Thursday, December 31, 2009

I Think My Job is Making Me Fat


Okay people, it's the start of a new year (okay, it will be tomorrow), and this is the time when many of us make resolutions to lose weight.  I've been one of them for...I don't even know how many years now.  And today I sit here typing, the heaviest I've ever been.

I've had the pleasure of being off work for over a week now, and it's given me a lot of time for reflection.  I've said before that the times in my life when I've lost the most weight, it seemed to just fall off effortlessly.  I wasn't ever on some fabulous new diet plan or working out like crazy.  So, I've been thinking lately about what exactly was going on in my life at those times that could have contributed to the weight loss.

The time I lost the most, and got down to my all time low as an adult (112), I was 28, married, and teaching 6th grade.  The interesting thing is that my husband and I separated right after I hit that weight.  So, clearly, things in that department had not been going well while I was losing the weight.  What was going well was my job.

I was teaching in a really small school and had a self-contained class of 17 6th graders.  I loved them.  This is the only time in my life when I would wake up Monday morning and be excited about going to work.  (Maybe because I wanted to get away from that husband?)  I had a gorgeous classroom, I loved the small class, and yes I had a couple challenging students, but I loved all 17 of them as though they were my own kids.  We had a lot of fun that year.  I look back at pictures of me during that time, and I swear I was beautiful and glowing.

The next year, they moved me up to teach Junior High Language Arts, and I hated it.  And I gained a lot of the weight back.  Plus I spent that year separated from the husband.

The husband and I got back together, and the next time I was able to lose a large amount of weight, we were desperately trying to build a business (I think this is where the term "epic fail" originated) and to resuscitate our failing marriage.  I wasn't working a typical job, just working on the business, and I could pretty much set my own schedule.  I did exercise during that time, but nothing crazy.  And I lost maybe 20 pounds.

Then I got my current job (and eventually got rid of that husband!) and gradually built my fat stores up to their current levels.

Being off work all this time for the holiday break, I've been pretty calm and content.  I did some visiting with friends and family, slept in a lot, ate whatever I wanted, got snowed in with my cuddly pups, and have done virtually no exercise.  And I swear I've lost weight.  I haven't actually stepped on the scale, but I can tell.

Then the other day one of my co-workers called me, and I kid you not, after a 2 minute phone call with her, I hung up the phone and cried for an hour.  I can't even explain why, and if I tried, it wouldn't make any sense to anyone else.  But just speaking to that person threw me into a tailspin.

I do stress an awful lot about my job.  There are things about it that I love an awful lot too.  But a lot of things I don't love.  I've debated quitting (briefly) but I truly don't think that's the thing to do right now.  However, I do need to find ways to minimize the stress, including minimizing my time with that particular person!

My plan, going into the new year is to right away schedule myself some time off.  Having two weeks off in a row is pure heaven, so I'm going to plan another long vacation for about 1/2 way through the year.  I'm also going to look at the months in between and make sure I have at least a long weekend every single month, whether through an actual holiday or through my own vacation time.  Hopefully regular time off will help keep me sane.

I have also talked to my boss about cutting back a bit on my late nights and weekends.  We all are, not just me.  So, hopefully that will ease a little more stress (for everyone in the office).  Also, I have a new duty that will require me to spend one more day per month on the road, rather than in the office.  I'm going to make sure that day I'm gone is a day when you-know-who is there, and make sure I'm there all day if you-know-who is to be out.

The other thing is that I truly need to let go of this need to make sense of all the craziness that my job entails.  I work for the state, which means government red tape and bureaucracy (I spelled that so wrong the first three times that spell-check couldn't even figure out what I was trying to say) and a lot of nonsense.  In the past, we've had a bit of a say in eliminating some nonsense, but anymore it seems like the more we protest, the more nonsense is thrown at us.  I don't handle nonsense well.  But, I think, in the interest of my own sanity, in this case, I can't beat 'em so I need to join 'em.  Which means just accepting the nonsense and doing what I'm told and not expecting anything to be logical or reasonable.  Regina and I are going to work together on this.  And try to get our creative and intelligent outlets outside of the job.

I hope all of these steps, combined with making more of an effort to exercise and eat right, will help me find the magic formula that makes this body let go of her fat.  What do you plan to do differently in 2010?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Moment of Reflection

Before the whole world goes insane with setting those crazy / unattainable / self-defeating goals (to become a super model, to get ripped abs with 10 min workouts, to win the lottery, to change your whole life in 30 days or less, to poof up your personal Mr. Dreamy etc) - I wanted to take a moment to look at the big picture. There is something to be said for reflecting, planning, and as I often say to my son "engaging your brain".

The poem below certainly could apply to many areas of our lives - but could also describe the struggle with weight loss. So take a moment and then put your pencil to the paper and set a goal that will give you reason (and good odds) to celebrate! And please, by all means, invite us to the party!

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
by Portia Nelson

I
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in
I am lost...I am helpless
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

II
I walk down the same street,
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But it isn't my fault,
It still takes a long time to get out.

III
I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in...it's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

IV
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

V
I walk down another street.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Simple Sweets (guilt free)



In case all of your holiday indulgences have left you with a sweet tooth that demands to be fed. Give this recipe a try - from Hungry Girl 200 Under 200.
gimme gimme s'mores sandwich
1 sheet (4 crackers) low fat honey graham crackers
1/4 cup Cool Whip Free, thawed
1 tsp mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 mini marshmallows
In a small bowl, lightly stir together Cool Whip, choco chips, and marshamallows. Don't over-stir.
Break graham crackers into two squares and make a sandwich filling with the above mixture.
Freeze until solid, about 1 hour. Store in freezer until you are ready to dine!
Entire Sandwich - 133 calories, 2.5 fat Not bad - for an ice-cream-like snack, hmmm?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Fact of Crap?

Okay - pop quiz. Remember long ago, I said I was a lady on fire with the purging / de-cluttering of my house? Yes? Aw, thanks for listening. Well, the FIRE has flickered down to some hot ashes - hmmm, maybe we are warm coals by this point. But I'm still working on it from time to time.

Any-hoodle, in my mission to use what needs to be used and sort the loved from the unloved - I came upon an embarrassing amount of magazines. Still wrapped in plastic. From 2008. My face reddens. In an effort not to be wasteful, I have stuffed a few in my various work / wait bags and read them from time to time. This has lead to a wealth of information. First, I find myself needing (read as: falling for) the ads for products that are likely obsolete at this point.

A moment of silence for their departure, please. If only I could have been a better consumer...maybe they would still be here. *small sob*

Okay, back to the useful stuff...I found an article on the scientific approach to weight loss. Is it possible that this was fate? After all, in 2008 I was not in need of / ready to hear this info. But today, it has great meaning. Because I believe that all of our readers have the sh%* together and likely are no longer owners of the June 2008 Allure issue I will share the info that was suggested...by scientific experts, no less....

  • There are two stages of weight loss. Losing and Maintenance.
  • Losing goal should be around 10% of body weight or less.
  • The focus here is NOT exercise but food restrictions - any method that you can stick with long term is fine.
  • If you haven't lost in in 6 months you are likely not gonna. Move on to maintenance for some time (months) and then try again. *let us NOT reflect on how long we've been at this already*
  • In Maintenance exercise is key. It gives you more room to eat - therefore, making the restriction more bearable. Daily, vigorous activity - like 60-90 mins a day. *weeping in corner*
  • Good habits include FREQUENT weigh ins (yeah- I'm a daily gal), food diaries or calorie counting (boo! but I know it works), eat breakfast EVERY DAY (yeah - permission to eat).
  • Myths about exercise include: strength training will NOT increase your metabolism unless you are a ripped bodybuilder (if this is the case, please go away or offer trainer services), a harder workout is NOT better - it increases the odds that you will be lazier the rest of the day, the idea of a slower workout being the key to a "fat burning zone is b.s."
  • Stop drinking your calories. They don't fill you up.
  • Stop trying to do the extreme-makeover. Set reasonable goals and stop beating yourself up for the crazy ones that were never attainable.
  • Prevention is key - know thine own self and find a new method of coping and setting yourself up for success.
  • Have a plan that is practical.
  • Your body has a built in target weight - with a range of 20 lbs or so.
  • Sleep deprivation messes up your chemicals and actually stimulates your appetite.
  • Stress makes more calories get stored as fat.
Now, some of that was reinforcement - but some was a bit eye opening. I'm going to have to break out a calendar and calculator and put this to the test. Anyone else want to re-define the way they've been trying to reach their goal?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

You Won't Find It In A Box

Recently (okay sometime in the last 6 months) my place of work participated in a family activity where we needed to bring an activity. We landed on the idea of using homemade blocks to build larger than life towers / buildings / etc. So, obviously with this plan - you need a LOT of boxes. We sent out the call to our whole building and soon we found ourselves surrounded by piles of boxes. As we began the work of sorting through and prepping them to become building materials, I noticed that most of these boxes were from food products. Being someone on the mission of improving my diet - I took a moment to reflect on the food choices of others - and guess what I found? 99% of those boxes were total CRAP food! Crackers, Meal in a Box, Chips (okay, there's really only a few chips that comes in boxes), cookies, snacks, processed cheese-like items and the list went on.

So do you see the theme? No veggies, no fruit. You would never hear a dietitian / doctor EVER say "Try to increase your consumption of this___________ (insert product in a box)." So the lesson learned here? First, most of these empty boxes would have filled our landfills (therefore infuriating my inner green-ness). Second, if you had to have ONE SIMPLE rule to improve your eating habits I would go with - "Don't buy your food in boxes". Want to test my theory? Go to your cabinet right now. Open the door. Count how many natural / nutritious / chemical free foods you find living there - that came home in a box. I'll wait...

Frightening, isn't it? Now, I know, raisins can come in boxes. Oatmeal can come in a box. There are a FEW cereals that come in boxes and don't have enough "extras" to be classified as junk food. So I will admit there are a FEW exceptions. But even if you ONLY bought 3 boxes (that were like the above "good examples) on each of your shopping trips -how much better off would you be?

And am I the only one that thinks maybe all these boxed wonders are the very things that derail our healthy eating plans? It's all those goodies that I would rather pack up for snacking. All of the easy to grab items that have a long shelf life that I store in my office. Those food-ish products that I easily consume multiple servings of before I've been satisfied - they all come in boxes too. So, I'll add this to my process of self-improvement.

Now, in case you see me in the grocery aisle - I know that going box-free will not be a cold turkey process. But I'm going to make a real effort to examine WHAT I'm buying in boxes and what kind of nutrition it's offering me. Without being surrounded by my favorite boxed temptations - maybe I'll get better at reaching for healthy choices instead. Nature doesn't come in a box...but here's a thought - does it come in a bag? Maybe we'll leave that for another day...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Getch-Ya Drink On!


With the holidays closely approaching us - you really don't need much of an excuse to put a little schnocker in your day. So if you were looking for an excuse ....let me aid and abet you with this tasty treat as part of Cole's (All the Small Stuff) Tuesdays at the Table!! Or as it may turn out....Tuesdays UNDER the Table! No seriously, drink responsibly!


ORANGE SLUSH

Boil 7 cups water and 1 cup sugar
Boil 2 teabags in 2 Cups water

Mix above ingredients with these:

1 12 oz frozen Lemonade
1 12 oz frozen Orange Juice
2 cups vodka
OR you can use 4 cups vodka if you plan to pour a little 7Up or Ginger Ale over it later

Put all of this into a milk jug and freeze if for 24 hours.
Then drink up! (recipe stolen with permission from my mother)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Stuff About Potatoes

Do you know how many tater tots equals one serving? (Don't try to act like you don't eat tater tots, I know you do. And if you don't, you want to.) Nine. NINE. Have you ever in your life eaten nine, and only nine, tater tots?

I made tater tots for dinner last night. I know, it's not the best choice, but that's what I wanted. I turned on the oven (hey, at least I didn't deep fry them!) and poured out the number of tater tots I thought I wanted to eat. Then for some reason, I decided to check out the nutrition information. Serving Size: 9 tots. 150 calories. And how many tots did I have on my plate? 26. Close to 450 calories. And virtually no nutritional value. One gram of fiber. (Hey, that means I ate three grams of fiber! Let's look on the bright side.)

One potato dish I've really become fond of lately is sweet potato fries. Again, I know this may not be the all around best choice of vegetable, but I figure it's better than regular french fries. So, I searched a little bit about nutrition information on those. This is what I found:

Serving size: 12 fries (Have I ever eaten only 12? No.)
Calories: 150
Fiber: 3 grams
Protein: 2 grams
Vitamin A: 100% Daily Value
Vitamin C: 10% Daily Value

Compared to a small order of McDonald's fries:
Serving size: one
Calories: 230
Fiber: 3 grams (I'm shocked it's the same.)
Protein: 3 grams (I'm even more shocked that it's MORE.)
Vitamin A: 0
Vitamin C: 8%

All this information came from The Daily Plate at Livestrong.com, which is a pretty cool site.

What's your favorite way to eat potatoes?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Yoga


Tonight was the last yoga class before the holiday break, and my instructor sure made it a good one! We came into the room, and all the lights were out, and she'd strung Christmas lights across the front. She had really mellow Christmas music playing, and she informed us all that this was to be a special relaxing Christmas yoga session.

We each got a towel and a band, in addition to the usual mats. She did some of our usual poses, but she threw in a few different things, and even had us dancing at one point!

I really loved a lot of the things she did with the towels. Sometimes it was just used to assist with our usual poses. For an example, she had us sit on the folded up towel when doing seated forward fold and butterfly, and it did add a little different angle to the stretch. But she also had us do some things where we just laid on our backs and put the rolled up towel in different positions and were instructed to just fully relax and let the towel guide our stretch. It provided a nice lower back stretch by putting it there, and it helped open up my chest (Lord knows my chest needs all the help it can get) to put it behind my upper back.

At the end, she had us all move our mats against the wall, and we did a stretch where you put your behind right up against the wall, lie back, and stretch your legs straight up the wall. Okay, granted, it was quite tricky to maneuver myself into this position! But it felt really good once I was there.

Then, during our final relaxation, she came around with some lavender essential oil and gave each person a little mini foot massage. It was heavenly.

I'm so looking forward to getting back into going to yoga regularly after the holidays!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Leftover Turkey? Enchiladas Recipe


I originally got this recipe from Good Housekeeping magazine, and if you'd like to see the original (which includes nutrition information) you can see it here.

The original is yummy, but kind of mild for my taste. Plus, I don't much care for cilantro. And, I don't follow directions well. So, I've modified the recipe considerably. Here's my version:

Ingredients
1 lb. ground turkey (or about 12 ounces shredded cooked turkey if you have leftovers)
1 small onion minced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 can Mexicorn
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
8 oz. reduced fat sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese blend
10-15 6 inch corn tortillas
10 oz. can of medium enchilada sauce
1 cup medium salsa

Directions
Spray 9 X 13 baking pan with cooking spray (or use two smaller pans like I did). Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If using ground turkey, brown and drain. Then add minced onion to the pan and cook until translucent. If using shredded turkey, brown onion in a little oil.

In large bowl (or original pan if it's big enough) combine turkey, onion, corn, beans, seasonings, sour cream, and about half the cheese.

Warm tortillas by wrapping in a damp paper towel and microwaving on high about 30 seconds. Then place about 1/3 cup of filling inside tortilla and roll up tightly. Continue with all tortillas, placing them in pan.

In small bowl, stir enchilada sauce and salsa together. Pour sauce over enchiladas in pan. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake in 400 degree oven 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese melts and enchiladas are heated through.

Visit Cole at All the Small Stuff for more Tuesdays at the Table!

Friday, December 11, 2009

I'm Working Without A Net Here!

Without the Internet, that is.

After a week with many inches of snow, enough snow days to make me think Christmas Break had already begun, and an infections case of snowflake crafting...the universe decided to bless me with the ADDITIONAL gift of lost cable, Internet, and the threat of stealing away all electricity as well.

For those doing the math -it is hard to do office work, parent work, emergency school closing work, and SANTA work. The Internet is CRITICAL! Luckily, I'm back in action today and had to let the world know! (I know you were worried.)

The past weeks have been an odd balancing act of way too much fast food (Thank you McDonald's for the "gift" of free Coke glasses...a constant reminder that I am NOT trying to put COKE in them.) and a total loss of appetite at other times. Were it not for my child insisting on meals - I think I would have forgotten completely.

The ticker has gone down a bit. And while this pleases me, I can't help but think - imagine how much better it could be if you'd actually exercised. It's a thought. My exercise ball has been taken hostage by my son - who now believes it is the only piece of furniture worth sitting on. Mother nature is not my friend. And it's hard to want to take your break on a treadmill which will undoubtedly lead to sweating when you have to dress as if you are trying to avoid hypothermia in your office. All excuses aside - I'll be getting serious about making changes any day now....really. This time of year has additional challenges - for some reason THIS is my "Ice Cream Season". It happens every year - did I eat ice cream all summer...not that I remember. But put a chill in the air and I can barely think of anything better! I've given into the craving a few times - but have avoided the habit of skipping dinner and going straight to milkshake. Progress? I think so.

On the soda front - I've made it several weeks at this point. Hubby decided to be ever so helpful in my mission - by picking me up a Diet bubbly at the gas station. In his defense, there was a day that returning to the car without a beverage for me would have resulted in a travel delay. So far, I'm trying to avoid the meltdown and the beautiful bottle is still safely sealed in the fridge. His days are numbered - but I'm really thrilled at my willpower...I've had access, I've had fast food, and I've had stress - and yet, I've had success. Yeah, me!

Here's some additional holiday strategies you may want to use:
1. Consider asking someone else to make the desserts for your holiday feast - and order something that you don't like. Let's face it - you'll be full by then anyway.

2. If possible, burn your mouth periodically with hot cocoa or latte. It really detours your ability to mindlessly chomp down on snacks.

3. If hot glue is involved in your gingerbread house construction - it becomes much less tempting to nibble.

4. Muster up some family drama - your overall dread of the event, walking on eggshells, and constant biting your tongue may just be enough to keep you from over eating!

5. Have faith. This too shall pass and then we will enter the season of bikini dreams-where the whole world will join us on the quest to have a little less of us to love. =)

Any strategies that will keep you from the "last meal" mentality this holiday season?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Random Stuff to Let You Know I'm Still Here

It's that time of year. The time when Janet falls off the weight loss wagon and forgets to blog. I thought I'd better shoot off something here to make sure you don't all forget me.

I'm hanging in there and doing the best I can with the working out and eating, but I'm far from perfect this time of year. I did walk with Kathy over lunch today, and we hit the actual gym Monday, where I did the elliptical and some arm and ab machines. I haven't done my push ups and crunches for probably two weeks, so I need to get back into that. I've done pretty well walking 3 days a week or so, but that's not as much as I'd like.

I went to yoga last week, which was rough but awesome. And I did actually stick to my "must do yoga every week" decision two of the three weeks I couldn't go to class. I can't go to class again this week, so I'll plan to do my video tomorrow or Saturday.

Eating... well, I haven't started any baking yet, and nobody has started giving me their baking either (what's the deal people?!), so that's not a problem. I did make X drive me to Dairy Queen last night for a pecan mudslide. You'd be surprised how many people in Missouri decide they need ice cream when it's 12 degrees and snowing. Go figure. Anyway, the doggies got to tag along and collect their free biscuits, so a fun time was had by all.

Regina and I talked the other day about the dangers of just letting it all go until Jan. 1 and that whole "Last Supper" mentality that can result in major gains. So, I'm still trying to make better choices, while not being hard on myself for slacking a little on the workouts or giving in to a treat here and there. But I do for sure plan on getting back into my program full force in January.

I haven't even weighed myself since the last time I weighed in and posted. I'm kind of afraid to look, but I don't think it would be THAT bad. Maybe I'll do it this weekend and update my ticker.

So, that's where I'm at. How about you? Sticking with your plan through the holidays, or allowing yourself some slack?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Meme

I'm tickling the fancy of Janet @ Stuff I Think About and answering all the stuff you need to know about me and the holiday...here goes!

1. Have you started your Christmas shopping?
The answer became YES, just this weekend. For those keeping score - I'm usually done before Thanksgiving...this December has crept up on me, I swear I was robbed of November!

2. Tell me about one of your special traditions.
For the past several years it has become a tradition to get lost, run inexcusably late, or have scheduling mis-communications - all of which lead to us MISSING Christmas eve service. Do you get credit for "intending" to be there?

As a better example of a tradition that actually involves "doing something" - we have a count down nativity scene that my son takes great pride in doing every year. Each day he is thrilled to tell me what he found - which is amusing b/c at the end of the year - HE is the one that packs it back up for the next season. This year he's disgusted with his decision to put all the animals first - it's Dec 7th and we have no PEOPLE in the scene yet!

3. When do you put up your Tree?
I LIKE to do this on Thanksgiving day while watching the Parade. It works very well if you are NOT the host of the lunch...this year, we do have it up - but we're still working on that whole "decorating" thing...it's a process, right?

4. Are you a Black Friday shopper?
Uhm NO. I don't like people that much - especially crazy, possessed, "gotta have it" people. And - I don't like 4AM. Period.

5. Do you Travel at Christmas or Stay home?
On that day - we will be home. We will travel a bit somewhere before or after.

6. What is your funniest Christmas memory?
It involves Doc Martin wishes, a misleading box, and a disappointing pair of sheets. I can't talk about it without a therapist!

7. What is your favorite Christmas movie of all time?
The Snowman - it's a silent cartoon with great music.

8. Do you do your own Christmas baking? What's your favorite treat?
Please tell me where to sign up to NOT have to do your own baking. Seriously, this is an option? Yes I do it. I mostly like anything that is yummy - I'm flexible.

9. Fake or Real Tree?
I have allergies. Real Tree Equals Death.
You do the math.

10. What day does the actual panic set in to get it all done?
Whatever day I happen to overhear the "....days until Christmas."

11. Are you still wrapping presents on Christmas Eve?
No - wrapping must happen soon after entrance to the residence to avoid snoopers!

12. What is your favorite fun time at Christmas?
Is there a fun time for adults? Oh yes, it's got to be the excitement before the opening of the gifts - that anticipation is the BEST.

13. What Christmas craft do you like the best?
This year I'm loading up on origami cranes -they are said to bring good luck. I'm hoping for an overdose!

14. Christmas music? Yes or no? And if yes, what is your favorite song?
Usually it's No. There are a few times that I can stand it - when decorating the tree, on that day or that morning. Carol of the Bells is likely my favorite - but it's recently been ruined by the Burger King song - ding, fries are done, ding, fries are done. It will never be the same.

15. When do you plan to finish all your shopping?
Moments after I'm done. Really, I recently learned that if you have low expectations - you are less likely to be disappointed. So I'm going with this answer OR before that morning - which ever comes first.

Want to play along? Here's what you do...
Just simply copy and paste the questions into your blog, and then answer them.

•Then tag 5 or more of your favorite blogs, and leave them a comment telling them they’ve been tagged.

•When you post on your blog, please spread some Christmas Cheer, and leave a link back to the blogger who started the meme: Heather @ (Top 10 Christmas) Heather would like any blogger to participate in this meme, so let her know if you do it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Healthy (well...healthiER anyway) Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe


If you're looking for a way to make your holiday baking a little better for you, you've come to the right place! This is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. I found it when searching for a healthier version to use during a nutrition workshop I was teaching. I love them so much that these are the only chocolate chip cookies I bake anymore.

The recipe uses canola oil for part of the butter, and ground up oatmeal for part of the flour. Also, I figure dark chocolate is always a "health food." tee hee!

They are officially called "Bev's Chocolate Chip Cookies" and I got the recipe originally from EatingWell.com
Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (my favorite kind to use is the Hershey's Special Dark)
Also, it's not on the original recipe, but I put in about 1/2 cup ground flax seed when I make them for a little extra omega 3 and fiber.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.

Grind oats in a blender or food processor. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in flour, baking soda and salt.

Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, egg and vanilla; beat until smooth and creamy.

With the mixer running, add the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop the dough by heaping teaspoonfuls, at least 1 inch apart, onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until firm around the edges and golden on top, about 15 minutes. Cool the cookies for 2 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Nutrition:
Per cookie: 99 calories; 5 g fat (2 g sat, 2 g mono); 11 mg cholesterol; 12 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 64 mg sodium; 55 mg potassium.

1 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1/3 starch, 1/3 other carbohydrate, 1 fat

I love them. Sometimes I bake them for "supper" and eat half the dough raw. I know that's bad for me, and raw eggs can give me salmonella. I also firmly believe that it's worth the risk.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Are You in Weight Watchers?

I went to Wal-mart the other day (not Black Friday I promise you) and noticed that Smart Ones meals were on sale for $2.00. I've tried those before and liked them fairly well, so I picked out five different ones and had them in my cart.

When I went to check out, there was an elderly woman in front of me looking in my cart, and she pointed to the Smart Ones and asked, "Are those on sale?" I said yes, for $2. She sort of looked me over and said, "Are you in Weight Watchers?" I said no and didn't think much of it. Then she got all flustered and said, "Oh...ummm...I mean...not that you look like you need it or anything!"

Well, NOW I'm thinking you meant something by it, even if I didn't think so before!

Geez, maybe I thought she was thinking I am one great success story and that if those meals got me this smokin' hot bod, she should certainly be eating them too?

At any rate, they taste better than the Healthy Choice meals.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Day After

How was your Thanksgiving? Did you eat too much? Did you load up on healthy veggies and avoid the pies? Did you go for a walk after dinner, or settle in on the couch to watch football?

Mine was okay. I had a pretty big meal, but didn't eat until I felt sick. I didn't go back for seconds. I had a 1/2 slice each of two kinds of pie. I didn't exercise, and I didn't drink enough water. But all in all, could have been a lot worse.

I weighed in this morning, and I'm up a full pound from where I started this journey. Only up 0.4 from two weeks ago when I last weighed in. I'm seriously debating letting the whole ticker "start over" on January 1 and calling wherever I'm at that day my "beginning weight." Is that cheating? Or is it better for my weight loss to truly reflect my highest point?

Anyway, I went for a long walk today, and I've eaten some homemade trail mix and coffee for breakfast, a big healthy salad and some fruit for lunch. I'm feeling okay. It's all about progress, not perfection.


Most Awesome Song I Heard While Working Out: "It's My Life" by Bon Jovi. I love Bon Jovi. They're as awesome today as they were back in the 80's, even if they have a little less hair. Are any of you going to see them on their current tour? I want to, but seriously, $128 each for tickets?! EACH?! I don't think I can cough that up. Well, I would for Olivia.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sharing Some Easy Yum Yum

I recently discovered a lovely little book called "Fix it and Forget It Lightly" - a collection of crock pot wonders ...how can you not love that? Below is the first recipe I've tried, even though I've marked many to experiment with. Must say it was so easy and so yummy that I'm already planning to repeat it!

Chicken Soft Tacos

1-1 1/2 lbs. frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
14 1/2 oz. can low-sodium diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 envelope taco seasoning (low sodium if possible)

1. Place chicken breasts in slow cooker.
2. Mix tomatoes and taco seasoning. Pour over chicken.
3. Cover. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
4. Serve in soft tortillas. Top with salsa, low-fat shredded cheddar cheese, guacamole if your diet allows, and fresh tomatoes.

Makes 6 Servings. Per serving 100 calories (20 from fat).

We did opt for crunchy shells -it's a personal choice. We used some low fat sour cream and low fat cheese to top. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Welcome to the Stalemate!

Also known as "Overload Stress + Impending Family Event + Long Work Hours = Recipe for Disaster".

For those that wondered...no, I have not been sucked into a black whole - close, but not really. After our long work weekend - I wanted to give my body time to recover. I swear to you I stepped on the scale and the number was horrifying...it had gone up above and beyond where I started. But some quick reflection on the fact that I swear every meal came with ZERO grams of fiber...and you can just skip the details but two days later I was back to where I was. I was a bit disappointed - this was the first year that I did not invoke my belief that "all calories consumed while out of town and working long hours DONT COUNT". So I got through the 3 day event with only 1 soda (in previous years I would have consumed a case on my own). I did fall victim to the brownie - but I resisted seconds AND I did not lick my plate - it was tempting. (in previous years - I would have consumed a bag of candy and then had an buffet of snack items on top of that) And on the final day, I did have 3 mini candies - and a milk shake. So overall, I was a saint.

And then I came home - while I had only CONSUMED one soda. I'd picked up two, not opened them and put them in my bag. Just touching them was enough to get me through- yes, I realize what an addict I am...don't judge. Anyway, I managed to drink both of those over the weekend. (proof that my theory of not having any in the house does help) Then I had a day at work that inspired me to crack open not one, but two at my desk - and trust me, it was a matter of drinking or going on a killing spree. So this week won't go down in the "victory column" either. But for every time I've fallen off the wagon, I have not adopted the "well, I've already blown in - might as well do this too...." theory. I have managed to keep some control.

And while most of my week was NOT successful with exercise, I did walk at my work event, and I have begun the one minute time trails with my son. We see how many sit ups and push ups we can do in one minute. It's a short torture, but I'm hoping for some results.

And I know we are approaching / now into the "New Moon" era...but seriously, what is happening to the world? Is there a secret full moon? Has swine flu affected the brains of everyone in places of authority? Has someone been spiking the kool-aid? Lay off the crazy pills please, you are driving me mad - and you know who you are! (and not in that good - gets you on the front cover of a magazine kind of way)

On the scale front, the numbers just keep hanging around the same place. And that's okay given the stress factor and the upcoming doom of the holiday feeding frenzy. If I can get through the next week with no backslide - that will equal success.
Did you even notice how much of the turkey day spread is carb loaded? Maybe I can sneak some fiber in the stuffing? LOL!

And a word of progress - it appears that maybe the secret to weight loss is exposure to the common cold germ. I have cared less about lunch most days this week - which is always a sign of illness. Apparently, if you have no energy left to care - you don't mind rice cakes with peanut butter for lunch. Is there a market for this? We shall see...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Paradise by the Elliptical Machine Light


This is my Most Awesome Song I Heard While Working Out for today. "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" by Meatloaf.

I love this song, in large part because it's one of the few songs X and I karaoke together. And we are awesome at it. I'm just sayin.' I don't want to brag. But we are.

Kathy and I went to the actual gym today on campus. We used to spend a lot of time in that gym, back before we both fell off the wagon so hard that we left skidmarks on the highway. We've been doing more walking than anything these days, but the indoor track was closed today. So, we hit the gym.

There is an elliptical machine there that I love. It's a Precor EFX546, and it's like a ride. It's fun. I work up a huge sweat, but I don't feel like I'm going to die. The whole experience feels like play time. It's fabulous.

I bought an elliptical at home (well, I kind of got it free actually, because X fixed some chick's car, and it was like a barter thing, but I might have bought the car parts in exchange or something. I really don't remember.) Anyhow, the important thing is that it is not like a ride. It's like dying a slow and painful death, and I hate it. It's not even a little bit fun.

So, I was on the elliptical going to town, and I had about 5 minutes left when "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" came on my Ipod. I've been trying to add a few sprints once in a while to my walking, when I feel like it. And this song is great for that. It has really super fast parts interspersed with slower parts so you can catch your breath. I basically just tried to make my feet keep pace with the tempo of the music, and I ended up getting a really good workout.

A couple times it got unbelievably fast. At the point where Meatloaf sings, "I couldn't take it any longer. Lord I was crazed..." I was going so fast I thought I was going to propel myself right off the machine and into the air. Which seemed appropriate.

But the best part was right at the end, as the song was winding down and my workout was ending with it. I was exhausted and sweating like crazy, and Meatloaf and the chick (who is that chick anyway? Does anybody know? Did she ever do anything else?) sang, "Prayin' for the end of time, it's all that I can do. oooh ooooooooooh Prayin' for the end of time so I can end myyyy tiiiime wiiiith yooooooooou."

Yes, I was.

But it was fun.

Let's Get Physical!

Seriously ya'll, this weather has GOT to stop. I was doing so well with my walking when it was warm and sunny and I could easily and effortlessly get myself to walk outside during my lunch hours or when I got home in the evenings. Now it's dark, or nearly dark, when I get home, and it's cold and rainy and nasty. It just ain't happening.

Kathy and I walked at an indoor track during lunch the last couple days, and that was great. I need to get out of the office for a while, I need to not eat fast food when I do that, and I love to have my exercise done before I head home for a relaxing evening.

Yesterday I had nothing to grab to take for lunch except a can of Spaghetti O's. I was not thrilled with this menu, and I secretly hoped someone, anyone, would invite me to lunch and save me from eating little pasta o's swimming in bland tomato sauce. Thankfully, at about 10:30, Kathy IMed and asked, "What are you doing for lunch?" And I responded, "Going somewhere yummy with you?"

However, that means we didn't walk over lunch. But, thankfully, someone up there heard my prayers, and my boss breezed in about 3:00 and told us all to go home. Because she didn't want to work. Which works out well for me.

It was still cold, dark, and drizzly out, but not nearly as cold, dark, and drizzly as it's been. I got home, went out for the mail, and decided it wasn't too awful out to walk. So, I did. I had on my winter coat with the hood up, but I walked outside. And it was okay. And I felt a little better.


Most Awesome Song I Heard While Working Out: "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John
You had to know this one was coming eventually! I love me some Olivia, and I vividly remember when this song topped the charts (which is revealing my age a little bit). I'd been a fan for a few years already, and this song was just HUGE. I'll let you all in on a little secret. It's not really about aerobics. At all.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Owe You Guys an Apology

And no, it's not because of the insanely depressing weather we've having, as I can't do anything about that. But seriously, it's putting a HUGE damper on my walking, as well as my desire to get out of bed ever.

I ate my second of two of the new Healthy Choice entrees. The ones I was wholeheartedly recommending due to the fabulous $2 coupon they were offering and the $1.88 price on the freezer shelf of Wal-mart. I declared that in fact I was being paid to eat these and would eat about anything under those circumstances. Let me be clear, HC did not in fact pay me anything for recommending their product. I just thought it was an awesome deal and wished to share it with you dear readers.

I shared that I wasn't terribly thrilled with my first entree, the Tomato Basil Penne. It was okay, if you're an onion lover, which I'm not. I ate it, but I tasted onions all day.

Yesterday I had Mediterranean Pasta. It looked like a healthy meal, with whole grains, beans, and veggies, so I gave it a shot. As it cooked in the microwave at work, I started smelling cinnamon. Which seemed inappropriate. By the time the microwave dinged (dang?) there was the distinct aroma of cinnamon rolls filling my office. Which is an okay smell. Even a great smell. At BREAKFAST TIME. Not so much in a lunch of pasta, veggies, and beans.

But, being brave, and determined, and cheap, I dug in anyway. It tasted like cinnamon. It was horrible. As in, so horrible that I didn't eat it, and I threw it away. I don't throw food away. I'm that cheap.

So, I tried to be healthy. I ended up throwing the "healthy" meal in the trash and going to Wendy's for a sour cream and chive baked potato. And I ate my pear. So that part was okay.

Anyhow, if you tried the Healthy Choice meals based upon my "recommendation", I sincerely apologize. But if you did try one, do share your thoughts. I'm very curious about the pumpkin ravioli. However, based upon my cinnamon roll pasta, and the availablity of pumpkin ravioli, Regina and I brainstormed other dessert/lunches HC might want to try and came up with these:

chocolate spaghetti
strawberry short ribs
beef roast with Cool Whip and a cherry on top
raspberry salami squares
pepperoni cheesecake
hot fudge mashed potato sundae
salmon with lemon chiffon sauce
and caramel crab cakes

Seriously, I want a commission on sales from these.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Healthy Snack: Banana Smoothie Recipe


I don't know where I got this recipe, but I use it in a workshop I teach about children's nutrition. It's really yummy and nutritious, and it's a fun thing to make as a snack with kids. I was just sharing the recipe with Kathy, because she said her son is fascinated with the blender these days (and teaching him to make margaritas just doesn't seem okay).

Banana Smoothie

1 small frozen banana, cut into chunks
1/2 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup orange juice

Put all ingredients into the blender and whirl until smooth. These are fairly thick. Add more liquid if you want them thinner. Make up your own variations using other fruits and juices. Makes 2 servings, each having 125 calories, 213 mg calcium, 10 mg vitamin C, 7 grams protein, and 160 mg sodium.

The original recipe called for plain yogurt, so using vanilla may make a few more calories, but not many, and the taste improvement is well worth it. Using the frozen banana makes it frosty and creamy just like ice cream.

For more great recipes, check out Tuesdays at the Table on Cole's blog!

Oh, and if you're anxiously awaiting the results of my weigh-in, I did in fact gain a bit, but not the full two pounds Saturday showed. When I weighed Sunday it was down about .6 from that. Still not good. Anyway, I'm back home and back in the routine, so hopefully I'll be moving that ticker in the proper direction soon! And I did actually do yoga Saturday as promised, plus I walked one day on my trip.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I Heard Ya Missed Me! I'm Back!

Two of the three DTBMMLF ladies were away this week for a work conference, so I apologize for the lack of postings. I know you're eager to hear how well we stayed on the wagon (or were dragged behind the wagon, or maybe run over by the wagon), so here goes my tale of woe (or whoah!).

I did well for the first 24 hours. In fact, I did extremely well. I was quite proud of myself. I didn't eat any of the table candy the first day. I drank my water (and one diet soda). I had ordered the vegetarian option for the banquet that evening. We had about an hour break between the last session and the banquet, and Regina and I did in fact set out on a walk, even tackling a couple small (okay, one GIANT) hills. There was a cocktail hour before dinner, during which I ate fruit and drank water. Okay, I ate a couple pieces of cheese too. And some veggies with ranch, but still, not bad.

I was very pleased. I went to bed at a decent hour and slept okay. I started the next day feeling pretty good. Got my fruit in at breakfast. Avoided the candy on the tables during the sessions. Regina and I even "took a lap" at one particularly long break we had and got in maybe another 15 minutes of walking.

Until boredom and frustration finally set in toward the end of day two. In fact, I was going out of my mind during a particularly dull and useless speaker, and stumbled from the room into a lovely display of popcorn, pretzels, Rice Krispy Treats, ooey gooey brownies with cream cheese icing, and soda soda and more soda. And I succumbed. And I told Regina, "I have officially crossed over into not giving a shit any more." I filled my tub with popcorn (small tub, but still) chose the gooeyest brownie, grabbed a Krispy treat and a Diet Coke, and settled in for more boredom.

Now, in my defense, I only ate about half the popcorn and half the Rice Krispy treat. Dang that brownie was good though. I wanted about six more. And then I ended up eating more than I should have for supper (which is really dumb because I wasn't the least bit hungry after my snack anyway). And the next morning, we had to be up an hour earlier, and I was exhausted. Which led to a bigger than normal breakfast and three cups of coffee (with flavored creamer. More creamer than coffee probably). And we did cave in to the table candy that day too.

Anyhow, all in all, I weighed in this morning and was two pounds up. However, I'm gonna weigh again tomorrow and consider that "official." My weight gets so crazy when I'm on the road anyway, not eating right, not drinking enough, not sleeping well, not having adequate bathroom access, etc... So, I'm giving myself a day, and I'll let you know.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Healthy Recipe Makeover: Twice Baked Potatoes


The ladies of DTBMMLF thought our readers might enjoy some healthy recipe ideas, so we're participating in Tuesdays at the Table along with Cole and others. If you like potatoes like I like potatoes, this is a delicious alternative to the fat, cholesterol, and calorie laden original:

Twice Baked Potatoes


3 large baking potatoes
1/2 cup fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided
1/3 cup thin green onion slices
1/4 cup BREAKSTONE'S Reduced Fat or KNUDSEN Light Sour Cream 1 tsp.
GREY POUPON Dijon Mustard
1/4 tsp. paprika

HEAT oven to 400ºF.

PIERCE potatoes in several places with tip of sharp knife. Bake 1 to 1-1/4 hours or until tender. Immediately cut potatoes lengthwise in half; scoop out centers, leaving 1/4-inch-thick shells.

BEAT potato pulp, broth, 1/2 cup cheese, onions, sour cream and mustard with mixer until well blended. Spoon into shells; top with remaining cheese and paprika.

BAKE 20 min. or until heated through.

I got this recipe through an e-mail from Kraft Kitchens. The recipes they send aren't all healthy, but most of them sure look yummy!

Visit Cole for more Tuesdays at the Table.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Now THAT's What I'm Talkin' About

I'm happy to report that after this morning's weigh-in, my little ticker is once again moving in the proper direction! I'm down 1.2 lbs. from last week!

I knew I would be. For several reasons:

1. It's just the time of the month when my weight goes down.
2. I had six "perfect" days this week, in which I met all of my baby steps goals.
3. I felt really good at yoga Thursday, like progress was being made.

So, while the number may be more a reflection of my hormones than anything, at this point, I'll take it! I know I'm doing the right things, and I can feel my body changing for the better. I felt so good this week about everything I've been doing, I was almost in that mode of not wanting to step on the scale. Because we all know we can do the right things and NOT lose any weight. When that happens to me I completely get discouraged and want to go eat cookie dough and lie on the couch, because what the hell does it matter apparently?!

Anyway, it's been a good week, and hopefully the current direction of the scale, my ticker, and my life, will continue!

Friday, November 6, 2009

In which I reveal my next baby step. And talk too much about my boobs.

Yoga last night was awesome, as always. Somehow I just felt like everything was "right" again. I felt strong and flexible, relaxed and focused.

I went early so I could walk (because I did in fact go to Taco Bell for lunch, rather than walking!). I walked about 40 minutes, and I actually jogged three laps. Not like all at once. I'd run a lap, walk a couple, run a lap, walk a couple.

Here's the thing. I seriously don't like running in public. Because my boobs are just insane. Regina has threatened to write a posting called "My Boobs are Out of Control" and if she doesn't do it soon, I think I will.

Anyway, so last night I was only jogging around the parts of the track where there are NOT hot men lifting weights. Because I didn't want crazy boobs flopping around running past the men.

So, as I was planning my next sprint, I thought, you know, maybe if I did more running in general, the boobs would eventually be less huge and chaotic. Then, I saw two women jogging who were mostly larger than me. Jogging past the men and everything. So I said screw it. And I ran past the men. Once. I swear every weight in the place dropped. But whatever. I might have imagined that.

Anyhow, yoga rocked, and during that time, my next "Baby Step" became clear. Yoga is only on Thursday nights. And I have to work the next two and can't go. Then the one after that is Thanksgiving. So...FOUR weeks until I go to yoga again? No.

I decided last night that yoga makes me feel so good that I cannot possibly skip it three weeks in a row. And I do actually have a yoga DVD that I love (maybe will post about that next week). So, my next baby step is that I WILL do yoga EVERY week, even if I can't go to class. I'll do my video on either Wednesday or Friday if I can't go to class on Thursday.

Maybe eventually I'll start doing the yoga once a week plus class once.

And, I'm concerned greatly about the horrors that next week will hold for my health efforts, because Regina and I will be away at a work thing. Long hours, lots of sitting, catered meals, chocolate on the tables. Me exhausted and trying desperately to stay awake. I decided last night to set a goal of walking one, just one, of the three days we're away, for at least 20 minutes. I know that's nothing. But really, for this conference, for me, it's big. I think I can.


Most Awesome Song I Heard While Working Out: "Afternoon Delight" by Starland Vocal Band. How is this a workout song, you ask? Well, it's not. Except that I just love it. It puts a spring in my step and a smile on my face. It's such a silly, cheesy, soothing, and dirty song.
I always though a fish could not be caught who wouldn't bite
But you've got some bait a waitin' and I think I might try nibbling
A little afternoon delight

I mean come on. It's fabulous.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Confession Wednesday Con't...

Since I'm too dense to figure out how to add to Regina and Janet's post. I'll just start a new one.
1. Having a bad, feeling like I'm a failure as a mommy, day. (the fact I can't figure out how to add to the post makes my day that much worse.)
2. I've eaten waaay too many McDonald's french fries over the last few days.
3. I second Regina's comment about the Diet Coke. Nothing I enjoy more after I put my son to bed than to get a cold glass of Diet Coke with a straw and sit infront of the tv, sipping my Diet Coke.
4. When I get into working out, I like sweating.
5. I like both the cake and the icing. Can't imagine one without the other, unless it's angel food cake. (which is my favorite cake)
6. Really tired of work. I just feel like being a lump on the couch today.
7. Very happy with my new haircut and dye job.
8. Very pissed at my mother-in-law at the moment. (a woman I normally love very much and get along with really well.)
9. Bought another new guitar that I secretly feel guilty about having because a friend just sold theirs for money issues.
10. Ate waaay to much candy on Halloween.

The Fat Free Scoop...

Confession Wednesday Button
We're dishing up a top ten confessions list in support of Confessions Wednesday and our online pal Karen.

Regina's Dirt:
1. I love French Fries - especially when I'm sick, there's no better cure.

2. I believe that holiday calories don't count. ("Holiday" is a very loosely interpreted term - National Sunshine Day could be a holiday, right?)

3. I like my cake naked. (without frosting- clothing is generally encouraged)

4. I'm totally crushing on Tom (my Tom Tom voice). Something so sexy about always having the right answer, never yelling at me, and always being flexible when I mess it up.

5. I fantasize about the perfect burning sensation of a ice cold Diet Coke. Daily. Sometimes hourly. Maybe even right now...

6. Bloggers give me hope that there is intelligent life out there...just not on my block and maybe not in my town...

7. I need to attend a "Negative Thoughts" Detox clinic. Referrals welcome.

8. I'm a yarn hoarder. I'll use it all - eventually. Or I'll give all my knitting friends something to fight about when I'm gone.

9. I've lost a Sunday or two to Lifetime (or some other form of bad TV).

10. When I visit the fitness center at work - I only go when it's empty and I can shut the lights off. (There are windows- no need for concern about treadmill injuries in the dark.)

Janet's Confessions:

1. I had McDonald's for breakfast. A sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit (oh, it gets worse, I had them ADD the cheese), hash browns, and an iced mocha.

2. I don't even like McDonald's mochas, but they're much cheaper than the coffee place where I do like the mochas.

3. Regina may like cake naked, but I'll eat icing without cake!

4. I'm wearing trouser jeans today, and I feel a bit like I'm getting away with something, because we aren't supposed to wear jeans at work. But I think I look more "professional" in my trouser jeans, nice top, and flats than my co-worker looks in her scrubs. I'm just sayin'.

5. Some days I secretly hope Kathy says she doesn't want to walk over lunch and wants to get Taco Bell instead. (She didn't say that today.)

6. I'm really very happy that Victor Newman is not leaving Young and the Restless after all. I was very sad when he was supposedly leaving. I get way to invested in these fictional characters.

7. X brings me cake sometimes from his work. Whenever someone has a birthday party there. I don't need the calories, and it doesn't help my diet. But I really like it that he knows I love cake, so he steals me cake.

8. I'm worried about my eating next week because I'll be away at a conference and all food is free (to me). I eat more when I don't have to pay for it.

9. I could work out, theoretically while I'm at said conference. But I won't. When I have free time, I'll shop. And knit.

10. I'm really happy for Karen getting her "SITS Day" today, but I'm also a bit jealous!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'm Alive! My Favorite Walk at My Favorite Time of Year

I had a rough morning. Mainly because I had a rough night. Have I told you before about my theory that if I could only SLEEP at night, I swear I'd be thinner? Of course, if I were thinner, I'd probably sleep better. Vicious circle. Or catch 22? Something like that.

Anyhoodle, it all adds up to my needing desperately to get out of the office over lunch today. Too tired. Too much coffee. Too many stupid people people who genuinely needed my assistance with legitimate questions and concerns.

We're having gorgeous fall weather here in Missouri right now. I can't believe it's November and I've got windows open and stuff. I really think fall is my favorite time of year. I read a theory once that people are happiest during the time of year when they were born. My birthday is in late October, so this makes complete sense to me. I love the fall colors, cooler weather, the sound of leaves rustling under foot, I even love the way fall smells.

I took one of my favorite walking routes today. It was just over 2.5 miles, which I know from plotting it out on Plot Your Walk. This route includes one killer hill I have to go up, a walk around a lake, a few smaller hills, even a big stairway to walk up and a concrete wall I walk on (balance is an important skill!).

By the time I got back to the office I was refreshed, both mentally and physically.

What's your favorite time of year? Does it go along with your birthday?


Most Awesome Song I Heard While Working Out: "I'm Alive" by ELO. Love me some Xanadu! And this is a great "pep me up" song. I heard it first thing when I started off on my walk today, which I thought was totally appropriate.

Monday, November 2, 2009

How do You Measure Progress?

I weighed in yesterday, and I was down by .2 lbs. Which makes me only .4 lbs. above where I was when I started this journey. My body fat percentage went down .1 percent also, which I think is a good thing. Even when my pounds were going down, for some reason, my fat percentage was not, which was troubling me.

I may start calculating how many pounds of fat I have on my body each weigh in, and using that as my guidepost. Because truthfully, that is the number I want going down, right? I mean the pounds overall need to go down, but I want to be adding muscle and losing fat.

What do you use to measure your progress? Inches? Pounds? Fat percentage? A pair of skinny jeans? Behaviors changed? Activities completed? Cookies not eaten?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Don't Stop Believin'

I don't know how many of you were actually reading two months ago when I posted about the "Show Me 60" challenge, but today is my 60th day. And I feel like I don't have much to "show you."

When I started the challenge I had high hopes of losing 8 pounds in those 60 days. A pound a week is totally doable, right? And it wouldn't have been out of the realm of possibility to lose 16 pounds in 60 days. Heck, if I were a contestant on the Biggest Loser, I could have lost 100 pounds in 60 days!

Alas, I didn't lose any pounds. May have actually gained a bit. I'll weigh in tomorrow and find out for sure.

But, I'm not despairing, because I realized this week, I am, in fact, making progress. Maybe not the kind that shows on the scale or in the waistband.

It first hit me in yoga class Thursday when I realized I could actually do the boat pose. That's the one where you sit up, holding behind your knees, then lean back so you're balancing on your tailbone in sort of a V shape. Used to be, when I'd do this I would literally shake all over. I was kind of embarrassed about it.

But Thursday, I did it. And I didn't shake! And I didn't have to stop before the instructor told me to stop. Yay!

Today, I walked my longer route, and I wasn't even high on Midol. And check this out: I jogged a little. Just a little. About a block, two different times. Tiny little step, but there's no way I could have done that two months ago, let alone had the desire to try.

Then I came inside and did my push ups and crunches. Six weeks ago, when I added my "baby step" of doing push ups (on the knees) and crunches, as many as I could of each, I did 17 push ups and 45 crunches. Today, I did 19 push ups and 85 crunches! Eighty-five! Can you imagine?! No wonder I could do the boat pose!

So, I've decided that I must not get discouraged. Progress may not come in the form, and with the speed, we want or expect, but it always comes if we don't give up!


Most Awesome Song I Heard While Working Out: "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey. Journey is of course the original and probably best version of this song, and that's the one on my Ipod. However, as I listened, I couldn't help thinking back to the version from Glee. And, if you're like me, (no offense to my baseball fan readers!) you are in a bit of withdrawal due to Glee being pre-empted by the World Series. So, enjoy!

The Games We Play

Some time ago, I confessed that I was trying to give up the bubbly. Diet or not, I keep reading about how soda isn't such a good idea. Is this really a news flash? Have you read the ingredients in that beverage? Oh, how I love you- my little chemistry experiment in a can (or in a Route 44 cup).

Dropping the soda was one of the top recommendations if you wanted to live to be 100 years old. Dropping soda is recommended to prevent sugar spikes and cravings - and I must say, that I've been known to have a relationship with a soda before 10 am - and I have noticed that on those days - I'm doomed before I start. If I start with a soda, overeating is sure to follow in one form or another.

And for me - part of the problem is that soda goes with all of the other bad foods. It goes well with salty foods, fast foods, fried foods, fatty foods, and follow it up with some serious sweets! If I can manage to stay away from it - fighting the rest of my food choices during the day can be a little easier.

So this is my game plan. First, I've experimented with lots of the flavor packets that you add to water bottles. I have found a few green teas that I'm fond of and I even located one "energy" drink that has low calories and a little caffeine - a pure lifesaver.

Second, I'm really proud of myself when I avoid the temptation and I usually try to drink 16 oz of water before I give into the craving. By the time I've finished the water, I'm usually over it.

Third, I play evil games. I've really been doing pretty good. And I really enjoy the benefits of success. I am surrounded by co-workers that crack one open on a regular basis. So, in my mind, every time I hear them pop one open - I think to myself "You are doing so much better than them..." I've come close to laughing with joy at what I perceive as their failure. (I know it's mean, I try to do something good later to balance out the karma.)

On those desperate days, I play another game. I can't drink one until everyone else in the room has. (And I can't / don't tell them that I'm basically hanging my craving on their shoulders.) Again, the thing is that by the time they all drink one - I've consumed enough water to not really need it or want it.

I've not been buying soda for the home - or I'm buying soda that isn't for me. For once, being picky has paid off. And because I am not good at absolutes - I haven't made soda completely "off limits". I feel free to indulge on special occasions or on days when I'm busy fighting other things. But overall, every day that I go without- I'm a little more capable of making it the next day.

In general, I've learned that we play lots of mind games with ourselves that aren't good for our self-esteem; at least in this case the mind games are helping me better myself. Best of luck to anyone else fighting the battle of the bulge / battle of the bubbly!

I just found this. Proof I'm on the right track!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sometimes it's Not All About Me

Sometimes it is. Yesterday morning it was. I woke up at 6:30 with cramps. It was pouring rain outside. Like as in loud thunderstorms pouring. I laid in bed a minute thinking, "Ugh. I wish I didn't have to get up and go to work." And then I thought about what I had scheduled for the day (nothing) and how many sick days I have (lots) and I realized, "Yay! I'm not getting up and going to work!"

I sent a quick e-mail to the boss and co-workers, popped some ibuprofen, gathered up the heating pad, and went back to bed. It was fabulous. I woke up a time or two, still hurting, and went back to sleep. I didn't get up until 11:30.

By then, I was feeling better. I still lazed around most of the day though. Doncha love being sick enough to stay home, but not really sick enough to feel awful?

Thursday night is yoga class. You know, the class I love so much? It was still pouring out. My cramps were gone, but I still wasn't feeling like dragging myself out in the rain to go exercise.

I live in a town with an awesome Community Center. It's beautiful, fairly new, and has lots of great stuff going on. But some idiot came up with a new rule that if there are fewer than six people who show up for a class, they have to cancel class. Like with five people (plus instructor) sitting there, ready to go, hauled themselves away from home, families, work, whatever. Not six? No class. And what's even worse is, if this happens twice. Class is canceled, like forever!

So, I'm debating whether to get myself out in the rain, and I thought, "What if I'm the sixth person? What if I don't go, and only five show up, and class is called off? What if only five of us show next week too?! AAAGGGHHHH!!" I can't have that. So I went. And there were ten of us.

Anyway, I usually get there a bit early and walk around the track before class. I just really like soaking up the energy of all those people making healthy choices for themselves. Tonight there was a young mom pushing her baby in the stroller around the track. And an elderly couple walking laps together. Three young kids down on the mat trying to do push-ups just like Daddy. A big group of kids were playing basketball in the gym. There were the typical women on the elliptical machines with their water bottles and Ipods, trying to lose those last 10 pounds. And yes, there were the usual hot 20-something guys lifting barbells that weigh more than my entire body.

As I walked around and around and took in all the various scenes, I thought, "Could it be that some of these people need to soak up my energy too?" I'm all focusing on how much I need them. How much good it does me to be around so many health conscious people. But maybe there's someone there who looks for my face? Maybe my yoga instructor feeds of my energy during class? What if you guys are depending upon my post to help you along your own weight loss journey?

I don't know if I can take the pressure.

I might have to stop thinking about that. But, whatever, I went to yoga class. (And I posted a blog about it.) That's what matters.

Most Awesome Song I Heard While Working Out: "Settlin'" by Sugarland. "Had enough so-so for the rest of my life..." Fabulous! "Find what it means to be the girl who changed her mind and changed the world" Love it! Excellent song to get me pumped up.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (numbers)

Yesterday was our annual health assessment at work- a dreaded event. Staff may voluntarily make an appointment to take cholesterol levels, do a health assessment, body mass index, sleep scale and then get a general report on how you are doing with one of the wellness coaches.

The first year this was offered, I was very thankful. I was curious about some of these numbers - being young enough that no Dr. seemed to think they were important enough to investigate yet. Mostly, it was good news. Year two - I was mostly excited, after all - I had good results the first time. However, year two carried with it a comparison to last year. Overall, I was heading downhill in most regards.

So here comes year three - and obviously I'm not expecting a cheering crowd - since I'm participating in this weight loss blog. So the results are in. Last year, my goal was to drop 20 pounds. This year, it appears I was confused by my goal as I gained about 20 pounds. That's 20 pounds above what I thought was 20 pounds too high last year. OUCH. Now, this was not a shock to me - I've seen the numbers daily when I step on the scale. It just hurts to see it in print and to fess up to the failure / obvious lack of motivation for last years goal. Generally, in life - I don't try to suck at things that I've set as a goal. So we will consider this the ugly part of the report.

But, don't fear, I also had "good". My overall cholesterol went down. My good cholesterol went up AND my bad cholesterol went down like 20 points. Yeah me! I attribute this success to the eating of oatmeal cereals and cereal bars, an increase in high fiber items in my diet, and my heightened awareness of trying to avoid fried foods / high fat foods. Let me be clear, I am no saint - there have been french fries in my life from time to time. But generally, I've been more selective of my eating out choices (because it seems that those are always the loaded guns). If I don't LOVE the food - I've stopped eating it. After all, if it's bad for you and it's not really good enough to make your tummy do the happy dance - why do it? I have also tried to pump up the fruits and veggies - I think they always tell you to do better on that goal. Is it also possible that my choice replace most of my chocolate cravings with dark chocolate has also paid off? I'm going to believe in the power of dark chocolate.

And then there was the "bad". My stress levels were at an alarming level - uh, you think so? Life is crazy - so much is undone - death has greeted my family - and I have worries, you know? So this wasn't shocking - but I thought I was holding it together a bit better than my survey results suggested. And the whole body mass index thing - well, it's ugly and bad. I officially hit the "obese" category (by a fraction of a percentage - but still, it's there - right in my face). Apparently my body composition does not have enough water content - which is crazy to me because I drink 3 times as much as anyone else I know. And, they break down the number of pounds in your body that are fat and the number of pounds that are lean. I was pretty happy with the lean number - until I realized it wasn't a percentage. Then I was less pleased. And to see how many pounds of fat you are carrying around in print. Well, let's just say- if the average baby born weighs 6 lbs, then I could seriously give Kate a run for her money - b/c I'm carrying more than 8 - I'm closer to 10.5. If that was something to be proud of - I'd high five you in cyberspace. Sadly, it's not.

So to recap. What have we learned? 1. Don't set goals that involve numbers - just in case you get confused. (This years goal is to increase exercise. Yeah sticker chart.) 2. It appears that the small - though very good for me-exercise that I have been doing on my break time at work (in the free fitness center, I know, don't yell at me) has paid off in some regard - just not on the scale. 3. I'm carrying approximately 11 children worth of fat! (that will give me nightmares) 4. Little changes do matter and they inspire bigger changes. 5. Use the resources that you have and build on the things you are already doing well.

Next year, I plan on this post being titled "How I Rock - Officially with Data and Everything!" Until then...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ignore the Woman Behind the Green Curtain

You know what I'm learning about how to have a successful weight loss blog? It helps if the author is actually losing weight. I mean, would you check in to get financial advice from someone who lived on the streets? Would you listen to a "relationship expert" currently on his fifth marriage? Probably not.

Yet here you are, reading my post anyway. Despite the backwards motion happening on my ticker these days. Bless you. Maybe this isn't so much a "weight loss" blog as a forum for sharing our struggles.

So, these are my excuses reasons for what's happened. It's not an excuse. It's just the facts about what's been going on, and the results don't lie.

For one thing, Saturday was my birthday. And you know, you have to celebrate on your birthday, right? Calories don't count if it's your birthday? So, I went overboard there. Also, I had to work that same day. Had to work early. And I hadn't slept well the night before. And there was free food. Free Krispy Kreme donuts, free chocolate chip cookies, free popcorn. Lunch was even on the company dime.

I've learned that certain things don't mix well for me and my weight loss success. Being tired and stressed is a surefire way to find myself overindulging in sugar, fat, and caffeine. I know it's not right. I know a nice healthy snack of an apple and peanut butter would probably do more for my energy level. (Or just sleeping to begin with, but whatever.) But when I'm in that situation, exhausted and knowing I have a looooong day ahead, it seems like the best way to survive the day is a giant diet soda and some chocolate.

Plus, you know, it's been raining. So, I haven't walked for three days. (Ignore the treadmill behind the green curtain also.) X and I came home from buying groceries yesterday, and I lamented how we just couldn't walk today since it was pouring. About that time I looked up and saw two of my neighbor ladies walking down the road, as they do twice a day every day, both carrying umbrellas. I have an umbrella. I still didn't walk yesterday.

I did in fact have four "perfect days" in a row, where I followed my plan exactly. Then I had three days in a row where I did nothing. Missed my vitamin, didn't drink a drop of water, I mean, it was sad.

So, there you have it. This is why I find myself another year older, and not a pound lighter. Oh, and I have PMS. Which is a whole other excuse reason.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What is Your Real Weigh Loss Goal?


I went to yoga tonight. It was awesome, but wow, I could sure tell I hadn't been for three weeks! The flexibility, strength, and balance were not up to my normal levels (which aren't fabulous anyway!). But still, it felt really good to go, and I am still super relaxed an hour later.

I heard somebody speak once about goals, and he/she (I honestly can't remember who on earth it was, but it's a common idea anyway) instructed us to think of something we want (like to lose 40 pounds). Then, think about how you think you'll feel once you have that. Your real goal is that you want to feel like that. Not necessarily the thing you think is going to make you feel that way.

So, this came to mind the other day, and I got to thinking, what feeling(s) do I truly want that I think losing weight/getting healthy/increasing my fitness is going to get me?

Of course, I'm human, and I tend to focus on the surface things first. If I were thinner, I'd look better. My clothes would fit. I'd enjoy shopping. I would imagine people would see me and think, "Wow! She's gorgeous!" (as opposed to, "Wow! Her boobs are HUGE!") So, the feeling at the root of wanting all that is, I want to feel confident in myself. And honestly, there are probably a lot of ways I can work toward achieving that which don't necessarily have anything to do with weight. Though they'd probably have an interesting side effect in that if I felt more confidence, I'd want to take better care of myself.

A more under the surface reason I want to get healthy is to have more energy. I want to wake up in the morning full of energy and excited about the day ahead (which, admittedly, may just not be within my DNA regardless of my weight!). At least, I'd like to have more energy once I get up and going. I want to feel like I can take a short walk, carry a heavy object, bend over, etc... without getting winded.

With this in mind, I'm trying to focus on my energy level throughout the day, and to think about certain activities, situations, and people that increase my energy or deplete it.

Yesterday, about halfway through my walk, listening to peppy music on the Ipod, I felt energetic. I made a mental note.

Today, during my walk, I felt like a slug. Just prior to this walk, I had eaten a huge serving of mashed potatoes that tasted yummy, but were actually oozing butter. I'm not kidding. Not like a pat of butter on top. A scoop of potatoes on my plate, and I could see butter seeping out of them. I'm thinking this could be one reason for my lethargic feeling.

Anyway, something to think about. I know I will continue to think about what I truly want from living a healthier lifestyle, and to take note of things that seem to help or hinder my efforts.

What about you? What is your real weight loss goal? How do you truly want to feel?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fessing Up

Okay, dear blogger friends I'm going to fess up. The reason I haven't been posting is because my diet is NOT going well. We did promise to post in good times and bad and this is my bad. Literally. First of all, the weight I lost has somehow managed to find me again. In all honesty I don't know how. I've really tried to eat better. Probably not as good as I should be but not enough to gain five pound in two days. Really makes me wonder about my body. I don't know how I do it.
My workout regime has not been great but it hasn't been bad either. I mean I don't sit on my ass all day and night. I actually do walk at least 3 days a week and play with my six year old son which gives me a good workout and if you knew my six year old son you would understand how much energy it takes to keep up with him. At any rate, tomorrow is a new day and I will keep trying. We got our ellipital machine at home fixed, finally, after being broke for 4 months. So, my new workout regime is going to include working out on it every morning for 20 minutes and every evening for 30 minutes. (At least five days a week)My non-meat is not going well. Mostly because we had our annual Murder Mystery Party on Saturday and my husband made ham. We have a lot of ham leftovers so I've been eating ham on a daily basis since Saturday. As soon as the ham is gone I will get back to a non-meat eating diet. Water is going okay. Although I didn't do well today at all with it but most days I'm doing anywhere between 40-60oz a day. So, now you know where I've been. Hopefully next time you hear from me I'll have more positive things to say. Thanks for sticking around and reading about my lack of accomplishments but I will perservere!

Making Healthy Choices

Okay, I tried my first of the new Healthy Choice meals, Tomato Basil Penne, and I must admit, I'm not a fan. Inordinant amount of onions if you ask me. I had it for lunch, and I can still taste them. I don't like onions much though, so if you're an onion eater, try it and go wild.

However, my Wal-mart now has these meals for $1.68, and with my $2 coupons, I'm actually getting paid to eat them. So I bought another one today. This time Mediterranean Pasta. I'll let you know how that goes. It has something crazy like 12 grams of fiber.

I've been doing well with my goals. I've only missed one day of walking in the last week. And I'm doing better eating my fruit. I don't know if I can call it another "step" but I've also started taking a B complex vitamin (supposed to boost energy, help metabolism, and improve symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, which I do have very mildly). I'm also taking a fish oil supplement.

I'm doing the push ups and crunches about every three days. I can't tell much in my arms, but my abs are sore like all the time. I'm up to 75 crunches on the ball. My push ups have not increased at all, but honestly, I think my form was crap at the start, and now I'm focusing more on that. So, probably doing fewer correctly is more important anyway.

Kathy couldn't walk with me today, so I hit the track on my own. I even did a couple trips up and down the bleachers. I'm sure my thighs will scream tomorrow.


Most Awesome Song I Heard While Working Out "The Rumour" by Olivia Newton-John. LOVE this song. I love Olivia, regardless, but this is a little known gem of hers that always gets me in a good mood. Elton John wrote it. It's fabulous. If you're not familiar, click on the link and you can listen to a snippet. The video is adorable too. It won't let me embed it, so click here to see.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

(Almost) Free Healthy Choice Dinners!

I'm feeling a bit better than I was last week after my weigh-in. Today I'm down 1.2 lbs. and my body fat percentage went down a hair also. I felt like I did really well this week. I walked every day, had my fruit most days, drank my water, took my vitamins.

It is probably about time to add another Baby Step to my regimen, but I still don't quite feel like I've mastered the ones I'm doing, so I'm holding off. And I'm not entirely sure which step to add. I generally eat a lot of vegetables anyway, so I'm good there. I don't eat a lot of meat. I eat salmon, tuna, beans, nuts, chicken, those healthier protein options, more often than any other meat already. I only drink skim milk. I can start going to yoga again this week since my long string of working Thursday evenings ended, so that will be good for me I'm sure. I've missed it a lot.

So, if anyone has a brilliant idea for my next Baby Step, let me know. Polls close at noon next Saturday.

Thought I'd share also, I posted the link to the $2 off Healthy Choice coupon earlier. I've discovered that you can, in fact, print off more than one coupon. It'll let you. Plus, it's $2 off ONE Healthy Choice frozen meal. Not like when you get $1 off and think that's awesome, only to realize it's $1 off FIVE. My Wal-mart usually has the HC meals for $2.50, so this is darn near getting them free! Yay!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Surviving Lunch at Your Desk

I have to believe that I am not the only one in the world that begins to daydream about Taco Bell, burgers, and a variety of drive thru windows as the clock creeps up to noon. I know I'm not alone here - occasionally I see some of you in the drive thru lane. And let's face it you can only eat SO many sandwiches before it will drive you - well to the nearest drive thru. You see I think part of the reason that I'm in this boat is because there is so much good-bad food that I enjoy - and sometimes good-good food is hard to find, expensive, or hard to have on hand- it requires a lot of though. You have to shop for the good stuff, you have to pack the good stuff, and finally the food has to be good enough that you actually WANT to eat it when lunch time rolls around. So I'm working on building my food vocabulary to include lower cal choices that offer good nutrition.

You already know that I am a trans fat freak! You also know that I'm pretty picky about bread - but short of these criteria, I can't claim to being a nutrition wiz. So I think we should bond together to share our best, low cal, ideas for feeding our bodies well while at work. I'll get us started with a few...

Laughing Cow Cheese - these little cheese wedges come in a light variety. It even comes in some flavors. At 35 calories a serving - it packs a punch! I have tried it on Toasted English Muffins and today I even tried it on a Blueberry Bagel (not the best bread choice - but a weakness). In both cases, it tasted great and I found it more filling than cream cheese. I also think it would be great on a sandwich to replace both cheese and mayo. So it's a small change that has helped me to lower my calorie intake while feeling satisfied.

Bumble Bee Sensations - This tuna kit comes with a seasoned tuna can and crackers. I tried the Sundried Tomato & Basil, yum. At 200 calories - you get the good fish benefits (yes this brand is dolphin safe too) and it was quite filling, quick, and didn't even need a fridge.

Quaker Oatmeal Squares - I'm not a big oatmeal person. I wish I was. It makes me queasy in the tummy -texture issues. But this cereal (that I eat dry for snacks, in self made trail mix, and sometimes even as cereal with milk) is so good. You can eat a full cup - 210 calories, no high fructose syrup, no trans fats, and 5 g of fiber. I use to think this was an expensive cereal choice - but when you break it down by serving, it's really no worse than most of the snack foods that I buy without thinking twice about it.

Of course, fruits and veggies are on the list. But honestly there are very few that I love while sitting at my desk. I do love Kiwi - with the slice it in half and scoop it out method, it's very brown bag friendly. Bananna travel well. And cherub tomatoes are super yummy and so low cal that they almost don't count- another food that requires no fridge. I do try to sneak in some dried fruits as long as I can find them without any of the icky chemicals / ingredients that I consider dealbreakers. I have also found a wonderful dried pomegranite covered in dark chocolate - they are too sweet to overindulge on and since both are considered the best of their respective food groups (yes, I consider chocolate a food group). So I've removed my usual bite sized chocolate candies and replaced them with these little treasures.


So there's a few of the staple items that are helping me to eat better and wiser. I'm sure that if we all share a trick or two - we'll all be loaded up with healthy food choices that will be so satisfying that the drive thru lanes will be empty.