Sunday, June 29, 2014

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

I love these pancakes!  They taste different than your usual pancakes and are a refreshing change from the norm.  They are nice and fluffy due to the buttermilk and the whipped egg whites.  These are some of my very favorite pancakes!
This is a weight watchers recipe.

Points Plus per serving: 5
Serving size: two pancakes made with 1/4 cup batter

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, separated
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp lemon zest, or increase to taste
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

1.  In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix well and set aside.
2. In a bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form, set egg whites aside
3. In a large bowl, beat together buttermilk, egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest and ricotta cheese.
4.  Add dry ingredients to buttermilk mixture until just combined
5.  Add egg whites, fold in gently
6. Coat a large nonstick griddle or pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.  Spoon batter into pan in 1/4 cup serving sizes.

Top with whipped cream, chocolate chips, syrup, or fruit and enjoy!  (note: adding these extra ingredients will alter the points plus value)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Finding a more sustainable plan

So this past week I have been working on trying to figure out a calorie range that works better for me.  I know that I need to cut way back on calories to continue to lose weight, I also know that I tend to do really good Monday-Friday and then eat more on Saturday and Sunday.  So I decided that during the week days my goal is going to be to eat less than 1500 calories on the weekdays (somewhere in the 1400s) and to eat less than 1800 on the weekends (somewhere in the 1700s).  According to My Fitness Pal, without exercise I would need to eat 1440 calories per day to lose weight, which is where I got the first number.  The second number comes from the Turbo Fire workbook where it calculates how many calories you burn in a day and then adds in exercise and subtracts 500 calories to create a deficit and that number is 1770.  So I am hoping that this plan is more sustainable and that I will be able to work in a few treats on the weekend without consuming an extra 3-4,000 calories on the weekend completely ruining all my hard work over the week. 

The past few days I have been really tired, but yesterday I managed to take the kids to my parents house to jump on the trampoline.  I didn't do Turbo Fire yesterday, but my fitbit estimates that I burned around 700 calories for two hours jumping on the trampoline.  This morning I was 145.2, which is down from earlier this week.  I got up to 147.6 earlier in the week because I wasn't eating very well. 

I also got an accountability partner!  After all this time I finally have an accountability partner!  So we hold eachother accountable for nutrition and we are both trying not to eat any desserts for the remainder of this group challenge.  Except of course on special occasions, like July 4th that is coming up and my birthday coming up as well.  Fortunately there are not too many holidays over the next few months, just July 4th and my birthday, Dad's birthday isn't until the end of August and then Labor day isn't until September.  So it shouldn't be too hard to avoid a lot of desserts.  My new goal is to hit my goal weight before the weather turns cold and I have to buy pants.  I would like to buy some good pants that I can wear next season too instead of buying pants I just have to throw away at the end of the season. 

My new motto is "just do it" (which ironically I think it also the Nike slogan but oh well.  The point is, losing these last 20 pounds is not going to be easy and I need to just do it.  I need to stop messing around with my nutrition and buckle down and just do it and reach my goal!  So that is my new mind set.  Today is day 4 of my new plan.  I have Zumba tonight and I am going to make my pasta for lunch instead of dinner so I don't have a lot of heavy food in my stomach while I am doing Zumba. 

I love this statement below.  I am glad that I didn't give up on myself while I was in my plateau.  I am glad that I didn't let myself be defeated by the scale.  I am never giving up!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Enduring and Overcoming a Plateau

This was a topic that I thought I knew a little bit about until I actually hit a real plateau.  Before in my weight loss experience whenever I gained weight, or didn't lose weight it was always because I was not watching what I was eating.  Mostly because I would be eating way too many desserts.  I suppose no one ever really thinks it will happen to them until it does.  I never thought I would hit a real plateau.  I was doing everything right, I had been losing weight steadily for a year, I was on a role and working hard, nothing could stop me.  Until something did.  January to June 2014.  Six months of working hard.  I started exercising 5 days a week instead of 3 days a week, I was tracking everything that I was eating in My Fitness Pal and when I completed my food log almost every day it said I would weigh less in 5 weeks.

Brutal, challenging, discouraging, crushing, emotionally draining, frustrating, infuriating; these are a few ways to describe this time period.  It was nothing I had ever experienced and sheer determination drove me to continue, to not give up.  Sure there were days where I threw everything out the window because I was so upset.  The day after I went from 147 to 152 after having a near perfect week of exercise and eating I went on a week long splurge of eating whatever and whenever I wanted to.  How does one endure such torture?  This is trial by fire, and let me tell you, my motivation was at an all time low.  In fact I am pretty sure my motivation was non existent.  So how to endure?  How do you keep going when, despite all your effort you are getting no where?  Like I mentioned before, it was pure determination.  Determination to reach my goals, determination not to give up.  I had thought about giving up several times during this time period.  Thought about taking some time off letting my body reset or something or other.  But every time I thought of that I dreaded gaining weight back.  I would wonder, "is this where it ends?  Is this where I start gaining weight again?  Is this where I fail again?  After everything I've been through, after all my hard work, have I failed yet again?"  And I just couldn't accept it.  I couldn't accept failure, so I kept working, kept plodding on hoping against hope that some day, some way I would start going down again.

Why did I plateau?  I think it was because my body had hit a weight it was more comfortable with.  150 pounds.  I had lost all the weight that I'd put on over the past 8 years and now I was starting to work on the weight that had been on my body much longer.  Also, I was just about to hit my healthy weight range and it is harder to lose weight that has been on your body longer and the slimmer you get, the harder it is to lose.  Of course, it's not just about the number on the scale.  During this time I did lose 6 inches from weight lifting although I did not lose any weight.  So something to keep in mind is that you could be making progress in ways the scale cannot measure.  I know that doesn't bring too much comfort because it was still very hard for me, but it is something you have to take into consideration.

So how did I overcome my plateau?  Two weeks before I broke through, I decided to stop eating my exercise calories, and to eat only 1400 calories a day.  According to MFP in order to lose one pound a week I am supposed to eat 1440 calories, per day, and so I decided to do just that.  I cut out all desserts and candy and I also stopped sampling food while I was making it.  I didn't lick spoons, I didn't finish up after the kids, I didn't taste the food while I was cooking and I didn't snitch food off of anyone's plate.  I really got a grip on my nutrition.  That week I went from 153 down to 148.  The very lowest I could be without actually breaking through my plateau.  The week after that I wasn't so strict, but I still didn't eat any desserts.  Half way through the week I had a huge mental breakthrough.  I thought about how far I had come, my size 8 jeans and wondering if this was as far as I could go... and I accepted it.  Yes, I accepted myself in that moment and allowed myself to believe that I looked good, to believe that I was a success and to let all my doubt, worry, and stress just leave.  I could feel it leaving my body, all the stress and awful feelings I had been harboring about myself.  It seemed like magic, the end of that week I was down to 145.6.  So how did I break my plateau?  To put it simply:  I got a grip on my nutrition, and I let go of my stress.  I made absolutely sure that I was not eating too much, and that I was eating the right food.  I also got in a lot of physical activity those two weeks, but I had been getting in a lot of activity before so I can't say that it really contributed.

Have you started sampling food more frequently and not tracking it like I was?  Most likely when hitting a plateau, you are doing pretty good, but something is sliding a little bit, or something needs to be adjusted.  I can't tell you what will work for you, you have to figure that out on your own.  I can only say that what finally broke me through my plateau was having perfect nutrition, reducing my calories (I had previously been consuming about 1700 calories a day) and not allowing myself any treat days for a few weeks.  I had to break the viscous cycle of eating well 5 days a week and then being too lax on the weekends.  Perfect nutrition,  ALL the time.  I also finally came to the point mentally where I could say for the very first time that I accepted my body.  I was ok with myself and where I was.  Was it easy?  No.  Was it worth it? Yes

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Shopping for family photos and new measurements

Family Photos are coming up on July 12th and I'm working as hard as I can to look my best for them.  Ironically when all is said and done, I will probably be around the same weight I was in the last family photos, hopefully a little lighter.  (I was 145 in the last family photos when we got them taken about 10 years ago around my senior year of high school).  So we drove to Denver to go shopping at the mall there, and let me tell you that there is nothing quite like shopping for clothes that makes me wish I were rich!  Pretty much everything that I saw that I liked was about $100 for one article of clothing (pants, shirts, all the dresses were $150+)  It was Crazy!  Who can afford such ridiculous prices for clothes?  Anyway, I found these two adorable clothes on the clearance rack in Dillards:
Even at half off they were $21 per dress, and they were the wrong shade of blue for the pictures so we ended up not getting them.  We did find a dress in Dillards for the girls that would have been perfect, but it was of course full price and cost $40 per dress and there was no way I was paying $80 for the kids dresses, that is way out of my budget.  The kids did pretty well all things considered especially since they didn't have a play area for the kids to play on and we were at the mall from 9:45 until 3:15.  That is a long time for the kids and especially since Chloe didn't get in a nap.  After a while, Chase found a dress at JC penny's and it was half off and only cost $21!  It was a beautiful navy blue dress covered in lace.  So we changed the color theme for the photos from royal blue to navy blue (we never did find anything in royal blue anyway), and continued looking.  After hitting up Macy's Mom and I found our dresses:

Sorry about the socks in that photo, wasn't really thinking about it at the time.  A beautiful dress, and it matches Chase's dress perfectly!  Mom's dress was similar guess what the price tag on that beauty was............$155!  And not on sale!  Holy Cow!  Now guess what size I am wearing in that photo....waiting.......still waiting...... here's a hint.  The last dress I bought was a size 10..... still thinking?........... Okay, I'll tell you.  It's a size 4!  Mwahahahahaha!  So crazy that I'm wearing a size 4! Now for the reality check, this brand obviously makes larger sized dresses because there is no way I would fit into a standard size 4 (if there is such a thing).  But now is a great time to mention.......
My new measurements!!!!  So I haven't taken my measurements for 7 weeks and I don't think I made much progress the first four weeks since the first four weeks my weight went from 151 to 151  haha, not much of a change eh?  But I've been rockin' it the last three weeks and here are my new stats:

                   before              now              change
waist              34                   32 3/4          -1 1/4
hips               40                   38 1/2          -1 1/2
Abductors      40 1/4             39 3/4           -1/2
chest              35                  34 3/4           -1/4
R. Arm           11 1/4            10 3/4            -1/2
L. Arm           11 1/4            11                 -1/4
R. Thigh        21                  20 3/4          - 1/4
L Thigh         21                 20 1/2           -1/2
weight         151.7               144.2             -7.5

Woo Hoo!  Down 5 inches!  This is the best measure in that I have ever had!  I am super excited to be back on track.  I am in the home stretch, losing these last 23 pounds is not going to be easy, but I just need to do it and get it done!

So after looking at Macy's we put the dresses on hold and ate some lunch and let the kids play at the only play thing they had for kids: 
This rocking horse thing.  So that kept the kids entertained for all of 15 minutes and after searching everywhere else and finding only a $1,200 dress at Nordstrom I looked on Retail me not and found a 25% off coupon for Macy's.  Also if you opened up a Macy's credit card you could get 20% off and we were able to stack the discounts and get our dresses for 45% off!  I felt much better about that and Mom helped me pay for an additional 5% so I only had to pay for half of my dress.  Fortunately I had some money in my Pampered Chef account and I was able to cover the $75.  It is a beautiful dress and I am happy to have it. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I'm No Longer Fat!

Wahoo!  What a glorious day it is today!  At long last, after months of seemingly getting no where I finally beat the odds and I have entered into my HEALTHY WEIGHT RANGE!!! This morning the scale read 144.8.  Super happy about that.  I still have weight to lose, since if I gain like an ounce I'm overweight again (seriously 145 is THE dividing line).  I am just so relieved and so happy to have gotten this far.  I finally realized how to break through my plateau, I finally took the necessary steps to do it and while it is hard I am going to keep going.  I have fought hard for these last 5 pounds, and I know that the next five will also be a challenge, in fact, I know that the last of this weight is not coming off without a fight.  But I am ready, I am willing, and I know what I need to do.  Now is the time, this summer the rest of this weight is coming off. 

Today was my Mom's birthday and so after doing my morning exercise I made mom's dessert cake, a gluten free chocolate trifle layered with cake, homemade whipped cream, and strawberries.  I tried so hard to stay out of the cake, and failed.... but not miserably!  I only ate a little piece and I started eating strawberries instead of eating cake.  I took the kids to my parents house early so that they could play on the trampoline and I spent most of the afternoon outside on the trampoline and got lots of extra exercise in that way!  I felt great today. 

I've started drinking Shakeology from Beach Body, and yes it is incredibly expensive, but it sure does work!  I don't crash in the afternoon anymore.  Even after losing 65 pounds, changing what I eat, when I eat, and drinking more water I would always crash in the afternoon.  But shakeology has helped with that. 

Tonight I didn't do as good as I would have liked, but I didn't do as bad as I could have either.  I ate a few chips and had some popcorn and a small piece of trifle ( I wanted to skip the trifle since I snitched when I was making it, and also skip the chips, but the guacamole needed to be tasted).  Not too bad, but I don't know if I will be under 145 tomorrow for weigh in day.  Maybe I will just post my weight for today ha! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

I finally broke my plateau

At long last, after six excruciating months of hard work, and not seeing the scale budge.  After playing yo yo between 148-152.  After months of pain, soul searching, changing my workout, changing what I eat, wondering what I am doing wrong, contemplating quitting, getting so frustrated and upset, trying harder...... FINALLY  I have broken through my plateau!

I am still in shock and disbelief and while I am so incredibly excited and I just feel a huge wave of relief, I also feel like I am standing on the edge of a cliff waiting for the bad news.  The last six months have been so mentally straining on me that I am in fear that I am going to be back up at 148 or worse, 150 next week even if I do everything right since that is what happened last time.  (I got down to 147 and the next week was up five pounds at 152).  I have decided to NOT weigh in every day this coming week and just enjoy the fact that I did get this far and hope for the best.  Only .6 more pounds until I hit that ever elusive number of 145 and enter into my healthy weight range.  I feel like I am on the right path and I am so glad that all my hard work is finally paying off.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Tilapia with creamy Shrimp Sauce

So as a part of my Turbo Fire Challenge group, we get points if we post recipes and pictures of the things that we make onto the facebook group page.  So I have a lot of pictures of various recipes I have been making over the past several weeks and I figured it was about time that I started working harder on my recipes page anyway.  So the next several days I am going to be posting all these recipes that I have pictures for in my phone. 

I stumbled across today's recipe earlier this week when I was looking for something to make with the food in my freezer.  I had tilapia and I had shrimp, and sausage, and chicken and various other food items.  However I wanted to make something out of the fish and the recipe called for Sole, but I didn't have Sole, I had Tilapia and I think it made an excellent substitute.  This recipe is easy to make and tastes AMAZING!  I was blown away by how good it was, especially for a leftover night!  I served it with lots of peas on the side.

1 1/2 lb sole fillets (I used Tilapia)
1/4 tsp each: salt, paprika, ground pepper
3/4 pound sliced fresh mushroom (I despise mushrooms so I left this off)

1 1/2 tsp grated onion
4 1/2 tsp butter
4 tsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp each: salt, paprika, and ground pepper
3/4 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
3/4 lb peeled, deveined shrimp
4 tbsp grated parmesean cheese, divided
1 tsp minced fresh parsley (I used dried parsley and it worked out just fine)
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1.  Place fillets in a 15x10x1" baking pan coated with cooking spray, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika.
2. In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook mushrooms over medium heat until tender, spoon over fillets.
3. Bake at 350 deg for 10-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork.
4.Meanwhile, in same skillet cook onion in butter over medium heat until tender.  Stir in the flour, salt, paprika, and pepper until blended.
5. Gradually stir in milk and broth.  Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.  Stir in the shrimp, 3 tbsp Parmesean cheese, parsley and basil, heat through.
6. Spoon the sauce over fish, sprinkle with cayenne and remaining cheese. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

6 Years

Happy Anniversary to me!  Today is our six year anniversary, and as Matt would say "I can't believe we made it this far."  (He is joking of course).  This morning I got in my workout early, Lily and Chloe have been waking up much earlier now that the sun comes up so early.  Fortunately today we installed some blackout curtains on their windows.  They both have blinds but the blinds don't seem to do much.  Now with the blackout curtains on their rooms get pretty dark and hopefully they will start sleeping until 7:00 again.  It's been pretty stressful for both me and the kids for them to get up at 5:30 and 6:00am.  Especially Lily who doesn't take naps, she is so exhausted but is so adamant that she has to get up because the sun is up.

Chloe is learning to use utensils and as a result she doesn't want to be fed anymore.  She wants to do it herself.  And as anyone who has kids can tell you, this leads to a big mess.  Her meals now typically look something like this:

She looks like she has a yogurt beard haha!  Matt and I already celebrated our anniversary by going to the Melting Pot last week for fondu!  Yum yum, but today we did get out to see a movie.  We saw Edge of Tomorrow, and Matt loved it.  I thought it was a good movie, definitely entertaining.  The whole time continuum thing always blows my mind when I see it in movies.  It reminded me a lot of "The Prince of Persia"  where at the end of the movie he goes back in time to where the whole movie essentially didn't happen.  I did enjoy it though, even if I would have rather seen X-men.  But Matt doesn't like X-men.  Oh well.

The rest of the day was less than exciting.  Just the norm.  The kids were very difficult and whiny due to lack of sleep.  Chloe is FINALLY on the mend, her runny nose is clearing up and she is feeling much better.  Her cough has gone down and although she was still fussy it wasn't nearly as bad as the past few days.

So as I may have mentioned before I am in a Turbo Fire challenge group, which is a group designed to keep us all motivated and looking forward and today's question is to remind ourselves why we are doing this in the first place.  For most of the girls this is the end of week 2, but it was a good question for me since I have been in this journey for almost a year and a half now.  So Why am I doing this in the first place? Well I'm doing this to be a happier, more energetic person.  I'm doing this to feel good about myself and to prove to myself that I can do it.  I am doing this to be able to be more active with the kids, to be a better mom and a better person.  I am doing this to build my self confidence and to stop letting life pass me by. 

I just finished up my first week of cracking down on my nutrition and the scale reads 148.  I admit, I was surprised it took all week to get back down to 148.  It was a real eye opener to me that I really had gotten pretty lax with how many calories I was eating.  So far my no desserts for the month of June challenge is going well, but it is only the 6th day of course it's going well.  One thing I can say for sure, is that I am tired of saying "back to day 1"  or "day 1 starts Monday".  Over the past six months I have lost count of how many "day 1s" I have had.  I am now on day 6 and counting!  And next week, I hope to be at or very close to 145.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Headed Down

A few days ago I was really thinking about the last six months and thinking of how I have been eating and exercising.  I realized that I have been floating between 148-152 this entire time.  That is a five pound range.... That is maintenance mode!  Which would be a good thing if I were trying to maintain but I'm still trying to lose.  I realized that I have become pretty lax on my nutrition.  Content if you will.  I realized that although I have been counting calories, I have also been snitching food a lot lately, or tasting while I am cooking.  And that is a lot of uncounted calories.  Also, I will do really good for 4-5 days and then completely fall off the bandwagon for a few days.  So as of last Saturday I decided no more sweets until my birthday coming up in July, with the possible exception of July 4th.  I also decided that I need to tighten up my nutrition by not sampling everything I am making.  I love to lick the bowl and the spoon when I make my husband PB and Honey sandwiches.

I have really noticed over the past few days how many times throughout the day I am always reaching to 'finish off' something that the kids were eating or I am putting just a little extra of whatever in my food instead of sticking to level measurements.  Really it is no wonder I haven't been losing weight.  I have been pleased to see that every day since I started really keeping track and monitoring my food intake, I have gone down every day!  Not that I have set any new records, because I had a few really bad days right before I started.  I started at 153 last Friday.  Sunday I was down to 151, 150 on Monday, 149.4 on Tuesday and 148.8 today.  My lowest weigh in was 147 in the middle of Chalean Extreme and I am trying to reach that by Friday (which is the new weigh in day for Turbo Fire).

I have also realized I need to set some different goals.  The numbers on the scale are only one way of measuring progress, so I want to set some other goals just in case I never reach 121 because of weight lifting.  I think a better assessment of my progress is body fat percentage and pants size.  So my goals for body fat percentage is 20%.  Which is considered to be normal.  And my goal for pants size is 4.  I think that I would be very happy at those ranges.  Right now I am at 28% body fat and size 8.

So here is a fun story for you today.  I was at Zumba class today and my instructor for class today is 30 weeks pregnant and you know what that means, obviously she isn't going crazy with the Zumba moves and I found myself thinking 'I'm not getting a very good workout'. THEN I thought 'What am I doing? I am not a beginner! I know how to take it to the next level. This is MY workout!' and so I took it up several notches and started moving and jumping more and had a blast! After the workout two different people who were behind me came up and asked me if I was an instructor, when I said "no" they said "you should be an instructor! You are amazing! You have so much energy, and you pick up the moves really fast and are easy to follow! I was watching you the whole time!" That made me fee AWESOME!!! Being a Zumba instructor is one of my big dreams, but I have never felt confident enough to do it. Maybe when I finish up with Turbo Fire it will be time to make one of my dreams come true :-)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Southwestern Cobb Salad

I made this for dinner tonight.  It is a huge salad and very filling, but it is also great for a side salad in smaller portions and for lunch too.  Since I am the only one who eats salad in my family, I will be eating this for the rest of the week with my lunch!  The recipe makes six servings

Southwestern Cobb Salad


1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon Southwestern Seasoning Mix (Pampered Chef)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3-4)
 Salt and ground black pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
3   hard-cooked eggs, sliced
1   avocado, peeled and cubed
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 package (10 ounces) torn romaine lettuce (8 cups)
1/4 small red onion, cut into thin wedges
6 slices bacon, crisply cooked and cut up (optional)
For dressing, pour milk into Measure Mix and Pour (if you don't have this just put it into a bowl and mix with a whisk) . Add mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice and seasoning mix; mix until well blended. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.
Meanwhile, for salad, season chicken breasts with salt and black pepper. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add chicken breasts; cook 5-7 minutes on each side or until chicken is no longer pink in the center. Remove chicken from skillet; cool slightly. Cut chicken diagonally into thin strips . Wrap tightly and refrigerate until ready to assemble salad.
Prepare hard-cooked eggs. Slice eggs using egg slicer . Cut avocado in half; remove pit and peel. Cut avocado into 1/2-inch cubes and dice bell pepper. Drain and rinse beans .
Place lettuce in serving bowl. Slice onion into thin wedges; toss with lettuce. Arrange remaining salad ingredients in rows . To serve, top lettuce with salad ingredients . Drizzle with dressing.
 6 servings of  
Nutrients per serving:
Calories 350, Total Fat 21 g, Saturated Fat 6 g, Cholesterol 170 mg, Carbohydrate 15 g, Protein 26 g, Sodium 360 mg, Fiber 7 g
 Original recipe can be found HERE