Monday, January 31, 2011

Snack attack

Since I started Weight Watchers, there are two things I find myself reaching for between meals: fruit and popcorn.

Fruit -- which is now 0 PointsPlus on the new eating plan, is always my first option. I always have it at the ready -- either grapes, apple or bananas, which I can just pop in my mouth. If I am not famished, I'll take the time to peel an orange or grapefruit.

The point is, I always have fruit in the fridge, which is usually all I need to tame my hunger.

But sometimes, fruit just doesn't cut it. That's when I break out the Jolly Time popcorn, which already has aligned its packages to reflect the new PointsPlus. And because I really have to like the food I eat, I bought three different types of Jolly Time, all with 1 PointsPlus per bag. The kettle corn was the first one I tried, and it was just a tad too sweet for me. Plus, it was a mini bag. The buttery flavor Jolly Time was good, but again, it was a mini bag. The third box I opened was plain old air popped Jolly Time, and imagine my surprise when the bag was more than double the size of the mini bags. I ate with gusto, and by the time I finished this treat, I was more than sated.

What was missing was the stomach lump I used to have when I would inhale a bag of pretzels in one sitting.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Jack LaLanne

When I heard the news that Jack LaLanne died this week at age 96, I took a few minutes to offer a prayer for this amazing man. LaLanne was part of my childhood, the TV fitness guru who my mother exercised with daily -- through the TV of course.

I would exercise right along with my mom, and although I found his commands often daunting, this was a special time for mom and me, just the two of us doing something no one else in the family wanted to join. I had her undivided interest -- almost. After all, she did have to pay attention to the screen as well.

Around this time my mother developed a love for Carlton Fredericks and Adelle Davis, pioneers in the field of nutrition, vitmains and minerals. I have no idea if she got tuned in to these two through LaLanne, but I do know that her knowledge learned through these three people sent her on a course of nutritious eating long before most people ever gave diet and nutrition a second thought.

LaLanne's message was simple and concise: Exercise daily, eat nutritiously, loading up on fresh vegetables and fruits and whole grains, and don't be afraid to challenge yourself. And as I am thinking back on those days, his tagline just popped into my head, one I think we would all be wise to remind ourselves daily: "Exercise is king. Nutrition is queen. Put them together and you've got a kingdom!"

And although LaLanne is now gone from this world, he is back in my life. His legend certainly lives on.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Simply yummy

Last night I had forgotten to defrost anything for dinner, it was snowing really hard, and I decided a little creativity was in order. I had a dozen eggs, so I checked out recipes on and decided the Breakfast Enchilada could work. For me, having breakfast for dinner is all about comfort.

The result was excellent. For the wrap, I used Trader Joe's habanero chili wraps, which added the perfect amount of zest to the dish. This recipe is a keeper because it meets my three goals for a successful weekday meal: It's economical, easy to prepare and tasty. The fact that it is vegetarian is the cherry on this dish.

I was going to serve it with a salad, but just as I was about to pull out the greens, a recall warning for Stop & Shop's organic greens came over the TV. Scary, since I have been eating from this batch all week. But a side of roasted corn proved a perfect accompaniment to our meal. At only 6 PointsPlus per serving, there is no doubt in my mind that I will be making this meal very often.

2 sprays) cooking spray
2 tsp. olive oil
2 medium scallions, chopped
1 small green peppers, seeded and chopped
1 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (medium)
4 large egg whites
2 large eggs
1/2 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tblsp. cilantro, fresh, chopped
1/4 tsp. table salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
4 medium whole wheat tortillas
1/2 cups fat-free sour cream
1/2 cups salsa, medium or hot variety

* Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a shallow baking dish with cooking spray.
* Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add scallions, green pepper, tomato and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add egg whites and whole eggs; cook until eggs are scrambled, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and stir in cheese, cilantro, salt and black pepper.
* Place a tortilla on a flat surface; spoon 1/4 of egg mixture onto center of tortilla and roll up tortilla. Fill remaining tortillas with remaining egg mixture, then place tortillas side-by-side in prepared baking dish; lightly coat with cooking spray.
* Bake until golden brown and tortilla ends are slightly crisp, about 10 minutes. Serve with sour cream and salsa spooned over top. Top each enchilada with 2 tablespoons of sour cream and 2 tablespoons of salsa. Makes 4 servings. 6 PointsPlus per serving.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2 recipes

I usually devote today's post to my Weight Watchers meeting, which I missed last night because of the SNOW. Mom Nature are you listening? Enough!

Since it took me three hours to get into work yesterday, I had to work late. But my reaction to missing my meeting was so unexpected: I was disappointed. And this is a good thing.

On the way home last night -- that only took 90 minutes -- I started to think about how I am not meeting the WW daily requirement of two dairy servings a day. Since I am lactose intolerant, I avoid milk, but always eat one yogurt. It's the second serving I am missing.

This morning, I made myself what I know will become my daily drink to get me going: 8 ounces of almond milk, frozen blueberries and strawberries, and a banana. I whipped it up in the blender, and the result was a 16-ounce smoothie worth 1 PointsPlus. What a treat.

My other recipe is for oatmeal, the biggest hit at last Sunday's brunch. I was silently laughing at my son and daughter, who were impressed with how good steel-cut Irish oatmeal is. When they were children, they would sit there and gag rather than eat their oatmeal. Have times changed!

Do I have time to make real oatmeal daily? Absolutely not. But I made so much of it Sunday, that I had enough leftovers for breakfast all week. Besides the flavor, the texture of steel cut oatmeal is chewy and more filling than the flakes we are used to. And at about 3 PointsPlus per 1/4 cup serving, I think it is worth the effort. For an extra treat -- and of course some added PointsPlus -- you can throw in some nuts.

4 cups water
1 cup steel-cut oatmeal
1/4 cup dried cherries
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 Tblsp. pure maple syrup

* Bring water to a boil. Add oatmeal, cherries, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and maple syrup, stir, and after oatmeal begins to thicken, about 5 minutes, lower heat to simmer.
* Cook uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until the oatmeal reaches your desired consistency.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Every diet in the world

My friend Susan loves to laugh at me and my diets. And I have to agree with her that I am nuts when it comes to dieting.

We were talking last week about all the crazy ways I have tried to shed pounds, and she challenged me to write down every diet I have ever tried. I really tried to do this, but it's impossible. I have tried them all. But one thing Susan said struck home: That no matter what diet I try, I give it my all, tell the world that this is the diet, and that this time I am really going to reach my goal, and stay there.

And Susan is correct: That's what I said. But I lied. Internally I was telling myself that I was a phony, and that I knew that there was no way I would ever stay on this diet for life. In most cases I was miserable, depriving myself of the foods I love. I hated the diet. And I probably wasn't all too happy with myself, because if I really loved me, I would never have treated myself this way.

What a revelation.

And yes, right now I am outwardly saying that I love the new Weight Watchers diet, but it's what I am saying to myself that makes me confident that this time it is for life. My inner voice is not telling me that I am a failure. Instead, my inner voice is agreeing with my outer voice, and believes that I am now on an eating plan, not a diet. My inner voice tells me daily that the way I am eating is making me feel happy and content, not deprived.

For the first time in my life, my inner voice is being kind to me. And I have to admit that I like this kinder, gentler inside me.

Monday, January 24, 2011

It's Monday

...and I am not singing the blues. My weekend of challenges: Met.

I did exactly what I had planned on doing, and this morning, I have the biggest smile on my face.

I had saved my 49 extra Weight Watchers PointsPlus for Saturday, and I know I used them all. I made baked ravioli and meatballs, and for dessert, apple pie and carrot cake. I ate a normal serving of the ravioli, had one meatball, and was content with a tiny sliver of apple pie -- actually just a taste -- and a small piece of carrot cake. We had a big brunch late Sunday morning, and the pie and cake made it onto the spread of food. What was left of everything -- and that includes the ravioli -- was divided up among our relatives and went home with them.

Yesterday, I ate on plan. After dinner, I started thinking about what was left in my house, and the quart of vanilla ice cream in my freezer started calling my name. Jack was in the kitchen, and I asked him to please toss the vanilla ice cream, which he was more than happy to do. Truth be told, last night I was exhasted, the time when I start eating everything in sight. If Jack had not tossed the ice cream, I am convinced that I would have eaten the remains right out of the container.

But here's the best part: As soon as I knew the ice cream was gone, I gave myself a mental pat on the back and breathed a sigh of relief.

Close call. But it just reinforced to me that this time, I really am in it to win it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Give this girl an "A"

I passed my test: Ate like a "normal" person last night, and today, I'm feeling like I've begun to really win that battle of my bulge.

Last night I ate out, in a French restaurant no less. I picked out what I wanted online before I got to the restaurant -- Seafood Bouillabaisse or Grilled Tuna Salad -- and had told myself that was exactly what I wanted. I also decided not to pay attention to the night's specials.

But then I found out that last night the restaurant was offering the Grilled Tuna Salad in an appetizer portion, and the Bouillabaisse came in two sizes. I took it as a sign that this time I will succeed. I had both, settling on the small Bouillabaisse and adding a glass of red wine -- because I knew I was within my PointsPlus.

And as the desserts went around the table -- Crepes and Creme Brulee -- I decided not to take even one bite. It's not that I wasn't tempted, because I was. But for some reason I was not tempted enough to take a bite. Instead, I sipped a cup of Ginger Lemon tea, and I was content.

Wow. Bring on the weekend!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Testing, testing!

I am both looking forward to -- and dreading -- the next four days. Starting tonight, the challenges start coming, one after another.

Tonight and Saturday I will be eating in a restaurant. And although I know I can order what I think is healthy, in most cases, the food will be loaded with hidden ingredients (fat, salt, sugar, the holy trio of cooking). Saturday we are all descending on the restaurant where my son-in-law is chef. Monday I asked him what I can order that will keep me on my diet, and although he thought long and hard, he honestly said nothing. He was kidding -- sort of. He knows how I am cooking now, and he knows that when he adds a little of this or that it not only adds to the flavor, it adds to the calorie count. Of course, I can special order something, and he will oblige.

Which leads me to today's point: There really is no reason why I should dread eating out. It's all about having the gumption to speak up. Whatever excuse you give the server, believe me he or she has heard it before. If you don't want to admit you are dieting -- which by the way everyone is -- tell him or her that you are allergic to some foods and need something cooked a certain way. If you say it with a smile and respect, your wish will become reality.

Of course, if you're dining at Burger King, this isn't going to work. But in a non-chain restaurant, this is your right. You are there to have an enjoyable meal, and to eat the food.

Tomorrow, I'll let you know how all this works, because tonight, I don't know the chef in the kitchen. But what I did was check out the menu and have narrowed my dinner down to two options:
Seafood Bouillabaisse: Scallops, clams, shrimp, mussels, calamari, mixed seasonal vegetables, steamed in curry fish soup OR
Grilled Tuna Salad: Mixed green salad with grilled tuna, mango, tomato, pineapple, Sesame seeds and teriyaki dressing.

Today, I am eating lightly, with a heavy concentration on greens, fruit, a little protein and some oatmeal. When I get to dinner tonight, I will have 20 Weight Watchers PointsPlus to blow, and I'm sure I'll blow them all. BUT -- and it's a big one -- if I make it through tonight, I will prove something to myself.

Tonight is my test. Let's hope my hatred of failing pulls me through.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Since I got on the scale last night at Weight Watchers, the word "wow" has been circling through my brain. I lost another 4.6 pounds, which brings my two-week weight loss to 11 pounds.

I know I am going to slow down this week, but an immediate 11-pound weight loss is amazing for me. My body just doesn't perform like that. At least it hasn't prior to this year.

This time around it really is different for me. Those demons in my brain that usually tell me I am a failure and will never lose weight are almost gone. Instead, I'm thinking "Wow," and "I will do this" all the time. When the demons start trying to butt in, I mentally tell them to get lost. You cannot believe how freeing that is. And most days it's just a simple "go away" that sends them packing.

This so makes me feel in control. And that's key: Because when I am in control, I eat well. I make good food choices. I reach for the piece of fruit instead of something better left on the shelf. Or a have a glass of water or a cup of tea, wait 20 minutes, and in most cases it's a few hours before I am thinking about food again.

It's as if everything I have known about dieting for years is finally coming together for me. I know part of the reason is my sleep apnea diagnosis. Continue following my old ways, and the sleep apnea will be just the beginning of my medical issues. I am so thankful I finally woke up and faced reality.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


For some reason, the following comment -- all the way from India -- will not show up as a comment. But I wanted to thank the person who wrote this, and tell you how much your sweet comments meant to me. Here is what s/he wrote:

Can I just say, this blog is what got me through the day today. Every time I read it, I just get more and more excited about what's next. Very refreshing blog and very refreshing ideas. I'm glad that I came across this when I did. I love what you've got to say and the way you say it. The information in this blog is really a appreciated. I would really like to say that the knowledge you have about this is quiet impressive. But the main thing here is the way to present the information, and you have done it very nicely. Great work and love to visit on your blog again and again. Keep posting nice information.

How many times can I say thank you! This comment made my day -- actually made my year.

When people ask me why I write I blog, I tell them it's to keep me honest, to keep me on track, and to hopefully make me stick to a diet. I write it for me, but when I get comments, I realize that I am also hitting a nerve with others, that we really are not alone, and that so many of us -- all over the world -- have issues with diet, weight, exercise, self-image, motivation -- I can go on and on.

None of us is in this alone. Some of the most gorgeous people on Earth feel insecure, as evidence by Portia De Rossi's new book, "Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain." I caught her appearance on Oprah, and cried right along with her, as she told her story of anorexia.

And then I thought back to this lovely comment I received -- and so many other comments from so many people over the past 18 months -- and decided that I am one of the luckiest people alive. What I started as a blog just for me, has put me in contact with so many people this past year I never would have met. And may we all win our struggle -- whatever it is.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Another Monday

This is the second Monday in a row that I woke up happy. I made it through another weekend sticking to the Weight Watchers Plan and eating within my PointsPlus.

It's actually becoming a game, and each day when I successfully stay on Plan, I tell myself I am a winner. Positive reinforcement, and it's working.

Each Monday, I take a look at the week ahead, and decide which days I will face the most challenges. This week it's Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, and Sunday breakfast and lunch. Thursday will be a restaurant meal; Friday, our book club -- which includes dinner -- and then this weekend, when we will have a house full of relatives.

Here's my plan:
During the day Thursday through Sunday, I will eat lightly, filling myself with fruits, vegetables and some protein to keep me sated.
Thursday night: I have already looked at the restaurant menu and know what I will be eating. And although I will act as if I am listening to the server relate that night's specials, I really will not be listening. If I stray that night, I know that could open me up for failure the rest of the weekend. The old: "I blew it. Might as well have fun this weekend."

And guess what that could do: Make me gain back all the pounds I lost the last two weeks. SO NO WORTH IT.

Friday night: I will use portion control. I will also avoid any hors d'oeuvres, unless they are veggie sticks. And no wine.

The weekend is really in my control. I can cook Weight Watcher's meals, and again exercise portion control.

It's a plan. But next Monday, if I wake with a smile on my face, it will so be worth the effort.

Friday, January 14, 2011


What a difference a year can make.

I decided to read my posts from January of last year, and they made me sad. I was anguishing that I had not lost weight, that Kara's wedding was three months away, and that I lacked any conviction to stay on a diet.

This January is so much different. And I am beginning to understand why. This time, I set realistic goals that I know I can follow. I am not setting myself up for failure, which has been my MO for years. I usually throw myself into something and do it for a few weeks, because I think it is good for me. I either get bored or injure myself, so before long, I'm back on the couch. Never once did I ask myself: Do you like what you are doing?

I not only like, I love the way I am living now. I wake up each morning never doubting that I will do what I had planned to do. I am exercising and eating correctly.

And I don't care if it takes me a year to reach my weight goal. But there is one thing I know for sure: January, 2012, when I read the posts from this year, there will be a smile on my face because I will still be loving life -- but pounds thinner. That pretzel on the yoga mat will be me!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The fruit thing

I went back to the sleep clinic last week, and of course was told that if I lost weight, my sleep apnea would improve. I explained that I had joined Weight Watchers, and instead of approval, the doctor told me that he disagrees with the new plan because eating as much fruit as you want is not a good thing. He added that a sugar is a sugar is a sugar, and that our body processes sugar the same way.

I couldn't disagree more. I'm not getting into the science thing here, but does he know anything about fiber and how that contributes to how your body processes food? My main disagreement is all about food.

I've admitted that I can -- and often do -- eat uncontrollably. One of my favorite things to binge on is a 16-oz. package of Twizzlers. I just did the PointsPlus conversion, and each Twizzler stick is 1 PP. I eat the whole package, which I am assuming probably has around 20 strips. That's 20 PPs, almost the total number of PPs I am allowed per day.

Is there any way I would sit down and eat 20 bananas? Or 20 apples? How about 20 grapefruits? Not a chance. I would be too full. (Plus, I would be spending hours in the bathroom!)

Some days, those 20 Twizzlers are my appetizer. You don't even want to know what I can eat as my main course and dessert!

I am not trying to be funny here, but if any doctors are reading this post, please consider what you say to patients. When the doctor said that to me, I blew it off because I am determined to make this WW plan work this time. If I was on the fence, it would have sent me to Border's, searching for the latest diet book du jour, which would eventually lead to another failure.

I am not saying that WW is for everyone. But if you follow it, it is a healthy plan that can become a way of life. It fits into my new mantra: Eat right. Exercise daily. Repeat.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I lost 6.4 pounds last week. A record for me. I know this is not something I will duplicate next week at Weight Watchers, but right now, I couldn't be happier.

I am also amazed. Not once last week did I think: "Poor me. I hate dieting."

Instead, I was trying new recipes every night, eating better than I have in a long time, and filling my plate with proteins and veggies -- light on the carbs. When I was hungry, I reached for a piece of fruit and I was satisfied.

And why did I reach for that piece of fruit: Because fruit counts for nothing on the new WW plan. Nadda. Zero.

And the best part of the fruit thing: I was making a choice that thin people make all the time. It was freeing.

I've been doing a lot of thinking this past week about my new-found sense of calm, trying to figure out why this is all happening now. I have many thoughts, but I can sum them all up in one word: normal.

I feel normal. I am comfortable eating this way and I am comfortable exercising the way I do. I like this feeling. And I pray morning and night that it will continue. I don't want to return to my old ways.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The joy of journaling

The joy of journaling: Did I really just write that as the headline of this blog post? Me, who would rather do anything than write down what I eat actually is enjoying it now?

How can this be? And why?

I don't know. But since Wednesday, I have been writing down everything that passes my lips. I think it's because the Weight Watchers plan is new, and I cannot easily keep a running total going in my head, as I did on the old plan. I'm not saying that was smart.

But what I've come to realize is that I actually like seeing what I am eating from day to day. It makes me feel in control, another feeling I have not had recently when it comes to my diet. My journal is holding me responsible, while also reminding me that I need to drink more water or add 2 teaspoons of oil to my salad.

This should come as no surprise since a recent study found that dieters who journal lose double the amount of weight than dieters who do not. So journal it is.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Am I dreaming? I actually made it through the weekend staying true to the Weight Watchers plan, something I haven't done in years. I even fit in some wine Saturday night, and as I sipped my favorite beverage, I thought to myself, "This feels really good."

What a difference a week can make. I have no idea how much weight I have lost, but I feel so much lighter. Last week I felt bloated, had no energy, and was dreading my drive into work.

In the last paragraph I emphasized the word "lighter" because although I do feel as if a pin was stuck into my middle to let out some air, I am no place near being light. For me, this is an important distinction. Often, if I ate well for a few days, it wouldn't take much for me to remind myself of this fact and then "reward" myself with something I really should not be eating. And that would start an eating binge.

Today, I am determined not to do that. Right now, I am in what a psychologist would call "a good place," committed to losing weight, committed to my exercise routine, and determined that this time my outcome really will be different.

I started last week with two goals: to go to a WW meeting and to drink 8 glasses of water a day. Tuesday, I attended a meeting, and added another goal to last week: to journal daily. I accomplished both last week -- although I still have two days to go!

Piece of cake. Or should I say slab of salmon! So much healthier....

Friday, January 7, 2011

My journey

A year ago, if someone had told me I would be leaving my house at 4:30 to get to a yoga class at 5, I would have internally said, "Not me."

A year ago, if someone had told me that I would be making walking dates -- scheduling them as I would a hair, nail or doctor appointment -- I would have internally said, "Not me."

It's the word "internally" that is key here. I talked a good game. I even wrote words that I believed to be true, but I didn't really believe I would ever love exercise.

I always exercised -- in spurts -- and always hated it. I would start exercising like a mad women, and before long, I would pull a muscle, which meant I could not exercise for a few weeks, and those few weeks turned into months.

I always found yoga intimidating -- but intriguing. In July I decided to give it a try -- after I had written a yoga story for HealthyLife magazine. Yoga4Everybody in Fairfield offers a $30 introductory fee for a month that allows you to take as many classes as you want. For the first time in my life I started slowly, with two gentle yoga classes and one restorative yoga class a week. After the first class, I found as if I had come home. My yoga classes soon became permanent fixtures in my calendar.

Yoga is now a way of life for me, a practice I do daily, sometimes two or three times a day. Sometimes it's only meditation, sometimes it's breathing, and sometimes it's a class. Today was a monthly 2 1/2 hour morning Sadhana, an inspiring, magical, almost mystical mix of sitting meditation, postures, breath and chanting. It is part of Kundalini yoga, which has become my favorite way to find inner peace and strength.

And after Sadhana, I headed to the mall for an hour power walk with my exercise buddy, Ann. I looked at my watch at 8:30, laughed, and said to Ann, "Do you believe I have just done 3 1/2 hours of exercise." Our walks are a therpay of sorts. We work out all sorts of issues, talk about everything, and before we know it, an hour has flown by.

I always knew that to embrace anything, you have to love doing it. Yoga and walking are making me whole. They are helping me become strong. And along the way, I am becoming a much happier person.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 1

What a day I had yesterday! I ate well -- and often -- and each time I was hungry, I reached for a piece of fruit. I'm really loving this new Weight Watchers PointsPlus (PP for short).

It actually felt kind of decadent eating a banana before breakfast, sprinkling my oatmeal with 1/4 cup dried cherries (OK, those count as 4 PP), having a grapefruit as a mid-morning snack, and adding a diced apple to my lunch salad. I could have fit this much fruit into the old Weight Watchers plan, but I didn't. I'm not sure why.

I was thinking about the "why" on my drive home from work last night, combined with the notion that the PP plan is not a diet. How great it would be if I really can train myself to reach for fruit instead of a bag of Twizzlers. There is something psychological about a food being zero PP that makes you want to choose it over something that could eat up most of my daily PP allotment. And when it's fruit, that makes it special. Most vegetables have always been zero Points, but veggies are just not the same.

And speaking of veggies, I also discovered that winter squash and pumpkin now weigh in as zero PP. Personally, I could eat one a day. In the past, this alone would have eaten up some serious Points.

For the first time in years, I really believe I have a chance to stop yo-yoing my way though life. That last sentence just made me smile.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My new day

Jennifer Hudson, here I come.

All day yesterday, her new song was playing over and over in my mind, except I imagined her singing to me -- "Val, it's your new day!"

And I did what I said I would do yesterday: I made my Weight Watchers meeting. It really was like coming home. My leader, Karen, was really happy to see Jack and me, as was my WW buddy, Donna, the lovely woman Jack and I convinced that Weight Watchers really is the way to go -- and the one who has now lost 30 pounds and is looking really great.

I could have been Donna. Instead, I am exactly 5 pounds heavier than I was this time last year. But enough about the past. It's time to concentrate on the future. For me, 2011 will be the year I shed my extra weight -- forever. I am not looking for a quick fix. I am looking at this as my year-long project, and by the time I ring in 2012, I will be thin.

And I love WW's new plan, PointsPlus. The fact that I can eat all the fruits and veggies I want -- without counting them as any PointsPlus -- is freeing. On the way home from our meeting last night, we stopped at the grocery store and I bought bananas and grapes -- fruits I would have to portion into servings on the old plan -- but now fruits I can eat with abandon.

Kind of. We are still instructed to eat until we are full, so if I am really hungry, I should slowly eat a banana, wait 20 minutes, and then see if I am still hungry. If so, eat a second.

Sounds easy. Of course, I know it's not. But it can become a learned behavior. Besides, it's really time this old dog learned some new tricks.

We are also encouraged to set a goal for the week. Always the over-achiever, I have two.
1. I will drink 8 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
2. I will journal, writing down everything that passes my lips. I know the importance of journaling, that studies have shown those who journal lose double the weight of those dieters who never journal. So journal I will.

And oh -- one more thing. I will forever delete the word diet from my vocabulary. It was made very clear to us last night that WW is not a diet -- that it is a way of eating for life. And what a phony I am to call my blog Diet? Not Again!, and then call WW a diet plan.

This is my new day, my new way. And right now I am feeling on top of the world. If Jennifer Hudson can do it, so can I.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A confession

If I do nothing else today, I am going to Weight Watchers. If I get tied up at work, I will excuse myself, say I have an important meeting, and leave.

I need the support I get at meetings. I need structure. And more than anything else, I need to lose weight. For me, it's become a matter of life.

Last month, I was working on a story about the importance of sleep for HealthyLife magazine, and decided the best way to find out what a sleep study is all about is to sleep at a sleep center. Before I had time to realize what I had committed to, I was spending the night at Stamford Hospital's Sleep Center. A week later I found out I have sleep apnea, and although mild, I do have 12 episodes an hour. The diagnosis hit me hard, coming on the heels of the death of my dear brother-in-law. When our peers start dying, especially those we love without reserve, the reality of death hits hard.

And to find out I stop breathing 12 times an hour is scary. Stamford Hospital told me my case is mild, but to stop breathing even once a night is not something I find attractive. And although losing weight might not cure my apnea, it certainly is a step in the right direction.

I have written my story for HealthyLife, including a first person on the Sleep Center experience. But before the story publishes in HelathyLife, I wanted to write about it on my blog. Now that I've written it down, I feel lighter already.

The Weight Watchers meeting is on my schedule.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New year

The reason I have ignored my blog for two weeks is simple: I was too busy shoving all the foods I have avoided for months into my mouth.

To say my eating has been out of control is an understatement. And each day I would wake up, determined to be good, and by noon, those great intentions were gone.

What really frosts me about the last two weeks is that I ignored this blog. I thought about it a lot, but I never went near my computer. And write about how challenging these weeks were is exactly what I should have been doing. God knows I am not perfect. And God also knows that when it comes to food, I have lots of demons to slay.

But today I did something I haven't been able to do in weeks: I found some leftover cake in the freezer and I tossed it. Huge step.

And the reason I threw out the cake: My friend Ann, the one I made my written exercise contract with in August -- and the one I have started a healthy eating contract with -- has been on my back big time the last 24 hours. After yesterday's walk, she knew my heart is just not into dieting. Since then, my email has been flooded with Ann-sent motivational notes. My two favorite:
1. Don't be defeatest. Be defeetest -- start walking.
2. AND, my favorite: Only you can stop you.

Throwing out the cake today was a first step. It almost came into work with me, and that would have been a disaster. But I remembered that I am the only one who can stop me.

Writing is the second step.

I keep saying that winning the battle of my bulges is all about baby steps.

I have two goals this week:
1. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
2. Go to Weight Watchers tomorrow night.

The first goal goes into the category of a baby step. The second goal would be a toddler step. (Following the WW program would be a giant leap.)

Here's to a healthy 2011. Next year I do not want my resolution to be about losing weight. Enough already!