Monday, January 29, 2007
My goal this week was to work off my breakfast. Breakfast tends to be a slim fast shake and a piece of fruit. That is about 200 - 250 calories. If I can work off that amount each day I am well on my way to lose weight. Not only am I eliminating a meal, but I am revving up my metabolism.
At work they have The Biggest Loser Club starting on 2/1 and ending on 3/31. Everyone signs up by the 1st with a $10 registration fee, gets divided up into teams, and weighed weekly. If you gain weight you pay a penalty of $1 per pound. If you miss a weigh in you have to pay too. The team that loses the most weight divides the pot and the person who loses the most gets all of the penalty money. I am really excited to do this because there is NOTHING like competition to get me going. Wish me luck!
Thursday, January 18, 2007
1. Kitchen Scale - Precision is key in making sure you keep your portion sizes in check. A good kitchen scale will help you stay on top of your calories (or points if you were on Weight Watchers). Can you "eye" one ounce of cheese or the recommended 3 - 4 ounces of meet? The difference between one and two ounces of cheese on WW is whopping 2 points. Just toss your questionable consumable on the scale and you will be able to determine the amount with ease. I currently use a spring scale, but I will be purchasing a digital scale soon.
2. Food Processor - A food processor makes the cooking processor much easier by chopping those healthy vegetables, fruits, and even meets in seconds as opposed to painstaking hours at the chopping board. Hopefully this convenience will inspire you to cook more frequently. The Asian Slaw I made yesterday? While the prep time was quoted as 15 minutes (2o in reality), I made it in about 7 minutes with the aid of my food processor.
3. Blender - Smoothies are key to a quick healthy meal that will keep your stomach satiated for hours. Smoothies are great because they cure that constant sweet tooth and they have unlimited combinations. A good blender will help you create smoothies better than Starbucks, Jamba Juice, or any other overpriced retailer.
4. Crock Pot / Slow Cooker - Yet another time saver must for your kitchen. Soups, especially broth based ones, are a wonderful addition to each meal and they take up room in your stomach. Like most people, I hate to be hungry, when starting a diet and limiting your portion sizes there will be an adjustment that will have your stomach growling. Sipping on soup will help you adjust more quickly in a tasty way. Like smoothies, soups are also limitless in their creative potential and very easy once you have the hang of it and keep the basics in your kitchen.
5. Fresh Herbs - This year I vow to start an herb garden in my kitchen because I am always buying fresh herbs for my dishes. In the meantime I frequent the grocery store in search of fresh basil, thyme, rosemary, cilantro, and parsley. Flavor is essential in cooking low fat meals AND enjoying them. While dried herbs are great, fresh herbs are one thing you can add to any meal to give it an amazing taste. I've thrown some basil leaves on every sandwich I've had this week and it made them so tasty adding a depth and complexity that can not be achieved any other way.
In honor of fresh herbs and a food processor, I will be making Angel Hair Pasta with Spinach Walnut Pesto this evening. For the pasta I will be using. The walnuts in the pesto provide a great source of protein and healthy fat. You may add meat to this meal but a vegetarian meal 1 - 2 a week is a good idea. It not only cuts calories from the meat but it also helps you focus on eating more vegetables.
4 ounces chopped walnuts
1 cup chicken stock or broth 10 ounces
(1/2 - 1 package) baby spinach, reserve a few leaves for garnish
2 cloves garlic
2/3 cup (a couple of handfuls) grated Parmigiano or Romano
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or freshly grated
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Basil Leaves (I reccommend starting with a small handful and adding more to suit your personal taste)
Salt and pepper Edible flowers
Toast walnut pieces in a small pan or toaster oven until lightly browned. Remove from heat and cool. Place a large pot of water on to boil. Heat 1 cup chicken stock or broth to a boil and remove from heat. Using a food processor, working in batches, grind spinach and basil leaves with nuts, chicken stock, and garlic. Transfer ground spinach nut paste to a large bowl. Stir in the cheese, nutmeg, and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Coat hot, cooked tortellini with sauce, tossing in the bowl you prepared sauce in. Turn pasta out on to a serving platter and garnish with a few baby spinach leaves.
I went to church on Sunday, (I know some of you are like "Who in da HELL left the gate open!?" - 5 bucks goes to the 1st person that can identify that reference), and the sermon was about eating disorders. The pastor talked about bulimia, anorexia, and overeating and how we need to take control of our lives and health. It was very inspiring and I am glad I went. The pastor made a call to the alter for all of those struggling with food issues and it was AMAZING how many people went up there: big, small, overweight, underweight, just right, men, women, old, young. It really made me think about how food can be both a blessing and a curse. Addiction to food is a serious thing to overcome because it is all around you. I feel like I am constantly making decisions of what to eat in my head. Should I splurge now and pay later? Is this worth the points? Will I reach my target weight for this week? Food is no longer an unlimited resource. I have to budget for my future.
Back to my day...
When it was time to give offering I only had a dollar and some change in my purse, luckily the church took credit cards (imagine that?) and I gave a little extra even though I knew I had little to give. During the prayer the pastor asked that those that gave be blessed with unexpected financial gain in the form of a higher paying job, bonuses, tax return, unexpected checks, raises, etc. As he said this I wished that I could receive that blessing because my funds are running low as I wait to start at my new job.
Well yesterday I found out that one of my jobs owes me an extra $125.00 and while cleaning my car I found a check that I never cashed for $125.00. You can imagine how excited I was!! The whole morning I went through my mail, checked my credit report (for free - tip on how to do that at the end of this entry), and paid some bills. It was a productive morning. I decided to treat myself to a yoga class and it was great. I went in with some significant back pain and left at peace and pain free. Then I went to Home Depot to buy some much needed things for the house and some paint to finish the paint job on my room that I started about a year ago.
After teaching a successful workshop on creating a personal mission statement and goal setting I went to see Notes on a Scandal but I missed the show so I saw Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (highly recommended). Afterwards I came home and found a prime parking spot right in front of my house (nearly impossible after 8 p.m.) and relaxed with a glass of chardonnay while watching my favorite show Top Chef.
Why am I telling you about the mundane details of my day? Well, I'm really starting to feel the benefits of healthy eating and exercise. My energy levels are through the roof and I'm learning (again)to be by myself (one of my personal goals), and how to find entertainment that is NOT food oriented. I also feel really secure and confident because although I haven't reached my goal I feel a change in my mind and body and I know how fantastic I am going to look in a couple of months.
Tonight's Dinner: Creamy Chicken Spinach & Rice with
Asian Slaw with Turkey Salad (Serves 4 / Prep time 15 minutes)
3 Cups Shredded Carrot
3 Cups Napa Cabbage
2 cups julienned red bell pepper
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
14 ounces reduced-salt roasted turkey breast, julienned (or protein of your choice)
1/2 ripe avocado, diced
1/4 cup Asian Sesame Dressing
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
260 calories, 13 grams of fat (1.5 saturated), 18 grams carbs, 21 grams protein, 7 grams fiber, 154 mg calcium, 1 mg iron
Asian Sesame Dressing
2tb toasted sesame oil
2tb canola oil
2tb plus 2tsp rice vinegar
2tsp soy sauce
2tb minced fresh ginger
2tb chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
per tb: 64 cal, 7g fat
Combine and enjoy!
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
This weekend I was in a nesting mood and cleaned house. I've been cleaning a lot lately. Sunday alone I went grocery shopping, swept and mopped the floor, cooked two dishes, cleaned all of my dishes, organized my cupboards, cleaned the refrigerator, swept the common area, took Comfort for a long walk, cleared the trash and other items from my car, and put time into cleaning my room. I "earned my sleep" which is one of my friend's New Year's Resolutions. I strongly believe that all of this is a result of making the commitment to take control of my health. Of course being at your heaviest weight will shock most people into making a decision. However, I feel like I have finally found the key. See, I've always been able to lose weight. I have an ENDLESS amount of information on nutrition, exercise, weight lifting, etc. I know all of the underlying principles to a successful plan to lose weight. I've done it once or twice with and without diet pills. It was not until now that I realize that I have to do it EVERY DAY for the REST OF MY LIFE. Maintenance. Improvement.
I've applied it to my education, my finances, my career and now my health and home. You have to do it everyday. This weight was a shock and at the same time I saw it coming. I was satisfied with 155, then 165 wasn't all that bad, 170 was okay, 175 and I still looked good, skip 180 and go straight to 184 and now I am wondering what the hell happened.
I am starting to realize that when you bring order to one part of your life it spreads to others and it is a fantastic feeling. Another realization I've had is that life's troubles are no excuse to let everything slide. Order can be a source of security. I started gaining weight when my parent's were going through their ugly divorce and after every failed relationship. However, life will always have it's bout of troubles, the key is learning how to get through them with the least amount of damage as possible. If one area of my life is sliding that doesn't mean that it has to bring the rest down with it.
I was watching Oprah last night Bob Greene was her guest, he is the man that helped her lose weight and who has a new book out called The Best Life Diet. What is unique about this does is that he's partnered with several major corporations to help consumers identify proper foods with his symbol of approval. Although I still suggest people look at the nutrition facts and learn how to identify healthy foods themselves, I think this is really a great idea. But the new diet is not what fascinated me, for there will always be a new diet. I was inspired by what Oprah kept saying: If you are not living your best life right now then CHANGE IT. Simple as that. It's not just about the weight. It's about your feelings towards yourself. My body is an outward manifestation of how much I love myself, how much I put my health first, how I treat my "temple". I can lie all I want to and say I am never meant to be "skinny" or "I just like to eat" or "I hate diet and exercise" but the reality is that every pound of extra weight on my body is a lie I have told myself, a promise not kept. "Your subconscious feels the same way when you lie to it as people do when you lie to them. It feels betrayed, hurt, and stops trusting you," Oprah. It's time to do some house cleaning of another kind. By the end of this year I will be a better person. Why? Because...
I vow to start trusting myself again.
Tip of the Day - Bob Greene's Six Foods You Should Avoid (Try it for a month and see what happens)
- Foods with Trans Fats
- Fried Foods
- High Fat Dairy Products
- White Bread
- Regular Pasta
Monday, January 15, 2007
I weighed in this morning and I was 183 - I have only lost one pound. That means that I am behind 3 pounds. I am far from discouraged because I've switched plans and just started exercising last week so I know next week I will see some progress. Weight Watchers is coming along fabulously.
Today I went shopping and bought some items to help me along the way such as South Beach Bars (they have high fiber which equals low points in WW), Slim Fast Optima Shake in Cappucino Royale, and Athenos Whole Wheat Pita Chips .
So Far Ive tried the bars and the shake. The bar is not that tasty, it does not beat a Luna or Zone Bar , but it is high in fiber and therefore filling. The Slim Fast Shake tastes great and it kept me full for about 3 hours (as opposed to the advertised 4). Slim Fast is trying to increase their game by increasing the fiber content and protein in their drinks while lowering the sugar. At 3 points a shake I can have a side salad or half a sandwich and have a filling meal. This week I am going to replace breakfast with the shake and see how it goes. I might add some protein powder or a banana to add to its thickness.
Tonight I cooked Creamy Rice & Chicken with spinach, basil, and tomatoes. In the picture I topped it with fresh diced tomatoes, but I had some roasted red peppers for a Roasted Eggplant Soup that I am making and I put it with the dish and it added the perfect amount of sweetness and depth it needed. I also suggest using fresh spinach if you have time, I used canned to make the process quicker.
As you can see from the recipe below I used fat free chicken broth, lowfat cream cheese, and brown rice. On WW I am only allowd 24 points a day. That translates into 3 main meals at about 5 - 7 points each and two snacks about 1 - 2 points each. This dish is only 6 points so its perfect. The eggplant soup is 2 points.
CREAMY CHICKEN RICE AND SPINACH
1 can Del Monte Spinach, No Salt Added
5 Basil leaves chopped
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken breast, diced
3 Small tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup Fat-free chicken broth
2 packs Success Instant Brown Rice
2 tb Ken's Steak House Lite Northern Italian Dressing with Basil & Romano
6 tb serving Lucerne Light Cream Cheese
Heat dressing in a large skillet on medium/high heat. Add chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Stir in rice, return to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium; simmer 5 minutes.Stir cream cheese into rice mixture and add spinach. Cover and cook for 1 minute until spinach is wilted. Remove for heat and let stand, mix in basil and tomatoes. Top with roasted red peppers (or parmesan, fresh diced tomatoes, whatever you choose!)
Interesting thing about the Slim-Fast website. If you go to the main page there is a woman on there with MY dress and MY haircut. I like how she integrated the red shoes and bangles.
Friday, January 12, 2007
At first I was beating myself up for not being able to stick with it for 2 weeks. But I need to stop being so hard on myself and focus on the bigger picture: leading a healthier lifestyle. So I decided to go back to Weight Watchers which I know works I just have to be diligent enough to record everything.
I am also going to incorporate some of the principles of The Ab Diet. Before you balk at the title let me assure you that this book is full of valuable information for losing weight the right way. It communicates universal weight loss / nutrition principles in a very accessible, convincing, even inspiring way. Some of the principles include:
1. Eating 6 meals a day to keep your metabolism going
2. High protein, low fat, low carb - emphasizing on nutritional foods such as oatmeal, nuts, spinach, low fat dairy
3. Strength training
Here is an interesting snippet about how certain habits can promote or deter obesity:
"Almost as important as what you eat is when you eat. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts analyzed the eating habits of 100 men and women and found connections between the way people eat and the risk of becoming overweight
- Eating at least one midday snack (-39%)
- Eating dinner as your biggest meal (+6%)
- Waiting more than three hours after waking up to eat breakfast (+43%)
- Eating more than a third of your meals in restaurants (+69%)
- Going to bed hungry (3 or more hours after your last snack or meal (+101%)
- Eating breakfast away from home (+137%)
- Not eating breakfast (+450 %)"
You may also have noticed that I haven't weighed in yet...I decided to skip this week's weigh in because I was sick so look forwards to the new numbers on Monday.
This week I will leave you with some fabulous smoothie recipes:
Blueberry Vanilla: 1/2 c unsweetened frozen blue berries, 1/2 scoop vanilla soy protein powder, 1 cup light vanilla soy milk, dash of vanilla extract, packet of equal sweetener.
Carrot Mango: 1/2 cup all natural carrot juice (expensive but worth it), 1 cup frozen unsweetened mangoes, 1 cup vanilla soy milk
I found the Carrot Mango recipe in an issue of Natural Health Magazine. The recipe is supposed to give you energy in the morning and I can attest to that! I drank it for about 2 weeks straight and it was tasty, filling, and better than a red bull. The flavors of mango and carrot blend together perfectly. The soy milk can be substituted with any low fat milk of your choice and the key to any healthy smoothie is to use unsweetened fruit.
Monday, January 8, 2007
I cooked the Indian Chicken and Cauliflower and it came out.....okay. Not bad but not as fantastic as I imagined it to be. The chicken was tender, but I think I needed to season it more. I cooked it when I was starving so I didn't take care in it. The highlight is that each time I ate it (lunch and dinner) I was starving so it tasted extra good, lol.
Despite my diet failures in the past week I've still managed to not eat anything with high fructose corn syrup in it and I've avoided fried foods and those are wins. I have a dull headache today because I haven't had any carbs or sugar...this is probably because of the overload I had this weekend, but I can get through it.
Maybe I'm being paranoid but I keep expecting people to comment on how much weight I've gained. So I've been coming up with snarky remarks to fend them off:
1. *Pats the person on the belly* Thanks for your input, I see you've been inputting a lot lately.
2. I have, and I was just about to ask you which diet you're going to chose because I KNOW YOU want to lose some weight...*grabs love handles*
That's all I have for you... I need more. Notice my witty retorts include grabbing body parts...that's the key folks.
You may wonder why I only have responses for fellow fatties. I don't know about you, but it's always people that need to lose weight that make comments on the portliness of others. Now mind you the only people that ever comment on my weight, aside from Rashad's bastard friend, are family members. But you can never be TOO prepared...
Sunday, January 7, 2007
So I am starting again with a vengeance on Monday. Today I am making a recipe from South Beach called "Indian Chicken" which is basically an East Indian curry with chicken and cauliflower. Last week, in preparation for this diet, I bought two family size Butcher's Brand boneless skinless chicken breasts from Safeway. They are usually very expensive but if you ever find them on sale bulk up because they are the most tender chicken breasts I've ever tasted. Since I am cooking for one I immediately cleaned the breasts and put them in Ziploc bags so I wouldn't have to defrost all of the chicken for a small meal.
This morning I took out two defrosted breasts, punctured them several times with a fork and marinated them in about 1/2 cup of light coconut milk, 2 tbs of Neera's Curry Masala (from Whole Foods - highly recommended), and about 1 tb of dried ginger. Coconut milk and/or yogurt make chicken VERY TENDER. Tonight I will cook it with onions, garlic, fresh ginger, and cauliflower. I will be sure to let you know how it tastes.
Thursday, January 4, 2007
For dinner my friend Carly came to visit me and we made an Italian Stir Fry - yes I made that up. We sauteed slices of boneless chicken breast, diced garlic, shallots, and sun dried tomatos. We added fresh rosemary and I made a roasted red pepper sauce and we topped it off with herbed goat cheese. On the side we had asparagus with salt, pepper, garlic, lemon, and olive oil. Sparkling white grape water (sugar and sodium free - it tastes just like grape soda!) accompanied our meal and we finished it with a Soypaccino with light vanilla soy milk, mocha java coffee, equal, vanilla extract and topped with cinnamon.
I still can't believe it was low fat / South Beach! Pics to come...
Tuesday, January 2, 2007
I just feel like the difference this time is going to be a support system of like minds and accountability. I've never really went that route before and I strongly believe it will work. It's a well known fact that when you receive support for a life change you are more likely to be successful.
So things with the diet are going great....of course they are it is only Day 2.
Breakfast: Mushroom & Goat Cheese Omelette & 2 Turkey Sausages
Snack: Cheese Stick
Lunch: Balsamic Glazed Salmon with Caramelized Shallots & Broiled Asparagus
Snack: Cheese Stick & Nuts
Dinner: Balsamic Glazed Salmon with Caramelized Shallots & Broiled Asparagus
The Balsamic Salmon was a South Beach recipe and I was worried because I didn't want the glaze to be vinegary and when I looked up the recipe on http://www.foodnetwork.com/ and http://www.epicurious.com/ they all called for sugar or honey. Since I can't have sugar I took a chance and put equal in it and I must say it was not bad at all.
I was asked today if I was hungry at all and I said only when I waited too long to eat. I was actually quite full after all of my meals - I think the key here will be not to get bored.
Now I know I can't always eat lunch for dinner...hence my meal planning goal. I'm on the "new diet high" now and that's a good thing because I am really motivated. However, I'm scared for when this thing is gonna get hard.
I need to take a picture of myself this week that I can post on here.
Monday, January 1, 2007
- My breasts probably weigh 15 pounds - no really, they do...
- This is relationship weight (but I've been out of one for 6 months)
- I've had a lot of stressful and life changing events over the past two years (well...that's life)
- I still look good (I do - but I can look better)
- I can fit most of my pants (But I have to pull them up to my breasts and I can't fit my favorite ones)
- I probably look 160
- Plus size isn't that bad, Lane Bryant has some cute clothes
- I'm tired of dieting
- Nobody notices (Nobody ever tells you until you lose it and everyone is like "Daaaaaaamn girl YOU LOST SOOOO MUCH WEIGHT, I ain't want to tell you but you were a porker before.")
- I'll lose it eventually (When?)
- I won't get past this weight (I said that at 155)
And they keep coming. So I am going to hold myself accountable and start a blog and share it with others. My current weight is 184 pounds. I would like to get down to 145 pounds, but to make it even lets say my goal weight is 144 lbs. which means that I need to lose a whopping 40 pounds.
I tried to get some of my friends on board but they seem reluctant. I would love to have some sort of competition or support between us, but this is my life and I can not wait. I don't think any of us really see ourselves and what we have become. All of my female friends have widened greatly over the past two years except for about two. I look at them and I am like "Wow..." Then I wonder how I look. I still think I look pretty damn good. But I want to look and feel great and it is really time to get off my ass and stop being lazy and making excuses. I don't want to look back at this weight fondly. I never ever want to see a 200 or more on the scale. I think my 5'5" frame will just cave in. If I lose an average of the recommended 2 lbs. a week it will take me 5 months to lose this weight. That means by the end of May I should be looking svelte and slim. So I will make the goal date my birthday, May 27, 1981.
I plan on using the South Beach Diet because I simply can not count calories and I like to eat. This diet also does not require exercise. I know exercise is important and it will be integrated into my plan, but I don't want to feel like I have to do it. So here's to the beginning of a long, hard ride.
- Plan meals ahead
- Develop an arsenal of snacks - because I know when I get into starvation mode that is when I lose
- Find a support system
- Take more Yoga classes - 1x a week to start
Wish me luck!!