Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday Weigh-In

Another week has come and gone. Life sure is busy with a 2.5 month old! Luckily, I have the sweetest, happiest baby ever and he makes taking care of him so easy. Included in my busy agenda is an upcoming wedding for some close friends of ours (yay!). I went to a bachelorette party over the weekend and indulged in my first pizza since we started changing our eating habits. It. Was. Delicious. And so worth it. However, I don't think it was the best decision to go back again for more pizza two days later (I just couldn't resist! Sorry not sorry).

I woke up this morning discouraged, positive I had gained more weight. To my surprise, I lost another 2.2 pounds! Making it a total of 6.6 since we started. Bryan is closer to his first 10 pounds than me, but guys always lose weight faster. I am just surprised I lost any and it is encouraging to keep maintain the way we have been eating.

I also noticed that all of the nutrients we are getting from the shakes and real food we eat is making my hair and nails grow like crazy! It is amazing the benefits we have been missing out aside from weight loss.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Weigh-In Wednesday

Halfway through the week already! I like to weigh myself on Wednesdays because it gives me a little cushion if I had anything special over the weekend (like German chocolate cake and lasagna). I try really hard not to weigh myself during the week so I don't get discouraged when I don't see the pounds just falling off.

Now, I am going to get really serious for a moment. This will probably be my most honest post ever written. But, I figure it could be a great motivator when it puts into reality how much I weigh. Knowing that you as a reader has knowledge of that convinces me to keep going so that I don't ever have to be this heavy again.

I really don't know what weight I "started" at before getting pregnant. I was probably 195 pounds, totally guessing here though. At the end of my pregnancy, I was around 242 pounds. Before changing my eating habits, I had lost 31 of those pounds (the little one only really accounting for 7 pounds 12 ounces of that). So my starting weight for the sake of tracking is 214 pounds. This is the heaviest I have been in my entire life. When I was pregnant, I could defiantly feel the weight and it's toll on my body. My knees felt weak and strained. My back was moments away from giving in. Walking a block or two would make me out of breath.

I have been able to camouflage most of my weight using fashion "tricks". Maternity clothes are amazing. Seriously, I wish all jeans had this stretchy, expandable waist that just sucks you in. Or shirts with ruched sides. I also have many black or dark colored shirts so that you can't see the grooves of my body. And I love jackets, sweaters, cardigans, etc. Anything that would hide my arms as well as keep me warm (because apparently I am some sort of cold blooded reptile meant to spend my days laying on a hot rock in the sun). Some outfits I am more confident in than others, and I would like to be able to feel comfortable in anything I put on someday.

So, in the second week of my healthy eating (I don't say the D word. It makes me feel like I won't actually stick to it) I am currently at 209.6 - a total loss of 4.4 pounds. While that number may seem small, I am anxious to watch it grow each week.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Breakfast of Champions

Today has felt like the worst Monday after the shortest weekend possible. Expect, it isn't Monday. It's Tuesday.

It started with my car making weird noises - weird, flat-tire-sounding noises. Come to find out, it was just a piece of plastic hanging from my undercarriage. Whew. That was close. Upon arriving to work thirty minutes late, I was in a rush to get settled. I threw my things on my desk, including my breakfast I had yet to eat. Everything went tumbling, including the oatmeal with apples and cinnamon. You're thinking it exploded all over the floor right? Well, it didn't. But some part of me secretly wishes it did. Then I could have one of those asiago cheese bagels from work. Or even some beef jerky and snickers (did I mention my work keeps snickers, fully stocked, every week?). 

Changing what you eat can be extremely difficult. Before making these changes, my body was used to getting whatever it wanted. And being pregnant at the time, I was more than happy to give it what it wanted (for the baby right??). This included many trips to leatherbys, even more trips to taco bell, and entire bags of chips. I am used to foods being overly flavored with sugar, salt, and fat. I realize I am craving a habit, not an actual food. And in order to overcome that, I have to stick to my meal plan and try to substitute with healthy options. 

One thing I constantly look for in weight loss support is meal plans. From the looks of many, you would think you would need to hire a personal chef along with your personal trainer and may as well throw in the stylist as well since you're spending a bazillion dollars as it is (I wish). I thought it might be helpful for others to see how an average person, on a very limited income, makes a meal plan. I am not a professional nutritionist. I like things like cheese and consider veggie straws a replacement for real vegatbles (I am only half kidding). I just try my best to choose wisely. So here is my meal for today.

Breakfast: Oats, Water, 1/2 apple, cinnamon, Trivia sugar (I really am lost with the whole "real sugar is bad, but so is fake sugar. confused for all eternity as to what sugar/sugar substitute you should use)

Lunch: Whole wheat wrap, turkey deli slices, 1 tsp mustard, 1 tablespoon garlic hummus (instead of mayonnaise; go me!) spinach leaves. 1/2 apple, string cheese

Dinner: Herbalife shake with bananas, berries, spinach and almond milk

Snacks: Cottage cheese (with what should have been pineapple, but someone either ate it or threw it out), mixed nuts, maybe some hummus and pretzel thins when I get home (because that is freaking delicious).

Now, a protein shake may not appeal to many, especially for dinner, I cannot express the relief it is to come home and not have to worry about dinner. It also has helped curb our habit of grabbing something "quick" on the way home because we are too lazy to cook something. And we think that having the smallest meal at dinner is the way to go, since you are just going to bed and don't need to eat a ton before then. I am probably what you would call a professional sleeper and don't need much fuel to do so. I could do it in my sleep (hardy har har).

While this meal plan doesn't sound "amazing", and doesn't include ingredients like quinoa or saffron, it works for us. The items are easy to prepare, and consist of real food. I have realized we base our entire lives around food. The days pass based on when we eat next. We go out with friends to eat. We make plans around where and what we can eat. We are bored, so we eat. While food can be enjoyed, it shouldn't be the center of our universe. There is so much more to life, and I am trying to refocus my thoughts and feelings on where my priority for food lies. 

Constant Change

When I sat back and recalled how long I have been going along on this weight loss "journey", I realized I have spent almost SIX YEARS weighing, calculating, researching, and desperately trying to lose the unwanted baggage that had become a part of me. Through that time, I had lost some, and gained some more. One step forward, two cupcakes back. Had I actually decided to change the way I was living my life and really put thought into what was going into my body, I would not be sitting here. I wouldn't be writing about just starting my journey, I would be sharing in my success of finally being at a healthy weight and the bliss I felt in everyday.

But no. Here I sit, still considered obese according to a BMI calculator. And regretting the cupcake I had yesterday. Why is this dieting thing so hard? Have I really spent six years trying to do this? I still can't get over that. Many of you may have the same pattern.

1. Join a gym
2. Buy expensive/cute workout clothes
3. Go to the gym for 3 whole days!
4. Have to skip the gym (Game of Thrones is on, how could I miss it?)
5. Avoid even driving by the gym, for fear it can sense your presence and will give you evil death glares for skipping it.
6. Realize you have paying for a gym you don't go to for 3 months and sheepishly cancel your membership

The same can be said for diet plans, weight loss memberships, and anything even closely related to losing weight. Once the honeymoon phase is over, we lose our interest and motivation to continue on our plan. So I have decided I needed to take this literally one day at a time (or one meal at a time if needed), and maintain a log of my daily successes and failures to keep  myself accountable. So thank you reader. You will be my reason to stop staring longingly at the candy stash at work and stick to my hummus and peppers instead. Now don't you feel special? I picked vegetables over a snickers for you. You're welcome.

They say there is nothing as constant as change. I am ready to make the changes needed to become healthy and happy with my appearance. If you are ready for a change too, or just along for the ride; Welcome.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Recipe of the Week

While rumaging through what I call my Recipe Binder, I noticed I have a horrible habit. I LOVE new recipes. I am especially in love with insanely difficult, master-chef, types of recipes. And what do I do? I print out all of these delicious recipes and stuff them into a binder, never to be seen again (unless I pin it on Pinterest, or it happens to make its rounds again on the internet and I print it for a second time. This happens a lot)

So, in an effort to spend more time with family, and to extend my cooking expertise (and have a sense of feeling accomplished all at the same time!) I have instigated Recipe of the Week. I will strive (try, do, or not do..depends how I feel and stuff) to make one new recipe a week. Granted, they will not be completely new and exotic (maybe sometime I WILL try to make Beef Wellington or a Souffle), they will be new to what I am used to. I will be doing more than just heating up some spaghetti, or having Chipotle for the third night this week (or Del Taco, because there's never such a thing as too many chicken soft tacos).

I hope this will inspire some of you to pull out your recipe books,boxes or whatever you use to hold recipes (pinterest boards are so eco-friendly!). The lack of kitchen knowledge is dimishing in our youth. Get your family involved, let them make a mess with you (then have them clean it up! effort!). And post pictures! Give us your take on your recipes. Let us know where you failed, and where you triumphed. There is nothing more infuriating as trying a new recipe, and it ending in disaster. Let's help each other people.

So now, I give you my take on "Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken" found here from Six Sisters

Note: This picture was taken by me (unfortunately). I own all rights to this (not that that is an accomplishment or anything).

Sounds delish right? Where can you go wrong with homemade Chinese food? Well...aside from the fact that it seems impossibly hard, it wasn't so bad. But I always forget kitchen rule #1 Always read the recipe ALL the way through. I don't know what it is about me. I must think I am some kitchen genius because I always get halfway through the recipe and either find out "oh crap...this recipe needs a red pineapple grown in the depths of the amazon jungle? " or another classic "If I had known you had to go to the woods, find the chicken, create a shrine for it then massage it to the perfect tenderness I wouldn't have chosen this recipe".  But I am usually able to wing it (ha..I said "wing" it...) and furthermore, provide this valuable knowledge (that can be found on the case you want to save yourself) to all of you.

So, my disaster of the day was that not only was the title of this recipe false advertising (because before baking it, you get to coat it with cornstarch and eggs then fry it for a bit), it also calls for an extended amount of baking time. I am sorry, but if I had known it was going to take an hour just in baking time, I would have bought some China House down the street and repented of all my food sins later.

On a much more positive side, it was pretty freaking delicious. I felt unstoppable being able to cook some homemade Chinese. And I will admit, it did seem healthier with less coating than you would find on the Orange Chicken at Panda Express. So I would consider this a success!

Now, to get you in the mood to want to make something I will let you know what is in store for us next week. This tasty concoction. Where can you go wrong with bacon, ranch and chicken. YUM!

Note: This picture was taken from the Six Sister's website at the link about. They did a great job don't you think? :)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Uvas Apple Cake

At a past job of mine, it wasn't unusual for us to bring in sweets and treats to share with everyone in the office. And because it was a small, tight knit group we were able to uphold this tradition pretty frequently. One recipe that grew to be a favorite of mine was "Uvas Apple Cake". Now, I don't know any Uvas (I will have to ask the friend who gave me the recipe the story behind where she found it), but she makes one heckuv-an apple cake. Also, if you are looking to be more health conscience, you can substitute the 1/2 cup of oil for 1/2 of applesauce instead! It still comes out perfectly delicious and moist :)

Uvas Apple Cake

- 2 Cups of White Sugar (when using sugar, I almost always go less than the norm. I will either halve it entirely or bring it down to 3/4 cup at least...depending on if the recipe is forgiving enough)
- 4 Large Apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (I used Fiji)
- 1/2 Cup of oil (or applesauce)
- 2 Eggs
- 2 tsp. Vanilla
- 2 Cups of Flour
- 2 tsp. Baking Soda
- 2 tsp. Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sugar and apples that have been peeled, cored, and sliced.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together oil, eggs and vanilla. Add this to the apple mixture and stir well.

Add flour, baking soda, and cinnamon to the apple mixture (I would reccomend combining these ingredients in a seperate bowl beforehand, just to make sure the ingredients get combined together). Mix until flour is incorporated and moist.

Pour the batter into a well greased bunt pan. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes - do not under bake!

Let cool for 1/2 hour before inverting onto a plate.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

S'more Pie Please!

Nothing is more exciting than the knowledge that summer is coming; bring on the beach, camping, BBQ's and road trips! I got this recipe from the wife of a fellow Mason member. I like this even better than the old-fashioned burnt marshmallow, solid chocolate S'more.

Smore's Pie

6oz dark chocolate (or milk if you prefer, I used 6 oz of milk chocolate chips)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 Tablespoon corn syrup
2-2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4oz mascarpone cheese (you can use cream cheese)-make sure room temp
1 cup whipping cream
1/2-3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup mini marshmallows
Mini chocolate chips (I just used some of the chocolate chips I already had)
graham crackers (crushed)-about 1/2 cup
1 graham cracker pie crust (can make from scratch or pre-made)
 1 jar of marshmallow creme
1 Tablespoon milk
1 cup mini marshmallows

For filling: in small saucepan, mix the 6oz chocolate, water, 1/4 cup whipping cream and corn syrup.  Heat and stir constantly over medium heat.  Once mixture is smooth and melted remove from heat.  Then stir in vanilla.  Let that cool for about 20 minutes; stir occasionally while making whip cream.

For whip cream: In a chilled metal mixing bowl, beat 1 cup whipping cream and powdered sugar on medium until peaks form (this takes about  minutes).  It should look like whip cream out of a can.  While making whip cream, in another bowl add the mascarpone (or cream cheese if you prefer) to the melted chocolate mixture.  Mix that thoroughly and set aside.  Once whip cream is ready, fold the chocolate mixture into the whip cream until thoroughly mixed. 

Crust: layer bottom of crust w/mini marshmallows.  Spoon the filling over the top.  Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight).

Marshmallow creme topping
: mix jar of marshmallow creme w/1-2 tablespoon of milk and 1 cup of mini marshmallows. Save in refrigerator until you serve pie. (2 TB of milk made it super watery/goopey/etc. I would suggest only 1 TB of milk and if you're using a premade pie crust you are going to have a mess on your hands. This pie makes a little of "filling")

Serve: before serving spread marshmallow creme spread you make on top of pie.  Then crush graham crackers and sprinkle on top of pie, then add mini chocolate chips on top of that.