Dieting During Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving dinner

Traditional Thanksgiving

Are you dieting while trying to make it through the holidays? It just seems wrong doesn’t it? Makes me think God has a sense of humor. He gives us all this bounty and if we partake in it we will be “waddling” until next year when we do it all again.

I’m not going to bore you with all the statistics like so many people will gain at least 10 pounds between now and after the New Year, or how many people end up in the hospital every year because they don’t clean all the stuffing out of the turkey before they put it away in the refrigerator. I’m not going to put up a bunch of recipes of food that no one wants to eat because they are so strange, even if they do cut 300 calories off of a traditional side dish.

I’m just going to share with what I do to shave the calories and the fat, but still be able to enjoy all the usual Thanksgiving dinner dishes.

I substitute eggbeaters for everything that calls for eggs. About a 1/4 cup is equal to 1 egg, although some say on the side of the carton to use 1/3 cup for baking. I use Land o’ Lakes fat-free half and half, or Carnation canned skim milk for anything that requires milk. Last but not least I use Country Crock Shedd Spread, or something similar for anything that requires oil or butter.

It is totally amazing how much fat and how many calories you can cut just making these small changes. I haven’t quite gotten the hang of substituting Splenda for sugar, but I’m working on it. I just prefer to experiment sometime other than the holidays with my pies. LOL. Using the items listed above instead of the whole fat stuff works well and no one seems to know the difference if you don’t make the mistake of bragging about it.  The minute you tell someone it’s all “low fat” of course there will be someone who complains or says it doesn’t taste “quite right”. This is one secret you want to keep to yourself.

Back On The Scale At Long Last

This was the mother of all weigh-ins today. LOL. I haven’t had a scale for almost 6 months, but now we moved into a place that had one in the garage, and it seems to work just fine. Especially since I weighed less with all my clothes on than I did the last time I weighed myself necked.  It must be accurate.

Actually now that we’re doing our own cooking and I’m back on fat-free cream cheese, when I use it, and the same for skim milk vs. whole, that alone can make a heck of a difference. We use Shedd Spread instead of butter and the fast food is almost non-existant. Except for pizza, I probably had enough burgers etc. to last me almost a lifetime. It is so nice to have a home cooked meal, knowing that the ingredients are healthy or at least healthier.

Now I need to pick up on a few of the good habits I left behind, like adding flax oil to yogurt for breakfast every day, things like that. It will come. With just moving the budget’s a little tight right now, but it will get better.

If any one else reading this is revisiting the scale for the first time in along time, welcome! We can watch it go DOWN together. LOL

Breaking The Bagel and Cream Cheese Habit

After posting here yesterday I decided to add up all my calories and see how much damage I was actually doing to myself. This morning I skipped the bagel and just went for the raisin bran. I was hungry a lot earlier than I usually am so I will have to see how many calories with the extra snack or two I had, whether to incorporate the bagel back in. LOL

I did switch to the SmartOnes for dinner, so I’ll see how that goes. That should be a no-brainer, I just need to get used to the smaller portions (which is always a good thing).

I still don’t have a scale, so if I actually regain control of myself I guess I will have to be able to feel it in my clothes and see it for now. I guess I wouldn’t be too unhappy if everything worked well and when I finally do get on a scale there was a pretty good size weight loss. LOL

To A Skinny St. Patrick’s Day

Oh no, I didn’t mean me. I meant leaner corned beef. LOL. I know that on the WeightWatchers Rickter Scale (4pts. for 2 oz.) but I don’t care. I have waited a whole year for the price to drop back down to something reasonable, and I’m eating it! I usually buy very lean corned beef, I boil it with the spices for long enough to cook most the rest of the fat off of it, and the rest of the year it jumps back up to about $3.49 a pound vs. $1.59 to $1.79 a pound now. It’s not so much that $3.49 a pound is super expensive, it’s the principle of it.

I have a certain line I rarely cross when it comes to grocery shopping. I just won’t pay over a certain price for certain items. If I can’t get (diet) soda for $2.50 a 12-pack, then we drink water. I did buy eight 8-packs the other day, which up to this point I had refused to buy because I think it’s more grocery trickery, but hey, it was only $1.49 an 8-pack. Who could hold out on that?

I don’t pay $1.00 for tuna when it’s not even albacore. I don’t pay over a dollar a can for chili, or a dollar a box for mac and cheese. My son accused me of being addicted to shopping once because I stock up pretty good when something’s on sale for a decent price. I explained to him how much it irks me to pay full price for something when I know what it costs on sale. Mayo, $4.00 a jar. Ridiculous and now the jars are 2 ozs. less!

So for dinner I will be cooking corned beef, carrots, potatoes, and cabbage. I will fill up basically on the veggies, mainly cabbage at 0 pts. (which at one store is free with the corned beef), a few carrots and a red potato and figure about 10 pts. I know myself too well to think I’ll only have a 2 oz. slice of beef so I’m allowing for 4 ozs.

It could be worse. We could eat big slabs of bacon here like they do in Ireland. LOL

Wednesday Weight Loss Tidbits

On Thursday. I actually gathered this stuff yesterday. I don’t know why it never made it this far, but it didn’t. I thought some of it was interesting enough to share so here it is today.

Did you know?

Research shows LAP band surgery is a cheaper way to fight obesity and diabetes than diets, exercise and other weight-loss methods Tracking 60 obese patients for two years, the study found the lifetime health care costs of gastric banding was $98,900, compared with $101,400 losing weight through conventional methods. Now I don’t know if that included the $6000 to get it done or not, but for the $2500 difference I think I’ll do it the good old fashioned way.

In addition to prevention of diabetes, decreased urinary incontinence may be an additional benefit of weight loss. I know even skinny ladies that wet themselves a little when they sneeze, cough, laugh to hard. I guess they have to figure out their own way to stop. I just need to lose weight. I wonder if this works for stress incontinence too?

The American College of Sports Medicine has release new guidelines for adult exercise. The average adult should get between 150 and 250 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. So what’s that, 2 and a half to 4 hours a week? This exercise should burn between 1200 and 2000 calories per week. This level of exercise, coupled with a reasonable diet, will prevent unwanted weight gain. A greater volume of exercise or more intense exercise will lead to greater weight loss. Duh? Therefore, there is a “dose-response” effect for exercise. Activity levels of less than 150 minutes per week will result in minimal, if any, weight loss. Exercising more than 150 minutes per week will result in mild, 2-3 kg weight loss. Activity of 225 to 400 minutes per week (4 to 6 hrs) will result in 5 th 7.5 kg weight loss. An average of 200 to 300 minutes of exercise per week is needed to maintain weight loss, but more is better when trying to prevent weight re-gain. I don’t know how much a kg is equal to in pounds, but obviously I want less of them.  To me this is a pretty disappointing picture and not very complete, as I do know some exercises are more beneficial than others for less amount of time.

I read an article on dieting that finished with  “make dieting fun” yesterday. I can see making exercise “fun”. Go out and play like you did as a kid at recess, get an exercise buddy, play things you liked to play as a kid (when age isn’t a problem. LOL) but dieting? I don’t see any way to make that fun. As close as I get is trying a new recipe and to me even that’s work. I’m open to suggestions here if any one has any.

We all know beans are a great addition to any diet. They add fiber so they’re filling, loaded with good stuff, usually hardly any fat, etc. Did you know that there is an enormous amount of people who don’t eat beans just because of the “fart factor“?  I have always known they can cause gas, but I never really thought that much about it. Beans contain a sugar called oligosaccharide and we lack the enzyme required to break the sugar down. When the sugar arrives in your lower intestinal tract intact, it ferments, creating a buildup of gas. The gas isn’t absorbed into the intestine, so the body expels it. I had heard once that if you cook a potato with your beans that it absorbs the gas. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but this article says if you soak your beans, the sugar slowly leaches out. It says to change the soaking water a few times to keep the sugar from being reabsorbed. You just need to be sure and rinse them and then rinse them again. It says to rinse after cooking also, but I use that water as the base for my beans because I’ve usually thrown onion and/or garlic into cook with them, so I think I’ll skip that part. I have heard that product “Beano” was pretty good. Anybody try it?

And last but not least, until yesterday I would have said YoChee? WTH? I guess it’s the next big thing coming down the pike for weight loss edge. You take nonfat, plain yogurt and drain it through a cheesecloth or coffee filter for 8-24 hours. Once it’s completely drained of all it’s liquid you can spread it and use it to replace cream cheese, mayo, butter, etc. It’s also supposed to be good for cooking etc. in place of cream. It makes smoother, creamier, whatever. The website is and it’s pretty cool. Has recipes and tells what it is and how to use it. I may actually give this a try. It’s good for up to a week in the frig. I can’t remember if they tell you on the site that you can use cheesecloth or a coffee filter because they have drainers for sale. I picked that up in another article.

Sorry this is so long. I just had so much to share. Anybody else?

Pork Loin and Acorn Squash by WW

Sticking to my plan of cooking more WeightWatchers recipes last night I cooked a pork loin with acorn squash. Pork loin was on sale super cheap if you bought a big one, so I bought one that made about 3  three or four pound roasts. I usually don’t have a special fondness for pork loin because it always seems to come out so dry. This was really nice and there was glaze left in the bottom of the pan to spoon over the pork after it was cooked.

I need to get used to acorn squash again. With this glaze it had just a nice, slight orange and sweet flavor without overpowering it. The BF said it was really good and he knows not to say that if he doesn’t want to eat it again. LOL.

Usually when I do a roast I just sprinkle some tried and true combo of spices out of a jar, but this calls for a little salt, pepper, sage and garlic cloves. Here’s what I did.

  • 3 lb. pork loin roast
  • 1/2 TBLS. salt
  • 1/2 TBLS. fresh ground pepper
  • 4 TBLS. sage
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 6 TBLS. real maple syrup
  • 2 acorn squash, halved and seeded

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a roasting pan with foil. Spray foil with Pam or whatever you use. Rub roast with about 3/4 of your spice mix and garlic. Cook for about 20 min. Take the balance of the mix and rub around the edges of the acorn squash.

Take the pork out of the oven and put the squash, cut side down around the pork in the roasting pan, and shove back in the oven for about 30 min.

Mix the orange juice and maple syrup. Pull the pork and squash out of the oven and turn the squash cut side up. Baste everything with the orange juice and maple mix. Cook 15-20 more minutes or until internal temp of pork reaches about 160 degrees and the squash is done. Baste 2 or 3 more times while finishing the cooking. I finally on the last 5 minutes just poured what I had left all over everything.

Enjoy. If you’re counting points, this is approx. 7 points per serving. I’m open to suggestions if you want to put any in the comments below.

While Little Endorphins Dance In My Head

I thought this would be a great time to write a post, right after exercising! Yeah, I went. I joined the gym last Thurs. While I was there I saw a lady that could have been me. Standing on one of the machines like a treadmill but it has individual places to put your feet, like you’re really walking, trying to figure out how to run the darn thing. I felt sorry for her and knew right away I didn’t want to look like that. The unfortunate thing about a lot of these gyms is unless you’re paying for a personal trainer, you really have to ask for help. Nobody volunteers just because they see you in trouble. LOL.

Since then, Friday I didn’t go because I had a bunch of running around to do. I figure that’s exercise enough. Saturday and Sunday I didn’t go because it’s the weekend and I figured it would be too crowded. Yesterday I didn’t go because I had an early appointment on the other side of the hill, about 30 min. away and that turned out to be an all day excursion. This morning was it!

A business mentor that I follow quite a bit says you need to develop a routine to be more productive and take care of your health. My routine this morning was to not allow myself on the computer until I worked out, for starters. I had 2 cigarettes, a cup and a half of coffee and I was out the door by 7 am.  (I slept in a little today). I wasted some time getting going as I was looking up the routine I have chosen to follow. I needed a little refresher. I made the decision I was not going to be one of those people that pays notto work out. I did the treadmill slow and fast, slow and fast, for about 10 min. and 10 min. of circuit training. I feel like a tigress. grrrrrr. LOL.

WW Mustard Chops

WW Mustard Chops

I’ve also been doing pretty good with my WeightWatchers recipes, but I have discovered I’m quite the “ad libber”. I really don’t like to use oil to cook, especially if something already has a little bit of fat on it. I buy lean chops and usually use the little tiny strip of fat around the edge to grease the pan.

This was from their “Stir it Up: Super Skillet Cookbook”. I’m into “easy” and this certainly was.

You just fry up the chops until browned on both sides. Remove from pan.

Add 1/2 cup chicken broth, 1/4 cup of orange juice, and 2 TBSP dijon mustard. I used spicey brown. My Dijon had expired sometime in 2006. LOL. They also use 1 cup of orange sections. I did that this time, but I don’t know if I will again. I really didn’t care for them cooked.

Stir up everything with the pan drippings of the pork. Put the pork chops back in and finish cooking for 3 or 4 min. You’re set to go.

They were moist and delicious. I thought about serving sweet potatoes with them. I know some recipes for yams or sweet potatoes have orange juice in them also and I thought the flavor would carry through. Instead I did fried potatoes and onions, steamed veggies and applesauce.

WW uses a lot of “pork loin” vs. pork chops, but around here pork loin can get rather expensive so I just use pork chops, but make sure they are really lean or I trim them really lean. 1 average chop above is 5 points.

Last nite I lucked out and Tom cooked. He makes the best pork roast, sauerkraut and mashed potatoes, but he was thumbing through my book and decided to use their recipe which adds apples and apple juice. It was wonderful and the apple didn’t make it too sweet like I was afraid of. Yum, yum. I just have to remember 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes really is enough. LOL

Using Weight Watchers Cookbooks

I have probably over a half dozen WeightWatchers cookbooks starting clear back to the original which I bought when I was 16 ( a whole lot of years ago). When I bought that original book, a lot of the recipes in there were really odd, like cooking cauliflower and blending it for “fake” mashed potatoes. That’s just one memory I can pull off the top of my head, but trust me there were many more. Actually one thing that book did for me was introduce me to a lot of new foods I had never had before and ended up liking. A few years later when my mother was living with me she enjoyed not only some foods she had never had before, but also some dishes using foods she previously didn’t care for. By then I was probably on their 3rd cookbook.

Now WeightWatchers has come so far and while I haven’t kept up with buying every cookbook, I have quite a few. I informed the BF today that I think I’m going to start picking dinners out of one of them every nite. I might as well put them to good use. God knows I paid enough for them (the collection, I mean). So I thought I would take a page out of “365 Days of Crockpotting” and see what I can do. Unlike the crockpot lady, I probably will have “lazy” days where I just cook something I know is ok or whatever, but for the most part I’m looking forward to trying some new food ideas.

They say that one of the dieting downfalls is boredom. Well hell, I get bored with my cooking now! If you could see the collection of recipes and recipe books I have you would wonder how, but I basically always cook the same stuff.  I might as well be one of those “Oh it’s Tuesday we must be having meatloaf” of “Oh it’s Friday we must be having fish” kind of people. (I’m not Catholic but I was raised with the old rules. LOL). I have actually caught myself wishing there was another kind of animal besides just beef, foul, pork or fish.

Thanksgiving’s Over, Or Is It?

I hope everyone had a very enjoyable Thanksgiving filled with food, friends and family! I myself had a wonderful day! As usual, I was not ready on time still cleaning & setting the table right up to the time to take the turkey out of the oven. Once again, if it wasn’t for my absolutely wonderful boyfriend (whose an absolute great cook), I could have never pulled it off. He has also been retrained to cook lowfat and doesn’t seem to mind at all. Maybe that’s because before we got together his favorite saying was “there ain’t no fat chicks sleeping in my bed”. LOL. How disgusting! Maybe I just persued him to shut him up! Sorry. Got off track there for a minute. My point was, it’s to his advantage to cook lower fat and healthier if he doesn’t want me to gain more than I have.

I did good with my eating on Thanksgiving. My daughter made the pies with my lowfat changes, (any body have an idea on how to substitute the sugar? They used to have ‘sugartwin’ that was supposed to be used like real sugar, but I remember the couple of times I tried it, it was really sweet) they came out terrific! I only ate a spoonful of each thing, made fresh asparagus instead of greenbean casserole, and instead of “candied” yams, I just added brown sugar and cinnamon. I was still plenty full and was happy with a tablespoon vs. a cup or half cup of everything.

To me, the real test comes the day after Thanksgiving with the leftovers. While before the big day, I was glad to be having Thanksgiving dinner at our house so I could control the ingredients. After Thanksgiving the leftovers pose a constant threat. Even tho I gave food for company to take home, it was not enough! How much willpower can 1 fat girl have anyway? I made Turkey soup for dinner last nite, and that helps a little. I actually took the time to make an actual stock and everything this time. Pointswise it comes out at 2 for a cup, if that, and was so nice and warm as the nites are getting cooler.

So, while I wait to weigh in, I am still working on making it a “down” Thanksgiving instead of “up”. On this side of the Turkey day, I am thinking that it might have been nice to go somewhere else for Thanksgiving so there weren’t still 2 pies and a dutch oven full of stuffing sitting in my fridge!

I’ve Actually Been Doing ok…

Since coming back from my daughter’s I’ve been doing ok (not great, but ok). My words to her haunt me now, and I find myself making better choices. I’m actually looking at the easier way out and telling myself it can be just as easy to eat properly with all the gadgets I have. So I made homemade chili with 96% fat free ground beef when it was raining. Other than that there’s no fat at all.  I made cornbread, but when I bake I melt a little Shedd Spread instead of using oil, and eggbeaters instead of eggs, which cuts out a lot of fat and calories.  These two tips helped a lot when I decided to make brownies this morning instead of going to the donut shop. I told you I was making better choices! LOL.