Where have I been the last six weeks?  Seems like  here, there and everywhere.  Not that it’s been terrible, mind you.  You can’t really complain when you’re flitting about to places like San Francisco, LA, San Juan and DC.  (You could grouse a bit about Cleveland, Ohio,  but it was my own idea to go there for work, so I can’t.)

The point is that I haven’t had much of a routine lately.

Which is a roundabout way of saying that I have strayed from my mission.  You know, the whole losing 30 by 50 thing?

Which is why I am where I am today: 181.5 pounds.  That’s a full 4 pounds over what I weighed three weeks ago, when I was 177.5.  So my net loss after nine weeks is only 3.5 pounds.  Not very impressive. 

Not that I am surprised, given what I’ve been doing — and not doing — lately.

And yet, I have to tell you that I am not discouraged either.  Now that I am back home, with no looming travel obligations, I am psyched to be in my routine again. 

To be honest, it took me almost a week to get to this point.  First of all, I had this stupid cold when I got back from Ohio.  I always forget whether you’re supposed to starve a cold and feed a fever or the other way around, but I really wasn’t paying much attention.  I ate what felt good:  lots of soup, OJ, ice cream and whatever looked desirable at the moment.  I did not track points.  Naturally, I wasn’t exercising either.

Finally, the cold ran its course.

Still I did nothing.  I didn’t have the excuse of being sick anymore — I didn’t have any excuses at all, except my own inertia. 

Ihad lost my motivation.  I just didn’t feel like it.  Plain and simple.

Yet, deep inside, I knew that I wanted to get back to work.  I wanted to lose the weight; I wanted to resume my  healthy lifestyle.  I remembered that I felt good when I was going to the gym regularly and eating stuff that wasn’t fried or smothered in melted cheese.

But I resisted.  It is hard to change, even when you know that change means nothing more than a return to healthier, more wholesome ways.

So, how did I get my mojo back?

I made the decision.  And then I made a plan.

I gave myself the weekend to enjoy a few last indulgences, without going overboard, so that I would be ready on Monday to pick up where I left off.  I did a little grocery shopping on Sunday, stocking up on my produce and making meal plans in my head.

Yesterday was harder:  I went back to the gym for the first time in weeks and did a half-hour on the eliptical.  I did not kill myself.  I started on level 3 and worked up to level 7.  I sweated a lot.  I did not particularly enjoy it.  But I survived.

Afterward, I felt much better.  And today, I’m certain, will be easier!

I did a couple of other things to get myself on track. 

I felt the urge to cook something both delicious and healthy, so I did.  I whipped up a pot of cauliflower and lentil curry (see recipe below), a dish I’d made once before and absolutely loved.  It was indescribably good.  It had flavor and texture and filled me right up.  And, for those of you on the Weight Watchers plan, it’s only 5 points!

For me, cooking meals that are both healthy and tastey is self-reinforcing, because it means that eating healthy doesn’t have to be a drag:  It can be incredibly enjoyable.  Once I’m in this groove, I’m imagining what’s next on my cooking roster.  For example, tonight I’m eating out, but tomorrow I’m having my friend Doreen over for dinner, and I’m thinking roasted salmon in cilantro pesto, a la Mark Bittman.

I did another positive thing yesterday:  I went to a meditation class in the evening, something I haven’t done in a couple of months.  I’ve been meditating for a few years now, mainly on my own, but without much discipline.  I want to meditate more regularly, so class is a good touchstone for me, plus it connects me with other, like-minded people. 

While I can’t yet make a direct link between meditation and weight loss, I find that meditation makes me feel more grounded and focused.  To the extent that meditation helps me stay on the straight and narrow and avoid distracting and counterproductive side streets, I believe it will also help me achieve my weight-loss goal.  We’ll see.

Meanwhile, I’m feeling good.  It’s a new week, and I’m ready to make some progress.

********************************

Cauliflower & Red Lentil Curry

From EatingWell:  September/October 1993

Red lentils turn yellow when cooked and dissolve, giving the curry a nice, thick quality.  I used about 3/4 cup of lentils instead of a half-cup to enhance the stew-like meatiness.  Also, I upped the curry powder to a tablespoon (I like it hot!) and substituted a little honey for sugar.   You can serve the curry over rice if you like.  Me, I just eat it plain!

4 servings | Active Time: 25 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder, preferably Madras
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped, or one 14-oz. can tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Preparation

  1. Combine lentils, onions, curry powder, salt, turmeric and water in a large saucepan over low heat; bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are soft and the sauce has thickened, about 45 minutes.  Add tomatoes, cauliflower and jalapeno peppers and simmer, covered, until the cauliflower is tender, 8 to 10 minutes longer.  Remove from heat.
  2. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat.  Add cumin seeds and cook for about 10 seconds.  Add garlic and ginger; cook, stirring, until the garlic is lightly browned, about 1 minute.  Stir in cayenne and immediately add the oil-spice mixture to the cauliflower mixture.  Stir in lemon juice, cilantro and sugar.  Taste and adjust seasonings with additional salt and cayenne.

Nutrition

Per serving : 184 Calories; 5 g Fat; 0 g Sat; 2 g Mono; 0 mg Cholesterol; 28 g Carbohydrates; 10 g Protein; 8 g Fiber; 335 mg Sodium; 812 mg Potassium

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