chinese food

Inspiration, Motivation and a Fortune Cookie

So there I was. It was Friday night and my wife, son and I decided to go out for Chinese food. We went to one of our favorite local places because they have really great General Tso’s chicken. It was weigh-in day, and I had just reached 63 pounds lost. I was feeling great about myself and considered just having the whole dinner for a change (my readers know from this blog post that I usually cut my Chinese food in half to save Weight Watchers points).

We were waiting for a table, and I glanced at my phone. I was checking the weather to see what it was going to be like the next day to help me plan my weekend activities. I noticed at the top of the screen was a WordPress notification. When I looked at it, it was a notification that someone had linked to my blog. Mama Ames had linked to my blog and told all of her followers that they should come follow mine because she found me to be inspirational and a good friend.

I sat at the table, with tears nearly in my eyes. Here was a person who was mostly a stranger who considers me to be an inspiration, and who took the time to publicly tell about it. I was touched.

When it came time to order, I ordered my other favorite, Kung Pao Chicken, with some Hot and Sour Soup. When the entre and rice came, as I have done since March, I carefully them into two portions. I ate half, and had the other half boxed for tomorrow.

I was flying high by now. Then came time for the fortune cookie, and this was the fortune I found inside:


As I was writing this entry, a friend who had read about my weigh in texted me to tell me I had lost the equivalent weight of her 11 year old daughter, and how proud she was of me.

I think the universe is trying to tell me something here. I feel so incredibly humbled and awed by the fact that people are not only taking notice of my weight loss, but are inspired by it as well. I hear that phrase a few times a week now, and it is great.

I didn’t star this journey to try to impress or inspire anyone but myself. I was in this to make me a better, more healthy person. The fact that others are finding inspiration in my story motivates me to want to do more, and to do it better.

What is your motivation to keep it going?

Surviving a Chinese Restaurant

One of my favorite types of food is Chinese. My tastes in Chinese food have varied and evolved over time, but I have always enjoyed a good, spicy, Chinese dinner. My current favorite is Chicken with Hot Pepper & Peanuts (aka Kung Pao Chicken). We like to go to a restaurant called Chopstick House near where we live. The atmosphere is nice, the food is always good, the service is fast and courteous, and the prices are reasonable. On Wednesday of this week my wife, daughter and I decided to go out for Chinese, and so a trip to Chopstick House was on the agenda.

As I have mentioned before, I am  a person who likes to clean my plate. When I see that giant, dinner size portion of food that Chinese restaurants serve, I see it as a challenge… something I must conquer. Before we left I did a quick check on the Weight Watchers application, and found out that generically a restaurant portion of King Pao Chicken is 20 points. The serving size to get to that amount is 22 ounces, or about one and one half pounds. This, of course, would be without any rice or soup. I could see how this was going to add up in my dinner.

As a quick aside, one thing I remembered hearing in a Weight Watchers meeting was the saying “if you can halve it you can have it.” The idea being that I can have anything I want that I used to eat, if I can discipline myself to have about half what I would normally. I decided to use this approach on my trip to Chopstick House.

Ordinarily, this is what I would have eaten:

  • A full order of Kung Pao Chicken – about 22 ounces, or 20 points
  • All of the brown rice – about 1.5 cups, or 8 points
  • A “cup” of Hot and Sour Soup – about 1.5 cups total, or 3points
  • A spring roll (shrimp) – 5 points
  • A small bowl of those fried won tons – 10 points (conservatively, maybe more)
  • A fortune cookie – 1 point
  • Total – approximately 46. My total allowance for the day is 64 points.

Using the “have it if you halve it” concept, here is what I actually ate:

  • HALF of the Kung Pao chicken – 10 points (brought the rest home for another meal)
  • 1 cup of brown rice – 5 points
  • 1.5 cups of Hot and Sour Soup – 3 points
  • NO SPRING ROLL – 0 points (I don’t really like spring rolls anyway)
  • NO FRIED WON TONS – 0 points (took some discipline, but I did it!)
  • .5 Fortune cookie (I actually bit it in half) – 0 points
  • My total 18 points!

The Kung Pao Chicken I didn’t eat, and brought home.

By being smart about only eating the parts of the meal I really enjoy, and limiting the highest point items to about half, I managed to shave 60% of the points off of the meal. Usually I come home from a trip out for Chinese feeling bloated and dizzy. But that night I came home feeling energized. And, I had another full meal in the fridge for the next night. I saved points, I eliminated the nasty feeling, and I saved money.

I love eating out with friends and family. I cherish the social aspect of the meal. One of the things that I love about Weight Watchers is that it is not a diet of elimination. There was nothing about WW that dictated what I should, or should not eat. I succeeded in this meal because I made informed, smart, healthy choices, not because some diet said I should avoid this or that. This journey for me is about re-training my brain to think differently about food. That was a good trip to Chopstick House!