Feel the fear, and kick it anyway

Monday, March 29, 2010

After having spent most of my life from early teens upward being varying degrees of overweight (and honestly, I was a chubby child too), I’m still carrying around the odd bit of emotional baggage, even if my physical baggage has decreased by 50+ pounds.

Exercising was always something to be avoided. I dreaded gym class at school; I was slow and ungainly, my hand-eye coordination was pretty poor (I was always the pseudo-intellectual creative type rather than technically minded), and unfortunately in a class with mostly athletic people. To cap it all, the soccer pitch in my cash-deprived inner-London school was on a slight slope, so gravity was just as much my enemy as my own physiology. The nightmares that team sports gave me would make for B-movie gold.

The weekend before last, I ran the New York Half Marathon (and here's pictorial proof!) in a personal-best time, 2 hours and 17 minutes. It was only my second half-marathon, so to say I broke my personal record is maybe over-egging it a bit, but I am fiercely competitive with myself. It was an opportunity, too, to bask in the changes I’ve made to my life that mean I’m now an athlete.

Yesterday, I grappled with another one of these demons: Playing a team sport. I haven’t done this since I was forced to at school, but this was a kickball fundraiser for the husband and kids of a dear friend who lost her battle with cancer a month ago. This event was bigger than my childhood fears, so I signed up.

Despite being surrounded by friends and supported by my husband, I started yesterday feeling sick with nerves and fear. I had never played kickball before — didn’t even know the rules, as it’s not played in English schools, and neither is baseball on whose rules the game is based. I just knew I would let the team down. I would look ridiculous. I would run in the wrong direction; kick the ball straight into the arms of the opposing team. I warned my team that I was a rookie, and would truly suck; I wasn’t hamming it up when I asked which one was first base. (I was pointing to third…)

Well, of course, I was fine — good, even. Most of my teammates had their kicks caught. But the minimal soccer I had played at school had ingrained in me that the ball should be kept close to the ground, so I was able to run, and stay in, each time I was up. I brought the first run home! My kicking and coordination maybe wasn’t great, but I sure can run, and my trash talk comes with an English accent.

With yesterday’s game, I conquered pretty much the last fear I had from my years of being overweight. I wouldn't have signed up if I were still overweight; my confidence is still new and shiny. Whatever the scale shows at my Weight Watchers meeting this week, I’m carrying a lighter load today.

-Elly Trickett McNerney

Categories: Fitness, Fun, My weight loss, Sports


Comments (see all 4 comments)


4/24/2010 2:14 PM
you go girl :)

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New season, fresh fitness perspective

Thursday, March 25, 2010

When it comes to working out, I can become bored easily if I don't change things up. This past winter I rotated jazz, Zumba, cardio, strength training and yoga classes. The variety kept things fun and challenging. But I was always in a dance studio or gym. Now that it's getting warmer I've started taking walks at lunch and also walking part of the way home in the evenings.

Just being outdoors — enjoying sunny weather — has helped ratchet up my fitness enthusiasm. This Saturday I'm meeting a friend for a brisk walk in Central Park and then on Sunday I'm going bike riding with another girlfriend in Flushing Meadows Park. I’m looking forward to exploring my beautiful city, having great company, reaping health benefits — and NOT stepping into the gym.

-- Lisa Thomas

Categories: Fitness, Friends, Health


Comments (see all 4 comments)


3/26/2010 9:35 AM
Hello, your weekend activities sound great. I plan on getting outside and working on my garden patch to get it ready for planting.

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Talking myself out of eating a Mrs. Field’s cookie

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I’m standing on line for the bus. It’s 6:30 PM. I’m tired, it’s hot. And the line’s not moving. I’m right outside a Mrs. Field’s cookie shop. The aroma’s calling to me:

Come in, get a cookie.

Maybe it’s because I’m hungry, or it’s that time of the month, or simply because they smell so _____ good that I desperately want one right now. Well, actually, I don’t just want one cookie. I want at least 3 or 4, still warm with gooey chips, and an ice cold glass of skim milk.

But I’m headed to an Indian cooking class and I know what we’re making is going to be loaded with POINTS (not to mention the fact that if I get out of line, I’ll lose my spot and I don’t want to miss the samosa-making demonstration).

So I’m going to say NO and breathe in real deep to ‘inhale’ that cookie instead. Ahhhh, amazing. Now, exhale, nice and slow.

Oops, line moving, walking to my gate. Smell dissipating. Fresh cilantro chutney, here I come!

Leslie Fink, MS, RD

Categories: Food, Fun


Comments (see all 4 comments)


3/25/2010 3:09 PM
How was your India cooking class?

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A Weight Watchers Free Weekend

Friday, March 19, 2010

This past weekend my wife and I took our first trip without our kids, Henry and Louisa. My parents came down from Rochester, NY to baby sit, and my father-in-graciously let us vacation in his beach house in Ocean City, NJ for the weekend.

We had decided that we were also going to take a break from healthy eating. Whatever we wanted, we’d eat. Because sometimes, you just have to cut loose.

After good night’s sleep, we got up and headed to nearby Atlantic City for lunch at the famous White House hoagie shop. They make huge, tasty hoagies (a.k.a. subs). I saw an Italian hoagie being made that was easily five feet long.

I ordered half a steak sub, but what the White House calls a half sandwich is actually 12 inches long and overflowing with meat, provolone cheese, grilled onions and sautéed mushrooms. My best guess is that it had a POINTS value of 20 or more. It tasted great, but was way too much food. I was completely stuffed after eating half of my half. I ate the rest for dinner.

But the place I enjoyed most was Friendly’s. It’s nostalgic for me and my wife. My parents used to take me to the Friendly’s in Penfield, NY for a treat when I was in grade school. I always got the Mint Cookie Crunch Sundae. My wife had her first un-chaperoned date with a boy at a Friendly’s in a mall in southern Pennsylvania when she was 13.

My wife got two scoops of cookies-n-cream ice cream topped with chocolate sauce. I got the Reese's® Peanut Butter Cup Sundae—vanilla ice cream topped with peanut sauce, chocolate sauce, whipped cream and a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. It was like the perfect combination of salty and sweet.

We got home Sunday, and when I got up Monday and weighed myself, I was up 1.6 pounds, which, all things considered, doesn’t seem that bad. In fact, it seemed great to me.

-Justin Marks

Categories: Eating out, Family, Love & life, My weight loss


Comments (see all 9 comments)

SUEMF2007 (Susan)

3/21/2010 4:03 PM
I enjoyed the story. Awesome that you got away without the kids. Any parent can appreciate the down time. Your story proves that WW is not a life sentence of you can never ever eat this or that. Thanks for sharing your story Justin!

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On being a good egg...

Friday, March 19, 2010

The other day my friends over that the Egg Board told me about a project (a Good Egg Project, actually) they're working on. It's aimed at getting people to commit to more healthful eating and to giving back to the community. For each person who takes the Egg Board's pledge to "Eat Good. Do Good Every Day." they'll donate an egg to Feeding America, a hunger-relief charity.

Have a look:

-- Lisa Chernick, executive food editor
Check out my blog "What's for Dinner?"

Categories: Cooking, Food


Comments (see all 1 comments)


3/19/2010 9:17 PM
What a terrific idea, I went on the site and signed the pledge!

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New Weight Watchers Snack Bar

Friday, March 19, 2010

I love the creamy, sweet taste of peanut butter! Yes, I'm one of those gals who can mindlessly eat scoops of it right out of the jar (which is problematic when you're on a weight loss plan). So I was really excited to get a chance to sample the new Weight Watchers Peanut Butter & Chip Delight Snack Bars.

This treat is satisfying on so many levels (and I'm not just saying this because I work here — I take snacking seriously). It's chewy, crunchy, sweet and salty — plus, it's got nine grams of fiber and five grams of protein. The combination of chocolate chips, peanut butter and honey is delectable. And the cereal, rice crisps, rolled oats and peanuts help to fill you up. Complementary flavors, multiple textures and wholesome goodness — all for just 2 POINTS® values per bar. Yum!

-- Lisa Thomas

Categories: Food, General, Shopping


Comments (see all 13 comments)


3/21/2010 4:15 AM
The sound really good! I've only ever tried Fiber One bars. The WW bars are on sale right now. I will have to give them a try.

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Stocking my fridge from scratch

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Just experienced four days without any electricity – it’s amazing how many ways one can eat Laughing Cow cheese!

Needless to say, I had to throw out the entire contents of my fridge and freezer. I am going food shopping tomorrow and giving my purchases a lot more thought than usual.

So I wonder, if you had absolutely nothing in your refrigerator or freezer, what would be your top ten must-haves to get your kitchen back up to speed?


Leslie Fink, MS, RD

Categories: Cooking, Food, Shopping


Comments (see all 14 comments)


8/1/2010 9:08 PM
1 Frozen veggies 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts 3 Real Cheese slices (totally worth it for me!) 4 Fresh Spinach 5 Fresh Slices Mushrooms 6 Nonfat Yogurt 71% milk 8 Lowfat Cheese Sticks/Bites/Bars 9 My fav 1pt per serving salad dressing 10 Egg Whites Wow. Interesting to sit down and think about it! I am actually surprised and proud of myself that all of my first 10 choices are actually good for me and not junk food! Yay ww!

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Awakening My Inner Cook

Friday, March 12, 2010

Although I've always been into food, I've never really been into cooking. For years, the kitchen appliances I most relied on were my coffee maker, espresso combo and microwave. I was queen of convenience foods and I mastered "assembling" meals in 15 minutes or less.

Being single and often out and about with friends, cooking at home had always been a low priority for me. I was an impulse food shopper so I routinely threw away unused food. Most nights I'd get in after 9 p.m. and the last thing I wanted to do was cook. And when I did cook a recipe I was stuck with eating leftovers for a week.

This time around on plan I want to do more than just stay in control of how much I eat. I want to reap health benefits by changing the quality of my food. And I want to learn how to use healthier cooking techniques. Now I actually look forward to shopping for groceries because it's an opportunity to pick up a new ingredient or food I haven't tried. I enjoy experimenting with recipes — adapting them to make fewer servings, changing their flavor with herbs and condiments and turning leftovers into different dishes. And now I can't do without my perfectly sized 1.5-quart slow cooker, versatile electric tabletop grill and 12-inch anodized nonstick fry pan (it's great for stir-frying).

-- Lisa Thomas

Categories: Cooking, Food, My weight loss, Shopping


Comments (see all 5 comments)


3/12/2010 3:30 PM
I couldn't do without my slow cooker!

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My Favorite Part of the Winter Olympics

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I didn’t pay much attention to this year’s Winter Olympics. But there was one “event” in Vancouver among the few I saw that truly captivated me: Japadogs.

Foody blogs the world-over were a-buzz with news of this Japanese take on hot dogs during the Winter Games. More mainstream media have taken notice as well. Celebrity chef and world-traveler Anthony Bourdain featured Japadogs in a segment of his Travel Channel show Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. He said they were “delicious.”

Japadogs can be found only from street-meat vendors on two different street corners in downtown Vancouver. As a result, the dogs, which come in three flavors, were tough to get—sometimes requiring a wait of 90 minutes in the cold British Columbia winter.

Like regular hot dogs, Japadogs come on hot dog rolls, but instead of ketchup or mustard or relish, they’re topped with Japanese-style condiments. As delicious as they sound, Japadogs are a POINTS value nightmare.

Take the Terimayo. It’s an all-beef dog that’s grilled and topped with seaweed, grilled onions, teriyaki sauce, and wasabi mayo. A hog dog bun has a POINTS value of 3, as does 1 tbsp of wasabi mayo, and the all-beef dog has at least a POINTS value of 5. So we’re looking at a POINTS value of 11 or more for this Japadog alone.

The Miso Mayoa is the “light” option. It’s a turkey dog topped with sesame sauce, wasabi mayo, and daikon radish sprouts. Though better in terms of POINTS values than the Terimayo, the Miso Mayoa (as far as I can tell) has at least a POINTS value of 9.

The Oroshi is a pork sausage topped with grated radish, scallions, and soy sauce. Like the Terimayo, I’m estimating that the Oroshi has roughly a POINTS value of 11.

Of course, if I was at the Olympics I surely would have gotten at least one, if not all three. Good thing (at least for my waistline) I’m not going to Vancouver any time soon.

-Justin Marks

Categories: Eating out, Food, Fun


Comments (see all 3 comments)


3/12/2010 2:33 PM
I was in Vancouver this past summer and had one, I think the Oroshi. It was really yummy! You taste all the different flavors and it's really unique. I wasn't tracking points at the time, though I probably should have been.

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Just walk out the door

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The weather has taken a turn for the better here in the northeast - bright sunshine, reaching the high 50s - and I am loving taking my walks again. It’s such an amazing form of exercise (not to mention mind-therapy), that I think we should start a Just Walk Out the Door campaign.

Walking is one of the easiest, safest, cheapest forms of exercise around. So put on your sneakers, your boots, your sandals, whatever, and literally, just walk out the door. Hang up the phone. Turn off the TV. Fold the laundry later.

No excuses.

Even if you can only walk for 5 minutes, that counts for something. Just get out and move. No matter how fast or slow, how long or brief, all those steps add up to good things both now and later on.

Already hitting the pavement? Try our walking clinic or walking challenge to step up your game.

Leslie Fink, MS, RD

Categories: Fitness, Health


Comments (see all 6 comments)


3/12/2010 8:53 AM
what a great post! Its raining out so I'll take a walk with Leslie Sansone..Thanks for the inspiration

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