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Anna Blume (Suri)

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Overall it's been easy to stick to the changes I've made - eg, no butter (well, rarely), smaller portions, fill up on the veg before going for the steak, and so on - but the liquid calories thing is tough. A very slippery slope. I can go a week without booze, and then if one evening I treat myself to a beer, and the next night I'm ordering a second cocktail and the night after that sharing a bottle of wine... Oy.

I can't decide about the frequent small meals thing. For awhile it seemed a good idea, but now it seems like eating small amounts frequently keeps me in an always slightly hungry state, which is maddening.

I think the only thing that really works is figuring out through trial and error what works best for your mind/body and then going with that. Keep posting if it helps you stay focused, and I'll keep cheering for you (and laniloa and goldenticket!)

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I also read what laniloa has to say for herself and had to laugh about her post about homemade pizza and ice cream.

I don't care what they say about the danger of seeking comfort in food: last night I picked up a pint of my favorite Haagen-Daz since I am battling household pests. It was great! Pizza is on the menu for tomorrow since I have all this mozzarella in the house.

I have zero portion control when it comes to comfort food. Other stuff doesn't phase me. I've invited a few friends over for dinner tonight and they'll polish off the excellent fresh mozzarella I bought under the delusion that I could eat it in small bits. Hungry friends might be the best portion control! I get to indulge in what is calling my name and they are thrilled to have a home-cooked meal (an astonishing number of my classmates don't do ANY cooking).

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Well, making pizza is not an option for the next couple of weeks, so the mozzarella will have to go towards a lightened eggplant parmesan (baked vs. fried all the way).

In any respect, I have resumed the food diary. Retrieving the old documents from the original challenge has been fascinating--at least for me. I'll spare you. Have decided, for now, not to weigh myself all that frequently and for the moment, see if self-discipline is enough for portion control instead of measuring it all out and counting calories. I am on a mission, but not A Mission.

Can't always practice what I did in 2007 when I vowed to walk everywhere that I bought groceries. However, today I spent the time, figuring it was cheaper than a movie, and with budding trees, light drizzle, rather entertaining.

According to Google Map, I walked around 4.75 miles from home to Whole Foods to Trader Joe's to the Metro and home again.

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I can't believe it's been FIVE years since we all joined in for the first Summer Challenge!!

Having just unpacked my bathroom scale, I popped in a new battery, stepped on and sighed at what the numbers confirmed.

Then I turned on the computer and retrieved the final document of my Food Diary from 2007. Not only have I managed to keep off that weight, but I am five pounds lighter! Not bad, considering.

So, here's the thing: I had hoped that with self-control and making slow but steady progress, every year I would lose at least half the number of pounds shed during the Summer Challenge. That means I would have reached my own target weight by now.

Didn't happen.

While I continue to have mixed feelings about the whole weight-loss/vanity thing that many liberal women of my generation experience, I would like to revive some of the efforts put into the initial group project. For example, not indulging in the French fries, ice-cream sandwiches, pizza and guacamole that I have found too easy to justify recently. More exercise on days off. Vegetarian meals that don't involve grilled cheese.

Does anyone else feel so inclined?

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OK, I'm in. I've signed up to do the MS bike ride this June, and I need to whip myself into shape so I can ride at least 55 miles, and possibly 100, in one go. I'm not sure if it's empowering or depressing that my typical diet seems to be everyone else's seasonal, "healthy" diet, so I doubt I'll change what I'm eating, but I can certainly pick up the pace with the exercise.

And PS to Anna, don't think of it as a vanity thing, think of it as a health issue. You deserve to be in perfect health!

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Okay, so we'll be the prelude to Sonata.

I'm starting out simply by amping up the amount of exercise I get each week this month before I get into serious denial.

After all, I still have quite a bit of Red Apron's braised pork belly in the freezer and I bought a half pint of cream from Clear Spring (note singular form, Porcupine; yes, I read your posts religiously :) ) on Sunday. There are also some frozen unpitted sour cherries to go into a clafouti or two.

This morning I took a crosstown bus from an ugly stretch of my not quite hipified neighborhood to Rock Creek Park and allowed myself to get lost until it was time to go home and make lunch. Flowering dogwood, a woman clearing lily weed from a community garden plot, white and purple violets...

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I've been derelict in posting progress, so, making a long story short, I've been riding whenever travel does not interfere, and now I'm two training rides from the MS ride this weekend and feeling like I'm in pretty good shape for it. Some time during the planning of the event, the mid-level ride course got changed, and now it will be 64 miles. I'm moderately freaked out about that particular number right now, but I did a 43 mile ride two Saturdays ago (two weeks prior to the event.) That ride encompassed the Custis loop and then the Mt. Vernon trail all the way down to Mt. Vernon, so it was hilly in places. I figure if I could do 43 miles on hilly-ish terrain with mud tires (I have a cross bike), I can do 64 flat on my new slick, city tires. (Feel free to chime in with encouraging stories of doing anything remotely similar.) I'll report back Sunday.

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...I did a 43 mile ride two Saturdays ago...I can do 64 flat on my new slick, city tires.

:o Wow!!!! I am so impressed! Inspired, too. While I've made more of a concerted effort to get out and about on trails, I simply am not as fully into the routine as I was five or so years ago.

Other baby steps: less meat; no longer picking up the weekly loaves of bread at the market; switching to savory vs. sweet snacks. Even bought and consumed some whole wheat pasta, though I still feel it has its place for certain preps, not all. After a terrible order of a new take on fries at my favorite source, I finally have curbed giving into urges on weekend afternoons. Indulging every now and again since utter denial is counterproductive.

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...While I've made more of a concerted effort to get out and about on trails, I simply am not as fully into the routine as I was five or so years ago.

Do you have a buddy to go with you? It helps so much to keep up the effort if you know someone else is going to expect you to be there, even on days that neither of you would head out on your own. I'm biking now because my running buddy can no longer run, and I found a cycling buddy who is willing to do fairly crazy distances.

For the pasta, have you tried Trader Joe's brown rice pasta? I think it has better texture and flavor than a lot of the semolina products, and it's whole grain.

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Thanks for tips, lp. I will try the TJ stuff once current stock depleted. Buddy thing sounds good, but later. I need to get into the routine first on my own--otherwise I just resent having another obligation requiring me to be somewhere at x o'clock vs. a pleasant, leisure-time pursuit.

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Funny, I was just thinking about that summer challenge and how I need to find a way to be motivated. lperry, congrats to you on completing the MS challenge! I hadn't seen your posts here previously, but that is an incredible accomplishment.

I am making baby steps and have made a concerted effort to walk during my lunches...I try to pin-point places to pick up a bite that are several blocks away, and then take a circuitous route back to the office. Once I realized that a major barrier for me was to be carrying my heavy purse with me, I brought a light back-sack (folding bag that converts to a backpack) to carry my wallet, tester and sunglass case, and then I carry my (dumb*) phone, glucose monitor, glucose tabs and iPod nano (3rd gen*) in a mini hand tote so they are easily accessible. Seeing as I have to carry so much crap with me I find this solution has really made all the difference for me; and the back-sack has come in handy to tote back my lunch and/or incidentals I may purchase at a CVS, etc.

Since my battery has died on my pedometer I'm not tracking right now, but am trying to slowly work on walking further distances. Unfortunately I only have one hour to work with and a short jaunt can send my blood sugar spiraling down fast, so I have to make sure I've eaten an apple or something before I start out. And since I take such small steps, I really can't go very far but the distance is really not the issue as much as the step count. I was thankful to see that this morning's step on the scale showed a loss of 21/2 lbs--but I'm still 5 lbs over my "normal" weight.

So thanks for starting the conversation up again!

*I'm waiting for the iPhone 5 and then maybe I'll come out of the dark ages... :P

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Thanks for tips, lp. I will try the TJ stuff once current stock depleted. Buddy thing sounds good, but later. I need to get into the routine first on my own--otherwise I just resent having another obligation requiring me to be somewhere at x o'clock vs. a pleasant, leisure-time pursuit.

If I hear that you're even considering cooking with brown rice pasta, I will immediately compose a fettuccine carbonara featuring "fresh" egg pasta and reduced cream, photographic it and post it in the dinner thread with a gushing paean to its "authenticity."

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If I hear that you're even considering cooking with brown rice pasta, I will immediately compose a fettuccine carbonara featuring "fresh" egg pasta and reduced cream, photographic it and post it in the dinner thread with a gushing paean to its "authenticity."

Then again, considering the high numbers of celiacs in Italy, you might be surprised. ;)

I forgot to report that I survived the ride, finished in less than five hours, and owe it all to the quasi-Italian pasta y ceci and pasta y fagioli.

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If I hear that you're even considering cooking with brown rice pasta, I will immediately compose a fettuccine carbonara featuring "fresh" egg pasta and reduced cream, photographic it and post it in the dinner thread with a gushing paean to its "authenticity."

Basta! Basta! My personal thoughts about whole-grain pasta and N. American nutritional concerns can be found elsewhere on this board and earlier on that other one, but I can respect medically imposed dietary needs. While skeptical about the whole fiber thing, I am a bit more willing to listen to recent cautionary remarks about sugar and highly-processed grains, ergo recent purchase of meh-ish whole wheat. Still do risotto w polished, white rice, ditto, paella, though I switched to brown rice otherwise long ago. Just finished most of a bowl of Vace's plain, old egg-based fettuccine [note the on-topic note--unfortunately not finishing everything before me is about as close as I've gotten to an actual weight-loss campaign thus far] with pesto and a glass of tap water since I'm with Alice on importing unfermented beverages in bottles.

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Having kept off the pounds and with a loss of a few more, I am thinking that the best way to cope with this week's events involves lots of heavy cream, butter, pork shoulder, french fries, red wine, and pie.

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