Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving Rehab

The past three days have been a whirlwind of food, family, and adventure.  I originally wanted to eat moderately on Thanksgiving day and stay within my allotted points for the week.  However, my resolve quickly went out the window early in the morning when I was making the artichoke dip.  I only make that dip once or twice a year, it is so addicting and terrible for you.  Even though I use low fat mayo, cream cheese, and sour cream, a small portion is going to be high in points.  However, as the smell of this delicious dip filled my house I knew I lost the battle.

At my parents house, my oldest daughter Lily immediately made a spectacle of herself.  She decided to pull the pickle tray off the table, for reasons unknown to me, causing it to smash into tiny pieces on my parent's tiled kitchen floor.  So that was an $80 Longaberger dish that went the way of all the earth in one fell swoop.  Lily was behaving so poorly that I couldn't even get her to apologize or give her Grandma hugs to say she was sorry.  A few minutes later I went to the back room to put her to sleep.  I stayed with her until she fell asleep and then as soon as I left, I had to put Chloe to sleep!  Afterwards I was so stressed out that all notions of eating moderately had fled my mind.  Needless to say, I stuffed myself to the brim and later that night I suffered the consequences.  I felt so sick the rest of the day and late into the night, vowing that when we went to my in-laws the next day I would only eat a normal sized dinner.

Matt and I weighed ourselves before going to bed and I gained 4 pounds and Matt gained 6.  So I guess he beat me on the amount of food he ate!

The next morning I only ate a yogurt for breakfast because I was still so full from yesterday!  In the morning I went to my mom's house again to work off our Thanksgiving splurge.  We rocked out to Zumba Core Wii for an hour, and it was HARD!  I didn't realize until then that what you eat really determines how much energy for exercise you have.  I didn't eat healthy at all, and it was very hard to do a high intensity workout.  I was also still sore from the strength training exercises that I did with my sister on Wednesday.

Then came Thanksgiving part 2 at my in-laws last night, and of course I didn't learn from my mistakes the first time around, and I way overate again!  I would like to claim that it wasn't my fault because they had a plethora of chips (my Achilles heel) available and the amazing sweet potato souffle, but really I just had no self control.... again.

So once again, I spent the evening in agony feeling very sick from eating so much food that is not very healthy.  Since I have been eating healthier, the high fat and greasy foods really make me sick to my stomach.

Today was a new day, and at 159 I only had one day to get back down to my previous weight of 156.5.  I don't know if I made it, I probably need a few more days of eating healthy before my body will drop back down to pre-thanksgiving, so I am hoping for at least 157 tomorrow.  I did not exercise today since I have already exercised three times this week.  I did go on two walks with the girls and made sure I had plenty of healthy veggies and a light dinner.  My only slip up is when I was really hungry right before I started cooking dinner and I ate one and a half biscuits (Chloe saved me from myself and spared me half a biscuit).

I am feeling optimistic and I am back on track!  I start my Herbal Life 4 week challenge on Monday (more to come on that on Monday) and I am very excited!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Getting Started Tips: Food Tracker

In my opinion the single most useful tool for weight loss is a food tracker.  Others may disagree with me if they choose, but I believe that tracking your food allows you to be more aware of what you are eating, and how much you are eating.  There is a lot of focus on the exercise aspect of weight loss and I believe that there is too much emphasis placed on exercising.  Yes it is important, but if you are not eating properly then your exercise is for naught.

Now, if I already knew how to eat, and how much to eat then I wouldn't have been in the predicament I found myself in back in January 2013.  I believe most people share a similar story.  If we knew how to eat, what to eat, and how much to eat we wouldn't have a problem!  I believe that eating right is 75% of the battle and that exercise is 25%.  You need both, but if you are going to pick only one to tackle at a time I recommend that you tackle food first.  Food because you eat every day, food because it is what we always think about.  Food is hard wired into our systems, we need food but in today's society we have too much food and all the wrong kinds of food.

That is where the food tracker comes in.  First you need to know how much food to eat.  There are two great programs that help with this.  The first is the one I currently use because they have accommodations for nursing moms, and that is Weight Watchers.
www.weightwatchers.com


I do their online program which is about $18/month as I think that their meetings are way too expensive ($11/meeting and you are supposed to go every week totaling an average of $44/ month.)  The online program is basically a food tracker where you track how many points plus are in the foods that you eat.  The Points Plus program takes into account fat, protein, carbohydrates, and fiber.  I like how they take into account all the nutrients of food instead of singling out one category.  If you feel like you need support you can participate in their online community.  However this program does not teach you how to eat but it does focus on making healthy choices and the best part is that vegetables and fruits are 0 points!  I love this, but you have to use it carefully because if you eat too many fruits it can stall your weight loss (a problem I have yet to encounter).  You are also given a weekly points allowance of extra points that you can use for anything you want.  (Example: Extra points for dinner, or dessert, or if you want to eat peanut butter and avocados which are high points foods you can and then apply that towards your weekly points allowance.)  You can also trade exercise points for more food if you like.  I do not recommend this as if you use all your exercise points you are essentially eating the same amount as you are burning and I find that it slows down your weight loss.  You can track online or on your iPhone.  They also have tools for creating recipes so if your recipes don't contain nutrition information or you want to make your own recipe you can plug your ingredients into their recipe maker and find out how many points plus are in your recipe.  They also have a bar code scanner which is great if the food is actually in their system, which I have come to find that most foods aren't.

If you need more support from a community and want more interaction with other people in person then you can do the weekly meetings, and that works well for many people.  You are able to buy the monthly pass for about $9.75 a week which makes it cheaper and gives you access to the e-tools from the online version.  Otherwise you get to use paper and pencil to track your points if you are a meeting member.

The second food tracker is My Fit Pal, which is FREE!  I will be switching to my fit pal as soon as I am no longer nursing.
www.myfitnesspal.com
 My fit pal is a calorie counter.  You create a profile and it will tell you how many calories to eat every day in order to lose x pounds a week.  They also have an iphone/ipad app and I believe they also have an android app as well.  There is also a community on my fit pal and you can link it up to your Facebook account and chat with your friends who also have my fit pal accounts to gain support that way.  They also have a bar code scanner which has just about everything in existence in their database so it is very useful.    I have not used My Fit Pal in years so I do not know all of the new features.  I will update this post after I use this product more once I am finished nursing.  But I love that it is free.


Another great program that I have recently learned about is Feel Great in 8.  This is basically an 8 week challenge that tackles not only weight loss but helps you become more well rounded.  To enter into the challenge you pay $18 and you are given points for completing tasks and points are taken away for making poor decisions (such as unhealthy food choices).  Whoever has the most points at the end of the 8 weeks gets half of the money that every contestant put in!  It is definitely great motivation for those who are competitive.  http://feelgreatineight.blogspot.com/



This is also a good way to boost your weight loss if you have stalled or plateaued or are lacking in motivation to keep going. This is directly from their website " Feel Great in 8 is an eight week competition that challenges you to become healthier physically, mentally and spiritually. For eight weeks challenge participants gain and/or lose points based on healthy or unhealthy choices. Weekly points are reported to Tiffany (me! the challenge creator/host). Each participant contributes $18. $10 to the prize money "pot" and $8 to pay me for my time as host. At the end of the eight weeks, the competitors with the most points will get a share of the prize money! There is also a small prize for the participant with the greatest weight loss percentage.
I have been hosting these challenges for almost 4 years now. In the past, winners have gotten as much as $250, and the greatest 8 week weight loss so far is 36 pounds!"

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

An Unexpected Journey

The day started out pretty normal, although I did mix up our oatmeal this morning.  I made a pumpkin oatmeal that I found online, along with some poached eggs.  I didn't like the pumpkin oatmeal very much, I was pretty disappointed in it so there is no sense in passing along the recipe.  However, I did try for the first time: All Egg Whites brand of egg beaters.  Basically it is just egg whites and it is zero points plus!  It even beats egg beaters because they don't add any yellow dye into it, just plain egg whites and it was cheaper too!  That is a win-win.  Instead of poaching myself an egg (I did poach eggs for Matt, Lily, and Chloe) I poured the liquid egg whites into the poached egg cup and poached myself egg white egg cup!  It was awesome, and very good.  It didn't taste fake or funny, tasted just like egg whites.  So I would highly recommend the "All Egg Whites" Weight Watchers endorsed brand of egg whites.  I also added half a slice of Ezekiel Bread to give me a little more filler since Chloe ate a good portion of my oatmeal after eating all her eggs.  That girl could be her own weight management program I call it "My daughter ate all my food".

Anyway, the girls had a great time at the library this morning and the afternoon (about 12:00-noon) is when all the drama started.  I was in the kitchen working on the lap top and Lily and Chloe were watching Walle and playing in the living room.  Suddenly I hear a huge crash, and I run into the living room to find Lily under the table.  I picked her up and she started crying, she had hit her head very hard on the table.  The best I can figure, Lily was sitting or standing on the large bin that we have the train set in and what throwing the ball for Pippin (our dog) when she lost balance and fell off (most likely backwards) and hit the back of her head on the table.  She was crying very hard, but at first I thought she would be just fine, after all she has hit her head many a time before and been just fine.  After about 2 minutes of holding her I noticed that the back of her head was covered in blood and I decided right then and there we were going to the emergency room.  So I packed up the kids, called Matt and off I went.  Fortunately there were not very many people in the Emergency room at the time and we got in very quickly. I am sure that Lily also got bumped up the list since she is only 2 years old and had a bleeding head injury.

Lily of course, was being her normal difficult self- she hates going to the doctor and does not like anyone to touch her (she even throws a fit when they look in her ears, and when she has to stand on the scale to get weighed and measured, she is so dramatic).  Add a head injury into that and you have a recipe for disaster, and she definitely was not about to let anyone near her head.  Poor Lily, they had to wrap her up like a mummy, and then I was holding her and putting my weight on top of her, and then another nurse was holding her head to the side so they could clean the back of her head and give her the numbing shot.  We actually had about four people holding her down while she was getting her shot because it would be bad news if she moved her head while the needle was in there.  I felt so bad for her!  The poor girl.  She only needed one staple and after she was de-mumified she actually got better pretty quickly.  The numbing shot took care of the pain and we had her drink some apple juice and eat some Graham Crackers.  She didn't throw up or pass out, she wasn't disoriented or sluggish and so we skipped the CT scan which we don't want to do on our little ones unless absolutely necessary, the radiation is terrible for growing children.  Anyway, back home it was now 3pm, and Lily was rewarded with the promised Ice Cream:
That totally looks like a chocolate covered banana from this angle!  It is a Ice Cream Bar with Chocolate on top and caramel in the middle.


Chloe was a trouper through the whole ordeal, only getting fussy because she had yet to nap today.  I was feeling stressed, exhausted (my adrenaline had fled my system leaving my energy levels depleted), and hungry since I didn't eat lunch before we left.  Of course by that time it was 3:30 and Matt would be home in an hour and a half and I would be making dinner.  So I snacked on some veggies and hummus, and I even treated myself to a weight watchers 3 point chocolate ice cream bar.  I figured I deserved one too.

Dinner was great!  I made Quinoa by cooking it in chicken broth and adding some Pampered Chef Parmesan, Garlic seasoning and a tsp of olive oil.  It was very flavorful and since the Quinoa was being split in half, the oil doesn't add more than 1 point (it would be half a point but weight watchers doesn't do half points).  For the main dish I made Pasta Shells with Riocatta Cheese, Spinach, and Raisins.  It is a weight watchers recipe and apparently it is from Southern Italy.


Very Easy: Makes 4- 1 1/4 cup servings 8 points plus/serving
2 cups medium shells
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
1-10 oz pkg chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup Part Skim Riocatta Cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup raisins

Saute Onion in oil until soft (approx 8 minutes) Add Spinach and salt and heat through.  Boil shells according to pkg directions.  Add shells to onion and spinach mixture, add Riocatta Cheese, Parmesan Cheese, and raisins.  Stir until thoroughly mixed, immediately.

I thought it was a little bland so I mixed my Quinoa into it and that made it perfect!

Lily went to bed tonight on her stomach since it hurt too much to lie on her back.  Poor girl!  She seems to be doing just fine, and is acting like her normal self.  I think she is going to be ALRIGHT!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sworkit Pro

I have heard many good things about Sworkit, and at long last I am starting to get tired of doing my Zumba regime three to four times a week.  So I decided to try something a little different.  You can download Sworkit Pro for $0.99 on I-tunes and it is amazing because you do not need any equipment besides yourself.  You have an array of options to choose from to get a full workout.  You can choose the length of your workout along with the type: Strength Training, Cardio, Yoga, Stretch.  I love that they have a full body stretch function as stretching is my weakness. 

Today was my first attempt at using Sworkit and it kicked my butt!  I chose 45 minutes of cardio and I could only get through 20 minutes before I had to stop.  Sworkit sets up your exercise in thirty second intervals where it changes your activity every thirty seconds.  Some examples are: Burpees, jumping jacks, squat jacks, mountain climbers, butt kicks, running in place, fast feet, high knee, and even a rest period.  It is very nice that you get to rest on regular intervals, believe me you are going to need it. 
http://www.sworkit.com/

Talking to my friend Casey VanWagenen who is a big fan of Sworkit I realized that a better idea than to do 45 minutes of cardio is to break it up into segments of about 15 minutes each.  So try doing 15 minutes of strength training, 15 minutes of yoga, 15 minutes of cardio and then stretching.  I am going to try that tomorrow and see if I have an easier time of it.

I thought I was doing well on the physical fitness side of things, after all I have been exercising 3 times a week for many months now.  Today was an eye opener to me and it showed me just how weak I really am and how far I still have to go before I can really be physically fit.  There is a reason why I am still tired most of the day, and why picking up Chloe's car seat and carrying it around is hard!  I need to build up muscle.  My upper body strength is non-existent since I love doing Zumba and we don't have a whole lot of upper body exercises that build muscle.  My lower body is stronger but my abs are also pretty weak.  I had to modify many of the exercises because I was not physically able to do them.

I am excited to be adding something new to my routine, something different that will help me develop my muscles and increase my physical fitness!  I highly recommend Sworkit, it is your own personal trainer right in your pocket!  You don't have to go anywhere or own any fancy equipment to use it.   I would recommend playing some music while using Sworkit as the app does not come with the ability to play music.  If you are using your iphone you can simply put on a playlist and then start your exercise as the music will keep playing even while you are running Sworkit! 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

November 24th Reflections

Reflecting back on this last week, I ran into some serious challenges and I even made a few realizations.  I started off the week great.  Sunday and Monday were perfect days, getting in lots of healthy eating and exercise.  On Monday I was even down to 157.8 and I was feeling excited and energetic and wanted to hit 156.8 for today's weigh in.  Then came Tuesday.  Tuesday was the day that I had my Pampered Chef open house for my neighbors so that we could all get to know each other better.  It was a blast and I met three other moms who have children the same ages as mine and we are all stay at home moms!  I also booked four shows and was able to get two recruit leads, so I would say that party was a super success (even if I did have to scramble for the extra sales afterwards to boost the show up to the required $150).  Anyway, I bought diet soda for the show, and I made all the lovely desserts that you can read about on my Holiday Treats Blog Post
I ate way too many of the Pumpkin Pastries and even though I didn't eat dinner I knew I blew my points out of the water with chips, brownies, and especially those pumpkin treats.  (I think I ate half of them!)  So it was no wonder that the next day I felt sluggish.  I was drinking my diet sodas and I ate some of the left over pumpkin pastries.  On my Thursday weigh in I was back up to 159 and feeling sick and exhausted.  I took the whole day off of exercise and basically just tried to rest wondering what was going on and if I was getting sick.  Friday came and I don't even know what happened Friday, I wanted to eat everything in sight, and since I was already feeling down, I did.  By the end of Friday I was feeling worse than I have in months and I knew it was because of my poor food choices over the past few days.  But I couldn't figure out why I had felt so hungry.  The it hit me:  what was the one thing that had remained the same all week that I hadn't been doing before?  Drinking Soda.

I was shocked to realize that my increase in hunger was most likely due to my renewed soda consumption.  I haven't been drinking diet soda for over a month and as soon as I re-introduced it into my life I start feeling incredibly hungry.  I think this is what drove me to eat so much on Friday because I just couldn't feel full.  I also had a horrid headache from not drinking enough water and having too much soda.  So!  Saturday came along and I vowed to Eat Clean and gave myself a new challenge:  I am going to eat clean from now until the end of the year with three exceptions: Thanksgiving, Lily's birthday, and Christmas.  That means no artificial sweetener, no soda, no sweets, and only whole healthy unprocessed foods.  It is time to get back into the weight loss mode and stop floundering around! 

After only one day of eating clean I feel so much better!  I don't feel starved anymore, my stomach doesn't hurt and my headache is gone.  All things considered I am happy with today's weigh in: 158.5.  I am only down by .7 pounds but considering that Saturday morning after Friday's fiasco I was up at 161, I am happy to say that I can actually record a loss this week.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mid Week Slump

Today is my mid week weigh in to make sure I am on track for the week.  I was really dreading this weigh in as thanks to my neighborhood party I way over ate my points for Tuesday and my real downfall was the left over pumpkin biscuits that I ate yesterday.  I wasn't expecting a loss since my eating hasn't been great but I have not been idle and I have been expending a lot of energy over the past few days so I was disappointed to see 159.0 on the scale this morning.  I weighed in at 157.8 on Monday so that is up 1.2 pounds from Monday.  I am going to be very good the rest of the week and stay out of those darn pumpkin biscuits!  Hopefully I can get back down to 157.8 and below that if I am lucky and work hard.  This is why I do my mid week weigh ins, it lets me know what I need to do the rest of the week and I still have time to correct myself before my weigh in and make it count.

I am not planning on exercising today because I am so exhausted from the past few days I feel like I just need a recovery day.  I was only able to get about 40 minutes of Zumba in yesterday and I have tried exercising when I am very tired before and it never works well because I don't try very hard.  Sometimes it is good to power through these phases and exercise anyway, but there is still plenty of time this eps eek to get my last workout in and I want it to be a good one.  I am planning on getting a good Zumba workout in tomorrow and making sure I get plenty of play time in with the kids.  One day I hope to view play time with the kids as plain fun instead of as exercise, but one step at a time.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Holiday Treats

Yesterday I had a Pampered Chef Neighborhood show for my neighbors to get to know each other better, and we all had a great time!  I made lots of fun treats for the show and I thought that it would be great to post them here.  These aren't low fat or diet friendly treats, but they are great for entertaining!

Pilgrim Hats
makes 15
15 Marshmallows
1 cup chocolate chips
15 fudge striped style cookies
1 tbsp canola oil
White Decorator Frosing

This recipe comes from The Pampered Chef.  Microwave Chocolate and oil in a microwave safe container.  Using tongs, dip Marshmallows into chocolate and place over center of cookies.  Refrigerate 20 minutes or until chocolate is set.  Decorate with frosting to look like Pilgrim Hat.

Dream Brownies 
makes 12
This was my one dessert for the week.  They are absolutely amazing!  I love them, definitely making these again sometime.

cookie dough
12 Reeses peanut butter cups
brownie batter

Place cookie dough into each well of Pampered Chef Brownie Pan.  Place Reeses peanut butter cup on top of cookie dough.  Top with brownie batter.  Bake at 350 deg for approx 20 minutes.  (I like to buy pre made cookie dough, and then make brownie mix from a box to make this go much faster.)  They came out divine!



 Pumpkin Pastries
These were my favorites!  Not too sweet, I thought they were just perfect.
 makes 24

1 package Pillsbury flaky biscuits
1 can pumpkin pie filling
1 can pumpkin

mix about half of the pumpkin into the pumpkin pie filling.  Spray wells of mini muffin pan with cooking spray.  Place flaky biscuit into wells, then fill with pumpkin pie mixture.  Bake at 350 deg for 14 approx minutes or until biscuits are golden brown


  And here is another picture of them in the Pampered Chef Tiered Tower.  Awesome!
 Here are a couple pictures of my set up.  I thought it looked pretty good!  Probably the best open house that I have ever hosted.  Too bad I had four people cancel, but there were still 5 people that came and we had a great time!  We found out that we all had kids the same age, and we were all pretty much stay at home moms, so it was awesome to meet some of the neighborhood moms.  I am hoping that this will be the beginning of many more meetings to come were we can hang out and get our kids together and all become friends and really form a community!  Two of the girls booked shows, so we will be meeting more neighbors and having a few more get to know your neighbor shows.  I am excited!  And to leave you, here are two last pictures.  Lily was very interested in the preparations so she is in the first picture, the second one is of my setup alone.  Enjoy!


Monday, November 18, 2013

Three Dinner Recipes

I thought it might be nice to make a post about some of the food I have been making for dinner lately.  I took pictures of three meals I have made this past week and I will do a little review on them here for you.

First up is Three Cheese Garden Pizza!  I love pizza.  In fact, pizza and chips are my Achilles heel.  There is no need to order pizza out, it is super easy to make at home!  I like to keep a refrigerated package of pizza dough from Pillsbury on hand for when I want to throw a pizza together.  I like this pizza because it has a lot of vegetables in it and it is a great pizza for any and all vegetarians.  I make this in the Pampered Chef Large Bar Pan, but you could also make it on a round pizza stone as well.
I took a few pieces out before I remembered to take a picture.  I love this pizza!


Ingredients
1 package (10 ounces) refrigerated pizza crust
1 small onion, sliced into rings
1 medium zucchini, sliced
2   plum tomatoes, sliced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2   garlic cloves, pressed
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Roll pizza crust into a 14-inch circle on Pizza Stone. Bake crust 7 minutes. Remove from oven; Slice onion, zucchini and tomatoes. Slice mushrooms Using Garlic Press, press garlic over crust; spread evenly. Sprinkle mozzarella and cheddar cheeses evenly over crust; top evenly with onion, zucchini, mushrooms and tomatoes. Grate Parmesan cheese over vegetables using Rotary Grater. Sprinkle with seasoning mix. Bake 15-18 minutes or until crust is golden brown; remove from oven. Cut into wedges.

Recipe can be found on the Pampered Chef Website HERE  

Notes: I despise mushrooms and therefore I leave them out.  If you have a vegetable slicer (such as the Pampered Chef Ultimate Mandoline or the Simple Slicer this recipe goes super fast)  Did you know that pre-baking the crust prevents the crust from getting soggy from the tomatoes?
8 servings: Calories 210, Total Fat 9 g, Saturated Fat 5 g, Cholesterol 25 mg, Carbohydrate 21 g, Protein 12 g, Sodium 450 mg, Fiber 1 g
Points Plus Value: 6 points per slice

 Next up is a spin off a recipe that my friend Casey VanWagenen posted on Facebook the other day.  It is Butternut Squash Curry Soup and you can find the original recipe HERE

I decided that this would be really good served with chicken over rice to make a real curry.  I also decreased the amount of curry by about a tsp.  When I cooked the chicken I cooked two chicken breasts in my Pampered Chef Round Covered Baker on HIGH in the microwave for 15 minutes.  I seasoned it with a mild Indian Curry rub that PC no longer sells :-(  But you could season it with any Indian seasoning you like, or even just plain curry powder.  If you like curry, this is a really good dish.  Also, when I made this my blender was dirty so I cut the butternut squash in half, and baked it at 425 deg for an hour and 15 minutes (super easy to do) and then scraped out the inside and plopped it into the soup.  Worked just as well.  I also thought that it tasted just fine without the honey and I didn't add the yogurt.  This dish is very flavorful and filling and very healthy!  I cooked brown rice in this photo
Since it is a soup it is a little watery, but that adds a ton of flavor to the rice!

 Ingredients

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (2 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more, to taste
2 tablespoons honey
Directions

Heat oil over medium heat in a 6-quart stockpot. Add onions and garlic and saute until soft but not brown, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add the butternut squash, broth, curry powder and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat stir in honey and puree with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender until smooth. Season with salt, to taste.

Ladle into serving bowls and add a dollop of yogurt.

Nutritional Analysis (Per Serving)
Calories: 295 Total fat: 6.5g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 415mg Carbohydrates: 56g Protein: 11.5g Fiber: 7.5g

 Third and Finally, the recipe I made tonight: General Tsaos Chicken.  This was so easy to make. It is originally a Weight Watchers Recipe, and it is 5 points plus per serving and it makes four servings (that being said, my husband ate over two servings worth for dinner so it makes small servings).  But Matt kept saying how yummy it was the entire time he was eating it!  He probably commented about four times throughout the meal!  I found this recipe on my favorite blog.  She keeps a separate blog for her recipes.  http://www.runsforcookiesrecipes.blogspot.com/2011/08/general-tsaos-chicken.html
I just copied the ingredients and instructions below since I didn't modify it at all.


I just have a picture of the chicken in the pan. I served this with white rice and mixed vegetables on the side




General Tsao's Chicken From http://www.runsforcookiesrecipes.blogspot.com/
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp. crushed ginger
2 tsp. peanut oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 servings cooked brown rice

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown chicken in oil. Add garlic and crushed red pepper (if you want to make a less-spicy version for the kids, hold off on the pepper). In a separate bowl, combine the chicken broth, cornstarch, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, and ginger. Pour over chicken and bring just to a boil. (Remove the kids portions here, and then add the pepper if you want). Reduce heat and simmer. Serve over rice.


Calories: 196.8 Fat 4g Carbs 11g Protein 27.5g Fiber 0g   (not including Rice)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

November 17th Weigh In

This week felt like a tough week.  I did reintroduce desserts back into my diet this week and while I only ate one dessert, I also had a few bites during our Pampered Chef team meeting and I wanted to taste the Halloween chocolate sucker candy that Julia bought for the kids.  I found that I didn't like the chocolate suckers and that I should stay away from pretzels covered in chocolate and caramel and topped with pecans.  Those turtle pretzels are sooooo good and of course they contain all high point foods, right down to the nut on top.  It was hard to only eat two of them, and even that was a compromise because I was planning on only eating one.

I was able to pick up my exercise this week even though I was still sore from falling down the stairs two weeks ago.  Three times I was able to complete a Zumba exercise and I went to go to the Herbal Life gym that Julia and Robert go to.  That workout kicked my butt!  I was sore for three days, and lucky it wasn't longer.  I think that exercising again on the third day after the workout helped get the remaining kinks out of my muscles.

This morning I weighed in at 159.2, losing 1.3 pounds last week.  That is still good weight loss, but after six weeks of 2+ pound weight losses I was a little disappointed.  It was very exciting losing 2+ pounds every week!  But I am learning how to live healthy, and I am not willing to give up desserts for life, so I will learn how to live with them and develop a healthy relationship with them.

I have noticed that I no longer crave sweet thing.  I don't constantly think about when I am going to get my next dessert and how I am going to get it.  I don't raid the chocolate chips or Lily's potty candy just to satisfy a craving and for the most part I don't even think about it anymore!  Today is my sister-in-law's birthday, so I will be allowed to have one modestly sized piece of birthday cake and that will be my dessert for the week.  There are not any other special occasions this week so I don't have to pick and choose which event to eat dessert at.  I am happy with the progress I have made and I am never going back to the old me who is a slave to sugar!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Getting Started Tips: Making the Decision

I have had several people ask me lately about what I am doing and how I lost 50 pounds, which inspired me to write a series of Tip posts and I want to kick off today with the first one: Getting Started.

When I think of getting started I think of that very first decision we make.  Many people talk about having an "ah ha" moment where they realized that they need to lose weight and that moment motivated them to change their lives.  If any of you are lucky enough to have had an "ah ha" moment then you probably have already lost weight.  More often though I find that the majority of people are like me- they know they need to lose weight, most have tried to lose through various diets but then gained all the weight back maybe because they just couldn't maintain the eating regime, or they felt starved on a diet.  So now you are back at square one and maybe even square zero, because if you are like me you end up gaining even more weight on the rebound after a diet.

There was no "ah ha" moment for me.  I knew I needed to lose weight.  I knew I was unhappy with my image, energy, fitness, and basically everything physical about me.  I needed to make a decision to change my life because diets don't work.  If you say "I am going to go on a diet to lose weight" I promise you that you will fail or end up gaining all the weight back because diets don't work.  Typically diets restrict one food group or another (carbs, fats, eat only protein, etc) and then your body begins to go into starvation mode because it is not getting the nutrients that it needs.  When you make your decision to lose weight, you have to make it with the right mind set.  You have to be ready and willing to change FOR LIFE!  You need to understand that you are going to make a lifestyle change and therefore you should not change anything that you cannot maintain for life.

This is where most people get themselves into trouble, including myself.  I used to think "okay, I am going to do this diet for a little while, and once I lose the weight I won't need to do it anymore".  That is one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves when we first venture into weight loss.  We need to be thinking "My desire to lose weight, become healthier and happier, and improve my self esteem and self image is strong enough to willingly change my lifestyle."  Now I want to point out that desire is not the same thing as motivation.  Motivation comes and goes, and as many of you know, while your motivation will start out strong at the beginning, once things get hard, a lot of times your motivation disappears and you feel like giving up or quitting.  What is going to hold you through these tough times until your motivation returns?  I believe that your desire, which never dies, is the lifeline that you need to cling to during these moments.  We all want to lose weight, we all want to be successful, even when things get hard and we don't want to try, we still want the end result and if we can keep that end result in mind that can be enough to carry us through.

So what was different for me this time around?  After all I have been on Weight Watchers two other times and tried countless other diets.  Honestly, it was my mindset and my desire.  This time I was willing to make a long term commitment.  I was willing to change how and what I eat (more on that later).  My self image and self esteem had hit an all time low and I didn't believe that I could get better unless I lost weight.  I believed that if I lost weight, I would be happier with myself, I would have more energy, I would be able to do more things with my children, I would be able to keep up better with the demands placed on my by being a stay at home mom.  Lets face it, being a mom is HARD WORK!  So my desire to lose weight and more importantly to BE SUCCESSFUL was very strong, so much so that it was almost all I could think about for a long time, and I am still very focused on this.  We eat 365 days a year!  So you might as well invest the time and energy into figuring out how to do it right!

Lastly, I want to close with a word on determination.  On one of my all time favorite blogs: www.runsforcookies.com Katie talks about motivation vs determination.  Being completely honest, you will not stay motivated the entire time you are losing weight.  I have not stayed motivated the entire time, and there was a time in July when I almost gave up.  I sure wanted to in that moment but I am glad that I didn't.  Why didn't I give up?  Because I had determination and desire.  Determination is being committed to a decision, doing the daily tasks it takes to get there no matter how mundane they may seem, and never losing sight of the end goal.  Being determined means that you are going to achieve your goal whether or not you have the motivation to do it.

http://www.runsforcookies.com/2012/01/difference-between-motivation-and.html
 This time around I am determined and dedicated to this goal.  I am going to reach my goal weight of 125 and enter a healthier and happier time of my life, that is why I have made the changes I have, and I am sticking to it.
You can read Katie's post on Determination VS Motivation HERE

Friday, November 15, 2013

50 pounds! Half of 100

I am officially just under 160 pounds (under by .4) as of November 14th 2013.  That makes my total weight loss to date 51.4 pounds!  I can't believe how far I have come, and I am super excited to be under 160.  That is a HUGE accomplishment and sometimes I can't even fathom that I have made it this far!  Most of the time we are so focused on where we want to be that we lose sight of how far we have come.  In my case, I still think to myself "I still have 35 pounds to go!  I still have to lose 15 pounds before I enter into my "normal weight" range.  I can't wait until I get to 150 pounds!"  And on the cycle goes.  It has been a long 10 months and I can honestly say that this year has been the hardest year of my life.  Once Chloe was born and I started this journey, I encountered innumerable challenges and I battled my low self esteem the whole way.  I wanted to lose weight almost more than anything (the only thing topping that was my desire to be a good mother to my children and I didn't think I could do that unless I lost the weight since I was too tired and out of shape to do much of anything.)  I wasn't sure I could do it because every time I have tried to lose weight in the past, I stall and then quit.  I didn't feel good about myself, I thought I looked awful, I thought I was being a bad mom because I couldn't keep up with Lily, and I was just unhappy with myself and where I was. 

Whenever I lost weight in the beginning I would just think of how far I still had to go and although I was happy to have lost, I was overwhelmed with the task of losing so much weight, and I would often get discouraged with how far I still had to go.  When I am finished, I will have lost 85 pounds if you start counting at 211 when I started weight watchers, and I will have lost 102 pounds if you start counting from 227, right before Chloe was born (but I have been told that counting the pregnancy weight is cheating ;)

I can't believe that I actually have less weight to lose now than I have already lost.  While 35 pounds is still a lot to lose and I still have a long way to go, it seems more manageable and I know that the farther I go, the better it will seem.  I break it down in my mind by 10 pound increments.  Now that I have lost 10 pounds five times, I know what 10 pounds means and I feel like 10 pounds is achievable.  So instead of looking at 35 pounds, I will just look at what it takes to lose the next 10 pounds.  And my goal is to lose the next 10 pounds by the new year.  As of January 2nd I want to weigh 150.  (I am choosing January 2nd because the 2nd is a Thursday, and Thursday is always the first day of the week I drop, you never know how much of a difference that little bit of extra time will make.)

So here is to the past and looking forward to the future.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mid-Week

All week I have been feeling off.  My energy levels have been low and I know my eating hasn't been fantastic.  I have been eating too many chips at lunch and we had our Pampered Chef Team Meeting on Tuesday night.  We maid little pumpkin pastries, the best and easiest things ever!  Just take some flaky biscuits, place a little piece in the mini muffin pan, fill with pumpkin pie filling (with a little extra pumpkin mixed in) bake in oven at 375 for about 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Easy, fast, and oh so yummy!  Then they made those turtle pecan chocolates, which are basically a pretzel with caramel and chocolate and a pecan on top.  If you have ever been looking for a fast recipe for those all you have to do is put a rolo on top of a pretzel, bake at 375 for about 2 minutes until rolo gets soft and a little mealty, and then push a pecan half into the top and Viola!

Although I only ate two mini pumpkin pastries and two turtle pretzels, I am sure that the added carbs, fat and sugar didn't help.  So I approached my mid week weigh in with a little apprehension.  So yesterday I exercised twice.  I did Zumba in the morning and in the evening I went up to exercise again at Health Q with my sister.  Her husband, Robert has become an herbal life representative and the herbal life team has opened up a gym and they offer exercise classes absolutely free!
This is the link to his page
https://www.goherbalife.com/runklerobert/en-US

 

Too bad I don't live close by.  It took an hour and a half to get there (would only have been an hour if not for traffic), so unfortunately I probably will not be going back.  But it was lots of fun and I am glad I went to get in a different kind of workout.  My upper body and upper abs are really weak.  My lower body and lower abs are much stronger and my waist is very strong too.  Those are the areas that you work out most when you do Zumba so it makes sense to me that those are my strong points and the other places are weak.  I totally rocked the squats and lunges (there are lots of squats and lunges in Zumba) but I about died on the push ups and the planks.

Last night I tossed and turned, I woke up a whole bunch, maybe because I was so exhausted and I was pretty sore.  I am actually not feeling too bad this morning though and am contemplating exercising later in the day.  We will see what happens in the afternoon (hopefully the kids will sleep).  Thursday is typically the day I see my first drop on the scale during the week, so I am happy to say I scored a 159.6 mid-week weigh in!  Whoot whoot!  I am happy about that, to be under 160.  Now I can post my 160 pound post with picture.  Expect that tomorrow.

I plan on finishing out the week strong since I started the week rather weak.  So no more snacking on chips!  Hopefully I can get down to an even 159 that would be one and a half pounds.  I need to keep moving if I am going to make my 150 pound weight goal by the end of the year!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Victory Never Tasted so Sweet

I decided to finish out last week strong and continue with my no sweets rule until we could find a decent time to get cake this week.  I didn't think it was particularly practical to eat cake at 10am.  So today I ate some of the best chocolate cake I have ever had in my life.  We made sure my celebration cake was the best, you might remember my mention of the dutch bakery in my last post.  So here it is:
Absolutely amazing isn't it :)   Of course when I first saw it I was thinking in my heat "I should have told Matt to get more because I am going to want to eat lots more!"  Quickly followed by "No, only one serving, I have set out to change and therefore one serving of cake will be plenty."  Turns out I needn't have worried.  Being off of sugar for so long must have made me more sensitive to it.  That combined with the richness of the dessert resulted in me not even being able to finish the piece I had!  I was quite surprised when 3/4 the way through the cake I stopped eating and realized that I actually didn't want anymore.  Guess who ate the rest of my cake:  Chloe!  She loves to eat.  Lily thumbed her nose up at it, picky eater.  She doesn't need chocolate cake anyway. 

The past few days I have been feeling very hungry for reasons unknown to me.  I haven't changed what or how much I have been eating over the past few weeks and Chloe hasn't been nursing any more or less.  (If she were nursing less and my appetite went up I would be concerned).  So the past several days have been very difficult for me since I have been wanting to eat a lot of food, and not very good food either.  I have found myself getting into the chips mostly and eating twice as much as I intended to eat with my meals. 

I must get back on track and get my salty and crunchy snack cravings under control or I won't be losing this week. 

On a happier note, I found the best crock pot recipe because it is the easiest recipe I have ever seen!  It is from my new favorite blog: http://www.runsforcookiesrecipes.blogspot.com/
It is the Southwestern Chicken
1 pound chicken
1 can rice
1 can black beans
1 cup salsa
Place in Slow Cooker and cook on low 6-8 hours or High 3-5 hours.  I think that adding a TBSP of the Pampered Chef Southwestern Seasoning on top of the chicken gives it the extra flavor that it needs.  Without the seasoning, it is a little bland.  Serve over rice and if you have the calories/points you can sprinkle a little cheddar cheese on top.  I ate mine without cheese and it tasted great (especially after I added the southwestern seasoning.  I love that stuff!)

And here is a picture of this amazing meal, with lemon broccoli on the side

Well, now that the kids are in bed, I should take advantage of this time and get a child-free exercise in.  Maybe that will shake off this fatty feeling I have (probably a result of the cake), and prepare me for the scale in the morning.  I know I should only weigh myself once a week, but it is hard to resist checking my progress throughout the week and seeing where I am at.  I try not to weigh more than every other day least I get addicted to the scale, which I suspect I already am.
 


Sunday, November 10, 2013

November 10th Weigh In

Today I weighed in at 160.5, making it the first week in 5 weeks that I have not lost two pounds a week, but still having a one pound weight loss.  I was expecting a lower weight loss this week since I didn't exercise like I usually do because of my fall.  I wasn't even able to walk properly on Monday!  I am sad that I was not able to achieve my goal this week of weighing in below 160 but I know that I did everything I could this week and I was still able to lose one pound.  So I must work on being positive and think about the accomplishments I have made.  One pound is much better than nothing, or gaining and I know that next week I will drop below 160. 

This last week was difficult because I was so sore at the beginning and at the end of the week an exhaustion settled over me that I didn't hardly know what to do with myself.  I am still very tired today and I am not sure where this exhaustion is coming from as nothing much has changed at night.  I still go to bed at the same time, and the girls still wake up at the same time, and I am still getting up twice at night since it always works out to where one girl will wake up twice or they will both wake up once.  Odd how that has been the case for the past several months.  So maybe I am just exhausted from my sleep being so disrupted.  I did try to exercise yesterday as a last chance exercise even though I was incredibly lethargic.  I managed about 30 minutes before I couldn't exercise any longer.  The girls were really cranky too and it was exceedingly difficult to exercise.  Lily kept getting under my feet and I accidentally kicked her in the head (not hard!) because she decided to sneak up behind me and that was pretty much it.  On Wednesday I exercised very lightly as I detailed two posts ago since I was still very sore from falling down and I was able to get in about an hour of light exercise on Thursday.  So much less than usual. 

But there is reason for rejoicing, I have officially lost 50 pounds since I started!  So now I can take a picture and post my big 5-0 post this week!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Challenge Complete

Today is the first official day after my 30 day turned 7 week challenge.  We were supposed to go to the dutch bakery here in town to celebrate but of course Matt got busy as usual and it is postponed, hopefully until tomorrow.

As I look back on the past weeks I feel like I accomplished something amazing.  I originally started this challenge to rid myself of my sugar addiction.  Before I started, sweets were all I could think about.  I would wake up in the morning wondering what I was going to eat that day that was sweet, and then berate myself for thinking about it because certainly it was much too early to be eating sweets before noon.  There were many days where I couldn't even make it until noon before I had to satisfy my sweet tooth.  I would eat some of the candy we kept for Lily's potty training or just eat a few handfuls of chocolate chips.  I always made sure we had something dessert like in the house and I would indulge in way too much every day, usually more than once a day.  I would constantly think about how I wasn't supposed to be thinking about it and then since I was craving it so badly I would give in and immediately feel guilty about it.

When I first started the challenge, it was very difficult for me to stay out of the candy, especially when I still had to give it to Lily as a reward for using the potty, or when I watched my husband eat dessert in front of me.  (I usually had to make myself scarce while he was eating the dessert because the temptation was too great, I couldn't even watch him eat it!)  I also found that when I went over to people's houses and I was offered sweets I was embarrassed that I couldn't eat them and I felt like I had to explain myself, which I did.

As the weeks passed, I experienced the most rapid weight loss since I started this journey.  Keep in mind around week two I also re-configured what I ate and started eating much healthier food and cooking much healthier as well.  As time went on I found it was getting easier to say no to sweets and that many forms of sugar were no longer appetizing to me.  It took even longer for the desire to eat them and especially the cravings to stop.  I am glad that my challenge went longer than 30 days as I really don't think that would have been enough time.

I also realized that over the course of the 7 weeks, I was able to appreciate the natural sweetness in other foods, especially fruit.  I also discovered that I liked other foods I didn't use to like, such as Zucchini and cucumbers, and I can even eat bell peppers as long as they are chopped up and mixed in with other foods like rice or quinoa.  Here is a picture of my salad I ate for dinner last night.  I don't even need fatty salad dressing anymore, I flavor it with lots of yummy toppings and some balsamic vinegar.
I have spinach as my leaf, topped with 3 oz of lean beef (3 points) one tbsp of sunflower seeds (1 point), tomatoes, and strawberries, and scallions (all 0 points)  for a grand total of a 4 point salad that is very filling.  And it is a complete meal because you get your protein from the meat, complex carbs from the spinach and the strawberries, and your essential fatty acids from the sunflower seeds.  I also sometimes put 1 tbsp of chopped walnut on top for some added flavor and additional essential fatty acids.

I have also been branching out and experimenting in the protein shake arena.  I finally bought some protein powder, and after looking at several direct sales companies (since I am a Pampered Chef consultant, I try to support other direct selling companies by purchasing gifts and other things I might need from them when I can) I decided to just get some vanilla flavored whey protein from Costco since it was MUCH cheaper, not as fancy but cheaper and right now that is what I need.

Anyway, I made a protein shake with almond milk, vanilla protein, spinach, mixed berries, splenda, flax seed, and a dash of vanilla extract.  It was different that is for sure (with the spinach in it) but everyone in the family loved it, especially Lily
Which makes for the healthiest meal she has had in a long time.  She basically lives off of milk, cheerios, noodles with Parmesan cheese, and chicken.  She is a picky eater and tricky to feed.  She will choose not to eat over eating something that she doesn't think that she will like.

But over the course of the past weeks I have come to realize that I don't need sweets to survive, and in fact I am doing much better without them in my life.  I used to think that in order to enjoy life I needed to eat desserts every day and that I could never pass them up if I had the opportunity to eat them.  I still think that I would enjoy desserts and I am not saying that I want to cut them out of my life completely.  I think that eating two desserts a week would be a very happy place to be once I get to weight maintenance.  That would give me a few treats a week and it wouldn't be over abundant.

 I have decided that during the rest of my weight loss, since I have experienced such great weight loss success during this challenge, I will allow myself one serving of dessert a week, but candy will still be off limits.  That doesn't mean that I can eat a whole batch of cookies once a week, but a serving of two cookies.  This will require some planning on my part.  If there is an event during the week that will have desserts available I will save my dessert for that day, and then the rest of the week, desserts will be off limits again.  I don't want to go back to where I was.  I want to make a permanent change that I can keep up for the rest of my life.  Now that I know that I don't kneed to have desserts to survive and that I can live a happy and full life without them I want to work on having a healthy relationship with desserts.  Maybe once I reach maintenance I will make candy off limits and one of my two treats can be candy, my choice.  But for now, who needs candy?  Its just junk anyway, and not anywhere near as good as baked goods.

I am very glad that I gave myself this challenge and that I was able to complete it.  Now I look forward to the coming weeks with a new view, and maybe a little wiser too.

If you would like to see other posts related to my challenge see the list below:
Pulling my Sweet Tooth
Sugary Progress
Birthday Temptations
Happy Halloween


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Working through Pain

This morning I am feeling much less achy from my fall on Sunday and I am getting antsy since I haven't exercised since Saturday.  I was able to formulate a Zumba workout that was low impact.  Zumba songs are labeled low, medium and high intensity and interestingly enough high intensity does not necessarily mean high impact.  Often the two go hand in hand and most of the songs I chose were medium intensity but I was able to get a few high intensity songs worked into my regime.  I modified some of the moves that were high impact like the jogging in place moves to something that wouldn't hurt so much.  I just have a lot of bruised tissue and when I move around a lot, or bounce around my tissues shake (as anyone carrying excess weight knows) and that causes more pain, so I tried to keep it lower intensity.  I was able to finish the whole hour, and I didn't sweat like I usually do but I figure it is better than nothing.

I have been doing a lot of reading up on food lately.  This thing that we cannot get away from.  We eat several times a day, every day year after year after year so I figure that I better learn how to do it right.  Matt is an oatmeal lover and he always eats oatmeal in the morning, even before I started to eat more oatmeal.  We used to eat instant oatmeal, until I switched us to eating old fashioned oats.  They are much healthier for you and they keep you fuller for much much longer than instant oatmeal.  There are a few drawbacks, the biggest one being that it takes much longer to cook.  But as long as you are not in a rush in the morning it works out just fine.  I realize I should have taken a picture of my oatmeal this morning as I cooked it differently and spiced it up in a new way.  We usually cook it in water, but if you cook it in almond milk it tastes much better.  However, if we both eat one cup of oatmeal (that is 1/2 cup each dried oats) it takes two cups of almond milk to cook it.  Each container of milk has 4 cups and I have 4 containers from Costco.  So that is two days per container giving us 8 days of oatmeal for $10 and that is just not something we can easily afford right now.  So we will have to stick with water for now.  But I found a really awesome blog post from the person who blogs at runsforcookies.com where she talks about how she cooks her oatmeal and what she adds into it.  Here is the link
http://www.runsforcookiesrecipes.blogspot.com/search/label/oats

It has really inspired me to branch out and start trying new add ins for my oatmeal despite the fact that we won't be able to cook it in almond milk. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

-40 pounds

I figured I better post this today since I am hoping to be able to post my 50 pound weight loss photos later this week or early next week and it wouldn't make sense to post 50 pounds without already having my 40 pound weight loss post up yet.  So here it is!
I hit 170 pounds on October 7th 2013 and here is what I wrote:
"Two months later and here I am at 170!  I have noticed a big difference this time.  For the first time I actually feel thinner.  I am no longer obese and I am down to size 14 pants!  I have recently given up desserts and candy, and I also learned about eating healthier, both helped me to lose quickly, 6 pounds in 3 weeks.  I am looking forward to continuing on eating healthier for the very first time.  I think I could lose the next 10 pounds pretty quickly because of this change, but I need to focus on being healthy and obsess less about the numbers on the scale.  I am hoping to be 150 before we go to Crested Butte in February to ski, that's 20 pounds in 4 months, I know I can do it!"

Looking back on what I wrote I had no idea that cutting sweets and eating healthier would cause my body to shed weight like it did.  If I can weigh in at 160 this Sunday then I will have lost 10 pounds in about one month, making it the fastest weight loss I've had since the first two weeks.  Now my goal is to be 150 by January 1st and 140-143ish by the time we go to Crested Butte.  The thinner the better because skiing is hard work and I remember skiing at Crested Butte after Lily was born.  I was at about 180 and I could only ski about two hours and I was dying and I didn't even go back out for the rest of the day because I was too tired and my legs were not strong enough.  I was so upset with myself and thinking of all the money I wasted on a ski ticket that I was too fat and out of shape to use.  But this year will be different!  My goal is to ski the whole day with a one hour to hour and a half break for lunch!  (We go up with my in-laws and stay at their condo so they will be there and I can hang out with the girls for a little bit before going back out).  I am excited to be able to make my next post and picture about losing 50 pounds and hopefully I will be able to post that one no later than next Monday!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Rough Start to the Week

Yesterday I fell down the stairs while I was taking a whole bunch of things downstairs to clear off the kitchen table.  I always find it interesting how time can slow down and indeed it seemed like I was watching in slow motion and complete shock as my brand new Pampered Chef stoneware, lap top computer, and various notebooks tumbled down the stairs.  In fact I was so focused on my computer that I was already halfway down the stairs on my butt before my brain registered the fact that I was also sliding down the stairs.  Fortunately, I wasn't going head over heals.  I slipped because I was wearing regular socks instead of my house socks with the grippers on them or my slippers.  Believe me that is a mistake I do not intend to repeat.  I had forgotten to change my socks after coming home earlier in the day.  Anyway, I fell on my left hip, bruising it pretty badly.  I also banged up my left forearm.  Fortunately nothing is broken, but I am incredibly achy on my left side today and I can't walk without pain.  Last night was difficult as I could only sleep on my stomach because every other position hurt too much, and getting out of the bed to take care of Lily and Chloe (both woke up last night) in the middle of the night was torture. 

I am thankful that the fall wasn't worse.  I could have been hurt bad, but I mostly just slid down the stairs on my butt.  Even more amazing is that my computer is okay, and because my stoneware was still in the box, it didn't break!  The box is all crumpled up but the stone is fine.  I am super thankful for that.  However, I am bummed out that I won't be able to exercise for a few days.  I really wanted to drop below 160 this week and I don't think I can do that without exercise, but it is more important that I let my body heal, so I will just have to play it day by day and really focus on my eating this week.

Last night we had the missionaries over and Matt wanted Hamburgers and French Fries.  I use my Pampered Chef french fry wedger  on my potatoes, add a little olive oil, some salt and then bake them in the oven at 425 deg for 30 minutes.  It makes for a much healthier version of french fries instead of actually frying them.  I skipped the cheese on my hamburger and had onions, tomatoes, pickles, and spinach.  So I only had about 4 oz ground beef and the hamburger bun and about 1-2 tbsp of BBQ sauce to count.  I also opened a few cans of baked beans.  Chloe loved the beans!  She was super cute eating her beans.  Actually, yesterday I didn't bother counting points since it was fast Sunday.

This morning I was supposed to make the amazing banana quinoa waffles that I found in our church cookbook, but we didn't have enough bananas.  So I made Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes from weight watchers.  You can find the recipe here: http://www.weightwatchers.com/food/rcp/RecipePage.aspx?recipeid=381901

It is 5 points for two pancakes, I ate 3, which they say is 8 points.  Plus one point for the maple syrup and 3 points for milk so I had a large point breakfast for a total of 12 points.  That is about 3 points more than I usually eat for breakfast.  I also put some protein powder into the pancake mix (2 tbsp in half the mix after I cooked up some pancakes for Matt) so that I could satisfy the combination of complex carbs and protein that I am striving to eat at every meal.  So my points might be a little higher, maybe an extra point for the protein powder.  I was using a protein sample package so there is no nutrition info on it so that is going based off of what I could find for protein powder on Weight Watchers which is remarkably unhelpful since the measurements are in scoops and ounces instead of TBSP and tsp and cups.

After dropping the car off at the repair shop to get the breaks done and going to Costco to stock up on frozen veggies, fruits, fresh fruits, diapers, and various other necessities, and after getting the surprise phone call informing us that our back breaks aren't working and our $100 break job just turned into $600 repair job (we knew something was up because we were replacing the front brakes about every three to four months.  Makes sense now) it was time for lunch.  So I had to put all the groceries away, cut up strawberries for Chloe, make some spaghetti noodles with Parmesan cheese for Lily, heat up french fries and leftover hamburger meat for Matt and finally after all that I made myself a delicious 5 point salad.  My salad consisted of spinach leaves (0 points) topped with 3 oz steak (3 points) 1 T sunflower seeds (1 point) 1 T chopped walnuts (1 point), strawberries (0 points), and balsamic vinegar (0 points).  That way I get my protein from the steak, my complex carbs from the spinach and strawberries and my essential fatty acids from the walnuts and sunflower seeds.  It's awesome!  A complete meal all packaged up in pure deliciousness.

Now it is about 3pm and I am really wanting to eat some junk food, but I know that I have to eat healthy and really focus on eating within my points this week if my exercise level is going to be low.  So I age an orange for a snack and I will have left over sesame chicken for dinner with some vegetables adding about another 12 points and rounding out the day at about 29 points.  I am allowed 32 points but I am trying to go under that in preparation for dropping 7 points here pretty soon.  I am not focusing on it or worrying about staying under and in fact most days I am right at or slightly above my allotted points, but it is in the back of my mind.  About two more months now and I will have to drop those points when Chloe stops nursing.  Besides that, I am getting in less exercise than I would even on a day I don't exercise because I am really in a good deal of pain from falling down the stairs. 

Well, that is all for now, lets hope my kids go to bed early!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November 3rd 2013 Weigh In

Today is my weigh in day and if you have been reading you know that I was hoping to actually weigh less than my husband today.  I continued to eat well all week and exercise, and my hard work continues to pay off!  I weighed in today at 161.6!  Scoring myself a 2.4 pound weight loss.  I seem to be in a groove and I am excited to have finally discovered how my body needs to eat.  Now that I am eating healthier the weight is just falling off.  I am hoping to be able to keep this rate up for the remainder of the year to reach my goal of 150 by the end of the year (with two weeks to spare if I lose 2 pounds a week). 

I definitely attribute my faster weight loss to the change in my eating habit, as I have been exercising all though out my weight loss journey and never has the weight come off this fast (with the exception of the first few weeks when the body sheds all the excess water weight).  Losing consistently has boosted my motivation and determination and I am excited to keep going and next week I plan on weighing in the 150s! 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy Halloween

Halloween takes on a different color when you know you will not be eating any candy or desserts.  Especially candy.  In the morning I took the girls to a meetup that my meetup group organized at the Library.  Lily had a wonderful time running around the room with the other kids dressed up as Tinkerbell, and Chloe crawled around trying her hardest to snitch popcorn off the floor and grab treats from the unsuspecting children.  The adults brought candy for the kids so we could do a mock trick or treat activity.  Lily brought her purse into the Library and used that as her bag.  All the other adults thought it was super cute, and lets face it... it was!  I focused on meeting new people and eating the healthy snacks.  Someone brought carrots and hummus, which was a winner for me!  There was also Pizza cut into little pieces and I had a few pieces since pizza is not something that is off limits at the moment.  Saying away from the cookies, banana bread, pumpkin dip and various other desserts was actually pretty easy this time around, I guess all the desserts roaming around my house are building up my resistance.  I'm getting desensitized, or so I hope.  Here is a super cute picture of the kids at the meetup.  It looks like Lily is choking Chloe, but I promise she isn't!



Lily loved trick or treating tonight, even though it was pretty chilly out tonight.  It could have been worse though, I've been out when it is sub 0 during my childhood.  Lily must have been tired since she didn't take a nap and had already been out this morning because she just rode in the stroller from house to house and didn't say Trick or Treat at all, but I could tell she was still excited to be out since she would get upset when we passed houses that were dark. 

There were a lot of dark houses this year and not very many trick or treaters out.  I am glad I only spend $5 on my Halloween candy to give out to trick or treaters.  Chloe was dressed up as Pooh bear wearing a bumble bee costume (picture below) which was great because it was a warm costume.  Lily got a little too cold, so it was a good thing our loop was small.  Be that as it may, Lily still got plenty of candy and once we got home I said "It's a good thing I extended my 30 day challenge otherwise I would be pigging out on Lily's candy right now!"  (Or I would have taken a bag for Chloe to get some candy of my own!) 

I sorted through Lily's candy and put all the inedible candy into our trick or treater candy bowl hahaha, is that cruel?  Must not have been too cruel because most of it was taken before the suckers that I bought were.  That is good since Lily likes those little dum dums and I can bribe her to do stuff with them.  So now I have a good stash of bribing candy and on Monday the potty training will recommence!  So not looking forward to it.  One more week of my challenge to go.
We took about 6 photos and that was the best one.