A Calorie Counting Success Story

The Amazing Shrinking Woman

What to Do if You Mess Up Your Diet (Even Though I Didn’t) December 18, 2009

I’m sorry that I’ve been so lazy lately.  I wanted to let you know that I haven’t fallen off the wagon or anything.  (Who is driving/steering the wagon, btw?  I like to think it’s Richard Simmons, and he’s shouting encouragements to us as we bounce along.)  Well, anyway I’ve still been counting and going strong, except yesterday.

Yesterday was a weird day.  I think sometimes my hormones are like “Today we’re just going to do whatever the hell we want, and that means that today is going to be graze-like-a-cow day.  Now head to the kitchen!”  It’s funny.  Once every so often my ability to reason is literally overridden by some PMS-type of self-entitlement that translates into me being really feisty and insatiable.  Yesterday was that day.  Luckily it really only happens once every six months or so.

So what would I do if I had fallen off the wagon, and Richard Simmons was shouting for me to run and catch up?  I think that’s the problem with falling off the wagon.  We think that the wagon doesn’t wait for us, and that’s the idea behind the saying.  But we need to think of it differently.  We need to think that there are lots of other wagons coming along, or the wagon will always wait for us.

Lots of times when we mess up a diet, we have this terrible bout of all-or-nothing thinking.  It’s like we just say “well I really screwed the pooch on that one–guess I’ll just go to Golden Corral and make it official.”  But we should realize that it’s okay to slip up.  In case we do, we should just do what the British say, which is “Keep calm and carry on.”  Maybe all dieters should put that famous slogan somewhere in their kitchen or someplace they’d see it.  Here’s what it looks like:

So that’s what to do when you find yourself in the dirt looking at the backside of a wagon.  Keep calm and carry on.  You don’t have to run to catch up, so there’s no need to panic.  Just go right back to what you were doing before.


In other news, I’ve had a revelation.  I used to use Thursday nights as my TGIT (I don’t work on Fridays) culinary celebration.  On Thursday nights I’d eat Chinese usually.  Chinese is difficult to measure though because there’s really no telling what’s in it.  Do they put 4 tablespoons of sugar in something that you don’t even think of as sweet?  How much sesame oil is topping off this dish?  No one knows.  So Chinese, while fine to eat when calorie counting, isn’t exactly the best choice for a weekly meal.  (Once a week= 4 times a month= 48 times a year.  $14 x 48 = $672 a year on Chinese food.  YIPES!)  I realized that if I’m going to spend $675 dollars on something, I’d rather it didn’t make me fat.

Sushi!  I love sushi.  Of course, I don’t eat any of the raw stuff, but I still love the rest of it.  Sushi is considerably more healthy than Chinese food that’s deep fried and soaked in sugar and oil.  So I can eat sushi for my TGIT meals and still get that TGIT feeling without as many calories.  Genius!  I should get a Nobel Peace Prize for this.


Lastly, I think I’m going to lower my calories after Christmas.  I want to speed up the weight loss, and it’s coming off so SLOWLY.  I know that weight loss is just like the story of the tortoise and the hare, so I’m not going to just drink salt water and eat a can of tuna a day, but I’m going to lower my calorie intake to 1,500 after Christmas.  I’d do it before, but I won’t lie, I want to be able to eat more Christmas cookies.

I don’t know if this is a “bad” move or not.  I think it’s fine.  It should just move me past the current plateau that I’m on.  Right now I’m eating on a diet more than what most women should have in a normal day.  Granted, I’m pretty tall, but still, I don’t think it’s going to kill me to slash a few more calories.

Welp, that’s all for now.  I hope you’re all having a good time as Christmas approaches, and I especially hope you’ve been nice so Santy won’t have you on the naughty list.  (I’m a lifetime member of the naughty list, but Santy is forgiving!)


“A Lesson in Pretty” Starring Meg Ryan December 4, 2009

Today as I was cruising the internet celebrity smut (I think this is what women look at in the same quantities that nasty men look at porn), I noticed Meg Ryan at the premier of her movie Serious Moonlight, and I decided it’s time for the Calorie Counter to give the internet a lesson on pretty.

Basically, this is a giant comment on restraint and self control.

We (I) want to be skinny.  I believe that being so will improve the overall quality of my life, as well as my downstairs neighbor’s life (old wooden floors).  But seeing the pictures of Meg Ryan made me think I really shouldn’t wait to get there before I start enjoying “skinny things.”  In other words, it’s time to be happy with who and what we are, even if we see that we need improvement.

Too often in our culture, we think that we can improve on a situation without resolving the underlying issue.  In lots of cases, people want lap-band surgery or gastric bypass surgery so that they will finally be happy.  But having a plastic boa constrictor on you intestines isn’t going to change the way you see things, and lying on an operating table for 8 hours to have your stomach reshaped from a watermelon to an egg isn’t going to do it either.

So let’s start being happy with who we are now.  As an example of trying too hard, let’s have a looksee at Meg Ryan.  Or as I like to call her nowadays, The Meg Ryan Who Stole Christmas.

Now I’ve never liked Sleepless in Seattle, *the calorie counter ducks as shoes and rotten fruit fly through the air on a collision course with her face and the crowd starts hysterically screaming and crying* but I didn’t hate You’ve Got Mail.  Those two movies are the extent of my pre-trout (you’ll see) knowledge of Meg Ryan, and I remember her being likable.

Here’s Meg Ryan before she was abducted by school of alien trout and replaced by her own half fish/ half human daughter:

Pretty, no?  Normal, even.

And here she is post-op/abduction:  (Not for the easily frightened or those prone to nightmares.  You’ve been warned.)

…Oh… oh goodness… what time is it?  Crap.  I passed out for 18 minutes.  What can I say–a picture of Megatrout Ryan to my eyes is like an ether soaked rag to my face.

So the lesson here is–you can always lose weight, but Meg Ryan can never get her face back.  So don’t let something like a few extra pounds keep you from enjoying your life, and don’t try to be something you’re not (like a fish).

Now, enough about trout people.  Let’s talk about me!

I know that I said I was going walking the other morning, but I didn’t.  I know, I know, but it was so cold outside!  To make up for it, a group of friends and I played in a dodgeball tournament that night, and we won 2 games (out of 9, but who’s counting?)!  It was quite the workout.  I haven’t run any distance in over a year, so to go from sedentary to sprint-dodge-duck-jump-shimmy-sashay-sidestep-run-walk-jazzhands-sprint mode was quite the shock to my leg and back and torso muscles.  As a result, all of the above have decided to take the next few days off and not do much movement.  Consequently, I am a wee bit sore.

But the good news is, there is a intramural team in the spring, and I might join it.

As for what I’ve eaten today–leftovers from last night (turkey with taco seasoning, sour cream, black beans) and cheese grits this morning.  Also I’ve started drinking tea in the mornings and it really zaps my appetite… probably because I’ve got the shakes from all the caffeine.

Goodnight, readers.  I hope you can sleep after seeing the trout who stole Christmas.


I’m Always So Busy but I’m Getting Skinny! November 29, 2009

Sorry–this is going to be another short post.  I’m going to be really busy until I can finally take a few weeks vacation in December, but I have to relate a small victory.

As you all know, I decided that on Thanksgiving I would be thankful for sweets and casseroles and fattening things, and I most certainly was.  But that wasn’t the only thing that happened over the holiday.


Yep.  I did.  I was at church Thanksgiving morning, and a lady I’ve known my whole life came up to me and said, “Well you just look so good–you look like you’ve lost some weight.”  It was all I could do not to jump up and down and scream “Hot diggity damn straight, lady!”  Instead, I was so surprised that I said, “Err well I mean, no, well maybe like a pound or not even that, so no but maybe a few pounds.”  Then immediately I felt like an ass for denying someone a compliment, which I’m told is rude.

But still, she said it.  And she’s not even related to me.  And she doesn’t know that I’ve been trying.  So I was pretty stoked about that.  I thought I would share with you, and let it be encouragement to you all in your own attempts!

I’m so pumped up about it, I think I’m going to go for a butt-crack-of-dawn early walk.

Today I drove 6 hrs, so I didn’t eat anything before because I don’t like to stop.  (Yeah you read that right–I can hold it almost indefinitely.)


Asian noodles (soy sauce, egg noodles, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, sugar, rice wine vinegar)


Slug o’ peanut butter


7 Layer Burrito

Nacho Cheese Chalupa


Thanksgiving and Day 20 November 24, 2009

Well, it’s almost time to leave The Ranch and head home.  Thanksgiving is almost among us, and I’ve got a few days off work.

If the whole country could listen up for a minute: *ahem* Please do not drive anywhere on the interstates tomorrow.  Thank you.

I’m going to pack up the dog and pony show of absurdity that is my life and relax for a few days as my parents nag me.

In other news, I made a pizza today and ate the whole thing.  I didn’t eat anything else though, so I’m still doing alright.  It was basically dough and garlic and cheese and onions (in that order).  And it was faaaaaantastic.  I did have grits in the morning as well.

I’ve decided that I’m going to start taking pictures of everything I eat.  (How many times am I going to say that?)

I’ve also set up my twitter, so when I don’t have time for a long post, I’ll just tweet.  (I hate saying that so much.  I am NOT a bird… I don’t think.)

Calories left today:  130.

Much better than usual.


Day 19 – It’s That Time of Year November 22, 2009

So my mother came to visit for the weekend, as I said before.  We had a nice visit, and she bought me an air freshener because The Ranch smells like “dog.”  That’s what happens when you adopt a yard dog and make it an inside dog.

We ate our favorite BBQ on Thursday, pizza on Friday, Saturday we didn’t eat much of anything (more on that later).  Today I ate grits, tuna, and pizza.  I’m like an Italian who lives on the South’s coast.

So we didn’t eat much on Saturday because we went to a wedding.  I didn’t know the people getting married, but they were our relatives, so we went.

I wore a dress that actually fit, looked decent, and best of all, I didn’t feel like a beached whale in it.  I didn’t have the feeling that everyone was staring at me, and I just felt like I looked pretty good.

We went in and the bridesmaids were all standing there ready to proceed or whatever, and of course my scatterbrained mother decided to commit to walking in quickly ahead of them, and that just made me feel weird, especially because of the fact that there was no usher at our entrance and none of the groomsmen sat us.  So I felt like a wedding crasher from the start.  We didn’t even get a bulletin.

So we’re sitting there, and the service is very Catholic.  I am not very Catholic; in fact I am not at all Catholic, so I had no idea what was going on.  Catholic services are very nerve-wracking because periodically everyone responds with the same very loud phrase that you can’t decipher.

The man next to my mother gives her his bulletin, and she reads it and hands it to me.  I look at the top, and there’s my name!  I lean over to my mother, point to my name on the paper and say “Hell!  That’s me!  Let’s get outta here!”  It was equally weird when the girl said my name during the vows.

The reception was at a high-falutin place with 4 open bars.  Four.  What food did they have, you ask?  Well… crab cakes, egg rolls, meatballs, a candy buffet, croissant sandwiches, and many other things that I couldn’t see because people were going both ways on the food line.  That is a cardinal wedding sin.  You never go the wrong way on the food line, because then everyone else has to make accommodations for your ass-backwards understanding of wedding buffet egress.  My theory is that everyone was plastered and they didn’t even know there was a line.

So I was trying to keep a low profile because I really wanted to leave.  (We had to drive 2 hrs there and 2 hrs back… so I wanted to be on my way.)  Well my mother goes over to the candy buffet.  She didn’t even want to eat the candy, she just wanted to get one piece of the oddly shaped candy because she had to know what it was.  After getting a couple pieces of the ones she wanted, I lean in and scoop a huge heap of themed M&Ms into her little box.  She doesn’t really get mad or anything, but in order to get to the pieces she wants, she has to dig way down in the box with her fingers.  I’m standing there telling her that I want to leave and offering several escape tactics when all of a sudden the bottom falls out of her candy box.

Crash!  Candy bounces all over the floor.  Everyone, and I mean everyone looks at us.  The astronauts are looking at us because they hear the crash from the space shuttle.  I am more embarrassed than ever.  My mother, who doesn’t embarrass at all, just looks at me like “Oops.”  So I’m desperately trying to think of a way to walk away without drawing attention to myself and making it look like I did it.  So I cleverly say “I’ll go find a broom,” and I get the heck out of there.

We walk downstairs so that we can escape, and who walks in but the bride?  I want to point and scream “NAME THIEF!” but instead I just look at my mother and say, “I think I’ll look at this plaque on the wall.”  I turn to the plaque, and when that’s not enough to hide, I say “Let’s go have a cigarette,” to my mother.  She says, “Great idea.”  (Neither of us smoke.)  Thus we can walk out, fumbling around in our purses, saying, can I use your lighter? periodically to each other, without the bride thinking that we are the wedding crashers we feel like.

Such is my life.

Calories left today:



Day 16 – The Triumphant Return of the Calorie Counter, and a Dog Bite November 19, 2009

Hello, hello, hello!  Or in the words of Ann Curry, “Good morning, good morning, everybody, in the news this morning, good morning.”  Oh what the heck, I’ll just let her say it.

Gets me every time.

So as some of you guessed, my prolonged absence was actually due to a misguided and ill-conceived attempt to grow a mullet like Tom Brady.  Now David Beckham is getting in on the weird mullet act.  Should such a beautiful man get a roadkill haircut?  And again, like Tom Brady and his lady, isn’t David Beckham like, married to Victoria Beckham, aka Posh Spice, aka Skinny McPencil?

It may seem like I’m digressing.  I’m not.  Posh, who likes to be called Victoria, (it’s a compliment, she says… How is your name a compliment, unless your name is Damnyouresexy Jones?) recently said in an interview that she won’t lie–she eats lots of salads.  “Salad.  I’m not going to lie.  I’m not one of those people that says “Oh, I eat hamburgers.”

And the sick thing is, I’m so glad she said that.  I never thought that she ate anything other than salad, except for maybe the occasional kilo of cocaine (jk, no one can pry the cocaine shipments from Kate Moss’s kung-fu grip), but I’m just glad that she finally publicly said something honest.  This helps take away the stigma from women in this country who DO eat hamburgers (guilty!) that we’re somehow inherently flawed because we can’t seem to look like Victoria Beckham.  I do like Victoria Beckham, because she let her son wear his astronaut suit out in public, because she seems to love her children and her husband, and because she’s not shoveling loads of bull at the average American.  For that, Victoria, (can I call you Vicky?) I am grateful.

Now enough about boring, skinny famous people.  Let’s talk about me!  I have been noticeably absent for the past five or so days.  Honestly I was working like a crazy person trying to get something ready for tomorrow.  Of course, I’ve wanted to blog so badly the whole time that I’m staying up way too late tonight as a trade off, but no matter.  Back in college I’d never go to sleep before 3am.  I was so nocturnal I thought I’d begun to grow a marsupial pouch.  (In reality I was just getting another fat roll on my stomach.  I blame Taco Bell for being open til 2am or later.)

During my absence, I did not let you down, dear readers.  I stayed within my calories and tracked them compulsively.

One thing that I really must work on is eating regularly.  I eat breakfast every day, because as reader Christine mentioned on her blog the other day, eating breakfast kickstarts the metabolism.  Now I’ll be honest.  There’s lots of dietary information out there that I think is total crap, but I’m a big believer in the metabolism.

Thyroid issues aside, I don’t think that some people are born with a fast one or a slow one.  I think we train ourselves into one end of the spectrum.  For instance, in high school I “ran track.”  (Translation: I did shot-put and discus on the condition that I never, ever had to run in practice–a condition to which the coach agreed because I held the county records and he needed the meet points.  Despite the common assumptions, shot-putters are not all Helga and Thor.  It’s all about technique, really.)  My friends were some of the distance runners.  Not surprisingly, they were very, very thin.  In the off season they ran cross-country.  In their spare time, they ran around their neighborhoods.  Meanwhile I was sunning myself in the backyard and biting individual grapes from a bunch I dangled from my hand.

It is my opinion that, (and I am by no means a doctor–I don’t even play one on the internet–so feel free to ignore this non-medical advice), a slow metabolism lives in a body that moves less, and a fast metabolism lives in a body that moves more.

The metabolism is what allows a bear to hibernate for months and wake up thinner but healthy.  His metabolism slows to a crawl and he stores all his fat.  His body works very efficiently on little energy.

That’s the same thing we do when we skip breakfast!  We send the bear into hibernation and our bodies start conserving fuel (FAT) because there’s no new supply.

Think about the first people on this planet.  I’m of the they-were-put-here persuasion, but you might be of the they-evolved-from-sea-monkies persuasion.  Either way, they didn’t have it easy.  They basically walked around (which is why walking is so important to a healthy lifestyle) looking for food, ate when they found it, went hungry when the didn’t.  That’s why our bodies can work much like a bear’s.  We were built for such occasional periods of hunger.  It’s not a flaw that we gain weight, it’s part of the intricate design of the human body.  This was all worked out long before Glen Bell ever dreamed of opening the first Taco Bell.  And even longer before someone realized that a drive thru meant never even having to stand up to get your food.

So the moral of the story is eat your breakfast.  Otherwise you’re just making weight loss harder.

In other news, I have a puncture wound on my right pinkie where the dog bit me when I was trying to take away a pecan tree branch that she wanted to bring inside and chew into sawdust.  I was very concerned about this at first, but then I realized that I’d be really ticked off if someone tried to take away my 7 Layer Burrito, and then I kinda see where she’s coming from.  However, that’s no excuse.  So I’m going to work on enforcing the rules with her more.  It’s been hard because I’ve been so busy, but she’ll be happier if she’s not biting me and getting a subsequent spanking.  The Ranch is a mess too, and the Mothership is coming to visit tomorrow, so I’ve got to get cleaning as soon as asap.  (My best friend used to say that.)

I promise I’ll try to keep updating regularly.  I’m also thinking progress photos once a week.  I know I said that earlier, so now I’m going to make good on it.

Today I ate:


Grits –130

1 T. butter –100

-Supper- (chicken soup)

chicken breast –220

1 small russet potato –59

rotini –239




Calories remaining: 790 (TOO MANY!)

Should I buy some Nutella for situations like this, when I have almost 800 calories left?  I think I just might…

Oh and by the way, I had my “I feel skinnier” moment this morning!  I’ll tell more tomorrow afternoon or night.



Day 2 – Breakfast November 5, 2009

Hello blogosphere.

Today I woke up at 5am, convinced someone was trying to break into my house.  I think it was probably a dream.  Whatever it was, it was scary, and I had trouble getting back to sleep, so 7am came way too early.

For breakfast I decided to try something my mother told me was a crime against the South’s humanity: making grits with chicken stock.  It was… ok.  It tasted like chicken soup grits, which wasn’t exactly unpalatable, but was certainly different.  I’m not doing it again–how’s that?  Of course it was accompanied by a tablespoon of butter, which must always be well thought out because it’s a whopping 100 calories.

So, my breakfast:

1/4 cup dry grits –130

1 c. chicken stock –15

1 T. butter –100


Breakfast total:  245

Calories left: 1,558

On Thursdays I usually go out to a bar with friends after my final class of the day.  I’m going to post today about how much alcohol sucks, so look for that.  But the real issue here is that I eat out on Thursdays.  It’s my eating out day.  It just is.  The Office comes on, and I like to lounge around as I eat Chinese food or Taco Bell.  It’s my one unhealthy day.  I used to go absolutely nuts on Thursdays, as detailed in my alcohol post.

But for now, I have quite the bank of calories to last me the rest of the day, so I think I can afford a smidge of irresponsible culinary fun tonight.

I’ll post more later as I eat more.  I think I’m just going to make new posts for each meal…