Having a lovely time in Illinois!

by Christine on December 27th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

I’m having a great time visiting my parents in Illinois! I’m still here, and man, it’s been nothing but an eating festival. We’ve had bratwurst, ham, more ham, Chicago-style beef, snickers, cookies, M&Ms, etc. We special order our Chicago beef from Serrelli Street deli in Chicago (Allan, I’m talking to you now….order this sometime! You’d make a fortune selling this in NYC.) and my mom doctors it up with garlic pepper and garlic. Oh my god, it’s orgasmic! My mother also makes the world’s most amazing salad on the planet, and the one day she made it I had three helpings!  I’ve been trying hard not to eat too much food  (portion sizes) as a way of counter-balancing the quality of food being offered. Oof.

My Christmas tradition, since I was born, is that on Christmas day we have an open house, and everyone stops by. It’s always a house full of people! Some years we’ve had 20 people, and some years we’ve had 200 people! This year we had few groups of people show up, but it seems like everyone has kids, so if you count all the children flying around the house, it was a housefull! And noisy, too! To me, Christmas is all about the people — NOT about presents or food.  I always look forward to coming home and seeing people I haven’t seen for a year or more. I was particularly delighted to meet my “little brother’s” (family friend who is really like family to me) new fiancee, Julia. She’s absolutely fantastic! I love her to pieces immediately, and I’m positive that’s a brilliant match. I’m SO happy for them! I seriously got warm and fuzzies when I met her.

We leave to go back to New York tomorrow evening, and I hear that we have a foot of new snow waiting for us in our driveway. That means we’ll have to lug our luggage across a long driveway covered in snow! I sure hope our snow blower works. Hubby never tested it out to see if it works, so cross your fingers for us!

Before we left, Hubby and I exchanged presents with each other. I got hubby a Nook E-reader for Christmas which he has yet to use (hmmm) and he got me a fancy pen and a snuggie. We also got each other a ton of board games that I am sure we will put to good use in the coming months!

Here are some pictures of my Christmas get-together with my family! And yes, that’s my sexy-assed hubby wearing an ugly Christmas sweater at the end. Pure sexiness there! HA!

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Getting ready for Christmas!

by Christine on December 21st, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

First of all, I want to say thank you for everyone that has left such wonderful comments on my last two posts as well as on my facebook page.  Hearing “congratulations” is really what I wanted to hear, and it filled my heart with happiness. I actually saved every single one of the comments in a special folder in my email, so if I’m ever feeling down again, I can re-read the comments and get lifted up. Thank you very much!

The last few days have been uneventful but good. On Sunday my in-laws came over. We have an hand-made advent calendar that my husband’s grandmother made a lonnng time ago. We had his parents come over to hang the next ornament on the advent calendar. I made a nice dinner and decorated the table. Dinner was a pork loin cooked in a red wine sauce, along with steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes, crescent rolls, and chocolate cake for desert. I had bought my in-laws a Peppermint Pig to break (read the story here; breaking a peppermint pig brings you good luck in the coming year!)  and we had a little bit of that as well. Even my cat Arya dressed up for the occasion!

Despite the fact that I’m trying hard not to count my calories and grapple with “maintenance,” I have lost even more weight! I weighed in at 123 yesterday!

Today and tomorrow are laundry and packing days. We are preparing to go to Illinois to visit my family for Christmas. My cat seems to understand that the suitcase means that we are going away, and she has been glaring at me all day.

Yesterday’s intake:

Breakfast: (slept late) Coffee with cream (60 calories)
Snack: Almonds (100 calories)
Lunch: Some salty onion soup (watered down pork loin marinade, really): (50??)
Dinner: Not-quite half a salad from the Outback Steakhouse with honey mustard (350), 1 margarita (150)
Snack: 1 small Turtle chocolate (70)
Total Calories:  780 calories, pretty much right on target

I will update again soon!

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Just another day!

by Christine on November 10th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Just another day….

  • Weight was 127.0, but that was after 2 cups of coffee, it may very well be lower than that! I think I am going to hide the scale and have official weigh-ins until I reach my goal of 125. I want it to be a momentous occasion that it deserves to be! Official weigh-ins from here on out! I’m thinking of hiding the scale and pulling it out on 12-12-10, because it’s a nice even date.  Man, that would be awesome to see my final goal weight showing on the scale!!!
  • Today’s food has included 3 cups of coffee, a cup of yogurt, some leftover Reuben sandwich (minus the bread of course!), and a handful of almonds. Tonight I’ll have leftover cornish hen and some kind of vegetable. A fairly typical eating day for me.
  • Unemployment FINALLY got back to me after I’ve left my claims rep four messages. Apparently I was approved to receive unemployment weeks ago, but some asswipe put a hold on my account for no reason, which is why I haven’t been receiving any money for weeks and weeks. I’m told that because of how screwed up the system is that I need to file an all-new claim, but I am to tell the new claims rep to backdate my claim to October 18th so I can receive back pay.  So I go through the horrible “Press 1 for this, Press 2 for that” phone system and file a new claim, but there’s no option to talk to an agent! Fuckers! So I’ve been on hold for an hour waiting to talk to someone to try to clear this all up once and for all.  Now this claims rep says I have to go through a mandatory 1-week waiting period even though I’m due a month’s worth of back pay, but whatever, so long as this whole dirty mess is sorted out!
  • I got a call from the jobplace that they want me to come in for a second interview! Because the job description entails putting together Powerpoint presentations for senior management, I’m to put together a 10 minute formal powerpoint presentation about myself and why I am the best candidate for the position. The presentation needs to include one “technical data slide” (I think this means a chart or graph) as well as one animated slide. This will be fun to throw together. Only 10 minutes??? psssh piece of cake!! I’m feeling excited about it!
  • Today I emptied my savings account to pay for my COBRA health insurance. Cross your fingers that nothing disastrous happens, like with one of our cars or the hot water heater or anything, because I officially have no money to pay for it! LOL! Living on the edge monetarily is not something I’m used to, nor is it something I am comfortable with. In the last two weeks hubby and I have found a way to cut out about $500 or more worth of bills to our monthly budget, so I’m really hoping that will help us out. I miss having house cleaning though. A lot.
  • Hubby has the day off from work tomorrow, and we’re planning a drive to Vermont to a small town I’ve never been to. We’re going to check out some wild bird sanctuary, go to a Vermont Cheddar factory, and who knows what else. I’m looking forward to the drive-time!
  • I’m going to Boston this weekend for a game (Dominion) tournament. I do well playing Dominion against our friends, even hubby’s uber-geek friends, but I’ve never played in any kind of tournament before. It should be fun!
  • My parents were incredibly kind to pay for hubby & my plane tickets to visit them in Illinois for Christmas. Today I bought the tickets, and I’m really looking forward to seeing my parents!  It was really nice of my parents to pay for our airfare, and I hope that I can pay them back as soon as I get a little money rolling in again….perhaps if this job (interview #2) pans out.

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Holiday planning!! Start Now!

by Christine on October 19th, 2010

filed under Diet, Food, Nutrition, General Information

It’s not too early to start planning ahead for the holidays. Halloween is only a week away, and before you know it Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year will be on us. Here are some helpful tips for getting through the holidays:

General Tips

  • Put gym time on your schedule NOW. As your schedule starts filling up, work around the gym time you’ve already set out for yourself. Be realistic; five days a week of gym time might be nice, but it’s probably not very realistic. Try to put at least two days of gym time on your calendar, and make it a priority.
  • It’s more important than ever to track your food during the holidays. It’s so easy to steal a candy here, a cookie there, a glass of wine while cooking…and them promptly forget that you ever consumed those calories. Track your food, writing everything down several times a day if you need to, in order to remember everything you ate. Don’t forget that there are tons of calories in liquids; that eggnog is going to destroy your diet!
  • Look up the calories before you eat that food. That way you can decide just how much of that dish you want to indulge in.  Indulge only in the foods that you really love.
  • Limit your alcohol. If you’re going to drink, decide ahead of time how many calories you have to spend on alcohol and decide how many glasses of wine you will allow yourself to have. Remember that “clear” alcohols (vodka, gin) have fewer calories than “dark” alcohols (brandy, sherry, whiskey).
  • Add 10 minutes of cardio to your daily routine, if possible. This will help counteract some of the damage done during holiday eating.
  • Keep an emergency snack on hand, such as a baggie of carrots or (my personal favorite) a 100-calorie pack of almonds.
  • Drink lots of water!  Chug a big glass of water before you sit down to a big meal.
  • Buy a holiday outfit that you are dying to fit into. Hang it prominently in your bedroom, so every morning you wake up you will be reminded of your weight-loss goal.
  • Cut back on the little things that pad your calories today, such as creamers in your coffee, soda, donuts, etc. If you cut these items out now, they’ll leave a little extra wiggle room in your diet in the next few months. You can add these things back in January, if you still want them then.
  • Chew gum when you get a craving for unhealthy food.

Halloween

  • Figure out how much candy you want to allow yourself to eat.  Assume that each of those halloween-sized chocolate candies are about 70 calories. Put pre-portioned candies into a ziplock bag and in a safe spot in the house. Label the ziplock bag for “Monday,” “Tuesday,” “Wednesday,” etc. to remind yourself that you only get one or two per day! When your kids come home with bags of candy in hand, don’t reach for THEIR candy; after all, you have your own candy set aside for yourself.
  • This same gameplan can be used in the workplace. If you bring pre-portioned snacks into work and keep it at your desk, you will be better able to say no to snacks left out in the cafeteria.
  • Buy candy that you DISLIKE as a treat to pass out to the kids. That way, if you have leftovers, you’ll be less likely to eat the rest of the bag of candy.
  • Give the candy away. Give all your leftover candy away. Also, if your kids come home with a giant bag of Halloween candy–it’s not healthy for them to eat that whole bag. Have them pick out a limited number of their favorite candies, then give the rest away to a food bank or shelter, etc.

Thanksgiving

  • At your big family dinner, wear clothing that are much too tight (especially tight “under-garments,” women!). Corseting yourself will help to keep you from eating too much on the big day.
  • Feel free to enjoy the portions of your meal that are healthy, such as a large salad and white turkey meat, green beans, corn, and other vegetables.  Take extra large portions of those, but bypass the stuffing, baked yams, potato salad, rolls, pies, cookies, and other deserts. If you are cooking, replace those typical “unhealthy” foods with healthy alternatives, such as replacing potato salad with a regular tossed green salad!
  • If you are a guest at someone else’s table for Thanksgiving, consider eating a small healthy meal before you arrive for dinner. A small meal filled with veggies will keep you from feeling ravenous at the dinner table.
  • No second servings.
  • Bring a dish to share! Make something healthy, that’s “safe” for you to eat. I’m sure the cook will appreciate you contributing to her party!
  • Practice saying “no” to people who offer you food. These are “food pushers.”  Practice saying “no” with your spouse ahead of time. It sounds silly, but practicing a few sample scenarios out loud with someone will help you when the real-life situations occur.
  • Pre-plan a healthy snack for when you’re watching the annual football game. If you want Thanksgiving Dinner leftovers, decide ahead of time how much of each type of food you want to consume during this football snacking time.
  • If you are cooking dinner, make sure you buy disposable plastic tubs so you can give leftover food away.

Christmas

  • Focus on family. Keep yourself busy with mingling with your family and playing with your kids. After all, isn’t that what the holidays are all about–the people, not the food?
  • Recycle food gifts that you receive from other people.
  • Don’t be afraid of throwing food out, including Christmas cookie gifts from others. (They’ll never know.)
  • Pick out (or decorate) a special box or tin for some of your favorite Christmas cookies. After you calculate how many calories are in your favorite cookies, place a few of your most favorite in your special box. Put the box in a special place (on top of the fridge, perhaps). This is your allotment for the entire Christmas season. When the cookies are gone, you can’t go back for more. These are YOUR cookies; do not share them with anyone else.
  • Create holiday traditions that don’t involve eating. For instance, last year I made a new tradition of making paper snowflakes and decorating them with glitter. It took all evening–time I normally would have spent baking and eating!
  • At your holiday office party, offer to help out organizing. The more time you are on your feet greeting people and setting up the venue, the less time you will be munching on the food and drinking the alcohol.
  • Enjoy family time by getting out and doing something active as a family. The holidays are a great time to enjoy ice skating, snow shoeing, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, sledding/tobogganing, building a snowman, having a snowball fight, etc.

New Year

  • Pre-plan alcohol limits before you leave for the party! Figure out how much you want to drink, how many calories you can afford in your diet. Then plan your food and eating around your alcohol limits.  This will help you keep your calories in check.
  • Ask for low-calorie mixers, such as rum + diet coke, or vodka + diet sprite, vodka + crystal lite.
  • Sit far away from the food, far away from the kitchen. If you’re standing in front of the food, you’re going to end up grazing on food, so just walk away from it and get the party going in a room that doesn’t have food in it.
  • Dance your ass off. It burns loads of calories, so shake your thang!
  • Wear a white shirt, that you don’t want to spill food on.  If you’re worried about spillage, you’ll be less likely to eat food that will spill and spoil.
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