I have set a goal for myself to lose 20 lbs in 10 weeks.  I will elaborate more later, but wanted to share the news that my first week getting “back on track” was successful.

Here’s what I did:

  • average daily calories 1645
  • typical breakfast: green smoothie
  • typical lunch: something convenient (e.g., Tasty Bites or Amy’s Gluten Free frozen entrees), under 400 calories
  • typical snacks: raw fruits & veggies
  • typical dinner: salad with arugula, tomatoes, olives, avocado, O&V dressing + something else yummy (roasted veggies, sausage, etc.)
  • exercise:  back to running, and feeling great as a result!  I ran 6/7 days, did yoga once and even had a swim one evening after work

Here was the result:  down 7 lbs!

Potential pitfals to work around this week:

  • dinner out with a former coworker
  • 2 days of business travel (which means 1 less workout, and 48 hours of eating in restaurants)

The way I think about it is, I have a destination.  Pounds are like miles.  I can screw up on the plan all I want – – its just more miles I have to walk in the end to get to my destination.  All choices and consequences.

Here we go.

I’ve been busy.  Since my last post in April 2012, here is a fast forward version of what I haven’t been blogging about.

April 2012 – gained 5 pounds in 1 week on an trip to NY.  How does this happen?  Gradually lost it back.

May 2012 – psuedo-graduated with my MBA!  I did not have all my classes done, but I got to walk across the stage, take pics, have a party, etc.

June 2012 – visited China (Beijing and Shanghai) for 2 weeks with a group from my university.

June / July / August – returned from China and went on a food bender from feeling starved and deprived of food while in China (barely ate anything except granola bars due to the gluten issues).

August 2012 – finished the last trickle of classes to actually earn the MBA.  Started thinking about my job search plan due to my company’s upcoming plant closing (I was in charge of the HR side).  A brief calm before the storm.

September 2012 – began the slow, busy and painful closure of my company’s plant.  Comforted myself with dinners & drinks out with friends.

October 2012 – took on the work of a colleague who left the company in a hurry.  In addition to my normal work.

October 2012 – celebrated being done with school with many dinners out with new and old friends.  Went wine tasting twice and tried many new restaurants.

November / December 2012 – was busier than I’ve ever been in my life, closing the plant and doing the tasks of my former colleague who left with a very full plate.  No time to cook.

December 2012 – 1 week business trip to NY.  Was a little bit sick (tummy flu) all week.  Came home and comforted myself with food.

December 2012 – Celebrated an upcoming promotion early with lots of food and wine over the holidays.

January 2013 – was promoted(!) and allowed to work remotely from home since the plant is closed.

January 2013 – 2 week business trip to NY and Puerto Rico.  Lots of food.  Eggs, bacon, beef, potatoes, etc.  Stuff I like to summarize as ‘crappy travel eating’.

February 2013 – recover from 2 week nasty cold I got from not taking care of myself while traveling.  The only thing that made me feel better was eating – so I did plenty!

February 2013 – another business trip, and more crappy travel eating.

March 2013 – another business trip and more crappy travel eating.

April 2013 – a 1 week trip to Germany, followed by a 2 week business trip to NY and all of this, of course, included more crappy travel eating.

May 2013.  Holy Shit.  I’ve gained twenty (20!!!) pounds in less than a year, with the majority in the last 6 months.  F*@k!!!

What to do???  Come back to my blog and gain the inspiration and motivation to get back on track.

Your thoughts, wisdom and comments are always welcome, especially now.

Monday Recap

Yesterday I called in to take a day off work.  I had a migraine (on Sunday).  I spent most of the day studying and doing laundry (all the things I couldn’t do on Sunday).

Here’s what yesterday looked like.

At about 7am, I completed my daily run.  50 minutes of running, 10 minutes of warm up / cool down and 20 minutes of stretching.  Speed was around 4.6 mph (I know I am slow) and total distance was about 4.10 miles.

Around noon, I ate breakfast.  Breakfast was a green monster smoothie with almond milk, vanilla kefir, rawmazing wheat grass powder, brown rice protein powder, a frozen half-banana and a half tablespoon of almond butter.  While I was making the smoothie, my hubby offered a bite of his gluten free toast, so I snuck one or two bites in. And then I took lots of vitamins. I know it was a late breakfast, but that is how I roll.

green smoothie

At about 3pm, I ate lunch.  I had brown rice and a tasty bite meal (aloo palak – potatoes, spinach and spices).  I finished the meal with a slice of Lydia’s sunflower bread (more like a cracker – its dehydrated) slathered with hummus.

tasty bite aloo palak + brown rice

lydia's sunflower bread + hummus

At around 7 pm, I ate dinner.  I had White Bean Soup and another slice of Lydia’s bread + hummus. I had not eaten any snacks so I decided to have some gorilla munch + yogurt for “dessert” (sorry, no pic).

white bean soup

After all was said and done, it was an impressive day. 1633 calories. That is the first day I have done that in a loooong time! Except Sunday, which was 1559 calories.  I know my food looked very drab in green and brown, but I swear it was all very tasty. 🙂

I was very motivated all day, so it made it easy to stick to the plan. But I did miss snacking. When I’m at home I tend to take a little bit of this, one or two of that, etc. Its practically automatic. When I’m at work its usually candy and chocolate. But the fact that I made it without snacking (which I honestly think may be hardest to avoid at home) makes me know I can do it again!

5-day challenge

For the last several months I have been spoiled.  For well over a year, I have been maintaining my 60+ pound weight loss without much effort.  I could eat as much as 2200+ calories a day, which, for me, meant lots of chocolate and candy sneaked in between healthy meals.  I think the main reason this did not result in weight gain was because I’ve been running 20+ miles per week.

So earlier this month I went overboard on eating while on a trip in NY (so many gluten free options!), and I finally gained a few pounds too many.  Its not the end of the world, but it is enough to wake me up and get me back on track.

So this week, I’m going to shake things up.  Here is the plan.

Starting tomorrow, each day I will:

  • eat 1650 calories (or less) each day of healthy food, minimizing use of processed and packaged.
  • track calories in fitday
  • keep up exercise routine (running 20 miles per week)

I will also try to remember to take pics, and then during the week (or at the latest by the end of the week) I will post the results here on my blog.

I am superstitious and afraid of failing publicly, so I am not usually one to declare my commitments to the world.  This is quite a big step for me!

Other than this, what else is going on with me?  Pretty big news in fact.  I will finish my MBA in July – finally!  I am currently in the last full quarter of the program, and will finish this class in June.  I will do the commencement before I’m done in May.  Then, I’m going to China in June!!  This is a 2 week trip for the last class in my MBA program.  I don’t know how I will eat gluten free while I’m in a country that uses soy sauce the way Americans use salt, but we’ll see.  If anyone has ideas please let me know!

It will be so fantastic to finish.  Such a huge achievement.  I’ve been in the program taking one class at a time for FOUR (4!) years!!!!  As much as I will be glad to be done, I am sad to lose what has become such an important part of my life.  I’ve met some great people and I’m sad I won’t see them anymore.

Christmas 2011

Yes, I am catching up on 2011 still.

I enjoyed my Thanksgiving menu SO much that I decided to do it a second time at Thanksgiving, but I would do 2 very important things differently.  First, I would simplify the menu.  Second, I would plan ahead better for leftovers so as to not waste so much food.

I cooked 2 turkey breasts, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, and gluten free stuffing.  My sister and her family came over for dinner and they brought some fabulous desserts.  We had a fabulous time and there were lots of leftovers!!!

First, I tried to make a stock. It didn’t turn out very stocky. I used it in a soup (see below) but ended up needing to add chicken stock for some additional flavor.

turkey stock

Then, I made a tex-mex soup with my stock and some of the turkey leftovers.  It was so yummy!

leftover turkey

leftover turkey soup ingredients

I wish I had a better photo of the final result.

tex mex leftover turkey soup

This next leftover meal was much more fun. It is a spin on chicken and waffles, inspired by Rachel Ray!

First, you gather all of your ingredients. In my case, I had gluten free stuffing, turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.

leftover turkey chicken and waffles

The stuffing should be moist. It will become your waffle batter.

leftover stuffing waffle batter

I reheated the brussels sprouts. Yes, its brusselS sprouts, not brussel sprouts. Look it up on wikipedia.

brussels sprouts

Reheated the turkey. BTW, we discovered that pan frying is a horrible way to reheat turkey (dries it out). We tried the steamer basket in our rice cooker and that was MUCH better.

leftover turkey

Drop stuffing onto waffle iron as if it was batter. Lay it in there nice and thick.

stuffing waffle

Here’s how it looks when it comes out of the iron. It does not come out like a perfect waffle. I suppose you could add some egg or something to get it to bind together better, but I didn’t mind.

stuffing waffle

So then you take everything and layer it up. Waffle, turkey, mashed potatoes. Then drizzle the cranberry sauce on top like you would syrup. OMG – YUM. One of my all time top favorite leftover meals.

The week after Christmas, I did a lot of other cooking. I was off work and having the extra time to make dinner was awesome. Unfortunately my husband was working a lot that week with his business partner on vacation for 2 weeks. Most nights he wobbled in late (too late even for drive through food), hungry and exhausted. Even though he did not get to enjoy the food when it was fresh, he was grateful to find lots of leftovers options in the fridge.

A favorite of both of ours was Roast Chicken with Polenta and Balsamic-Poached Figs

Start with the recipe, torn out from my Whole Living magazine. Next, roast some chicken. Then start on the sauce & polenta.

recipe page


balsamic-poached fig sauce

balsamic poached fig sauce

Horrible finale picture….

Roast Chicken with Polenta and Balsamic-Poached Fig Sauce

Doesn’t look that good in this pic. I think I will have to make it again just so I can take a decent picture! This will become a staple to my cooking repertoire.

Throughout the week I also made some other recipes.

15 bean soup

15 bean soup

Don’t use the seasoning packet!!

Rinse the beans

Soak the beans

Soak with Kombu (sea plant) to cut down on starches in the beans

Once the beans are soaked (or in my case quick-soaked), cook according to instructions. Then add other ingredients to make soup.

AND, for the grand finale, there is no picture once again. Boo.

While that is cooking, make marinated vegetables with leftover veggies before they spoil!

Start with recipe….

Then for the vinegar…

Gather leftover veggies….

Some black olives….

Boil the vinegar & oil…

Add the veggies…

Turn heat off..

Let the veggies sit until at room temp.

All done! Eat some and then put the rest in a jar for up to 30 days.

I’ve heard over and over that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I have also heard its best to work out in the morning before eating.

My current routine is this:

6:15 am – wake up, drink coffee, brush teeth, change into workout clothes, check email, watch the news.
7:15 am – run for 45-50 minutes, stretch for 20 minutes, check email again
8:45 am – shower, blow dry / style hair, get dressed, do makeup, check email again
9:45 am – make & eat breakfast

Then I eat lunch at noon. It seems early considering I’ve just eaten 2 hours ago, but I do get hungry.


P.S. I know I check my email too much in the morning.  I’m working on it.

Germany Trip 2011

This year I traveled to Europe for the first time ever.  It was for a brief business trip in Germany.  It was definitely an adventure and for that reason I enjoyed myself.  But it was not the type of business trip I would want to repeat.  Ever.  Here’s the whole story.

Sunday Oct 9, I departed from SFO to Frankfurt, Germany for a 4 day business trip.

I flew Lufthansa, which had GREAT accommodations for my gluten free diet.

Twelve hours later, about 9:30 am Germany time, I landed. I felt really excited to be in Europe for the first time!

Look! My own airline!

I got on the train, which I found to be very comfortable. I was so grateful that everyone there speaks English. Getting my ticket was easy breezy.

At the airport I met up with 3 colleagues, and together we made our way to the train station together. Here are some pics I took from the train. Destination: Gottingen. By the way, I don’t think the sun came out for more than 15 minutes my entire trip. The weather was in the 50s, and it was really rainy.

I really loved seeing all of the farms and little villages. Finally we arrived at the hotel. It was about 3:30 pm by then, and we were all exhausted. BUT, it was not the time for rest, as we had dinner plans at 8:00 pm. Yes, that is how the Europeans have dinner – LATE.

Here’s my room. Its no Hilton Garden Inn, but apparently this is standard in Europe. Sheesh, minimalists. If you’re going to travel for business you should at least get a decent hotel room!

Ew, someone left behind some candy and housekeeping didn’t catch it!

My first bidet! No, I didn’t use it but I was curious.


I didn’t get any pictures of dinner that night but the hotel was really nice about recommending a gluten free meal. I was so tired that after dinner I completely zonked out. Little did I know it would be some of the only sleep I would get on the entire trip!

We got up early the next morning and I worked out at the weird hotel gym. They had the most space age treadmills I’ve ever seen. It made reading really tough.

Later, I went to the buffet breakfast and feasted. Lots of eggs and sausage and cheese. What can I say, I wasn’t sure where my next gluten free meal would come from. We hopped on a bus with a couple dozen colleagues and headed to Hannover. Very cute hotel.

Here is a picture of my hotel room. I liked the modern style. Just because a hotel room needs to be functional and utilitarian doesn’t mean it has to be to be without a bit of class.

Wait – there’s those candies again! Hm, maybe its the German equivalent to the American hotels putting chocolates on your bed…..?

Nice bathroom….

After the first day of meetings, we went on a little trip to an old brewery. I wish I had the name but I don’t. I took a few pics on the LONG busride over.

We arrived cold and hungry. We were ready to eat. But did we get to eat? No. We had activities planned. It would be over 2 hours in the pouring rain before we got to go inside. By then I was soaked to the bone and freezing. The restaurant had crappy wine (yes, I know I have a Napa Valley palette) but the food was good and they accommodated my request for gluten free food. Despite being cold and wet I really enjoyed myself. Drinking the wine helped me warm up a lot!!

I’m not sure what I was taking a picture of here, but it demonstrates how well bricks hold up in a building that is nearly 1000 years old. No joke.

The next day there was another breakfast buffet with cheese and other naughty foods. And of course there were more meetings. I was running on very little sleep and my insides were a wreck from all of the unusual food. By the time the meetings ended I didn’t even want to say goodbye to anyone, I just wanted to get out of there. So my colleagues and I grabbed the train back to Frankfurt to settle in for one last night. I needed some time alone so I got a 1st class ticket. The peace and quiet was awesome.

We checked in to the 3rd and final hotel of the trip. Here we could all just wake up and go home via our respective flights. I have to admit, again I was disappointed. Its a business traveler hotel and it was so drab and blah. And the evening we checked in, we went to dinner and I almost got glutened at their fancy restaurant.

Was that a Kandinsky print on the wall?

This was the only hotel I did not use the gym at because they did not open until 6:30. Who ever heard of that bull shit?! I would be leaving at about 7:45 to catch my flight so I simply did not have time to wait.

Finally it came time to catch my plane home!

I only wish I had gotten a picture upon touching down at SFO. I have to say, the BEST part of any trip, and more so on an international trip, is coming home to good old California!!!


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