Food and Weight: An Ongoing Journey

Archive for the ‘Tracking’ Category

There is some very good news this week. I spoke to my surgeon, Dr. Soriaya Motivala, on Thursday. She says that I do not have to wear the bone-growth stimulator anymore and that I can start using my Peloton exercise bike again, so long as I go slowly and do not overreach.

In other good news, I dropped six pounds this week, so I am cautiously optimistic that I am getting back on track. Wednesday, I decided that on days that I’m not going out I will go back to tracking my food for a while. but may switch to “Simply Filling” on days that I am going out. (I did track last night’s dinner – it was pretty easy to do since I planned what I was going to order before I left the house.

Dinner last night was wonderful. We ate at an old favorite, El Gran Castillo de Jagua, at 355 Flatbush Avenue, which makes some of the best Dominican dishes around. I had the fillet of salmon with a side order of sweet plantains. I did sneak a bite of Marc Glasser’s mofongo with pork (mashed plantains, usually with some meat or fish added). For a change, I managed to get through dinner without ordering any soda. The attendees were Marc Glasser, Cyndi Cascanti, Joe Sullivan, Sue Levy (the roomie), Maury Kestenbaum, Chuck Hancock, Ariel Winterbreucke, Mark Blackman, and me. Joe was kind enough to drive Marc, Sue and me to Marc’s afterward
deb-lucys-carrot-stewOkay, I promised I would post the carrot stew recipe. Let me start by posting what Lucy had to say about it that inspired me to make it:

“I’ve started adding what I call ‘carrot stew’ to my repertoire. The name comes from a picture book we had when our kids were small, The Tawny, Scrawny Lion, in which a hungry lion encounters a fat little rabbit, but before the lion can gobble him up, the rabbit invites the lion to come home with him and share a dinner of carrot stew with him and his five fat rabbit brothers and six fat rabbit sisters.  So this lion goes home with him, thinking that 12 little fat rabbits will make a better meal than just one, and the rabbits throw carrots and onions and mushrooms and some other vegetables and some fish into a pot and when it’s cooked they share it with the lion and then serve bowls of berries for dessert. And afterward the lion walks home, whistling to himself in the moonlight.”

Lucy and Deb’s “Carrot Stew”


Frozen (pre-cut) or fresh veggies

(I used frozen spinach, 2 diced onions, a bag of baby carrots, a can of new potatoes, 2 ribs of celery, pre-cut bagged zucchini and butternut squash, and canned mushrooms)

1/2 cup pearl barley

2.4 lbs of salmon, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

tarragon, to taste

dill, to taste

Auntie Arwen’s Ultimate Garlic Insanity, to taste (Auntie Arwen has a shop on Etsy, and her spice blends are magnificent and reasonably priced.)

Water to cover


I swear this recipe is pretty much fool-proof. You just put all the ingredients into a large pot, cover, and simmer until the fish is cooked and the vegetables are tender. It is a very forgiving recipe. I made the whole recipe, without the mushrooms, then added them after Sue had taken her portion, then reheated it until the mushrooms were also warm. Cooking took about two hours, and the resulting stew is wonderful – even after being reheated four days later for today’s lunch.

The recipe is also incredibly Weight Watchers friendly: only 3 Points Plus for a one-cup serving.

Last week, I made a commitment to Robert, my WW coach, that I would meditate at least once a day. He suggested that I use the free trial at Headspace to get started. Even though I have done meditation many times in the past, I figured I’d give it a try, and I love their method, so I have added it to my routine (I don’t talk about this much, but I try to remember to meditate twice a day already). I actually like meditating; it’s refreshing to take a little time to not have my brain running around like a madwoman. I’ve also noticed that on days when I do take the time to meditate, I seem to have less trouble reacting to things that happen.

So that’s where things are today.See you all next time!






Just so you all know, I’m still here, but I’m struggling on many levels.

I don’t want to be on plan right now. I feel resentful that it’s the only way I can lose the weight, even while I’m grateful that there is a way I can lose the weight. I’ve been feeling ill all day, too.

Stayed in bed most of the afternoon, and didn’t even want to run errands with my ex, even though the errands were mostly stuff I needed to get done while I could have someone drive me around. But I just wasn’t up to it.

I didn’t eat right today, either. I didn’t pig out on junk food, but I didn’t track or portion, and I honestly didn’t care much. I’m only owning up to it here because I did commit to noting my struggles as well as my successes, and I do keep my word.

Hopefully, I will be able to get back on track tomorrow.

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!

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?

It was a good week, weightwise!  At meeting this morning, I weighed in at 239.4, for a weekly loss of 3.6 lbs., and a total loss this time around of 23 lbs. We were discussing looking objectively at our pasts  (with regard to weight loss), and reflecting on what worked for us and what didn’t work for us.  For me, what worked is:

  • Recommitting to becoming more flexatarian in my food choices
  • Tracking as religiously as possible
  • Getting out of my computer chair and moving every day

What didn’t work is:

  • Thinking I could do it without making permanent changes
  • Thinking I could do it without tracking
  • Thinking that because I had lost 80 lbs I could go back to eating the way I had in the past
  • Not making the changes in my routines and thinking that would support my progress and maintenance

This week, I have committed to move for at least 15 minutes each day.  Given that most of my time is spent sitting down, this is a big one for me.  In the Spring, Summer, and Autumn, it’s pretty easy to go walking (now that I can walk again), but in the winter — even when the ground is not covered in slush or frozen — it’s harder to get motivated to go outside, especially if I don’t have a destination in mind. So, I think that the first thing I will need to do is to create a bunch of destinations that I can have, that won’t force me to spend a lot of money.

I don’t have pedometer figure this week.  Sadly I forgot to switch the pedometer to my sweats pocket, and I wore them most of the week (when I bothered to dress at all), because I was cleaning.  I did wear my ActiveLink, and I seem to be getting closer to achieving my daily goals, but I’ve  only actually made it past by enough to earn an activity point once.  I still have hopes of reaching the goal for my 12-week challenge, though, especially if I get off my but the way I am committing to doing.

So, as 2012 draws to a close, What are your goals for 2013?  What strategies will you use to get there?  What worked for you in 2012?  What didn’t?  Can you look at the past year objectively (which means without attaching a judgement about yourself to it)?  Further, having looked at it objectively, can you come up with routines and strategies that will support your moving forward in the New Year?


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