Friday, June 17, 2011

A fish dish

Tonight I made a great dinner. It might have been so delicious because we ate it sitting at our brand new dining room set, but there's a chance it was just really good.

I was flipping through my cookbook collection last Sunday, trying to find something different to make. Baked fish kept sticking out to me, but I am growing weary of salmon, the only fish I know how to make (and enjoy eating). I don't like spending money on meals I'm not sure I'll enjoy, but I really wanted to try something new.

I've been a fan of the Looneyspoons Cookbook series for a very long time, and in my copy of Eat, Shrink and Be Merry, I found a recipe called In Cod We Trust.

I made a few modifications, replacing the Special K the recipe asked for with some whole-wheat bread crumbs, because I had stale whole wheat bread and did not have Special K. I even used frozen cod, because Alberta is land locked and I didn't want to spend a fortune on fresh fish that was frozen at one point, anyway!

Served with a quick salad made from spring mix lettuce, sliced strawberries, some cucumber and toasted pine nuts, dressed in a simple oil and vinegar dressing, it was a fantastic Friday night dinner.

Baked Cajun Fish

Cod pieces
2/3 cup buttermilk (or skim milk with a tbs of vinegar - again, no buttermilk in the house)
zest from one lemon
1 cup whole-wheat bread crumbs
1 tbs cajun seasoning
1/4 cup (or less) grated parmesan cheese

Spray a baking sheet with Pam and set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a shallow dish or large bowl, combine milk and lemon zest. Place cod in milk, turning to coat. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Combine bread crumbs, cajun seasoning and cheese in a bowl.

Press fish, one piece at a time, into the bread crumbs. Only coat one side. Place fish crumbs-side-up on baking sheet.

Spritz with oil or Pam or drizzle with a bit of melted butter. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

Serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Clothing Swap

Sunday afternoon I went to a local Clothing Swap event. Every six months or so, a local group holds a city-wide clothing swap. You can trade your old clothes, accessories and shoes item for item for something new.

Before we moved last month, I went through my closet and pulled 50 items that I wasn't wearing anymore, either because they were too big, or just no longer something I wanted to wear. I bagged them up, dropped them off, and was rewarded with 34 tickets for new items on Sunday (the remaining 16 items that were 'rejected' were donated to charity).

I was really looking forward to the Swap, but yesterday when I got there, I was disappointed. I found 6 pieces - 3 dresses, 1 pair of shoes, 1 skirt, and a blouse.

Most of the clothing was a size M or smaller, and everything that was in my size range was either a bit frumpy or the clothes that I had previously owned. One of the dresses I bought fits, the other one is a bit tight but wearable with the help of spanx, and the third, a formal bronze and green lace strapless number that Gary says looks like a medieval fairy-princess dress, is about 15 lbs too small.

But that was my intention, to find a few things that I could shrink into. It's nice to have a few target items in my closet, because I don't have skinny jeans that I used to fit into but don't anymore. I've basically always been this size - so now I have a few other measures than just the scale.

I felt down for part of the afternoon, but whatever. I don't think I'll go to the next swap, but it was worth a shot, right?

Friday, June 10, 2011


I've been trucking along nicely, eating my planned meals and snacks, focusing on veggies, lean protein, fruit and whole grains. I aim for between 1200-1500 calories a day, and I've been falling nicely in that range for two weeks. I've been drinking water. Lots and lots of water. I even passed up free wine and pizza AGAIN (third time in two weeks, friends!).

I've become a familiar face at the gym again. Things are good and I feel great. I am drunk on willpower, and it feels awesome.

Wednesday morning I took a peek at the scale and was shocked by the number I saw - the lowest I've seen on the scale in the last year and a half.

And then yesterday, things came a bit undone. Work stress plus forgetting my snack at home plus a small lunch resulted in a binge. I ate pretty much everything I could get my little hands on - and when the dust settled, I was 500 calories over my max daily allowance.


So I wrote it all down, went to the gym, did 60 minutes of cardio, and pledged to reign in the snacking that evening.

I don't know why I do things like that. I was impressed and proud of myself, and then "blew it" on snacks that weren't even that satisfying.

But here I am, back at it again, for another day. And I remembered to pack my snack this time.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Week one is over, and the results are in - I was down 2 lbs this morning. Yay!

I'm impressed. I didn't deprive myself this weekend, but at the same time, I definitely paused to ask myself whether I really wanted to eat whatever I was craving. I tried to keep my portions in check, and plan ahead to pick the healthier options off menus.

My mom and dad were here this weekend, and we went out for brunch yesterday. Mom and I ordered the exact same thing - a senior's two-egg omlette, made with egg whites, a side of hash browns and dry brown toast. I had analyzed the menu ahead of time and decided that was the most reasonable choice. Mom must have done the same. Like mother, like daughter!

One small snag - last night we went over to friends' for dinner. They made fried, battered fish, bacon wrapped scallops and french fries. I'm not a major fish lover, but this was delicious. I ate a small portion of each until I was satisfied, and didn't keep going, even though it was tempting. I'm glad I stopped, because an hour after eating I was still completely stuffed.

I'm tweaking the way I'm doing things a little bit. I'm still using the meal ideas from Self magazine, but I'm tracking them with Spark People. I find the Self meal tracker tool really difficult to use, and the Spark one has a little more flexibility. I think it's important to find a method that works best for you, and if that's tracking with a pencil and paper, taking photos of everything you eat, or using a website.

Did you have a good weekend?

Friday, June 3, 2011

I didn't mean to tease...

But anticipation is totally the best part.

So the event I went to? Full host bar. That meant whatever you wanted to drink - WHATEVER, caesars, wine, beer, cocktails, mixed drinks, hiballs - was free. The food was prepared and served by 3 chefs from the Food Network, also free.

And it was insane. Crab legs. Fresh oysters. Cheeses. Battered, breaded, delicious, all of it.

And I had one small piece of chicken on a stick and a diet coke. Victory!

The whole time, inside my head I was repeating a key phrase to myself.

I have two very good reasons to skip the free booze and food. One, of course, is that I'm getting married next July. My mom and I decided we'd start dress shopping in September - three short months away. I want to lose weight for the wedding, absolutely. I want to look my best, and I want dress shopping to be fun, not frustrating. Sure, that's a motivator.

But there's another reason.

In mid-September, I'm a bridesmaid in a wedding. The other bridesmaid is Gary's ex-girlfriend.

I am not her biggest fan. I won't go into it, but I'm sure you can imagine how I feel. Imagine how it would feel - not only are you attending a wedding where your partner's ex will be there, but you're wearing the same outfit.

I will be standing beside her, wearing this dress:

And I will be dammned if I don't look absolutely fabulous in it.

So the mantra I've been repeating in my head when I turn down another glass of Merlot?

"You have to look better than her. Don't you want to look better than her? Don't eat that. You need to look better than her."

Immature? Maybe.


Oh, hell yes.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Am I really hungry?

Last night after Gary and I got home from the gym, I was so hungry that I almost fell over. I'm not exaggerating - I was the kind of stomach scraping, lightheaded, seeing-spots hungry. I was irritable and couldn't focus.

I quickly made dinner, a grilled chicken salad with a side of polenta, and stuck to it.

I am so rarely *honestly* hungry that sometimes I forget what it feels like. There's an abundance of food everywhere, and again, I'm fortunate enough to be able to fill that void, often before it even becomes a void.

But it made me think - from a dieting perspective, I know that I often think I'm hungry, but really, I just want the pleasure of eating. I say that I'm staaaarving, but really, it's that I'm thinking that a cookie would taste good right now.

Last night, I would have devoured a giant plate of broccoli. Plain baked fish. Cabbage soup. Whatever. It was less about what I was craving - I was truly hungry, and my body needed food, and fast.

It was a good lesson, I think.

Today I am doing a little bit better; my lunch seems to be holding me over pretty well.

But I'm attending an event this afternoon (TV Station Season Launch) at a restaurant. Free food. Free drinks. Did I mention the food is being prepared by celebrity chefs?

But I'm not going to indulge. I'm going to stick to gum and diet coke. I've got a damn good reason to stay 'good' today - and I'll tell you that reason tomorrow.