New Me Archives

June 8, 2008

Curried Brown Rice Salad


Friends were coming to dinner last night, including one who doesn't eat gluten. I looked around for a likely rice salad, and got some nice suggestions from folks at SlowTrav. In the end I combined a few recipes, and the result was really delicious. I love brown rice, especially the darker varieties for the nutty flavor and firm texture. I was also making a whole grilled salmon and vegetables, and wanted something to stand up to the salmon. Vegetables, a touch of curry, fresh herbs, sweetness and crunch. Something new for me, and a definite keeper. Let's see if I can write down what I did.

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June 13, 2008

Step Away from the Fridge, And No One Gets Hurt


Doctor Matt sat me down last week, and read me the riot act. He told me I have six months to lose 30 pounds, lower my cholesterol and blood pressure-- or he's putting me on medication. I'm borderline in all sorts of things, and not getting any younger.

So, after first meeting with his nutritionist and stopping at the New Balance outlet for some good sneakers, I have a plan. Exercise every other day for now and work up to every day, eat loads of vegetables, chicken and fish, small amounts of whole grains, a little olive oil, oatmeal, and lowfat, low sodium dairy. Avoid frozen or packaged foods with sodium, egg yolks, red meat, most fullfat cheeses except as a garnish. The nutritionist says the plan she gave me is similar to South Beach stage two. She's going to tweak things as the months go on, and hopefully end up with a plan that lets me maintain the weight and benefits, and allows for "mainstream" eating every now and then.

After ten days, I must say I'm feeling good. And I've lost six pounds and an inch from my waist.

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June 16, 2008

Shabu Shabu


Eating out when you're being careful about fat and sodium is a real challenge. Even restaurants with vegetable-based cuisines (Chinese, Indian, Greek, Middle Eastern, etc.) tend to use a lot of oil in the kitchen. And I don't want to even talk about how much I miss soy sauce.

So, Shabu Shabu. It means "swish swish" in Japanese, and its a dish that has lately caught on in Boston. Four shabu shabu restaurants have opened here within the past six months. They're fun, affordable, and as long as you're easy on the soy sauce and heavily-marbled meats, healthy. The emphasis is on high quality ingredients--perfect vegetables, absolutely fresh seafood and wafer-thin meats. We've been eating our way through them.

You are seated at a table or counter with a heating element. You order a kind of broth, the protein and starch you want, and are given a large plate of vegetables and an array of tiny dishes containing condiments. You'll likely be given a dish of ponzu, a soy and orange juice blend, little dishes of garlic, scallions, chopped chili, and a sweet bean sauce. Combine them as you wish to create your dipping sauce, and I also like to put some of the garlic into the broth. Be careful with the chopped chili, it can sneak up on you. Also, if you haven't been given it--ask for goma, a fantastic sesame sauce.

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July 5, 2008

New Me--Monthly Update

* Down a pants size, and they're loose. Fitting into clothes I haven't worn in more than a year.
* Alternating between walking two miles a day on the treadmill; doing an aerobics or dance tape every other day. Being careful about my knee and stretching.
* Figuring out how to eat sensibly and still enjoy it.


* Checked in with nutritionist. Lost 12 pounds.


July 15, 2008

I Love my Sneakers!


I have very odd, hard-to-fit feet. Really high arches, wide in the toe, narrow in the heel. I need an orthopedic arch support to lessen the fatigue and pain from the abnormally high arch. Since I spend hours a day running after four-year-olds, I wear either frumpy orthopedic shoes, or ballerina flats or garishly-painted Keds that can fit the supports. Walking sandals in summer, insulated snow boots in Winter, sexy heels where I risk falling and breaking my neck about three times a year. I've never found a pair of sneakers that were comfortable.

Until I met my new best friend Lisa at the New Balance Outlet on Sunday.

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October 31, 2009

Gratitude Friday

With gratitude to Diana, for beginning Gratitude Fridays.

Yeah, the day slipped past me again. Here's something simple.

I am grateful for the loss of my double chin.

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November 6, 2009

Gratitude Friday

Another Gratitude Friday, with gratitude to Diana.

A few items I have been very grateful for during the past six months I've been getting healthier:


Exercise resistance bands. These are nifty little things. A set of handles connected by stretchy rubber tubing. They come in three different levels of resistance, to be used in various ways. As you stretch them your muscles are working, and as you release while still holding, the muscles are still working against the lessening resistance. They've done amazing things for my upper arms. They are light and portable, so you can throw them into a suitcase. It takes a bit of practice to learn how to use them, but there are plenty of DVDs, websites and books with clear instructions.

Trader Joe's 0% plain Greek Yogurt. Tastes great, non-chalky, and much cheaper than the Fage. I eat it every morning with fruit, a bit of Stevia, and cereal. I mix it with salsa for a dip. I marinate chicken breasts in it with spices and lime juice. And while we're talking about TJ's, I've also been grateful for their low sodium organic chicken broth, salsas, Kosher chicken, ground white meat turkey, Joe's O's cereal, and 21-Salute salt-free herb mix.

Stevia. This is a natural plant-based sweetener with very few calories. I've found that using more than just a bit gives a slightly bitter aftertaste; but its great to use in sweetening hot drinks and yogurt without chemicals.

Costco. Yes, its a big box store. (But at least from what I've read, does well by its employees and sources locally from small producers as much as possible). What I think it excels in is produce. My weekly shopping list from them includes tiny green beans, spinach, lettuce, raspberries and strawberries in season, mini cucumbers, mushrooms, hydroponic tomatoes; and seasonal treats like chantrelle mushrooms, Tuscan melons, figs, persimmons. They also carry organic chicken, big tubs of Sabra hummus, their Kirkland brand of egg substitute is much cheaper than Eggbeaters, do a very decent store-made lime and chipotle marinated shrimp, and a huge roasted chicken for $5.00. It's interesting to compare our grocery cart to the others in line.

Kalyn's Kitchen. This website, while focused on recipes for the South Beach Diet, has a lot of fantastic recipes, and links to many others. I've gotten so many great ideas and delicious meals from her site. Very strong on vegetable recipes.

Kirkland egg substitute. The Costco brand of eggbeaters. One cup is equal to 3-4 eggs, has 120 calories, and 24 grams of protein. Makes for a huge frittata with sauteed spinach and tomato, and is often my lunch.

FitDay. use this website to track my diet and exercise, it has a pretty good calorie counter, and you can graph your weight loss.

The treadmill and DVD player, and my NetFlix account. I've caught up on years of movies as I've sweated.

Russo's Market, Watertown. This is a wonderful produce store, carrying all manner of the usuals plus lots of Asian, Latin, Middle Eastern, and Italian items. Where I go from everything from cauliflower and swiss chard to long lavendar Chinese eggplants, jicama, and Armenian lavash bread.

Spray cooking oil. I use this instead of pouring on the oil for sauteeing, for roasting vegetables, for making sure food doesn't stick to the grill.

Fiber Gourmet pasta. This is great stuff. A pasta that's loaded with extra fiber, which brings the calories count down. It certainly isn't as marvelous as an imported pasta, but it's really very decent. One cup is only 130 calories, with loads of fiber. It isn't carried in many stores, so I order directly from the website.

Humn. I'm sure there are more, but I'll do another post with them at some point. Hope this is useful to someone!

December 28, 2009

Size Six Resolution

So, I zipped up a pair of size 6 jeans this morning. OK, they're Lands End, which tend to run a bit big, but still.

I do have eight pounds to lose to be at the official "correct" weight for my height, but I think those last few pounds are going to fight me. If they're off by bathing suit weather, I'll be happy. Just keeping to this general size, and maintaining the new eating and exercise habits is a good goal. For this year, and forever.

People constantly ask me "how did you do it?", and often hint if I've had some form of weight loss surgery. No, just doing things the old fashioned way, through reduced calories and increased exercise. It's been challenging, but nowhere as difficult as I'd envisioned it would be. If your mind is in the right place, your mouth will follow.

I have had to rethink how I was cooking and shopping. I am always planning ahead now on what I'm going to eat, in order to not fall back into mindless eating. I do miss the days when I didn't think about what I was eating, but I know that's what got me overweight for many years. Because my metabolism has changed from so many months of reduced intake, I know I can never go back to eating like a "regular" person without gaining weight. When I splurge on pasta at a friend's house, or share dessert when eating out, I'll need to spend a few days on salads for lunch and extra time exercising to make up the difference. And that's OK--I'm happy with the creative healthy foods, and more time on the treadmill or with the weights also means more movie time.

So, my resolution for 2010 is to end the year still in my size 6 jeans. No going back.

June 16, 2010

Why I Hate "The Biggest Loser"


This year, I watched a few episodes of "The Biggest Loser", a tv show that follows a group of seriously overweight people through an intense program of weight loss away from their homes at a ranch in California. Each episode consists of manufactured "challenges" forcing the group to compete against each other to win "immunity" or "lose" a pound at their weekly weigh-in. The group is led through horrifically strenuous exercising by two overacting trainers who use screaming or manipulative docudrama as motivators. Complete with cheesy directing and ominous music, the group is weighed in each week, and then the people who have lost the least amount of weight are sent away while the others vote on who will be asked to leave. A weight loss of only 1-2 pounds is seen as devastating. All through the program, viewers and the contestants are reminded of how dreadful their lives are as fat people, how low their prospects for health or happiness.

This is not healthy weight loss, this is public humiliation and torture.

As a formerly overweight person, I know that carrying excess weight can be bad for ones health. But presenting these people as "losers" in every sense of the word whose only attribute is their weight, holding them up to public spectacle, and encouraging them to think their only worth is how fast they lose weight is substituting spectacle for education. Encouraging them and us viewers to think that this is the route toward health--it's a travesty. Presenting overweight people without allowing them their dignity just perpetuates the body-hate, the "you can never be too thin" mindset that affects so many women, no matter their size or level of health. And it does nothing constructive toward teaching us all to live our lives healthily and mindfully.

Consider these statistics, and think about what we as a culture are promoting:

• Over one half of teenage girls and nearly one third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives (NeumarkSztainer,2005).
• Girls who diet frequently are 12 times as likely to binge as girls who don’t diet (NeumarkSztainer,2005).
• 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner (Collins, 1991).
• 81% of 9-10 year olds are afraid of being fat (Mellin et al., 1991).
• The average American woman is 5’4” tall and weighs 140 pounds. The average American model is 5’11” tall and weighs 117 pounds.
• Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women (Smolak, 1996).
• 46% of 9 year olds are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets, and 82% of their families are
“sometimes” or “very often” on diets (Gustafson Larson& Terry, 1992).
• 91% of women recently surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight
through dieting, 22% dieted “often” or “always” (Kurth et al., 1995).
• 95% of all dieters will regain their lost weight in 15years (Grodstein, et al., 1996).
• 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25%
progress to partial or full syndrome eating disorders (Shisslak & Crago, 1995).
• 25% of American men and 45% of American women are on a diet on any given day (Smolak,
• Americans spend over $40 billion on dieting and diet related products each year (Smolak,

Since I've lost weight, I've noticed that some people react more warmly to me now, offer more overtures. I'm the same person I was before, but now that there's less of me, I'm somehow more in their eyes? I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I should be angry--and so should we all.

I did a little poking at the web, and landed on these interviews with a former BL contestant who discusses the manipulation and "sub-human" treatment she received while on the show, which left her with an eating disorder she's struggling with.
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3 will be posted next week.

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