What does 1,100 calories look like?

Hi Double Chinners! I have so much I want to tell you about (including exciting revelations in the land of medical tests), but I need to get all my ducks in a row with my treatment plan and such before I fill y’all in. The good news is, I’m not dying and it’s nothing too serious and there MAY be hope in sight. Yay!

One of the things I’ve been wanting to do since starting my doctor’s reduced calorie diet is share what I’m eating. I’m actually supposed to eat 1,000 calories but after after trying 1,000 for two days and feeling stabby, I decided to up it to 1,100. Here’s what I ate today:

Breakfast was a 30g protein drink and 1/4 cup raspberries, 190 calories. Since I’m not a meat lover, I reaaaaally need to keep up on protein to prevent me from eating the stuffing out of my couch. The protein helps keep the hunger at bay and the low-sugar drink is actually pretty tasty.

Breakfast - 190 calories.

Breakfast – 190 calories.

Lunch time is where I try to get a little bit creative. If I don’t have my salty and sweet element, something feels off. So today I had one cup of Trader Joe’s Egg White Salad (50 calories per serving), Mini Pita (70 calories for two), Celery Sticks (15 Calories), a plum (46 calories), and 1/2 of a kiwi (17 calories). That’s a 198- calorie, super-filling lunch. (Oh. And. I was at the grocery store and for some reason, a diet coke with lime sounded amazing. I had 1/2. I’m trying to stay off soda but I figure with such a tight calorie budget, having a 0-calorie ‘splurge’ is no big deal.)

200 calorie lunch

200 calorie lunch

Next up is not a common treat, but a treat nonetheless! My bestie Jason came up for the day and we decided to get some Yogurtland frozen yogurt. I got cheesecake and dutch chocolate frozen yogurt with a dollop of whipped cream, chocolate chunks and cookie dough bits. This treat came in at a whopping 360 calories — whoops! Next time I know to keep it lighter on the toppings, as the yogurt is about 25 calories per ounce.

Splurge - 360 calories

Splurge – 360 calories

Dinner was super delicious and also very low calorie. I put four boneless skinless chicken breasts in the crock pot, let it cook on low for 7 hours, and then I shredded the chicken with a fork. I sauteed bell peppers and onions on a reaaaaally hot cast iron pan with some lime juice to get a nice sear, and then I added a few chunks of avocado and fresh tomato and voila! A delicious, low calorie dinner. The tortillas were 110 per two, 140 for the 4 ounces of chicken, 120 for the avocado and 50 for the bell peppers – a 420 calorie dinner.

420 calories per two.

420 calories per two.

This whole day of eating actually comes in at 1,170 calories, more than my goal, but doing a run today helped me burn 235 calories, making me about at what I should be eating. I haven’t figured out yet if I need to be super precise and only eat 1,100 calories exactly and not factor in exercise, but this amount of food felt “right” to leave me satisfied yet not overstuffed. I feel like this is a good representation of my average eating, but the frozen yogurt is definitely a treat. While it was delicious, it doesn’t fit with my whole goal of eating clean, which eliminates sugar and corn syrup and all that jazz.

So what do you think — if you had to eat this, how would you feel? Happy? Sad? Stuffed? Starved? Let me know and then tell me what you ate today!

Turning fluff into firm

I have always been a fan of touching soft things.  Whether it’s my golden retriever’s fluffy fur behind her ears or plush and luxurious throw blankets in the aisle at my local shopping store, I am just simply addicted to the feeling of softness upon my fingertips.

I’ve always been that way too.  As a child, my sister Alyssa and I would constantly be “gully gullying” (our family word for cuddling) on our blankets and huddled up against each other, appreciating our soft blonde hair and soft skin.  Occasionally though we would appreciate soft skin that we probably shouldn’t have.

My sister and I were notorious for feeling up our grandmother’s soft arms.  To us, we loved the way her skin would move so easily with our little hands and how it felt as we squished it between our fingers.  Little did we know that what we were doing was actually setting us up for a future of the same kind of arms.  Now I have the children I babysit for feel up my arms and squeeze the flesh between their little fingers and now that I’m an adult, I know why my arms are so soft to them.  THEY’RE SOFT BECAUSE THEY’RE FAT.

UGH.  I know both of us would like to apologize to our poor Grandmother for always playing with her wonderful arms, to us we never thought of them as fat, we just thought them as the arms of one our most beloved women in our life.  I hope she felt that way too though but if she felt the way that I feel when kids squeeze my arms, I know it hurts way more on the heart than it does on the arm.

Even when I lost the fifty pounds years ago, one part of my body that had no significant change was my arms.  My bingo wings.  The arms that made me “Princess Fat Arms”.  (yes, those are all words that have been used by others to describe my arms, thanks guys)

This time around though on my weight loss conquest I refuse to let my heavy arms keep me from flying any longer!  I’m registered to start tennis in a month for four hours a week for 8 whole weeks so I look forward to the work out my arms will get then.  Until then, my homegirl Melody and I are crafting together a weight-training plan.  Tonight while I was at the gym, I made a make-shift map of all the weight-training machines our gym has and coded them by letter and wrote down which major muscle groups they worked.  This way, it’ll be easy for Melody and myself to make a plan of which machines we want to work on for the day.

Tonight I worked on my legs and chest and was impressed that I could do thirty reps of 170 lbs on the “seated leg press” rather easily.  When it came time to do the “Rotary Incline Chest” machine”, I could barely pull out fifteen reps at 15 lbs.   It’s obvious where my strength lies.  I’m excited to do a fitness test with Melody to see where our bodies are at currently and it’ll be fantastic to see the progress we can make.  Basically what I would like to do is test out the maximum weight of each machine and see which weight level I can do without being too strenuous that it would cause extreme pain.  Once we know what we can handle, we’ll start a routine that targets specific parts of our bodies a few times a week and set goals to achieve.

I’ll let you guys know the results of that test soon!

After I busted out my thirty minutes of cardio and seven machines, I made my way home to enjoy a delicious frothy chocolate hemp protein shake from Trader Joe’s.  I bought this the other week and just tried it with milk and didn’t like how flaky it seemed.  Tonight I mixed it with a banana, some ice, and a little cinnamon and it was AMAZING.  It was JUST like a chocolate milk shake… except it lacked ice cream.  Boo.

About to enjoy my delicious protein shake after my muscle building work out!

About to enjoy my delicious protein shake after my muscle building work out!

But still, I was definitely enjoying it for a solid two minutes before I knocked it over on my desk, spilling all over my exercise planner.  Good thing I planned on redrawing my weight-training map anyway because now it looks like the paper that would line the bottom of a guinea pigs cage.  Oops.

How many of you incorporate weight training in your work-outs?  What are your favorite machines to do?  Which ones do you have trouble with?

I put a big star next to the “Rotary Incline Chest” machine because I felt pretty shameful that I could only do 15 pounds.  That’s going to be one of my big goal machines, for sure!

I hope everyone has a great weekend full of fun ways to burn calories!

I’m going to burn some calories by going on a BEER HIKE thanks to San Francisco Beer Week teaming with the Alaska Brewing Company and Sutro Stewards.  It’s a four mile hike through the city and then after, we drink beer.  I’ll probably only have one (there).  I’ll be good.  Haha!

Click here in case any of you Bay Area folks want to check it out!

PS: We’re hosting a DietBet! We’ll have more information for you next week – but it starts on Friday, February 15 and  it’s $15 to buy in to the pot. If you win 4% of your weight loss, you’ll get your $15 AND split the pot of winnings! We’re also donating 10% of the pot to No Kid Hungry. Join us now!

Lots of love,









Foodie Fun: Ojai Olive Farm

Ojai Olive Farm

This weekend, I cashed in a LivingSocial voucher for the Ojai Olive Farm, a quaint ranch nestled in the rolling hills of the Ojai Valley. The small operations room was surrounded by beautiful olive trees that were over 130 years old, with delicate leaves and huge, gnarled trunks. Cacti dot the landscape and huge boulders rest among hills that share space with avocado and tangerine trees.

Unripened olives

Did you know that two things can be done with olives? You can either cure them or make oil out of them. I’m glad I didn’t find out on my own, but our tour guide warned us that a fresh olive is not the most palatable treat. At the Ojai farm, the olives remain on the tree until fall, when they’re a deep, plummy black. They are hand picked and put into crates to be pressed the same day they are picked.

The owner, Ron Asquith, started the Ojai olive farm as a retirement project.

After the olives are washed, giant machines smash the fruit into a paste, and then the paste is whirled around thousands of times until the oil separates from the water and solid matter. The oil is filtered 15 times against thick, cottony sheets, and the fresh oil is immediately bottled or placed into gigantic drums. All of the machinery is stainless steel to protect the taste of the oil, and this machinery was specifically shipped from Italy to ensure authentic and premium olive oil processing.

After seeing the manufacturing process, we were herded into a heavenly room with rows and rows of gleaming olive oils and balsamic vinegars. I grabbed a napkin with some bread cubes and got to tasting. There were about 10 different varieties of olive oil, some flavored like lemon or raspberry, and some traditional styles which were very sharp and tangy. Some described them as “grassy”, but I thought that was harsh!

Don't buy olive oil like this that isn't marked "Extra Virgin".

Did you know when you buy olive oil, you should avoid oils that say “pure” or “light”? What that means is that the waste portion of the olives after they’ve been pressed was used to make the oil. For premium taste and flavor, you should always buy olive oil marked extra virgin. You’ll be able to tell in the taste – and one more way to check is to read the bottle and see where the olives come from. If the bottle says something like “made from olives in Tunisia, Greece, Africa, Spain and Italy”, run for the hills – because basically that means that you’re buying yucky used up olive juice. Your olive oil should come from only one place, and it should be extra virgin. (Also – use your olive oil within 18 months, and store in a dark, dry place away from heat sources.)

I love olive oil!

My LivingSocial voucher included one bottle of olive oil, one bottle of vinegar, and an olive tree! I settled on a garlic flavored olive oil and a delicious pomegranate balsamic vinegar. I thought the vinegar would be awesome on a salad, as it has a slightly fruity, sweet taste that pairs beautifully with the tongue-tingling tang of the vinegar.

I'm extending an olive branch. Har, har.

Here I am with my olive tree. I’m super excited to get it planted in the ground, and it already has one baby olive on it! When the olives are ripe I think I’ll take a stab at curing them, but luckily I’ll have plenty of time for that, as most olive trees produce the most fruit around 5 years old. Did you know in Crete, Greece and Jerusalem there are 3,000 year old olive trees?! Can you imagine?!

Get pickin'!

If you’re ever in the Ojai area, you should definitely visit the Ojai Olive Farm. I had a great time and learned a ton, and my belly left feeling super happy. I also picked up some handmade olive soaps – and you have a chance to win one if you come back on Wednesday when we’ll celebrate reaching 150 Facebook fans! So now Double Chinners, I gotta know – are you a fan of olives? If not for eating, how do you feel about olive oil? Let’s chat… ‘cuz olive olives. (and bad puns).

Trust and weight loss

Hey everybody! It’s confession time. I haven’t logged into MyFitnessPal all week. This would normally be a bad thing, and while I can’t say with 100% confidence that I don’t need it (because I do), I trusted myself this week. I find that weight loss, for me, is a constant battle between the angel and the devil on the shoulder. I’m at the weight I am because most of the time I listen to the devil – and he and his little pitchfork and I have a grand ole time being hedonistic with food! But this week, I tried something new – I trusted myself.

What I had for lunch - yummy!

Part of this comes from the fact that it’s been a crazy week! Work has been SO busy, school has officially exploded into the almost not do-able zone (I wonder if this thesis will be worth the gray hair), and Matt and I have been doing a lot of social things after work. Between exercise and homework and scholarship receptions and errands and class and cooking and working and freelancing and cat cuddling, I haven’t logged into MyFitnessPal, but what I have done is trust myself. I trusted myself to order a pork sandwich with baked beans instead of french fries, and I trusted myself to have a couple bites of a brownie at a work meeting today. I trusted myself to have water over diet coke (I’ve actually cut WAY down on soda – surprisingly, it hasn’t been as hard for me as I thought!), and I’ve trusted myself to be reasonable with my portion sizes, so if I’m eating something less than healthy, I know I can’t have all of it. I’m also trusting myself to squeeze in exercise where I can – like the 30 minute bike ride I took today after work.

However, I know my real challenge lies in this weekend. I’m flying up north to spend my birthday and mother’s day with my family, and that’s where the food comes out in full force. I seem to equate food with a good time, but I need to work on remembering that food is just a nice perk to an event, not the event itself. The real exciting thing is seeing my family – so I’ll try to focus on that instead of wondering when we’re going to eat. (For real, yo – that’s what happens when you grow up with dinner at 6 pm on the dot every night!)

So yeah. It’s good to trust yourself and see what happens. I weigh in with the nutritionist next Wednesday, so I will try my very very best to stay on track the next week and keep making good choices. In fact, while I trusted myself, tomorrow, it’s back to MyFitnessPal, just for a little extra help navigating the schmorgasboard this weekend.

Weekly Weigh In #7 – In which I want to bitchslap Weight Watchers in the face.

After a week of diligent tracking, a four mile hike, a dance class, and several miles walked on breaks at work, I…

lost a whopping .2 of a pound

I’m frustrated. Not gonna lie. Thinking about canceling Weight Watchers on the spot and drowning my sorrows in peeps, guacamole and Mike’s Hard Lemonade. But I’m not going to do that. I calmly met with my Weight Watchers leader after the meeting and we went over a few things.

The first thing is we agreed to reduce my daily points target by two points. This means eating less. The second thing is, I can’t use any of my “extra” or “flex” points. That sucks. Those are usually my weekend enjoyment points, where I’ll have a hard cider or a cupcake or popcorn.I’ve also been instructed to eat a maximum of three pieces of fruit a day.

I have mixed feelings about this all. First, I’m pissed that my second go around on the new Weight Watchers Points Plus system is turning out the same as the first. I’m paying for the plan because, ya know, even their copyrighted tagline is, “because it works.” Clearly it doesn’t work in a one size fits all way. I’m supposed to be able to follow the plan and have 49 extra points and all my daily points that the calculator decides for me… and I can’t. I’m supposed to be able to eat unlimited fruit. And I can’t. I’m not saying it doesn’t work at all, because it obviously does… for people like my friends KjPugs, WonderWallA Bit of This and All the Weigh. These people have rocked the plan, and lost tons of weight, and it was more than just the plan – it was their dedication, blood, sweat and tears. I’m not saying I’m following the plan perfectly, because I’m sure sometimes my measurements are off or I track something as less than it is – but I think I’m at about 90% genuine compliance.

Gratuitous Photo of Leo the Cat because I don't have any pictures that apply!

Am I just not compatible with Weight Watchers? I’m really fed up, but I’m going to try at least for a month with the no flex/extra points, less fruit and lower daily points target. If after a month I’m still honest to goodness trying and not seeing results, I gotta move on. I see my nutritionist early next week, and I can’t wait to dive into my tracking history with her and see what knowledge she can give me. I successfully lost 30 pounds in 2008 under her instruction, so I know she can steer me in the right direction.

I think the hardest thing about this is trying to figure out why, a couple times, I’ve managed to lose 2.8 pounds a week. The only thing I’ve discovered is that was a week I didn’t use flex points – so hopefully this will do the trick. Still… kind of crappy. What do you think I should do? Keep at it and see if these tweaks will do the trick? Abandon Weight Watchers and go back to sensible eating and exercise without a plan? Say screw it and accept my zaftig unhealthy weight? 🙂 Choices, Choices… I gotta lose the weight because there’s something coming up in the near future that will require a fit and healthy body- and NO, for the love of god, I am not pregnant.

I’ll share the exciting news in the next post 🙂 Have a marvelous Monday!


Weekly Weigh In #4

Remember last week how I was all amped up about losing another coupla pounds to make it to five pounds lost? Yeah… me neither. My Seattle weekend was awesome, and I didn’t make the healthiest choices, but I hoped with all the walking I did and a little bit of luck, my weigh in wouldn’t be TOO catastrophic. Well, it was. This week I

Gained 2.6 pounds

I know! Yikes! It burns your eyes, doesn’t it? I was surprised. I wasn’t majorly surprised, bu I didn’t think it would be over two pounds. Whoops. Let’s get real though. I ate a cupcake.

Delicious vanilla cupcake from Cupcake Royale

I ate three small fried donuts. I ate a large serving of garlic naan, steaming hot out of the oven and sopped in my paneer masala. I had valentine’s dinner with my sweetie and ordered extra spicy fried chicken with cajun mac and cheese. I DID manage to pass on movie theatre popcorn, and I stuck with skim milk in my chai. But not once did my finger tap open the little Weight Watchers mobile app, and not a thing I tracked. As my weight watchers leader says, “Only track on the days you want to lose weight.”. So I messed up. I’m disappointed, and I hate having to come here and admit defeat, but that’s the deal with this blog. It’s never going to be easy and it’s always going to be hard, but in the end, it will be worth it. The challenges are what will make the end result so rewarding.

So what did I do about it? I started tracking again. I also came down with a nasty head cold, so for once in my life, I have the appetite of a squirrel, which is both alarming and refreshing. I’ve been thirstily lapping up most of my points with fresh orange juice and ginger, juiced from the trees in our backyard. I’ve been slurping up homemade chicken noodle soup (my hubby rocks) and as a treat, sugar-free chai lattes to power me through the humongous lit review I’ve been working on. I’m eager to get back to working out, but even a short stroll through Macy’s today left me dizzy and hot (too much too soon… stupid cold), so I need to take it easy. (But I did score a gorgeous plum sweater dress from INC… originally $80 marked down to $19! Woohoo!)

So this wasn’t a losing week, but as disappointments often lead to, it was a learning week. Just gotta keep on trackin’… keep on trackin’!