(161.2) Why I Feel Bad When I Want to Lose Weight

Sometime during the past 10 years, something changed in my fundamental thinking about weight loss. It went from being something I regarded as universally wholesome and right, a noble pursuit, to a frivolous, anti-feminist waste of time. And I continue to ping pong between these two extremes much of the time.

The shift began when I started to think of dieting as a distraction from the important stuff in life, wondering how many languages I could have learned during the time I was counting calories, reading labels, calculating weight watchers points, and running on the treadmill. I started to see my own desire to shed a few pounds as a direct result of our sexist culture–after all, If I were a man, I probably wouldn’t feel this way. I started to want to be the kind of woman who is perfectly comfortable in my 160-ish pound body and who never let my weight impede my enjoyment of fun or food. Continue reading →

(160.2) Rethinking the Pasta Toss

SausageSkilletFor a long time, the pasta toss was a staple weeknight meal. Boil pasta and toss with something flavorful: sauce (homemade or from a jar), cheese, meat, veg … whatever. But my pasta toss was typically very long on the pasta and quite short on the everything else. And in recent years, as it’s become more and more obvious we should be replacing many of the grains most of us eat with more nutritious ingredients (like vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats), I started to rethink the pasta toss. I’ve even renamed it. Now I call it the “turkey sausage skillet.” And it’s almost as easy to make. Continue reading →

(159.9) Meal Plan Monday

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Twice baked potatoes and salad

When I stepped on the scale this morning and saw 159.9, I was pretty happy. That’s the first “mini goal” I set for myself when I restarted this blog several weeks back. I’ll write a whole lot more about this on Thursday when I do my progress report. This is meal plan Monday, after all.

When I make my meal plan for the week, I never plan for Saturday. I figure there will be leftovers or at least leftover ingredients when combined with pantry/freezer odds and ends can be made into something good. On Saturday, I surveyed the scene inside our fridge and spied a couple Yukon gold potatoes, some leftover blanched broccoli rabe, a piece of fennel, a handful of arugula, and a little bit of broccoli slaw. There was a container of sour cream and various bits of cheese. Continue reading →

(162.5) On High School and Hate Crimes

I’ve been thinking about high school a lot for two reasons lately. One reason is because I’m trying to lose weight and there was very little else I did or thought about when I was in high school other than dieting. The other reason is the news of the recent gay-bashing incident here in Philadelphia. Many of the alleged perpetrators attended my high school, Archbishop Wood. Continue reading →

(163.1) To Count or Not to Count

Wow, down 1.2 pounds from last Thursday. Down 2.9 pounds from the first day of the blog. Not too shabby. I’ve been reading another weight loss blog, One Twenty Five. It’s written by Liz, who has recently regained some weight following a major weight loss and a period of maintenance.  Liz has recently decided to return to counting calories for 30 days to get herself back on track and I’ve been inspired by that idea, as ambivalent as I am about the practice.

Me and calorie counting go way back. Like back to fourth grade. And we have a love/hate relationship. It is, when applied faithfully, the most effective tool for driving my weight down that I have ever used. Back in 2002, I lost 40 pounds in very short order and what I did was count calories, work out like a maniac, and spend hours on this crazy online weight loss chat room/support group I was very into then. It was called “Healthy Planet” and it was intense–there was soap opera level drama going on in there 24-7. I haven’t thought about that in a long time but it was a big part of my life in those days.

Anyway. Back to calories. Continue reading →

(164.3) Veggie Nori Rolls

IMGP4155I work at home, a situation with tons of benefits and pitfalls. One of the best perks is being able to make myself lunch. Some people don’t like cooking for one, but I really do. And one of my favorite lunches for the past year has been veggie nori rolls. If you follow me on instagram (please do; I’m always looking for more people to follow there) you’ve seen some version of this lunch many, many times. I think it makes for a pretty photo.

But veggie nori rolls have more than good looks going for them. They’re packed with veggies and the nori itself is a great addition to my diet. It’s a source of iodine, iron, and vitamin B 12. It has only 5 calories per sheet. And it has a saline flavor with a satisfying, savory depth.  Continue reading →

(164.1) Stitch Fix Review

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The color pink makes me happy.

When it comes to body image, shopping is my biggest challenge. This summer, I wore the same pair of khaki shorts with a T-shirt day after day after day. It’s a vicious cycle: the worse I dress the worse I feel about myself and the worse I feel about myself the less able I am to shop for clothes.

When I heard about Stitch Fix, an online styling and shopping service, I was intrigued but skeptical. This is how the service works: You sign up, complete a profile that covers your size, budgets,  tastes, fabric preferences etc., and then a box arrives at your door with five new items selected for you by a Stitch Fix stylist. You try it all on, and then you decide what you want to keep–as few or as many pieces as you like. There’s a return mailer enclosed and shipping is free both ways. Continue reading →

(165) Meal Plan Monday

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This week’s Whole Foods haul

Obviously, I’m not losing weight. I’m more like just staying the same. I realize that this, in and of itself, is a worthy goal and perhaps a saner one than weight loss, given the grim statistics. And looking at my own life I can see that every time I’ve lost weight I’ve gained it back–plus more. A reality so common it’s cliche. Nonetheless, I’m disappointed and even debating a return to that old trap of calorie counting.

I had a trying weekend. On Sunday night, after doing several prep-ahead cooking projects to set me up for a nice, healthy week ahead, I decided I didn’t want to cook anymore and that we should go out to dinner. I didn’t want it to be a total fat-and-flour fest, though, so we went to a Cambodia place and ate a dinner that was mostly vegetables and meat. Continue reading →

164.3 (10 Foods to Prep This Weekend)

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Step one: Chop all the onions

I read this post by editor Faith Durand over at the The Kitchn a couple months back and, as I’ve been trying to get my own eating patterns back in order, I’ve thought about it a lot. In it, Faith describes the the five things she preps ahead to help her eat healthy during the week. When I read it, I realized that the same is true for me. I stand a much better chance of eating well and avoiding restaurants/take out when I prep up various foods over the weekend so they are ready to go when I want a snack, need lunch, or it’s time to pull dinner together.

I don’t have just five that I usually make; I have more like 10 and I don’t make all of them every weekend. If I do a few of these things, that’s enough to set me up for success, but of course the more I do the better situated I am to stick to the meal plan. Here they are: Continue reading →

164.3

A progress update: I’m one half pound down from last Thursday. That’s a pretty tiny loss, but a loss. I could have gained weight or even stayed the same, but I nudged the needle in the desired direction, even though it’s just a little bit.

When I think about the fact that I want to lose 20 pounds, I feel overwhelmed. It seems like so much (even though of course I realize it’s hardly the biggest weight loss challenge of all time; I know someone who lost 100 pounds). Some moments I feel like I will have to chip away at this for so long to get to a place where I feel good about how I look that it’s not even worth the effort. Continue reading →