Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Gym Is My Friend?? When Did That Happen??

I vowed at the beginning of July that I would get in a minimum of 2 work outs each week.  This week is week 4 and I think it's finally becoming a habit.  We've been walking 6 miles on Sunday mornings and I've been going to water aerobics on Wednesday nights.  But I've been adding in 1-2 sessions of riding the bike at the gym on top of that.  Last night I decided to skip the gym, and at about 8:00 I found myself thinking, "I kind of want to go to the gym."  For anyone who knows me, they would think hell had frozen over if those words came out of my mouth.  My biggest problem with the gym is that I hate getting sweaty.  Now I've decided that it's a side effect I can live with.  I just think of it as the fat pouring out of my body. 

My eating has been way better this week too.  I went a little off track over the weekend, but not near as bad as I used to.  I would expect myself to be hungrier than I have been with all of the gym time, but I think the heat is working to supress my appetite, which is good.  I'm determined to at least hit 20 pounds this weekend.  I want more, but I'm not hoping for more than that.  I'm setting my expectations low so I can be pleasently surprised :)

Time for food finds!

I love Chinese food.  A free Chinese dinner is the only reason I agreed to go out with my husband on our first date (I'm glad he offered Chinese food!).  I tend to have a weakness for orange chicken from Panda Express, but 1 serving eats up most, if not all, of my daily points.  It's just not worth it to me.  Tonight, I found mandarin orange chicken at Trader Joe's for 5 points per serving, and it's a decent size serving.  Not quite as sweet as Panda Express, but every bit as good.  You cook it in the oven, but it turns out crispy just like restaurant orange chicken.  Definitely going to keep a bag of that in the freezer.

We also tried a new burger recipe last week; Asian Beef Sliders.  These things were delicious, and even though one slider doesn't sound like enough, they are pretty filling.  We ate ours with corn on the cob, but you could pair just about anything with it.  5 points for my WW peeps, and 239 calories with 8 grams of fat for my non-WW peeps.  Not to mention they only take 30 minutes to make.

Asian Beef Slidres with Pickled Cucumbers - serves 8

2 Kirby cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced (we used vidalia)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/4 pounds ground lean beef (7% fat or less) - could also use turkey?
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons wasabi powder
1 1/2 teaspoons water
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise (we used low-fat Miracle Whip)
8 (3 inch) mini sandwich buns (1 1/2 ounces each), split
  1. Spray grill rack with non-stick spray.  Preheat grill to medium-high heat, or prepare medium-high fire.
  2. Toss together cucumbers, onion, vinegar, ginger, mint, and pepper flakes in medium bowl; let stand 10 minutes.
  3. Combine beef, scallions, chili-garlic sauce, and salt in large bowl and mix well.  With damp hands, form mixture into 8 patties.  Place patties on grill rack and grill until instant-read thermometer inserted into side of each burger registers 160degees for medium, 4-5 minutes on each side. (I think we cooked them 4-5 minutes total).
  4. Meanwhile, to make dressing, stir together wasabi powder and water in small bowl until smooth; whisk in mayonnaise.  Spread cut sides of buns with dressing.  Place burgers in buns and top evenly with cucumber mixutre.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Art of The Cheat

I finally have a handle on my food this week!  Granted, I've eaten all of the activity points I've earned, but I've only eaten 1 more point than that, and I'll make it up tonight.  I think my body is getting used to all of the extra activity as well because I'm shedding pounds like crazy.  For the last 3 mornings I've been under 190 on the scale at home which hasn't happened since probably 1999.  I'm positive I'll hit 20 pounds this week, and I'm hoping I'll finally hit my 10%.  It's so much easier to stay motivated when the scale is moving down.  The only downside to all of the gym time is that I feel like I'm not getting anything accomplished at home.  I think I need to find a little better balance, but with the pounds falling off I'm not about to adjust the workouts. 

As a little extra motivation, me and my neighbor joined a weight-loss challenge that starts on Monday.  It's something they are doing here in Kansas City.  We have 6 people on our team and the contest runs for 10 weeks.  Whichever teams has the highest average of percentage lost wins a trip to Arizona, including airfare, accomodations, spending money, and spa treatments.  It would be pretty awesome if we won, but at the very least at least we'll come out of it skinnier!

Through all of this I've had to rethink my "cheat" days.  I weigh in on Saturday morning.  I would then use Saturday and Sunday as days to kind of pig out and eat all of those bad things I wanted but wouldn't let myself have throughout the week.  Cheat day didn't mean just 1 splurge, it meant multiple splurges over a 2 day time period.  I would then spend the entire week playing catch up on the scale.  This week, I let myself have some indulgences on the weekend, but I made sure not to eat more than my daily and activity points.  I don't feel deprived at all, which was shocking to me.  I've also been a little better about planning some small splurges throughout the week.  I'm hooked on potato chips right now.  Probably because we found some zesty ranch kettle chips.  I make sure that I have enough points after dinner to have a serving of chips. 

I'm finding that losing weight is more mental than anything else.  I had made somewhat of a mind-shift when I started Weight Watchers in January.  I found through my plateau (if you can call it that because I definitely wasn't working the program the way I knew I should), that the path is constantly changing.  For a while, I could get away with having 2 full cheat days a week.  That came to a screeching hault and I wasn't ready for the next mind-shift.  Now, I feel as though I've made that next transition and can continue on my way.  I had to realize that while I could still have 1 or 2 splurges throughout the week, I couldn't have 10. 

It's all about prioritizing and figuring out what you truely want.  I want to be thinner.  I want to be healthy.  But I also want greasy, cheesy pizza, chinese food, french fries, and beer.  It finally clicked with me that to have the pizza I need to give up something else, whether that be high point meals for the rest of the week, or time at home because I'm at the gym.  Let's face it, deprivation diets don't work.  No one can eat like that forever, especially me.  But I've also realized that I don't need the bad food all the time in order to feel satisfied. 

Last weekend my splurge was sushi.  My dad and I went to the sushi train for lunch on Saturday.  They put 2-3 pieces of sushi on small plates, and a train pulls them around the counter.  You just pick off what you want and they count up the plates at the end to get your total for the bill.  After 4 plates, I was feeling full.  I ended up eating a 5th plate because it looked good, but all in all I ate 12 pieces of sushi and 3 potstickers.  Not necessarily an unhealthy choice, but those points add up.  That was my splurge for the week and I'm completely ok with that.  Next week I think my splurge will be Chinese food.  I haven't had any since our vacation in June and I'm craving it. 

I will update after weigh-in on Saturday.  Can't wait!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lack Of Planning On My Part...

Last week was not a good week.  I was crazy busy at work, plus the added gym time means I didn't have much time at home.  Breakfast and/or lunch consisted of whatever I could grab on my way out the door.  One morning that consisted of a can of tomato juice and a Ritz Whole Grain Crackerful.  I ate lunch out 3 out of the 5 days.  I went out to eat last night.  All of that added to the stress of my week.  I'm determined to not let that happen again this week, even if that means a somewhat busy weekend of prepping food. 

The stress didn't help me complete my goals last week.  The only goal I did successfully accomplish is earning back the extra points I ate last Saturday.  I was bad about tracking and measuring, so those are going on the list again for this week.  I'm also making a goal of working out at least twice this week. 

I was down a pound this week, which is good.  But I've got another 0.4 to lose to get back to my lowest weight this year.  This week is off to a much better start than last week.  So far I'm within my points for the day and shouldn't go over at all, even with eating breakfast out and going to the sushi train with my dad for lunch. 

Be on the look out for some new recipe posts this week.  I'm trying some new stuff, including Asian Beef Sliders and Spicy Thai Crab Rolls. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hawaiian Curried Chicken with Pineapple Salsa

This was so fantastic I had to post it.

  • 3 sprays cooking spray
  • 2 tsp peanut oil (we used olive oil)
  • 2 tsp ginger root, finely minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (we used kosher)
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 cups pineapple, diced (we used fresh)
  • 1/4 cup shallots, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, fresh, minced
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut meat, toasted (we used shredded in bag and toasted in oven)
  1. Coat a large skillet with cooking spray; set over medium heat.  Add oil; heat until oil starts to shimmer.  Add ginger and onions; saute until onions turn translucent and start to caramelize, about 5-7 minutes.  Add curry powder, salt and sugar; cook, stirring, until curry becomes fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Push vegetables to side of skillet and saute chicken until lightly browned, about 1-2 minutes.  Add coconut milk and reduce heat to low; simmer, partially covered, sitrring occasionally, until chicken  is done, about 2-30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, to make salsa, combine pineapple, shallots, and cilatnro; toss well to coat.
  4. To serve, top chicken with salsa and sprinkle with cocounut.  Yields about 1/2 cup chicken, 1/2 cup salsa, and 2 teaspoons of coconut per serving.
Unfortunately I don't have the nutritional info on this, but for my WW friends, it's 5 points.  At first, I was a little out of my comfort zone in wanting to try this, but it was so worth the plunge!  We had it with some Uncle Ben's rice pilaf and it made a great meal.  I saw one suggestion to use the salsa on a hot dog.  May have to try that one.  Enjoy!

Time to Make a Fresh Start

As you all know, the scale hasn't exactly been my friend for the last few months.  I've been stuck.  I wouldn't necessarily call it a plateau, because I haven't been doing what I know I need to do to succeed.  I've been eating too much and moving too little, simple as that.  Last week I moved a lot more, but I still ate too much which resulted in a 1.2 pound gain at weigh-in on Saturday.  This led to a bad mood and a huge pitty party, which led to even more bad eating, and now I'm going to have to play catch up this week if I don't want another gain on Saturday. 

At Weight Watcher's we talked about making it work with the tools we have available, instead of wishing for things that we know we can't have.  This struck a cord with me.  One of the things we talked about was wishing for a personal trainer.  I've blogged about this before!  In fact, I think it was either my last post or the one before it where I said, "I wish I could plunk down $400 and hire my personal trainer back."  I really think that this has been a mental roadblock for me.  I still have all of my work-out sheets from last summer that he wrote up for me.  What's stopping me from going to the gym and doing it myself?  Absolutely nothing but my mental state (and the fact that I don't feel comfortable at the gym, again relates to mental state).

Something else that hit me like a 2x4 was the quote that is on the magnet our leader gives out when a certain milestone is reached.  It goes something like, "Some people only dream of success, while others wake up every day and work hard to achieve it."  Have I really been working hard to achieve my weight-loss goals?  Have I been making a concious effort every day to do what needs to be done to get this weight off?  Have I been making a concious effort every day to make this my lifestyle instead of just a diet?  Lately, I have not been doing this.  I've just been coasting along on autopilot, and not really working the program. 

In an attempt to get back on track and make a fresh start, here are my goals for this week:
  1. Earn enough activity points to make up for the extra points I ate on Saturday/Sunday.
  2. Measure/weigh EVERYTHING.
  3. Track EVERYTHING.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

No Soda - Day 5

So my last day of drinking soda was last Thursday, June 30.  I can honestly say, it hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be.  Friday was rough because I started to get that caffeine headache around 2:30.  Saturday was really bad because I was craving soda.  I was not in a good mood.  But ever since then, it hasn't been a big deal at all!  I'm also happy to report that the only high-fructose corn syrup I've consumed was in a small amount of ketchup while out to eat Saturday and Monday morning.  This July diet may not be so bad after all.

Weigh-in was Saturday.  I was up 0.2 pounds.  I was expecting it though, I totally sabotaged myself on Friday.  I just couldn't get enough to eat on Friday night, and I think most of it was due to the caffeine headache.  The scale isn't being really friendly so far this week either, but I've been doing a lot of activity, and walked 6 miles yesterday.  I am super sore.  I know once I drop that water-weight everything will be ok.  I'm forcing down the water today, and I think I might go for a walk after work to try to work some of the soreness out.  I really need to walk the dog too.  I put her on the scale this weekend and she's at 36 pounds!  Yikes!  She should weigh about 28 pounds.  Looks like she's going on a diet as well!

I've been kind of stuck on the scale the last few months.  I know the reason.  I need to quit eating all of my weekly bonus points, and I need to start exercising.  I just haven't been ready to do either.  I'm really thinking about starting water aerobics again on Wednesdays.  I think part of the reason I quit going was because I felt like once a week wasn't enough, so why bother.  Stupid reasoning, I know.  Now I know that anything is better than nothing, and at this point, I'll take what I can get.  I've been doing this for 6 months and I've only lost 19 pounds.  Not exactly stellar.  We have a cruise coming up in about 8 months, and I would really like to drop some significant weight between now and then. 

I wish I could plunk down the $400 to re-hire my personal trainer.  I dreaded the training sessions because he made me throw up every single time, but they worked.  I lost a ton of inches last summer.  The only downfall was I didn't have control of my diet.  Had I been on Weight Watcher's then, I know I could have lost all kinds of weight.

Non-Scale Victory for the day: The guy at Planet Sub totally flirted with me today at lunch! :)