What does a number mean anyway?

The other day I was trying to find something to wear to work – a task I struggle with on an almost daily basis. As I was looking through my closet, I found a pair a pants and put them on. They fit. Not a big deal, right? Well, it was a big deal because they were two sizes smaller than I was used to wearing. And, I hadn’t worn that particular pair of dress pants in about six to eight months.

I was thrilled. Wait….I was more than thrilled. I was ecstatic beyond belief.  

Until the next day when I tried on another pair of dress pants in that particular size and there was no way in the world I was going to get them zipped or buttoned. I was deflated. Kind of, but not really. I am starting to realize that the number on the tag doesn’t really mean a whole lot. Seriously.

Right now, I can wear three different size pants. In jeans, I can wear one size – the biggest of them all. In a certain brand of dress pants, I can wear another size – the smallest of the three. But in other pants, both jeans and dress pants, depending on the brand, I can wear the size that’s right in the middle. 

How’s a girl – okay, a woman – supposed to feel good about herself and about losing nearly 20 pounds when the size of her pants fluctuates between three sizes! Aargh!

And why is it that men can wear the same size pants – for example a 36 – no matter if they are jeans, dress pants or sweats, and whether or not they are Calvin Klein, Lee, Ralph Lauren, Levi’s, Gap, Nautica, Old Navy or even Wranglers. It’s so not fair.

Scribble it if you nibble it

If you bite it, write it. If you nibble it, scribble it. Or, in not so fun terms, keep a food journal.

This is something I have been told to do so many times, but never really did. I would do it for a week or so and then get bored and quit. Or I would be completely ashamed of everything I was putting in mouth that I would quit or worse, lie about what I was eating. But, I have now been keeping a food diary since the middle of November. And, I haven’t lied about anything. Every morsel, every drop of everything goes down in my tracker.

One of the reasons why I have been tracking my food is because back in November, I joined Weight Watchers. This was the best decision I have ever made. I love, love, love Weight Watchers. I joined the online site so I can track everything via my computer, which makes it sooooooo much easier, but I also attend the meetings each week. I haven’t missed one since I started. 

As for tracking, once you start and keep going on it, it actually becomes quite addicting. For instance, for Valentine’s Day, I had decided to take the day off from my food journal. I knew my husband and I were going to be having a fabulous meal and an even more fabulous dessert. I didn’t want to track the food I was going to be eating. I just wanted to eat my meal and dessert and drink my wine without having to worry. Well, I did okay on the not worrying part. I ate what I wanted that day – steak, roasted sweet potatoes, asparagus, olive cheesies, dark chocolate truffle bars and of course, a couple bottles of wine! We stayed home and cooked the entire meal together, like we do most Saturday nights. 

Well, a few days went by and it was just killing me that I hadn’t logged that meal and didn’t know how many points (Weight Watchers) I ate that day. So, I went on my computer and logged it and surprisingly, I did better than I expected. 

I love keeping a log for several reasons. First, it really makes you pay attention to everything you eat – what types of food, the amount, etc. Keeping a food diary can also make you more aware of when your "hungry" times of the day are. Maybe you need to eat more in the morning or at lunch so you don’t snack so much at night. Keeping a food diary or journal is just one more mechanism to help you learn about control and portion sizes.

I urge everyone having a hard time with their weight to start journaling. Write down everything you eat, down to the crust off your child’s leftover sandwich or the bite size piece of cake left on the kitchen counter. As I said earlier….if you bite it, you write or if you nibble it, you scribble it.

Good luck.

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Portions are heavier than they appear

Have you ever weighed your spaghetti noodles – before you cooked them?

Have you ever measured out your dressing for a salad?

Do you know the weight of a normal-sized skinless, boneless chicken breast?

How much, exactly, is a four-ounce glass of wine, which is considered normal for one serving?

Recently, I have started weighing and measuring out my food. Sound weird? To most, the answer would be a resounding yes.

But to me, it has been an eye-opening and awe-inspiring experience. Seriously.

For instance, a serving of spaghetti is about 2 ounces or about one cup when it’s cooked. There are three of us in our family, so last night, I literally weighed the raw spaghetti noodles so that I had 10 ounces or about five cups when it was cooked.

I figured I would eat a one-cup serving and my husband and son would each eat a two-cup serving.
And although it didn’t look like nearly enough and only about half of what I typically make, after dinner, it was determined that we could have gotten by with about 8 to 8.5 ounces.

Before my new obsession with the weight and measurement of my foods, I can guarantee you I at three or maybe even four or five times the amount of spaghetti I ate last night.

As for steak or any other tasty meat, like chicken or pork, my food scale has come in extremely handy. I now eat between 3 to 5 ounces of steak at a sitting, which before, I was probably putting away 10 to 12 ounces at a time.

And then I wonder why the hell I was so fat.

I have heard people – the so-called experts – talk (okay, harp on the issue) of portion control, but I never really thought it would matter…THAT much. I guess now that I have started to pay attention, I finally get it.

And it does make a difference – a 17-pound difference.

A ban on buffets?

 

Buffets at restaurants should be banned. Seriously.

Do people realize how much they eat when they go to a buffet? Because it’s all you can eat, people – including myself – take it seriously and stuff themselves silly. It’s stupid and ridiculous.

Today, around noon, we went to a local restaurant for my dad’s 69th birthday. It was half buffet. Meaning that in order to get the buffet, which included soup, salad, caramel rolls, fruit and desserts, you had to order a meal. The menu was limited and only featured a few breakfast items and a couple of lunch/dinner items. Not one item on the menu was healthy. I ended up opting for the three-egg veggie omelet minus the hollandaise sauce. It was semi-healthy at least – no cheese and no sauce.

First off, this would not have been my choice of restaurant because of the whole buffet thing. I just have no control when it comes to buffets. The restaurant normally has a regular menu, which features healthier choices, but not on Sundays. The half-buffet, half-menu is how they do it. 

Round one. A bowl of fruit – grapes, strawberries, melon and pineapple. It was tasty. I felt good about my decisions. I didn’t grab a caramel roll and several packs of butter like I normally would have done.

Round two. My omelet with some salsa added to the top of it and some roasted red potatoes, which I am positive were cooked OR drowned in either oil or butter. YUCK! But, of course, I ate them. Not all, but pretty darn close. They tasted awesome. Oh, I also had a couple bites of my son’s caramel roll. It, too, was awesome. Caramel-ly and sweet! My willpower was starting to slip.

Round three. A second trip to the buffet for some dessert. After trying to decide which dessert would be the healthiest option – yes, I used the words dessert and healthy in the same sentence – I opted for the pudding/cake thing in the small champagne flute. It was pretty. It was small. It was chocolate! And it was light tasting and satisfying. I didn’t feel that guilty because at least it wasn’t a large piece of pecan pie!

Round four. Yep, I couldn’t just leave well enough alone. There had to be another trip back to the dessert table. Why? Because I couldn’t resist one of my all-time favorite desserts – bread pudding with caramel sauce. OMG! It was to die for. BUT, I only had about a 1/4 cup serving of it with about 2 tablespoons of sauce. Normally, I would have had about 2 cups of it with about a cup of sauce. I like it that much.

It pushed me over the edge. It made my stomach hurt. It made me want to run home (not literally!), throw on my sweats and take a nice long nap.

Instead, my husband and I jumped in the car and drove to the grocery store. I don’t think we bought one single non-healthy food item. And we didn’t spend hours traipsing up and down the aisles filling our cart with impulse buys. I guess it does pay to shop on a full stomach.

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Cravings…aargh!

Where do cravings come from? Why do some people crave chocolate, while others crave carrots? Unfortunately, I am one of those that CRAVE the sweets.

I would be quite content to eat a four-scoop bowl of ice cream for supper. I wouldn’t mind eating cake for breakfast. And for lunch, I could easily eat some cookies, bars or even a piece of pie. Seriously. That is how much I love the sweet stuff.

And I really love the sweet stuff when I am on an emotional rollercoaster. When I get the least bit stressed, I want to sit on my couch, sulking, eating a bowl of fudgey, nutty, brownie ice cream. When I watch a sappy, chick flick, I want to sit on my couch with my box of tissues and a box of Twinkies. 

Yesterday, after a somewhat stressful day at work (think office full of women, not actual work) and all I wanted to do was go to the store, buy a carton of Rocky Road and go home and eat the whole darn thing. But I didn’t. I kept myself busy. Doing exactly what I am not sure, except for American Idol, but before I knew it, it was time for bed. Thank goodness.

Now, if I could just learn to deal with my emotions through exercise. Yeah right. I haven’t moved a muscle in nearly three weeks.