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Thursday, September 20, 2012

What's for Lunch

One week into my diet or die program and I’m down four pounds. Which is pretty fabulous. Unless you consider that I’m actually up one pound from where I was at the beginning of the summer. Sigh. And yesterday was such a crazy day that my lunch was basically trail mix, eaten in a car on a freeway in northern San Diego county and dinner was sugar free banana bread eaten in a car on a freeway in central Orange county. But today is another day and another opportunity to eat lunch.

Here’s a few of my lunch time favorites.

Add 1 1/4 cups of chicken broth to one package of frozen, puréed frozen vegetables. Blend until smooth. Top with grated pepper jack cheese and a dollop of sour cream. Croutons optional.  (Isn’t the color nice?) serves 2 
About 100 calories

Mean Bean Green salad
Top 2 cups of torn greens with 1 cup bean salad, 1 strip of crumbled bacon, a dash of parmesan cheese. Dressing, 1 tsp. Ranch dressing mixed with juice from the bean salad. Feel free to add extra vegetables.
About 150 calories. This is the bean salad I love and use.

Chicken and Apple salad
Top 2 cups torn greens with a grilled chicken breast. Add craisins, a chopped apple or pear, and a strip of bacon.
About 150 calories

Mandarin and Spinach salad
Top 2 cups spinach with ½ cup of mandarin orange sections. Add avocado slices. Sprinkle with slivered almonds. Dressing: juice from orange can, balsamic vinegar and touch of olive oil. Add grilled chicken or shrimp or scallops.
About 100 calories (without meat)

And those are all better choices than this:

160 calories a 1/4 cup

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Exercise Friends with Fur

This is Sandy and Grendal. Grendal and I run on my off gym days and we walk with Nancy and Sandy in the canyon on Saturday mornings. Sandy and Grendal are good friends, but Sandy, by virtue of his size and sex, gets to walk a little ahead of Grendal.

Nancy and I met more than twenty-five years ago when we both lived in Connecticut. She lived in Norwalk and I lived in Darien—about ten minutes apart—but we attended the same church. Back then Nancy and I met at the church to walk because Connecticut winters are darn cold. And wet. We’d leave our children playing with the toys in the nursery and do laps around the halls, peeking in at our children as we passed. (And yes, we had permission and keys, but we didn’t have dogs.) Our children have long outgrown the nursery, and many dogs have come and gone, but Nancy and I continue to walk.

Maybe someday we’ll be doing laps around the halls of a nursing home.

Friday, September 14, 2012

20 Tools for Change

I’m talking about changing your diet, but also, a little, about changing your life. For both, you need to change your habits. First, let’s look at the tools you can buy.

1.  Good exercise clothes and shoes. What this means: shoes that fit well. Socks that last. Bras that do their job and do it well. Shorts/pants that stay where they should and don’t creep into forbidden territory. Clothes that wick sweat. Hair ties.

2.   Sunscreen

3.  Portable motivating music

4.   A tape measure

5.  A journal to record your success

6.  A calorie counter

7.  A food scale

8. Measuring cups

9.  Lots of vegetables

10.  An insulated water bottle

Now here are the things that money can’t buy.

1. Support from people who love you

2. A healthy kitchen free of temptations. (If you happen to be in close quarters with someone who insists on stashing trash, give them their own cupboard or drawer in the fridge. Always use a cuss word when referring to this cupboard or refrigerator drawer. I generally don’t advocate cussing, but in this instance it’s highly recommended. If swearing isn’t your style, you might consider the terms poopy pantry or kakka cupboard.)

3. An exercise buddy (or two)

4. A good night’s sleep and naps when needed

5. A plan for resisting temptation (more on this later)

      6. An action plan (also discussed later)

7. Kind comebacks and retorts for those who try to tempt you or belittle your attempts (Do not be surprised when this happens, because it will. You might be tempted to refer to these people by the same slur you assign to the pantry or cupboard. Don’t do that. Be nice, even when others aren’t as kind.)

8. Dietary know how

9. Recognition of your triggers (more on this)

10. Meal plans


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Diet or Die, Day One

Here's my goal--to lose fifteen pounds by December 15.
Here's the game plan . Eat four 400 calorie (or less) meals a day and burn at least 400 calories exercising.

6:30 a.m. Ran/walked 4 miles. For me, that equals about 400 calories.

 8 a.m. Breakfast - about 170 calories

12:40 Lunch- about 360 calories. The sandwich is a subway club with lots of vegetables,but no mayo, cheese or oil. I missed the cheese.

6:30 p.m. This is our family's dinner, steak fajitas. My family will put theirs in a tortilla shell. I will not. My meal will be about 350 calories.

Add a 340 calorie snack and I have successfully made it through day one. Give or take a few altoids.

1220 calories in, 400 out. I may need a piece of toast, especially since my weight loss tool said I could subtract calories for the two hours I spent cleaning. Hmm...I'm learning.

I'll be talking about tools next, because just like it's important to have the mowers, blowers and trowels when you're gardening, your weightloss will be easier with the right tools. After all, you would never try to mow your lawn with a pair of scissors.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Starting Again

Here's the thing. I started my novel Losing Penny several months ago, but once it was finished and I was thick in the rewrites I realized that there's a tonal shift at about page 200. I dislike tonal shifts. So I got the brilliant idea to rewrite my old novel The Rhyme's Library, which I did. Originally, I spent three years writing The Rhyme's Library, but since it spent many years sitting in a drawer, it needed some dusting off, which I did. The Rhyme's Library once sat on a Penguin's (the publishing house, not the bird) editor's desk for ten whole agonizing months, before it returned to me with a no thank you. It's now available for most electronic readers (a big thank you to all my readers who have enjoyed it.)

The Rhyme's Library diversion worked so well that I decided to resurrect my novel Hailey's Comments, which was a quarter finalist in the Amazon Breakout Novel contest. And guess what? I finished editing Hailey's Comments. I'm going to let it sit while I return to the tonal shift in Losing Penny.

And this coincides with the reality that my son returns home from his two service as a missionary in about three months and wouldn't it be wonderful if I lost the ten pounds I've gained since he left? And since the whole family will be together and I want to have pictures taken wouldn't it be nice if I lost five more, just for the glory? And maybe, if I'm lucky, I could lose five more after that before my birthday in January? Wouldn't losing 20 pounds be an amazing birthday present?

Which brings me back to Losing Penny. When I started the novel, I thought the blog would be a good marketing companion and since I still think that here's what I'm going to do: Every week I'll post recipes and shopping lists. All of the recipes will be less than 400 calories. I'll be using a few of the same recipes Penny uses in the novel. Yes, it's a novel about love and food. Love food and love of food. And learning to love in a healthy way and learning to love healthy food.

Please join me on my weight loss journey and Penny's journey to publication.

I'm so close I can taste it.

(If anyone would like to be a beta reader for Losing Penny and tell me if they notice the tonal shift, or if they find it as annoying as I do, please e-mail me at Here's Penny's blurb, just in case you're interested.)

Penny Lee, a cooking show diva, is delighted when she loses fifty pounds, and horrified when she gains a stalker. To avoid the attention of her most devoted follower, Penny travels to a remote beach house in Rose Arbor, Washington, where she intends to spend the summer compiling her cookbook.
Drake Islington, an English Literature professor with a secret too awful to share, jumps at the chance to spend the summer at a remote beach house where he can write in peace.
When Penny and Drake collide it’s a perfect recipe for a delicious summer until the arrival of Drake’s mom, Penny’s teenage crush, Drake’s old girlfriend and a donkey named Gertrude. Secrets and stalkers heat up the mix and the town of Rose Arbor brews another tale of romance and suspense.