Feelin' Chalky

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Whining and Dining

I have decided this:
Eating healthy is not for the faint of heart, faint of stomach, or faint of wallet (if there is such a thing). 

Why?  Well, this post is dedicated (in a light-hearted and somewhat sarcastic way) to that VERY topic.  

After obsessing for two weeks about what in the world I would send for the girls' snack day at preschool I realized something.  Well, maybe two things.  One, I am a complete and total crackpot these days, and two, eating healthy is stinkin' hard.  No decision I make about food anymore is easy.  Everything seems like a complicated mathematical formula.  No more do I walk in the grocery store, grab a pack of "Ho-Ho's" and call it a day.  There is a thought process that starts the minute I step through the automatic doors.  

From time to time I mourn the "easy" and misleadingly "cheap" way of eating of my past.  I mean...hello...the dollar menu?!?  How simple and cheap is that?  When you really break it down...it's not all that cheap in the long-run really, but as Americans we tend to lean more heavily on instant gratification and less on our future.  I'm not sure how much triple bypass surgery costs, but I sure know it doesn't look fun...

In honor of whiners like me everywhere, I decided to compile a list of Top Ten Reasons Why Eating Healthy Is Hard just for fun...so here goes:

10. We all love food that could withstand a nuclear explosion.  I mean, the Twinkie is radioactive already, so why not consume it?  Maybe we'll have super powers too! (ps...this site is dedicated to experimentation that's been conducted on the Twinkie and it's hilarious - http://www.twinkiesproject.com/)

9. We're lazy. Plain and simple. It's easier to pop a pot pie in the micro than fix a healthy version from scratch.

8. It takes more time. Reading labels, keeping a food journal/log, cooking from scratch, planning ahead - these all take more time, and we are just too busy and mentally exhausted...it seems impossible.  (Come to think of it...pretty much ANY positive behavior change is difficult because of #9 and #8.  It takes more effort and more time to make a change for the better.) 

7. Carrots and Brussel Sprouts don't come in packaging that features a sea Captain or zealous tiger.

6. Frankly, the sound tofu makes as it is released from its packaging is enough of a reason in and of itself.

5. We're leary of eating any color with the exception of "golden brown" which is featured in some of our favorite food groups: the nugget, the fry, the fried Oreo, and the ring of onion.

4. Shopping the perimeter of the grocery store is too much physical exertion.

3. Pizza. Ice Cream. Chocolate. Skittles. Need I say more?

2. You can't join in on the fun of "double coupon day" when you're buying a bunch of fruits and veggies.  And without coupons...is life really worth living?!?

And the number reason?

You dig?

All joking aside...it is hard.  It is a day-to-day, moment-to-moment decision.  If you really sit down and think about it, you are willing to pay more for the things that are important to you.  Apple computer, anyone?  ;)  YOU have to make the choice for yourself whether the benefits of eating healthy outweigh the extra dough, time, and effort.  I think they do.

This week I gained 0.6 pounds.  Boo.  BUT I'm still chugging along.  My total loss to date is 86 pounds. I'm pretty proud of that!  Looking forward to a GREAT week and a GREAT weigh-in!

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Meet PointsPlus!

Sorry for the delay! I have been adjusting to some new changes in the Weight Watchers universe.  Just last week WW launched its new program - PointsPlus!  This will be my second full week working the new program, and so far I love it!

You might be wondering why WW is changing things up, I mean, didn't the Points program work??  Of course it did!  I lost 80+ pounds following it...BUT...there is always room for tweaking!  One reason I love WW is because they are really science-based.  It's not a crash diet.  There is no magic bullet.  Ultimately it is designed to help people bridge the gap between weight loss and life-long behavior change.  The other reason I love WW?  They really try to lead you into a healthier way of eating...and that's why I Iove this new program even more than before.

It's always up to you.  WW can't force you to eat your veggies. You can lose weight using the Points program by eating less-than-healthy options and never even look at a fruit or vegetable.  If you are in your daily/weekly range, technically you will lose weight BUT chances are...you'll be back in a year or two with even more weight to lose the next time and you'll feel crummy...no one wants to feel crummy all of the time!  The PointsPlus program helps gently push you toward making better choices.  The biggest change? FREE fruits and veggies!!!  (HOORAY!) The other big change?  The formula with which the PointsPlus are figured by.

With the Points program a "point" was figured by the calories, fat, and fiber of the item you are eating.  Now, the formula is based on fat, carbohydrates, protein, and fiber - no more calorie counting - how's that for a Christmas present!?!  The result is a more accurate (in my opinion) view of what a healthy food vs. a non-healthy food rates.  What I have noticed these past couple of weeks is that the foods that are higher on the PointsPlus scale are ones that I should probably eat less of - with the exception of a few like the avocado (it has pretty high values, but completely worth it for the amount of nutrition you get in my opinion!).  I am reaching more for fruits than I have in a long time...and I love it!

I have to say that I am proud to be a part of a program that is constantly changing...it keeps things fun, fresh, and relevant.  I am also very proud to be a part of a movement toward health and wellness through eating more whole fruits and veg and less processed crap! ;)

Now for an update on my progress...last week I lost 2 pounds and this week I lost another 0.8 pounds.  That brings my total to 86.6 pounds!  I am getting so close to 100 - I can't believe it! :)  My current goal is to lose 100 pounds by the New Year.  I am thinking that I might have to push the time frame back slightly.  Not because of holiday eating just because I feel like it will be setting myself up for failure to try and lose 13.4 pounds in 3 weeks (that's like 5+ pounds a week).  So, my new goal is 100 pounds by the end of January (that's more like 2 pounds a week).  I think that is much more realistic and will help me maintain a steady, healthy rate of weight loss.

Here are some new, festive products that I am really "celebrating" this week:

Silk Nog - You can find this sweet treat by the soy milk in the organic/health-food section of the grocery.  I absolutely love it.  It fills me up with Holiday cheer without filling me up with guilt.  It is a dead-ringer for the real thing and would probably be even better with a little rum in it...haha...shhhh...

Endangered Species Drinking Chocolate with mint - I already love this company for their out-of-this-world delicious chocolate bars that boast unbleached, water-filtered beet sugar instead of HFCS/corn sugar or refined white sugar.  They are rich and decadent and have flavors ranging from chocolate with hazelnut toffee (yum) to chocolate with cranberries and almonds to chocolate with blueberries or raspberries.  Every one I try is just as good or even better than the others.  My favorite is the dark chocolate with mint.  Anyhoo...this drinking chocolate is a powder that you mix up with hot milk (I use unsweetened, organic Silk or unsweetened Almond Breeze).  It is SO warm and cozy.  You have to try it out.  The mix does have some sugar (unlike the bars) but I think it is an OK treat on occasion.  Oh, and by the way, it is an Indiana-based company and each purchase from Endangered Species benefits the planet (10% of all profits are donated).  Check out their website here:

Lentils - I guess this isn't technically "festive" really, but they are a wonderful comfort food for cold weather and they are packed with protein and fiber.  I made a WW Slow Cooker Lentil Soup this week that was so filling and delicious.  It has become a new family favorite!  Here is the recipe:


**Disclaimer - I am not being paid by WW to endorse their program.  These are solely my own opinions and experiences.  If you would like more information on the new PointsPlus program, please refer to www.weightwatchers.com - thanks!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Tale of Two Thanksgivings

Well, I did it.  I fought Thanksgiving...and I won!  After the week I had I was pretty sure I would have a gain, but I was very pleasantly surprised to lose 0.4 pounds this week!  Considering I probably gain 10-15 pounds every holiday season, that's a real plus - I mean minus!  My total loss as of today is 83.8 pounds!

So how did I do it?  I really don't think there was any special methodology or formula.  I ate a big salad at both T-meals which filled me up a lot and then I ate lots of veggies and fruits. I left out the stuffing and breads for the most part (I did have a small roll at my in-laws).  I didn't eat turkey this year which was really weird for me b/c it's a pretty big deal for my family.  Anyway, I didn't really miss it much.  There was so much other yummy stuff to sample.

I tried to keep my portions small (for the most part), and I still felt full - VERY full at that!  I did have a little dessert.  My sis made a killer gluten-free/sugar-free apple pie that I had a small slice of,  and my mother-in-law made like 6 pies (apple, pecan, pumpkin, sugar cream, and chocolate - whew!) that I took 1 bite samples of.  Yum.  :)  That's about it.  Oh, and I drank a lot of water so that I would stay full and not want to nibble!

All in all, I really enjoyed my Thanksgiving this year!  I didn't feel stressed out about what I was going to eat and that was nice!  I made a super-delicious Vegan Green Bean Casserole that I wanted to share the recipe to.  You can find it on this site:

I also made one of my fav fall salads using a recipe from Little House of Veggies.  You can find it on this site:

On top of holiday feasting I also had the privilege of running away to Indy with my husband last weekend.  We had a blast to say the least.  It was filled with some delicious food!  One of my favorite meals was from a restaurant on Mass Ave. called R Bistro.  I wish I would have taken my camera in with me to photo our amazing food and dessert.  It is a quaint little place - small and charming.  If you blink you might miss it!  

The restaurant is situated next to a chocolate shop (perfect placement in my opinion) and seats about 20 tables.  The menu is fresh, all organic/free-range/grass-fed, and a lot of the veggies come from a garden behind the restaurant.  They change the menu every week to take advantage of whatever is in season.  Such a cool concept!  There are a handful of entrees and always a meat-free option.  I had tomato and red lentil soup as an appetizer, celery and parmesan tart with roasted pumpkin and a wild greens salad with a sherry vinaigrette for my entree.  Our dessert was perfect - dark french-pressed coffee with chocolate truffles (2 truffles - one dark chocolate, one milk chocolate).  Ahhh-mazing! :)  Definitely check this place out if you are in Indy!  Here is their website:

You can sign up to receive menu updates each week and then plan a time to visit when the menu suits your tastes.  You will not be disppointed! :)

Have a GREAT week!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Slippers and Snuggies

Ahhh...the Snuggie.  The world's most awkward Christmas present...OK maybe not the MOST awkward, but it has to be in the top 10.  The very first time I saw a commercial for it I immediately thought of my mom.  All throughout my life my mom has always been cold.  And I am not talking about your average, "brrr, it's cold, I think I'll grab an afghan."  I am talking about living-in-an-igloo kind of cold.  On any given night you can probably peep in the windows of my parents' home (but please don't - that's pretty creepy) and find my mom with flannel pjs, some sort of jacket/hoodie, slippers that go up to her kneecaps and a blanket - oh, and it's probably AT LEAST 74 degrees in the house already with the Buck Stove running.

You may think I am exaggerating...and maybe I am a little but not by much.  I used to laugh at my mom when I was younger.  I thought she was pretty silly, looking like an Eskimo all of the time.  There are a lot of things that I have inherited from my lovely mama - lots of things that I am proud of...but I NEVER thought I would be COLD.

It's funny.  I actually considered buying a Snuggie the other day...for myself.  Ha!  Since I have lost weight I have discovered that all along I have been cold too...I just had my own built-in heating unit.  ;)  Makes sense, right?  A couple of nights ago I was lying in bed and I realized that I was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, socks, and had a quilt and a comforter covering me...and I was still a little cold.  I realized that in two weeks time I had bought myself two pair of fuzzy-lined slippers that went up to my knees.  I realized that in the last several months our thermostat had jumped up 3 degrees.  I had to laugh.  I was becoming my mother - the Eskimo.

There are a lot of changes that I have gone through in the past several months - some good and some bad.  Each one reminds me of how much I had let my body hold me back and about how much I abused it.  I can cross my legs now.  I don't have to worry about whether or not I will fit into a booth at a restaurant.  I can shop in "regular" stores and for clothes without multiple "X"s.  I can actually enjoy taking a bath.  Those are just a few things - things most people take for granted, but things that were a struggle for me before.  I don't know about you but, I think I'll take a Snuggie over insulin any day! :)

This week I lost 1.2 pounds bringing my total loss to 83.4 pounds.  I'm slowly creeping toward that 100 pound mark!  I have confidence that I will make it through the holidays without feeling deprived and without falling back into bad habits.  I really love the way I eat now anyway and I have no desire to go back!  What are your feelings as turkey day approaches?

I have a long list of new products that I have tried and loved lately.  I am planning on a post sometime soon that will be packed full of my new grocery finds.  Stay tuned!  In the meantime, if you get a chance to try Quorn's Turk'y Roast, please do!  It was very good and tasted a lot like turkey!  Once I come up with a good gravy recipe (working on it this week), I will send it your way!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Go ahead and buy a Snuggie (you know you want to)!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I'm Gonna Let It Shine!

Yes...I am finally back and ready to write!  Sometimes I just feel uninspired, and I never want my readers to be bored!  But alas, it's time for an update!  This week I lost 0.8 pounds and last week I lost 1.2 pounds which brings my grand total to 82.2 pounds!  To reach my goal of 100 pounds by January I will need to lose another 17.8 pounds.  I realize that it's a pretty lofty goal, but hey, I have to dream big!!  I never thought I could lose 80 pounds either - and I did!

So what has been going on in my journey lately?  Well....something new, foreign, strange.  Right now I am dealing with feelings I haven't experienced in a long time...I am feeling confident!  It's a really odd thing for me.  Most of my life I have hidden behind this wall that I created - this overweight self.  Now those walls are coming down and I am not sure how to deal with it.  I feel happy.  I feel motivated.  I feel "pretty" again.

As most of you probably know if you have followed Christ for very long at all...whenever something is going right in your life...satan is almost always prowling around trying to figure out how to get to you, make you doubt yourself and ultimately God. You see, before, it was easy for him to get to me - I didn't like myself and I just didn't put myself out there.  That negative self-image bled into all areas of my life...and satan LOVED it - loved that I was miserable and sad and defeated.  Now that I am coming back alive and reclaiming myself and my confidence he is working another angle.  So today I am going to shed a light on his lies!  

Right now, satan is trying to twist my new-found confidence and tell me that I am being prideful, arrogant, self-centered, and selfish which translates into feelings of guilt.  Sometimes I believe it....and what happens when I do?  I back down.  I bail-out.  I stop writing a blog that is inspiring SO many people.  Why?  Because I want to be humble - it's a good thing to be.  And because I just don't know how to be confident yet.  I don't know how to make a personal journey something that's not all about me...and still reach people.  I want to tell my story and inspire people to change...without seeming self-absorbed.  I know that God is using and will continue to use my story for His glory - and that's what I want it to be about.  He is the reason I am here - not me.  I tried MANY times to do this on my own...and fell flat on my chubby little face.  

This time there was no magic or mystical formula I followed, I simply listened to God's whisper and obeyed - plain and simple.  When people ask me, "how did you do it?" my answer should always be - I obeyed God's calling for my life.  I hope that through reading this people will understand where I am coming from.  This blog inspires and encourages me just as much as it has encouraged and inspired others.  I need this to help keep me accountable and to help keep me motivated and it's a great way to meet new people from all over the world who are dealing with the same struggles!  Thank you all for continuing to support me and I can't wait to celebrate YOUR successes with YOU! :)  Speaking of which...congrats to my buddy and my Aunt for their STELLAR numbers this week - way to go you two, I am SO proud of you both!!!

In honor of their success, here is a fun (and maybe strange) culinary mash-up of sorts that I threw together this week:

Mexican Stir-Fry
serves: an army

1-2 T olive oil
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
8 oz sliced button mushrooms
garlic (to taste - I used about a T of minced garlic which is equal to 6 cloves or so of fresh)
1 can black beans, drained
1 12 oz bag frozen corn (I like Steamfresh by Bird's Eye - gold and white premium corn)
1 packet taco seasoning (I like Simply Organic)
S&P to taste

Heat your oil in a skillet (or wok - haha) on med-high heat.  Add onion, peppers, mushrooms, and garlic and saute until tender.  Add your beans, corn and taco seasoning.  Add salt and pepper as needed.  Serve over rice, as a filling for tacos or burritos, or toss with lettuce, avocado, and salsa for a yummy taco salad!  Enjoy!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Recipe Swap

I am in a giving kind of mood.  I've been busy in the kitchen trying new recipes and creating some of my own.  Here are a few of my recent favorites!

This first recipe is slightly adapted from one posted on the Little House of Veggies site.  You all know I love her recipes and so far every single one has been a winner! :)  You can view the original recipe here.

"Chicken" and Portobello Mushroom Sauce w/ Garlic Mashed Potatoes
serves 2-4

For the Garlic Mashed Potatoes:
1.5 lb. yukon gold or other small white potato, cubed
1 clove minced garlic (I added like 6 - because I am a garlic freak)
3 Tbsp. Earth Balance vegan butter
1/4 - 1/2 cup plain soy milk (or any other milk swap)
1/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped (I used freeze-dried)
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water, and add the potatoes. Boil for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are very tender.  Drain water. Add the rest of the ingredients to the potatoes. Add the milk slowly to achieve the right consistency , and then taste them and add additional salt and pepper to taste.

For the "Chicken":
1 large pkg. Gardein Chick'n Scallopinni (I found a large bag in the freezer section at Kroger, Dixon.  It contains 4 "breasts.") 
Salt and Pepper
Garlic Powder

Season each "breast" with a pinch of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and add the olive oil and butter.  Cook the "chicken" according to package directions - until nicely browned and slightly crispy.  Remove from the pan. (for extra crunch you can coat the "chicken" in flour before sautéing)

For the Mushroom Sauce:
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil,
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped onion
2-3 large portobello mushroom caps, sliced
2/3 cup vegetable stock
juice of 2 lemons
pinch of salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. Earth Balance vegan butter
Fresh parsley for garnish

I didn't have capers - the original dish called for them.  I am sure they give the dish an added kick - definitely worth a try if you have them.  In a bowl, combine the vegetable broth and lemon juice and set aside. In the same pan that you cooked the "chicken" in, add 1 Tbsp olive oil, and add in your garlic, onion and mushrooms, and a small pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms are softened. Then add in your lemon/vegetable broth mixture. Deglaze the pan a little Cook  over low for a few minutes to let the flavors combine, then add in 1 Tbsp. of earth balance to the sauce and slowly melt it in. Add your "chicken" pieces back into the pan to reheat.  Taste the sauce and add any additional salt and pepper if needed.

To Assemble the dish:
Place about 1/2 cup of potatoes on the plate, add a little bit of the mushroom sauce, add the "chicken breast," top with mushroom sauce and mushrooms.  You can garnish with fresh parsley.

This dish was an INSTANT hit - especially with my hubby!  He claimed it was the best dish I had made in a long time! I'm not sure if that was a compliment or not - haha.  Actually I know what he was saying.  He was saying that it was as close to a hearty, meat-filled dish as it could be.  I agree.  If you are testing the waters of a meat-free existence - try this out right now.  You will thank me! :) (Thanks, Morgan, again for a fabulous recipe!)

This next recipe was one that I threw together after reading multiple recipes on roasted Brussel sprouts.  I have been scouring the net to find ONE recipe to change my deep disdain for these cute little cabbage-like veggies.  Sometimes I just look through recipes and file them away in my brain until I have time to make them.  It's a hobby of mine!  I remember bits and pieces of recipes and then throw things together to concoct my own interpretation.  This side dish is a true keeper.  If you don't like Brussel sprouts - even if you've tried them 100 times - you need to try mine.  I will change your mind about Brussel sprouts for-ev-er! :)

The ISM's Roasted Brussel Sprouts

1 lb Brussel sprouts
2 T Olive oil
2 tsp BRAGG Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
1-2 tsp Dijon mustard
Dried, minced onion (I used Onion, Onion! seasoning from Tastefully Simple)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Wash your Brussel sprouts, trim off the ends, and then cut in half.  Remove any loose outer leaves.  Place in a dutch oven or casserole dish.  In a separate dish combine the oil, BRAGG (or soy), and Dijon mustard.  Pour over the sprouts and stir to coat evenly.  Add your minced onion and pepper.  Stir to coat.  Roast sprouts in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until slightly browned and caramelized.  Be careful not to burn! Enjoy!

This last recipe is one of those "throw-it-all-together-and-hope-it-tastes-good" kind of dishes.  Luckily it WAS good! :)  The combination of sweet and sour really made for a great and satisfying meal!

BBQ "Chicken" Salad

1 1/2 Quorn Naked Chik'n Cutlets
1/4 c. BBQ sauce of your choice
2-3 cups of romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 c. Corn
1/2 Red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 c. Veggie Shreds - Cheddar flavor
2 dill pickle spears, chopped (or you could just use cucumber)
Ranch Vinaigrette

Ranch Vinaigrette
1 T Olive oil
2 T Apple cider vinegar
3 tsp ranch seasoning in the packet (any brand will do - I had Hidden Valley on hand)

Spray a pan with olive oil and heat on med-high heat. Cook the Quorn cutlets until browned slightly and cooked through (about 8-10 minutes).  Add the BBQ sauce and coat the "chik'n." Remove from heat.  Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.  In a large bowl add the romaine, corn, red bell pepper, Veggie Shreds, dill pickle, and BBQ chicken.  Make sure you get all of the sauce!!  Add the ranch vinaigrette and toss to coat.  YUM!

Hope you are having a great week! :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Candy Demons

I'm never really amp'd to announce when I have a gain.  That might explain the delay in this post...well...that and a busy weekend! ;)  This week I gained a measly 0.2 pounds...no biggie, but still.  That brings my total to 80.2 pounds lost which brings me to GOAL time!  Since I met my last goal I need to put up a new challenge.  I have been thinking and crunching numbers and have decided that my next goal will be...100 pounds by January 1st.  I am aware that this may be a lofty goal...especially with holiday food and festivities coming up, but I think with a little extra effort and planning I can pull it off! :)  We'll see...

Speaking of holidays...how was YOUR Halloween?  I have to admit, I totally went into the weekend confident that the candy wasn't going to tempt me this year.  I was wrong.  We didn't buy candy this year (thank goodness), we bought mini bags of popcorn and play-doh to hand out, but just the sight of candy (especially chocolate) sent me back to a kid-like state. I remember the days when my sister and I would just eat Halloween candy to our heart's content and think nothing of it.  I mean, we're talking Pixie Sticks, Smarties, Milky Way, Snickers, Reese's, M&M's, Bottle Caps, Dots...you get the idea.  I wanted to be there again, but then reality set in.  My rational side reminded me of how BAD sugar and HFCS is on my body...and how crazy sick it would make me feel to binge on a boatload of candy.

The problem?  Not eating the candy made me want to snack on everything else.  And...my son had his 1st b-day party on Sunday...and there was a delicious cake...with like 2 inches of icing on it.  :(  I had one piece, but I WANTED the whole thing.  After waking up the next day and smelling the sweet icing aroma...I had to pray.  And after prayer didn't tame my cake demons, my husband had to lovingly send 7 pieces of birthday bliss down the garbage disposal.  Ahhh!

The truth is that I thought I had these cravings in check - for good.  I was wrong.  I guess it was just a reminder of why I am here.  A glimpse of what it will be like for the rest of my life.  There are always going to be those moments - some unexpected - where I have to be strong and even where I have to ask for outside help to keep myself in check.  I did overeat this weekend - just mindless bites, licks, and tastes (as they say in WW).  BUT...I didn't give up and I didn't quit.  I picked up the next day and started over - tracking all of my food and checking off the important stuff - fruits and veggies, grains, "dairy," proteins, etc.  I'm looking forward to a great weigh-in this weekend despite my Sunday slip-up! :)

Photo by: Breanne Adams

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

ISM - Kings Island Edition!

Let me just say...I had an absolute blast!  :)  I unfortunately wasn't able to get more video footage in the park b/c I couldn't figure out how to take my camera on the coaster without it crashing to its death.  And...with the girls being with us...someone had to stay behind and hang with them while my sister and I had the time of our lives (cue Patrick Swayze).  ;)  Thank you to my sweet hubby and my wonderful brother-in-law for helping out!

We rode 5 coasters on Sunday: The Vortex, The Diamondback (twice), The Firehawk (the one where you lay down), The Racer, and The Beast (twice).  There were a couple coasters closed due to the heavy winds and so we weren't able to ride them.  Also...we had some fun in Planet Snoopy with the girls on a couple of kiddie coasters. :)  Here is my sis and I getting ready to board our first coaster:

Honestly, I still was a tad panicked before we got on the Vortex that I wouldn't fit.  BUT...I plopped my be-hind in that seat and had no issues at all.  In fact, on a couple of the rides I wished my harness was tighter...kinda scary when you are able to get "air time" whilst upside-down hundreds of feet in the air.  Whew!  Here are a few other pictures from our fun day:

On one of the kiddie coasters - the girls loved it!

The girls loved the log ride the most - they thought it was funny that I got my pants all wet!

That last picture captures the whole day for me.  My husband and I had so much fun just hanging with our girls and getting to be like kids again.  I didn't feel weighed down by my insecurities or my body.  I was able to let go and feel a sense of freedom that I haven't felt in a long time.  I am so thankful we got the opportunity to go.  I was really tired by the time we headed for home, but 6 months ago, I would have never made it through 6+ hours of walking...heck my sis and I even ran up the stairs for extra exercise...haha.

On the other side of the coin...I was pretty terrified on the first coaster or two.  I had to get my ol' "coaster-legs" again.  Haha.  By the third one I was having a blast again, but that first corkscrew had me white-knuckling the safety harness and left me quite shaky.  It has been 7 years since I rode a coaster - that's a long time!  More than enough time to forget just how fast, how high, and how absolutely thrilling roller coasters are.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

You Snooze You "Lose"?

Today was the final weigh-in for WW's Lose For Good campaign.  I love the whole idea of this campaign - that others gain with each "loss."  Such an inspiring thing and such a great visual to see your total weight loss in the form of canned goods going to benefit someone who needs it.  If you have been reading my blog the last few weeks, you know that I have been trying to meet a personal goal of 80 pounds by the end of this 6 week campaign.  To be honest, I wasn't sure if I'd make it.  I had some big weeks, but mostly steady weight loss over the 6 week time frame.  So...the verdict??  I made it!!!!  :)  This week I lost 3 pounds bringing my total to 80.4!  Hooray!  Thank you all for encouraging me and to my family for the extra canned goods to help me reach the 80 pounds of food to donate.  Here is a picture of the 80 pounds (approximately).

And here is yours truly with my 80 pounds...

I was shocked at how heavy even 12 or 24 cans were to carry...I can't even wrap my mind around how heavy carrying all 73 cans would be...and I used to walk around every day with that around my waist, chest, legs.  Unbelievable.  I know I still have a ways to go, but I am so proud of where I am today. :)  Thank you to WW for making weight loss so much fun and for giving us something beyond ourselves to think about in this process!

Meanwhile...I promised I would talk about 2 things this week: sleep and poo.  Just stick with me for a second.  My friend, Jaime and I were talking about what we have learned along this journey so far.  Obviously, if you know my whole story, I have come a long way from chocolate cake to avocados (by the way...try some sliced up on top of your chili - heavenly!).  We all know that there are good foods and not-so-good foods.  We know that exercise is of utmost importance.  We know these things...but have you ever thought beyond that? Like...what other factors work along with "diet" and exercise to help you reach your goals?

Something I have noticed (and others have confirmed) is that sleep and poo are very important things in the world of weight loss.  Now mind you, these are my own personal thoughts and observations, but I am sure I could do some "google-ing" and find some science behind all of this.  So let's break it down.  Why is sleep important for weight loss?

First of all, sleep is healthy.  Sleep is our way to shut down and reboot before taking on the challenges of a new day.  Sleep also is the time when our bodies start to heal and detox, and of course, rest.  During most of the waking hours, our bodies are working on one main function - energy production.  We need energy to do everything from breathing to digesting food to running a 5k (go Jaim!).  At the end of the day our bodies go into a rest mode and use very little energy which frees up our cells to switch roles and clean-up and clean-out.  Our immune system kicks in.  Our digestion slows to a hault.  This is also (in my opinion) the time where our bodies whip out the checkbook and try to balance out the day - calorie-wise - either with a surplus or a deficit.  That equals either weight loss or gain.  I have noticed that the weeks where I am most sleep deprived I feel puffy, lethargic, and retain both water and poundage.  Why?  Because my body hasn't been able to catch up on it's nightly duties.  It's in overdrive - overworked and underpaid.  The good news is that it can be remedied with some good ol' snooze time.  Just think about it this week.  Are you getting enough zzzz's?

And now for the more humorous, but also very serious side of the coin - poo.  OK, so what is it and why does it have anything to do with weight loss?  Well...it's waste.  It's toxins.  It's excess "stuff" that our bodies can't use and need to get rid of.  What happens when we don't get rid of it?  Answer: it rots and ferments in our intestines.  Yummy!  I hope you're eating lunch right now!  Ha!  All joking aside though, this is a serious matter.  That rotten stuff can make your body go haywire and it also is a breeding place for all kinds of bacteria and disease.  Not good.  Think about this too...how much do you think a day's worth of food weighs?  What if you only go potty (sorry, that's the mama speaking) once or twice a week?  I think it really shows up on the scale!

So what?  What can you do?  Well, for starters, eat less processed food.  Eat less refined carbs (say white bread, white flour, white sugar, white rice, white pasta).  Eat whole grains.  No...I don't mean you can just go buy a loaf of "whole wheat" bread and polish it off.  I am talking about whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, oats, groats, barley, millet, amaranth, bulgar, etc.  Add in some healthy protein and fiber with beans and lentils, nuts and seeds...and then eat lots of whole fruits and veggies.  What I mean is don't just settle for a glass of apple juice or some V-8.  You need to chew! ;)  Also, don't think that just because a food is labeled high in fiber that it's good for you...it may also be high in a lot of other things like sugar and chemicals.  Limit dairy and meats.  No...I didn't say you have to eliminate them completely.  Just know that both dairy and meat can clog your plumbing.  Why?  Because our bodies have to take more energy to break them down - they are more foreign than an apple.  You eat an apple and your body says, "It's an apple. I know what to do with this!"  You eat a hunk of cheese and your body says, "hmmm what shall we do with this?"  Then it waits until there's enough other stuff behind it to push it on out!  Try abstaining from dairy or meat for one week and see how it affects your body.  Do your OWN experiment and see what happens!  Who knows, it might make a big change on the scale!  What do you have to lose?

P.S. - Corn sugar = High Fructose Corn Syrup...don't be fooled! 

Stay tuned for my Kings Island edition vlog! :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Gearing Up!

I am gearing up for a very special ISM on-the-road vlog edition - from KINGS ISLAND! :)  It shall be a blast!  I will be taping my first coaster experience in almost 10 years - next Sunday!  Stay tuned for that post from yours truly!

I tried two new products this week - both of them I give two thumbs up!  the first one was Yves - Veggie Corn Dogs.  I know, it sounds nasty, BUT they were great!  The kids loved them...I mean what kid (or adult) doesn't like to eat off of a stick?!?  They are also only 140 calories which I felt was totally reasonable for a "corn dog."  It was nice to venture into Carnie-ville without feeling like blowing chunks on the ferris wheel afterwards! ;)  P.S. - I found them at Kroger on Dixon - my new go-to store...thankfully we may be moving VERY close to it...I could ALMOST walk to get my groceries! *fingers crossed*

The second product I tried this week was Morningstar Farms' Sesame Chik'n.  MSF has a line of faux-chicken meals out that I have been dying to try.  They were on sale the other day at Kroger on Dixon, so I did a happy dance and popped one in the micro for lunch on Saturday!  I was pleasantly surprised...it was fantastic!  As with most frozen meals, it could have had more veggies and less noodles, but other than that, it was a winner in my book.  I think they have several different varieties out - Sesame Chik'n, Sweet and Sour Chik'n, Chik'n Enchilada, and Lasagna w/ sausage-style crumbles.  You can check them and their stats out here!

This week I lost another 1.2 pounds bringing my total to 77.6! Only 2.4 to get to my 80 pound goal! Speaking of goals...my goal was to be able to donate 80 pounds of food to the Lose For Good campaign which ends this weekend!  I grossly underestimated what 80 pounds of food would look like - and cost!  If any of you have extra cans/boxes/bags of food you would like to donate toward my 80 pounds - please let me know and I will come pick it up!  It will benefit CAM here in Kokomo.  Right now I have about 25-30 pounds of food bagged and ready to go...amazing how heavy 20 pounds of food is...and that's only 1/4 of what I have lost...blows my mind!  Thank you GOD for this opportunity to get healthy and start over...and teach my kids to honor YOU by taking care of their bodies.

Until next time...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Chatty Cathy

First off...I would like to apologize to anyone who was at the 9:00 WW meeting this morning.  I know my friend and I were awfully chatty today.  It won't happen again...at least for a few weeks. ;) There is just something so freeing about Saturday mornings for us - oh, I don't know, maybe the freedom of no kids, no responsibility, and something that we call our own?  Our Saturday morning meeting has become our ritual and it's a place to vent and a place to encourage and build each other up.  My girl lost today and I was so over-the-top happy for her that I couldn't contain myself!  Again, I apologize.  Here's me today:

Chatty Cathy Video

Something really hit me today - something wonderful - as I was standing in line to weigh-in. I saw someone light up with joy.  I saw someone feel alive again.  I saw someone with hope.  After she weighed-in she turned around and said, "Hallelujah!"  :)  It made me think about all of the times I felt stuck in the over-sized, over-worked body I was in.  It made me remember how it felt to be hopeless.  For a second I could put myself back in that place and feel that gut-wrenching emptiness, loneliness, and defeat.  I am so thankful that God reached His hand down into the pit I was in and so thankful that He reminded me that I, through Christ, could overcome the seemingly daunting task of losing weight and getting healthy.  It is truly something worth screaming, "Hallelujah," for!

I used to think that there was something wrong with me because I just couldn't love myself in the state I was in.  I'd see people who seemed to ooze with confidence who were "bigger" than me.  Now I really believe that the confidence I saw was a facade.  I really believe that we all long to be at our best - a place where there is nothing holding us back.  Whether we want to face it or not, weight is a barrier, for a lot of things.  There are stigmas associated with being overweight - and prejudices.  It's just the way life is.  I look forward to unlocking more and more of who I was made to be each week.  I think God smiles each time I lose a pound - not because of the number but because with each pound I lose I gain back 1 more piece of myself.

This week I lost 1 pound!  Yay!  That brings my total to 76.2 - 3.8 away from my 80 pound goal. The "Lose For Good" campaign ends 10/23 at 11:30 pm...I think I can pull off 3.8 pounds by then!  :)

Confession: I had a little run-in with ice cream and mini chocolate chips this week.  I was having an angry/stressed-out moment, and my weapon of choice was a spoon.  Thankfully, I counted my points and started over the next day.  What kind of battles have YOU had this week?

By the way, this recipe is amazing!  It's from Little House of Veggies...please check it out!

Apple Harvest Salad and Dressing

Have a great week!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Smoothie Madness!

I have been experimenting with smoothie/drink recipes since I finally found a protein powder I like!  Here it is in all it's glory!
Met-Rx - Protein Plus Vanilla, 2 lb powder
We actually bought ours at Trader Joe's, but I'm sure you can find it around here as well.  I usually only use 1/2 to 1 scoop for my smoothies which is only 1-2 points.  Here are a few smoothie/drink recipes I am loving right now:

Almost Worth 5-Bucks Caramel Macchiato

1 cup strong, black coffee (preferably fair-trade and organic)
1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze
2T Caramel Syrup (I used Smuckers Sundae Syrup b/c that's all I had - not the best option)
1/2 scoop Met-Rx Protein Plus Vanilla
handful of ice

Blend it up and pretend you just paid an arm an a leg for it...and then smile because you didn't!  ;) (4 points)

White Chocolate Chai Spice Smoothie

1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze
1 T Peanut Butter & Co - White Chocolate Wonderful (Kroger or Sunspot)
1 cup Black Chai Tea (I like Tazo in the carton - Sunspot)
1/2 scoop Met-Rx Protein Plus Vanilla

Blend and enjoy! (7 points)

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

1/2 - 3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze
1 scoop Met-Rx Protein Plus Vanilla
2 T pure maple syrup
pumpkin pie spice to taste (I use a lot)

Blend it and eat with a spoon.  The full scoop of protein powder makes this thick and delicious!  Tastes like pumpkin pie filling!  YUM! (5 points)

Chocolate-Banana Smoothie

1 banana
1 cup Silk Light Chocolate Soy Milk
1/2 scoop Met-Rx Protein Plus Vanilla
1 T Peanut Butter & Co - Dark Chocolate Dreams

Blend and enjoy!  (8 points)