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Fail to plan? Plan to fail. Join me as I prepare for the big feast

Thursday, December 22, 2011

That old saw is so true it's sometimes irritating to hear it - but this week it's the one I'm clinging to because I know that on Sunday there will be a standing rib roast and Yorkshire pudding on my dining room table. Our Christmas feast is second only to the big Thanksgiving one a short month ago. I love it - but I also dread it a little. Or ... I would ... only ...

I don't plan to fail.

This month I set a goal of loosing weight while enjoying seasonal treats. I set this goal to prove to my inner brat that you can have your cake and wear those skinny jeans too. It just has to be a small piece of cake.

Best of all, I've been successful all month with steady losses each week - AND with a rich full glass of eggnog after decorating the tree, and some desert at the staff lunch on Friday, and a little slice of my White Bourbon Fruitcake. The success came via planning and as I drove in to work yesterday I realized that if I want to savor and enjoy my Christmas dinner on Sunday and weigh in on Tuesday with another loss - I better plan out the whole rest of the week - which includes dinner out with friends and family tonight and company the next two days.

And when I plan - I like to start with the end result and work my way back to now - so that I can actually see just how many steps - and how big they'll have to be - to get where I want to be when I want to be there. To make the following understandable you need to know I'm also using Weight Watchers and their 'PointsPlus' system for calculating the nutritional facts. That means I get 26 points a day to fill up with as much nutrition as I can - and 49 points a week to use whever I want.

so - what's on the Christmas table? Standing rib roast first off - which will come in at 7 points for a 3 oz serving. Can I be satisfied with that? hmmm. yes. I can if I eat slowly. But if it's especially tasty I'll want seconds and I better plan for that too. Then there's Yorkshire pudding which comes in at a whopping 8 points - and is so delicious I will absolutely include it but ... here I'll have to keep it small. There will be peas for Himself and broccoli for me - the broccoli will be sprinkled with Parmesan cheese so that's another point. And yes. there will also be mashed potatoes and 1/2 a cup of that will equal 3 points. I have a magnificent Cote du Rhone wine and I promise you - I'll have a glass of that ... 4 more points. Fortunately - there is only one bottle and it will be split between 3 people. And there will be coffee and desert - the White Bourbon fruitcake. The cake is made in little loaves and it's easy to eat only 1/2 a loaf of this. It's very rich. I'm going to estimate the points value here because I am too lazy to go look up all the ingredients and then divide by whatever number of little cakes I made. Truth is - I've given so many away I don't remember how many I made. My guess is that half a little cake is 7 points. so - what's the total?

11 roast beef serving plus seconds
8 Yorkshire pudding
1 broccoli
3 potatoes
4 wine
7 cake
34 points




Not gonna skip any of this.

So. Since a typical dinner for me comes in around 10 points I'm going to go over my daily limit by 24 points.

Since I get 49 extra points per week and I've used 4 already I have 45 left. I can take 24 out of that chunk for the Christmas feast and still have 21 left.

Of course - I am not a calculator and probably underestimate how big my portions actually are so I think I need to shave another 5 points off store of extra points.

That leaves me 16 points to play with and only one dinner out to suck them up. Oh my! And that's tonight!!! Good thing I started this planning now.

It's always harder to estimate the points of restaurant meals but I know this place has a bang up salad bar. They aren't likely to have a clear soup (My memory is they have an awesome crab bisque which we all know means butter and cream) but I bet they have fruit and besides, I can take fresh fruit with me. Okay - so what will I do tonight? Salad first - and if there is a grilled or stewed meat I'll select that too. Whatever else I do I will stick with only 3 points worth of bread product - be it roll, crackers or whatever. And I know I will want a cup of hot chocolate or some other sweet treat after we get in from caroling. Allow 5 points for that.

Well. I can't tell you what dinner will be like tonight - I haven't been to this restaurant in a year. But I can calculate throughout the day and know I have those 16 extra points to play with if I need to. This meal isn't all about the food - it's all about the family and friends and fun - I don't have to overindulge at all if I choose not to.

Well. that's about all the plan I can come up with - but I think it will be enough. Thank you for coming along with me while I figured all this out.

And may your days be merry and bright.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 12/22/2011 7:20AM

    Now that's a plan! You are puting a lot of thought into this. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BD3269PM 12/22/2011 7:02AM

    What a great way to enjoy all of your favorites and keep to your plan. I know that with all the holiday foods, I will be looking everything over first and then makong some good choices. But it is sooooo hard sometimes. Enjoy your holiday emoticon

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The Truth Always Sounds Good - Over and Over Again

Friday, December 16, 2011

I was reading Mike Kramer's article about the 10 strategies for success this morning - for probably the third time, too, when the truth of his points struck me - in a brand new way, relevant for a brand new today.

It's way too easy to think that our lives are so linear that once we know something, like a nice little computer program, we will always do the same, even the 'right' thing. It's logical. You know the extra 3 chocolate kisses have no nutritional value and that you're close to the limit of your daily intake. You know already what they taste like, nice, but not so good they'll shoot you to the moon in extacy. You even know that once you eat 3 of them you are likely to eat more. Knowing doesn't always help.

Because our lives are not really like computer programs - unless it is in how they are
constantly bombarded by viruses that derail our predicted activities and responses.

This is why it's good to hear the truth again and again because we need those truths for each unique individual moment of our day. And today - when I was reading Mike Kramer the truth hit me KaPow!

I want to be successful this holiday season. I want to not just maintain but loose a little weight. I would like to lose 2 pounds between now and January 3 and I'd be happy to lose only 1. Also, I want to have all the fun a long sweet holiday can hold.

Which particular truths were so bright for me? Let's give them a look.

First - Start Small:

1 to 2 pounds. 17 days. I think that's a small goal. It's a little weight and a short time frame. Even if achieving this goal is strenuous, I need make this big effort only for 17 days.

Second - Get It On Paper

Okay - that's the one that made my skin flush when I read it. I need to set this all down on paper and I'm doing that right now. Even though this isn't my regular blogging day I'm posting about this.

Third - Focus on everyday habits

I actually started doing this a few nights ago after my weigh-in on tuesday. A weight loss last week encouraged me to think about some of my every day bad habits - like eating a second ice cream bar after dinner. One fits so neatly into my calorie range and the second one, while it may not always push me over, is always a bit of rebellious dishonesty on my part. It's not that I want the extra taste so much as I don't want to submit to my own regime!! what a goofI am - I wonder, do we ever grow up? Twice since then I've had the maturity to say "nope. Not gonna do that tonight" and gone into another room to do something else.

Fourth - Always See your Goal

Okay - now this is fun for me. Because while this is just a small goal, it's an enormous achievement, because of all the planned and unexpected foodie events that will sprinkle through those 17 days. I see in my mind's eye the utter triumphant stride I'll have when I walk in to my January 3 weigh-in knowing I am slightly lighter rather than slightly (or even grossly) heavier than I was in December. Just seeing that image feels tingly!

Fifth - be consistent

ahh well. Only time will see if I have been - but ... those 3 days a week working out at the gym that I started in November have already begun to feel, not just normal, but necessary.

Sixth - Never Stop Learning

Well - it will be interesting to see what I learn over the next 17 days - best of all - I have Cooks Illustrated's newest cookbook - a Light Cookbook. I have fallen in love with the whole America's Test Kitchen team - and to think that they've turned their eyes towards light cooking is a thrill. I know they won't sacrifice taste for calories and low fat - it will be an adventure.

Seventh - Come Out of Seclusion

Ha! Anyone who knows me knows I will tell you all about myself - so that's a given. But just in case you're reading me for the first time, here's a little story that illustrates just what Miss Loquacity is really like.

When my husband and I were talking about where we wanted to live after he finished college I said I wanted to move to the little rural town he grew up in. He gasped in horror and said, in shocked tones "We can't move there. Everyone will talk about us!!"

"Of course! I'm interesting" was my answer. "If they don't talk about me, I will probably talk about me to them"

so you see - seclusion is not really an issue

Eighth - Allow for Setbacks

Okay - I know this can happen. In fact, I know I am going to have a laced egg nog on Saturday - the calorie count of which is probably forty levendy hundred - but I am going to figure it out ahead of time and by golly - I am going to exercise it off before my next weigh in. And while I won't beat myself up if there is a setback in the next 17 days - I think I will make a plan to ameliorate it.

Ninth - Trust Your Plan

See above

Tenth - Have Fun

Well, my partners on this journey - this post certainly was fun to write. I hope it was fun for you to read.

Happy FridayFridayFridayFridayFriday!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 12/16/2011 8:15AM

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SHEILA1505 12/16/2011 8:03AM

    17 days is fairly manageable I suppose - and once you get thru those, you'll be plotting and planning a goal for the next 17!
Big hugs - and enjoy!

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JLITT62 12/16/2011 7:55AM

    Would you believe I've never had eggnog? Probably a good thing. My naughty drink of choice is hot chocolate. Because treats must be chocolate!

But one tip I've heard is to "water" down that eggnog with more milk, so I thought I'd just pass that one along.

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JUGE300000 12/16/2011 7:40AM


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Pushing through the doldrums

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Several months ago I made a promise to myself that I would blog here once a week - and on the day after weigh-in - as a sort of progress monitor. Today is the day and I am singularly uninspired - so that it's difficult to put words down that actually share what is inside me and also makes for, at least, acceptable prose.

Physically I'm doing well. I've crossed over the tipping point into a weight where I actually like how my face looks - one of the markers that tick off true progress. I'm keeping up with exercise so that things like muffin tops and back fat, lie flatter beneath my clothes. I even zipped up those gold brocade trousers I bought a few years ago because they were a size 12 and ought to fit - but did not - which is probably why they were marked down 90%. A real size 12 couldn't wear them and someone smaller than a size 12 wouldn't bother to try them on. They are so festive and would be the perfect thing to go to the sort of holiday party I'm likely to be invited to - casual, country, but still party. (it's not a shiny brocade but a subtle textured weave). And while 2 weeks ago I could technically zip them - I sure wouldn't wear them. Now they zip smoothly and are just begging for me to top them with a cream colored sweater so they can look all snowy New Year's Eavish.

So yes. There is progress and success and there are the kind of non scale victories that are the real reason for bothering to make the weight loss effort. You'd think I'd be longing to post about all this (and of course, you would notice that I just have!)

But 10 minutes ago I couldn't seem to get started. 10 minutes ago I'd written and deleted half a dozen sentences and a different title and finally thought "Oh. Why bother. Who cares if I stick to some arbitrary schedule? It's just this once."

And then it struck me - fully - square on - kaPow!

That attitude is exactly what has kept me from losing these last 12 lbs I really want to drop. It's what makes me drift away from good eating habits. It's what makes me slide into the right turn home instead of the left turn towards the gym after a long day at work. It's choosing to get close but not bothering to go all the way.

I know that once I actually do put down the second ice cream bar - once I even turn left out of the library parking lot after work - I'll go the rest of the way. I'll walk out of the kitchen or into the gym. It will not be miserable. I'll get busy with something in another room of the house. The exercise will feel good. All that's needed is to refuse to cave to the voice of sloth and take the next good step.

and what do you know - I've made that blog post after all - and no. It wasn't so hard. Maybe next time I feel like getting close but not going all the way - I'll remember this. It's really not that hard.

Hope your Hump Day is not hard at all! Ta.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AEBROWNSON 12/14/2011 1:54PM

    Thanks, Bess...I needed that.

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STARL_73 12/14/2011 12:59PM

    Owtch. That hit close to home.. but I guess I needed the wake up call. I think I've been living: It's choosing to get close but not bothering to go all the way.
Something to think about.. and time to do something about it!

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MSLZZY 12/14/2011 11:45AM

    I call this time of year the "hibernation mode". It seems like it is just a trial to want to do what I know I should. I have to shake it off and once I get started, yes, it goes good. Keep an upbeat attitude and keep on SParking! HUGS!

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JLITT62 12/14/2011 9:07AM

    It's strange how things we KNOW make us feel better seem so hard to do.

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A different, sadder kind of loss

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

It wasn't my intention to write a gloomy post during this festive time of year but death has blown hot breath through my community and in the space of a week I have lost 4 friends. Two had been dreadfully ill for a long time. Their departure was not unexpected, but it certainly wasn't looked forward to either. But both B and M were so very sick who would want them to linger in a suspended state of pain and suffering? One was, in the nature of time, at least a reasonable development. H was 92. Dementia had set in and the circle of his life had shrunk to very tiny movements. And until 3 years ago, he was driving, cooking, taking care of himself and enjoying his grandchildren. I am sorry and sad but there is something whole about the fullness of his life - his experiences - his love. Like the cadence of a beautiful symphony - it feels right when it comes even if it does mean that silence follows.

and then the 4th blow struck with the news that Pete had died over the weekend.

Pete has been out of touch with everyone for a long time. He was actually incommunicado, though I had a private way to send him messages. He was a piece of work - this man who never did anything - probably not even breathing - in a less than 100% full blast total explosion sort of way. He loved with everything in him and boy could he fight with people in the same way. He never fought with me - he was my first friend when I moved to the country these 36 years ago. He gave and helped and shared everything he had. Once he held a party and it is still referred to as Pete's oyster roast. He was just larger than life.

And he once saved my son's life.

I don't say that in an cliched sort of way. There was a day when we were building our house. My 4 year old boy and I and Pete climbed up to the second floor to look around. there was just the smallest gap between some flooring and sure enough, my 4 year old dropped through it. The fall would have been about 12 feet to a concrete slab. Both Pete and I were just beyond an arm's length away from him and in slow motion I watched my only child heading for that unyielding floor below. Faster than lightening Pete leaped the distance, snatched my little boy by the shoulders and flung him back onto the second story surface.

A flash. A millisecond. An adult with severe ADD. A miracle. Thank God.

Everything that is my early adult life was wrapped around Pete and loosing him really hurts. Knowing he was alive and okay and somewhere doing what he wanted was one of those little savings accounts I kept in my heart to assure me that I had extra resources, that I was rich.
The memories are still there - Pete and the Ghost Car. Pete and swimming up at Marlbank. Pete and the arrowhead root. Pete's oyster roast. Pete's crazy laugh. Memories. Not quite as tangible as the real flesh and blood Pete - but riches nonetheless.

Oh Pete. Fare well.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHEILA1505 12/7/2011 8:41AM

    Treasure those memories, Bess
Strength and hugs

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MSLZZY 12/7/2011 7:40AM

    So sorry for you. I'll keep you in my prayers! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FAERY_FACE 12/7/2011 6:30AM

    I am so sorry for you loss. I will keep you in my prayers. emoticon

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MRE1956 12/7/2011 6:16AM

    I am so sorry to hear of these losses in your life - it's especially hard to take during this time of year......

May they all rest in peace.....


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Thankful Thanksgiving and Delightful December

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I admit it - I'm an unabashed holiday lover. I emoticon emoticon emoticon the holiday season. I love Thanksgiving with it's gathering of friends and family at my house for the most delicious smells and tastes. I love Christmas with it's promise of God's love, it's glittery decor, it's splendid music, and the thrumming energy of the people around me. I love New Year, which gives each of us the chance to begin something new, something that will carry me into a brighter future. I never feel like the holidays are 'too commercial'. I won't ever grumble Bah Humbug. I just can't still the joy in my heart from late November to early January.

If I seem chirpy - well - I am!

But I'm also longing to shuck off the excess poundage. I've been playing around with these 15 lbs for absolutely months. I'm happy that I'm inside the holiday season lighter than last year but I want more. I want to step out of the holiday season even lighter and one of the tools I'm using is regular gym visits. Not daily since Other Things can interfere - but regular and frequent. This tool stood me in good stead last week during Turkey Time, when I lost 1 lb of coconut cake and salty treats that I'd packed on the 2 weeks before. (I'd do it again, too - make that sinful cake with my darling little visiting cousin) So the fun will be to see just how many times I can make it to the gym and just what difference it will make.

And just for this week I have a goal - which is to stay within my dietary limits - which are generous - and to enjoy the first two holiday parties of December. To do both I'll have to get in that gym visit nearly every day - and I think that's do-able too! I'll be back next week to let you know how well I did.

Cheers and Happy December Eve

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 11/30/2011 6:38PM

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AEBROWNSON 11/30/2011 1:10PM

    Me, too, Bess! Since I hit my goal weight back in May, I've put on 17 pounds. I am taking part in a Holiday Challenge at the gym, which gives prizes both for weight loss and for not gaining. I'm hoping to be in the first category by January 9th. We can do it!!!

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