Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chess on the mat

One of the first things to do is learn to accept, and to expect this Power to flow through everything we do. –Ernest Holmes

Sunday: 133.0

I got fast food yesterday- still working on the book of excellent and tempting coupons that Arby's hands out over the holidays. I was good, though- I cut the roast beef sandwiches (no condiments) in half, and also split up the fries to make small portions and stretch everything into multiple meals. Yesterday I also recieved the dehydrated Mountain House food I'd ordered- chicken a la king and beef stew. I adore that stuff. It's not cheap, and it's caloric, but you make your own portions and prepare them just by adding hot water (from kettle or microwave) and letting it sit for 5 min. "Make your own portion sizes" can be good as long as you are disciplined- but you have to be disciplined- it's easy to want to make a biggie portion if you're hungry. The ease of preparing this stuff, though, makes it simple to make a smaller amount and say, "If I'm still hungry after eating this, I'll just make a little more." It's also nice that it's dehydrated and you don't have to worry about it going bad for a long time. Portable, and doesn't have to be refrigerated unless you've already reconstituted it. We've had some instances of lunch theft in the employee lounge at work recently. I always worry about that, since I work alone at night. If my lunch gets stolen, I can't leave and go get food- I'm hosed. Another thing- I am not good about eating veggies; the Mountain House beef stew has lots of peas and carrots and things in it that I normally don't eat much of- so that's a good veggie-eating incentive. Both of these varieties are generous on the actual meat. It seems like most food companies want to try to get away with measuring out the bare minimum of meat that they can include, load up on the cheaper fillers, and still legally call their product a "meat" dish. Sometimes I end up buying extra meat and supplementing certain prepared dishes of this type (If I still consider them worth buying at all!). Mountain House chicken a la king has lots of chicken, and their beef stew has lots of beef.

Monday: FOD- Mantis Bo. I didn't do it. Bump to Tuesday.

Tuesday: FOD: Mantis Bo. Used the bamboo staff. So light, so short, so different-feeling. I don't think I'd actually try to do most of the staff strikes with this, if it was a real combat situation. Tangling up the feet and such, sure. Stabbing with the end (the ends of this staff are actually cut on an angle, so stabbing would be BETTER... easier to maneuver due to the decreased length, too). This staff is a bit thicker, too- not the best size for my hands to wrap around.

136. Gak. Sadly, I can't lay this at the door of the Arby's. This was too much Mountain House. Obviously, dipping out of the bulk container is resulting in too much portion-size upcreep. I shall solve this with a measuring cup and individual pre-allotted 1-serving baggies.

Wednesday: Measuring out one cup servings of the Mountain House. Sigh. It's a sad thing. Already back down to 134, though. One cup is 290 calories... sheesh. The beef stew is fewer.

Acrobalance. More practice on the standards, and a few new things: paired rolls with two people forming a wheel, each holding the other's ankles... standing on the shoulders of a seated base with no handholds, then transferring to standing on that person's hands (I managed the shoulders after a couple tries; was not successful with the handstand).

Also- plank with your feet on a big ball, then pike your butt up and try to get your torso vertical and your body folded as closely as possible. I had an easier time with this than most people due to my excellent balance and decent core strength, but even one or two reps is a workout.

The teacher made a point of coming up to me after class to tell me that she was enjoying having me there. That was cool.

Thursday- 131.5. Yowza. The measuring cup, unpleasant as it is, rules. I want to get a new tattoo on my hip, and it would be good to be back down to 124 first so that it will be in the right place and stay the right shape.

Evening BJJ at Gracie Seattle. It was supposedly "all levels" tonight, but Rodrigo had two sets of complex, two-sided, multi-step techniques to teach.

Standup: Sleeve & lapel grip, step on opponent's hip on the side that you have the sleeve. Sit down, place other foot on opponent's other hip. Let go of lapel grip and grab opponent's ankle. Yank yourself between hir feet and wind left leg around the back of opponent's rt leg, placing foot on hir hip. Use your rt knee to pinch hir leg between both of yours, take down. DON'T LET GO OF SLEEVE (I always have trouble with that). Get into side control, but allow opponent to grab half guard so that s/he can do the next technique.

From bottom half guard: frame up and shrimp out, reach the arm that's on the mat under opponent to grab hir ankle. Wrap other arm around the backs of hir thighs. Switch feet (don't cheat or skip this). Get to knees, pulling opponent's bottom half toward you with your arms and stretching hir leg out with your hooked toe, till you can put hir on hir back and get on top.

I was having some trouble with that bottom half guard one... it was hard to get my short arms all the way around the opponent's bottom half, and I was having a problem with stretching his leg out- I never did quite figure out what I was doing wrong with that part, other than I seemed to be wanting to get to my knees too soon.

Next: same beginning from standup, only as soon as you sit, switch your sleeve grip to a cross-sleeve grip. Now use your ankle hold to turn into inverted guard, and continue into an omoplata. Do a sitback all the way over the opponent and grab a triangle. Opponent's turn: grab the pantleg on the bent knee, and move around to the opposite side to put your knee in ther person's ribs. Pull/pry enough to get your arm out, then get the "seatbelt" guard passposition.

The most trouble I was having with this one was that sitback... just couldn't seem to get the flow quick and smooth. Also, I think I should have been hiking my hips up higher and being more forceful going into the omoplata, but I think my partner was being a bit *too* helpful about diving into it willingly.

Had to sit out the first live roll- I was so tired! Then went once with one of the female white belts, and once with Angela. Angela got me two or three times with a complicated series of moves ending in a sub I never saw coming. It was like chess.... I can't really wrap my brain around planning more than a move or two in advance, but some people have dozens of moves lined up in their minds. It really showed up the difference between Angela's level and mine. I hope that when I am at her level, I will be able to play better chess on the mat.

I tried the takedown of the day on her and F'ed it up, but good for me for attempting it.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Two and a half good practices

Many people receive the answer to their prayers, but ignore them- or deny them, because the answers didn’t come in the expected form. –Sophy Burnham

Thursday: SORE today. Upper back mostly. Rt shoulder. Well, both shoulders actually. Tired as well. That was really a vast amount of strenuous exercise yesterday, and my conditioning is not at its best right now. Just couldn't seem to get in gear for class at all today.

Friday FOD: Tai chi short form. Special attention to weight shifts, and also the hand-spreading correction CK gave me while she was here.

Sat FOD: Five Points Of the Star (standard version only). Shoulder aches... wish I knew what the heck was going on with that.

Sun FOD: Bung Bo Kuen (standard version only).

Mon FOD: White Crane- Walking the Path. Note that the kneel at the end is on the LEFT knee, the following snap kick also with the left. This is indeed a snap kick, not ball-of-the-foot. Wrap right hand around knee at the kneel.

Tuesday: for some reason this morning, Angry Snake Defends Its Lair popped into my head- in the manner of, "OMG, I haven't done that form in forever, do I even remember it at all?!!?!" I went so far as to dump out my bowl of FOD stones and make sure there was a token for Angry Snake. There was. That night, guess what I randomly drew for the FOD? Note that after the first stab, there is a scissor step with the right leg in front as you turn. The first run-through, I forgot that step, although I somehow ended up on the correct leg by the time I did the next turn. Pleasing discovery- the small broom in the coagulation department- which is the *only* object in the whole place which is stick-like and longer than a ruler- you can unscrew the brush and remove it. This makes it a short but acceptable sword, dao and bo substitute in a pinch.

Note to self- I need to start analyzing the repetitive motions I'm doing at work, as I'm beginning to wonder if it has something to do with my rt shoulder issues. It's been a week without any workout aside from FOD, and my shoulder still aches fiercely. Last time this happened, I mimed my workday for an ergonomics guy, and we realized that my shoulder ached because I was repeatedly reaching my right arm across my body in order to stick the micro loop in the burn tunnel. Switched the flame to the right side of the counter, and all was well. This may be a similar issue.

Friday: One of the things I like least about Seattle is that the entire region is paralyzed by the slightest dusting of snow. Everything closes, all your classes are cancelled, you don't get your mail, your trash isn't picked up, your electricity and internet are shut off. This week, they were ANTICIPATING snow on Wednesday, so everything shut down on Monday so that we could all get a jump on the hand-wringing and stocking up of canned goods (assuming you could find a store that was open). Both BJJ schools have been closed all week, and my silk class on Thursday was cancelled.

Saturday: An excellent two and a half classes today.

Morning at Gracie Seattle. John and I did a few armbar drills together to warm up.

One person on hir back, one person standing. Bottom person sits up and wraps around one leg of standing person, then try to take standing person down. Unfortunately, within the first couple of minutes of doing this, I heard/felt my busted finger pop again. Grrrrrrrrr.

Side control. Bottom person frames, pushes, reaches one arm under top person's armpit, tries to roll to belly. Top person whizzers the arm, shoves hand a little further to prop behind partner's neck. TAKE FAR KNEE OFF MAT, scuttle around to the other side, take side control. Lather, rinse, repeat. It's a good (and exhausting) flow drill even at a modest pace. You could also attack that arm- being on the bottom is a good place to find your shoulder popped if partner is not careful. The class was full of high school wrestlers today- one of our blue belts is their coach, and he brought them in. Luckily I had pounced on John, one of my fave classmates. I wouldn't have wanted to do that particular drill with a spazzy high school boy. At one point I told him he felt a little loose, and suggested he tighten it up a bit. UUURK! Yup, yup, now it's perfect. Ow.

I attacked Ron during the break, and got my butt kicked by him.

I was waffling about staying for hour #2.... basics followed by competition class is a daunting prospect at the best of times, and I'm out of shape & I'd also promised Cindy I'd come in today. I decided to do 1/2 of the competition class.

King of the hill relays, pass guard vs sweep. I actually seemed to be holding my own here. I passed several guards, and put up a decent fight against the people I didn't pass. I even got a compliment from black-belt Dave (SIDE CONTROL). Passing guard is one of my strong areas, though. Of course I was useless whan it came my turn on the bottom. But whoo-hoo, I PASSED RON'S GUARD!!!!!! I'm so excited. I can't remember the last time I passed Ron's guard, or for that matter accomplished ANYTHING against Ron. He's that good. So that was a very happy moment for me.

I notice we have a lot of 4-stripe white belts on the mat right now. I think we are going to have a very blue spring coming up.

Angela came in just as I was leaving... bummer. It would be nice to get a chance to work with her again soon. I also was disappointed to not get a chance to work with Z this time, even though he was in my relay group (the "Short Guys" group).

I got a hug from Rodrigo when I came in, and a second one when I left! Part of me is really not wanting to trust- much less hero-worship- teachers right now, after some of my bad experiences. But it's hard to resist Rodrigo. He's got *SO* many students, but he goes out of his way to make you feel like you matter to him as an individual, and I really appreciate that. Like Georgette, I confess to "daddy issues"... I keep wanting to cast Rodrigo as the supportive daddy I always wished I had.

Left class with a weird and rather severe palm-sized abrasion on my chest. It looks and feels like a burn. I don't remember how it happened. I felt really good, though. It was a great practice.

From there, I headed to Sleeper. No-gi. I had gi pants, because I've got some scrapes on my shins that I didn't want to expose to other people's sweat and MRSA. Unfortunately, as usually happens, I had to keep reminding people to not grab my pants!

A couple of guard passes- basic ones, but some of the ones that I tend to get mixed up as regards the correct foot/hand/knee to use.

Then a more complex one, where you're standing, and the sitting opponent wraps around one leg. You pull your other leg back, get down real low, wrap your arm around hir neck/head like s/he's your buddy, grab hir ankle, and sit back. Crush hir head under your shoulder. Peel hir opposite leg off your ankle and kick leg back and out, turn to belly, take side control.

Then some king of the hill relays, pass guard vs whatever. I don't know if it was because I was already warmed up and practiced from doing the same thing earlier, or if the other students were too new (they seemed newer than me, but not clueless-new), but again I was doing fairly well. I passed everybody's guard, and even finished a triangle from the bottom- a *very* rare occurance for me- so I was very happy again. I tried another triangle later, but the guy defended well, and I couldn't _quite_ finish that one. Good for me, though, for trying- as I usually don't even try those. They just presented themselves, and I went for it without making a conscious decision on the matter. Yay.

A little sparring, and again I was on fire- didn't get tapped, got several taps... again, a rarity for me, as my subs are still fairly poor as a rule. I was especially pleased to do well in no-gi- in which I tend to be less skilled than in gi.

Cindy's better; her headaches and mental disturbances from the accidents are improving, which is a relief. Her back still needs some more healing time, but she's almost at the point of being able to get back on the mat. It was very nice to see her again, too.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


No man, however civilized, can listen for very long to African drumming, or Indian chanting, or Welsh hymn singing, and retain intact his critical and self-conscious personality. –Aldous Huxley

Saturday: 132.5

Finger is significantly swollen- not just at the kinky tip, but the entire length. Slightly discolored. Hurts. Can't close a fist completely.

I also have lots of funny green bruises on the fronts of my shins. MM's shins and knees don't feel like they're made out of cement, the way CK's do- but he kicks a LOT.

It took 2 days for the bodily-backlash from Arial Silk to show up- sore hip flexors and thighs! Ow! It's good, though- CK is always complaining about my tight hip flexors, and God knows the thighs can always use more work. Both arial silk and acrobalance involve a lot of SPLITS- or at least as close as one can get. I have never been able to do the splits- either the Chinese kind or the front-to-back kind- even as a high school cheerleader. I can get close, but no joy. On the silk, I can do double foot locks and use my body weight to try to squeeze another inch out of it.

Drum circle- went well. My sleep cycle was all messed up this weekend, and my brain was not cooperating as far as getting creative with rhythms and chants (especially as I was confined to stick drums), but luckily the old standbys served. I was being conservative with both fequency and volume on the bell drum so that it would not become obnoxious, but at one point the didge player crawled over and propped his microphone right under the bell drum- so I guess he thought I should be louder! There was a new flute player there, and after the circle closed, he came over and told me that he would have liked to hear more from the bell drum. When I told him that I was trying to not dominate the circle with it, he laughed and said that he had been minimizing the flute for the same reason. That was funny, because *I* had been wanting to hear more from the flute! It's usually the wrong people who are anxious about overusing an instrument. The truly obnoxious ones are oblivious!

I tried a shamanic beat on Ascha, my big frame drum, as I usually do one time per circle. It's always interesting to see what happens with that. This time, they did not know what to do with it, but it got them very excited nonetheless. They tried to join in, and it was complete and utter chaos.... but they seemed to be grooving on it, and two people got up to dance, so I kept going for a while even though I had to work hard to tune out the chaos and keep the beat!

(Bell drum is in the picture, in case you don't know what a bell drum is...)

Sunday FOD: Frolic Of the Five Animals. I didn't work on the mirror form. Can *almost* make a fist today.

Monday FOD: Tai Chi short form. I didn't do it. Sigh. I'm having a really hard time disciplining myself right now with this.

Wednesday lunchtime BJJ at GB Seattle.

I wore my newly-tailored GB gi for the first time- the sleeve cuffs are the most annoying part now; they are so wide and gaping that everyone loves to grab them.

Finger did mostly okay; I still can't do a real fist, but I can grip as long as I do it carefully.

Warmups- huff, puff, huff.... oh, cardio.....

Double-legs.... my breakfalls still need work; once I hit the back of my head on the mat. (Eyeroll)

You double-leg, partner guillotines and pulls guard. You cartwheel to the OPPOSITE side of partner's body before he can close guard, pry your head out, and take side control. If you go to the wrong side, you choke yourself. (You only do this once before you learn.) Partner shrimps out and closes guard (or gets spider guard, or whatever s/he wants).

You double-leg, partner tries to guillotine. You change to single-leg (on the same side that you are getting guillotined), pull the knee to your chest, swing your body out to the side, sit down, and pull/shoulder your partner into falling forward. Partner must let go of the guillotine to avoid doing a face-plant on the mat. This took several slow-mo's before I caught the hang, but once I did, it was nice. Luckily I was working with Marc; we do well at helping each other work through things. Prof. Carlos' demo was funny because he tried to tell us that this technique was a little bit "complicated"- he tried to say "complicated" about five times and couldn't quite wrap his tongue around it. Finally I interjected, "Hard".

Open mat, I rolled with one of the new white belt women, Moe. She is really, REALLY strong. She claimed to have no martial arts experience. After rolling for a couple minutes and feeling how muscular she was, I was like, "Okay, wait a minute here..." then she fessed up to dance. That explains it. She has little technique, but enough basics that combined with the incredible strength and the extra weight, she was a real challenge. She's gonna be trouble as soon as she gets a little technique! We kept going till two o'clock- even Rodrigo left, and told us to lock the door behind us.

Acrobalance. I decided that in light of the persistantly painful and unreliable right shoulder, I would be judicious about what I tried to base- although I continue to wish for more practice at it. I declined to do table-stacking unless I was on the apex, but I did base some cathedrals and some plank-to-walkovers. My balance was a mixed bag. Basing is much more challenging for me than flying, which is part of the reason I want to do more of it.

Noticed during cartwheel lifts that one hip was much more flexible than the other. When I was supposed to drop my left hip, the leg went right down like a dead log. When I was supposed to drop my right hip, I relaxed it- and very little happened. That leg just kept sticking out stiffly.

I didn't get to do a whole lot tonight because there were a lot of people, and a lot of beginners. My good balance, and the fact that I'm not afraid to be dropped, makes me a good person for the virgin bases to practice on. I'm heavier than several of those wispy little girls, though... a couple of times, I was like, "You should probably do your first run on this other girl who looks like she weighs about 30lb less than I." It's a lot more about the correct form than about weight.... but with people (and I'm including myself) who aren't very experienced at this, our form is not always correct enough to support a good deal of weight, and so 30lb more or less really *does* make a difference at this level. I'm seeing that acrobalance is like some forms of partnered dance- in that when you're the one being lifted and thrown, there is a pressure (overt or subtle; from others and/or from yourself) to attempt to drop weight and be as light as possible.

Some pain in the upper back tonight. Also fighting a headache (which had begun halfway through BJJ class earlier; perhaps as a result of that flubbed breakfall) all the way through class.

Friday, January 6, 2012


Freeing the body inevitably leads to freeing the heart. –Gabrielle Roth


Friday- 131.5. FOD: Spear hand. Note that the first footwork motion is into FRONT stance. When I went though this, I was doing Seven Stars. For the past several months, I have been inadvertantly changing a whole bunch of stances to Seven Stars. I had previously assumed that it was because I had repped Spear Hand and Southern Mantis so much; but now I am starting to wonder if subconscously my body is thinking Seven Stars is going to be less painful on my knees. Disturbing, if so.

Saturday FOD: Lun Chi

Sunday FOD: Silken Needle. Note that there are THREE side-pushes, and they go 2, 2, 1. I can never remember that.

Monday FOD: Cannon Fist. Not happy with the way this went today; going to roll it over into tomorrow.

Tuesday FOD: ergo- Cannon Fist.

Thursday: Picked up MM and took him to my (non-MA) gym for a few hours of sparring. It was great, all except for the part where I jammed my busted finger before we'd even broken a sweat. God, it hurt. I didn't want to waste the opportunity to work out, though- so after a short break huddled against the wall gritting my teeth and cradling the hand to my chest, then sticking it in the water fountain, I fisted it and continued. It was definitely a handicap to keep the hand fisted- it's my dominant hand, and I do a lot of grabbing, clawing and poking. A lot of Tiger, Snake and Mantis is nullified when you have to keep your hand fisted. I did, however, do a little better about remembering to not stop kicks with my hands- or if I did, to at least use the heel and keep the fingers out of the way.

His head seemed to be surrounded by an impenatrable forcefield, but I got lots of belly and groin attacks in. The scissor-step underhanded Tiger strike to the groin was not working on him as well as it had been working on CK, and I couldn't discern why. He often has all four limbs moving simultaneously, which is very distracting, and you don't know where to guard. He got me a lot with the trick of striking with left leg and right arm together, or vice versa. That one always gets me. Another thing that was working for him was hand strikes shooting from underneath or rolling overtop the opposite arm. The ones coming from underneath never looked like they had range- until they hit me.

That right elbow of his was the bane of my existance. Everywhere I turned, it was in my face. The Wing Chun that he has been practicing is really showing there. Often I impaled *myself* on the elbow while I was trying to come in on him. He tried to guillotine me a LOT, but it was very easy to escape.

He was very skilled with blocking my close-in knee strikes. It was very hard to avoid telegraphing those with my balance shifts. With someone who can read those well, I need to be better at discerning which ones are positioned well enough to be worth going for and which are fruitless.

Another thing that I did well today was to pay careful attention to my focus level. As soon as I started to get frustrated and noticed my focus level drop, I asked for a short break- instead of continuing and allowing the frustration/focus drop to lead me to do stupid stuff and get clobbered MORE, which is a self-perpetuating cycle.

Great practice; I was really happy that he had made the time. Hope to do it again next time he's in town (prob next fall). I'd like to take him over to Sleeper for a little grappling if we get the chance next time- although that will probably sink my goal of getting one tap on him before he learns and formal grappling! We did end up on the floor once today, and were both trying for footlocks- I *still* can't manage one, dang it.

Arial Silk at the circus school. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do this today with my re-injured finger- it hurt (and so did that perpetual sore rt shoulder), but was managable. Most of the same stuff from last time, munus the double foot locks and the second climb technique (although I did get a little time to play with double footlocks). One new thing- flying Dutchman. Single footlock with both silks, then split the silk and twirl your body around the side that your foot it locked, wrapping the silk around your ankle and pushing it down with the opposite foot. Three up and then three down. Note that this one is a little dangerous, especially if you're high up, because it's a little hard to get unwrapped again and you have to make sure you leave yourself enough energy to get yourself out of what you've gotten yourself into. Also, I need to keep my body stiffer on the twirl and keep it more controlled instead of storta throwing myself into it.

Note on the climb- after bracing the foot, stick both legs out stiffly to make an L shape with the body, then pull the hips to the silk. Taking the extra time and care to do each of these steps cleanly resulted in a better climb.

I was not doing very well emotionally today, and wrestled with anger and depression. It was frustrating, because today was almost identical to last Thursday, when I worked out with CK and MM and then took them to Shaolin- except that week I went straight home afterward instead of distracting myself with circus school, which should have made me MORE susceptible to sinking into angst. But I had been doing pretty well the last several days, and backslid today. I wish I had a better understanding of the triggers.

Friday: 132

I had been looking forward to some BJJ today, and am quite vexed. But my finger is very painful, and I don't think it's up to grappling. I hope it will heal quickly. I really have got to get some grappling in before the next work rotation begins. Also, I have to host the drum circle tomorrow. Stick drums for me, sigh.

When I decided that I could just live with the modest amount of pain and disfunction presented by that busted finger, I hadn't really thought about its potential for RE-INJURY. If it's going to be frequently reinjured- and take a long time to heal- something may need to be done. Unfortunately, the health insurance I was hoping to manifest has not manifested, and will have to wait another year.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The "eat small frequent meals" technique

The perils of the "eat small amounts only when hungry" method......


Kitsune: "Work is caught up. We can take a break if we want. We could eat something....?"

Kitsune's stomach: "Nahh, I'm not hungry."

Kitsune's depression: "Yo, broad, you got any chocolate? No? {heavy sigh} Then you better give me another caffeine hit, or else I'll swallow you. Let's stop at Safeway on the way home and get some chocolate, eh? Or some red velvet cupcakes. How about both?"

Kitsune's stomach: "Still not hungry. But you know I won't complain if you send down some doughnuts."


Kitsune's stomach: "YAAAAAAAAAHHHHRRRGGGGH! STARVING! STARVING HERE! **HEY**, we're starving!!! I know you're busy now, but I'm not going to let you focus on anything till you feed me."

Kitsune's depression: "See, idiot, if you had a box of peanut butter bars in your bag, we wouldn't be having this issue."

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Fast food and calorie counts

Glamour Magazine has a cool little regular feature called "You can have this....... or all this." The first panel shows a main course food item with maybe a side dish or two. The second panel shows a similar main course food item with some lower-cal tweaks, at least twice as many side dishes, and usually a dessert thrown in. The calorie counts of the two panels are identical. It's very interesting. Sometimes it's surprising where the real calorie load lies, and what small things you can tweak to get a big payoff in terms of fewer calories.

I'm not an obsessive calorie-counter, and I don't want to be... but I think it's a good thing to have a decent working concept of what you're eating and what easy, painless substitution options you have to make it a little better.

Topic: fast food.

A McDonalds' Angus mushroom and swiss burger has 770 calories. Just deal with that concept for a minute. (A different website puts it at 820.)

Now, in my defense, I don't eat a large amount of fast food- and when I do, I most often get a grilled chicken sandwich sans mayo, which is one of the lesser evils. Also, I frequently get JUST the sandwich, skipping the fries and sugary soda which usually double the calories of your meal.

When I splurge with a McDonald's Angus mushroom swiss, I ask for no mayo, and *always* cut the burger in half to stretch it into two meals. Even so: an Angus burger meal (with fries and soda) using only half the burger is still 1045 calories. Zow. That is most of the *daily* recommeded calorie count for a person my size.

A regular McDonalds' cheeseburger all by itself (which fills me up, honestly) is 320 calories. So is an Arby's regular roast beef.

A McDonalds' grilled chicken (skip the mayo) is 300. Get it crispy, and it shoots up to 500.

A quarter pounder with cheese meal is 1190 calories. A cheeseburger Happy Meal (which fills me up) is half of that: 550 calories. And you still get your french fry fix.

Grilled chicken clubs, which are some of my faves: Mcdonalds' GCC is 594 calories. If I go to Jack In the Box instead, a GCC is a slightly more rightous 530. (Danger Point: At Jack In the Box, though, there is the irresistable chocolate shake: 660 calories for a small.)