Food and Weight: An Ongoing Journey

Archive for February 2013

Okay.  I had never contemplated grits, New York Jew that I am, until one of the women at my WW meeting started raving about them  When she did, and my leader pointed out that they were a power food, I figured I had to give them a try.

I’m glad I did.  In this cold weather, a nice  bowl of cheesy grits is just the kind of warm, comforting, stick-to-your-ribs food I crave.

Since I have no problem making breakfast my point-heavy meal of the day (because it sets up my energy for the rest of the day), I have no problem loading the grits with nice stuff.

Today’s edition was cheesy shrimp and grits:

  • 1/4 cup dry grits, NOT QUICK COOKING (today I used white, but I often use yellow)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 wedge Laughing Cow Light – Original Swiss
  • 3 oz. ready to eat shrimp
  • Dash salt

Thanks to microwaves, preparing grits is one of the easiest things you will ever do:

  • In a microwave safe bowl, add the dry grits, the water, the cheese wedge and the salt.
  • Microwave on medium (or half power) for 7 minutes.
  • Stir
  • Toss in the shrimp
  • Microwave on medium for 3 minutes or until thickened to your liking
  • Let stand to cool for a moment

This will keep you well filled until your next meal. (If you don’t want to spend so many points for breakfast, this also makes a fine lunch or relatively light dinner if you add in some chopped veggies.  My suggestions: okra, broccoli, corn kernels (not creamed), spinach, onions, chopped mustard greens, chopped swiss chard,  or mushrooms.

You can also swap out the shrimp for other proteins such as, beans, chopped up leftover roasted beef, chopped up chicken breast, chopped up ham, an egg or two, bacon bits, or even chopped up corned beef.





I’ve had some kind of stomach bug this weekend — nothing too serious, but eating is not something I want to do too much of right now.

I have been mostly living on soups, which – fortunately – I have a decent backlog of. Yesterday night and today, I ventured to have some sunny side up eggs and toast.

Anyway, moving has also been a non-starter today.

I woke up about 10 am, started to do work, but couldn’t get anywhere near focused enough. Took some Coriciden HBP® Cold & Flu, and crawled back to bed, where I stayed most of the day. Roomie noted that I must be sick if I went to bed during The Chew.

Unfortunately, when you are a freelancer, there is no such thing as a real sick day. I did manage to get more of the manuscript edited, and write two of the three articles I needed to.  Submitted the articles, with a letter asking if I could lump the third with the three due Wednesday.

Question for any freelancers out there:  How do you handle days when you are just too sick to work? (Fortunately, this does not happen too often, which is why I need to figure out early how to handle it when it does.)

Anyway, I’m going to head back to bed. Hopefully, this will have passed by the morning.

Went to meeting, and had a pretty good time, all things considered.

Was up 1.8 lbs., but it was expected, because I am now eating regularly again.  And I have no problem, because I know I am doing what I’m supposed to do.

We talked a lot today about Power Foods.  As I’ve noted before, these are foods that give you the most nutritional bang for your Points Plus values. We were asked what power foods we relied on each week, and when we all had the same answers we always do, our leader asked us to go home, take the small green book, and highlight all the power foods, so we could see how many of them we aren’t using. So I’ve added that to my task list for this weekend.

We also discussed the PLU stickers that appear on fruits and vegetables.  The main things to look for are:

  • 4-digit codes beginning with 3 or 4 are fruits that have been grown conventionally, that is they may have been sprayed with pesticides or other additives.
  • 5-digit codes beginning with 9 are foods that have been certified organic.
  • 5-digit codes beginning with 8 indicate that the fruit or vegetable has been genetically modified.

Let’s use Granny Smith Apples as an example:

  • #4017    conventional
  • #94017 organic
  • #84017 genetically modified

So I learned something new today, and will definitely use that knowledge when I go shopping.



When I woke up today from my regularly scheduled nap, I had forgotten to change the channel on the tv, and what was playing was one of those celebrity gossip shows. Now I don’t watch those, but as I was reaching for the remote they started talking about Chaz Bono.  Not so much the regular gossip, but about his ongoing weight-loss, which, apparently, is being supervised by Travis Stork, from The Doctors.

What caught my attention about this article was not the weight he has lost (although, congratulations — 43 lbs. off is no small feat, by any means). What caught my attention was that Dr. Stork noted that Chaz did it via portion control and exercise, two of the three big things that Weight Watchers stresses.  Dr. Stork also noted that Chaz chose things he loves – dancing and mixed martial arts – as exercise, so that he would enjoy moving, and not feel like he was being compelled to work out.

From where I sit, and I sit far too much, that leaves me in a pretty bad position.  Yeah, I track; yeah, I do Portion Control (the only kind of “PC” I ever think is appropriate); but my favorite exercise is walking, and – between my neuropathy and the damned winter – I do far too little of it.

I used to walk three to five miles a day.  These days, if I walk a quarter of a mile, it’s a huge thing. I have been feeling vaguely guilty for not moving more.  I know that beating myself up over it will not accomplish a darned thing, though. The thing is, it’s been so cold that I have no desire to go out.  And I’ve been so broke this year that I have no destination when I do. I used to love to take the express bus into the city and walk around; maybe even hit a museum or gallery, have lunch, walk more, meet a friend, maybe have dinner, then go home. But gaining the weight and getting so sick seems to have taken all that away from me. I need to get back to it, and – more importantly – I want to. I don’t even mind having to use a cane for long distances.

What I hate is when the neuropathy kicks in. My neuropathy manifests as either one or both legs falling asleep while I’m walking. This means I cannot feel the ground, except in a way that feels like I’m walking on moving sponges. And that feels very unsafe when I’m experiencing it. The cane helps, because it stabilizes me, and it gives me something to lean on when I need to stop and rest. And, if I keep walking the legs eventually wake up. But it can take anywhere from moments to the better part of an hour for the neuropathy to wear off. And it’s scary while it’s happening. Very scary. If I don’t have a cane with me, I need to either stop until the worst of it passes, or grab onto the arm of the person I’m hanging out with. (C, the roomie, the ex, N, and A are usually the people I trust to go outside with minus the cane.)

And the worst part is that I did this to myself by gaining back (in less than a year) the 80 lbs. I had already lost. That’s the thing I keep getting stuck on. I’m not beating myself up about it, mind. I did it already, and I can’t wish the result away. But the inertia has built up over the months I gained back the weight, and the cellulitis and – now – the congestive heart failure just made me even more inertial — even while they are the biggest call to action I have had to date.

At any rate, I need to do more walking and less sitting. How I will get myself to do that, I don’t yet know. I suspect that it will work the way most things do. At one point, I will just get sufficiently annoyed that I will just get up off my behind and start walking.

Sigh, sometimes, knowing myself, and how I work, is not the most fun thing in the world.

What holds you back? What will it take to get you off that position? 

It’s pretty early, but I’m up and have had a breakfast of lentil soup (5 Points Plus) and an egg bagel (also 5 Points Plus).

Today will be something of a bear.  I have 9 articles due today, and a manuscript to edit, plus my accountant is coming over for dinner, and a friend is coming by at some point to pick up the hard drive she left here over the weekend.  Additionally, my ex will be dropping off my clean laundry (he picks it up when he picks his up), and I also have various knitting projects and housekeeping projects to get done.

The problem is that I am, in many senses, still recovering from the latest hospital stay.  Mostly, this means that I want to sleep a lot more than usual, but right now, I don’t need that to intrude.  This is, after all, the first real work I have had in over six months, and we really need the income at Chez Wunder/Levy.

Anyway, I am getting ready to get to work, so I don’t have much to post today, except to wish everyone a really good week.

Went to my first weigh-in since the hospital, and I’m happy I did.  I’m down 9.4 lbs, for a new weight of 231. That means I have less than 100 lbs to go to get to goal!  When I got home, I added another little black rubber bracelet to the collection on my right wrist. (I won’t add charm to my charm bracelet until I get to where I was before I backslid.)

I am munching on a fruit salad as I write, having shared a humongous omelet with the ex and the roomie earlier.

I aw my Primary Care Provider yesterday, and he is, overall, pleased with my progress. I am delighted with the Furosemide, which has eliminated the edema in my ankles.  The doctor says we have to monitor it for a while, to make sure it isn’t damaging my kidneys, but other than that, he has no problem with me staying on it for a while. (He knows how much I hate it when my ankles swell.)

I also reset my ActiveLink today.  I’m not sure why it was giving me so little response, so I decided to do a reassessment, and go from there. We shall see what happens.

Anyway, that’s about it for the moment.  I have a ton of work to do this weekend (which is good, if a bit terrifying), and I must get to it.

One of the things we did as prep for last Sunday’s housefilk was to buy three huge mixed fruit bowls at Costco. I figured that if my guests didn’t eat them, I could work my way through them during the week. I did give one away, and the horde decimated one, but I am happily chomping my way through the last one!

Mind, there is no way I could finish this at one sitting — each bowl is 4 lbs of cut up, mixed fruits. Even at my most greedy or most hungry, this would take several sessions to finish off.

However, this fits in with my new eating plan, in that fruit has wonderful diuretic properties. Given that my doctor has me on industrial strength diuretics for a month, this will be very useful. In fact, when this is gone, I will get some cut up fruit salad from either one of the Russian stores on Nostrand Avenue, or from Sheepshead Bay Produce, over on Avenue Z. I have kind of dropped fruit out a lot during the winter, but I do love my fresh fruit, and when most of the meals in the hospital were inedible, I had asked my ex to bring me some cut-up fresh fruit, and it turned out to e exactly what I wanted.

And, yes, I do track the fruit I’m eating.

I’ve also wanted cold beverages, in addition to the metric ton of tea I generally consume. What I’ve been doing about this is cutting fruit juice with diet ginger ale. I’ve also been cutting down on my coffee intake, restricting myself to two 20-oz. mugs in the morning, as opposed to drinking coffee all day long a I work.

We also bought two vegetable trays for the housefilk. I gave one away, but am working my way through the remains of the other one, plus the pound of portabella mushrooms we cut up to have with either onion dip or guacamole.

I have had some protein since I’ve been home from the hospital but, in keeping with my newer way of eating, it has been a lot less than it would have been before.  Had chicken on two days, eggs once, pork chops yesterday, and fish once.

The main change my doctor seem to want is for me to restrict the amount of salt I use, which I do anyway. I don’t use any at table, and I generally cook with about half the salt things require (except when baking). So I think I’m already under the limit he wants me to be under. I will discuss it with him tomorrow (I intend to bring my discharge instructions with me, because he has always been open to discussing why he asks me to do things). I also need to discuss weight monitoring with him, because the way they will monitor whether or not I’m starting to retain fluids again is by my weight. The problem with that is that, since the surgeon screwed me up, there is already a 5 lb. window that could be me retaining solids. So going by weight gain may not be the optimal way to watch this in my case, or we may just have to watch for gains over that 5 lb. window.

At any rate, I am feeling a whole lot better than I was a week ago. And I suspect that the scale might show a nice result on Friday.

Freelancers Union

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