Dining out

by Christine on August 17th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition

Yesterday I had plans to go out to dinner with friends. I wanted to take Jack out to dinner (and his lovely girlfriend, Jen) to say thank you for forwarding my resume to the publishing place. He works there and was able to send my resume to just the right person, plus put in a good word. When someone does you a favor, it’s polite to say “thank you.”  I told Jack to pick out a restaurant that they’d like to go to.

Unfortunately I had to play socialite without my husband at my side. He had work on the other side of the state. To chaperone us, I invited some mutual friends along.  Although I think I have learned how to play the part of gracious host very well over the years, it is not something that comes naturally to me. I’m an introvert by nature, with an ability to mask it and make others feel at home. I did well in that capacity yesterday, although at times I got nervous and said the most ridiculous things. Sometimes I wonder whether my brain is truly attached to this body….

Knowing I was up against restaurant food, I did some pre-planning. We were going to Wheatfields, a Saratoga Springs landmark restaurant. Fortunately they have their menu online for perusal.  This is where things got tricky for me, especially now that I have the gastric band to contend with.

What sounded really good? The orange roughy. But at $28, it was an expensive choice, and I knew that I would only eat a quarter of it. Fish doesn’t re-heat well, and the next few days are so busy that I’ll not likely have the opportunity to eat the leftovers. So, it’s mostly a waste of money.

I just can’t do pizza. Period. I can’t do lasagna. Or gnocci. I can’t do most pastas at all, actually. The appetizer with olives and cheese sounded do-able and at $9 was a reasonable price, but I had several cheese items the day before, and I was conscious that getting a cheese platter as a meal would definitely be overdoing it.  I could do the chicken or pork chop, but to be honest that didn’t even sound good to me.

Weighing the options, I finally settled on the three-cheese ravioli for $12, knowing that I was taking a risk with the pasta. I had one ravioli, and then felt the “bottled-up” feeling kick in. I had to slow down. One ravioli, and I look and everyone is finishing up their dishes. Oh no, hurry up and digest, stupid body! I took another ravioli and opened it up to eat the mushy riccotta cheese, discarding the pasta outside.

Two raviolis in 90 minutes. It might be a record. It’s been several months, maybe a year, since I had a pasta dish. Now I remember why.

Needless to say I have a lot of leftovers.

At $120 (for my, Jack, and Jen’s meals), I was partially glad that my hubby hadn’t been able to join us. It was well worth the money for the career help.

(In other hubby news, he came in 8th at Star Wars CCG Worlds!!)

I found something really strange after the meal. When I ate that ravioli, I was STUFFED. 30 minutes later I was STARVING.  I finally acquiesced and had another ravioli when I got home, which left me feeling STUFFED again. 30 minutes later I was STARVING.  I finally realized that it was the empty carb from the pasta that was making me so hungry. I hadn’t experienced this ravenous hunger like that in a long time, probably because I hadn’t had pasta in so long. So beware of your pastas! It’ll fill you up temporarily and then leave you starving for more food soon after!

I do keep track of how much I eat every day. I can finally just do this in my head, but I do it every day nonetheless. I don’t often post my food intake on here, but I will, just for some variety. Final tally for the day:

8 a.m.: 1 cup cheerios (100) plus skim milk (30)
10 am: almonds (100), Red Bull (110)
Noon: Canned veggie soup (90), water
2 pm:  Tunafish (70) with brown mustard, water
7 p.m.: 1 glass chianti (130) and 1.5 raviolis (80???)
9 p.m.: Another leftover ravioli (50??), 1 small piece of chocolate (60)

Total calories: 820, right on target.

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Saturday at the race track!

by Christine on August 14th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

I got up this morning and went immediately to the gym. 45 minutes, an easy workout today, 300 calories burned. I decide to use the tanning booth there too, hoping that UV rays will help pick up my mood.

I went home, showered, and headed up to the Saratoga Springs Race Track! Oh, if you have never had the opportunity to visit Saratoga Springs in the summertime, you’re missing out! It really is charming and enchanting. The race track is, of course, one of the biggest draws to the area. It only costs $3 to get in, and you can bring all the food and drink you want in. Kids can come too, and it’s really a family affair, with picnics, laughter, live music, women walking around in victorian get-ups, lots of horses, lots of rich women in big floppy hats. It’s a delight! I went for about 3 hours, bet on 5 races, lost miserably, and had a wonderful time!

Oh, on the way up there, I stopped at McDonalds. I had a craving for a hamburger. I got the bacon and cheese wrap. YUCK! I had two bites and threw it all away.

At the racetrack, there are so many food stands waiting to sell their delicious fares! Many downtown Saratoga restaurants have booths set up on the racetrack grounds. For instance, Hattie’s is famous for their fried chicken!  There are funnel cakes and ice cream and hamburgers and hot dogs and pizza and sausage and peppers and….

Well, I didn’t eat anything. I treated myself to a small Diet Coke, though, and considered the restraint a major victory.

By 5 p.m. I was starving! I went to the “Racino” (it’s a slot machine casino built on the grounds of the harness track….think Ben Hur style chariot races). I had one third of a cup of chili. Once again, not bad. Not bad at all, Christine!

I came home and took some pictures of flowers in my garden.

All in all, a very relaxing Saturday! I shall spend the remainder of the day reading my book, listening to jazz, and attempting for the fourth time to find this dead chipmunk in my living room whose decomposing body is stinking up my house….

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Wedding #1: Beautiful Bride!

by Christine on August 1st, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

The wedding on Friday was absolutely beautiful and amazing! The weather was drop-dead gorgeous: about 72 degrees and sunny with big, puffy clouds. They got married at a country club on a golf course.  You could see the Green Mountains in Vermont from the balcony!  The bride looked absolutely phenomenal.  She’s thin and fit and would look good in a paper tent, but this dress was no paper tent! It was a little bit lacy, a little beading work. Stunning, really!  They had a sand ceremony: the bride, groom, and the groom’s two children all had a glass with different colored sand in it. They poured the sand one at a time into a heart-shaped centerpiece. It was a lovely, symbolic ritual at the wedding, very meaningful! It is so nice to see the bride and groom get married. They are such nice people and are so compatible. I wish them many zillions of years of happiness together!

Afterwards was a cocktail hour, with lots of fried food as I predicted!  As planned, I bypassed all of the food and instead had a few drinks.  Then we sat down to dinner. We danced all throughout dinner, and I only picked at my salmon. I probably only ate 1/5th of my plate.  For desert, they had bought several different cakes for different appetites. I grabbed a HUGE piece of carrot cake. I took about four bites of it (absolutely divine!) and then handed the plate over to my friend Sue to munch on. Sharing a desert is a great way to avoid a few calories!

We danced for about three hours or so. We had a friendly rivalry going with Table 5, behind us. We kept finding ways to hoodwink each other and be silly.  For instance, I stole Jen’s glass of red wine and drank it all in a few big gulps, then handed her back the empty glass! They stole my camera and took naughty photos of things that should not be photographed! It was friendly banter back and forth.  At the end of the night, my hubby took the bride and groom, Sue and Joe, and ourselves home.

Saturday was a crazy busy day! We woke up early and went back to the country club to pick up miscellaneous things that didn’t fit in the car, such as the centerpieces and decorative plants. We dropped them off at the Bride and Groom’s house, then we went to the gym for a butt-kicking workout. After the workout we ran home, got the volleyball net and set it up in the bride and groom’s yard. Then we zoomed home and took our showers, then we back over for the picnic. They had SO MUCH FOOD, but unfortunately a lot of it I couldn’t eat: pasta, sandwiches, etc.  I had a little bit of salad and more doritos than I should have (only 2 or 3 handfuls). Doritos are cheesy crack, man!  Delicious!  We played a beanbag toss, played some volleyball, and went swimming at Sue and Joe’s house (they live next door).  We played beer pong and some drinking-versions of “A Minute to Win It.”  I challenged the groom’s 12 year old daughter to a drinking game, and when she lost I made her chug some water. She thought that was hilarious!

But then the craziness started.  I was quite drunk by the evening. Jack picked me up and pretended to throw me into the pool — I had my clothes on, not my swim suit! I fought him — I wrapped my legs around him and my arms around his neck and hung on for dear life. He kept trying to get me back, and I ended up biting him! Oh dear, that’s not very socially acceptable!  To get me back, Sue tricked me into retrieving something she pretended to drop, and Jack plowed into me and hurled me into the pool!  SPLASH!  I was drenched and freezing! My hubby was a bit mortified that I had bitten our friends, so he made us get up to leave.  When I woke up this morning I had an email from Sue: We found your camera in the bottom of our pool!

Oh no! My camera pretty expensive — about $400.  It’s deader than a doornail. So I won’t be posting any photos for a while until I am able to buy a replacement. Total bummer. I feel a little less bad about acting inappropriately since my camera got broken.

Today I woke up fairly early. My friend Allie wanted weight loss advice, so I told her we would go to the gym together.  I tried to kick her butt with some interval-training (jogging) followed by situps, planks, and leg-extension-squats.  Then we came home and I made us some salad and we discussed food and eating.  I hope that I was able to say something that was helpful to her. I know how frustrating it can be to want to lose weight and try so hard and to not have any results!

Now I’m absolutely exhausted. I want to go to sleep, but it’s only 8 p.m. I’ll read my book for an hour and then pass out early. I need to catch up on some rest!

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“Taking a day off” when you’re dieting…

by Christine on July 28th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, General Information

Yesterday I didn’t go to the gym. I’m not going to go to the gym tonight, either. I’m “taking a day off.” Or, rather, two. Whatever, it’s okay.

Right?

The old Christine would have been in a frenzy. The old Christine would have been mumbling, “committment” in her own ear, scolding herself for being “weak,” and anxious because this “didn’t fit in with the plan.” The old Christine was the same person that dieted for years and never lost the weight. That obsessed over losing weight, did research, saw seven doctors for help. The same person that beat herself up every night when, finished tallying the calorie counts for the day, saw that she went over by 20 calories, or had more carbs than she should have. In short: the old Christine was a mental train wreck of depression, anxiety, and frustration.

The new Christine doesn’t approach weight loss the same way, but the difference is that this time the weight loss is working. You see, if you follow the 8 easy secrets to losing weight, you’ll notice that Rule #1 says that this whole “weight loss thing” should be easy.  If you’re stressing, losing sleep, feeling anxious, or mentally beating yourself up, then your plan definitely is not going to work, and it’s probably not working at all right now anyway because it’s intrisically flawed.

I do the best I can. Whenever I get a free day at home, I go to the gym. I work out hard, and I try to get the best calorie-burning bang for my buck. I also try to eat well, but you know, sometimes I just crave some chocolate or a beer.  And all of that is okay, but this time I’m changing. I’m giving myself some leeway. I’m allowing myself to be human. I’m allowing myself to enjoy life. I’m..well…giving myself allowances all over the freaking place.

I don’t want you to get the impression that I’m lackadaisical about this, or that I don’t care, or that I’m not committed. I’ve lost just about 90 pounds, and I’ve got 10 more to go and I’m going to get there, goddammit, come hell or high water.  But the process this time is much different. It’s….easier.  It’s the only way I can explain it.  I do my best, I’m conscious of what I’m doing (and what I’m not doing) all the time. But if I want to go out for a beer and listen to a concert, like I will tonight, then that’s okay.  It’s okay because it’s one beer. It’s okay because my mental health is just as important to me than my physical health. It’s okay because I know this is a lifestyle change, not a diet. It’s not a sprint to lose those 10 pounds as fast as I can. No, I’m losing slowly but steadily, and that’s okay.

I’ll get to my goals, but I’m going to have a wonderful time getting there.

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Are you eating enough?

by Christine on July 28th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Good morning, Revolutionists!  I hope that this hump-day is treating you all kindly!

This morning I wanted to talk about whether you can “take a day off” when you’re “dieting,” but first I wanted to address a few other things floating around my mind. Tune back in later today for a word about “taking a day off.”

  • SHOUT OUT TO MY FRIENDS! Thank you very much for the wonderful people that visit my blog and post comments. Your comments encourage me and give me hope that people are indeed reading and visiting me!  Thank you Maggie, Traci, Amanda, Freckle, Patrick, Clyde, and Allan!  It’s funny…I look at that list and see three guys on it! This surprises me, because I’ve always figured that the weight-loss realm (blogging and otherwise) were ruled predominantly by women. Boy was I wrong! I follow many men’s blogs, and I find them all to be extremely insightful and inspiring. I’m so glad that men blog about weight-loss!
  • BLOG ROLL UPDATES! I want to update my blog roll! If you want to be included (and aren’t currently), let me know by posting a comment on here. Similarly, if you could add my blog to your roll, I’d be appreciative.
  • I’M GUEST POSTING TOMORROW! If you don’t real Miz Fit’s blog already, you should. She’s brilliant and inspiring! But tomorrow yours truly will be guest posting there, so check it out!

I also wanted to address I comment I received in the mail the other day:

forgive me, i don’t mean to be nosy, but are you eating enough calories?  what you wrote about seems like so little… is it enough to keep your metabolism going and to keep your strength up?  off my soapbox. :)

First of all, thank you for taking the time to write me, and to be concerned about my well-being! Your email was touching, and I really appreciate it!  But to address your comment…it’s true that I don’t eat very many calories! I typically average 800-900 calories per day.  According to some sources, this may be considered “dangerously low” and even meet some criteria for anorexia! However, I have a very differing opinion of calories than many sources do. You see, I believe that every individual has a very unique “calorie setpoint,” or, rather, the amount of calories needed to maintain one’s weight. Doctors and the USDA offer very vague and general guidelines that make sweeping generalizations about an individual’s body composition, lifestyle, genetics, medical conditions, etc. For instance, all these doctors and charts and RMR/BMR calculators say that I should be eating 1500-1700 calories a day. However, I know this from experience — that’s far too many calories for me!  I believe my calorie setpoint is about 1000 calories, which is why I am aiming for 800-900 calories per day in order to lose weight.  I believe my calorie needs are much lower than what doctors and charts recommend because of many factors: my height (I’m short), my job (sedentary), my genetics (overweight, all of them), my medical conditions (hypothyroid, among others), etc. All these factors play into the fact that my metabolism just isn’t as spry as some other peoples’.

I honestly believe that every individual out there needs to carefully evaluate his/her calorie intake and tweak it for him/herself. You just can’t follow a doctor’s chart or following very vague guidelines that don’t take into your own, individual physiology!  If you’re going to try to lose weight, you need to figure out what your unique calorie setpoint is (generally done by trial and error). Otherwise it’s just not going to work.

But to answer your other question: Is it enough to keep my metabolism going and keep my strength up? Absolutely! I have never felt better, more energetic, or healthier. Too much food makes me feel sluggish. With this current lifestyle, I don’t eat much, but I eat all the freaking time — every 2 hours!  And, because I often choose to eat healthy foods, it’s easy to keep the calories within my low-range. After all, how many carrots and lettuce do you think you’d have to eat in order to eat 800 calories worth? A lot, my friends!

For more information about this, and seven other “tips” for how I’ve lost 90 pounds so far, then check this post out.

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