Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Full Disclosure - How To Survive/Live With Weight Watchers

I need to lose weight, and I have great respect for Weight Watchers, but more than that for a cook/foodie, nothing is off the menu as long as you allow for it, and track how it impacts the amount of food you are allowed. It takes planning but it can be done. I like the program because it has absolutely cutting edge tools on the internet that help you track your activity, and intake. In addition there are blogs you can read, community groups you can relate to for chatting and exchanging ideas, success stories and mistakes. Do I have to tweak some of my favorite dishes? Absolutely, but every cook prides themselves on some degree of creativity and I am no exception. I intend to use my blog to track my progress weekly...like the weekly weigh-in I need full disclosure!

Here is what I have to work with: An initial weigh-in that allows me to establish goals, most of them are in small increments of 5%, 10% etc. and are rewarded along the way. Printed tools to track progress, suggest meal planning, encourage you to move your lard ass off the couch with reasonable goals of walking a 5K marathon in about six (6) weeks. The weekly meetings are chaired by a WW leader who has successfully used the program to lose a significant amount of weight, and kept it off successfully. Each meeting gives you the opportunity to weigh-in, share your successes or frustrations and engage in a discussion on the topic of the week. The team leader has a lesson plan of sorts that guides the discussion. That's it in a nutshell, except that as the weeks progress you receive new and refreshing information to add to your library of WW guidelines. Also, there are usually some really big losers in the group who have dropped major pounds so you know it is possible. For me, this is crucial because I am at heart a very competitive person. But at its core, it is sort of like playing golf, the person you really need to beat is yourself!

All of the food is measured in "points" and you get a weekly allocation based upon a set of questions regarding current weight, lifestyle and activity. These points will diminish as your weight reduces, but hopefully you will increase your activity level and balance most of it out as you also grow to eat smarter. Consensus of opinion states that you actually eat more on a program that emphasizes fruits, vegetables and high fiber foods. Hunger is not one of the problems on Weight Watchers. It is a discipline, but one you have to learn to live with to be successful.

My weigh-in day is Wednesday, and I have decided my blog entries will be on Tuesday night. So, how do I think I did this week? I tracked, I have a few issues that I need to address, but at no time have I not stuck to my program. One of the tenets of the program is to eat from the food groups in a minimum quantity: fruits/vegetables, milk, whole grains, lean proteins,
liquids, healthy oils, daily vitamin/mineral supplement, activity and limiting sugar and alcohol. I have some adjustments to make in the daily vitamin/mineral category and because I drink soy milk I bought light soy milk for the first time and it is vile. So I may have to sacrifice points to drink a regular soy milk. No big deal! I will occasionally drink a glass of wine with dinner, but I am trying not to imbibe daily until I have made significant progress.

I have purged my pantry of all cold cereals (thanks to Kellogg's blase attitude about bugs in the box) so I am relegated to oatmeal, fresh fruit and yogurt and those are pretty much no brainers. But some mornings I crave savory, hot breakfasts with eggs, toast, etc. You can easily blow 20 points if you are not careful. So my creation includes egg whites, sauteed veggies, fresh fruit and a slim bagel...looks pretty good, huh?

Well cooked vegetables are my friends. I love to roast veggies, and roasted asparagus is not "diet" food, it's the way I prefer to cook it. And how pretty and delicious it looks!

Lean proteins are simple if you stick to fish and chicken, but boredom will set in, for variety I brined and grilled a loin of pork. It was great for salads, tacos, sandwiches, etc. Brining it yielded a succulent and flavorful pork loin.

So tomorrow when I weigh in we will see how my Chicago Kitchen supported my efforts to stick to this program for the requisite time to get to my ideal weight and then challenge myself to maintain my weight, still turn out creative dishes and not throw in the towel of boredom.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My Beautiful Daughter Ashley Robin

I have taken this opportunity to brag about my beautiful daughter! In an age when so many of our children, despite all of our efforts, take the wrong path...the gods shined upon me and blessed me with Ashley Robin! I can't take credit for anything she has accomplished, I just bask in the pride that I have for who she is and how she has grown. Graduating from college only proves that you can graduate from college. Graduation does not prove that you may have learned anything except how to accumulate enough credits to get a degree. For Ashley, talented girl that she is, her journey to her BA was circuitous, difficult, plagued with obstacles, doubts and financial dilemmas. Welcome to the world every college student faces, huh? Some weather the storm and finish in the requisite four years, others take longer and still some just drop out for a myriad of reasons. The longer you take to find your path in college the more it becomes clear that you need to direct your college education to some career/academic goal. Just doing the BA/BS is not enough, what then?

She doesn't have all the answers, but she works regularly on her focus, direction and goals. But more importantly, she communicates with me, and for that I am eternally grateful and I cherish her thoughts, conversations and company with all my heart. She continues to keep me in the loop of her life, and it is a very warm, comfortable and loving place. She will be a wonderful mom someday, a loving, attentive and entertaining wife and if the gods continue to shine upon me, I will bear witness to the next chapter in her life's journey.

Thanks for indulging a proud mom!