Some people clean the junk out of their attic. I'm cleaning the junk out of my trunk.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Weekly Construction Update

Week Ending Monday, June 27

My weigh-in this week did not go as well as I had hoped.  I gained 1.2 pounds, leading me to an overall loss of 9.4 pounds.  Though I was a bit disappointed by this, I do think I may have weighed in a little higher than I should have.  First, when I weighed myself at home in the morning, I had lost 0.6 pounds.  Second, I had a later lunch than usual before my 7pm weigh-in.  Third, my outfit was heavier than what I typically wear to a weigh-in.

I know that sounds like a big bunch of excuses, and while I do think my weigh-in was slightly high, there was good reason for me to not have lost weight this week.  I went home to Boston for the weekend, where I didn't have much control over my food, not to mention the BBQ we had for my sister's birthday.  I think I did a good job of indulging slightly without going totally crazy, but it was a hard weekend for me to stay within my points.

This week I have been making more of an effort to earn activity points, as I knew that going into the 4th of July, there would be plenty of drinking and eating.  I've done some bike riding, gardening, and yoga.  Today I went on a lovely ride down the West Side Highway, only to discover when I got home that I had somehow broken my bike seat.  This means I will be heading over to ModSquad Cycles for my 3rd bike fix in the last month!  They are making a lot of money of my new found biking habit.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised given my bike was purchased in 1994.

Busted Bike Seat! And I was just at the bike shop on Saturday!

Despite the holiday I am expecting to see some sort of loss at my weigh-in tomorrow, which will put me one step closer to my reward of a new bike, which it seems I desperately need.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monthly(!) Construction Update

I must apologize to my many readers (all one of you) for not writing for so long.  I got caught up with studying for the finance certification test I took the first week in June and then I was caught up in celebrating my new-found post-test freedom.  You may have been worried that the radio silence was indicative of me tumbling off the wagon into a box of cookies, but fear not - though I did gain a bit following the post-test celebrations, I have since taken off that weight and I am down 10.6 pounds overall.

There are a few things that helped me be successful over the past month despite the test madness:
  • When I gained the 2 pounds after the test, I did not freak out.  This was a huge accomplishment because typically I would melt down and decide that it was entirely impossible for me to lose weight and give up.  Instead, this time I just about what I had been doing differently from what I was doing when I was losing steadily, and it was pretty easy: I was eating a lot of take-out instead of cooking.  So, I took the simple step of restarting my pursuit of the title of Weight Watchers Casserole Queen by cooking a casserole once a week on the weekends.  That way I always have something healthy at home to eat.
  • I also got back into the swing of working out, including doing lots of fun summer activities.  I've attended a several outdoor yoga events with my friends and I've also been riding my bike a good bit, in addition to my regular yoga and running.  Here's a photo of yoga in Times Square on the Summer Solstice:
At times, we were heckled, but what would New York outdoor yoga be without some heckling?

When I refocused on my weight loss this winter/spring, I set a goal for myself to lose 15 pounds by the time of my first wedding dress fitting.  My first fitting should be in about 4 weeks, so over the next 4 weeks I need to lose on average 1.1 pounds a week to reach my goal.  Since I began going to meetings I've lost about 0.6 pounds a week on average so this would require me to up my pace of loss slightly.  That worries me a little bit but I am cautiously optimistic that I will make it as I'm now able to spend more time working out/cooking than I could over the past few months.  I'm also preparing myself for the possibility that I might come close to my goal but not reach it exactly.  If I lose 13 or 14 pounds, I will still be very happy with that.

Finally, I have decided that once I do lose 15 pounds, I am going to buy myself a new bike!  My current bike is the 15-speed mountain bike I got when I turned 12 years old.  It gets the job done but it's not that fun.  I'd love to have a city bike that is a little more relaxed to ride and looks stylish.  These are my current loves:

So here's hoping that tomorrow's weigh-in goes well bringing me one step closer to my near-term weight goal and my new wheels!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Weekly Construction Update

Week Ending Monday, May 2
Despite struggling to stay within my points over the past few weeks (except for this past week) at my weight-in I was down 0.8 pounds, a decrease of 9.2 pounds overall, which puts me just over my 5% weight loss goal!  I think what helped me this week was that I only had one big night out, which helped keeping me within my points.  Also, I got sick towards the end of the week, so that put a damper on any extra eating which helped, though it also caused me to cut back my activity. One note: I weighed in earlier than usual on Tuesday (around lunch time rather than dinner time) so my weigh in next week might be higher in comparison.

Moments of awesomeness this week:

  • I worked out one day and earned 6 activity points.  While that's pretty low (even for being sick) I'm still proud of that since before I got sick I was super busy at work, so it's good I managed to get any APs in at all last week.
  • Even though I was sick, I did not use that as an excuse to pig out on unhealthy foods.  While it's true that I wasn't cooking or watching my food as closely as usual, I did not give myself a to eat whatever I want to "feel better", as I often do.  I had extra reason to cave this time too because I still had to drag myself to work for the early shift (5am!) for much of the week.  Instead of giving myself a food break, I gave myself a study break and vegged out on the couch rather than trying to study when I felt so bad.  It wasn't exactly the best thing for  my test preparation, but at least I didn't derail my weight loss.
  • I wore a skirt to work that previously was one of my "tight" skirts, that now fits just fine and might even be considered a bit on the loose side for a pencil skirt.  Yet another reason to keep up my new shop-more-frequently habit.
That's it for the week.  I'm still working on getting over my illness (I'm a sniveling coughing disgusting mess), but I'm trying to not to get distracted from my weight loss as I've had a string of really good weeks recently.  Here's hoping next week is another good week.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Holy Jean Nidetch: Weight Watchers App Released for Android!

Before getting my Android a few months ago, I actively searched the Weight Watchers forums for information on an app for droid phones similar to the one that exists for the iPhone that everyone raves about.  I never really considered getting an iPhone - my fiance has one and thanks to his iPhone's stellar reception, he has to make all his phonecalls in the back yard.  Now, I don't know about you, but I personally require my phone to have phone call-making functionality.  Crazy, I know.

Anyway, I had pretty much decided to get a droid (I was one of the last living Palm users in the world at the time) but I wanted to make sure there would be some Weight Watchers functionality on the phone.  The mobile site on Android was pretty good and according to the forums, Weight Watchers had promised to release an app for droids in the spring.

Lo and behold, while fiddling with the Android market this weekend I found the new Weight Watchers app!  This is different from the calculator app released previously that just let you calculate the points plus values of food and activity.  This is a full fledged app.  It should be noted that the app is in beta so it is a bit buggy (it crashes on me every so often and has some ease-of-use issues I'll discuss below) but for the most part I'm loving it.

The app has a ton of features outside of the regular Weight Watchers mobile webiste, most of which you can see in the photos below:

Some of my favorite features include:

The PointsPlus Tracker (of course).  You can look at stuff you entered in over recent days to help you add in new items, and in general its faster than the weight watchers mobile site.  My one complaint is that when you search for food, it shows everything in one list instead of breaking out resteraunt food and regular food.  Since I very rarely eat at chain resteraunts, I usually prefer to look at the regular food list instead of having to scroll through a billion listings for Chili's.  Here's a peak at the PointsPlus tracker screen:

Another key feature the tracker has for us city folk is the option to enter food items into the tracker when you do not have reception (i.e. on the subway).  Those items then end up in the "Unsaved items" menu.  Once you get back within reception range, you can choose to add those items to the points tracker fairly easily.

Also helpful is the meeting finder.  You can type in a zip code or have your phone's GPS find your location and see all the meetings near you and their times.  Again, very helpful for city folk like me when  I can't go to my regular meeting but want to find something near where I happen to be that afternoon:

I am also a big fan of being able to read Weight Watchers articles on my phone while commuting and having the ability to whip out the portion estimator at any time.  I'm always trying to remember how much an ounce of cheese is, and now I'll only need to look at my phone to check.

My main gripe is that the app does not rotate horizontally, and since I have a slide out keyboard on my phone, whenever I'm typing something I have to look at the phone sideways:

I'm living with it for now but I hope they sort that out in the future.  There are a few other little bugs (crashing, having to click twice in a cell to type there, etc) but I'm sure they'll work those out over the coming months.  So, if you're an Android user, check out the new app!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Weekly Construction Update

Week Ending Monday April 25
Despite having a high-stress, high-work, high-drinking week I somehow managed to lose 2 pounds at my weigh-in, leading to an overall loss of 8.4 pounds since I started going to meetings and 9.8 pounds overall. Part of the weight loss can probably be attributed to my every-other-week weight loss pattern, so I am a bit afraid that last week's bad behavior will show up on the scale this week, but I'm going to do my best to stay within my points and hopefully maintain at my weigh in this week.

Moments of awesomeness this week:
  • I went shopping this week and bought a lot of really good-looking clothes, in smaller sizes than I would have a few months ago.  I am one of those rare females who actually needs to go shopping more often.  I never go shopping and when I finally do, I end up buying everything that looks halfway decent because I have no clothes.  Then when I get home I end up hating half of what I bought, and the cycle continues.  Plus, I tend to have a really hard time finding clothes that fit, partially because of my weight, partially because of my body type (big boobs & big butt).  However, I have resolved to change this, and I have been inspired by Ms. Bitchcakes.  She always tries to look her best because, as she says, "When you look good, you feel good."  Also, I think taking pride in my appearance and celebrating my new trimmer look with some new clothes will help motivate me to stay on track.  So this week I worked on practicing Sheryl's shopping techniques by shopping a little bit all the time so that I buy clothes I love instead of just buying anything when I'm in desperate need for something in particular.  Last week I hit Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, and Ann Taylor Loft and I am now the proud owner of 3 new skirts, 2 new camisoles, 2 new sweaters, 1 new button down short-sleeve black shirt, and a wrap dress!  There was one other skirt (this is it) that looked fabulous but it was just a little too small so I'm planning to go back in a few weeks when I am down a few more pounds and try it again.
  • I worked out 3 days and earned 21 activity points.  I went running twice and played Dance Dance Revolution one day.  I actually had such a good time playing DDR (even though I look slightly spastic as I jump around) that I thought it might be fun to get a few more Wii exercise games.  I ordered Punch Out (which is the Wii version of the classic Nintendo game) and EA Sports Active 2.  I'll review these (and my other Wii exercise games) at some point.
  • I also signed up for a race the weekend after I take my test.  (In case you don't remember, I'm taking a finance test the first weekend in June which is currently sucking all of my free time and my will to live.)  It's the New York Road Runners New York Mini 10K, which is a women-only race.  It will be my first NYRR race in over 2 years, so I'm very excited.  So far I seem to be injury free, so I am hoping by maintaining my current exercise regime of yoga and shorter running distances (6 miles or less) my IT band injury will stay at bay.
Here's hoping this week will be as good as last week.

    Monday, April 25, 2011

    Kitchen Construction: Baked Pasta with Butternut Squash and Ricotta

    In my efforts to cook every casserole on Weight Watchers website on my road to becoming the Casserole Queen, a few weeks ago I made Weight Watcher's Baked Pasta with Butternut Squash and Ricotta, and it was a smash.  I've done a lot of cooking from the Weight Watchers recipes over the past few months and while most have been very tasty, not only did I find this recipe delicious, my fiance loved it even though it was made with wheat pasta, which he calls "dirt pasta" and generally avoids.  The only downside to this recipe is that it took me forever to make this: it took me around 2 hours (maybe more?) to make this while the recipe says that preparation time is 25 minutes (haha!) and baking time is 60 minutes (ha!).  However, it doesn't bother me too much when my casseroles take a long time as I only cook one a week on the weekends.

    To start the recipe calls for you to roast pre-cubed butternut squash on a baking sheet.  Fresh Direct (my online grocery) did not have pre-cubed butternut squash, so I ended up just roasting it whole and scooping the squash out of its skin.

    Doing it this way made it a bit more labor intensive as I had to scoop the squash out and avoid the seeds, but I doubt it added too much time (to what was already a very time intensive dish!).  Here's my gratuitous cooking-blogger-displays-all-her-ingredients photo:

    If I was an organized cooking blogger, this would actually be a photo of all my ingredients, but as I'm a disorganized cook (see previous posts) this is missing the squash, the pasta, and the walnuts.

    After I smushed up all the squash and made the squash-milk sauce, I combined that with the pasta and put it in the casserole dish to bake.  After baking for 15-20 minutes (ha! try 25) I took it out and here's what it looked like:

    Tasty!  As is usual, I paired my serving with a side salad.  My fiance paired his serving with a side of another serving.

    It was really tasty and extremely filling for 7 points.  Some of the recipe reviewers on Weight Watchers said that the thyme was overpowering, but I found it to be the extra addition that made this more than a boring pasta dish.  

    Here are my ratings:

    Ease of Preparation: B-
    Cook Time: B
    Taste: A+
    Fiance Rating: A

    Despite the time it took to put it together, this recipe was a resounding success and I highly recommend it. 

    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    Weekly Construction Update

    Week Ending Monday April 18

    I was doing quite well last week until a dinner Monday night pushed me over my points for the week by 16 points.  However, I still managed to lose 0.2 pounds.  

    I planned my week very well for my big night out on Saturday night for my friend's birthday.  I even managed not to go too crazy Saturday night by balancing all the wine I drank with good food choices including oysters and grilled fish.  However, Monday night was my downfall for a few reasons.  First, I totally forgot that I was going out to dinner Monday night and hadn't really put any points aside for it.  Second, once I got to dinner I let myself get talked into eating family style and sharing a bunch of unhealthy dishes instead of ordering the healthy dish I had previously picked out for myself when I checked out the menu online.

    My Weight Watchers meeting leader always says that when we think everyone is judging us by what we choose to eat, we're just creating drama that's not really there.  In this situation, I felt like I would have been letting everyone down by not joining them in sharing food.  And maybe they would have been a little disappointed if I had said no, but at the end of the day I ended up letting myself down and I doubt they really cared that much.  I have a hard time making myself a priority, but I need to remember that I'm much nicer to be around when I feel good about myself.  Taking care of yourself was a Weight Watchers meeting discussion topic a few weeks ago, so I should probably revisit the handout they gave that week.

    Regardless, I'm still happy to have lost last week, and since I tend to lose in an every-other-week pattern, I wasn't expecting much anyway.  Other things that went well last week:

    • I worked out 4 days last week, earning 19 activity points.  I wish I had earned a few more APs but a few days when I planned to go running it was raining so I ended up dusting off my Wii exercise games.  I played Wii Fit and Dance Dance Revolution.  They're fun to do, especially when I'm really not feeling like working out, as it's a little easier to motivate to play a game. But they do tend to be a little low on the activity point spectrum.
    • I kept up my habit of cooking one large dish a week, this week cooking Weight Watchers' Polenta and Eggplant Stacks, which I will write another post about later.
    Unfortunately, this week is not going as well as the last few weeks.  Work has been super intense lately and I've been simultaneously too tired to work out but stressed enough that I've been enjoying quite a few beers.  I'm trying to not be too hard on myself as I am exhausted.  However, I have to get my game face back on next week.

    My goals for the coming week are to:
    • Get back to going to yoga most days.
    • Refocus on my eating and make sure I only indulge if it's a night out.