Monday, January 31, 2011

Snowtorious BIG - and Carb Cravings

So I'm sitting here on the couch with the Ginger Midget (my 7 month old Pembroke Welsh Corgi), and the hubby watching Intervention on TV and keeping an eye on the live weather blog in another browser.  The locals have dubbed this impending blizzard "Snowtorious BIG".  We've had freezing mist all day today and our front walk and driveway is a sheet of ice.  Depending on which news station you listen to we are supposed to get anywhere between 6 and 18 inches in downtown (about 5 minutes north of my house).  Then we're supposed to have 30-40 mile an hour winds and bitterly cold temperatures to go with it.  I'm looking forward to the 6 activity points I'll earn from shoveling the driveway, but I'm not looking forward to getting out in it tomorrow.  The department of transportation is recommending that if you don't have to get out in the next 48 hours to just stay at home.  I'm planning on going into work tomorrow morning, but we'll see how it is when I get up in the morning.

Tonight I made the Weight Watcher's chicken pot pies.  They turned out really, really good!!!  For anyone on WW, they are 7 points per serving, for anyone else, sorry, I do not have the nutritional value, but we estimated them to be about 350 calories. 

Individual Chicken Pot Pies - 4 servings
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 canned buttermilk biscuits
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a saute pan, melt butter over medium high heat.  Add onion, and cook for 3-4 minutes, until they start to become translucent.  Add chicken and veggies and cook until chicken is no longer pink.  Add flour and stir until it mixes in completely.
  3. Add wine and chicken broth slowly, stirring constantly so you don't get lumps.  Add rosemary, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil and boil until thick, or about 15 minutes.
  4. Coat 4 10 ounce ramekins with non-stick cooking spray.  Spoon mixture evenly into the ramekins. 
  5. Cut each biscuit in half and put half a biscuit on each ramekin.  Place ramekins on a baking sheet and put in oven.  Cook about 15 minutes, or until biscuits are brown and mix is bubbling.
This dinner was perfect for tonight because I have been craving carbs today.  I had rice at lunch, the pot pie for dinner, and then I ate an extra biscuit for desert.  I also had a Kit Kat at lunch.  I know you may think that falls into the chocolate category, but for me, it's about the sugar and the carbs.  I still want more.  I've eaten 36 points today (5 over my daily alottment) and I'm still hungry.  I want to eat that other left over biscuit and I want a Mountain Dew.  A bloody mary sounds fantastic as does some chips and salsa.  Oh, and now I saw an add for Denny's and I want pancakes.  Darn you carb cravings!!!  I think I'm just going to have to dip into some of those bonus points for the week and find something to get me over this craving. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Get Moving!

I'm stuck on the whole activity thing for some reason.  I've never been one to enjoy exercise.  That's not to say I don't like physical activity, I just hate doing things with the sole purpose of "working out".  I was always into sports when I was younger.  I figure skated competitively for years, and I played volleyball in high school.  I love to go out and play catch with my husband or take the dogs for a walk.  But I have to psych myself up to get to the gym or pop in a workout DVD.  Thank goodness I can earn activity points by other means.

For those who may not know, Weight Watchers revolves around a points system.  Every serving of food and beverage has a point value.  This point value is made up of a formula that takes into account fat, carbs, protein, and fiber.  The higher the fat and carbs, the higher the points value.  High fiber will actually credit back points.  I get 31 points a day that I need/get to eat, with a weekly bonus of 49 points to use however I want.  Let me put this in perspective.  A one ounce serving of chips is 4 points.  A 12 ounce light beer is 3 points.  Boneless, skinless chicken is about a point per ounce.  When you start looking at restaurant food it gets ridiculous.  A hamburger and small fry from McDonald's is 15 points.  Buffalo wings are 2 points EACH, and that side of ranch will set you back 8 points.  Even a 6 inch ham sub from Subway with no cheese is 8 points.  Soda is roughly 4 points for every 8 ounces.  Trying to eat foods that are nutritionally satisfying as well as satisfying to the palette can be tough.  That's where activity comes in.

The wonderful thing about Weight Watchers is that you can earn activity points that you can then trade in for more food points!  What's awesome is that you can earn activity points for just about anything that requires you to be up and moving.  Take today for instance.  I spent about 3 hours organizing my pantry, putting away groceries, doing dishes, cooking lunches and dinner for this week, folding laundry, scrubbing the kitchen, and putting stuff away.  That 3 hours of housework earned me 12 activity points!  I didn't break a sweat.  My heart rate was not elevated.  But I wasn't sitting on the couch, and that's what matters.  To me, that was more fun than going to the gym and going all out for an hour.

There are days when I purposefully set out to earn activity points so I can eat them.  But just because you've earned them doesn't mean you have to eat them.  I've found that when I eat my activity points, I lose, but lose a lot slower.  When I earn them, but don't touch them, I lose weight and inches faster. 

Moving more also gives me more energy.   I know that sounds like a bit of a oxy-moron, but it's true.  The more I work out, the more energy I have, which makes me want to work out more, which makes me feel even better.  So if you're tired, and have no energy, get up and move around, I promise it will help!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Making It Work

What an awesome weigh in...5.2 pounds gone, 74.8 pounds go to.  I got my first 5 pound sticker at meeting this morning.  This really does seem doable!  I was down 2 pounds this week.  Not too shabby for it being my birthday week, and all of the food that went along with it.  I swear it was Wednesday night at water aerobics that did the trick.  It makes it kind of ironic that we talked about getting in more activity today at meeting.

The challenge issued for this week is to move for at least 10 minutes every day in whatever way feels fun.  I definitely think that will go on the hot pink goal chart for this week.  I know I'm going to get a lot of activity in tomorrow. My house needs cleaned desperately! I can't wait until spring when I can start taking the dogs for walks again. Our puppy definitely needs the exercise. It's been hard for her to be couped up this winter, but with all the snow and ice on the sidewalks it's hard to get out.  I've resorted to chasing her around the first floor of the house. :)

I am determined this week to not let the snow derail me from getting to the gym.  We are supposed to get a bunch of crappy weather from Monday through Wednesday.  I'm sure I'll be shoveling at least one of those nights, depending on when it changes over from rain to snow.  I don't care if it takes me over an hour to get there, I am going to water aerobics this Wednesday.  I'm absolutely hooked!

The two other things going on my goal chart for this week is taking all of my meds and getting all of my water in every day.  I didn't do so well on either front last week and I really noticed a difference in how I felt.  I've been tired, sluggish, and just generally not feeling well. 

It constantly amazes me how energized I am after going to meeting on Saturdays.  I've finally realized that I have a completely dysfunctional relationship with food.  Weight Watchers is my therapy and I'm thankful every day that I decided to go back!  I can't wait to make this week work :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Three Weeks Down, A Lifetime To Go!

Well, I've completed 3 weeks of my new lifestyle. I think it's starting to stick...somewhat. I've noticed that I haven't been craving the really bad, fatty foods quite as much anymore, but at the same time I'm finding my current diet a little bland. I've been eating a lot of the same foods every day and I'm kind of getting sick of it. I need to mix things up a bit.
I did find some new recipes to try out for dinner so I'm excited about that. First up on the menu is individual chicken pot pies. I will report back on how it tastes after I make them next week. I also found recipes for potato chowder, spaghetti with meat sauce, and a citrus-garlic marinated pork loin. If I find something really good I will definately share.
Meanwhile, I really need to come up with some new breakfast and lunch ideas.  Almost every morning I eat turkey sausage links.  I'm pretty much ok with breakfast.  Lunches vary, but I've been eating out a lot. While I've managed to stay within my points doing this, I know I could be making better food choices.  Lunch is tough.  I've eaten so many frozen diet meals in my life that there are very few that I can stand any more.  I'm not a big fan of canned soup either, and sandwiches get really old, really quick.  Leftovers from the night before aren't an option either, because we make a big batch of whatever for dinner and then eat the left overs the next few days for dinner.  Maybe we should rethink the way we do dinner.  I just don't want our food costs to go up astronomically.  Food is getting more expensive anyway, I really don't want to have to buy more. 
In addition to finding new things to eat, I need to find new things to do for work-outs.  I went to water aerobics on Wednesday night for the first time in probably 10 years and had an absolute blast!  I am really sore today from it, but I like this kind of pain.  Unfortunately, I can only make it to 1 class a week.  I wish there was a way that I could make it to the Tuesday and Thursday classes at 9am, but with work, that's out of the question.  I need to find another class or something.  Just going to the gym and doing cardio and/or weights is really boring.  I have decided that I'm going to start doing my Couch to 5k program again.  It'll be awesome once I get done with that and can actually run for 45 minutes at a time.  But I need something fun to build some muscle.  I miss my personal trainer.
One small victory to note this week. Shortly after I started Weight Watcher's I had Kevin take my measuerments, arms, chest, waist, and legs. I am happy to report that since the first measuerments were taken I've lost a total of 5 and a half inches!
Tomorrow morning is weigh-in.  I know I'm going to be down, but I'm not making any predictions as to how much.  We'll just all have to be surprised!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I Got Nothin

Sorry folks, I've got a complete mental block tonight.  I've been trying to think all evening of what to write about, but I've got nothing.  I've been working the plan, trying to do the best I can, getting in some movement, nothing new.  I asked Kevin what I should write about and he suggested I write about the future.  The only thing that comes to mind at present when I think about the future is how awesome I'm going to look laying on the beach in Jamaica on Christmas Day 2012.  :)

G'nite folks!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Too Much Weigh, Too Little Time

So here it is, Wednesday night, and the scale has hardly moved this week.  I've only got 2 days before weigh-in and I'm not expecting it to be a good one. 

A few weeks ago I made a goal chart for myself.  Yes, I went back to kindergarten.  It's hot pink, and for each goal I hit every day I get a silver star sticker.  Last week out of a possible 28 starts, I got 20.  This week, out of 20 available stars so far, I have 5.  Ugh. 

My downfall this week has been lack of planning.  I know you'd probably think it was my birthday, and all the eating-out, but really, I haven't planned things this week.  Normally, I know before I go to bed at night what I'm going to be eating the next day.  I know exactly what I need to grab out of the fridge in the morning, and 9 times out of 10, I stick to that eating plan.  Now, if I'm craving sushi or something, sometimes I will leave my packed lunch in the fridge and go get what I really want, but that tends to be more of the exception than the norm. 

I haven't had anything planned for lunches this week.  I didn't have any food logged into my tracker prior to eating breakfast.  I've just been kind of winging it.  And it's not working.  Last week I planned my day to get all of my fruits/veggies in.  I planned my day to get my dairy in.  I have done none of that this week. 

More than noticing the scale isn't moving, I've noticed how awful I feel since I'm not getting all of my water in.  I have the biggest headache tonight and I know it's because I only had half of my water. 

Well, what's done is done, or not done in this case.  Tomorrow is a new day, and a chance to make better decisions.  Time to put food in my tracker for tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Today I'm 30

A quick housekeeping note...I added a title to yesterday's blog, compliments of my FB friend Norman.  Along with a happy birthday note, he wrote that birthday cake counts as a salad if you put a crouton on top.  I wish I would have had that quote yesterday because it went so well with yesterday's blog.  Thanks Norman!

Now, onto business...

Today I turned 30.  A year ago I was saying that it was the last birthday I was having.  I was going to be 29 forever.  Now that the big 3-0 has come and almost gone, I'm ok with it.  I'm actually excited to see what my 30's bring.  My early 20's were some what of a tragedy and I wouldn't want to relive them on a bet.  The later have of my 20's had their ups and downs, but were over-all pretty good.  I was finally starting to figure some things out; figure out who I was.  I also met my wonderful husband.  Now, today, I look at what my life has become and it's pretty fabulous!  I have the most adoring husband I could ever hope for, a great job, great friends, 2 wonderful dogs (ok, one wonderful dog and one spit-fire that I love dearly), a great house, a car that runs, family close by...I really couldln't ask for more!  Well, except to be skinny...and maybe have a maid. :)  My life is good!

It would appear as though most of my life is in order, now I've just got to get the weight thing under control.  This week has been a bit of a struggle.  I was expecting it to be rough with my big birthday thrown into the mix.  But this is real-life, and I'm making a life-style change.  That doesn't mean denying myself special occasions and indulgences.  I really should have gone to the gym today, but I decided that it was my birthday and I didn't want to.  I should have ordered something other than the fish and chips at lunch, or at the very least not have eaten it all, but it's my birthday and that's what I wanted.  Tomorrow starts a new day, a new set of points, and not only new decisions to make, but new challenges to deal with. 

Last Saturday in our Weight Watcher's meeting, we talked about eating in the real world.  Little did I know how much I would relate this week.  Some people go on a very strict, very regimented diet and/or exercise program in an effort to try to lose weight.  That may work phenomenally well in the short run.  Had I been trying to lose weight like that, I would have completely blown it this week.  As my leader said this week, "I got to have my cake, and eat it to!" - and no Norman, I didn't put a crouton on it!

Tomorrow - my first day back at water aerobics in about 10 years.  I'm a little scared!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Birthday Cake Counts as a Salad if You Put a Crouton on Top

*Title compliments of my FB friend, Norman.

Before I started this journey, the saying of  "fat = flavor" was on my mind  It's true.  Fat does equal flavor.  Which tastes better?  A nice marbled ribeye with butter spread over it right before serving or some steamed veggies?  Which tastes better?  Mayo or mustard on your sandwich?  Which tastes better?  French fries or a plain baked potato?  I chose "A" on all of the questions.  Then I started thinking, "well, God made the food system this way, maybe He just wants us to be fat."  I know that is absolutely ridiculous, but I had the entire conversation in my head.  I was trying to use it as a justification to sit on my fat, lazy behind and do nothing about my problem. 

I used to try to justify being overweight all the time.  I used to hope I would get pregnant because then I would have a reason to be fat.  I would lie to myself and say I was working out more than I really was, or that I was eating less than I really was.  I would use the weather as an excuse not to go to the gym, even when I really could have made it.  I would make horrible food choices all while telling myself that I was going to make a better choice tomorrow, but that better choice never happened for any number of reasons.  It was easier to lie to myself and make excuses than deal with the problem. 

I've always looked for the easiest way to deal with things.  I used to call it being efficient.  No, I know that it's being lazy.  Nothing worth having is ever easy.  No one is going to wave their pink, bedazzled wand and make me instantly skinny and healthy.  I used to think it was that easy and it would happen.  I would binge and get on the scale the next morning expecting my weight to be lower.  I really was delusional. 

I've come to realize and admit that the only one who can fix this is me.  No one else can make me skinny or healthy.  No one else can force me to make the right decisions.  No one can force me to go to the gym.  No one can force healthy food down my throat.  It's all on me.  Sometimes, that's a really scary thought.  But I look back at my life and think of the things I've been through and I start to realize that I'm strong enough to do this.  No more justifying, no more excuses.  I am going to do this.

"A wish changes nothing, a decision changes everything." - Martha Atkinson, my Weight Watcher's leader.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Goals For Week 3

If you're like me, you like to taste things.  One bit here, a lick there.  We don't really thing about or pay attention to those little bites when we're trying to lose weight.  We think, "It's just a little bite, those calories don't count."  Well, let me tell you, those little bites, licks, and tastes add up, and depending on the type of food, add up fast!

Last night the whole family went to The Melting Pot for my birthday.  I had already planned on throuroughly enjoying myself and indulging in all of the yummy food.  I pulled the menu up online and started entering all of the different yummy things I was going to eat into my food tracker.  Most of the things were 1-2 ounces each and had low point values.  I was getting really excited.  Once I put the final item of food into my tracker, I looked at the points total for dinner.  It came to 47.  I get 49 bonus points for the entire week.  Two ounces of chicken for 2 points, plus 2 slices of bread for 2 points, plus 2 ounces of shrimp for 2 points, plus, plus plus.  It all adds up.  I had never really paid much attention to my little bites until seeing it on paper last night.  Which brings me to goal number 1 for this week.

Goal #1 - track every little morsel that goes into my mouth.  Even if it's just a small bite of something off of Kevin's plate, or picking up that piece of food that fell out of the pan and onto the counter, it's going in my points tracker.

Goal #2 - take all of my meds, every day.  This sounds like a gimme goal, but for me, it'll be a struggle.  I'm on 4 different meds that I have to take at different times of the day.  One med I have to take 3 times a day and normally I only get 2 of those 3 pills in. 

Goal #3 - get in all of my good health guidlines every day.  This one is kind of a carry-over from last week.  This includes getting at least 6 glasses of water, 5 fruits and/or veggies, 2 servings of dairy, 2 servings of healthy oil, take a multi-vitamin, and get 30 minutes of activity a day. 

Goal #4 - park a level down in the garage at work and take the stairs.  This is just one more way to get a little more movement in every day.

So far this lifestyle change hasn't been too hard to handle and I'm excited to see what this week has in store!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Week 3

This morning was weigh-in.  By the time I got on the scale at the meeting it said I'd lost .8 pounds since last week.  Not quite what I was expecting, but it was a loss!  So far I've lost 3.2 pounds, so that means I have 76.8 pounds to go. I'm still above my 1lb a week average so I'm happy.  I know it was not getting in my waters on Thursday and Friday that caused the smaller than expected loss.

So I'm starting off week 3 with a bang!  Tonight is my birthday dinner at The Melting Pot.  We figured, hey, you only turn 30 once right?  Why not do it up big?  The most awesome thing is, I can totally work this into my lifestyle without counting it as a cheat!  I went through the menu we are looking at having for tonight and entered everything into the Weight Watcher's website.  Granted, I am going to be using almost all of my bonus points for the week during dinner tonight, but I'm still within my points!  I don't have an ounce of guilt about what I'm going to be eating.  Now, I'm going to have to make really good food choices during the rest of the week, as well as up the activity, but I love that I can have this splurge.

It was very appropriate that we talked about "eating in the real world" at meeting this morning, given what we're doing for dinner tonight. The key to successful weight loss is not feeling deprived.  If you diet in such a regimented way that you are either "on program" or "off program" you are not going to succeed.  Well, you may succeed in meeting your goal weight, but you aren't going to stay there.  No one can eat like that for the rest of their lives.  You have to learn to be flexible.  You have to set realistic goals for yourself.  You can eat "naughty" foods, as long as you do so in moderation.  Do I go eat a full spread at The Melting Pot, or any other restaurant for that matter, all the time?  Absolutely not.  But tonight's splurge isn't going to derail my journey.

Tomorrow I will discuss the goals I've set for myself this week :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

The End of Week 2

So tonight marks the end of my second official week on my new life-style journey.  This week has been exceptionally better than last week.

My biggest revelation to myself this week is that I have been chronically dehydrated for the better part of my life.  Prior to this mind shift, I was lucky to have a glass of water a day.  My liquid diet consisted of Mountain Dew and Diet Coke.  Maybe I would throw in a Diet Snapple occaisionally, but it was mostly Mountain Dew.  This week I made a goal to drink 6 8 ounce glasses of water a day, or 48 ounces per day.  I hate water.  When I get to about half a bottle I start to gag at the thought of having to swallow it.  I am happy to report that for 5 out of the last 7 days, I drank all of my water.  I have been AMAZED at how much better I've felt!  I haven't been as sluggish, my skin has looked better, and the best part, I haven't been hungry. 

A little tip - drink your water with and/or after a meal.  I've always been told that if you feel hungry to drink some water because sometimes your body confuses being thristy with being hungry. Whenever I've tried to just force water down, it always made me hungrier.  Well, this week, I found out that if I drink my water during and/or after a meal it really fills me up.  The up side to this is I don't eat as much during the meal, and I'm not inclined to snack afterwards. 

A smaller, but equally exciting revelation this week is that I've noticed myself pushing my plate away once I start to feel full, without really thinking about it.  For too long I have been a member of "The Clean Plate Club."  I blame family who always made us kids clean our plates before we could open presents at Grandma's house on Christmas Eve.  But I digress, it's always been hard for me to let food go to waste.  It's just too good.  I ate quite a few meals at work this week, both breakfast and lunch.  I would eat as I worked.  An hour or so after I had originlly heated up the meal and brough it to my desk, I noticed I had slid the plate up by my computer monitor so I could work, and every time there was food left.  Now, granted, I would usually finish the food later, but I wouldn't eat it until I was hungry.

The scale has been moving this week, which makes me happy and keeps me motivated.  Tomorrow morning is weigh-in.  I'm hoping for around 3 pounds, but will be perfectly happy with just 1.  That is my acceptable rate of weight loss after all.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow...Ugh

Foiled by the weather again!  This is the 4th week I was supposed to go to water aerobics on Wednesday night, but for the second time I've been prohibited by the snow.  We are in the middle of a winter storm.  In the last 3 hours we've gotten between 2 and 3 inches of snow.  Roads look like parking lots, and my normal 5 minute commute home took 20.  While I'm sad that I don't get to go to the gym, I am going to get some exercise by shoveling the driveway.  We're supposed to get about 7-9 inches by the time this is all over tomorrow morning.   I'm really sick of winter!

Now for life-style I stated in my first post, I am on Weight Watchers.  For those unfamiliar, that means I get a certain number of points I get to eat each day, along with an allotment of what I refer to as bonus points each week.  Points are calculated by taking into account fat, carbs, fiber, and protein.  The higher the fat and carbs, the higher points value a food has.  I have no idea how many calories I get each day and I think that's a good thing.  With this kind of calculation, I am forced to make good food choices.  I know an apple is about 100 calories.  I know a snack pack of cookies is 100 calories.  Before, when I've counted calories, I would have picked the cookies every time.  On Weight Watchers, the apple is 0 points, as is all fresh fruit, and the cookies are 3-4 points.  This time around I choose the apple almost every time. 

I'm really having to relearn everything I thought I knew about food and losing weight.  Now, not only am I eating less calories, but I'm eating more nutritious foods as well.  Don't get me wrong, I had a Kit Kat with my lunch today, so those things are still allowed, I just can't do it as often. 

I had a little victory today as well.  This is the first day that I've actually stayed within my daily points instead using some bonus points.  Hopefully it reflects well on the scale Saturday. 

And now, a pic from my front porch...oh how I wish I was in Jamaica.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My New Life-Style

As my blog title states, I am a fluffy redhead.  I've got about 80 pounds to lose, well 77.6 to be exact. 

A little background info is in order before I kick this thing off.    I have been overweight for about 11 and a half years.  After I graduated from high school I blew up like the Hindenberg.  My activity level dropped significantly, I started eating out for almost every meal, and I was in a high stress situation.  Oh, and I quit smoking.  All of these things added up to 60 pounds in about 6 months and those 60 pounds have been hanging on ever since, give or take 20 pounds. 

I turn 30 in a week.  I have high blood pressure, boarderline high cholesterol, I'm insulin resistant and I'm sick of it.  I decided around Christmas that I needed to make a change.  I don't just need to get the weight off, I need to get healthy.  I'm not on a diet.  Let me repeat, I'm not on a diet.  I am making a lifestyle change.  I will eat and exercise on this journey the way I am willing to eat and exercise for the rest of my life.

This all started when I joined Weight Watchers on January 8th.  I've been on WW several other times.  I usually did pretty good at first.  I would lose 20 pounds or so and the I'd quit, usually thinking I could do it on my own without paying.  But each time I quit I'd gain all of the weight back and then some.  Before, I always made it a diet to reach some arbitrary goal.  This time I'm making it a lifestyle.

While a lot of my posts will talk about what I'm doing on Weight Watchers, hopefully there will be a few nuggets of good advice for the average person, as well as people wanting to lose weight, but doing so by other means. 

Like I said, I have 77.6 pounds to lose.  My goal is to average a pound a week weight loss.  Right now, I'm a week and a half ahead.

Stay tuned for the ups, downs, triumphs, slip-ups, joys, and let downs of my weight loss journey.  Come September 2012 I will be a completely different person.