The Weekend that Wasn’t – Falling off the wagon and getting back on

“Dammit!”

That was the thought going through my head as I stepped on the scale Monday morning. All of my hard work the last week had resulted in a staggering weight loss of…0.4 pounds.

Okay, I admit it, I blew it this weekend. I had a very active Saturday – I sealed my 100′ long driveway, then I went to help install an exterior door (one of those nice little two-hour jobs that turn into a 6 hour job, along with partially removing the siding and replacing it), and to top it off, I mowed my lawn, front and back. So I thought I could justify some greasy, sloppy Kentucky Fried Chicken for supper, complete with creamy salads and oil-laden french fries. Oh, believe me, it tasted wonderful, but I knew in the back of my mind that I was possibly undoing a whole week’s worth of behaving myself diet-wise.

In truth, I think it was just water retention due to the sheer amount of sodium I consumed in that one single meal (I’m down about another pound since I started upping my water intake again). I think I’ve already written about a mantra that I stole some time ago from Weight Watchers: “It doesn’t matter what you did yesterday, it’s today that matters.”

So I’m back on track. One foot in front of the other. A mug of wonderful green tea in front of me, some cleansing fruits and veggies in my bag for lunch and snacks, and a renewed outlook on my diet journey.

Whether we like to admit it or not, there is a little voice inside of all of us that tries so hard to be heard. It’s your body—it’s telling you what you need to hear most. I’m thirsty. I’m full. I’m tired. I’m sick of junk food. Yet we pretend that we don’t hear it, or we think that our emotions have the authority to override what our bodies have been trying to tell us all our life.

Do yourself a favour. Take just one minute today to listen to your body. Allow your body to talk, and this time listen—listen well.

It just might be the best thing you’ve heard all week.

Breakfast:

1 white tortilla wrap

1 whole egg

2 slices turkey breast

1 slice havarti cheese

1 cup coffee. Black.

Day 4 – Lunch and the perils of emotional eating

Fine! I’ll admit it. I’m an emotional eater. A big struggle in my life has always been to not to turn to food when I’m in need of a pick-me-up. So today I brought a package of Mr. Noodles (Top Ramen, for those of you not familiar with Mr. Noodles), with the full intent of serving it for lunch sans seasoning packet, and lovingly mixed with a serving of peas and carrots to further enhance the nutritional value of the dish.

Nope. It was not to be.

I was having a tough day at work, and I could tell that the emotional eating monster was sneaking up on me: I was continually checking the clock to see if it was lunchtime yet despite the fact that I was not yet hungry. So when noon arrived, I cooked the noodles, dumped in the entire salt and MSG-filled seasoning packet, picked in a handful of chickpeas, gave the peas and carrots a miss, and started wolfing it down in all of its slurpy, saucy goodness.

To my credit, I did eat it with chopsticks, which I use as a tactic to slow down my eating to a reasonable level. However, I still can’t believe that I didn’t take the time to throw in the veggies, which is one of my favourite parts of this dish.

Sigh. I guess the important thing to remember is that tomorrow is always another day. It doesn’t matter what you did yesterday; what’s important is what you do TODAY.

Lunch:

1 packet Mr. Noodles

1/2 cup chickpeas

Snack:

Maple Flax Almond Yogurt:

  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 14 almonds

1 medium Gala Apple

1 medium orange

Day 4 – On breakfast and the first 72 hours

I’ll admit it, I was totally uninspired for breakfast today. Yesterday’s yogurt, flaxseed and honey breakfast was tasty, but left me empty by mid morning. Today I whipped up some eggs for my wife, and decided to make some of my own. I cooked up a one-egg omelette, filled it with chopped roast beef, and topped it all off with a little cheddar cheese. I was in heaven – a perfectly-cooked, fluffy, rich, creamy omelette. I didn’t even add yogurt, salsa, or chili – this simple omelette was good enough to stand on its own.

I’m also trying to cut back the coffee, so this morning I brewed up a pot of nice orange pekoe and enjoyed that instead. There’s something about tea in the morning; coffee is great to give you a boost to get your day started, but a cup of tea is more like a deep breath that calms you before facing the day.

I’m now through the first 72 hours of my new diet. I call this the “headache” period, which is just my body adjusting to the new blood sugar levels and training myself to recognize my hunger signals again. It sucks, and I hate having to go through it, but I know from a decade’s experience of dieting that this is just the price of admission. Day 4 always brings about a new outlook and passion for health – if only I could hold on to that passion for the next 4, 40 , or 400 days.  I was lying in bed last night thinking that doing 365 days of accountable diet blogging would be a nice challenge, but then the logical part of my brain kicked in and said to me “let’s just get through the first seven days, shall we?”

Hmph. Party pooper.

Breakfast:

1 whole egg

3 oz shaved roast beef

1 tbsp cheddar cheese, grated

Day 3 – Dinner (of the Kraft variety)…and fancy drinks afterwards

Wednesday evenings in our house consist of a mad dash to eat supper and run madly off to the swimming pool for the kids’ swimming lessons. So tonight, supper was a quick meal of Kraft Dinner – it’s something that can be cooked, eaten, and cleaned up easily, and the kids will definitely eat it.  While not my favourite main dish, I do think that KD can make a really nice side dish, if you pair it with halved baby tomatoes, some tuna, or some nice feta cheese.

Snacking in the evening is one of my worst qualities – I think that if I could successfully conquer that single problem, I’d be much further ahead with my weight. Last night, my wife was craving some nachos, so I prepped hers with some grated medium cheddar, some home-made bacon bits and some tasty organic salsa. For myself, I chose just a handful of nacho chips and the salsa – no cheese or any other toppings.

The real treat, however, was the drink that I paired it with. A splash of lemon juice in a nice glass, some ice cubes, tap water, a wedge of lime, and a few frozen cranberries made a fantastic looking—and tasting—calorie free cocktail! You truly feel like you are drinking something special, even though it’s just thrown together from stuff you have in the fridge. I just need a name for the drink; any suggestions? “The Diet CranLimon”? Come on, you can do better than that…

Supper:

1 1/2 cups KD

Snack:

12 nacho chips

2 tbsp organic salsa

1 “Diet CranLimon” drink

Day 3 – Breakfast, Lunch and the Benefits of Flaxseed

I’m a big opponent of nutritionism; I’d rather eat a mixture of wholesome foods, than succumb to consuming salmon brains and acorn shells because they contain the “killer” trace nutrients that might result in better health.  However, there are a few foods that I do routinely add to my diet.

Flaxseeds are one of these foods. They have a ton of dietary fibre and a whole lot of omega-3 fatty acids. However, to get the most benefit out of your flaxseed, it needs to be ground, and it needs to be freshly ground. Don’t bother buying those 1-lb bags of milled flax seed that will sit around for months on end – the unsaturated oils in flax seeds start to oxidize and turn rancid as soon as they are exposed to the air.

I use my trusty mortar and pestle to grind my flaxseed so that it is as fresh as I can get it. It only takes about 2 minutes or so to turn two tablespoons of flaxseed into flax meal.  You can pick up a great mortar and pestle at most health food stores. Don’t mash down on the flaxseed as you grind it—a steady circular motion will grind the seeds just fine. Use your fingers or a spoon to toss the seeds once or twice to make sure the seeds get evenly ground.

This morning, I decided to skip the egg white omelette in favour of something a little more on-the-go. I dumped my ground flaxseed on top of some yogurt and topped it all off with honey. Delicious, but a big mistake. By about 9:30am I was hungry again and ended up eating the roast beef sandwich I had brought for lunch. Luckily that held me for a while, but it’s about 3pm, I’m definitely hungry again, and I’m not sure if my snack of carrots and hummus will hold me. I’ll keep my orange in reserve as a backup snack before I leave for the drive home.

And my experience at the movies last night means that I’m craving popcorn again. Damn.

Breakfast:

1/2 cup greek yogurt

2 tbsp freshly ground flaxseed

1 tbsp local unpasteurized honey

(Extremely Early) Lunch:

2 slices whole wheat bread

1 tbsp Miracle Whip

2 tbsp shredded cheddar

4 deli slices roast beef

Snack:

14 almonds

1 medium Gala apple

Day 2 – Supper…and evil theatre concession stands

Leftover pasta – oh, still so good. We had to eat pretty quickly tonight, as we were headed off to the movies to catch the early showing of “The Help”. (Not that we actually GOT tickets for the early show – it sold out pretty quickly. So we ended up going to the late showing instead, after we killed time shopping and chilling in a coffeeshop with a tea and a decaf soy latté.)

Movies are tricky for me – I am a great lover of salt, so it’s pretty hard to resist that oh-so-good movie popcorn. I think I only had about 2 cups worth, so that factors to about, oh 17,000 calories or so. But I did choose Coke Zero for my drink, so that does offset the popcorn calories slightly. Although the aspartame in the cola will likely end up killing me in the long run. Hey, we all pick our battles.

The popcorn combo did include a “to share” Mars bar, which I promptly shared with my wife. So 14,567 calories divided in half is…uh…still a lot of calories.

I think I’m gonna have to work that little snack off over the next few days.

Supper:

1 cup rotini pasta

1/2 cup meat sauce

3 slices garlic cheese bread

Coffeeshop:

Small Second Sup decaf soy latté

Movie Snack:

2 cups ooey-gooey buttered and salted popcorn

1/2 Mars Bar

Coke Zero

(sigh.)

Day 2 – Lunch

Lunch came late today. I was stuck on a conference call well past 1pm, but I did make the interesting discovery that it is possible to crave salad.

I managed to fill the gap by gnawing on some of the almonds that I had stashed in my bag for a snack later on, but I felt like a surreptitious squirrel as I quietly nibbled on my nuts as I held the phone receiver to my ear with my shoulder. It’s ironic, isn’t it – those of us with desk jobs tend to be the poorest eaters, even though most of us are blessed with a office fridge and the flexibility to work our day around our dining habits.

My eating schedule on workdays tends to look like the following:

7:30am – breakfast at home. I used to be the type to bring my breakfast with me to work, but I found that I was waiting far too long to eat and upsetting my eating patterns.

11:30am – lunch at work. I very seldom go out to eat, and if I do, it’s take-out sushi from the place up the road. Gorging on pizza or other junk food is not really in my repertoire, unless we have pizza for a meeting at work (I’ll post on that later!)

1:30pm – usually the snack bug hits at around this point – I can usually squash the hunger with my snack of fruit, until…

3:30pm – this is the trouble zone for me. By this point I’ve usually reached the end of my snacks, and I still have to make it until 5pm. I’m planning to look into getting some protein bars for the office, as they will likely hold me longer than fruit, with an equivalent calorie count.

5:30pm – suppertime at home. Once I get supper into me, I’m pretty much good for the evening—I don’t tend to snack past supper (if I keep to my eating goals!) My trick is to make sure that I get enough water in the evenings. If I keep hydrated, then avoiding the snacks is a breeze.

Lunch:

Almonds (10 maybe?)

Salad – iceberg lettuce, 1/2 chickpeas, 2 tbsp grated cheddar, 3 slices turkey breast, 1/2 carrots, and fat free Italian dressing

Carrots and 2 tbsp hummus

Green tea (Gunpowder, for those of you who know your teas!)

Day 2 – Breakfast

Crazy day again getting the brood out the door. Our oldest took chili for lunch and—lo and behold—there was about two spoonfuls of it left. Perfect to top another egg white omelette along with some more greek yogurt. I’ve got a salad all packed for lunch and I’ll probably bring along a bunch of hummus and veggies. I’m going to try to bulk up on the snacks today to ward off the mid-afternoon hunger that sets in about 3:30. It’s probably best if I stay away from the Rice Krispie squares and chocolate covered granola bars in the cupboard, I suppose…

Breakfast:

2 egg white omelette

2 tbsp chili

2 tbsp greek yogurt

Coffee, black. Served up in my favourite coffee cup of all time.

Day 1 – Supper

Oh, Pasta. My friend and my enemy, all wrapped up into one saucy, noodly package. I managed to restrict myself to one single serving of pasta and sauce last night, and two small pieces of garlic bread. Sigh. Pasta really is my downfall—it’s one of those comfort foods that I’ve loved my whole life.

 

Supper:

1 cup rotini pasta

1/2 cup meat sauce

2 small pieces garlic toast with cheese

1 cup milk

Day 1 – Lunch

Lunch for Day 1 is a yummy combination of leftovers from last night’s supper, and some healthy snack ideas. The chicken is from one of my favourite comfort foods – Chicken In The Pot. It’s a great one-dish meal that everyone seems to enjoy. Check out the recipe for it below. I didn’t add potatoes this time, as we had lots of leftover jasmine rice instead that we reheated and served.

Lunch:

1/2 cup jasmine rice

1/2 cup chickpeas

1/2 chicken breast, skinless (but OMG the skin was sooo tasty last night. Yum.)

Snack:

14 almonds (yes, I counted!)

1 medium apple

1 medium orange

 

And here’s the recipe, as promised.

Chicken in the Pot:

1 cut up whole skin-on chicken (2 thighs, 2 drums, 2 breasts, 2 wings)

1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

1 lb potatoes, peeled and quartered

1/2 lb onions, peeled and quartered

Throw the whole schmozzle into a roasting pan, coat liberally with onion powder, marjoram, paprika, salt and pepper, and bake it for about 45 minutes at 375°F or until the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced. DO NOT add water, or the culinary gods will visit you in the night and revoke your cooking license; adding water will make the dish soggy. There is sufficient water in the chicken and vegetables to cook everything. Trust me. Celery adds a nice flavour to this dish, and if you are a fan of root vegetables, try parsnips or turnip in this recipe as well. You can safely double the veggies in this if you like – you may have to adjust cooking time.