The Scale Challenge

I have been so busy these past few weeks, I had to put my blog on the back burner.  I have missed sharing my highs and lows of my weight loss journey.  But life has gotten in the way.  I have been busy at work, which is a very good thing.   I also made a trip to Evanston, Illinois to visit my family.  I always love visiting with my family and this visit was an extra special one for me.

So to let you all know about how I did on my staying off the scale challenge – I failed.  I could not stay away.   I very rarely fail at challenges.  But this challenge hands down got the better of me.  I love my scale at times and sometimes I hate my scale.   But one thing I decided is that  it keeps me in check.  It makes me accountable for what I put in my mouth.  It is a tool and only a tool, just like my measuring cups, food scale and daily points tracker.

Before I went to Evanston, I got on the scale.  The number was the same number it has been for a month.  Oh well.  I had been so good with my eating throughout January.  And my weight would go down a pound and up a pound.  It just had not been going down consistently.  I will admit with the weather being so bad, I did not work out as much as I had been in the past.  So that could be the reason for the no weight loss in January.

Every time I go see my family, it is like a free for all for me.  I love my brothers cooking.  And I eat things that I normally do not eat.  My sister in law had a bowl of chocolate covered cranberries sitting in all its glory on her table.  How dangerous for me to have a bowl of goodies right within my reach.  I tried hard to resist it.  But when that sweet tooth kicked in I found myself reaching for them.  There is so much truth to the saying “out of sight out of mind.”

But I was determined this time not to come back from my family visit to see a higher number on the scale.  And we all ate very healthy.  We ate plenty of fruits, vegetables and lean meats.  I cooked one evening preparing roasted chicken with roasted potatoes and vegetables.  We had a wonderful salad to round out the meal.  And for dessert we enjoyed sorbet.  And the key to eating the sorbet was eating one serving which is a very small half cup.

I did not weigh myself for almost 5 days.  Because one thing I have learned is that there are only two scales that I can count on.  My Withings Scale and my Weight Watcher meeting scale.  These scales are very consistent.  I trust them.  And I weigh myself wearing the same thing and at the same time of day.

When I came back from my visit, I hopped on the scale and I had lost one pound.  I was elated.  I had been very good with my eating.  But when you are visiting people you are really at the mercy of what they are eating.  I just made sure that I kept track of my points.  Unfortunately, I did nothing in the way of exercise.  There was three feet of snow on the ground in Evanston and I used that as a good excuse to not get my walk in.  Excuses-excuses.

So for today, I am looking at my scale not as a demon nor as a friend.  I am looking at the scale as only a tool.

Happy Birthday To You

Today, my mother would have been 101 years old.  I remember her birthday every year and on her birthday I always say a short prayer thanking her for being my mom.  I still miss her and think about her all the time.  She was a great person and my best friend.  She died in 1988.  I can’t believe she has been gone for over 26 years.

I do not want this post to be sad.  Because I am not sad.  Yes, I do miss her.  She was my best friend.  I talked to her or was with her every day, especially the last 5 years of her life.  So when she died, there was a big void in my life.  But life marches on.  The hurt and pain have lessened and today I want to share some fond memories of her.

Since this is my weight loss blog, my memories  are going to evolve around food and exercise.

My mom was very small and lean.  She was 5 foot 2 and maintained her weight at 114 pounds for most of her life.   I think she was at one time 5 foot 3 but as she aged her body shrank.  She was definitely not a curvy woman.  More of a  straight up and down kind of person.  A boyish figure.

We lived in Evanston, Illinois – home to Northwestern University.  Our house was three blocks from the University and Lake Michigan.  We had a great downtown filled with stores for shopping such as Marshall Fields, Lyttons, Weiboldts, Rothschilds, Wally Reids and the 5 and Dime.  Those were great stores back in the day.  My mom and I spent many hours together, shopping for that special item at many of those stores.  My mom loved to shop.  I would always tire of it because of all the walking.  But my mom was like the Eveready Bunny.  She never slowed down.

So how did my mom stay so thin?  She never dieted.  NEVER!   Now looking back on it she never snacked, ate very little and was extremely active.  My mom loved her lawn. She cut the grass, watered the grass, raked and weeded.  She cleaned the house and did the laundry.  She was moving constantly.  Looking back on it now, there were only a few times during the day that I actually saw my mom sit.

And my mom ate very little.  For breakfast she would have one slice of bread with butter and a cup of coffee.  She would also have orange juice.  A VERY, VERY SMALL GLASS.  I am sure it was no more than 4 ounces.  On Sunday’s, she would treat herself with a very small piece of coffee cake. For lunch, it was usually a half a sandwich.  Before her dinner, my parents would snack on a very small bowl of nuts or a very small bowl of potato chips.  AND THEY NEVER REFILLED THE BOWL!  Her drink of choice was a vodka martini.   Only one.  For dinner she would have whatever my dad cooked which was always a meat, vegetable and a salad.  Sometimes a potato or a piece of French Bread were included.    My mom also loved chocolate.  She would have ONE chocolate as a treat in the evening.

So that is why my mom was thin.  She ate little and moved a lot.  Don’t we as children learn from example?  Obviously not.  I sure missed that example.  My mom very rarely splurged.  And when she did splurge, her splurge was definitely different than my splurge.  She was a great baker.  I loved her chocolate chip cookies.   My mom would splurge and eat one. I would splurge and eat several.   I remember her fudge during the holidays.  My mom would splurge and eat one.  I would splurge and eat – let’s just say – definitely more than one.  Her pies and cakes were to die for.  Again, she would  splurge on a very small slice of that pie or cake and my splurge would be a huge piece that filled and overflowed my plate.

Evanston had a great transportation system.  There was the “L” and the bus.  Both were within a block from our house.  My family had one car so we all got very familiar with public transportation.  I used the public transportation.  I did not like walking.  My mom very rarely used the car or public transportation.  She walked.  She walked downtown,  walked to work, walked to church and walked to the movies.  She walked everywhere and sometimes for miles.  The only time I remember her in the car is when she was driving me somewhere.

My mom loved to dance.  She and my dad danced beautifully together.  Again, a trait I did not pick up on.  She would dance the Charelston to make us laugh.  And laugh we did.  She played with us.  I remember our baseball games in the back yard.  She was so quick and athletic.  She was a swimmer in her youth.  But for some reason I never picked up on her athleticism.  It just was not for me.  My mom tried to encourage me to be active.  But I just was not into sports or activity.

My mom was very supportive of me throughout my life.  She never criticized me for being overweight.  She supported me with every diet I tried.  When I was dieting in high school she always provided me with wholesome food.  Fruits, vegetables and lean meats.  She always made sure I would have a Weight Watcher breakfast ready for me to eat in high school.  And she always made my lunch.  When I was in college, she was my biggest weight loss cheerleader.  Again,  she always encouraged me.   

She never saw me at my heaviest but I know she would not have said anything.  She only would have been supportive of me.  My mom always loved me for who I was.  Not who I would become.  My mom was always proud of me – fat or thin.  She did not let my weight define me.  She always let me know that I had a lot of great qualities.  I always felt loved by her.  I have wonderful memories of my mother and will forever be grateful for them.    I am thankful for all that she gave me.

Happy Birthday Mom.

Christmas Success

What a successful Christmas! I survived it. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year with all the traditions, Christmas carols, food, drink, friends and family. I decided this Christmas not to worry about my eating, drinking and working out. I decided that this week was going to be stressful enough without putting any added pressure on myself. I am going to enjoy some favorite foods and some wine.  And if I can work out and run, that will be an added bonus.

Christmas Eve is always a special time for me.  I look forward to this day all year long.  I can always count on my family being together for this festive evening.  This year I decided to  make a Camastro traditional Italian dinner.  We started out with appetizers from Viviano’s Market with salami, prosciutto, three different kinds of olives and an assortment of cheeses. We also had toasted ravioli with homemade meat sauce. The dinner was rovallini which is a breaded swiss steak simmered for several hours in a marinara sauce. We had mashed potatoes and Italian bread. Our vegetables were roasted brussell sprouts and peas. Both vegetables were sauteed in olive oil, garlic and onions. And my dinners are never complete without a tossed salad with olive oil and vinegar. Our dinner was accompanied by Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. For dessert we had Bailey’s Irish cream liqueur, Christmas cookies and my favorite, peppermint ice cream. It was so delicious. And I enjoyed every morsel that went into my mouth.

I did go into the holidays with a plan.  I decided that I would bake the cookies, eat a few and throw out the rest. Which I did. I also will be freezing all the leftover Rovallini for later dinners. Rovallini is definitely not a low calorie meal. And I know John will enjoy the future meals. The bread will be eaten not by me. I enjoyed the bread on Christmas Eve but for now I can do without it. The meat sauce will also make it’s way to the freezer for future meals. I am actually looking forward to Spaghetti Squash with my tasty meat sauce.

The gift giving is always the highlight of the evening. I got some presents that will definitely help me in my future workouts. I received a kettle bell and I just can’t wait to try it out. You tube is filled with kettle bell workouts. I also got some ear buds for when I run. These buds will not fall out of my ears because they lock into your ears.  I also got a head band made for runners that is thin but will keep my ears warm. I got a darling ornament of a girl runner. Who would have thought that I would receive a workout anything. And my favorite gift was a collage with my Turkey Trot running number and favorite photos. It made me cry.  The gift was so thoughtful.

And I gave myself the best gift of all. I have lost so far 43 pounds.  And my doctor took me off of   my blood pressure medicine.   So I definitely think the Christmas of 2013 was a total success.

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Christmas Tradition

Christmas Cookies

Every Christmas the grandkids come over, spend the night and help me bake dozens of cookies.  I started this tradition years ago with my oldest grandchild Cameron.  And he is now 15.   Each grandchild got to choose what cookie to make.  Hadley chose chocolate chip cookies, Timothy chose sugar cookies and Cameron chose Reeses Peanut Butter cookies.  Cameron was in charge of the dry goods and Hadley and Timothy helped with the butter and eggs.  After a few hours of baking and several dozen cookies later, we all settled down in front of the fireplace to watch our favorite movie, Elf.

So let’s talk cookies.  How can anyone make cookies without licking off the dough from ones fingers.  And cookie dough is so delicious. So I put a wet rag right by the bowl and continually wiped my hands so the batter would not stick to my fingers.  I really am too old to lick the spoon and bowl, so my middle grandson Timothy took care of that.   So mission accomplished with not eating the cookie dough.

How can anyone make dozens of cookies and not eat any?  And does eating a broken piece of a cookie count?  Certainly, a taste of a cookie will not hurt.  That question kept going over and over in my mind while looking at the cookies.  So what I did was break a cookie in half.  I gave one half to my grandson and I ate the other half.  And it was absolutely delicious.  I savored that delicious morsel in my mouth.  I could taste the butter.  I love crunchy cookies and these cookies had just the right amount of crunch.

Now, what am I going to do with the rest of the cookies?  I brought some to a family Christmas Party.  And I gave some to the grandkids.  I will keep some for Christmas Eve dessert for our traditional family dinner with the kids and grandkids.   What does not get eaten on Christmas Eve will be given away to anyone that would like them.  And what is left over will go directly into the trash.

Now, one might ask why when I am still on my quest to lose weight, would I put myself in front of such temptation?  Why did I make friends with the devil?  I absolutely love cookies.  I can stay away from most sweets but crunchy buttery cookies is my downfall.  I used to make cookies for our clients at the studio but I would end up eating them.  And my rear end got bigger.  So now we have chocolates and I can very easily stay away  from them.

So now I look at the several platters of cookies on my table and say is it worth eating one?  One home made cookie has 2 points.  Not a big deal.  But the question is, can I just eat just one?  Some days yes.  But most days no.  So for today I am not going to have a cookie.  I may eat one later.  But for right now I am going to take a pass.

So getting back to making a deal with the devil?  If cookies are so tempting for me to eat, why do I make them with my grandchildren?  That’s a simple answer.  Because they like making cookies.  It is a wonderful activity that we can do together.  It is a time to bond.  I truly believe that they will remember this special time with me.  They will remember this pre Christmas tradition.  I have been doing this tradition for so many years, I don’t want to stop it because I have a problem with cookies.  I would rather keep this tradition and show some self restraint than give it up.  And don’t thin grandma’s make cookies with their grandkids?

Thin Grandma’s don’t lick the cookie dough off of the spoon.  They don’t lick the bowl.  And they may taste a cookie but they do not eat ALL of the cookies.   That is why they are thin.  I am now a thin (or thinner) grandma.  I am going to act like a thin grandma.  I am going to enjoy the act of baking cookies with my grandchildren and not the act of eating ALL the cookies.

Fat or thin, Christmas traditions are not meant to be broken.  This is one Christmas tradition I hope to keep for a very long time.  I do love eating cookies but I love being with my grandchildren as a thin grandma better.

Webster/Kirkwood Turkey Day Run

Yesterday was the Webster/Kirkwood Turkey Day Run, put on by Big River Running.  This run is a tradition between two rival towns.  We lived in Webster Groves for 18 years and all of our kids went to Webster Groves High School.  So I am definitely a Webster fan.  4,000 runners participated in this run on a very cold Thanksgiving morning.

If you want to know how I got roped into this run you can read this past blog.  It explains how my daughter, Maria, for my birthday present signed me up for this race.

I was so nervous before the race.  I was pretty sure I could run the six miles.  I was just not sure I could run the whole way.  I was definitely confident that I would finish the race.  And when we arrived there were so many runners there.  My son Kevin joined Maria and me in the race.  And my sister, brother in law and husband were there to cheer us on.  And then Kevin’s wife and daughter arrived.  I knew this was going to be a great morning.  I was nervous but with all this support around me I was totally pumped.

And then I started to look around at the runners.  I always seem to compare my body to others. Was I the fattest runner out there?  Nope, definitely not this year.  My body actually blended in with the other runners.  I mentioned that to my son Kevin and he said “Mom, you got to quit saying that about being the biggest one.  Because you aren’t anymore.”  What a sweetheart!  So then I started to look at the runners again.  I definitely saw that I was one of the older runners there.  And that made me feel very proud.  I was so proud that at my age I was out doing an activity that I never thought I would be able to do.

The race started and Kevin, my very fit son,  who plays basketball every morning and my fitter than fit daughter who works out and runs everyday ran right beside me.  They never left my side.  We started with a decent pace.  And I was able to keep up with them.  But when we got to the three mile mark I was really starting to get winded.  There were a lot of hills.   Maria and Kevin kept encouraging me.  I tried to let my mind wander and not think about what I was doing.  I imagined my grandchildren at the end of the race and cheering me on.  “Come on Grandma, you can do it.”  That thought calmed me down and gave me new energy.

And then Kevin said “Mom we are at the end.  The finish line is right over there.”  That really gave me a renewed energy and then I saw a group of young children holding up signs.  And I thought how cute.  It said “Grandma your number 1.”  And then I saw that they were my grandchildren.   I was so overwhelmed and excited!  I had no idea that they would come out on such a cold morning to cheer us on.  Maria’s husband also came out.  My daughter in law, sister and brother in law and grandchildren were cheering us on.  I was really feeling the love.

It was a great feeling to cross that finish line.  And then I saw my husband  waiting for me.  And I could not have been happier.  He has been so supportive.  And to have two of my children right by my side crossing that finish line made for a very memorable day.

And were off

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The best feeling ever – crossing the finish line!

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My husband-the photographer.

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My support group.

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A time was texted to my husbands phone.

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A Lesson Learned

I went for a visit to Evanston, Illinois for a short visit with my sister and brother in law.   I had a fabulous time.  Before arriving I was a bit nervous.  I always gain weight when I go off of my Weight Watcher’s program.  And I knew I would not be sticking to it 100%.  I wanted to try a week living like a normal thin person.  I wanted to just put Weight Watchers on the side and not think about it.   So I did not record my points.  But I was careful with what I ate.  My goal for the week was just not to gain any weight.

I packed some healthy choices for the very long train ride there.  I had my bottle of water, a thermos of coffee, yogurt with frozen strawberries and fruit.  I survived my first trek of the trip.  I was hungry getting off of the train but not ravenous.  I knew my sister was preparing a lunch upon my arrival and I looked forward to whatever she was preparing.

Let me preface this with a history of what I eat for my lunch.  I fill a large bowl with mixed salad greens, chop up an apple (a very large one), add 3 ounces of tuna and top it off with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and vinegar.  It is a huge bowl of food.  And I eat the whole thing.  It is a 4 point lunch.  And it fills me up and I am satisfied until dinner.

For lunch, my sister made a bowl full of fresh spinach, added some feta cheese and walnuts.  She also cooked fresh beets which were delicious.  And that was lunch.  The bowl of salad was smaller than what I eat for my lunch and it had to be divided among all three of us. (My brother-in-law was also there).   I really got nervous.  I was very hungry at this time and I knew this small plate of greens would not fill me up.  I really do not like to be hungry.  It does not settle well with my mood.  But keep in mind that my sister (Rose) is very tiny (actually a normal size) and my brother-in-law  (David) definitely does not have a weight problem.

And we started to eat.  Again, my goal this week was not to gain any weight.  And I wanted to eat like a normal thin person.  I usually scarf my food down.  I am a very fast eater and I am trying to slow down.  So this lunch was going to be my first challenge.  I attempted to eat the small salad (now in a normal person’s world the salad was a substantial portion) very slowly.  I watched Rose and David eat.  They ate very slowly.  They put their fork down in between bites.  They sipped wine.  Yes, we had wine at lunch.  And they conversed.  I kept looking at my plate and the food was disappearing very quickly.  I was soon done with my meal and still not satisfied.  I was not hungry.  Just not satisfied.

Rose and David still had plenty of food on their plates.  They were enjoying their lunch.  They were savoring every bite.  And that was my first lesson of the week.  This is how thin (or normal) people eat. They ENJOY EVERY MORSEL,  they SLOW DOWN, and they BREATH between bites.

The five days that I was there, went exactly the same way.  Don’t get me wrong.  There was plenty of food.  More than enough.  But I am so used to weighing and measuring my food and making small amounts of food look and feel VERY LARGE.  I was determined to eat like a thin person.

And then there were nuts before dinner.  I always have pistachios (in shell) before my dinner.  I diligently count out my nuts.  Sometimes I have 20, 30 or 40 pistachios depending how many extra points I am allowed for the day.  Rose put out two (very small) bowls of nuts (almonds and walnuts).  I could not stop eating them.  I knew I was eating too many.  But I was VERY HUNGRY. Or I thought I was hungry.  I looked over at Rose and David picking at the nuts before them.  SON OF A GUN!!!!  They were diligently selecting one at a time AND CHEWING, CHEWING AND CHEWING!!!   I was amazed.  My (very small bowl) was completely empty and their bowl (the same size bowl of nuts) had plenty of nuts in them.  My oh my.  Another lesson learned from normal, thin people.  SAVOR THE NUTS.

The bottom line here is I learned a lot with my visit to normal, thin people.  They savor their food.  They enjoy their food.  They sip wine.  They do not gulp wine.   They do not swallow their food whole.  They chew their food.  They chew, chew and chew some more.  They converse during a meal.  And I will say, they enjoy their food.  BECAUSE THEY TASTE THEIR FOOD!  THEY DO NOT SWALLOW THEIR FOOD WHOLE.

I learned this week from two wonderful people that I love dearly.  They had no idea they were inspiring me.  And the best thing is that I am a quick learner.  I learned through example how to eat a bit slower and savor my food.  I learned how to chew my food and not swallow my food whole.  I learned how to SLOW DOWN while eating.

And the best gift of this week is that I lost 1.4 pounds for a total weight loss of 40 pounds.

I love learning new lessons.

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A photo of my sister and me.

Salt, Pepper and Garlic

For all of you that really know me well, I am not the best cook.  Salt, Pepper, Garlic.  Those are my main ingredients in EVERYTHING I cook.  I am not a terrible cook.  I am just a plain and simple cook.  I cook every night.  Usually a lean meat, a vegetable and a salad.  I may splurge and bake a sweet potato for me and a russet potato for John.  And if I am really on a roll I will not microwave them but bake them in the oven.  You would never expect that I came from a family of chefs.

My father owned an Italian Restaurant in Evanston, Illinois called Michelini’s.  In my opinion it had the best Italian food anywhere.  On Sunday’s (his only day off) he would home cook a family meal that still to this day makes my mouth water.  All Sunday meals had several courses.  The first course was always a pasta dish.  My favorite was rigatoni with the best tomato – meat sauce.  This delectable meat sauce had just the right amount of everything in it.  Onions, garlic, tomatoes and meat.  The next course was the main dish which was usually roast beef cooked to perfection (always on the rare side) with a thick dark brown gravy.  It was always accompanied by the creamiest mashed potatoes.  Our vegetables were sautéed broccolli ladened with garlic  and olive oil and  a  tossed salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing.  A loaf of crunchy french bread and butter always completed a Camastro meal.

My mother on the other hand could not cook.  She did not need to since my father did all of the cooking.  But what she did was bake.   She made the best Chocolate Chip cookies that were so crunchy.  I love crunchy cookies. She baked a lemon crisp cake that accompanied most of our Sunday dinners – because it was a light dessert.  Fudge was always a holiday treat. And she baked the best biscotti.  I am not that fond of biscotti because the cookie is not sweet enough for me.  But I will say the almond and anise flavor were delightful.  My sister, Rose, has carried on the biscotti tradition.

My brother’s Paul and Carl joined my father in the restaurant.  The two of them are also amazing chefs.  I love it when they come to St. Louis to visit because I always make them cook.  They just seem to throw things together and magically an incredible, delicious meal is presented.  We are not talking low calorie meals either.  They use the real deal.  Real butter, real cheese, real bread – you get my drift.  Everything they cook is absolutely delicious.  

My nephew, Timothy, owner of Rollin to Go in Evanston, Illinois (the best sandwich shop) is also a chef.  He makes the best sandwiches anywhere.  My favorite is the Portabella on Ciabatta.  I do not know why Diners, Dives and Drive Ins has not found out about him.

And we get back to me.  I tend not to follow directions (a life long problem) and I season through tasting.  Most of the times I do not measure the ingredients.  I just shake or throw in the spice until it looks or tastes right.  One can never go wrong with Salt, Pepper and Garlic.

I will be adding my favorite weekly recipes to my blog.   I have found these recipes in the Weight Watcher web site and other Healthy Living sites.   I am not taking credit for any of these recipes.  I will always give credit to the chef.   Because you and I know that the chef is not me.

My first recipe is the best “FRIED CHICKEN”.  I love this web site LaLoosh  It is chalk full of healthy recipes that are all Weight Watcher friendly.

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Buttermilk Ranch Fried Chicken   

Just because you are a weight watcher doesn’t mean you have to give up the good foods. The trick is just finding healthier, low calorie, low point total versions of your fattening favorites. And this Buttermilk Ranch Fried Chicken Recipe will be sure to satisfy your craving for fried chicken, but will use up only 6 of your daily points. We all know that traditional fried chicken recipes are loaded with fat and calories giving them very high Weight Watchers Points Values. I’ve seen some as high at 16 Points for ONE piece of chicken! Crazy. Instead, try this version, and you’ll be in fried chicken heaven. The key is that this Ranch Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe is not actually fried – it’s baked. But trust me when I tell you that this chicken is so yummy, you won’t miss the grease! And though it’s not an official one of Weight Watchers Chicken Recipes, it’s still a great meal idea for anyone who wants to enjoy tasty food at a lower calorie count.

Buttermilk Ranch Fried Chicken Recipe

Ingredients:
– 12 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
– 2/3 cup reduced-fat buttermilk
– 1/3 cup Fiber One bran Cereal
– 1 packet Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix
– 1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
– 1 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp black pepper
– 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
– non fat cooking spray, butter flavored

Directions:
In a Tupperware container, or large Ziploc bag, mix the buttermilk, salt, pepper and dried parsley flakes. Add the chicken, and coat it well. Refrigerate overnight or at least 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly coat a large baking sheet with the butter flavored nonstick, non-fat cooking spray. In a food processor or blender, and grind the Fiber One cereal to a breadcrumb-like consistency. Pour the crumb mixture into a large bowl and add in the Panko bread crumbs and Ranch Salad Seasoning Mix. Remove each individual piece of chicken from the buttermilk, and dip it into the crumb/seasoning mixture. Make sure to coat each piece thoroughly. Lay each coated piece on the baking sheet. Give them all a quick once over spray with the butter flavored non-fat cooking spray. Bake for about 1-12 minutes on each side, or until the edges are crispy.

Entire recipe makes 2 servings
Each serving = 6 Point Total

photo credit: Food Network

LISA’S TAKE   This is by far one of my favorite chicken recipes.  My husband also loves it.  I also used this recipes with chicken thighs but that adds more points.
Read more: http://www.laaloosh.com/2010/01/13/buttermilk-ranch-fried-chicken-recipe/#ixzz2jIX3gcq3

Bites, Licks and Tastes

Bites, Licks and Tastes – better known as BLT’s can bring you down.  The calories and points can be deadly.  One is so unaware when you just take a taste.  Lick’s can add up.  And I have a very big bite.  I made chili on Saturday for our dinner on Sunday.  I know I tasted that huge pot several times.  I am sure I had a full bowl while preparing it.  I also made cupcakes for Sunday and I did lick the batter.   We had all the kids and grandkids over on Sunday for dinner.  And that was after a full day at Eckerts picking delicious – healthy – good for you – apples.

It was a beautiful day on Sunday.  The air was crisp and it was so sunny.  It was a perfect day for apple picking.  And my favorite kind.  Fuji apples.  It was so much fun.  Most of the family went.  After we were done with apple picking, I suggested we get some home made custard ice cream.  Eckerts has wonderful custard – almost as good as Ted Drewes.   I savored every spoonful. I knew the custard would add up several points and calories but I was ok with it. I would just add them into my daily tally.

When we got home my son started making apple pie.  My other son brought some cannolli’s from the best bakery in town.  My husband made the corn bread and I cut up the vegetables.  The chili was simmering on the stove.  And the wine was being poured.  The dinner was served.  I was still fine with my eating.  I was still calculating my calories and points.

And then came the dessert.  There were cupcakes, apple pie and cannollis.  And for some reason my hand kept reaching for the delectable morsels.  Bites, Tastes and Licks.  I never ate a full piece of anything.  I just kept tasting.

The Canolli was delicious.   It had the creamiest filling and the crunchiest, flakiest crust. It was definitely worth the extra calories and extra points.  The apple pie was delicious.  You would think that I was on an eating marathon.  It had been so long since I had any of these delectables to eat that when they were put before me on Sunday I went a little hog wild.   Yes I was a piglet.  I normally have better will power than what I showed on Sunday.  I can usually pass up sweets.  But on Sunday I just could not say no.  It just had been too long since I had any sugary treats.

And it showed up at my weigh in at my weekly Weight Watcher meeting yesterday morning.  I gained one full pound.  But that is ok.  I am on this journey for the rest of my life.  And the BLT’s were very satisfying.  I just will not do that nonsense this week

I did have a very good eating week.  I just fell off the food wagon on Sunday.  What I did do very well this week was my activities.  I got in 6 days of great aerobic exercise.

Tuesday – Calories 1,029 • WW points 27 • Exercise –  Walked 25 minutes

Wednesday – Calories 1,256 • WW points 28 • Exercise –  Ran 3.2 miles (without stopping) and walked 10 minutes

Thursday – Calories 1,223 • WW points 21 • Exercise –  Walked 50 minutes

Friday – Calories 1,522 • WW points 36 •Exercise –  Ran (without stopping) 3.2 miles and Walk/Ran 2.8 miles

Saturday – Calories 1,399 – WW points 28 • Exercise – Ran/walked 4 miles

Sunday – I attempted to count my calories and points but lost track with all the Bites, Licks and Tastes.  Exercise – Day of rest – but picked  a lot of apples at Eckerts

Monday – Calories 1,207- WW points 26 • Exercise – Walked 40 minutes

One thing that I have to remember with my journey is that this is forever.  Do I want to go through my life never being able to eat a delicious high calorie morsel?  No I do not.  But one thing I know I can do better.  I can plan for it.  I did look up the points and calories of the peach custard before eating it.  And I did figure it into my daily tally.  But when my son brought over the cannolli’s and my other son made fresh apple pie.  I knew I was doomed.

So before I go on a Bites, Tastes and Lick’s marathon, I will be more aware.  I will choose one item to enjoy.   And I will take my time eating it and savoring every morsel.  I will not Bite, Taste or Lick it.  I will eat it.  I will enjoy it.

Family Pics from Eckerts

photo-3 Kevin and Hadley and Paul and Timothy

photo-5 The family minus me

photo-6Timothy photographing Paul and Sarah

Vacation Dieting

We just got home from the best vacation ever. We went to Evanston, IL for a full week visiting family. We also spent 3 days in Michigan for a family wedding. But I digress.

My total weight loss for this past year on Weight Watchers has been 39 pounds (on my scale and 36 on the Weight Watcher scale). I was almost perfect with tracking every day and keeping within my 26 points. I exercised most days (mainly walking) and not too often did I eat my extra points (49 for the week and then you could tap into your exercise points, which I never did). I was not the “Biggest Loser” by any stretch. But I was consistent with small weight losses every week. I have decided that my weight loss is the result of a healthier life style. This is NOT a diet. This is my new life.

Back to the vacation and wedding.

I did not track my points for 11 days while on vacation. I took a vacation from my new lifestyle. I ate foods that I have not eaten in a year – and enjoyed every morsel. At the wedding I enjoyed delicious appetizer bruschetta thingies. I ate the best dinner and licked my plate. And had 3 delicious glasses of wine. I took a nose dive into the dessert tray. I have never eaten such delectable morsels of sweetness before. And I am not a dessert eater. But the small little cakes were absolutely delicious and irresistible.

I ate home cooked potato chips from my nephew’s deli – Rollin to Go – and had the best Portabella sandwich that I get every time I go there – once a year. It had big fat mushrooms with a sauce that would dribble down your chin. This mound of goodness was layered between crusty Ciabatta bread.

We went out to dinner and had Mexican, Cajun and Italian. I had chips with salsa and bread with butter. I had rice and it was very white. I ate pizza. We went to the movies and yes I had popcorn. And I drank wine every night.

But I did walk my 10,000 steps plus every day. I walked to the beach and all around Northwestern’s campus. We went into downtown Chicago via the Metra and walked to the Art Museum bringing in over 20,000 steps. I walked all over Evanston which was more fun than exercise. I was a walking machine and loved every minute of it.

And now I have to face the scale………I just did and I think my scale is broken. The first time I got on I gained 1.2 pounds. I did not think that was right and I got on again. I gained 2.4 pounds. I got off and on a 3rd time and I gained 1.2 pounds. I could do that all day. So I will average it out and I gained 1.8 pounds. Not bad for all the eating I did.

Today starts the beginning of my 2nd year enjoying a healthier lifestyle.

To be continued….

My Fat Upbringing

Today is a very exciting day for me.  This is my first official blog for my weight loss journey.  So to start off, I will tell you about myself.  I am 100% Italian and grew up in the typical Italian family that food was everything.  My father owned an Italian restaurant – Michelini’s – in Evanston, Illinois.  His specialty dishes were Italian Beef and Italian Sausage sandwiches on the best Italian bread.  And always with a side of heaping french fries.   Michelini’s had the best Spaghetti, Lasagna, Steaks and to die for Fried Chicken.  Friday’s special (I was raised Catholic) included Fried Shrimp that were huge and came with a side of fries and creamy thick tartar sauce.

The deserts were even better.  They had a chocolate cake that was thick with a delicious creamy frosting and was only complete with a huge scoop of French Vanilla Ice Cream.  My other favorite dessert was his famous Rice Pudding.  Which on many occasions I dove head first into a freshly made batch.  And the bread was to die for.  I could sit and eat a whole loaf of bread dipped in soft creamy butter.

So I guess you can blame my parents for making me fat.  But they themselves were not heavy.  My father had a small poochy stomach but he was also very short.  I think on his tallest day he might have been 5 foot.  My mom was a couple of inches taller at 5 foot 2 inches and may have weighed at her heaviest 114 pounds.  Go figure.

I was always chubby.  I wore Chubbettes as a young girl.  And then at some point (after many chants from the mean kids “Fatty fatty two by four” and you know the rest of the chant), I figured I was not a normal kid.  I was a fat kid.  Not excessively fat.   But I was fatter than my classmates.  And maybe I should do something about it.

And the crash dieting started when I was in 4th grade.  Metracal (nasty cookies that replaced a meal), eggs only, starvation, 1000 calories, no bread, no pasta, lots of fruit and vegetables, no desserts, and I kept growing.

In high school, I discovered Weight Watchers and got down to 134 pounds.  At my heaviest, I weighed 148 pounds.  I wore a size 16 at my heaviest and at my thinest a size 12.  And then I went off to college and gained the freshmen 15 but still maintained my weight around 145.  And then I got married (weighing 148) and then back to Weight Watchers after our 1st child (Maria) was born.  I got back down to 134 and then got pregnant with Paul (the 2nd of 4 children).  I continued to grow with my next 2 children (Timothy and Kevin) and at my heaviest while being pregnant was 211 pounds. And the growing continued.

At my highest weight, I weighed 224 pounds (and I was not pregnant).  And I decided it was time to take control of my life.

To be continued….