Friday, February 27, 2009

Return of the Living :20 Minute Workout

Last summer, I came across an old VHS tape of one of the :20 Minute Workout episodes at a garage sale. Remember those? The 80's softcore masquerading as fitness videos where thin-but-unshapely women in colorful leotards, puffy hair and neon makeup squatted, swayed, squeezed cleavage and bumped 'n grinded to a soundtrack of synthesizers and electronic beats without breaking a sweat or even breathing heavy? Yeah, those.

Recently, Bobzilla converted the tape to digital. As I was eating my bowl of spicy Pho (thanks to Mrs. Jelly Belly for implanting noodles in the brain), I decided to pop in the disc for a little entertainment.

Ho boy.

It's "low impact" alright.

Not only is the :20 Minute Workout a flawless time capsule, I remain humbled by how Bess Motta's makeup and hair can look so synthetic perfect:

OK, now she's just being smug, as if reaffirming my thought that no way in HELL would I ever look like that when I work out:

But I will take that beyotch up on the challenge and attempt her workout next week. I suspect, though, that the reason I may not be able to finish will have less to do with intensity and more to do with the fact that I'm heaving with laughter. Or that I am uncomfortably exploiting myself in the comfort of my own living room.

Here's what I think is THE quintessential :20 Minute Workout video. Enjoy...and let me know if you can get past the 2:35 mark without losing your composure:

So, while we're on the subject of erotic exercise videos, Bobzilla informed me that Traci Lords even made her own workout tape. And she raps while she does it.

Oh God. It's true:

I was too young to exercise to these videos in the early 80's, so I wonder if women really did work out to these tapes or if they were just a safe way for men and boys to get them into the house without the necessity of plain paper wrapping. All I know is that Andrea Dworkin and Gloria Steinem would most certainly not be amused by the degrading messages they were sending to both genders.

You know, it's probably best that I drive a stake through the heart of this best-forgotten genre, or shoot it in the head or do whatever it is that you do to make sure that the dead stay dead. But I gotta admit there's a guilty pleasure in resurrecting these moldy oldies, if anything else for the chuckle value.

In closing, here's a SNL parody of 80's erotic exercise videos called Body Fuzion. It's so funny it hurts inside (wait for it after a short ad):


The above-photos are screen captures of the video I took from the computer's DVD drive. Bobzilla tried to show me how to convert to video, but I've already forgotten and, in any event, I'd rather leave the copyright gray areas up to the other contributors on YouTube (although fair use and commentary seemingly reign in this context).

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In: 2/25/09

167.0 lbs even. OK! Down about 1/2 pound from last week. But still up 1/2 pound from pre-Valentine's day two weeks ago. Given the very bad behavior I've been engaged in over the last 2 weekends, that is a-ok with me.

This week forward will be much better as there are no 3-day weekend food orgy plans. My only potential bomb will be honoring a commitment I made with friends to go to a restaurant that serves nothing but midway foods. In other words, FOOD ON A STICK. As Bobzilla snarkily pointed out, "good luck finding salad on a stick." Well, my plan is to eat a small healthy meal at home (probably one of my kickass rice bowls) prior to going out. Then, I'll allow myself one thing if it's small or split one large item with Bobzilla.

Yeah, right.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

This 'n That

1. I've noticed that agave nectar seems to be pretty popular with some of my fellow bloggers. However, after researching this, I learned that agave has more calories per tablespoon (60) than raw or turbinado sugar (45). Now, supposedly you don't need to use as much agave (it's pronounced ah-GAV-ay, also something new I learned) because it's sweeter. But how much less do you use compared to sugar? Well, they say about 25% less. So, you use 3/4 cup of agave for every 1 cup of sugar. In other words, the calories are pretty much the same between sugar and agave when adjusting for these amounts.

Now, I know that there are those who say agave is better because it is "natural" and there's dicta floating around the internets about glycemic indexes and stuff but, frankly, my eyes glaze over after that. Plus, why use something that's sweeter than sugar? Doesn't that encourage or heighten one's sense for sweets and, in turn, bolster those cravings? Isn't the "sweet trigger" one of the reasons why newest research say diet drinks and other artificially sweetened foods are actually worse for you? Don't we just need to get weaned off of sweets all together, rather than look for other ways to get our sugar fix? It would seem that unless you're diabetic, you're better off sticking with sugar. Right?

Crap, I'm so confused.

I'm probably still gonna buy it next time I'm at my store anyway. I'm such a sucka.

2. There is a civil war going on in my head between intuitive eating and bulking up on healthy foods. What's better: training to just eat less in general or stuffing ourselves with low -calorie food? Oh, how to reconcile....

3. Kate Winslet looked ravishing at the Oscars. However, I miss her more voluptuous form from a few years ago. *le sigh*

4. This weekend was spent with some of my girlfriends acting like fools. One of them also lost a lot of weight by eating healthy and working out (the other one is perpetually skinny but still complains about a pooch. She should suck it). She looks amazing (so does the skinny bitch). However, we cracked Saturday night, eating potato chips and french onion dip like a bunch of starving feral children. It was hell-arious and we cackled about it the next morning...while eating bagels, lox and cream cheese. But what I think was great is that we didn't beat ourselves up. We shrugged it off without the necessity of some sort of divine atonement. Actually, we were almost brazen about it, bragging of the sins with smug rebellion. I might have smirked at my scale.

5. Even as a recovering Catholic, I've never celebrated Fat Tuesday. I can't help but feel like I'm missing out on something.

6. One of owners of a lunch counter in my building remarked on my weight loss, and I said words to the effect that it was because I stopped eating his food. I'm pretty sure that what I said didn't come out right and I offended him. *But it's true*

7. I've been buying fair-trade organic coffee to assuage my conscience. I call it my "free range coffee." Picture little coffee beans grazing in open pasture. The coffee tastes GREAT, btw.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Let's Do Lunch

When it comes to lunch spots around my office, there are no "healthy choices." These places cater to the traditional Cleveland waistline, offering such standard fare as the "Big Bob Belly Buster" fish dinners, mile-high corned beef sammies, fried everything, heart attack burgers and mayo-laden salads and wraps. My one ray of light--a Mideast restaurant featuring decent hummus and lentil salads--westernized its menu in less than a year.

Plus, I'm a "conscientious omnivore." I don't eat meat, eggs or milk from an animal that wasn't raised ethically and naturally. Organic and free-range, that's me. So, Subway is out.

No, the only way I can survive lunch is to bring my own food. For a while, I ate homemade turkey sandwiches on whole grain bread. However, even though I purchased the meat from a local natural foods market, I couldn't verify the source of the organic turkey and, well, it was too salty. Plus, while the bread was whole grain, it was a major calorie bomb at about 110 calories per slice and I still wasn't getting enough veggies.

So, I decided to take a break from the meat and add more veggies to my lunch by making my own rice bowls. Brown rice is preferable--it's tastier and healthier than plain white rice. The rice bowls require a little advance preparation, but the final result is yummy goodness.

Here's how I do it:

1. In a casserole dish, mix together 1 & 1/2 cups of brown basmati rice, 2 & 3/4 cups of water, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, 1 TB butter (yes, butter. Olive oil adds a slightly unpleasant bitter flavor) and 1 tsp. salt. Cover tightly and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 70 minutes. It's that simple. The end result is perfectly cooked brown rice that will serve as a base for 5 lunch bowls:

2. While the rice is baking, roughly chop up 2-3 stalks of broccoli, 1/2 bag baby carrots, 1 white onion, and any other veggie you'd like such as snap sugar peas, green peppers, cauliflower or green beans. Steam in boiling water for no more than 4-5 minutes. You don't want to over-cook the veggies because they will be frozen and then reheated later.

Here, I've steamed carrots, broccoli and onions. I'm also adding frozen green beans, which I don't need to steam at all (fresh organic beans are preferred, but they weren't available). So, I'm letting them thaw while the rice is baking.

Dammit, I forgot the mushrooms!

4. Once you're done with the vegetables, set up an assembly line for your lunch bowls. I'm using 5 re-usable containers that are microwave and freezer safe.

5. Choose your flavor. Here, I'm going for a Thai-style lunch. I've got reduced sodium soy sauce, fish sauce, lime wedges, a pinch of raw sugar and sriracha hot chili sauce.

But you can also try green or panang curry sauces (just watch the portions...they're about 50-90 calories for about 2 TBs), add some lemon grass or make your own pad thai style rice using tamarind paste with the above-mentioned ingredients I'm currently using and a sprinkling of chopped peanuts. Bitch Cakes has a great recipe for a low-cal peanut sauce that you could add to the rice dish.

And a word about Sriracha--or "Cock Sauce:"

I friggin' love this stuff. I put it on everything. I would make love to it if I could.

6. Portion out the rice evenly into the five containers. I usually yield about 4 & 1/2 to 5 ounces of cooked rice per serving. Notice the scale. It's one of the best--and most important--kitchen gadgets out there.

7. Portion out the veggies. As you can see, I like a lot of veggies in my bowl. Not only are they tasty, but they are also very filling.

8. Add your flavor. A squeeze of lime juice. A few dashes of soy sauce and fish sauce. A squirt or two of cock sauce. If you are not a spice-aholic, you may want to cut back significantly on the chili sauce.

9. Now the best part: Shake 'em up! Make sure everything is well-distributed.

10. Then freeze. Take one out each day for lunch. I usually let mine thaw out in my desk and then nuke it for about 2 & 1/2 to 3 minutes.

By my calculations, the nutritional breakdown for the rice base for each bowl (including the butter and salt) is as follows:

Calories = 225

Fat = 2.3 g
Saturated Fat = 1.458 g

Cholesterol = 6.2 mg

Sodium = 224 mg

Protein = 4.8 g

Total Carbs = 44.4 g
Dietary Fiber = 3.6 g

The final calorie & nutritional count for each bowl is going to depend on what type of sauces and flavorings you use. You may want to add a protein punch by adding some tofu, chicken or shrimp.

Wednesday Weigh-In: 2/18/09

167.4 lbs today. That's about a 1 lb gain from last week. But, I'm totally cool with it. What was supposed to be a Valentine's Day indulgence turned into a 4-day bender 'o sin.

Friday: Truffles, cheeses and cheesecake martinis and amaretto sours. It was mere practice for Valentine's Day

Saturday: More of the same, plus nachos and beer while bowling, crab legs 'n butter, twice baked gruyere cheese taters, and more fancy cocktails.

Sunday: What I thought was going to be a belly dancing class was actually just a show. Watching pretty much the same dance routine for 2+ hours can get boring. Bobzilla ordered "tavern fries" (you don't want to know what's in them) and things sorta went downhill from there.

Monday: Oh crap! I totally forgot that I had to attend my client's annual company dinner. It was held at the restaurant La Dolce Vita in Little Italy. I was ill-prepared for this food bomb. In addition to Bobzilla ordering a bottle of Italian ripasso wine *heart aflutter*, they served the food in the traditional "family style." In other words, about 8 courses (including 2 desserts). Even eating less than 1/2 of my plates was still too much food!

The following snippet from John Pinette best describes this Morte de Italia. It gets good about 1:20 into the video:

So that's that. I have no regrets and don't even feel bad about eating and drinking bad for a few days. Shoot, it could have been much worse. I'm not going to punish myself over my choices. There's going to be no downward spiral back into obesity-dom, no whining about hitting a wall when I didn't. I'm not going to resign myself to this weight and get off the weight-loss train.

I've already returned to normal eating and have been continuing my workouts (which never stopped anyway). Another week, another opportunity for improvement.

On the plus-plus side, my arms and shoulders are looking amazing. Those bat wings are definitely starting to diminish. And I am retiring a pair of size 14 khaki pants because they were too big on me today. Oh dear, I have to do more shopping. Oh the agony.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Just When You Thought You Couldn't Do Worse...

I just came across this website through a myspace friend, and am offended. This is's like the foodie equivalent of "Two Girls, One Cup:"

This Is Why You're Fat

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hope everyone had a fabulous Friday the 13th and survived with nary a scratch.

Though I'm not a big fan of Hallmark holidays, Valentines Day gives Bobzilla and me an excuse to shamelessly pursue hedonistic activities. And here's a breakdown of how we're doing it this year:

1. Off to Hixon's to check out the owner's massive private collection of antique Valentines. Actually, we already did that yesterday. And it was pretty neat. I forgot to bring my camera, but check out this photo blog. My favorite one is from the Jazz Age, which contains a creepy message to the recipient that his/her eyes would be cut out if they wandered on anyone else. Yikes!

2. Bowling at Mahall's. As part one of our "Best of Cleveland Date," we're going to knock down a few pins at this fabulous vintage bowling alley. Everything looks as it did about 50-60 years ago. Bobzilla is even going to wear one of his novelty bowling shirts. Fun, fun.

3. Getting Fancy at the Velvet Tango Room. After bowling, we're going home to change into spiffier duds for a stop at the ultra lush cocktail lounge. Notice I did not say "bar" or "joint." No, no, no, no. This place feels and smells class. For part two of our date, Bobzilla and I will be comfortably poised on an overstuffed sofa in an amber-lit cozy corner, sipping Manhattans while listening to tunes played on the grand piano. Tonight, Cab Callaway's former bassist will be accompanying the pianist on his standing double bass.

4. Back to Home Base. After a cocktail, it's back home for all kinds of bad things that will no doubt come back to haunt me at Wednesday's Weigh-In: Crab legs, artisan cheeses, truffles, cheesecake martinis. Oh dear.

On the upside, I'll be working off the calories tomorrow by attending a belly dancing class with my friend.

Well, I'm off for my pre-emptive Saturday morning workout.

Hope everyone has a FABULOUS weekend. And if you're going to be evil on Valentine's Day like I am, that's ok. Forgive yourself and get back on track again.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In: 2/11/09

166.6 lbs.* That's 2.4 pounds down from last week! Man, I sped past 168 and 167 like they were a couple of scary hitchhikers.

I was fairly good last week. I did return to Dewey's Pizza (*gasp*) but went for a small Killer Veggie pizza, which was 60% veggies, 5% sauce, 15% cheese and 20% crust. Yeah, I was over-analyzing it per usual. I also had a small unbuttered theater popcorn while watching Coraline, half a medium unbuttered popcorn while watching the new Friday the 13th movie (hubby's a film critic so we got to see an advanced screening) and several glasses of wine, cuz, hey, I likes the wine. But that was it, and I still worked out the usual routine. I didn't overindulge and I didn't feel deprived.

I tell you, for the last week or so I have felt FANTASTIC. I feel physically and emotionally strong, energetic, brainier and just plain happy. I have really been enjoying my workouts, especially the new weight lifting for the biceps and triceps (thanks again, Kristi!). My hubby Bobzilla has been back on track with the fitness thing for about a month now and has cut back on his own bad eating and drinking habits. He's lost several pounds and is looking great. Well, he always looks good. *sighs dreamily* I'm sure I'm going to have crappy moments again, but I gotta say they are occuring less and less.

The weather has been great. My cats haven't destroyed anything this week nor created another vet emergency. Bobzilla made his awesome turkey & 3-bean chili. And we have plans...MAYJAH plans...for fun and frolicking this Valentine's Day weekend.

I guess this is the day I die, then.

*Technically, I am 166.4, but I had about a foot of hair cut off yesterday. I weighed myself twice, once while holding my old hair (OCD, don't ask) and again without it. It was a .2 lb difference.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Demystifying Weight Loss

You would think that since it took me 3 years to get to my 160's, that this weight loss trip has been hard. But it wasn't.

Easy? No.

But difficult? Eh, not really.

The concept of weight loss is simple and pure: Burn off more calories than you consume.

There is no magic diet, program, DVD or self-help book that is going to change the basic game plan of weight loss. You simply have to watch what you eat and exercise.

So, why did it take me 3 years to get to this stage? Attitude. I just didn't want it bad enough. I didn't want to, for instance, put down that 2nd and 3rd glass of wine. I didn't want to get out of bed an hour earlier in the morning to ride a bike.

This all changed for reasons more thoroughly explained here and here.

But trust me, there was no grand epiphany. The heavens didn't shower golden light down on me and angels didn't sing in chorus when I figured out what I needed to do. I didn't go to hypnotherapy. I didn't have my brain scrambled.

When a solution is presented to you that is plain as day, there are only so many ways you can react to it. To kick and scream and agonize and resist is more exhausting (emotionally) than the solution. Really, the path of least resistance is to just do it. And so I just started doing it.

I got up an hour earlier and started exercising. I didn't always like it, but I did it.

I cut back the drinking and watched what I ate. Nothing complicated. I didn't deny myself foods I liked. I just didn't indulge in the same quantities. When you give yourself some slack, and allow yourself to have what you want in moderation, there is not much of a tendency to binge. In any event, I wasn't punishing myself.

Many people call weight loss a "struggle" or "battle," like it's some major foe to be fought. Quite frankly, that is B.S. Moving for an hour a day is not a struggle. Yes, I sweat and breathe hard. But it's not struggle. I don't feel like I'm some warrior fighting Orcs when I can *only* have one bowl of chocolate raspberry truffle frozen yogurt a night. Oh dear.

When we use this kind of rhetoric, it wreaks psychological havoc on the brains of others who want and need to lose weight. See, I also thought it was really hard in the beginning because that's what so many people say. So I put off what I thought was going to be a war with my ass and my fridge. It terrified me. And when we use these types of words to describe our experience, then what kind of message are we sending to others who are trying to lose weight?

Does weight loss require discipline? Oh sure. Like I said, I didn't say it was easy. But it is no harder than 90% of the other things we do every day. Those tedious, tiresome, soul-sucking things like jobs, child care, chores and taxes. The difference? With diet and exercise, we are taking care of ourselves, remaking and remolding us in ways that a plastic surgeon will never master. We are making ourselves a priority.

Weight loss is not a mystery.

And to celebrate the fact that all this non-battling has reduced my weight to the 160's--just 20 pounds away from my high school weight *sighs dreamily*--I thought I'd engage in a little self-indulgence and post another B & A:

Here's me in March 2007 (that's Tura Satana on the right. Google her. She's all kinds of awesome.). Love the fat apron protruding under the jeans, and the fact that I seemed to perpetually sweat:

And here's me yesterday, working the jeans a little better. And, hey, those size 14 jeans are actually fitting loose now!:

I noticed while proofing this blog, I use a lot of terms in the past-tense, as if to suggest that my weight loss gig is over. It's not. I still have another 20-30 lbs to go. And I'll probably slip up again like last weekend. But that's ok. It's not so difficult that I cannot get back on.

Friday, February 6, 2009

How I Sweat

I don't go to the gym for a number of reasons. For one thing, if you read the Craigslist "Missed Connections" section like I do (ok, maybe you don't), then you would know that any given gym is a playground for emotionally-underdeveloped skeezy stalkers. Also, sweating and body odor are very personal. To have other people close enough to sniff my glistening mass is as unsettling as opening up for my gyno. No thanks.

So, I do my workouts at home. And it's worked out (get it?) quite nicely. Here's my set up:

My bike. It's a Schwinn recumbent bike that can give you an intense cardio while still being easy on the knees. It's also worked my inner thighs and hips, unlike the upright I had before. I'll admit it was a bit pricey (about $400), but it has been worth every penny.

Here is the program I use each morning. It goes through mild to intense resistance levels every 9 minutes or so. After the first 45 minutes are up, I start it again for one more cycle, for a total of about 55 minutes. In total, I burn 510-525 calories, or so the fancy monitor says. In any event, my heart rate usually stays at between 128 to 155, so I'm definitely burning some calories. I feel so good after each session. I *heart* this bike.

While I'm on the bike 55 minutes, my actual cardio workout time is much longer thanks to this thing. Meet Hobbes, the other Great Underminer in the household. He is endlessly fascinated with my exercise activities, coming up with new ways to get all up in my business.

And here is the second greatest piece of exercise equipment: The Playstation 3. No, seriously, this thing is like a mini-computer. When networked with your computer/internet, you can access all on-line fitness websites and watch their videos right on your regular TV. I like to workout to the Sparkpeople videos--especially Coach Nicole's butt-blasting and core regimens. The PS3 is also a great blu-ray and video game player. I can watch movies and (more typically) play mindless action games while pedaling furiously away on the bike. I highly recommend playing any of the Ratchet and Clank video games while biking. Good times, and the hour passes in an instant.

Here are my weights. Nothing fancy. The one thing that does bug me about them is that I have to spend a lot of time switching out the weights depending on what muscles I'm working on. Unfortunately, I just don't have the room to store multiple dumbbells in this space. The weights you see are the ones I have been using for my tricep exercises. The dumbbell on the left is for my overhead extensions (10 lbs + whatever the bar weighs); the one on the right is for my tricep kickbacks (5 lbs + whatever...). And thanks to Kristi's tricep scuplting blog, my triceps are fantastically tore up, in a good way. For biceps, I have been using 12.5 lbs dumbbells. But after trying some new bicep curls, I've cut back to 10 lbs. again.

Of course, I use a stability ball now. I wasn't initially a convert, but after a friend let me borrow hers, I've found that it really is an excellent way to work the core without putting a hurting on my back. Plus, I gotta say it's just plain fun sitting and bouncing and rolling on the ball. I feel like I'm in Romper Room. Surprisingly, Hobbes hasn't taken an interest in it. Yet.

And finally, my chair. I just started using it for one of Coach Nicole's lower body/thigh/glute exercises. You can check it out by clicking here.

You don't even need much of the equipment I have to get a decent workout. In fact, Kristi just posted an excellent article discussing how you can get your fitness on in the comfort of your own home using just what you have. Wish I had seen that sooner!

So, here's a breakdown of how I get busy with my own home gym, Monday through Saturday morning.

55 Minutes Cardio
30 Minutes Weight Lifting (triceps and chest every other day, biceps on alternating days)
30 Minutes Core or 30 Minutes Lower Body (alternating days)
15 Minutes to chase Hobbes out of the room or unhook his claws from my clothing

I don't plan on working out 2 hours a day/6 days a week forever. I'm still in weight loss mode. Once I get to the weight I need to be, I plan on cutting back my workouts to about an hour, 5 days a week and see how well I maintain with new calorie intakes. I really don't want to cut it back much further than that. I actually enjoy being active and it sets the whole rest of my day in motion. A few years ago, the old me would have snickered sarcastically at such a statement. Funny that.


Some of you may have noticed a large, tacky stuffed lion in the background of some of these pictures and wondered why it's there, as I don't have kids. No, I am not a fur-vert or have some other fetish. There's a cute, albeit bizarre, story behind that lion and our other cat, Sebastian, which you can watch below. Let's just say we stand by their relationship.:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In: 2/4/09

Today's weight = 169.0 lbs.

WTF?!? Yay! I'm down 1.6 el-bees from last week. I am in the 160's!

But, I ain't gonna lie. I've got mixed feelings about this.

On one hand I am happy. Oh sure. On the days I didn't trough feed, I was very good with my food intake and stuck to my daily 2 hour aerobics/weight-training.

On the other hand, I feel surprised and a little guilty. To say I fell off the wagon this weekend is a gross understatement. I should have gained a little. Or at least maintained. There should have been consequences!

Why is it that I only lose half a pound the week before while strictly adhering to my routine, but I actually lose over twice the amount of weight this week after indulging like a horny Roman? If my chain-smoking, wine-swilling, chocolate-fingered party girl who has been crashing in my subconscious ever catches wind of this free pass, I am screwed.

Monday, February 2, 2009

I'm a baaaaad girl

I got through the holidays like a champ. I passed on the holiday party indulgences. My Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners were eaten in modest portions, and no seconds. I walked by the Hartzler's Egg Nog in the dairy case without a second thought. I dodged the sweet bullets even while I was deep in the trenches as a cookie-making machine. In the end, I did not gain a single pound during those harrowing two months.

So why...why did Superbowl weekend prove to be a formidable foe?

It began on Friday. After a long day in trial, my husband picked me up from the office to take my stressed-out body home. The game plan was to have leftover homemade Indian cuisine...saag paneer, I recall. Yet my husband--aka The Great Underminer--suddenly announces he wanted pizza and headed to Dewey's, the new pizza joint that opened up the street.

I was too tired to protest. It didn't help that the place had a liquor license and carried an extensive wine selection. Or that the menu featured specialty pizzas containing goat cheese. I ordered the small Green Lantern pizza: Light mozzarella cheese (hey, it's LIGHT), garlic, mushrooms, goat cheese, artichoke and pesto. It was so delish it was evil. The crust was like puff pastry; the goat cheese like heaven's own pillows. I ate half of it for dinner. And then the other half for breakfast on Saturday, no doubt negating the two hour workout earlier that morning.

And then there was Sunday. Oh God, Sunday.

First of all, I'm not a football fan and had no plans to attend any Superbowl parties. In fact, I put together a Sunday dinner menu comprised of "healthy" Superbowl foods: baked chicken breast nuggets marinated in nonfat hot wing sauce, fresh low fat bleu cheese dressing and three small baked potato skins made with lowfat cheese and Greek yogurt. Who knew that it would be the preceding four hours that culminated in my climactic downfall.

I accepted a girlfriend's invitation to join her for some anti-Superbowl fun at the local hangout and watch Puppy Bowl. Who can resist puppies and a kitty half-time show? But first, we needed lunch. Through a series of events outside my control, we found ourselves noshing at Melt. But I am not entirely blameless. I mean, I didn't need to order the Big Popper sandwich (cheddar cheese, cream cheese and chopped jalapeno peppers sandwiched between two thick slices of bread then battered and deep fried and served with a side of fresh berry preserves) with fries. And two glasses of Pinot Grigio. I won't even get into the free drinks that were adoringly presented to me at Puppy Bowl.

So, I have some major atoning and toning to do to make up for what was most certainly my first epic relapse for '09. I tell you, sometimes I long for the old days, for simpler times when even weight loss techniques were simple: