Sunday, October 31, 2010

Week 19 - Weigh In

I finally got back to my meetings this morning. It's been three weeks since I weighed in and I was really expecting a gain.  I was hoping not, but I was expecting it.

To my surprise, I lost!  I lost 4.8lbs!  Yes!

This is NOT saying I can do this on my own, as I know I need the support of the meetings. In fact, I know if I had been attending meetings, I would have had a greater loss. However, I'm thrilled with being  nearly 5lbs less!

This is going to be a fantastic week!

Easy stats:
This week's loss:  4.8lbs
Total loss: 36.4lbs

Friday, October 29, 2010

Food Fridays: Substitutes!

With the increasing popularity of the book series, Eat This Not That, I thought it might be a nice time to share some of the substitutions for key ingredients in recipes. 

Bacon.  If your grandmother was anything like my grandmother, most vegetables were smothered with a rich, smokey bacon taste. Green beans, bacon!  Spinach, bacon!  Cabbage, bacon!  Greens, bacon!  Now, I can't say I feel I need that bacon taste on all these veggies and most of the time I am perfectly fine without adding anything at all - I like most of my veggies steamed, no salt, no butter, no nothing.  It's taken a little while to develop the appreciation of naked brussels sprouts, but they really are delicious in a lonely state.  However, this weekend I'm making a big pot of green beans and potatoes.  I want to make it in the way my grandmother did, with bacon or a ham hock but without the fat that goes along.  So, I'll be using canadian bacon.  The key with canadian bacon is to chunk it up and add it close to the end of the cooking process.  I've used this in potato soup and it had that same smokey rich flavor but without the added fat! 

Mayonnaise.  Potato salad, macaroni salad, tuna salad - all of these yummy dishes are laced with fat from the mayonnaise.  There are a few different options for a mayo substitute in salads.  One is an olive oil mayo which has far less fat than the conventional mayo (and the fat from the olive oil is a healthier fat) or YOGURT!  Plain, non-fat yogurt can be a fantastic substitute for regular mayo in salads. I even give it a couple shakes of the hidden valley ranch mix (not a lot) which gives it a more seasoned taste.  Delicious for macaroni salad!  You could even try some greek yogurt as a special treat.  

On a sandwich, I've made a point to purchase some high quality seedy mustard.  By using just a touch of this mustard in place of the mayonnaise, I have tons of flavor and I don't miss the mayo at all.

Flavor for fat. As cooler weather approaches, I yearn for some of those fall favorite crock pot dishes; beans, stews and soups. Often these dinners are prepared with high fat meats that cook all day long. Rather than adding stew meat or ham hocks, I choose a lean cut of meat, fat free chicken broth and then finish it off with fresh rosemary and thyme for a stew or fresh cilantro for beans. In addition to the healthy benefits, I find I prefer the flavor of the fresh herbs over the high fat options and the added bonus is no more heartburn!

What are some substitutions you have adopted into your everyday cooking? 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

All He Wants for Christmas is Two New Knees

This blog post is something a little different - but something a little the same. I honestly believe very few make it through this life without having a cross to bear.  I've always thought of my cross being my weight.  It has caused me physical pain and emotional torment but it has also provided me a source of character building.  I am who I am today, partially because of all that I've endured.

My husband bears another cross - his is rheumatoid arthritis.  At twelve years of age he received a diagnosis that would change his life forever.  For years he was able to do normal activities.  He played soccer.  He was a avid surfer. Even today, his stories of surfing entertain the children and put a smile on his face.

He went to school for mechanical designing and has designed parts of some of the biggest rides with some of the biggest amusement parks in the country. He is a smart, creative, educated man, a fantastic father and a wonderful husband.

Although permanent damage to his joints had been sustained, a new drug called Remicade, an infusion therapy and a handful of other daily medications helped put his rheumatoid arthritis into remission.  Certainly, he still had stiffness and pain but it was bearable. He experienced joint deformities fairly early on, but he learned to adapt. He was able to lead a pretty normal thirty-something's life; whatever normal is for us, anyway.  We went to Las Vegas for my 30th birthday. We took the children to Disney World to enjoy the Osborne Family Lights. We could go to the mall and just shop around.

Then, all at once, our world started changing.  The drug therapy he has been on for several years, stopped working.  This is fairly typical of biological medications.  Eventually, our amazing immune system create antibodies which then fight against the biologic.  That's exactly what happened to my husband.  He's been on a plethora of biologics since then, none which have worked as well as Remicade - the drug was almost a miracle drug for him.

Each Christmas, the same thing is on his list - new knees. Because he is so young, the doctor really wants him to hold off on total knee replacements for a few more years; as having them done now will mean subsequent transplants in later years, which do not hold near the success rates. So, he waits. I cannot wait until his Christmas wish for knees can be granted. While it is only the replacement of two joints in his body, it will be two less that ache and swell.

 Walking is becoming more of a challenge as his feet hurt all the time. Some of his toes are now frozen in place, as are many of his joints in his body. I think this is one thing that scares both of us the most - the prospect of his body attacking the joints of his feet to the point of him having to give up the ability to walk.  Already, we limit how much walking he does as even a walk around the mall can cause him days of agony afterward.

It's difficult seeing your 36 year old husband in such pain, some days needing more assistance with daily living activities than others.  It's stressful knowing the damage his body inflicts on him everyday.  I wish I could take his pain away. I wish there was a cure. I wish not a single person ever had to experience this disease, ever again!  But, they do.

What does this have to do with weight loss and a fat girl fighting back?  Well, for one, I want to honor my husband and try to share some information about rheumatoid arthritis. Secondly, I want to use this as a reminder for all of us that can get rid of the cross we bear - as many, cannot. When I feel like I can't put in that 1/2 hour of exercise, I need to remind myself how blessed I am that I have the ability to do it! When I feel low, throwing a self pity party about being overweight; I need to remind myself that I can change this! In fact,  not changing it, remaining miserable in my body, is not honoring my husband and others like him that have afflictions that cannot be changed.

In a little less than eight weeks I will participate in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk to benefit the Arthritis Foundation.  Obviously, this cause is very near to my heart and I would like to ask all my supporters to consider making a contribution on my husbands behalf. My fundraising goal is $500. Can I raise $500 in less than eight weeks?  I hope so!

I would also like to encourage everyone to find a 5k in your area that benefits a charity - and get active.  You can do this and not only make a difference in your life, but the lives of many others - like my husband.

I will continue to pray for a cure for rheumatoid arthritis.

Click here to support me on the Jingle Bell Run!

Friday, October 22, 2010

This Is It - I WILL Do It This Week

I've been in a slump.  Not necessarily because I'm demotivated, it's too difficult or I'm not purchasing the right foods; but because I've allowed my busy weekends the last two weeks to really upset my routine.

I'm GREAT in a routine.  I'm great with knowing exactly what to do when, following my instructions, eating on a structured schedule and just basically doing what I'm supposed to do.  I'm NOT great when I'm out of schedule, at special events and on days where I didn't take time to plan.

I KNOW this, so why do I allow myself to get in this sticky situations?  Because sometimes in life we crave a little less of status quo and a little more chocolate chip cookies.

Ahhh, that's life.

After my post last week I really thought this week would be better, and in some ways it really was.  Most days I stayed right on plan.  I ate within points, I was active, I'm sure I lost a little bit of weight that I'm certain I gained the week prior.  In that way, this week was absolutely a success.

However, this week I still had a few too many "out of points range" type meals.  I counted them for as much as I could, but sometimes it's really difficult to eyeball something that has no nutritional information and figure out how many points it will be.  I try to guess on the high end but I have no idea how accurate my estimates were.  I guess the scale will tell me on Sunday.

So, this week, I WILL be on plan 100%.  I will drink my water.  I will get my exercise in AND I will blog to update how my days are going.

Hopefully, the scale won't show too much damage and this week will be a fantastic one!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My Renewal of Vows

The last few weeks have been extremely busy. I'm used to hectic schedules and whirlwind days, but between work, college, church, the children, illnesses, doctor appointments, and on and on, the month of October has been flying by.

The good news is, through this extremely quick month I have not gained weight. Last week I lost 4.5lbs. This week, well, I'm fairly certain it would be a stay the same, if not gain week, but I wasn't able to go weigh in to know. Now typically I can slide into another meeting to weigh in but that doesn't look like it will be possible this week. But that's ok.

Friday evening, even though I'm fighting the cold the children have had, I ran to the grocery store so I could be prepared this week. It's going to be a re-commitment week! I'm renewing my vows to myself. I will measure and weigh all my foods, stick to points and drink my water. I haven't been wavering too far off plan, but as things get more hectic, it is harder to track every bite, create the weekly meal plan, stick to the meal plan and even go to the grocery store to stock up on all the foods that keep me on track.

So, this week is it. It's the first week, all over again. I actually find that if I do this every couple months it really re-energizes me. I get motivated, I see a dramatic loss and I can then sustain it for a few weeks. When I feel myself slipping - I do it all over again.

So here's to a new first week, all over again. I'm extremely close to my 10% weight loss and this is just what I need to get over that hump.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Food Fridays - You Have to Eat to Lose

To lose weight, you must EAT.  I've put together a "day in the life" type presentation to share one of my average days.  I did not include points or measurements, but this gives a basic idea.  Enjoy!

Please note, after clicking the play button, click more and autoplay for the presentation to advance automatically.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The "T" Word - Tempted? Think About It!

We are faced with temptations all the time.  Maybe you're tempted after waking up late, rushing to work and passing by the golden arches (although, I can honestly say this is no longer a temptation for me).  Maybe you feel hunger pains with the flashing "Hot Donuts" sign when passing by Krispy Kreme.  Perhaps your employer provides a Papa John's Pizza lunch for all the employees and Papa John's just happens to be your favorite pizza, not that I have any experience in this department.  LOL  (Yes, today my employer provided Papa John's Pizza for all the employees in the building - was a very nice gesture.)

Temptations are going to be there, daily.  We have to make a conscious decision on what we want more, those five or ten minutes of instant gratification on a substance that will be gone in a matter of a few hours OR the health, well-being and ENERGY provided by making wise choices; eating healthy and exercising.  Some days, these decisions are much more difficult than others.

I've had a few tactics that have really helped me not cave in to these temptations.  One that seems to really help me is visualizing the composition of the foods I'm eating.  If the food is something like pizza, I visualize the glucose making up the simple carbohydrates of the crust and sauce, the amino acids in the proteins and high amount of lipids in the cheese.  I imagine how my body will process the macromolecules and imagine how much of it will immediately be stored as glycogen in my liver, muscles and yes, body fat.  Believe it or not, this really works.  I don't think it's necessarily the science that works for me, but just the fact that I'm THINKING about it. 

For years I allowed food to control me.  I did not practice self control, I did not consciously think about what I was putting in my body.  Rather, much mindless eating took place, many meals were nearly inhaled without ever giving a second thought to what what I was eating, what it was doing to my body and what other options were available.  I did it because it's what I knew, it was easy, it was comforting, it was just. . .there.

Fast forward to now - I'M IN CONTROL!  I can choose to take something, or leave it.  Oh what a liberating feeling! 

By the way, I did not give in to the temptation of the Papa.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Good Gains

If you've been following me, you know I had a challenging food week - I was at long meetings for several days where meals were provided.  They were delicious but not low fat/healthy options.  Even with all the exercise and my 5k this week, I still saw a gain of 3.2lbs.  I was expecting it.  I'm OK with it.  I had a lot of non-scale victories and next week the scale will be much different.

There are positives to temporary gains.  Gains can be motivational, as I know I want to stay on track this week, exercise at least five days and really rock the scale next Sunday.

But gains can also be insightful.  Honestly, my eating habits this week weren't that much different than those of my old lifestyle.  Which means, prior to doing Weight Watchers I was steadily gaining weight.  While it probably wasn't at the speed of 3.2 lbs per week, it most certainly could have been at least 10lbs per month.  What the heck was I doing to myself? This only reinforces the necessity of the change I'm making - for myself, for my husband and for my children. 

I'm thankful I get these gentle reminders every now and then. It truly helps me remember where I've been and where I want to go.  I also look forward to my "blip buster" weeks !  (Click here to read about blip buster weeks.)  This week, by staying on points 100%, boosting the activity and increasing my water intake I will be able to have a loss similar to a first week's loss.  That feels GOOD!

Not every gain is a bad gain.   Gains are part of this journey and if you look at it as a positive reinforcement to what has been working - the gain can really work in your favor.

So bring it on!  I can't wait for weigh in next Sunday!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Walk with my Grandma

This morning, I went for a walk.  A very special guest was invited to this walk and while I didn't see her, I felt her every step of the way.

As I mentioned in an earlier entry, my grandmother was like a second mother to me.  In 1993, she suffered a massive stroke, she survived but was never able to speak or walk, again.  She died in 1996, after living several years trapped in a body that would no longer function.  This morning was really about her and the many others in my family that have been affected by heart disease.

My grandma was always there when I came home from school in the afternoons.  She saw the tears caused by obesity as a child.  She saw my pain and was always there to comfort and console when I felt like no one understood.  I know she would be so proud that I was finally putting an end to that which has caused me the most pain in my life.

The morning was beautiful.  The last few days have been hot and humid, but not this morning.  It was cool and the humidity seemed lower.  A peaceful sunrise was lifting as I arrived at the park starting line, covered by an oak canopy.

The 5k started right at 8am.  Nearly 11,000 people took to the streets making a statement about themselves, raising awareness about heart disease and raising money for a very worthy cause.  I went into this walk with a hope of finishing in an hour.  I started strong, actually passing many of the walkers, not that this was a competition, but I had a fear of being the very last one to finish.  Along the path signs were posted, placing a face and name with heart disease.  Small children, the middle aged and elderly - all were represented.  I couldn't help but think of my family, many who have gone home much too soon and many others that are living daily with the effects of heart disease.

The first mile seemed the hardest, after that time and distance seemed to go fast.  By the end, I felt accomplished, it felt good to finish.  Even better, it felt good to finish right at an hour!  I did it!

My next 5k will be for the Arthritis Foundation in December.  I went into this walk with a small fund-raising goal of $100, which I was extremely thankful to surpass by $25.  However, the next walk is for the love of my life.  My husband has rheumatoid arthritis and I plan to raise $500 in his honor.  I also have another goal, other than the monetary contribution.  I plan to beat my time!  Tomorrow, training starts.  I will get my time for the next 5k to under an hour. 

I know my grandmother was with me every step of the way.  I could hear her voice in my head, encouraging me to do it, telling me she was proud.  I could feel her love and I'm so glad I was able to enjoy a walk with her this morning.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Food Fridays - Products for the Busy Life

I try to eat fresh, frequently.  It's healthier and it typically tastes better, but there are those days that life is just too hectic to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  I've found a few products that help me get through those extremely busy days, on plan, and without much fuss.  On days like that, I need dinner ready, start to finish, in under 10 minutes.  It takes more than 10 minutes to run through a drive-thru!  I try to keep a couple of these items in my fridge or freezer at all times so we can pull together a quick meal in a pinch.

Steamfresh Brown Rice - I've never been a brown rice fan.  It seemed each time I ate it I had to just choke it down.  Eventually, I stopped buying brown rice all together because I just couldn't do it anymore.  Then I saw Steamfresh Brown Rice in the freezer section. I decided to give this a shot.  I am so glad I did!  It doesn't have any additives and it really is so good.  In 4 1/2 minutes I have rice ready to go.  Steam in the bag and take to the table - it's that easy.  We often throw some lean pork, fish or chicken on the grill, steam the brown rice, steam some veggies in the microwave and dinner is done!  In less than 10 minutes, start to finish a healthy meal is on the table.  WW Points- 2pts per serving.

al fresco All Natural Chicken Sausage - This is an all natural, lower fat, sausage.  With a variety of flavors, the meal options are endless.  They cook in minutes and are absolutely delicious.  I recently made the Sweet Italian Style with frozen peppers and onions, a can of diced tomatoes, fresh basil and oregano.  We put them on lite wheat hot dog buns and topped with low fat Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses.  It was like having an Italian Sausage sub without all the fat.  Pair that with a salad and you have one fast, fantastic dinner!  WW Points - 3pts for 1 sausage

BallPark Smoked White Turkey Franks - No, we don't eat a lot of processed meats but this one needs a mention.  Let me first start by saying, these are not as good on the grill, the flavor just isn't there for that; however, they are fabulous wrapped in a reduced fat crescent roll and baked in the oven!  Pigs in a blanket in about 15 minutes!  The kids love them, they are much, much healthier than eating the high fat option and really do taste just as good (when done in the oven and wrapped in flaky goodness).  Because I do have children I attempt a "fake junk meal" each week just so they do get their hot dog, chicken nugget, pizza fix - but done in a healthy way.  So if you have a craving for a hot dog (admit it, we all get that craving) - pick these up with some reduced fat crescent rolls and enjoy!  Don't forget the mustard!  WW Points - 1pt for 1 frank or 3pts for 1 Pig in a Blanket

Weight Watchers Smart Ones Sante Fe Rice and Beans - Throw one of these in the microwave, open a can of black beans, fat free sour cream, lettuce shreds, diced tomatoes and some high fiber tortillas and you have burrito night!  It's fast, easy and so delicious!  You don't have to use much of the frozen entree for filling, so you can make burritos for the whole family.  It's one of our favorites and can easily be prepared in less than 10 minutes.  WW points - 4pts for 1 burrito (when divided by six burritos)