Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Don't Hate Me Because I've Lost 20 lbs. ...

...and kept it off. I didn't go on a "diet", I just did the following things and changed a few basic things about the way I eat.

1. Last August, I starting using Fit Day to track what I was eating every day. What I discovered was that my diet was too LOW calorie, but too high fat. So I began to eat more frequently (not bigger portions) with some important alterations.

2. I quit ice cream. When it comes to ice cream, I am like an alcoholic. I can't have a little, or have it occasionally. I have to quit cold Turkey Hill. (Just kidding. I've never eaten Turkey Hill ice cream. It just worked for the cheap joke.) Anyway, I recently took my son to the Cold Stone Creamery and got nothing for myself. Not even when I was offered a free "Mom Taste". If I had a sponsor, I would have called her to report my little victory.

3. I've replaced ice cream with coconut fruit bars (organic, all natural) which are sweet and delicious but they have two important qualities: They are lower fat than ice cream, and they don't come in pints that can be inhaled in one sitting. (Am I the only one who giggles at the "4 servings" reference on a pint of ice cream?)

4. I've reduced my dairy intake substantially. However, I've started eating Greek yogurt with honey as my in-between meal snack. Every day, once or twice a day. But I eat almost no cheese and I've switched to fat free half and half for my coffee, and I've replaced butter with Smart Balance.

5. I eat breakfast every day. Usually Special K or Kashi with a banana. Even when I'm not particularly hungry, I force myself to have breakfast.

6. Most nights I have a Lean Cuisine for dinner. The sesame chicken one is so good I've been known to lick the plastic tray. Don't tell anyone. But Lean Cuisines are great for adapting to portion reduction.

7. I don't eat out very often anymore, and when I do I'll order an appetizer and small salad rather than an entree.

8. I took up knitting. Can't eat and knit at the same time.

9. If I want a snack while watching TV, I make popcorn. Since I basically view popcorn as little more than a transportation device for butter, I melt Smart Balance and use that instead. I never thought I'd like it, but it's actually very good.

10. I weigh myself every morning.

11. I walk at least 3 miles every day.

12. I've moved my weight bench to the living room. Not the most attractive design element, but it makes it very easy to do crunches while watching the tube. I try to do 300 per day.

SO... that's basically it. Now, I'm 51 years old and have come to terms with the fact that I'll never get back to my 37-year-old body (ironically, that was when I was in the best shape of my life, even after having one child). But I've gone from a size 10 to a 6 and feel healthier and lighter and definitely more comfortable in my own skin. Of course, the key is keeping it off but since I've just basically changed my lifestyle as opposed to taking a short term approach, I can give away my fat clothes with confidence now.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Apocalypse Then

First, I just want to say that I never take Oprah's lead when it comes to books. (I actually can't stand Oprah, but that's fodder for another post). So the fact that this is an "Oprah's Book Club" pick had nothing to do with me reading it. It was recommended by a few people with whom I usually share "book taste".

The good news is that this tale of a man and his young son struggling to survive as they traverse a post-Apocalyptic America a very quick read. The bad news is that it's a quick read at times because a good portion of the book is the same scenario over and over and over. (Remember watching The Flintstones, when Fred would run through the house and in the background you'd see table, lamp, window...table, lamp, window?)

That's not to say it's a bad book. Some of the language is quite lush and expressive, the relationship between the boy and his father is gripping at times (although having them referred to only as "the man" and "the boy" made it hard for me to feel much for them.) It's a bleak and depressing experience, so if that's what you're looking for...have at it.

Personally, the best post-Apocalyptic book I've ever read is the little known

For me, this is the book that "The Road" can only aspire to be. Hear that, Oprah?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Marathon Woman?

For years, one of the highlights of living in NYC was watching the marathon every year, cheering the athletes (both elite and ordinary) from the sidelines. Sure, it was fun to see the stars, but we'd always hang around all day long to cheer the stalwart few who were crossing the finish line 7 or 8 hours after everyone else.

Well, sometime in mid-June I'll find out if my number was picked so I, too, can be one of the stalwart few this coming November. I don't run anymore, so I'll be walking the 26.2 miles if I'm "lucky" enough to be picked.

Actually, I'll be thrilled to do it. The training will involve walking 3-4 miles almost every day (I walk anywhere from 2 to 4 miles a day now), walking about 12 miles one day a week (I've done that before..have iPod, will travel), and one day of cross-training. I know that if I can do it, I'll feel great about myself at 52 (which is how old I'll be by then).

Anyone out there who's walked a marathon? There are a few message boards that I've checked out, and if I'm picked I'll probably connect with some other people who are walking NYC this year. But I'd love to know if any of my blog buddies have done it (or want to! You have until June 1st to apply!)

(For you young whippersnappers who don't know where this photo comes from, look up this quote: "Is it safe?" Yeeeeek!)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I Won't Say "I Told You So..."

... but I told you so! (ok, I typed it)

Last night's American Idol finale ran the gamut from unwatchable (Sanjaya with Joe Perry? They must have paid Joe a freakin' fortune.) to cringingly embarrassing (the whole bush baby thing) to brilliant (Tony Bennett... The African Children's Choir). And if Jordin Sparks can sing that awful, awful song and make it sound good, she more than deserves to win.

(Can you imagine if Blake had won, and had to do that song? It would have been hilarious.)

So, another season of Idol comes to a close. Thankfully, "So You Think You Can Dance" isn't far behind. God, please give me a life.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Weekend DVD Review - Half Nelson

Watched Ryan Gosling in Half Nelson yesterday. He was nominated for an Oscar this year for the role, and it's clear to see why. The film is not your formula "white teacher saves inner city kids" fare. It's a gut-wrenching portrait of a drug addicted teacher and the intense bond he develops with a student. Shareeka Epps (related to Omar?) is amazing as the 13-year-old girl.

This is a slow-paced study of two characters, and much of the impact comes from subtleties...a look, shifts in body language, a facial expression. It's filmed almost like a documentary with a hand-held camera, so if this stylized genre is not your thing...I've warned you.

The soundtrack is incredible and is almost another character in the film. It is powerful, but it's also not Requiem for a Dream (which I loved as well). Watch it when you have a quiet mind and can give yourself over.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Photo Friday: Large

All of the kids on this team are 10 years old. The coach's face says it all.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Our Moment on The Couch

Al Roker works the crowd. It was FREEZING out.

The guy in the porkpie hat is the lead singer of the All American Rejects. Extremely cute. Extremely. The band was great and I'm going to download the CD. Very catchy stuff.

The cute guy, again.

Ann Curry in a candid moment, freezing.

Lucas, Ann and me...nice and warm indoors!

Lucas enjoying his place on the couch! We got to tour the control room and the rest of the studio. All in all, it was a really fun day.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Today Tomorrow!

As a followup to our Today Show appearance, Lucas and I have been invited to attend the All-American Rejects concert on the plaza tomorrow. We'll watch from the VIP area and then get a tour of the studio. I'll try to remember my camera. I'm so bad at that!

We've been without power for two days, after another "Storm of the Century". Therefore, I missed last night's American Idol AND I missed the finale of my favorite guilty pleasure, America's Next Top Model. If you tell me who won, I will kill you. I've got my TiVO set to watch the rerun on Sunday.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Mother's Day 2007

grandma & me, originally uploaded by panthergirl.

Since I can't really celebrate my Mother on Mother's Day, I will instead celebrate HER mother. The love and affection I got from my grandmother every day probably kept me from becoming The Mad Toothpick Murderer (cue "Psycho" music...reet! reet! reet!) or some other notorious criminal as an adult.

I've posted a few funny stories about her before, but this is the one that comes to mind today courtesy of my sister Loretta:

She loved watching her "stories" (soap operas) and would try to keep us up to date on "All-a My Chill". One day, she told my sister that there was going to be a new show, right before All My Children, but only for a short time. Puzzled, Loretta asked "Only for a short time?" And Grandma confirmed that this was so.

A few days later, Loretta was watching television and saw a promo for "Ryan's Hope...the new conTEMPORARY drama..."

Ah....gotta miss Grandma.

garage party

traditional dress

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Thinking Bloggers

Elle of True Blue 4 Ever and The Dog's Eye View have awarded me that nifty Thinking Blogger award in my sidebar recently, and I've been remiss in naming five blogs that make me think. It's hard to narrow this down to five, so if your blog is not here it doesn't mean I don't love you!

So, without further ado (or "adieu", as they say on the Internets), here are my five:

Equine Shine. Smart, witty, sharp as a tack.

PJ's Place. Just love her perspective on things! She's already got two of these, but that's no accident.

Can't Keep Quiet!. She's great because she can't.

Secondhand Tryptophan. Karl will make you think. He'll make you think "Is there anything this guy won't do?"

Bring it On!. My favorite political blog.

So guys... wear the badge proudly and link back here, please!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Stop YOUR Junk Mail Too!

If you missed it this morning, our Today Show Clip is online here!

Kelso, Lucas AND my dad all make cameo appearances! I actually had a dream last night that during my interview I had a big wad of bubblegum in my cheek (although I kept referring to it as a "mint"). Thankfully that wasn't really the case.

Anyway... the information in the piece is really great, and I can honestly say that I'm seeing a reduction in my junk mail already. (This is about junk snail mail, not junk email).

Friday, May 04, 2007

Catch Us If You Can!

Six weeks ago, I posted about an interview that The Today Show did with me. Well, it's due to air on Monday morning between 7:30 and 8:30 AM Eastern time!

The theme of the piece is identity theft, and my interview was about the oodles of junk mail that I get. Apparently junk mail is a great way for people to steal your identity, so they sent a scam-proofing expert to my house to show me how to get taken off various mailing lists, etc.

It was a hoot... I told them that I actually love mail, because my dad was a mailman, and they asked for a photo of him which they are also going to use. They shot a lot of scenes of me and Lucas walking our dog, me gazing out from my deck into the woods, etc., so it should be fun to see how they put it all together.

Anyway... I hope I'm not going to regret telling everyone to watch! I'll probably have a big piece of spinach in my teeth or something!

Photo Friday: Smoke


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Who Should Be Voted Off American Idol Tonight?

"George, Laura... you are in the bottom two this week. George, it was the shit-eating grin you sported during your 'moving' discussion of poverty in Africa that pushed you over the edge. You're going home tonight. Laura, you're not far behind."

When "home" is no longer 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue we'll all be winners.