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November 2013
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January 2014

December 2013

Quick snack: Seaweed Cheese Cigars

Damn garlic rolls.

Despite the fact that I journaled all my food last week, much of my weekend involved leftover pizza and garlic rolls, leaving me with a case of wheat bloat and a couple extra pounds.

Turns out, a pizza and garlic roll-based diet and I don't work well together.

Yesterday I jumped back on track and started the new year off early. My new routine is to wake up, slug down a glass of Emergen-C and go for a walk. So my day begins with one glass of water down and 3 miles in.

And when I get back I down 2 more glasses of water and make sure I'm 4 glasses in by noon.

I'm also doing a better job at meal planning, making sure to have a meal or snack every 2 to 3 hours and also making sure my meals are balanced and my snacks are 100 to 200 calories.

Two days in and I already dropped a pound despite my raging PMS.

Wednesday is New Year's Day and the only thing I'm resolving is to be the best possible version of me.

And if you're in need of a New Year's Eve appetizer that's easy and kinda silly looking, here's one I made up -- Seaweed Cheese Cigars!

Seaweed cheese cigars

I used GimMe roasted seaweed snacks and Laughing Cow Light wedges. I stuck with the original flavor of the Laughing Cow cheese so as not to compete with the sesame flavor of the seaweed snacks.

It's super easy -- take two sheets of seaweed, spread half of the wedge of Laughing Cow on each sheet, roll tightly and you're done.

Seaweed cheese cigar rollup

And as you can imagine, each cigar is quite the caloric bargain -- only 20 calories. 

Enjoy your New Year's Eve and I'll see you next year! :)

I am driving a bus to Hawaii

Get ready, because I am going to ...

Use all the metaphors

It's what happens when I go for a walk while trying to figure out how to make things work better. 

The scale is stuck, like ...

I am stuck

These 3 pounds feel like a hundred. 

What 3 pounds you ask? The ones that came back after I had beaten them off of me back in October. That's when I had the Unfortunate Generic Synthroid Incident and gained about 6 pounds. Three of those pounds are gone but another 3 refuse to leave.

They're my unwanted holiday houseguests.

I was listening to Robert Ferguson's Diet Free Life podcast on my walk today, as I often do. He's really motivating and encourages a diet-free life, which means you aren't "off" or "on" anything. But you do need to have a plan. And lately my plan is "WHEEEE, NO PLANS!"

On the particular podcast I was listening to today, he likened it to driving a bus to Hawaii. What does that have to do with losing weight? This is how he explained it:

"The bus driver said you're going to Hawaii, but you can't drive from Los Angeles to Hawaii. The only way I know to get to Hawaii from Los Angeles is by boat or plane -- you can't drive. So no matter how great this plan appeared, that bus cannot drive you to Hawaii. ... Just because there's a plan doesn't mean it's going to get you to the destination that you want to be."

Gail drives a bus to hawaii

 So I need to have some sort of plan -- something that will get me to "Hawaii" without drowning off Catalina.

 I'm doing much better with late-night eating but I'm still terrible with drinking water. I made a pledge to my Retrofit advisor that I'd get in 4 glasses of water (not coffee, not tea, not "watery substance" but water) and I actually did it yesterday. I have some serious catching up to do this afternoon. While I don't believe water has magical properties, I do believe it'll help with water retention, fatigue and hunger cravings. 

I'm also focusing on eating more fresh fruit and vegetables to replace some starchy carbs. Yesterday, for example, I had a pear with my yogurt instead of my usual Corazonas oat square. Don't get me wrong, I love those things, but I'll just have them less often. And today's afternoon snack is a pile of celery with some hummus mixed with sriracha sauce (Why haven't I tried this until now? It's faboo!). Usually, my afternoon snack is something sweet but I'm trying to steer myself away from that a bit -- it's less craving inducing, to me at least.

That's my plan this week -- more produce and more water.

Oh, and here's that podcast from Robert. You can subscribe to him on iTunes, which is what I do:

More Weight Loss Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Robert Ferguson on BlogTalkRadio


So apparently holiday weight gain ISN'T inevitable

You can enjoy yourself and not gain weight
I was all set to write a "Oh, woe is me, losing weight during the holidays is so hard!" post but then I stepped on the scale and saw that I actually lost a pound over the weekend, despite back to back Christmas parties.

Color me shocked.


Between the meatballs and the cookies and the cheese and crackers, I wasn't expecting the best this morning, but I did this "one weird trick" (don't you hate those stupid come-on diet ads that say that?) that kept me from going hog wild. 

I ate normal, regular meals during the day.

I didn't do that "I'd better snarf down all the celery because there's a party tonight" tactic that I don't think works for anyone because then you become all ...


... at the sight of a cheese plate.

And I included protein-packed snacks as well to keep me satiated and to also keep away the carb crazies. I have found, after CENTURIES of dieting, that when I focus on protein and fiber and tone down the starchy carbs a bit, I calm down those EAT ALL THE CRACKERS feelings. I also made sure to get in some exercise, too.

We always keep a basket of protein bars in the pantry for quick snacks or mini-meals with a piece of fruit and they're a good way to stuff in a bunch of protein and quell a sweet craving.

I make sure the bars have a solid amount of protein and is fairly low in sugar. Lately I've also been making sure the bars are gluten free because I feel better avoiding it. (I actually went through the blood test and upper GI reality show and nothing came up but I still feel better eating less wheat, so I'm sticking with it.)

Recently, I was sent some bars from Eat-Smart, Nogii and NOW along with a cool little “Powered by Soy Protein” traveler exercise kit, which includes a pedometer, a jump rope and one of those hand squeezy things that is great for using when you're stuck in traffic.

All the bars were good but I was most impressed with the Nogii bars, which are certified gluten free.

I've been cutting down on my use of protein bars and eating more whole-food meals but you can't beat a bar for an on-the-go snack. 

A giveaway!

Would you like to check out the protein bars and get your own traveler exercise kit? Let me know in the comments your best strategies for staying sane during party season. I'll choose one comment at random and you'll be the winner. Deadline is 5 p.m. ET on December 24, 2013 -- Christmas Eve, why not? 

Disclaimer: The products and gift packs were provided by DuPont Nutrition and Health. This is not a sponsored post.


Hello prefrontal cortex, my old friend

Calendar checks
See those cute check marks? That's my running streak of not eating after dinnertime. Yeah, I ate three stalks of celery Saturday night but I'm not counting that because I'M NOT CRAZY.

It's just the latest in an attempt to fight my prefrontal cortex and win, suggested by my Retrofit advisor. 

Prefrontal cortex filled with peanut butterBut man, it's tough!

For all you unfamilar with your brainy parts, the prefrontal cortex regulates behavior. Unfortunately, when one's prefrontal cortex is stuffed full of peanut butter, it's harder to make wise decisions.

So we're waging war with Captain Peanut Butter.

 All it is is a habit -- it's not "oh, gosh, I'm starving" kind of thing. This habit is entrenched and we need to climb out of that trench. 

It's actually a lot better than a habit I had in my 20s when I worked the night shift at the newspaper. Back then I'd get off work around 1 or 2 a.m., head to the grocery store, pick up a bag of Doritos or a pint of ice cream and stay up 'til the wee hours watching Nick at Nite on my tiny TV and stuffing my face. Then I'd sleep 'til noon, hit the gym to work off those calories, head back to work and start the cycle all over again.

If I could break that awful habit I can certainly bust this one.

And I can tick off the Sunday box on the calendar, too! I'm keeping a big bag of precut celery in the fridge for when Captain Peanut Butter steers my brain into the kitchen. Eventually, the habit will be broken, BROKEN, I tell you!


Cutting back calories without cutting back enjoyment

The scale has once again been stuck, stuck, STUCK as I push my metabolism back into motion after the "unfortunate month of generic thyroid medication."

So I've been looking for ways to shave off calories here and there, and I found a couple of smoothie subs that make a big dent in calories but not in nutrition or flavor.

I used to buy bags and bags of frozen mango but I've switched to frozen peaches, which have nearly HALF the calories. Frozen raspberries are also really low in calories and they add a bunch of dietary fiber.

I've also switched from regular almond milk to unsweetened almond milk and that also knocks off half the calories. With the fruit and protein powder you can't really tell the difference. I've been using Almond Breeze unsweetened vanilla almond milk, which works great. I can't say it's great for drinking straight because it really is UNsweetened but it's perfect to add into recipes.

Here's a quick smoothie that features raspberries and peaches -- my latest flavor obsession.

Raspberry-Peachy Smoothie

  • Raspberry Peachy Smoothie8 ounces unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Twinlab Clean Series vanilla sport)
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 3/4 cup frozen peaches

That's it!

It's not super sweet but you can add a little sweetening of your choice. Depending on your protein powder, the smoothie is around 250 calories.