Saturday, April 30, 2011

Snack Help

Another struggle that I had when I first started doing WW was finding snacks that were both filling and low in pp.  I have decided that I won’t buy snacks unless they are around 3pp.  Here are a bunch that I have found by scouring shelves that are great!

Pop Chips-3pp per serving, there are a lot of flavors like barbeque, cheddar & sour cream & onion and they taste amazing.  They are big round chips that are made from popcorn to make them healthier & higher in fiber to fill you up.  They are a little tricky to find, I have found them at Target and BJ’s near me.

Fiber Plus Antioxidants Caramel Coconut Fudge-3pp & it tastes exactly like a Samoa Girl Scout Cookie!  They do have other flavors also.

94% Fat Free mini bags of popcorn-3pp, very filling, there is a lot in the bag.

Pretzels-usually 3pp for a serving, but just check the bag you get.  My husband is addicted to them as a snack, between him and my son I cannot keep them in the house!
Pretzel Crisps-3pp for a serving, a good alternative to pretzels, they are bigger and they come in a lot of flavors like Everything which tastes like an everything bagel, garlic parmesan & buffalo wing.

Chip Ins-3pp for a serving, they look like Doritos & they come in cool flavors like buffalo wing & jalapeno ranch.  I had been finding them at Wal-mart but I haven't seen them in a while.

Pringles Baked Wheat Stix crispy cracker sticks-only 2pp!  They look like long pretzel sticks and they come in neat flavors like jalapeno & pizza.  They come in individual packs.

Kellogg's Special K Cracker Chips-3pp for a serving & very similar to Pop Chips, they come in sea salt & sour cream & onion flavors.

Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches-4pp and they taste awesome, obviously more than 3pp, but they are soooo good!  My favorite is cookie & cream.

WW desserts are really good, just look in the frozen ice cream section.  They have ice cream cups that my husband literally eats one everyday, and all kinds of other ice cream bars.  Also on the cracker & cookie aisle there are WW desserts like little cakes.  Obviously they all have the pp on them, but just be sure that they have the new pp on them, otherwise just calculate the new pp from the nutritional information.

Fruit is free so eat it up!

Vegetables-most of them are free.
A great dip for veggies is to get a 16 oz. container of plain nonfat Greek yogurt and pour in a packet of the ranch dressing mix (powder).  There are a lot of different flavors.  The dressing package says to mix it with a 16 oz. container of sour cream, so using Greek yogurt just bumps up the protein so it will fill you up and it is lower in pp.  The dip is 0pp for a couple of Tbsp.  It keeps really well for a while in the fridge.

Laughing Cow cheese-1pp per wedge, you can dip veggies or anything in it and it comes in a bunch of different flavors.
Reduced Fat Fiber Selects Wheat Thins are 3pp for about 16 and is great with the laughing cow cheese.

100 calorie packs of anything are 3pp.  You can make an awesome dessert with some cookies, sugar free pudding-about 2pp for 1 package and top with fat free cool whip which is 0pp for 2 Tbsp.  So, 5pp total for a HUGE dessert bowl!

Veggie Straws, Potato Straws, Apple Straws, Veggie Chips-3pp, crunchy and delicious alternative to chips that are much higher in pp for a much smaller serving.  They look like Cheetos.

Fiber One Yogurt-1pp-the lowest pp yogurt I have found.  I eat this a lot in the morning with a banana before I go to the gym.

Smoothies-in the freezer section right beside the frozen fruit are bags of Yoplait smoothie mixes that have fruit and yogurt frozen in the bag.  You put the frozen bag in a blender with a cup of milk and blend it up.  It is 3pp for half a bag.  They come in a bunch of flavors like Triple Berry, Strawberry Banana & Blueberry Pomegranate.
Jamba all natural smoothies mix is the same, the fruit and yogurt is frozen in the bag and you mix it with apple juice for 2 pp for half a bag.  They have cool flavors like Razzmatazz & Mango.

Muscle Milk Lite is 100 Calories, so 3pp, it comes in a little milk box like kids would drink.  I have heard that it comes in a bunch of flavors like cookies & cream, but I think you have to order them online.  I have found chocolate & vanilla near me.  You would think they wouldn't taste good, like chaulky, but they are actually really good.  They have a lot of protein in them and they are great for after you workout if you are feeling really hungry and drained but you aren't near a meal and you need something really fast and easy.

Today I did boot camp with Boot Camp Moms.  We did a lot of really cool stuff, including TRX, if you've never heard of it, you need to check it out.  It is a suspension system that uses your body weight, and it is a lot harder than you would think!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Crock Pot London Broil

On Monday, I was feeling really guilty about all that I ate on Sunday for Easter.  For that matter, for what I ate from Thursday to Sunday!  When I stepped on the scale on Sunday morning, I was lower than I had ever been before, about a pound and a half below what I was when I weighed in on Thursday of last week.  When I weighed myself on Monday morning, I was 2 pounds up from where I was last Thursday!  I was very mad at myself for just eating so crazy over the weekend.  Yesterday, when I weighed in at WW, I lost exactly 3 pounds from the week before, giving me a total lost of 72.2 pounds!  This just reiterates my statement on an earlier blog that your body is going to lose what it wants to lose when it wants to lose it.  Even though I totally over ate over the weekend I still lost this week and met a pretty amazing goal of getting below 70 pounds total lost.  I am very excited, but I am going to try not to let this over eating and still losing get the best of me and try to get right back on track.  After all, I'm still not done losing!

My neighbor, Kyle who is a personal trainer/group fitness instructor and we all workout together daily, found an article that said if you do a 5 minute warm up, then lift weights and then do cardio that you will burn more fat.  So, we tried that yesterday and today and we really liked it.  She has been unable to locate the exact article that she read again, but when I did a Google search, I came up with a bunch of articles about that topic.  I guess we'll see next week at my weigh in if it made any difference for me.

I am trying a new recipe today in my crock pot that another neighbor shared with me.

I cut up 1 small onion into chunks and put it on the bottom of my crock pot.  Then, I seasoned my London broil with salt, pepper & rosemary on both sides and put it on top of the onion.  I poured 1 can of 98% fat free cream of celery soup on top of the meat (my neighbor suggested that I use cream of mushroom, but I decided to try something different).  I surrounded the meat with 1 lb of fingerling potatoes.  I am cooking it on low for 6 hours.  It turned out really well!  4 oz. of the beef is 4pp & 1/2 cup of the potatoes is 2pp.  You could serve this with a salad or veggies on the side.  You can also put carrots in the bottom with the onion & you could also just put the potatoes on the bottom.  You could add water instead of soup in the bottom with the veggies or beef broth.  The possibilities are definitely endless.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Recipes & Restaurant Help

A friend shared this blog with me.  It is a WW recipe blog and it looks like there are a bunch of recipes on it.  I haven't taken a lot of time to look through it yet, but I thought I would pass it on so you can have another one to look at.  It is much fancier than mine!  You can sign up for daily newsletters, which I am assuming would be similar to the Hungry Girl emails where you would get new recipes daily.
Another friend shared this blog with me.  It is a WW blog for restaurants.  Again, I have not taken a lot of time to look through it, but I wanted to share it so everyone could benefit.

If you have any recipes that you use that are WW friendly, please share them with me, I'm always looking for new recipes.  Most of the recipes that I share here are ones that I have gotten from other people.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Updated Shepherd's Pie

I use russet potatoes instead and peel them.  I use the leanest beef I can find 96%/4%.  If you get the family size bag of steamer veggies, it is the right amount and you can just cook them in the microwave before you add them to the sauce.  I put all the cheese on top instead of stirring some into the potato mixture.  I use a 11X7 inch pan instead of an 8X8 because since it's bigger it makes the pieces seem bigger, but a 9X13 is too big because it makes the mixture spread out and makes it thinner.  I just let the pie cool a little after it's cooked and slice it into 6 equal slices instead of measuring it out.  It is 8pp per serving.

This recipe is really good and really easy to make, you'll never make a shepherd's pie any other way!

This morning I took a sports class at the Y.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Low-and-Slow Sloppy Joes

This is in my crock pot cooking right now for our dinner tonight!  It is a really good and easy recipe.  I got it out of a WW cookbook that I borrowed from my best friend Kelly.

This recipe makes 6 sloppy joes.

1 lb lean ground beef (I use 96/4% which is the leanest I have found)
1 14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 small onion chopped
1 celery stalk chopped (can be omitted)
3 Tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 whole-wheat sandwich or hamburger rolls, split (the lowest pp you can find, mine are Nature's Own wheat and they are 3pp, sandwich thins are also a good choice, they are also 3pp)

Brown & crumble the beef in a large non-stick skillet.  I also add a little salt & pepper to the beef while it is cooking.  Drain the beef.  Add it to the crock pot along with the rest of the ingredients except the rolls and mix well.  Cover and cook for 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.  Toast the rolls and spoon 1/2 cup of the beef mixture into each roll.

You can serve these with a salad, baked chips, homemade baked fries or frozen baked fries.

This is 4 pp for 1/2 cup of sauce and then add the pp for the rolls you use and your sides.

Today I did 20 minutes on the elliptical and 25 minutes of weights with my "personal" personal trainer Kyle Furlow.

Crab Dip

This is an awesome WW recipe that I made yesterday to take to my in-law's for Easter.  It got eaten very quickly, mostly by me because it was so good!  I did make a few changes.  Because I was making it for a big group, I went ahead and put in a whole 8 oz pkg of cream cheese.  I also used a whole small container of the Greek yogurt, which is about 2/3 cup.  I used garlic instead of onion, about 5 good sized cloves, because I really like garlic and my husband's family is Italian!  I got a bagged package of lump crab meat in the seafood counter, and it was 6 oz, which a little less than 1/2 lb.  I added extra hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper.  I got the sherry at Total Wine, I asked for help and they showed me where it was, and I told them I just wanted the smallest and cheapest bottle, and I ended up getting one that was $8.99.  The sherry I bought was clear, so you could probably just use some dry white wine if you have it.  They do not sell sherry at the ABC store or the Wal-mart that I go to.  I brought along some Fritos scoops and some baked tortilla scoops, but you could also serve it with cut up pieces of french bread.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Weighing In

I’ve currently been doing WW for almost 9 months.  I went to my very first meeting on a Thursday, and that is still my weigh in day.  I didn’t really see any reason to change it.  Since I have been doing it for so long, it would make sense that I had it down and wouldn’t really need to go to meetings every week.  I don’t go to meetings EVERY week, but I try to make it a habit to go most of the time.  The meetings are helpful.  You get to hear about other people’s struggles, sometimes you can help and sometimes others help you.  Sometimes you’ll get a new recipe from the leader.  Sometimes someone will tell the group about some awesome product that they’ve found that you may not have otherwise heard about.

For me, whether or not I attend the meeting, I go to my WW site and weigh in.  I need the consistency and the routine.  I need to know on Thursday, after I weigh in, whichever way the scale has gone that week, that I have one week to make a difference in it for the next weigh in.  It encourages me to keep going.  I have to stand in front of a person and have them tell me the results of my previous week.

I weigh myself every day at home.  WW discourages that.  They only want you to weigh on your weigh in day at WW.  That is because your weight fluctuates throughout the day and the week, and the kind of net result is what happens after a week.   They also tell you to go to the meeting at the same time on your weigh in day so that it is a constant.  They even tell you to wear the same thing each week so your clothes will not make a difference.  I’ve seen people take off their shoes, socks, watch, glasses, anything they can!  The reason I weigh myself at home every day is so I’m not surprised by what I see when I go to WW to weigh in.  If I’m down from the day before, that encourages me to keep pushing and doing what I’m doing.  If I’m up, it makes me push even harder.  It encourages me for that day to make better choices than I did the day before.  It makes me look at what I did the day before to see what I can change that day to make the scale go down the next day.

Today I weighed in and lost another 2 lbs, so I’m .8 away from losing a total of 70 lbs!

This morning, I took a muscle class at the Y that was really hard!

We’re eating out tonight, so I’m not cooking dinner, so there’s no recipe to share today. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pigs in a Blanket & Cheese Fries

I'm sure you think you read that wrong, this is supposed to be a weight loss blog!  But, that's what I'm making for dinner tonight!  You can still eat things that you think may be bad for you if you just slim them down a little.

Pigs in a blanket:

I don't cut them into 4 as an appetizer, I just leave them whole for dinner.  I use Hebrew National 97% fat free beef hot dogs, and they honestly don't taste any different than a full fat hot dog.

Cheese Fries!

I took an Aerobox class at the Y this morning, it is kind of a cardio kickboxing class.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Crock Pot Beef Roast

This is what's for dinner tonight!  It is so good and so easy.  I am very addicted to using my crock pot.  I kind of made up this recipe by looking at a bunch of different recipes that were similar and just using the simplest version.

1-1 &1/2 lbs potatoes, cubed
2 cups of carrots (if you like them, or more if you want)
1-2 cups of water
2-3 lb beef chuck roast

Put potatoes & carrots in the bottom of the crock pot.  Season with salt, pepper & rosemary to taste.  Pour water over the veggies until you can see the water coming up about half way to the top of them.  Season both sides of the beef with salt, pepper & rosemary.  Put the beef on top of the veggies.  Cook on low for 8 hours covered. After 8 hours, take the beef out of the crock pot and pull it apart with a fork.

You can weigh the meat using a food scale and calculate the pp from the back of the package, but in general, 4 oz. is 3pp.  The potatoes are 2pp for 1/2 cup.  The carrots are 0pp.  You can serve this with a bag of frozen steam in the bag in the microwave veggies on the side if you want to add more.  This recipe makes about 4 servings, depending on how many potatoes & carrots you put in and how big your beef is.

I took a sports class at the Y this morning that was really hard, I had to come home and take a nap after it!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken Stroganoff

This is in my crock pot cooking away for our dinner tonight!  This recipe is so good and so easy to make!  I got this recipe from a WW friend, but I don't know where she got the recipe.  I did run it through the WW online recipe builder to make sure the pp values are correct.


2 cans of 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup (I tried using 1 can and the sauce wasn't thick enough.)
1 packet of dry onion soup mix
1 container of sliced mushrooms (I don't personally like mushrooms, so I omit this from the recipe)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 4 small or 3 medium or 2 large chicken breasts)
1/2 cup of light sour cream (fat free sour cream would reduce the pp, but I like using light better)
1 bag of Whole Grain Egg Noodles

Mix the cream of mushroom soup, dry onion soup mix and the mushrooms (if you are using them) in the crock pot sleeve.  Push the chicken breasts into the mixture so they are covered.  Cook on low for 4 hours.  Take the chicken breasts out of the crockpot and in a bowl, shred them using 2 forks.  Put the chicken back in the crock pot with the sauce, add the sour cream and mix well.  Boil the noodles until they are done.

About 1 cup of the sauce and chicken mixture is 4pp.  About 1 and 1/4 cups of noodles (about 1/6th of the bag which is a serving size) is 5pp.  So total one serving would be 9pp.  This recipe makes about 6 servings, so you'll definitely have leftovers or even better, invite over some friends to enjoy it with you, I guarantee they will never be able to tell that what they are eating is low fat!

Today I did the elliptical at the Y for 45 minutes.

Eating Out

As a little clarification, the old WW plan used Points, and the new one uses Points Plus.  I am doing the new program, and all the recipes have the new Points Plus.  Going forward I am going to just type pp instead of points plus.
When we first started WW, the thought of eating out was very scary.  You don’t know how the food is prepared, how much will be on your plate, etc.  Luckily the internet provides us with the ability to check out a restaurant’s website, and most of the time it’ll have nutritional information on there somewhere so you can make a decision about what you will eat before you go, or you can make the decision not to go there to eat.  Sometimes you are not given a choice of restaurants, but if you are, Chili’s is not a WW friendly restaurant, at least not for a girl who doesn’t have very many pp in a day.  Even a salad there is crazy!

Going to someone’s house to eat was just as scary.  You don’t know what they are making; if there will be any choices or how to measure portions.  I’ve learned to just make good guesses, and so far it has worked out pretty well.  WW sells serving spoons that are also measuring spoons.  The package has a ¼, ½ & 1 cup spoon.   I use those, but you may be able to find them at other places.  I also use a food scale to weigh mostly meat, but it is also helpful to weigh snacks like pretzels that are 1 oz so you don’t have to count out the serving size.  But, it may not always be convenient or appropriate to bring all that to someone’s house or to a restaurant.   You can offer to bring something that you know isn’t too bad, and choosing things that are grilled and like steamed vegetables is always a good idea. 

Restaurants where we’ve become comfortable eating:

Cici’s Pizza
It’s a buffet, its 4pp per slice, and it tastes awesome!

Since the restaurants near us neither have a website nor nutritional information available, I’ve just used the WW website or my phone app to search for things that I would order.  Also the pocket guide and eating out guide are helpful here.  The choices I usually make are:
Tortilla Chips-4pp for 14, and I do count them!  I break them in half so I feel like I’m eating more
Taco Salad-10pp, but it is very filling because of all the protein, I get beef, no beans only because I don’t like beans
Regular Sour Cream, if you have to have it, (like I do!) it is 1pp for 2 Tbsp
Chicken Quesadilla-the best and lowest choice for the amount you get is only 7pp
A beef taco is only 6pp, but who can just eat one taco, I’d have to have 2!

This is a very good “fast food” choice.  A 6 inch on wheat with turkey, cheese, mustard & veggies is only 7pp

Let’s face it, there are sometimes you cannot avoid eating here!  The best choice I’ve found is the grilled chicken snack wraps (any sauce you like) is 7pp.
Get a side salad which is 0 and the low fat balsamic vinaigrette is 1pp for the whole package.

This is also a very good fast food choice.
Side Salad-2pp
Light Italian Dressing -0pp for about half a package
Fat Free Honey Mustard (my favorite)-2pp for about half a package
Grilled Chicken Sandwich-6pp
Grilled Chicken Salad-4pp

Sweet Tomatoes
Salad bar!  Choose only veggies & don’t add any pp by adding like cheese & croutons & use all the pp for the dressing.
Fat Free Honey Mustard is 1pp for 2 Tbsp
Fat Free Italian is only 1pp for 2 Tbsp
Fat Free Ranch is 0pp for 2 Tbsp, but I don’t personally like the way it tastes.
Be careful since it’s a buffet, you’ll be tempted to overdo it.  Just count everything you get.  They always have a bunch of soups, and they’re all on their website.  So check them out before you get them to find your favorite and best choice.

And, last but definitely not least!!!!!!  Yogurt Mountain-the best find ever!  It tastes like ice cream, not frozen yogurt, it is so good!  Everything is either fat free, sugar free or low fat.  They have nutritional information posted on every flavor, but they are all 100 calories which is 3pp for about 3 oz.  You have to weigh your cup to pay for it, so you’ll know how much you got.  It may take you a few times to get the hang of how much you can get, but with the cup filled about ¾ the way full is about 6 oz or about 2 servings which comes out to be about 7pp.  Not too bad for how much you get!  And it is sooooooooo good!  It is self-serve, and they have taster cups, but just be mindful that you’re not really counting that!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Exercise Journey

I had never exercised in my life.  If I ever did any exercising, I walked, and that was not consistently at all.  I remember taking a Strength Training class in college.  It was for a P.E. credit and it was pass/fail.  I dropped it about half way through and it was only a half semester class.  I hated it.  I was just never interested in exercise.  I didn’t like the way it made me feel when I did it.  It hurt!  I literally did not like to sweat or do anything that made me get out of breath.

For the first week of being on WW I didn’t exercise.  I didn’t think that I would add stress to my life at that point and just focus on the food.  My neighbor, Kyle invited me to her house the next week to have a glass of wine with her and a friend, Caitlin.  I planned my day around that and allowed myself enough points to have 2 glasses of wine.  When I got there she gave me a glass and I drank it.  She offered me more when I was done and I drank that.  She offered me more when I was done and I said, no thank you, and that I had only allotted myself to have 2 glasses.  She looked at me like I had lost my mind, and I told her that I had joined WW.  She told me that she had done it before and Caitlin had as well.  She said that she actually had a friend, Jennifer that worked at the WW that I went to.  They started telling me about all these tips and tricks and recipes, and we talked about it for a long time.  Kyle has always been really into exercise, and she asked me if I had thought about it at all, and I told her that I was just going to start out doing WW.  She told me that it could help me lose a lot more weight faster if I did.

So, the next week I started my old safety net, walking.  We have a Siberian Husky (Shadow) that I took with me (which he loved!).  I started out only walking a mile, but I walked 6 days a week and took Sundays off.  I had to go every day to establish it into my routine; otherwise I knew that I wouldn’t go.  I couldn’t be the person that worked out 3 days a week because I would wake up in the morning and be tired and not feel like going and say, “Oh, I’ll just go tomorrow”.  I did that for a couple of weeks and then went to a mile and a half; eventually working my way up to 2 miles.  I did only that for a long time until it started to get really rainy and cold.  I walked in the rain a couple of times and was determined to not let the weather keep me from walking.  So, I joined a gym near my house, Fitness 19, which costs next to nothing every month, with the intention of only going when the weather was too bad.  I did the elliptical for 30 minutes just for a change from walking.  Then I found myself going to the gym more than I was walking.

Kyle and Jennifer decided to start up a boot camp called Boot Camp Moms.  They called it that because they are moms, but anyone could work out with them even if they are not moms.  They wanted me to come and try it.  I was scared to death.  I had no idea what they did at those things, but the name alone is enough to scare you, especially someone who had never worked out in their whole life.  She assured me that they weren’t drill sergeants, and that everyone went at their own pace and that there would be people of all sizes, ages and levels there working out.  I talked to Justin about it and he was worried for me to go because he didn’t want for me to get discouraged and quit exercising all together.  

Again, it had to be my own decision, and I decided to go to my first one.  To say the least it was hard, but not as hard as I thought it would be, so I started going each week.  Kyle also works at the YMCA, and she and Jennifer worked out there every day.  The Y has a TON of classes, and they would occasionally ask me to join them for a class they thought I would like and get me a guest pass sometimes.

There was one other emotional moment that I had at a WW meeting.  I was getting ready to leave to go on a weekend trip with some friends.  I was supposed to go to boot camp on Thursday morning and I set my alarm for the wrong time, so I didn’t get up in time to go.  I was very upset about it especially since I wouldn’t be able to go on Saturday because I would be out of town.  When I weighed in at my meeting, I had lost another 5 pounds, so when they did the rewards at the end of the meeting, my leader asked me what I thought helped me to lose those 5 pounds.  I started to answer, and all this emotion came over me.  It was really hard for me to answer.  I’m not sure if it was just because I was having a hard day or if it was that I didn’t get to go to boot camp that morning or what, but I later told some friends about the story and said I felt like the fat girl on Richard Simmons!  I said in my meeting that I thought exercise was really helping me and that I was very disappointed that I had missed boot camp that morning and that was so crazy because I had never worked out before starting this program.  I went from never exercising to exercising 6 days a week and being upset when I couldn’t go!

My journey continued and once the New Year was here, I decided that I wanted to ramp up my workouts.  So they told me to just start coming to the gym with them every day.  Obviously I would have to join the Y to do that, so I did.  I was a member of 2 gyms.  I went from a person who hated exercise to a person who was a member of 2 gyms.  There was something just not normal about that.

Now I am doing all kinds of classes, and boot camp.  I feel great and it is part of my routine.  I get up early, before my son and husband (and most mornings even the sun!) to work out.  That’s the schedule that works for me.  I am amazed at how quickly I have advanced.  I couldn’t do a sit up, a push up, nothing, I didn’t know how.  They showed me how, but it was really hard.  Now I can do real grown up pushups, not girly ones on my knees!  I can actually see my muscles!  Crazy!

So, another purpose of my blog is to help people who are not exercising get motivated to exercise because it is so important.  If you just focus on food or just focus on exercise, you won’t get as far as if you focus on both at the same time.  Easier said than done, I know.  I still find myself more focused on one or the other most of the time.  But, finding a good balance between the two is key.  So, as well as recipes, I will share what workouts I’m doing each day.  Today I went to a muscle class at the Y that was really hard!

My friend, work out buddy, and as I like to call her my personal personal trainer, Kyle, had this quote on her Facebook status, but I’m not sure where she got it:  "I never regret it when I do it, but I always regret it when I don't."  That is so true of exercising, at least for me.

 I’m not sure if this is a quote from someone else or not, but one of my favorite trainers at the Y, Paula said to us this past Thursday morning when everyone wanted to quit doing 90/60/30 seconds of mountain climbers, ”Do not quit, your mind is going to give up long before your body will!” and I love it, and it is so true it is scary.  There are so many times that I am “forced” to run (who can force a grown woman to run, well I don’t really know the answer but I don’t like to run so when I do, I say I’m being forced!) I want to quit before I start, but my body isn’t physically making me stop, my mind is telling me that I hate it and I don’t want to anymore, but I keep on pushing it.

Some people can’t walk or talk or exercise.  Some people have handicaps or injuries or physical problems that will not allow them to move, much less exercise.  So I’ve become thankful that I can do all of those things and I do them as much as I can, and I work out and I love it now.  When I feel like not doing it that encourages me to get myself out of the bed and just do it! Nike, right?!?   I look forward to going to work out with my friends.  I love the rush that I feel when my muscles burn.  I love the endorphins that are released throughout my body when my heart rate rises and I sweat and I get out of breath.  I still have not learned to love to run and I may not ever, but I am moving 6 days a week, and that’s at least a pretty good start.

Recipe for the day:
In my previous post I said that I have made up some things, but mostly it’s just meals that I have put together, and this is one of those.  I got a pork tenderloin that was already marinated at the store.  I have a meat thermometer that I use to get it to the right temperature.  The book that came with it said to cook it on 325, and I have found the lower temperature helps keep it moist.  I set the meat thermometer to 170 degrees, which is what the book suggests for the internal temperature for a pork loin.  I calculated the WW points plus from the package, but in general, 4 oz. is 4 points plus.  You can get bags of frozen steamable vegetables that you can microwave as a side.  I made roasted potatoes to go with it, which is a recipe that I got from borrowing a WW cookbook from my bestie Kelly.  I have found 1 ½ lb bags of potatoes at the store and I use those mostly because they are preportioned and I don’t have to weigh them.
1 ½ pounds small potatoes, quartered
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp rosemary
½ tsp each salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 475.  In a bowl toss with your hands all the ingredients.  Spray a baking sheet with PAM, put the potatoes on the baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes.  ½ cup is 2 points plus

This dinner is so easy and really good!

My healthy weight loss journey

My whole life, as long as I can remember, I’ve always just eaten whatever I wanted.  I never really thought about whether or not it was bad for me or if there were any consequences to eating it.  I can only remember going on one “diet” in my life.  I was in high school, and everyone thought they were fat, even if they weren’t.  It was the one where you count fat grams, and you were allowed to eat so many in a day based on your height.  I lost about 15 pounds and was happy with that, since that’s all I really needed to lose at the time.

Everyone gains the “freshman 15” in college.  I gained more like the freshman 30!  I never really weighed myself because I just didn’t care that much.  Over the years, I would look at myself in the mirror and think that I was gaining weight, and obviously when I had to buy a bigger size because my clothes no longer fit, I was faced with that reality.  I would think all the time that I really wanted to lose weight, but I just didn’t know how.  I was honestly too lazy to figure out how.  When I would go to a restaurant, I would know that the best thing on the menu to order was definitely not fries, but that’s what I wanted.  I’ve always loved vegetables and fruit, I’d just eat too much of them at one time.

My love of food only grew from watching Food Network.  To say I love Rachael Ray is an understatement.  I watch all her shows, have her cookbooks; the list goes on and on.  I’ve always loved to cook.  I love to try new recipes, and my husband, Justin, loves that too!  We just genuinely love to eat.  We love trying new things.  Butter was my friend.  Pasta was my friend.  Being married to an Italian, I learned all about how to cook Italian food, it was good and I really enjoyed it, making it and eating it.  And, if I do say so myself, I was pretty good at it!  I love to bake also, cakes, cookies, anything.  I took a cake decorating class just to try it.  It was very stressful, but interesting at the same time.  I am really into cupcakes and I enjoyed making them for my son’s birthdays.

I had my yearly doctor’s visit on Wednesday, July 28th, 2010.  I wanted to ask my doctor for a recommendation for a healthy way to lose weight.  I didn’t want to have any sort of surgery, I know people that have done that, and it works, but that just isn’t for me.  I didn’t want to take any pills.  I know myself well enough to know that I couldn’t do those plans where you eat the frozen meals or pre-packaged food.  Also, since I love to cook so much, I had to be able to cook our food.  I knew Justin would not be eating anything weird!  He isn’t a picky eater, but come on, who would want to eat a frozen dinner for dinner every night?  My doctor suggested that I try Weight Watchers (WW).  He said that he was doing it himself and that he wasn’t endorsing it because he was doing it, but as a doctor who knew about these types of things, it was a healthy way to lose weight.  He said that he didn’t even think that I needed to start out being all that concerned with exercise.  He said that would come with time and that the WW plan was set up where you didn’t have to exercise to lose weight, it was all based on portion control and making better choices.

That night I made the decision that I would go online and join.  I didn’t even tell my husband that I was doing it.  I had made the decision and I didn’t even want to talk to anyone about it because I didn’t want anyone to try and discourage me.  Not that he would, I just didn’t want any feedback either way.

I called my best friend, Kelly, who had done WW before.  She had done it where you go to the meetings and she had done it where you just do it by yourself online.  I was leaning towards just doing it online since I had my son and I didn’t want to try to figure out how to not take him with me.  But after talking to her she suggested that I start out going to the meetings so I could get a good sense for how to do it and then once I felt comfortable that I could just do it on my own.

So, the next morning, Thursday, July 29th, 2010 I got up and joined.  I couldn’t wait until Monday to start with a new week, I had to do it that day.  I had no idea what I was doing, but I was doing something.  I had taken the first step.  I decided that I had to go to a meeting that day to find out what I needed to do.  So, I told Justin what I had done, and told him that I needed for him to tell me, based on his schedule when a good time would be for me to go.  So, we decided on a time and I went.  I weighed in, and went to the meeting.  Afterward, there was a session where the leader meets with you to explain the program and answer any questions.  There was another lady there that was starting for the second time.  She had 7 pounds to loose.  Really?  7 pounds?  She couldn’t lose that on her own?  I have since realized that everyone has their own story and their own journey, no matter how long it may be.  Everyone has their own struggles and challenges.  Since it was her second time, maybe that would be the hardest 7 pounds that anyone could ever try to lose. 

If you know me at all you know that I am not a very outwardly emotional person.  Very few people in my life have ever seen me cry.  And if they have it has not been very often.  That session was very emotional for me.  I had made my decision and was determined.  But, I couldn’t believe how long a journey I had in front of me.  Luckily, Justin decided to start the journey with me.  I honestly don’t know what I would have done without his encouragement and support.

I had never really even stepped on the scale.  I honestly didn’t want to know what it would tell me.  The scale we had was very old, a hand me down from my parents.  It wasn’t even digital.  I decided to purchase a new one, so I went to my old trusty Wal-Mart and bought a cheap one for $20, a scale is a scale is a scale, right?  It actually ended up being very accurate and pretty right on to what I would weigh at WW.

Slowly I started telling people that I had joined.  This is the first time that a lot of people will even hear my story.  My close friends and support team know all about it, probably more than they’d like!  But it’s just not something that I’ve been really ready to share with the world.

The first week was hard for me.  I was trying to figure it all out and figure out what to eat.  I struggled to find things to make for dinner.  I searched the WW website for recipes, but nothing really stood out to me.  I mostly made grilled meat, boiled brown rice and a vegetable on the side.  I talked to my WW friends all the time about recipes and they’d pass theirs on.  I’d search WW, and anywhere else to find stuff.  I signed up for Kraft foods to send me emails every day and I’d look to see if anything sounded good, see how many points it was, and either hit print or delete!

Kelly loaned me a few of her cookbooks to look through.  One of them was Hungry Girl.  I didn’t see any recipes that really stood out for me in her cookbook.  Then one day I was watching The Cooking Channel and saw a commercial that she was starting a new show, obviously called The Hungry Girl.  So I decided to DVR it and check it out.  And, I loved it!  I went to her website and you can sign up for daily emails from her with tips and tricks, recipes and store finds, very similar to her show.  Everything has WW points!  I was in love!

I have made up some things on my own, but mostly it’s from other people.  I can’t even really say that they are recipes, more just methods or dinners that I have put together.  People that just start WW ask for my recipes and I have forwarded them in an email, so I decided to start this blog as a centralized place for people to look.  Apparently I started a riot on Facebook the other day with a recipe I had shared with some friends!  It is one of my favorites so far.  I feel like I’d like to start with that one.  I got it from Kraft foods.  It is called Fiesta Chicken Enchiladas Made Over:

I did make a couple changes.  I didn’t use the PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, mainly because I already had some PHILADELPHIA 1/3 less fat chive and onion cream cheese, I used that, but really any lower fat cream cheese would work.  I had heard some mysterious rumors about 1 point plus whole wheat tortillas, and I couldn’t find them.  Recently at Wal-mart I found Ole’ High Fiber Low Carb Whole Wheat Tortillas that are only 1 point plus.  So I used them.  I also just put all the cheese on top instead of stirring some of it in the mix.  When I calculated the points plus from the nutritional information on the website, it was 11 points plus for 2, um not so much.  When I ran it through the online WW recipe builder, it was only 8!  I’m not sure if the nutritional information was wrong or if it was reduced that significantly with the tortillas I used, either way I was much happier with 8 points plus!  So, I’ve made them twice, they are the bomb and I’ve passed them on to my friends and now on to you!

I remember when my clothes started to be too big.  I finally decided that it was time to clean out my closet and when I did there was nothing left!  I took 5 garbage bags full of clothes that were too big for me to Interact, an organization that is for abused women and children, I felt somehow better about that than I did just to donate them to Goodwill.

I have lost 67 pounds and counting to date.  There are days that I feel discouraged and days that I want to just go back to my carefree eating days.  And there are times that I have some mindless eating, but WW if a lifelong change for me.  It is not a DIEt, as in you are DIEing or killing yourself to lose weight, they call it a liveit.  I try to daily liveit.  I try to make it livable in my life.  I am able to eat just about what I want and just make smarter choices in general.  I make it lower in fat or just eat less of it.

So, that brings you up to date, and this is the purpose of my blog.  To help people out there who are looking for healthy meals to make for their families that don’t really taste like they’re healthy because they taste so good and are filling!  Because like the hungry girl, I am a hungry girl!  Since I struggled to find things to make for dinner and I have so many options to offer as help to other people now and I have been sharing them with my friends, I wanted to help others out there.  So each day I will post what I am making for dinner and I will kind of review it to say whether or not it was good, if I changed anything from the recipe or if I’d change it the next time I make it or if it was gross and I wouldn’t make it again.

Your body’s gonna lose what it wants to when it wants to.  There were weeks that I splurged a little more than I normally would and get “off plan” a little and loose more than I normally would.  There were weeks when I did everything perfectly “on plan” and I’d stay the same or go up or down a little.  There really isn’t a lot of psychology or physiology in that.  You cannot force your body to lose weight.  You can eat right and exercise and make good choices, but to lose weight the healthy way, your body has to do it on its own and on its own time.  You cannot force it to meet a goal by a certain deadline that you have chosen for yourself and become discouraged when it doesn’t happen.  You have to look at the big picture.  Look how far you’ve come.  Look at how healthy you are right this second in this very moment in time.  And, look forward to the future and what you can do better.  It will come, it will happen, you will lose the weight, but you cannot force your body to do it.  You just have to use the tools you have and the knowledge and resources available to you and the support that you have to surround yourself with and it will happen.

As my 10 year college reunion was approaching I had set a goal for myself.  As it gets closer, I am realizing that I am not going to reach that goal before the reunion.  I was starting to get discouraged and I had to remind myself that I have already lost 67 pounds.  I weigh less now than I did when I went to my 5 year reunion, and less than I weighed when I graduated from college.  I have already come a really long way.  I cannot force my body to lose the weight before the reunion.  I will lose it when my body is ready, and not before.

So, my current goal is to be within my healthy weight range by the time I go to my yearly doctor’s appointment again this year.  If I’m not there, I’ll at least be pretty close and if nothing else, I’ll be able to say that I lost 67 pounds.

After-for now!