What’s for dinner: Shrimp stir-fry with citrus ginger sauce

Also known as: “Trader Joe’s frozen food, with a twist.”

I can already tell that it’s going to take some time to figure out the best balance to reach this state. I tend to make well-intentioned overzealous first moves — “Cardio at 5:15 a.m.!” “No ice cream!” “Two drinks, max, with soda water as mixer!” — then feel hemmed in by routine or deprived, and end up sullen and resentful, and prone to snack attacks.

So far I’m still in my good phase — tonight I made a bag of shrimp and vegetable stir-fry that’s been in our freezer for a long time. (I think I bought it?) But the nutrition label said it had what looked to be a shit-ton of sodium —  1,160 mg, for vegetables and shrimp?

I realized that was because of the enclosed packet of seasonings — first ingredient: salt — so I improvised and cobbled together my own sauce by adding a splash of orange juice, some dried ginger flakes and Chinese five-spice powder. (The last two I had purchased, along with star anise, in some tempting “three jars of unusual spices!” combo set — I want to say it was at some  noncuisine store, like Pier 1 Imports.) So at the last moment it turned into less of a stir-FRY and more of a stir-SAUTE, but still, delicious. And the whole damn bag had only 140 calories, which made me happy … for about two hours, until I was hungry again. So it was back to the kitchen for foraging, settling on crackers and cheese.

I’ve started logging everything into a free app that lets you track your daily food intake and exercise. So far it’s fun, in a weird, cataloging sort of way, and not feeling like a chore, and I’ve learned that my regular noshing habits were actually veering toward the too-low side. Last night, I was greeted with the news that if I ate and exercised every day for five weeks like I had that day, I’d weigh less than 160 pounds in early March.

That’s oversimplifying things a bit – I don’t believe the calculator builds in muscle vs. fat, and although you can log your strength-training exercises down to reps and weights, I didn’t notice the app taking that information and applying the “energy out” aspect of those exercises to the “energy in” aspect of calories consumed.

Rick: unwitting poster boy for "skinny-fat"

Plus, I don’t want to lose weight. Mr. Brooks, who’s the same height, is about 15 pounds lighter than me — I’m convinced it’s because he has hollow bones, like birds — but I would never want to drop to 155. I think I’d look unhealthy.  I just want to make sure I never could be categorized as (as a memorable episode of “Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in the World” called it) “skinny-fat” — not overweight, but not in shape, either.

Which is a long way of saying: Dinner was delicious, if a little too spartan. The crackers and cheese didn’t bring me up to target calorie count. And I’m still vigilant. We’ll see how long that lasts. …

WHAT SAM WORE: 1-28-11
The sweater: Cotton/cashmere V-neck from Banana Republic.
The shirt: Cotton dress shirt by Versace, from Last Chance.
The pants: Wool trousers from the Ted Baker store in Las Vegas,
which started my love affair with Ted Baker pants.
The socks: From Uniqlo, New York (I had to throw them in because they matched so well).
The shoes: Monk-strap loafers (half price!), from the Charles Tyrwhitt store in New York.
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