Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Master and Commander's

Start Date: Aug 6, 2006 Lost to date: 42 lbs.

As I struggle to whittle off my overnight six-pound Thanksgiving gain, which isn't happening overnight, by the way, I look toward the next social challenge. I figure I'll have recovered from the turkey-day binge by the end of the week, when I have to face brunch at Commander's Palace.

I love Commander's, its antebellum charm, its history, its innovative cuisine, its bread pudding souffle with whiskey sauce--extra sauce on the side, please. The old building on Washington Ave. in New Orleans' Garden District was badly damaged by the winds and rains of Hurricane Katrina. It didn't flood but might as well have, for all the damage it incurred. It took just over a year for it to be renovated and reopened, and this Saturday for the famous jazz brunch will be my first time back since the levees broke and life as we know it changed.

I'm working on my strategy. Turtle soup, thick with cream and a touch of sherry, should be fairly low carb. Salad should be fine. Pick whichever entree has the lowest-carb side dishes attached to it--pork medallions, perhaps, or a blackened fish. Then go ahead and have the bread pudding souffle and be done with it.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Turkey Trot II

Start Date: Aug 6, 2006 Lost to date: 40 lbs.

There once was a girl with a pretty little curl right in the middle of her forehead/And when she was good, she was very very good, and when she was bad she was....

Stuffing herself full on Thanksgiving Day, to the tune of a six-pound overnight weight gain. Making herself absolutely sick as a dog. Eating cornbread dressing till it came out her ears. Single-handedly representing the deadly sins of gluttony followed by sloth.

And then came Friday. Yep, six pounds up, two of which dropped after the ensuing three days. I know that, logically, I could not have gained six pounds eating my 4,200 calories that I diligently entered into Fitday on Thanksgiving. Yet there it is.

Ironically, also on Friday, I went clothes-shopping for the first time since starting this program in August and realized that I had dropped two sizes.

I do wish the next month and its attendant social obligations was over, though.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Snack Traps

Start Date: Aug 6, 2006 Lost to date: 44 lbs.

So, here I am, three and one-half months into my new way of life, and I haven't set any weight-loss records or anything but I'm doing okay by really counting both carbs and calories, counting total carbs instead of net carbs, and sticking with "real" food.

And then, lo and behold, through a contest at Livin La Vida Low Carb, I win a shopping spree at the fine low-carb superstore at Viva Low Carband I discovered that there are lots more low-carb snack foods than when I did Atkins many moons ago. Yesterday, my big box of snacks arrived, and as I looked at my haul I realized I was trying to replicate the binge-snacking of my high-carb days with low-carb binge foods. Let's see, I had some Just the Cheese snack rounds, which thankfully now come in a low-sodium version, and I found myself checking to see what the carb cost of eating the whole bag would be (that answer would be: 4). The whole bag of Texas Cinnamon-flavored pork rinds: 5. I found myself thinking: maybe I CAN count net carbs and not total carbs.

In other words, I found myself on a slippery slope. Having low-carb treats does not mean a carte-blanche pass into low-carb binging. It's time to see if the iron-will self-control I've managed to muster when faced with mountains of high-carb treats can hold over to learning to enjoy low-carb treats in moderation.

I've never been good at moderation, otherwise I wouldn't be in this mess in the first place. But guess there's no time like the present to learn.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Turkey Trot

Start Date: Aug 6, 2006 Lost to date: 44 lbs.

Thanksgiving approaches, and there's a cajun-spice-injected turkey with my name on it about to be slipped into a vat of peanut oil and fried within an inch of its life. I don't know who invented fried turkey, or under what circumstances, but it's a great way to avoid the tasteless, dry bird on national Turkey Day.

I have to confess here that I'm going to set a bad example of low-carbers everywhere on Thanksgiving. I'm not even attempting to stay legal. I'm eating what the family eats, and sending the leftovers packing. On Friday, it's back to the grindstone and hopefully I'll feel gross and bloated enough to make getting back on track easier.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Armies on the Move

Start Date: Aug 6, 2006 Lost to date: 44 lbs.

So, I'm getting my lunch ready to bring with me to work this morning, already dressed and ready to head out the door, when my 81-year-old mom, who lives with me and usually talks first and considers the ramifications later, remarks: "you looked like you moved an army out of those pants."

Huh? Until that moment, I didn't realize that these khakis were all of a sudden seriously too big. I realized they were barely hanging on. When did that happen, and how did I miss it?

I think people who are significantly overweight, either subconsciously or out of habit, stop paying attention to how their clothes fit. If it buttons, it's great. A little baggy? Even better. We defiantly value comfort over style and fit--not because we don't like the way we look, of course, but because we're practical, down-to-earth people and we're above such shallow concerns as style and fit.

Yeah, right. Yet I find myself almost paralyzed at the thought of buying new clothes. I don't know what size to buy. Egads. I might have to actually go to a store and try something on. Oh well, I won't think about that today. I'll just schlep around in my army-moving pants a little while longer.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Drinkin' Man Blues

Start Date: Aug 6, 2006 Lost to date: 40.8 lbs. Still to go: Triple digits

Okay, I'll just admit it right up front--I don't like water. The idea of sitting down to a big old glass of the clear stuff rates right up there with vacuuming and dish washing. It's a chore. While in the past I have told myself beautiful lies about how diet soda counts as water, deep inside I knew it didn't, and besides how much pickling of my innards is all that aspartame doing anyway?

So now we have a new generation of waters, with flavors in them and sweetened with Splenda. I don't really know if they should count as "real" water but they are clear and they aren't carbonated and they don't have formaldehyde-inducing aspartame in them, so I'm counting them.

And counting them, and counting them.

How much water are we really supposed to drink? I heard an ounce for every pound you weight. Well, that ain't happening. I'd float out to sea. So, let's go for an ounce of water for every pound of what I want to weigh. That's still a lot of water, 130 ounces, let's say. That's 8.125 of my 16-ounce bottles of Fruit20. My record so far is three bottles. If I try to drink eight a day, I'll go broke.

That is, if I don't float away first.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

New Milestones, Old Mentality

Start Date: Aug 6, 2006
Lost to date: 40.4 lbs.
Still to go: Triple digits

Finally hit the 40+ mark--yea!! It's funny how, when you have a lot of weight to lose, it takes a long time for people to really notice. No one has, so far, but I can see subtle changes in the shape of an arm, the watchband that's suddenly too loose, and I'm wearing clothes that four months ago I couldn't get into at all. I remember my buddy Jimmy Moore, in chronicling his amazing 180-pound loss in "Living La Vida Low-Carb" (the book), talking about it taking a while for people to notice that he was losing weight.

In a strange way, it's almost easier when no one is paying attention, I think. You're wearing the same clothes--they just fit better. Once people start noticing, then the pressure's on to keep it up. I guess it's that "as long as no one notices I'm losing weight, I could fail without it being so public" mentality that accompanies you when you've failed at diet after diet, year after year.

How do you get past that?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Testing 1-2-3, Testing

Start Date: Aug 6, 2006
Lost to date: 37 lbs.
Still to go: Triple digits

I did one of those "Lifeline" screenings yesterday--you know the ones. You pay $125 or so, and they do ultrasound scans to tell you if you have blocked carotid arteries or osteoporosis or peripheral vascular disease or an aortal aneurysm. I have never had any of those tests before, so I figured, why not? I toyed with the idea of telling them I'd been eating low carb for more than three months but why ruin the day of these robotic techs who make their living traveling from church to school to meeting hall, running ultrasounds on hypochondriacs?

It's actually a good thing to do, though, especially for someone who is overweight and has marginal medical care. Often, I'm afraid, these things go hand in hand. I have only to get within 20 yards of my doctor, who I call "M.D. Lite" behind her back, before she's pulling out the 1,200-calorie low-fat diet sheet. I could wallpaper every room in my house with them. Got a sniffle? Go on a diet! Have an earache? Reduce those calories and cut out that fat! Sheesh.

Anyway, the screeners didn't find anything worth rushing me to a hospital for yesterday so in three weeks I'll get my results in the mail.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Tale of Two Pralines

Start Date: Aug 6, 2006
Lost to date: 37 lbs.
Still to go: Triple digits

Went to a festival this weekend and it was my undoing. I have survived old lady lunches of salad, pot-luck dinners with nothing but a little slab of turkey on my plate, at least five instances of junk food in the office, and more--but here I am, walking around for hours at this craft show, and there's nothing I can eat. They usually at least have alligator on a stick, but not this year. There was shrimp on a stick--battered and fried--and I guess I could have bought it and thrown away the batter. But I didn't. I got a teriyaki chicken shish-kebab, which tasted sweet, sweet, sweet, and ate half of one of those onion blossoms. Later, when I entered it all into Fitday as best I could, I realized it wasn't all that devastating--maybe 40 carbs in all.

Unfortunately, by that time, it was 9 p.m. and I'd also added Popeye's chicken, a biscuit (egads) and two, yes two, pralines to the stack and it was more like 150 carbs.

Which brings me to "all or nothing" thinking. I know this. I know that if you fall off the wagon you minimize the damage and get back on track. I know that you don't say "what the heck, I've eaten x so why not add y and z?"

But there you have it. And I felt yucky and bloated and the pralines weren't even good. So a two -lb. gain, probably a stall, and we shall see. I was extraordinarily good yesterday and am back on track. We'll see how long the fallout from Saturday lasts.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Start Date: Aug 6, 2006
Lost to date: 39 lbs.
Still to go: Triple digits

Okay, so I need a place to rant! So I'm back.

Not exactly burning up the scales, but I've been staying on my low-carb plan despite way too many social obligations--I swear I never had any social obligations before starting this way of eating. Tomorrow is a festival out at the Destrehan Plantation, and I'll be waltzing among such local delicacies as crawfish bread, beignets, onion blossoms and alligator sausage on a stick. Hey, wait! I can eat alligator sausage on a stick.

Sunday will be a Thanksgiving banquet at my church--the dreaded pot luck. I should take my standard low-carb broccoli salad so I'd have something to eat besides a lonely slab of turkey on a plate, but my 81-year-old mom, who lives with me, wants to make a CHOCOLATE CAKE, so who am I to tell her no. I hope everyone scarfs it up so it doesn't come back home with us and I have to look at it all week.

But here's my broccoli salad recipe--it's too yummy!

1 bag shredded broccoli, raw
2-ounce bag of slivered almonds
6 thin slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup cidar vinegar
1/8-1/4 cup Splenda, to taste