CMRAND54   86,188
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Eating at Outback

Friday, February 05, 2010

My husband and I ate at Outback Steakhouse a couple of nights ago, and I made some sensible choices.

Previously at Outback I'd have eaten:

Small Cheese Fries (shared) 374 calories
Side Salad with Ranch Dressing 319 calories
7 oz Victoria’s Filet 587 calories
Baked Potato with Butter & Sour Cream 455 calories
Chocolate Thunder from Down Under (shared) 478 calories
Coffee with Cream 39 calories
Total calories: 2252

This time I ate:

Atlantic Salmon (1/2 order) 364 calories
Baked Sweet Potato (no butter) 418 calories
Fresh Steamed Green Beans (butter) 228 calories
Decaf Coffee (no cream) 0 calories
Total calories: 1010

A thousand calorie meal is not great, but it's less than half the calories I previously tucked into at a visit to Outback. And I wasn't dissatisfied at all with the meal. My husband was as charming as always. We had a good talk and enjoyed ourselves just as much as we always do, only we ate a much healthier meal by skipping the appetizer and desert. I got some fiber with the green beans and sweet potato, and the salmon was definitely healthier than my usual steak. I only ate half the salmon because it definitely looked bigger than a deck of cards! Next time I might only eat half the sweet potato, too. I pushed off the ball of butter, but there were still a lot of calories there.

Maybe I'm starting to figure out this Spark People thing. You don't have to deprive yourself of everything enjoyable. You do have to make small changes and better choices towards healthier eating.

My poem to share today is by Dorothy Parker who was one cool woman. It's not about food, but it is about staying out of trouble (or not).

Portrait of the Artist

Oh lead me to a quiet cell
Where never footfall rambles
And bar the window passing well
And gyve my wrists and ankles
Oh wrap my eyes with linen fair
With hempen cord go bind me
And, of your mercy, leave me there
Nor tell them where to find me
Oh, lock the portal as you go
And see its bolts be double…
Come back in half an hour or so
And I will be in trouble.

By the way, the Outback has a great interactive web site where you pick items off the menu with different options and add-ons and they give you the nutritional information.

They also have a gluten free menu.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SERODYNE 2/10/2010 8:50PM

  Nice choices! Outback is one of the few restaurants I really trust to prepare my food gluten free. Isn't it amazing how you can eat half a meal there and still feel full?

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MCNKAB 2/6/2010 6:32PM

    Great job on making a healthier choice. I can't believe that a sweet potato with no butter was still over 400 calories! I love their sweet potatoes.

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CHANGEDIN09 2/5/2010 11:00PM

    great job. It is amazing that the healthy meal was still 1000 calories...but much better for you and less fat!! We definitely cant deprive ourselves of going out and eating at fun's all about choice. I finally have confidence in being able to make good choices at restaurants. CONGRATS and thanks for the great post.

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JCORYCMA 2/5/2010 10:29PM

    I discovered along my journey that when I quit making all the good food the total focus and obsession of my evening that I enjoyed my husband's company so much more! I bet your husband will be able to tuck in his belt a notch or two as he quits sharing all that high calorie food with you. If he's like my husband, though, he doesn't need to worry about losing!

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MBREWTON35 2/5/2010 10:08PM

    You go girl! I used to think because it was a restaurant it was "special" and I wasn't getting my money's worth unless I ate myself sick. Good for you shaving off all those calories and feeling satisfied! Keep it up! emoticon

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LUVIN2BEME 2/5/2010 8:45PM

    that is a good job! I love Outback!!I will go there or one of my other faves and take someone with me a share a meal. It is all about planning!

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ZENMIND7 2/5/2010 8:25PM

    Good for you! I agree that making positive permanent changes is not about giving up tasty foods or restaurant meals, but making healthier choices and eating in moderation. Actually, those calorie counts above (for your healthy meal) sound a little high to me. Did you get them from the Outback menu? From the Nutrition Tracker? I'm no expert, so maybe you are right on.

Your husband sounds like a great guy; glad you had a nice night out with him. And thanks for the Dorothy Parker poem -- I've been meaning to read some of her work.

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PATHUMPHRIES 2/5/2010 8:22PM

    Don't you love it when you make those healthier choices and still feel well-fed & satisfied!

It's quite an eye opener when you take the time to get the nutritional content at restaraunts! Personally, I love the salmon at Outback.

Thanks for sharing!

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

I am so tired of winter.

I grew up in the midwest, where we certainly had plenty of winter. Then, when I was a young wife with a toddler, my husband, daughter and I moved to Bermuda for 5 years, and I never liked winter again. Now we live in Virginia where the winters are generally mild. Only this winter it's been cold for days at a time, and we've had lots of snow. It's snowing again right now. We're expecting 3 to 6 inches overnight, which means the commute tomorrow morning will be from hell. Starting Friday afternoon we are expecting a really big winter snow storm. It will probably snow all day Saturday, so there goes my weekend plans.

People in Virginia just do not know how to drive in the snow, and the county doesn't invest much in snow removal or salt, so you are taking your life in your hands to be on the roads. Since Friday and Saturday will not be good days for grocery shopping I may try to shop Thursday night. I need to have good things to eat in the house, like fresh fruits & vegetables so I will stay out of the leftover Christmas candy and the gluten-free cookies. (I still have peppermint ice cream in the freezer.) (I will not pig out on it.)

Maybe I can just walk on the treadmill all day Saturday.

Or I can relax, slow down, and enjoy life without running around trying to get everything done at once.

The following poem is a reminder to me, and to all of us, that winter can be beautiful if we slow down and enjoy. It's by Sara Teasdale, one of my favorite poets.

February Twilight

I stood beside a hill
Smooth with new-laid snow.
A single star looked out
From the cold evening glow.

There was no other creature
That saw what I could see—
I stood and watched the evening star
As long as it watched me.

Sara Teasdale

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MBREWTON35 2/3/2010 7:37PM

    I'm so sick of winter too! At least the plows get right out there in our area and people arn't too bad. The worst is when the kids can't get out to play for days at a time...all that energy in our 950sq/ft appartment! Ugg. I'm with Joanne, relax and slow done. I'v been sick so I gave myself permission to (the only time I do) and it was great. Good poem.

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JCORYCMA 2/2/2010 11:40PM

    I love the plan to just relax and slow down for a day or two. Enjoy the pristine snowfall. Maybe even a SMALL bowl of the peppermint ice cream too -- as a reward for a little time on the treadmill :)
Joanne emoticon

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

I’ve bought my clothes at Talbot’s Woman shop for years. They are a little pricey, but well constructed and designed for real women’s figure. I could get professional looking stuff there to wear at work and look like I cared.

Now that I’ve lost almost 30 pounds my size 18W and 16W pants were just hanging on me. People at work were saying, “You’ve lost a lot of weight and your pants are too big.”

So today I went to the mall and walked into the Talbot’s where the ladies sizes are, rather than the women’s. I told the sales clerk, a friendly woman about my age, that I’d lost 30 pounds and wasn’t sure what size I needed, but I reached for a size 18 jeans, the largest size they sell in ladies. I was amazed to find they were too big! The ladies size 16 actually fit me, and in one style of pants the size 14 was the best fit. I ended up with 4 new pairs of pants for work and the jeans. I was so excited by the size 14 fitting me, and the sales clerk, who probably wore a size 6 or 8, was just as excited as I was. She asked me how I lost 30 pounds, so of course I explained to her all about Spark People. She said she wanted to lose weight around her middle. (I guess nobody is satisfied with their figure.) The other sales clerk was a bigger woman, with a nice big booty. She got involved, too, and wrote down the name of the website.

I’m trying hard to enjoy the size I am without worrying too much about what size I may be 6 months from now. I know there are people wearing a size 6 who can’t wait to get into a size 4 or a size 2, but for me a size 14 was a real thrill.

Here is a poem for all those lovely, big-hipped women who are happy and proud of what they are. It’s by Lucille Clifton. She’s an African American woman who has written a number of books of poetry, as well as books for children.

Homage to My Hips

these hips are big hips
they need space to
move around in.
they don’t fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don’t like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DIXIE_AMAZON 1/30/2010 8:59PM


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LILYGIRL44 1/30/2010 8:18PM

  Fantastic job on your weight loss! A size 14 is a LONG way from 18W! WOO HOO! Thanks for visiting my your poems,too.

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CHANCELUND 1/25/2010 4:07PM

    What a great feeling to get new clothing!!! emoticon

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RUTHIEBEAR 1/25/2010 10:04AM

    emoticon emoticon on wearing smaller sizes! What a great feeling! Keep up the great work. And Keep on sparking!

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SHOSHANADP 1/25/2010 7:04AM

    That is so wonderful. I know the thrill of having to buy something in a smaller size. I've decided too that I can't worry about what size I will be in 6 months because I have clothing needs now (or I find a great dress in Calvin Klein that looks great on me, even if it wasn't on sale). emoticon

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LOSINGITALL4ME 1/24/2010 9:31PM

    I, too, was also excited to fit in a size l4 pair of jeans. I was proud of what I had done and you should be too. You deserve it after all your hard work.

Alice emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JCORYCMA 1/24/2010 8:05PM

    Oh my goodness! That IS quite a thrill! That's terrific you got a chance to spread the Spark too. Keep it up!
Joanne emoticon emoticon

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ANNIELAV 1/24/2010 5:28PM

    Congrats to you! I have lost 9 1/2 inches in my hips and have gone down two sizes. It is a great feeling. Keep up the good work!


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Safe Snacks

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I read a great Spark Article recently about creating good snacks to have on hand when the urge to eat strikes. The idea is to keep cut up fruits or carrot sticks in the fridge or small servings of nuts or cheese ready to go. This is really important for me. My diabetic diet calls for 3 meals and 3 snacks a day to keep my blood sugar level. It is much better for me to have a banana with me at work for a late afternoon snack than for me to get a bag of peanut M&M's from the vending machine. I'm making a good effort to snack healthy as well as eat healthy meals.

Some where along the way I ran across the following poem by Mandy Coe and the pun at the end cracked me up.

Mandy Coe is a prize winning British poet. (I guessed she was British by the title. A cheese and pickle sandwich just sounds like something the Brits would eat.) To me the poem also addresses one of the reasons people snack - it's easier than a relationship. Tell me what you think.

Go To Bed With A Cheese And Pickle Sandwich

by Mandy Coe

Go to bed with a cheese and pickle sandwich.

It is life enhancing.
It doesn't chat you up.
You have to make it.

A cheese and pickle sandwich
is never disappointing.
You don't lie there thinking:
Am I too fat?
Too fertile?
Too insecure?

Your thoughts are clear,
your choices simple:
to cut it in half
or not to cut it in half,
how thin to slice the cheese
and where you should place the pickle.

From a cheese and pickle sandwich
you do not expect flowers,
poems and acts of adoration.
You expect what you get:
cheese... and pickle.

You want, you eat,
and afterwards you have eaten.
No lying awake resentful,
listening to it snore.

Safe snacks.
It comes recommended.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEDDYTEDDY 1/23/2010 6:05AM

    Love the poem.

My husband and I have separate bedrooms cause we both snore and both sleep restlessly. The only solution!!!!

As far as snacking at work, luckily the snack machines are expensive and the cheaper snacks are too far away for a quick trip away from my desk. In the morning I unpack my lunch and line up my fruit. People call my cubicle the produce store. Oftentimes I have a cucumber, a tomato, an apple and 2 whole wheat crackers and a Happy Cow wedge of cheese and I line them up on my desk in plain sight for me to see so I don't forget about them.

Comment edited on: 1/23/2010 6:06:59 AM

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TRAILPAL 1/21/2010 11:49AM

    I love that poem!

Although I love my hubby, sometimes a cheese and pickle sandwich would be so much less complicated.

And good point about the snacks... I put portions in the little snack baggies, otherwise I get a bit overboard even on "safe" snack.

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RUTHIEBEAR 1/19/2010 10:15AM

    The poem is adorable. It addresses many eating issues for sure. I have learned that I must plan ahead or I get off track so easily. SO keep on sparking!

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CHANCELUND 1/18/2010 10:44AM

    I love the poem. Very cute. I think it is true, but I would still take my marriage over the snack. LOL

I have been making up little snack bags of food. Yesterday it was zucchini spears, little carrots, and red peppers. Since I am a bad night time snacker, this keeps me eating things that aren't bad for me and gets my servings of veggies in as well.

I agree that having them made up ahead of time is what makes it work. If I had to start peeling and chopping things when I wanted to snack, I might go for something less healthy. emoticon emoticon

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JCORYCMA 1/17/2010 8:58PM

    Good for you passing up the vending machine! Last time I traveled for work I packed some healthy snacks like almonds so I could stay away from the hotel vending machines too. I get particularly weak away from home. The poem is perfect! Safe snacks. I love it!
Joanne emoticon

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WEEZIE30 1/17/2010 7:33PM

    planning head is always a good thing!

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Music Like the Curve of Gold

Saturday, January 09, 2010

I listened to "Highlights from the Marriage of Figaro" while on the treadmill this morning. I like all kinds of music, but the perfection of Mozart gives me goose bumps every time.

Yesterday I woke up to find it had snowed over night, only an inch or so, and the pine trees in the back yard were lightly frosted. What a magical sight!

I'm not going to die wishing I'd spent more time at the office, or wishing I'd spent more time cleaning house. We need to remember that life is full of loveliness for us to enjoy. Take the time to enjoy it.

Here is another poem by Sara Teasdale that is, well, lovely.


Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children's faces looking up,
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like the curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit's still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PINKAPINKA 1/17/2010 10:05AM

    thank you for sharing it with us!

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CHANCELUND 1/9/2010 12:21PM

    Der Rosenkavalier
January 9, 2010 / 1:00 pm ET
Edo de Waart; Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Christine Schäfer, Eric Cutler, Thomas Allen, Kristinn Sigmundsson

Go to this site and it will tell you how to listen to the MET's opera's on line. I just love them. Plan on listening to this one today!

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JCORYCMA 1/9/2010 10:35AM


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