Food and Weight: An Ongoing Journey

Archive for January 2013


This month, I’ve been thinking more about power foods. I’ve also been looking at my tracker, and discovering that, despite my efforts to date, I’m not eating as many power foods as I would like to be eating.

I’m also trying to figure out why, since most of the foods I love actually do fall within the power food category.  So far, the answer boils down to laziness on my part, I think. I love fresh vegetables and fruits. I love protein. My cravings are more often for really filling foods rather than empty calories.

I can’t blame the roommate’s shopping habit, either; she will get me power foods if I ask for them. And the SNAP program encourages me to buy healthy foods.

Power foods are foods that fill you up, stick with you, and take longer to digest, with the body working harder to digest them. In short, they use up a fair amount of energy when you eat them.

I recently discovered that grits are a power food, as are the majority of whole grains. This has made me very happy, because they are extremely versatile. A quarter of a cup of grits or other whole grains cooks into a huge bowl of hot grains that can be eaten alone, with milk, or with cheese (or another protein) and veggies stirred in. You really get great “bang” for your nutritional buck by eating them — especially in winter, when your body craves warm, comforting foods.

Soups can be another great source of power foods.  My ex makes soup by using stock, a protein (or two or three), a ton of veggies (he prefers frozen, I prefer fresh root veggies and greens), some whole grains, and spices. Both of us enjoy turning out huge pots of soup, a large portion of which we freeze (he uses quart jars, I use 1 cup containers), and all of which end up being 5 Points Plus or less per serving (unless we use beans, which raises the Points Plus value a bit).

Sigh. In other news, I was not kind to myself today. After almost no sleep, I headed to the dental surgeon, to have a bit of stray bone removed from where the dental surgery had been done.  Then the roomie and I went to the Post Office to mail out a sweater I sold, and some books for folks on Bookmooch. After that, we headed by bus to downtown Brooklyn to her bank, then stopped at the Brooklyn branch of Shake Shack (which I have wanted to try for a while). I made some less than optimal choices, although I have to admit that the vanilla shake (I got a small) felt really good against my sore gum (the novocaine decided to wear off while we were eating). I took two ketoprofen, then we headed to my bank, to get the rent money in so I could write the February check. By the time that was done, my energy had totally crashed, so we each chipped in half for a car service back home, where I got into bed (around 2:30 p.m.) and stayed there until shortly before 9 p.m. I am sure, in retrospect, that being exhausted fed into the decisions I made about what to eat today. On the other tentacle, it was just one day out of a lifelong journey, and I am back on track now.

Does feeling less than optimal affect the food decisions you make on a given day? What can you do to better prepare to deal with  this phenomenon? If you do make poor decisions on a given day, can you pick yourself up and get back on track with your next meal, or do you beat yourself up over it?

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Okay, foodwise, I am still going heavily into my weekly Points Plus allowance. I accept that this happens. And, thanks to Diana, I am not beating myself up over doing so.

I’ve been working hard on a lifestyle change project: getting my apartment to reflect who I really am. It’s been hard work — going through boxes and boxes of stuff that’s been sitting there for eight years. I’ve had some help with it from both the roomie and friends, but the truth is that if I want this place to look the way I want it to, I am going to have to do the bulk of it myself.

The good news, is that the better  the apartment looks, the less frustrated I feel, and the less I feel the need to stuff down that frustration with food. And moving all the crap around has got to be good for Activity points. The bad news is it’s going to take the better part of the year to get the place to really be the way II want it. My sister was here yesterday, and had a bunch of ideas — some really good, others not so much *my* style. A lot will have to be done piecemeal, given my finances, but at least it’s all in process.

I’ve also been working on some kitting commissions, which will hopefully raise some cash for some dental work that Medicaid won’t cover. Getting the dental work done soon will keep it from being much worse later.

So, this weekend, I haven’t done much cooking, all told, and don’t have much fascinating to report. I’m here; I’m doing okay; and I expect to keep going forward on all fronts. Not too terrible for just about one month into 2013.

How is your 2013 going? What plans of yours have an impact on sticking to your program? What do you want to do better (or differently) this year?


Some days, crumbs are more than we think we deserve, especially with weight loss. Even though I went over my weekly Points Plus allowance this week I was down .2 lbs, for a total of 27 lbs. My current weight is 235.4 lbs. Given that I was over on Points Plus, I’m not displeased.

I will note that I did not go over my points on junk; I did it on Power Foods, so I am not overly worried. I have been watching out for my health. One thing I learned at meeting this morning is that the reason that almost everyone there reported feeling ravenous this week is that it was so cold. According to my leader, the cold forces the body to work harder to keep itself warm, so it requires more fuel to work properly. I had thought that my metabolism had been slowing down because I’ve become more indolent due to the cold. Live and learn.

Further, I tracked everything, so I was not fooling myself about what I ate at any level.

My new food for the day comes courtesy of my friend, V, who I met at meeting.  She has been talking about grits for a while now.  Being a “Nice Jewish Girl from New York,” I had somehow managed to miss having them before.  However, our leader pointed out that grits were a Power Food, and very filling. Last week, I bought some, based on V’s rhapsodizing about them, then promptly forgot to try them.  Thoroughly chilled after walking the one third of the block from where M dropped me off to my house, I decided to try what she had spoken about today. I microwaved the grits according to the package directions, adding a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese.  About three minutes before the grits were done, I added in some leftover chopped pork, and the remains of the steamed spinach from last night. The grits were perfect — cheesy, creamy, yummy, hearty (especially with the additions), and just the perfect texture to be heartwarming as well as filling. They carried me through from about 1 in the afternoon until dinner, which ended up not happening until about 9:30 p.m., due to various events. And I was so enchanted by them, that I made them as a side for dinner, introducing the roomie to them, this time with just the cheese and fresh steamed cauliflower! Again, delicious and filling! I am so delighted that V got me to step out of my familiar zone, foodwise!

Anyway, this post is short because I have several deadlines coming up really fast. See everyone Monday!


Seriously.

For the first time ever on WW, I am over my weekly points allowance. Okay, it’s only by 3 points, but it still doesn’t feel very good.

Normally, I’m pretty good at managing my points allowances – both daily and weekly. This week, however, I have been feeling ravenous all week. Coupled with a party on Saturday, where I indulged a bit more than I would normally have done, I mismanaged my allowances.

Mind, it wasn’t all spent on junk. In fact, the majority of the points I spent were actually spent on good, nutritious things. Veggies in combination with proteins or whole grains have made up the bulk of this week’s foods. I’ve had at least one nice sized batch of greens daily, and quinoa, and my lentil quinoa burgers. I’ve used either a wedge of Laughing Cow or fat-free cottage cheese whenever cheese was called for.

I still have an evening and a full day before weigh-in. I am not “dreading” weigh-in, but I am curious to see what effect going over my weekly points allowance will have. Since I regard the scale as “just a guide,” I am not overly concerned, especially since the pair of 3X sweat pants that was snug when i found them a few weeks ago is now loose enough that I told the roomie that I would be getting rid of them after this wearing/washing.

Have you ever gone over your food allowance? What kinds of foods did you go over it with? How did it affect your frame of mind toward your ability to stay on your program? Did you beat yourself up, or just note it and move forward?


After meeting on Friday, C and I headed back here where we had lunch and then baked the scones we heard about during the meeting. They were chocolate chip scones, and we had to make a tweak or two to the recipe, but they came out really good.

Fergie, Deb, & Claudia’s Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Scones

12 scones @ 4 Points Plus 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup mixed angel food & devil’s food cake mix
  • 1/3 cup Splenda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 Tbsp cold butter, cut into bits
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 5 Tbsp orange juice
  • 2 Tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/3 cup water

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  • Cut in butter.
  • Stir in orange juice, vanilla extract, water, & chocolate chips.
  • Divide batter and shape into 12 scones, pressing each scone together lightly so that it adheres.
  • Place on baking sheet that has been sprayed with on-stick spray.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes until top is crusty.
  • Let cool and enjoy.

M came over for dinner, so we had the roomie, M, C, and me. Dinner was a huge frittata, split four ways. It was stuffed with sausage, roast pork, shallot, red & orange peppers, spinach, and chard. Dessert was a scone each.

Saturday, I made another batch of lentil/quinoa burgers, because I really loved both the way they tasted and the way they kept me nice and full until my next meal. Saturday was also the third Saturday fannish thing in upstate Manhattan. T, one of the hosts, made met lasagna, while N made a three-bean & couscous casserole. T also made homemade tapioca pudding & homemade whipped cream to go with it. I had a bit of each and used up some of my weekly points, but it was well worth it.

Sunday was a quiet day at home, with grilled salmon, a baked potato, and brussels sprouts for dinner. I did bake another batch of scones — this time almond instead of chocolate chip — and I got 15 scones out of this batch, for 3 Points Plus each. I left out the cinnamon & vanilla extract, so they tasted more like scones than Friday’s batch.

Tonight will probably be meatloaf or hamburgers. The roomie will be making dinner, and I have no idea what she will feel like doing with the chopped meat she has thawing in the fridge.

What do you do when a weekend, rather than just one occasion, is food-focused? How do you arrange to stay on your plan? Or do you just declare a day off from it?

 


And that about sums it up. I lost one more pound, so my new weight is 235.6 for a total gone of 26.8 lbs. And I hit my 10% of body weight lost today, too.

At meeting we looked at pics of our fridges, and discussed what we could do to make them more plan-friendly. Here are the pics of my fridge, which is pretty plan-friendly, although there is always room for improvement:

As you can see, most of the things in my fridge are already portioned. And what isn’t portioned is either about to be or belongs to my roommate.

We also discussed the event in Baldwin, Long Island that my leader coordinated on Saturday, 12 January. She created a presentation with eight speakers, each of whom had lost over 100 lbs. It was truly inspirational, with the last speaker having lost 305 lbs! All the speakers credited tracking, portion control, and meetings as the main factors contributing to their success.

In fact, reflecting on it, the one thing that Weight Watchers has not really changed since their beginning is tracking. It is my experience that, over the years, this is the only aspect of Weight Watchers that research has not caused substantial changes to. Whether one was tracking Exchanges, as in the program’s early days, Points, or Points Plus, as we do today, the idea is the same: “If you bite it, you write it,” (to quote Lisa Lillien [Hungry Girl]).  It is also my experience that the more accurate my tracking is, the better my success is.

So, my commitment for the upcoming week is to keep improving my tracking, and also to keep getting more Power Foods into my daily plans.

Have you tried tracking your food each day? Weighing and measuring it? What were your results if you did? How did they compare to times when you weren’t tracking your food?

Today was really ugly out, so I stayed home.  Did a bit of cooking, so I have a couple of recipes for you all today.

Monday’s lentil burgers came out well, although I managed to overcook them slightly.  Still, they held together and taste good , especially on a bagel thin with some green veggies under them and a wedge of Laughing Cow spread over them.

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Deb’s Lentil/Quinoa Burgers (10 burgers @ 3 Points Plus per burger)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg (4 servings) Streit’s Lentil Soup Mix
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups water (for making the lentil soup)
  • 1/2 cup matzo farfel

Directions:

  • Prepare the lentil soup as per the package instructions.  Drain off the liquid (and freeze for stock).
  • Let the lentils cool to room temperature.
  • Mix together the lentils, quinoa, eggs, and matzo farfel.
  • Shape into patties and place on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Broil for about 4 minutes per side, until golden brown.

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Today, I looked in the fridge, and was a bit alarmed by all the leftover veggies I found, so I took the stock left over from making the veggie burgers and made gumbo.

Deb’s Leftover Veggies & Seafood Gumbo (11 one-cup servings, @ 3 Points Plus per serving)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups veggie stock
  • 1 pkg frozen okra
  • 3 cups cooked broccoli
  • 1-1/4 cup cooked corn kernels
  • 1 pkg Great American Seafood’s Seafood Combination
  • 3/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 links, cut up, Premio Sweet Italian Sausage

Directions:

  • Put all ingredients into a large pot.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 – 30 minutes.
  • Portion into one-cup containers, except for one portion – place that in a bowl and enjoy.

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And lastly, I got a huge bunch of turnip greens at the produce market the other day, so I decided to braise them in some of the leftover sparkling cider from New Year’s Eve.

Deb’s Braised Turnip Greens (4 servings @ 2 Points Plus per serving)

Ingredients:

  • 3 – 5 cups of turnip greens, rinsed and chopped into 1″ wide segments
  • 1 cup Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider
  • 3 Tbsp Bacon bits

Directions:

  • Place all ingredients in large pan and cover.
  • Simmer  until tender, stirring occasionally.
  • Divide into four portions and enjoy.

So those are today’s recipes.  All of them support getting more veggies into my diet, and moving toward a flexatarian lifestyle.  If you try them, please do let me know what you think!