Sunday, March 02, 2014
What a week.
I know I've mentioned that I play in a tribute band and that the tribute changes monthly. What I might not have mentioned is just what that means for me. It means that, except in special cases (the Billy Joel tribute, for example), I have between 8 and 20 new songs to learn every month.
That's not a joke. (This is a joke: Why don't cannibals eat clowns? They taste funny. See the difference?)
I mention this because this particular month has been nuttier than most. You see, this weekend I played in a Black Sabbath tribute. But we actually had 4 different bands, all playing Black Sabbath. We had a Greatest Hits band, an Ozzy band, a Dio band, and an "unplugged" band. Every band had different members.
That's right. I played in all 4 bands. And you may ask yourself, "How much keyboard could possibly be needed in a Black Sabbath tribute?" You may also ask yourself, "Where is that large automobile?" or "Where does that highway go to?" But only if you're David Byrne.
The answer to the first one is "a lot." Especially the stuff with Ronnie James Dio. I'm told it's because they actually had a keyboard player. That would explain it.
So I'm sure you're thinking that I'm going to go back to the "playing piano burns calories" thing that I usually mention. Actually, I'm not sure what you're thinking. You could be thinking, "Beige. We should paint the children beige," for all I know. However, in both cases, you'd be wrong.
You should paint the children puce.
And actually, I'm going to talk about something else. The following question: what does this nine-paragraph introduction have to do with my Weight Watchers journey? Well, I'm glad I asked. Because I played in all 4 bands, I rehearsed all 4 nights last week. And didn’t have any chance go grocery shopping, at all.
Which meant figuring out what to do for lunch every day, rather than just bringing in my usual frozen meals. And that meant new hazards to avoid, if I wanted to stay on Plan. You see, many of the lunch places in the area where I work are actually more like cafeteria-style delis, which I might love a little too much. It's like if you can't decide on what food you want, you can have all of them. Obviously, this can also create a problem, in terms of portion control. And, in some cases, poison control. Never trust green beef.
So, yes. Deli stuff. And no, I didn’t do every meal à la carte. Well, not buffet, at least. Monday, for instance, I had ham and cheese with lettuce and tomato on rye. And mustard from my desk. Which isn’t to imply that my desk somehow magically produces mustard. I save condiments like some people save animals, except totally different.
Tuesday was a buffet day. I had a small piece of teriyaki chicken, a spoonful of shrimp with snow peas, a single piece of Korean steak, and two pot stickers. Not a light PointsPlus meal, but nothing that would break the bank. Wednesday was strictly salad bar – tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, carrots, a couple cubes of smoked turkey, green peppers, red peppers, yellow peppers, and oil and vinegar dressing. REALLY low in PointsPlus values, but I’d been to Tall Bartender’s bar the night before, so I was trying to sort of even things out, even though it was technically the next day.
Thursday: turkey Cuban on a baguette – smoked turkey, turkey bacon, pickles, Swiss cheese, mustard. Friday: beer. Kidding. I almost didn’t get a chance to eat lunch on Friday, but I did scrounge some office leftovers – rice, beans, grilled chicken, lettuce, salsa. Mixed in a bowl, though. Those tortilla chips and taco shells can add up.
And none of my lunches had a PointsPlus value of more than 12. I know that seems a little high, given that my lunches usually come in at about 8 or 9, but still. So I might have skipped an afternoon snack. Or an after work beer. Or an aftermarket sushi platter. Actually, I skip those every time. Tuna and salmon also should not be green.
Yeah, that’ll be my lesson this entry. Avoid green meat.
Talk to you soon.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
So, we had a weird thing happen at work – I got promoted.
No, just kidding. You knew that already.
Someone – and nobody seems to know who – left a whole bunch of containers of Loeb's Onion Crunch in the kitchen.
Now, for those of you who don't know what Loeb's Onion Crunch is, let me tell you, it's the most amazing … no, I'm joking. None of us had any idea what Loeb's Onion Crunch was either. Which made its appearance that much the weirder.
And I know you might be thinking, "He works in advertising. It's probably just some samples from a client." Except that I work in pharmaceutical advertising. 1) We don't get samples (darn it) and B) it would have to be a pharma client with a very odd sense of humor to be giving us containers of fried onion bits.
Which it turns out, I might add, is exactly what it is. Basically, it's like those French's fried onions that women on TV in the '50s used to put in the Campbell's green bean casserole. Except in flake form. Like Bac-Os, but with fried onion instead of fake bacon. And worth just as many PointsPlus values.
Seriously, I looked it up. The things have a PointsPlus value of 1 for 2 tablespoons. This might not seem like a lot until you start looking up the recipes on the brand’s website. The Onion Crunchy Chicken, for example, calls for 2 cups of the stuff (PointsPlus value: 18). Now, to be fair, that's a recipe for 4 chicken breasts, so if you keep to one breast for your meal, that's closer to a PointsPlus value of 5, but given that many condiments have a PointsPlus value of zero, this stuff isn't winning any Weight Watchers awards.
(I have no idea if there are Weight Watchers awards. I'm picturing everyone on the red carpet being in really good shape.)
The slogan, by the way, uses the word "Yum" three times. That's a hefty pledge.
It gets weirder. They're a product of Holland. Not that Holland doesn't have excellent onions. In fact, according to the 15 seconds of research I just did (I'm a busy man, you know), Holland ranks among the world's top onion exporters along with China, Mexico, and the United States.
You see where I'm going with this, right? Why is it necessary for any US food distributor to get fried onion chips from Holland? I guess this means there might be a market out there for US-made fried onion chips. If you own a factory and an industrial-strength deep-fryer, give me a call.
But it still invites a bunch of questions. For example, why on earth were these distributed throughout our office? Is it possible to tell a real difference between BBQ flavor and regular flavor? I'm guessing "not really." And how many stuffed Lil' Nicky talking dolls am I ordering to give as gifts to family and friends?
Huh. I just noticed on the side of the container, there are suggestions about what it makes a good topping on, including hamburgers and hot dogs, chicken, fish, eggs and vegetables (?). And I quote: "Put it on everything!" I am not going to put it on ice cream. Or breakfast cereal.
Anyway, I'm sure you're all wondering one important thing by now – "How did he manage to write more than 600 words about fried onion flakes?" I'm kind of wondering the same thing.
Fine. Some of you may also be wondering what they taste like. I had no real desire to sprinkle them on my lunch today, so I tried a small handful (maybe a teaspoon). They taste exactly like you'd expect. Honestly, not too shabby.
Which is to say, maybe two Yums, tops. Definitely not three.
Talk to you soon.
Friday, February 21, 2014
You. People. Are. Awesome.
Seriously. I just broke 700 readers.
Actually, I should rephrase that. My readership numbers just broke 700. I hope I haven't broken any readers. Well, not to the point where all the king's horses and all the king’s men need to be called in, anyway.
But seriously, thank you. It's very gratifying knowing people other than me like the things I write. Though I probably like them more than you do. It's a blessing and a curse.
Also a blessing and a curse: office happy hour.
How was that for a segue?
I mentioned yesterday that we were having a happy hour and sure enough, we did. It was a fundraiser for the American Heart Association. For those of you who doubt the importance of good grammar and editing, there was a sign up advertising the Go Red campaign to fight heart disease in women. Unfortunately, the title was written as a hashtag, with no consideration for alternative meanings. I cringed a little when I saw #Gored for Women.
(We actually also have a card that we're presenting them along with our fundraising check. I signed it "AHA – take, on us!" I'm guessing no one gets it.)
AND in order to prepare for said happy hour, I made smart food decisions throughout the day.
When faced with breakfast sandwich choices at 7-eleven (or is it Seven-11?), it's important to note that there are some fairly healthy ones and some really not so much. If it's made with a whole-wheat English muffin and contains egg whites, it's pretty healthy. If it's made with a croissant and contains bacon, it's probably not. I've said it before, people: this is not rocket surgery.
Sometimes, I have a mid-morning snack. This usually happens when I want a mid-morning snack. But I know that there are plenty of things in our vending machine with have a PointsPlus value of 3. Yesterday's was some sort of veggie sticks, advertised as "zesty." I had planned on bringing a lawsuit if they failed the zest test, but, darn them, those were some zesty veggie sticks.
Here's where things get tricky. And by "tricky," I mean, no trickier than Weight Watchers should be (which is not very tricky). I brought my lunch, a Smart Ones lasagna. Then I got an e-mail that there was free food in the kitchen. It turned out to be sushi and sashimi and miso soup. And hummus wrapped in lettuce leaves. I think our office had more than one lunch meeting. Or we ordered from a really diverse restaurant.
But I love those things, and the free food was difficult to pass up. So I didn't. Two pieces of sushi, three pieces of sashimi, three teaspoons of the hummus with some salad, wrapped in a lettuce leaf. As you can see, I didn't gorge myself.
But you know what else I didn't do? I didn't eat the lunch I brought. I stuck it in the office freezer and had it today. That was an extra 7 PointsPlus values I didn't need in addition to my fill of the leftovers.
And then I had beer. Four Corona Lights, to be precise. No lime, though. It would have been a happier hour with lime. Oh, well.
I think you see my point about choices, though. And if you don't, then reread this. And get your friends to read it. And subscribe, too. I'm aiming for 23,000 readers by 2018. What?
Talk to you soon.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
I mentioned last week that I recently got a promotion at work. I got my new business cards on Wednesday. They're printed on ridiculously thick stock. As if someone higher up in the company once said, "We'd be the most amazing pharmaceutical ad agency in the country if it weren't for all these paper cuts."
Seriously, I got a box of them. I sent one to my parents and gave one to Tall Bartender and I had to order a new box.
Well, maybe they’re not that thick. But they’re pretty thick.
In addition to said promotion, I have decided to take the opportunity to better myself in other ways. I've started attending the gym regularly. I'm going to be playing racquetball with a friend next week. And I'm quitting smoking.
You heard me.
Given, I don't know how many of you knew I was a smoker anyway, so my now being a non-smoker may not actually have any effect on how you thought I smelled. I smell better, though.
Anyway, what does that have to do with Weight Watchers? Nothing. I just thought it was neat.
For starters, very often when people quit smoking, they often start eating more. This is partly because smoking is an oral habit and partly because the smoking addiction kind of feels like hunger. The trick is to replace it with healthy foods. Sure, a piece of fruit won't really satisfy a craving for nicotine, but I've never heard of a woman saying, "He was a horrible kisser. His mouth tasted like an orange."
However – and it's a big however. HOWEVER, I'm using Zyban to help myself quit this time. It's actually an anti-depressant (same drug as Welbutrin), but when they (whoever "they" is; let's say "doctors") started giving it to the clinically depressed, they found many of them were not only happier, but also had quit smoking. Eureka, as "they" say.
And here's where it gets interesting. Not that it wasn't interesting before. I've found that not only have my cravings for cigarettes practically disappeared, but many of the rest of my "vices" have also been totally muted. You have no idea what I'm talking about, do you? It's okay. You can admit it. This is a safe place.
Lemme give you an example: I live on Diet Coke. Sometimes I like me a Diet Dr Pepper, but usually it's Diet Coke. You don't want to know how much of that stuff I put in my body on a daily basis. And this started years before I began following Weight Watchers. I would have drank coffee, but it's really hard to reseal a cup and throw it in your backpack.
However, in the last two weeks, my – let's call it what it probably is – addiction to that sweet, sweet nectar has seriously deteriorated. I'm drinking maybe two small bottles a day now. How about that?
I also find I'm snacking less. I'll go from lunch to dinner with nary a craving. Now, I'm not recommending Zyban as a weight-loss drug. I'm not a doctor and that's not the indication. I only mention it as an interesting observation. And because I had not a whole lot else to write about today.
But we're having a work happy hour and comedy show this afternoon. So maybe tomorrow I'll try my hand at being funny. I know you guys usually come away from my blog crying your eyes out. I'm such a drama queen.
Wish me luck!
Talk to you soon.
Friday, February 14, 2014
Because of how well Weight Watchers works and how simple they make it, I sometimes lose track of how much misinformation there is out there about healthy eating and weight loss. I also sometimes lose track of my forks. Seriously, I have two regular forks and two salad forks and four of everything else. I don't understand how this happens.
But I digress.
The reason I was thinking about this (the misinformation thing, not the fork thing) is that we had a Valentine's Day party for one of my work teams.
Yes, yes. Happy Valentine's Day. I'm wearing a white-and-pink-striped collared shirt in honor of the holiday, but I'm wearing a black sweater over it in protest. Do with that what you will.
Anyway, we had a small party. I think it was an excuse to buy heart-shaped balloons, but what do I know? I did get to make a "smells like team spirit" joke during our group photo, so that was good.
Anyway, we had a small party. There was prosecco. No one touched the beer. There were nachos with queso (I'm led to believe that's Spanish for "Cheese Whiz") and salsa. Just a reminder: salsa – PointsPlus value of zero; queso – PointsPlus value of 3 for 2 tablespoons. Just saying.
Anyway, we had a small party. There was, of course chocolate. And, oddly (I found it odd), Nutella. For those of you who don't know – and some of you might not – Nutella is some sort of chocolate/hazelnut spread. Actually, when I first walked into the room where we were holding the party, I was like, "Is that pudding?"
So one of the women I work with starts talking about some nutrition class she was in where they suggested Nutella as a substitute for a number of things, including syrup. And to dip fruit in it. And to use instead of jelly with peanut butter (really tasty, I might add; on my Israel trip in 1990, we practically lived on pb&n sandwiches). And we're going, "that doesn't sound right."
That's because it wasn't. Sure, maybe it's lower in calories or healthier than real maple syrup, which is pretty much 100% sugar, but otherwise, no. No. A thousand times no. My kingdom for a horse.
But I digress.
We looked it up on the container. Two tablespoons are 200 calories. Of which 110 are from fat. It's the queso of hazelnut spreads. Or something.
Actually, it's worse – two tablespoons has a PointsPlus value of 5. Which is not to say that I'm recommending peanut butter and Cheese Whiz as an alternative. To anything. Ever.
So, yeah. Not really a strong point for today's blog entry, but still a salient one. Don't just take all "expert" nutrition advice as rote. Do some researching of your own. Because we all know I'm not going to do it for you.
Well, not for free. I may take bribes.
Talk to you soon.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Big news! I'm earning Activity PointsPlus values by packing up my office!
Bigger news! I'm moving offices because I got a promotion!
That's what's known in Journalism school as a "buried lead." Though, for a Weight Watchers blog, the activity, in my mind, is the lead.
(Side note on the importance of comma usage: big difference between "the activity, in my mind" and "the activity in my mind". Write that down.)
So, yes. As of last month (the announcement and the move were, um, slightly delayed), I am Editorial Group Supervisor, or EGS, for short. Who am I supervising? No one yet. Myself. Turns out I'm a great boss.
But the important thing – and that's why I led with it – I'm doing an activity! I also walked for about a half-hour yesterday. Yes, even in the cold. Actually, between my winter coat, my scarf, a pair of fairly heavy jeans, and my 180s (wrap-around ear **** ), the only part of me that even felt the cold was my face. And, I suppose, my hair. But hair rarely complains.
The best thing about earning Activity PointsPlus values today is that it's offsetting practically my entire lunch. We had our "Go Red Heart Healthy Cook-Off" at the office today. So I had small cups of about 7 different healthy foods, including turkey chili, lemon orzo, homemade guacamole and a "bean" salad (I did ask about the quotes; turns out it actually contained no beans. I did not ask why they didn't just call it something else). And two small (really small) relatively healthy desserts – a piece of Mandelbroit (Kamishbroit, if you're of Ukranian descent) and an apple truffle, whatever that is.
I feel I should delve into the whole Mandelbroit thing. Well, first of all, that's the Yiddish name. Some of you might know it as Mandelbrot. Or Mandel bread, if you're really trying to distance yourself from the old country. Others might know it as, alternately, Kamishbroit, Kamishbrot or Kamish bread. Same deal. My grandfather's family was from Kiev, so that's what we called it. If you're really trying to distance yourself from the old country, you can call it biscotti.
Mandel, by the way, means "almond." Kamish, apparently, means "mixture." Brot, brodt and broit all mean "bread." Regardless of what you call it, it's a twice-baked almost-bread that apparently keeps fresh for longer than it takes to decide which name you prefer. And my grandmother's always tasted like anise. And, I guess, almonds.
So, yeah, I had a small piece of that.
And tracking shouldn't be that difficult, since each of the dishes was served in a 2-ounce plastic cup. So worst case, I estimate everything at 2 ounces, even though a lot of them were less than that. I think the thing with the highest PointsPlus value was probably the triangle of pita bread I had with the "turkey joe." I'm going to keep you in suspense about whether I'm right. Add some mystery to your Wednesday.
Beyond that, more snow on the way. Actually, in New York, they're calling for snow turning to freezing rain, turning back into snow. So if I do go for a walk, I'm going to track it as "running uphill pulling a truck with my teeth while dancing ballet." I'm pretty sure the online tracker has that listed.
Oh, and Valentine's Day is coming up. Remember that they say milk chocolate is better for you than white chocolate and dark chocolate is better for you than milk chocolate. Though I just looked it up and it turns out spinach is better for you than all three. Which is to say that if you and I ever date and I give you spinach, you'll know it's from the heart.
Unless you're a descendant of Popeye, in which case I might just be trying to get you to beat someone up.
Talk to you soon.
Saturday, February 08, 2014
I completely forgot to tell you guys – I used my slow cooker!
Now, I'm going to tell you what I used it for, but I want you to promise me you won't get angry. See, it wasn't exactly a Weight Watchers-friendly food. Actually, pretty far from.
However, I wasn't making it for myself, so while I may have tried it, the vast majority went to my friend Greg and his coworkers or his coven or something. I wasn't listening that closely.
I made mac n' cheese. Really, really good mac n' cheese. And I'll tell you how. And then I'll tell you how to make it so that each teaspoon doesn't have a PointsPlus value of 2. Then I'll wish you a good weekend. Then I'll go to the gym. Then I'll change into my cape and tights and … you know what? Best you not know.
Anyway, the ingredients for this affront to healthy cooking are as follows. (Well, my ingredients, anyway. Old family recipe.) Pasta (elbows, usually, though in this instance Greg bought fusilli); Cheese Whiz (really; adds a nice velvety touch and melts quite well); tomato bisque (one can, condensed); bacon bits; some type of shellfish (lobster, crab, scallops, etc.); real shredded cheese; spices (I'll discuss that later). I'm estimating, but I believe it's got a PointsPlus value of infinity.
Okay, so what I do is while I'm cooking the pasta, I'm sautéing the seafood in a little olive oil, with some of Chef Paul's Seafood Magic
and some garlic (or garlic powder). Once the pasta and seafood are cooked, drain the pasta (but try to keep it hot; the cheese melts better) and pretty much mix everything together. Seriously. Throw in the Cheese Whiz, the cheese, the bacon, the can of soup, all of it. Season to taste. My
taste. I don't very well know your taste, do I?
My seasonings are usually as follows: Italian seasoning (I never quite know what's in this. Definitely oregano, definitely basil; beyond that, I'm lost. I let the nice people at McCormick decide for me). Grated Parmesan cheese (just a little goes a long way). A sprinkle of cayenne pepper (even less goes a longer way). Garlic powder. Onion powder. Talcum powder.
Well, not that last one. Eeew.
Again, mix. That's it. Should be awesome. I'm thinking one of these days of maybe adding some truffle oil, but that would require a) acquiring some truffle oil and 2) knowing what to do with it. Neither of those things is likely to happen any time soon. I don't even own a pig.
Anyway, that's the version I made for Greg and his minions (?); however, there is a solution that will bring you within a hair's breadth (I have to assume it's not "breath") of approximating something kind of like this.
First off, whole wheat pasta. If you've been following the Weight Watchers plan and making your own food, that's almost kind of a "duh." Second, Cheese Whiz light. Still not good for you, but I have yet to find another cheese-type substance that doesn't harden into a solid as it cools down. I know that should scare me, but somehow, it doesn't. Might be a Philadelphia cheesesteak thing.
Beyond that, as you see fit, substitute light or, if you can, fat-free versions of the ingredients I listed above. Bacos are healthier than real bacon bits (well, from a caloric point of view). Instead of tomato bisque, use a can of condensed tomato soup and some skim milk. The good news is the herbs and spices still have a PointsPlus value of zero. And seafood is low in PointsPlus values, too. You might even try baking the shellfish instead of sautéing it. You might also try salad instead of this entire experiment. It's really up to you.
But, and here's the point, I used the slow cooker. It's what I combined everything in. And turned it on "low." And worried that it would burn my house down when I ran out to meet a friend for a drink. And wondered why I said "house" when I live in an apartment building.
Okay, that last one just happened. No, I can't go back and change it. Can you? Didn't think so.
So have a great weekend!
Talk to you soon.
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
Not to mix metaphors, but I totally hit a homerun during the Super Bowl.
If you recall last week, I wrote some suggestions about how to survive a Super Bowl party on Plan. And I totally followed those suggestions. And it was an absolute slam dunk.
It helped that my friend totally aced the service: much of the spread actually wound up being (relatively) healthy food – homemade chicken wings, for example, so they were baked, not fried. And I, as was my idea in the Super Bowl post, brought salad. Darn good salad, too. Chock full of vegetables. Not a doughnut in sight.
But, yeah, total hole in one. I sampled a little of everything – a tablespoon of mac n' cheese, one chicken wing (skin removed), half a brownie, one deviled egg (okay, two, which is technically still one egg), a bunch of celery and carrot sticks in a low-fat ranch dip, a handful of popcorn, half a meatball, a single chip with spinach dip, another chip with salsa, and a bunch of salad. Maybe a hole in two. Still under par.
I hope yours went well, too. Because we all know that was a BORING game. Even Seahawks fans had to be bored. And we also all know that boredom can trigger overeating. Like the trigger on a Browning 9mm. (That gets semi-referenced later, don't worry.)
Actually, I had kind of a Weight Watchers hat trick this week. First, as I said, I hit it out of the park with the football game thing. Second, I discovered a new Smart Ones frozen food. (More on that in a moment). And third, I planned all yesterday to hit the gym after work. Goallllllll!
You’ll notice I said "planned." I called an audible. As I got within half a block of the gym, I thought, "I really don't want to have to go through the hassle of changing and showering etc. etc. etc." Yep. Three etc's. So instead of walking on an elliptical for an hour, I walked home. Like I do in the summer. You see where this is going. The boys of summer have gone.
A few things occurred to me, as I started up the ramp on the Manhattan side of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge. Things that probably should have discouraged me, but I wasn't about to turn around and risk getting called for a balk. Thing number one was, how can I put this – you know those warning signs that say "Bridge freezes before roadway"? Well, it turns out bridge also thaws after roadway. While the sidewalks might have been clear following Monday's mini snowstorm, the bridge walkway certainly was not. I took a photo to prove it to you.
Thing number two was that I was wearing Converse All Stars. Low-top Converse All Stars. These things may help you lay in a floater up the middle, but on snow, they're about as useful as a football bat. It was a sad day in Mudville. And slushville.
Needless to say, I made it. Oddly, halfway across (the Queens side), someone had started salting the walkway. Not sure why they didn't do the whole thing. That's like rolling into a 7-10 split and just marking it 8, dude. (Just don't roll on Shabbos.) My guess was it's because Queens is awesomer than Manhattan. But that might just be because I live there.
And, as I mentioned before, the other part of my hat trick was discovering a new Smart Ones meal. This one's gonna knock your socks off. If you're wearing socks, that is. We're talking total upset. In a good way.
Presenting Smart Ones Fish and Chips. Really. Fried fish. French fries. A handy box that's also a browning tray. And, totally giving 110% and crisping both sides of the food, also a browning top. (But not a Browning 9mm (told you). That's just not cricket.)
Not surprisingly, it's good. Surprisingly, it's got a PointsPlus value of 8. That's the equivalent of an Egg McMuffin. Or three-quarters of a pound of fat-free mayonnaise. It gets a binary rating of 1. Yahtzee!
So there you have it – low Super Bowl intake. Found a new Smart Ones food. Walked across a partially snow-covered bridge. Feelin' groovy. Check and mate.
Talk to you soon.
Saturday, February 01, 2014
I come from a large family. There were 19 of us, including the 15 ghosts I just made up.
Despite there being only 4 of us, dinners were raucous occasions, and it behooved one to eat as quickly as possible, for fear of missing an opportunity to make a funny comment or argue a significant point. In fact, my friend Steve, not used to our witty banter, once took 15 minutes just to eat a single forkful of spaghetti because he would start laughing every time he brought it up to his mouth.
At least that's how he remembers it. I remember we didn't let him play with the sharp silverware. But that's a story for another time.
The point is, I grew up more or less wolfing down my food. This habit, combined with my parents' insistence that my brother and I clear our plates (i.e., eat everything off of them; we had trained monkeys that actually took them to the kitchen) is what I generally blame for my bad eating habits prior to Weight Watchers.
Also, food tastes good.
However, there is another way. Remember that Robert Frost poem about two roads diverging in a wood? It's true. Well, metaphorically. So I guess it's false. But he was my grandfather's freshman English teacher, so we'll cut him some slack. Point is, I can't stress enough the importance of eating slowly when you can.
And, yes, that other thing is true, too. My grandfather was Amherst College class of 1927 or something. If you feel like doing the research, you'll see Frost taught there around the same time. There's a funny story my grandfather used to tell about their first day of class, but it's totally off topic, so I’m not gonna tell it (as though being off-topic is an issue for me).
Always leave ‘em wanting more. That's an old vaudeville trick. So is sawing a woman in half. I digress.
Yes, eating slowly. Important. I'm actually bringing it up because I've been really busy at work recently. So busy that I haven't had time to forage after eating my lunch. Admittedly, these days, I'm trying to avoid foraging anyway, but the point is my schedule's been really full. And so I've basically eaten my lunch and then run off to a meeting or started work on a slide deck, or some such activity. Yes, this really is what I do.
And the thing is, I noticed throughout this past week that if I ate a sensible lunch and then waited a little while, it turned out I felt sated. There wasn't that (I was going to say "irresistible" here, but it's totally resistible) urge to keep scarfing down whatever was available. Free falafel? Sweet! Only $1 for a bag of kettle chips? Awesome! Someone left half a cookie in the kitchen? Lemme at it!
Except not. I actually got an e-mail from my supervisor yesterday around 2:00 offering not one, not two, but three different types of trail mix available on her desk. I'm not making this up (see photo). We don't even work near any trails. Point is, I wasn't hungry. I'd had a lunch that tracked at 12 PointsPlus values – slightly larger than usual, but because I had a little seafood salad and also a smaller-than-usual breakfast – and I just was not interested in trail mix. And it sounded like good trail mix, too. And I quote:
• Naughty trail mix: peanut, raisin, m&m, choc chip, PB chip
• Almond, cherry, cranberry, pistachio
• Yogurt raisin, date, almond, cranberry, papaya, pineapple, walnut
Actually, my supervisor also suggested mixing them all together and marketing them as "Unicorn Food." So we're gonna be rich.
The thing is, it takes the body a little while to “feel” full. And it’s a much better idea to spend that little while doing something other than eating more food. I know it's another simple trick, but it really does work. And that's why I'm writing about it. A trick that doesn't work? Being sawed in half. Sure, it looks like you would lose a lot of weight, but it's really just smoke and mirrors.
Always leave 'em wanting less. That's an old Adam Kraemer trick.
Talk to you soon.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
I made a mistake, folks. Well, not a mistake, per se. Let's say I erred in my judgment.
I used up my extra Weekly PointsPlus Allowance yesterday. At the start of my week. Oy.
I won't go into all the details, but let's just say that it's rare for them to have leftover barbecue in the office. And rare to get to band rehearsal to find out the people in the studio before us (deliberately) left us a bunch of cold beer as an apology for running 15 minutes overtime. And rare for me to fall face first into $240 worth of pudding.
Okay, that last one didn't happen. It was just the barbecue and the beer. And a shot of Jack Daniels. I needed something to wash down the beer.
However, the Amish have a saying that what looks like a mistake can turn into an opportunity. So, I'm taking this opportunity to explain to you the Do's and Don'ts regarding how to handle this situation.
(Full disclosure: I have no actual knowledge of any Amish sayings. I just thought that comment would look weightier if I attributed it to a group of people. Amish comes first in the alphabet.)
(Fuller disclosure: I have no idea if Amish comes first in the alphabet.)
DO: Make plans to exercise. This can mean going to the gym, taking a walk, or, if you live in the South, apparently shoveling snow. And when I say "make plans," I don't mean just thinking, "I have to get to the gym this week." Actually figure out when you can do it and then do it.
DON'T: Pretend it didn't happen. It happened. Like the moon landing. And there's a lot less of a chance that NASA faked your PointsPlus values. Well, maybe not a lot. And, for the record, it was Neil Armstrong who walked on the moon. Not Louie and certainly not Lance. Talented family, though.
DO: Continue to track responsibly and, when you’re estimating PointsPlus values, try to estimate on the high end. This is generally helpful because if you overestimate, the worst case is that you reach your daily PointsPlus value limit and there you are. Underestimating, on the other hand, can lead to going past the limit without realizing it. This is kind of a no-brainer, but it never hurts to be reminded.
DON'T: Fall face-first into $240 worth of pudding. This is actually good advice, like, 97% of the time.
DO: Maybe switch out one of your regular meals that week for one that’s lower in PointsPlus values. If Thursday nights are Chicken and Waffle nights in your household (I don't know how you live and I'm not judging), this week, make it a Fish and Salad night. Maybe don't even capitalize fish and salad. Fish has a big enough ego already, and don't get me started on salad's Superman complex.
DON'T: Starve yourself or skip meals. It'll just get you frustrated and, when you do eat, you may find yourself binging. That's the gerund form of "binge," by the way. If you read "binging" and found yourself wanting to bing instead, that's totally fine for your weight loss, though it might suggest you need help in other areas.
DO: drink a lot of water, especially instead of sugary drinks or alcohol. Admittedly, no one has ever said, "I get more interesting the more water I drink," but maybe this isn't your week to be interesting.
So there you go. A few tips for when you're as shortsighted as I was. The trick is to follow shortsightedness with longsightedness. Even if that's not really a thing. Remember, there's no "me" in myopic. Though there is a "my." And it almost sounds like "biopic." But don't be fooled. It's not the same thing.
Talk to you soon.
My weight loss