a blatant attempt to create bigger sales.  In order to do so, they are spending vast sums to stock up, hire security, and entice employees to work on Thanksgiving (in some cases coercing employees to work on that day).  Now, I know that for some folks, the economy being what it is, a workday at time and a half is a wonderful thing, and I have no bone to pick with them.  I wish them well, and I am certain they are thankful for the chance to add to their budget.

However, I do have an issue with the retailers, particularly the big box retailers.  Thanksgiving is the one uniquely American holiday in that it can be celebrated by people of any background or religion, and in that, rather than as a holiday in which people are pushed to give gifts,  it is about reflecting on all that we do have — food, a roof over our heads, friends, intelligence, whatever — the things that make our lives good.

Erica, of the blog Northwest Edible Life, did an excellent post on the subject, and I am willing to spread her conclusion:

“This, therefore, is my conclusion and my message: all y’all Grey Thursday and Black Friday deal-hunters need to just calm the hell down for a second (or, ideally, twelve hours). Have some turkey, play a board game, watch a football game. Call your friends, hug your family, put on some music. Go around your house and count how many TVs you already have. Hint: if (number of TVs x 200)>(your credit score) do not buy any more TVs!

Go shopping on Friday. Have a blast – get up early, buy a Mrs. Field’s cookie and make a day out of it. Go with friends, keep the economy moving, hunt for parking, be part of the Black Friday tradition. If everyone did this, within two years stores would take Thursday sales off the table, hundreds of thousands of employees would not be pressured to work Thanksgiving, and the discounts would be just as good on Friday.

I cannot emphasize this enough: there is no reason – at all – why a steep discount has to be offered on Thursday instead of Friday. The stores would all adapt if we refused to offer up Thanksgiving to commercialism.”

Of course, like Erica, I feel I am preaching to the choir here.  Most of the people I know would sooner eat soap than go near a mall on Black Friday.

However, like Erica, I want to spread the word that if enough people avoid taking part in this crazy rush to acquire things, and the retailers lose enough money, they will be forced by their own bottom lines to not repeat the folly.

Therefore, I am taking a stand.  And I am putting that stand out in the world, so that others so inclined might also take one.  I will not, other than maybe a last-minute run to the local bodega for more milk, go near a store on Thanksgiving.  I will dine with my relatives, relax with them, enjoy their company, and then go home, where I will either read, chat with online friends, or knit until bedtime.

I note that the roomie just placed a full-page ad from one of my favorite local chain appliance/electronics stores, P.C. Richards, into my hand.  They are not only not going to open on Thanksgiving Day or Night, but are blasting retailers who do so.

Since the text of the ad is not clear, here is the text:

Save Thanksgiving

Our 2,968 Employees Wish You a Very Healthy, Happy Thanksgiving… A Day for the Celebration of Families, Friends, and Loved Ones.

It is our opinion that retailers who choose to open on Thanksgiving Day or Night show no respect to their employees and families, and are in total disrespect of family values in the United States of America.

Honor Thanksgiving Day… A True American Holiday!

And on this day… our thoughts and prayers are with our employees, customers, friends and neighbors who have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

We appreciate those who provide us essential services today.

A special thank to all emergency response teams, working tirelessly in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and to the service men and women who protect our freedom each and every day!


Family Owned & Operated for 103 Year…Est. 1909

And because of that, I think you folks can predict what retailer will continue to get my share of patronage when I want to purchase an appliance or small electronics item.

So, I am, as I said, taking a stand.  And I ask if you will, too.  Will you avoid the attempt to turn Thanksgiving Day into an extension of Black Friday?  Will you avoid becoming part of the madding crowd at the malls?

Note:  I do welcome dissenting opinions, so long as they are voiced civilly.  If they are not, I will borrow Teresa Neilsen-Hayden’s disemvowelling tools, and John Scalzi’s Mallet of Gentle Correction, and use them liberally.

Okay.  Here’s the deal.  Thanks to Marc, my accountability reporting will be changing in eight days.  I now own the new ActiveLink device that Weight Watchers has teamed up with Phillips to develop.

ActiveLink Device and Its Two Case Choices in Its Box © 2012 Deborah J. Wunder

The device comes with two cases, that I can switch at will.  The one on the left in the photo is the clip case, for clipping onto a shirt, a pocket, or a waistband.  The one on the right is for putting the device on a chain or a cord, and wearing it like a necklace. I am told that you can even wear the device while swimming, or while in the shower!

The first week of wearing the device, it does an assessment of my normal activities, and provides a baseline.  After that, it provides challenges to get me to increase the number of Activity Points I earn. It also converts all my activities, not just my walking, into Activity Points.  Until I see how it shakes out, though, I am wearing my trusty pedometer.

For now, here is my current accountability, though:

  • Weight at Meeting:  243.2
  • Loss this Week:  2.8 lbs.
  • Loss to Date:  19.2 lbs.
  • Walking this Week
    • 11/9:     4,768 steps
    • 11/10:  3,481 steps
    • 11/11:  0 steps
    • 11/12:  0 steps
    • 11/13:  0 steps
    • 11/14:  0 steps
    • 11/15:  0 steps
  • Measurements:  I have started tracking my measurements on eTools, although I will not be making these public at this time.

So, I promised a recipe.  This is for stuffed, baked delicata squash.  It’s a great way to use up the leftovers from my 16-bean and beef chili.


  • 1/4 cup 16-bean and beef chili (or your favorite chili recipe)
  • 1/4 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 small delicata squash (if you use a medium squash, you double the amout of chili and of rice)
  • 2 tsp shredded cheddar cheese

Take a delicata squash and cut off the end with the stem, then slice the squash lengthwise. Remove the seeds and fibers.  Thoroughly mix the chili and rice in a bowl.  Spoon the rice and chili mixture into the cavities of each squash half.  Top with shredded cheddar.

Stuffed Delicata Squash Before Baking © 2012 Deborah J. Wunder

Place the stuffed squash on a baking sheet (I cover mine with foil), and bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender, and the cheese is melted and golden brown.

Baked, Stuffed Delicata Squash © 2012 Deborah J. Wunder

Did you know that you can, technically, eat the skin of any squash?  I didn’t, but I found that out when I was reading up on delicatas.  For most squashes, however, the skin is fairly tough, so it’s not worth the effort.  For the delicata, however, the skin is thin enough and soft enough (especially after baking), that it can be consumed.  That little nugget of information means that, if you wish, you can eat the stuffed delicata as a finger food, much the way you would eat a stuffed potato skin.  I am not giving a Points Plus value for this recipe, because it will vary depending on what the Point Plus value of your chili is.  I think that I am going to also experiment with stuffing squashes with other food combinations over the winter, since this is a very filling, satifying dish.

Today, at meeting, we were discussing  the four parts of the Weight Watchers program:

  • The Plan
    • Shopping
    • Tracking
    • eTools
    • Power Foods
  • Meetings
  • Behavior Modification
  • Activity

Since we had concentrated on the Plan and Meetings last time, this time we looked at behavior modification and activity.  We discussed how we had reacted to the Hurricane and nor’easter, which was a real challenge for many of us.  Most of us found that we had made some progress, in that even if we did do some comfort eating,we were reaching for Power Foods rather than foods with less nutritional value.  I personally discovered that I got as much (if not more) comfort out of replicating my mother’s split pea soup as I did from eating it.   We also discussed the new ActiveLink, and what it will do, how it will change the way we track our activities, and how much more accurately it will reflect those activities (not to mention turning them into Activity Points).

Now for another recipe!  I wanted pie last night.  However, I didn’t have the ingredients for Maddy’s wonderful fruit pie.  So I improvised.  I took a box of Jello Fat-Free Sugar Free Pudding and Pie Filling, and while I baked one of the graham cracker pie crusts, I dumped the powder into a bowl.  While the crust cooled, I whisked in 1 3/4 cups of  Skim Plus with Omega-3, and poured the mixture into the cooled pie crust.  I let it sit in the fridge for 2 hours, cut the pie into eight sections, and then had some pistachio pie.  My roommate just cut herself a slice, and added some Fat-Free Reddi Wip.  Here’s a picture of her slice:

Sue’s Portion – Pistachio Pie © 2012 Deborah J. Wunder

It’s 4 Points Plus, without the Reddi-Wip, and is perfectly yummy.  I suspect that this can be done with any flavor of the fat-free, sugar free puddings and pie fillings out there, but you should run it through the recipe builder, so that your Points Plus value is accurate.

I know Thanksgiving is coming up next week, and for many of us it will be a challenge.  I have already called the cousin whose home we will be going to, and she has gone over her meal plan for the evening.  I asked if I could bring Maddy’s apple pie and, after I described it to my cousin, she not only requested that I bring it, but is planning to try it herself.

So, here are some questions to ponder until the next time:  How do you react to challenges in terms of stressful situations? Do you reach for foods that will sustain you, or for foods full of empty calories?  If you are in WW, do you track your foods?  Your activities?  Do you still think you are on a “diet” (something that you do until you lose the weight, at which point you stop doing it and end up regaining the weight), or are you learning to incorporate your new better choices into your “regular” life, so that you can maintain the good habits even after you reach your goal weight?  How are you planning ahead for Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season?  Are you willing to talk to the hosts of event you are going to so that you can plan ahead?  Are you just going to use the Simply Filling plan for that day?  How can you turn a holiday into a “win” for yourself?

Freelancers Union

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