Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Gift of Opportunity

I know I haven't written here in awhile, but I do hope there are a few who will read this & share in my joy. It's gonna be a long one, but bare with me!

A local radio station does a "Christmas Wish" every year, and this year I decided to submit one for my husband to be the recipient of. I doubted that we'd be selected, but I figured it was worth a shot. This is what I wrote:
My Christmas wish this year is for my husband, Eddie. We met almost three years ago and hit it off immediately. Neither of us were looking to date someone, but when it's meant to be, it just happens. Our first 9 months of dating were seamless. We had fun, we were active, and we were always on the go. Eddie proposed in December 2008 and we began to plan for our August 2009 wedding. About a month into our planning, however, Eddie injured his knee at work. He worked in a highly physical job as a diesel mechanic, working on semi-truck trailers. The injury was very debilitating and didn't get better on its own. He was unable to do his job and was placed on work comp and scheduled for surgery in mid-May 2009.


It was a struggle to plan our dream wedding without him working, but we did the best we could. On top of the added stress of wedding planning, we also had to worry about how his knee was healing. After his surgery, recovery was difficult. He had begun to gain weight due to not having the physical activity that he once had on the job, and this weight gain made healing even harder. He went to physical therapy for months. It was not only tough on him physically, but mentally it was hard on him too, because as a new husband, he had to stay at home while I went to work. It was an untraditional role & was difficult for him to accept it. Finally though, in late October 2009, Eddie was released back to work, which we thought was a great thing... until two weeks later, when his same knee was re-injured.

He was devastated. He had been off work for nearly 10 months before he finally got to go back, and now another injury! This time we were told that if it wasn't better in 12 weeks, his job would no longer carry him on their insurance. So now we had the added pressure of hoping his knee healed before our "deadline" so that he wouldn't be one of the many uninsured Americans who is unable to get insurance on their own due to pre-existing conditions. (During Eddie's time of being off work, he developed high blood pressure, diabetes, and gained nearly 100 pounds). He was not in a good place physically or mentally. Our 12-week deadline came and went, and we had no other choice but to enroll him in a COBRA plan to keep him insured. This giant bill each month made things even more difficult on just my meager income. We made it work though, because we had no other choice.

Eddie's knee didn't get better on its own, and he had to have a second surgery just about one year to the date of his previous one. In May 2010 they operated again, but unfortunately he has once again not healed properly. The doctors told him that he'd likely never return to his field (one that he spent several years learning at a trade school--and we still pay the bill on!) and that short of a knee replacement, there wasn't much they could do for him, especially at his weight. We decided to seek another opinion and went to a specialist who agreed that weight loss would be necessary before another needed surgery.

My husband and I are both very overweight people. We've both tried to lose weight in the past, and had successes, but unfortunately gained the weight back, and then some. Eddie's weight has creeped up since his injury, and I hate to see how physically he's not able to do what he once was, and I also hate to see how that takes a toll on him mentally/emotionally. It's discouraging to be 25 years old and not be able to walk around the block because of extreme pain & needing to use a crutch most of the time. Because he is extremely limited physically, exercise is nearly impossible, unless it works only his upper body. The only other option for weight loss is learning to eat a better, healthier diet, and doing the best he can that way.

I have had success with Weight Watchers in the past, and earlier this year joined again. It was a gift from my parents to pay for a membership for me for a year, because financially we were unable to afford the $40/month for me to attend. I was so thankful for that gift they gave me, and I tried to incorporate what I learned at WW meetings to our home life so that Eddie could benefit as well, even though he wasn't a member. He had a bit of success following along with me, and I would take him to free meetings whenever they were offered so he could see others that were in the same boat he was. We recently attended a meeting where a panel of successful members spoke about their success. After the meeting Eddie spoke up and told about his struggles and thanked them for being so inspiring. Afterwards, a kind stranger approached us & encouraged Eddie to join the program so that he could have success too. We explained that our financial situation simply does not allow for us to spend the money each month on a membership. To our surprise, this member graciously offered to sponsor a 3-month membership for Eddie to at least kick-start his weight loss and get him working toward his goal weight so that he can have another surgery. We were so amazed by this wonderful gift! It's only been a few weeks on the program, but Eddie has lost nearly 10 pounds, and I'm so proud of him! Unfortunately though, a 3-month membership isn't going to get him to his goal weight. Sure, he could still follow the program without the support of meetings, but those meetings are so, so important to a person's success, that I really want him to be able to continue. I've contemplated giving the remainder of my 1-year membership to him because I know that his quality of life will not improve without weight loss. I know we both need the program though, so I hate to have only one of us do it--we need the support of each other so we can reach our goal.

That's why this year, my Christmas wish is for Eddie to have a few more months of Weight Watchers meetings covered so that he can at least lose a little more before having to do it without the support of meetings. I know that he can lose the weight, and I'm going to be right there beside him, supporting him & trying to lose my weight as well. Having the support of each other, as well as other members at the meetings is really going to be the key to our future success. I realize that you can't grant every Christmas wish you receive, but I appreciate you taking the time to read them all and take them all into consideration. I want the best for my husband, and it makes me so sad to see him in excrutiating physical and mental pain day in and day out. The fact that we can't be as active as many newlyweds in their mid-twenties could be is hard, but we try to make the best of it. We try to be thankful for what we do have instead of focusing on what we're limited to due to physical and financial reasons, and we'll continue to do that, even if my wish for him can't be granted. Thank you and have a blessed holiday season.

I got a phone call yesterday.  It was the radio station.  She said that they were moved by my letter & they thought that my wish was really unique & wanted me to tell them my story again on the phone.  After telling a condensed version, she told me that they wanted to help us out and grant my wish, but they wanted to do a little better than what I was asking for.

The radio station and Weight Watchers are paying for BOTH Eddie and I to have 1-year memberships!  Not only that, but they are also paying for he and I BOTH to have 1-year memberships to our local gym, along with 6 weeks with a personal trainer!  I thought that in itself was unbelievable, but there was more.  My WW leader, Jennifer, has offered to go grocery shopping with us to be our personal shopping consultant while we spend a $300 gift card to a local grocery store for healthy food.  I was floored... and she kept talking!  Then after losing some weight, we're going to need new clothes, so they are also providing us with a $300 gift card to our local outlet mall.  I was speechless.  All I was asking was for my husband to get a few more months of support with the program, and they went so far beyond my wildest dreams.  This is truly a gift for both of us and will be such an amazing year thanks to the people at the station and the people that donate to make this kind of thing possible. 

This time last year, Eddie and I asked for half of our Christmas gift from my parents to go to a local family in need to help them provide Christmas gifts for their children.  We felt like it was the right thing to do, to give them a Christmas they could enjoy... and a year later, someone is doing that for us, only it's so much more than just a Christmas gift... they are giving us a gift of opportunity.  We have the opportunity and now we have the means to actually make getting healthy a possibility and a priority.  I couldn't say thank you enough... there just weren't words.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thankful x2

November 5, 2010:
I'm thankful for afternoon snuggles with Eddie, and our pooch Dora who likes to butt in.  But I'm also thankful for Dora sandwiches, cuz she gives some pretty good snuggles herself!

November 6, 2010:

I am also thankful for Walmart's Halloween selection being $1 or less so that I could get this sweet butterfly princess costume for my cat!  Also thankful that Princess Prettygirl has a pretty good cat sense of humor & allowed me to put this ridiculous costume on her with very little protest!!!  (It only stayed on about 5 minutes, I don't torture my cat, I promise!).

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Progress & Thankful Day 4

Today I am thankful for support and partnership in my weight loss journey, especially from this guy!  Eddie joined WW with me last week and he had an amazing week eating on plan.  So amazing that he earned the snake at our meeting tonight!  The person who loses the most weight at the meeting that week gets to take the snake home.  Two weeks ago, I got the snake, and tonight, he got to proudly take it home--with a whopping 8.4 pounds lost!  So proud of him & thankful for him!

I also had a pretty good week and had a good loss to show for it.  Though I did battle a bit with the Halloween candy, I still put up 3.4 pounds lost on the scale this week.  This also put me below a weight that I was hoping to see disappear soon, and I"m so glad that it's a goner!  I'm down a little over 7 pounds from my May starting weight (remember, I had to lose that chunk I gained over the summer, so thankfully all that is just about gone!) and Eddie's down a little over 8 pounds.  We both got to celebrate with our 5 pound star stickers tonight!

Here's to another good, on-plan week!   

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tart Apple Pork + Thankful Day 3

Today I'm thankful for my big kitchen & amazing Calphalon pans that we got as a wedding gift from my aunt.  We could have never afforded them on our own, and they're wonderful!  I'm finding myself doing more cooking lately, and I'm so glad I have the space to do it (and a husband that cleans it for me from time to time!)
* * *
Tonight I decided to give another new recipe a try.  This is from weightwatchers.com, and while I modified it to make more servings (and it altered the points amount), the recipe I'm posting is straight from the WW website.

Tart Apple Pork (4 servings/6 points each)
16 oz lean boneless pork chop, center-cut, trimmed of all visible fat
1 Tbsp rosemary, fresh, chopped
1 Tbsp thyme, fresh, chopped
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
2 tsp canola oil
2 medium apple(s), Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 large onion(s), thinly sliced
2/3 cup(s) apple juice, unsweetened variety
2 Tbsp honey mustard

Sprinkle the chops with the rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chops and cook until browned and cooked through, 4–5 minutes on each side; transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the apples and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in the apple juice and honey mustard; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Return chops to pan and cook, turning once, to heat through, about 2 minutes. Yields 1 chop with 1⁄2 cup apple mixture per serving.
* * *
What I did differently: I used the generic "crystal lite" that was apple flavored, rather than buy apple juice that we wouldn't drink.  I thickened the sauce a little with 1 tbsp flour (I didn't have cornstarch or I would have used that).  I also used more pork, so I doubled most things.  The recipe as written yields 4 servings, at 6 points each though.

This was pretty good.  I was hesitant, as I'm not usually one to care for cooked fruit (I don't like fruit pies, generally), and I'm also pretty picky about honey mustard, because I don't really like mustard.  This turned out all right though.  Eddie ate it up & said he'd definately have it again.  I think I would too.  The pork chops by themselves were really good too, with the salt/pepper/rosemary/thyme on it, and I'd probably have them by themselves sometime too, because I really enjoyed the flavor of it.  Overall, a success.  It was easy to make, it just took about 40 minutes of active cooking/preparation in the kitchen... not a recipe that you can just pop in the oven and forget. 

Pork isn't something I often think about getting, but I do enjoy it when I take the time to make it!  What are your favorite pork recipes?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Spaghetti Squash

When the husband and I visited the pumpkin patch last week, the produce was all half price.  This meant that spaghetti squash were only $2, which was cheaper than I'd seen them before when I'd considered buying them.  I'd never tried them, but everywhere I read said that it was a great, healthy alternative to actual spaghetti, and that there was hardly any difference in taste/texture.  Let me just say that I was quite nervous to try this... I get in a comfort zone with my foods and hesitate to try new things sometimes.  I also have a very "meat & potatoes" husband, so convincing him that we should try this was a feat.  He agreed to try it, so we purchased two.  And tonight I gave it a try.

First, you cut your spaghetti squash in half, long-ways.  It's pretty firm, so try not to cut a finger off in the process.  Next, take a spoon and scoop out all the seeds in the center.  Place face-down on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.  (sidenote--next time I'd cook mine a little longer because I had 4 halves on a cookie sheet & I don't think the heat distributed evenly; some parts were a little more firm)

Once they're finished cooking, fluff out the "spaghetti" gently with a fork.  It'll look something like this:
We tossed a couple tablespoons of butter in the spaghetti with some salad tongs, as recommended by a few recipes. It smelled pretty good at this point, but I was still pretty nervous.  The shells will look like this when they're scraped clean:
While the squash is cooking, I made my own sauce, which I've posted about before... I usually do some variation of the same type of chunky marinara--canned seasoned tomatoes of some sort, onion, garlic, spinach, etc.  I basically just make it to taste.  I also like to add parmesan & sometimes shrimp, which I did tonight.

Once both the squash & sauce were finished, all that was left to do was add the squash to our bowls, top with sauce, and give it a try...

The verdict from my husband?

He gave it a definate thumbs up!  He couldn't tell the difference between the spaghetti squash and regular spaghetti!  I wasn't AS sold on the spaghetti squash has he was, but I would try it again.  I'm a big texture person, so that was my only problem... the texture was a little more firm than I thought it would be, and that may just mean I need to cook it longer next time.  It also looks like sourkraut, which I don't like, so I tried not to look at it much.  LOL.  Next time I think I'd also just use a jar of pasta sauce so that it coats the "noodles" better, as I think that would help with my texture issue.

Overall, not a bad meal... and totally low in calories/points.  If you didn't put the shrimp in it like I did, it's a completely vegetarian meal!  You could certainly use meat sauce if you wanted, but that would add to the calories/fat.  With just veggies or shrimp, it's only 2-3 points per serving, which is definately pretty awesome for a huge bowl of "pasta"!

Any other recipes for spaghetti squash that you've tried & liked?  Link up!

Thankful Day 2

Thankful for my freedom & the right to vote!


Monday, November 1, 2010

Giving Thanks & A Recipe

Considering this is November, and November means Thanksgiving, I'm going to take a stab at being thankful for things all month.  A blog pal of mine that I've had for a few years started a "thankful" blog awhile back, and I really like that idea.  I'm going to join her, at least for November, in posting daily about something I'm thankful for.  (This also coincides with November being "blog posting" month, where bloggers attempt to post once daily for the month, so I'll be working towards that goal as well!)

Today (and every day) I'm thankful that I get to wake up next to this face every day.  Every day is made better because he's in my life.

* * * * *
Now, a recipe!  Nothing too original here, just a twist on a classic, Sloppy Joe's

We're trying to use up some of the food in our house that's been around for awhile & gets pushed to the back of the cabinet, and this weekend I found a can of Manwich.  I'm not a huge fan of the stuff, but Eddie loves it, so I decided we'd make sloppy joe's tonight, but a version that's a little different than just meat & sauce on a bun.

Sloppy Joe's (35 points for entire recipe)
1 pound ground beef
1 can Manwich
2 medium onions, diced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 c. spinach, chopped
1/2 c. chopped carrots
2 stalks celery, chopped

1. Saute all veggies in small amount of olive oil.  When all veggies are cooked & tender, remove from heat & place to the side.
2.  Brown ground beef (or turkey) and drain any excess grease.  Add veggies back to the mixture, then add the sauce & heat through.
3.  Serve in low-calorie pitas or low-calorie buns of your choice.  (I prefer pitas because they are less messy!)


Not a very difficult recipe, just a little twist on an old favorite!

Friday, October 29, 2010

When the Going Gets Rough...

...you have to have faith that it will be okay.

Since marrying my best friend in the world, our life has not been easy.  Our *relationship* has been fantastic and wonderful and every other good word that there is... but life, it's been HARD.  I won't go into the details of everything, but my husband was injured at work before we were married, and he hasn't worked in nearly 2 years.  Thankfully we receive a worker's comp check each week, but it's a fraction of what he would be making if able to work, and on top of that, my 40 hours were cut to 35 back in July.  So while 5 hours doesn't seem like much, it adds up when you're hurting as it is.  Financially, this has been the most difficult year ever.  But we keep on trucking, because really, that's all you can do.  Our mortgage payment is always our priority, followed by utilities, but sometimes other bills have had to be late because the money just wasn't there. 

On top of our financial issues, there have been a number of health issues in our little family, as well as with extended family.  I won't elaborate much, because although this is my blog and I don't mind sharing about myself, I don't know that others would want their business broadcast on the internet.  So let's just say it's been a hard time, health-wise for people I love, and that has impacted me throughout the last year or so.

There have been times over the past year that I've felt so overwhelmed and felt that I was carrying the world on my shoulders, just trying to keep it all together.  I've always been "the fixer" and unfortunately that role oftentimes gets utilized so often that people don't realize it takes a toll on a person.  Also, being the fixer, you learn to put others before yourself.  In theory, that concept is great; I have always been one to worry about others and help others whenever possible... but in reality, if you always put others first, you never have to/get to worry about yourself.  And that's probably been why I am the weight I am.  It can be my excuse, and it has been... I can't worry about losing weight right now because so and so needs me, or I need to be there for so and so... I allow myself to be less important so that I don't have to face my fears and let go of the weight once and for all.

But I'm not going to do that anymore. 

I never used to let people do things for me (even though I did nice things for others, I hated for people to go out of their way for me).  However, last week, a kind stranger did something for my family that is going to change our lives if we let it.  This woman reached out to my husband and I and offered us a gift that will help us stay on track and get our weight under control.  I know that sounds rather vague, but it's all I plan to share publicly, again, because this is my space, not other peoples' and I don't want to share more than others would be comfortable with. 

It's time to really embrace taking time for myself and making myself a priority.  There's nothing wrong with that, and I need to work towards realizing that.  And there's also nothing wrong with telling someone else that I can't give them what they're needing from me right now because I have to be a little selfish for awhile.  Being selfless has allowed me to put myself on the back burner.. and it's time for me to take the wheel for awhile and take charge of my life.  It's time to be in control for good.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Stuffing Burgers

A few years ago when I first started this blog, I posted about something called Stuffing Burgers here.  Those were 2 point burgers, and I decided to make them again tonight, but added some things to it.  I also used what I had around the house, which meant no egg beaters (I prefer regular eggs these days) and I didn't have lean ground beef, I had the 85/15 stuff, which I know, isn't the healthiest, but it was what was on sale... so, my re-vamped burgers ended up making 12 patties at 3 points each.  They were delicious and I highly recommend you give them a try!

Stuffing Burgers (12 servings/3 points per serving)
-1 pound 85/15 ground beef (obv. the leaner the better, but this is what I had)
-1 box Savory Herb Stovetop Stuffing
-1 cup water
-1 egg, beaten
-1 tbsp minced garlic
-1/2 c. chopped onion
-2 cups uncooked spinach, chopped

To start off, mix your water, egg, and stuffing mix in a bowl.  Stir until the stuffing is moist & set aside for 10 minutes to allow all the liquid to be soaked in.  After 10 minutes has passed, add your garlic, onion, and spinach, then your ground beef.  I prefer to use my Kitchenaid stand mixer to mix all of this together cuz it keeps my hands clean, but if you don't have one of those, dig in and mix with your clean hands!  After everything is mixed well, make 12 meatballs (roughly 1/2 cup per meatball, maybe a little bit more) then pat into patties.  Cook in a skillet for about 2.5 minutes per side, and you've got tasty burgers in nothing flat!

Sometimes what I like to do is make the patties and store them individually in ziplock baggies then freeze them to have at a later time.  However you do it, it's good!  I also like to top with a small amount of crumbled feta.  The cheese complements the flavors of the herbs just right, in my opinion!

I've never had these burgers on a bun, as I feel like they're tasty as-is, but they'd probably be just as tasty that way too! 

What are your favorite healthy burger recipes?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Playing catch-up

My time back on WW has been going pretty well.  I've had losses 3 weeks in a row, including a significant 4.8 pound loss this week!  This was a big deal for me this week, because it means I've made up a good portion of the weight I gained back over the summer when I went on my WW hiatus.  I still have a few more pounds to go to get to the point I had lost before, but I'm getting there.  Over the summer, I gained an embarrassing 17.6 pounds.  This means that when I went back to WW 3 weeks ago, I was at my all-time-ever-highest weight.  I weighed more than when I started the program back in May.  I was beyond embarrassed.  To see that +17.6 from my previous weigh-in til that day was tough.  But it was reality.  And in the past 3 weeks, I've gotten rid of 10 of those 17.6 pounds, so I am at least in "positive" territory as far as being below my starting weight from May.  It's good to get rid of that weight!

This week I also earned "The Snake" at my meeting.  Why we use a stuffed snake, I have no idea, but whoever loses the most weight each week gets this stuffed snake to take home with them to celebrate with all week.  I was the biggest loser this week, so I got the snake!  I put him on top the fridge looking down on me so that whenever I go to munch, I'll see that as a reminder that I did great this week & need to keep up the good work!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Shrimp Florentine

I didn't have an exact plan for dinner this evening, but I knew it was going to involve pasta and shrimp.  I gathered up what I had in the house to concoct some deliciousness, and it turned out great!  (I would have a picture, but the uploader on blogger is being insanely slow for me... so you can find a picture on my 365 project site here: http://365project.org/tealeth922/365/2010-10

I call this entree Shrimp Florentine.  I'm not really sure what constitutes something as "florentine" but it sounded good, and tasted good... here's what I used:

1 onion, diced
5 large fresh mushrooms, diced
1 hand-full (maybe 1 cup?) spinach, chopped
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1 cup large pre-cooked shrimp, tails removed (it was about 20 shrimp)
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp flour
2 c. skim milk
1/4 c. parmesan
1/2 box angel hair pasta, cooked
salt/pepper to taste

1.  Add olive oil, veggies, and 1 tbsp garlic to a skillet and sautee until all veggies are cooked through.  Remove from pan & set aside.
2.  Melt butter and add 1 tbsp garlic to pan.  Warm shrimp through (or cook through if you don't use pre-cooked shrimp!) then remove & set aside with cooked veggies.
3.  Add flour to butter that remains in the pan to make a rue.  Slowly add milk to the rue while whisking to ensure all lumps are gone. 
4.  Cook on medium-high heat until sauce begins to bubble and thicken.  Cook about 3 minutes while stirring constantly & allowing the sauce to continue to thicken a bit.  Add parmesan to sauce, then add in veggies and shrimp.
5.  Serve over angel hair pasta--4 servings.

It was SO good!  Eddie said he'd have it again and was really happy with how tasty my improvised recipe was!  Definately a recipe to try (and remember, see my 365 project site to see what it looked like!)

Two Weeks

The past couple weeks since getting back into the WW swing of things have gone pretty well.  I know I haven't been as diligent with counting points as I need to be, but I've still had some successes.  I saw a loss on the scale week before last, as well as last week, totalling 5 pounds.  That's definately positive progress!

A couple weeks ago, they were having a promotion where you could bring a friend for free.  I drug my husband along so he could see exactly what it was that I did at my WW meetings and so that he could maybe be encouraged to do the program with me, even if he didn't join.  To my surprise, he even participated in the discussion at the meeting--I was so proud of him!  It was a huge group too, and usually he doesn't talk much around new people, but he was there next to me, supporting me, and it meant so much!  He's going to be joining after Christmas, I believe, just due to finances, but he's still going to be eating like me and watching what he eats as much as possible until then.  He even called me the other day to ask what a good fast food option would be, as he had to eat out that day.  Also, this weekend, when my mother-in-law offered to buy us dinner at Sonic, we got onthe computer and calculated points before we ordered.  She offered to buy us chili-cheese coneys, and I was appalled to find out that they are TWENTY points each!  I went with grilled chicken instead!

We also went grocery shopping this weekend and bought a lot of healthy alternatives to keep the house stocked, and we have some pretty good meals planned for this week.  Hopefully some of them will make an appearance on here!  I have a veggie/shrimp/pasta that I'm planning out in my head for tonight.  So hopefully that turns out well!

Thanks to those that continue to stop by the blog & leave encouraging words, it means a lot!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Up & At 'Em

So last week, I headed back to my WW meeting on Thursday.  I was definately up from the last time I was there, but that's no surprise.  I'm more or less back to where I started from when I joined WW this time around, but that's OK, I'm just going to have to stick to it for crying out loud!  LOL

They have a promotion going on right now where you can bring a buddy to a meeting for free, so next week I'm dragging my husband with me.  We both need to lose weight, and while I know he'll do it if I do it, I need him to be invested in the program with me.  So while he may not join & attend meetings like I do, I at least want him to know what it's all about and what happens when I go to my meetings.  There is also an event later this month that's an open house, kind of, where successful members in the community are going to be speaking about their journey.  I think that will be really inspirational & we're planning on going to that as well.

At the end of a WW meeting, they always celebrate those who have lost weight that week, whether it's a 5-pound increment or a milestone like 5 or 10% lost.  There was a woman there this past week who was celebrating her 50 pound accomplishment.  And I recognized her as someone that started the week after I did, back in May.  I was so proud of her, she looked so happy & more importantly, proud of herself!  And it was a reminder to me that if you stick with it, you see results, plain and simple.  And that had I not chosen to go off plan for 3 months, that could have been me celebrating a big loss.  So, I am using her as inspiration and a reminder that you can come a long way in a short time, as long as you're committed.

This week hasn't been an easy first week back on plan, considering we had dinner out Friday, a wedding Saturday, and a birthday Sunday... but I'm confident that I'll at least make some progress in the right direction when I go on Thursday! 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

L-I-V-E

I know I'm not the only one who totally gets inspired to lose weight once a new season of The Biggest Loser comes on (sidenote--already don't like one of the girls, the wedding-planner-diva one, but anyhoo...).  The contestants are inspiration, and I can usually see myself in at least one of them (except no really BIG girls on it this year, what's up with that, BL?).  A lot of times their stories could be our stories.  It makes us want to change... but then we don't.  Or maybe we do for a little while, but we stop.

What's UP with that?!!?

This week's episode had them visiting the doc, where he tells them all the awful stuff that's going on with their bodies... diabetes, hypertension, fat surrounding their organs, clogged arteries... nasty stuff.  And then he tells them what their "real" age is, which is usually WAY high up there compared to their actual age.  And for most of them it's a huge eye-opener.  And for me, it's probably why I haven't been to the doctor in a couple years for a physical... because I'm afraid of what they might say!  I go for my annual girly-visits, and I'll go occasionally when I'm sick, but I haven't had routine lab work done in several years.  Cuz I'm a big ol' scaredy cat. 

The doc on BL this week asked one of the contestants "Do you want to live" and through tears, she said yes, obviouisly... "Well you're not acting like it" was his response.  And it's true.  So many times we talk about how we want to change, and we want to be healthy.... but we're not acting like it!  I am beyond guilty of this fact as well.  How many times have I stopped and started while keeping this blog (my last entry was number 300, btw)?  A LOT.  I say I want to change, but I sure as hell don't act like it, do I?  Do you?

So it's time to act like I want to live.  No more pity parties about how it's hard--obviously it's hard, but it wasn't EASY getting to the weight that I am... I had to work at that too, cuz it doesn't just happen on it's own.  I deserve a long, happy, healthy life, and it's nobody's responsiblity to see that I get there but my own.

Tonight at 5:30, I face the music.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Motivation & Stuff

Alright guys... no lie... I haven't been around in 3 months, and it's not cuz I've been rocking the weight loss on my own by any means.  You know why and I know why... cuz I fell off that damn wagon again.  If only the wagon had like a seatbelt or something...

Anyway, I could sit around and mope about the fact that I have eaten like there's no tomorrow all summer long, or I can get right down to it...

I'm feeling motivated again.  Who knows for how long that will last, but I figure it's something, so I better pay attention to it & use it while it's here.  I think part of it came from the premiere of the new season of The Biggest Loser that was on this week (who ISN'T motivated by that?).  And the other part came from my 27th birthday that I celebrated yesterday.  I've been coveting this pink bike for awhile now... and my wonderful husband made my dreams come true by getting me THIS for my birthday:
Yes, that is a pink Schwinn Cruiser AND a pink helmet!!!  I was beyond excited.  This is the look of excitement:
I was a little nervous at first, because I know for a fact I haven't been on a bike for at least 10 years, and maybe closer to 15 years!  I also was an extremely clumsy kid on my bike & crashed and burnt a LOT.  Hense the helmet.

Buuuuut, about 5 minutes after giving the bike a whirl, I was riding like the WIND!  I felt like a kid again, and it felt amazing to feel the breeze in my face and just fly down the street on my wheels!  I loved it!  And I didn't want to get off of it!
As you can see, it was DARK outside and I was still cruising on my pink bike!  Aaaand, this picture shall serve as my horrendous "before" cuz can you see that gut and that big ol' booty?!  I want those things to be smaller by this time next year!  So here's to motivation & taking it where you can get it... I'm gonna go back to WW this week and face the music.  I've continued to pay for my monthly membership--why, I don't know... hope that I'd return, maybe?  So, I just have to get myself to a meeting and get the dreaded weigh-in over with.  I have a feeling I've got a longer distance to go than I ever have before... and that trend is only going to continue if I don't get on the ball and freaking DO something instead of talking about doing something!

Who's with me?!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nothing to report

I've gotten derailed recently due to things going on with my family.  It's hard to make myself a priority when I'm trying to make sure everything else is alright.  I will be back, no worries, we just have to get through a rough patch! 

Friday, June 18, 2010

TGIF!

I don't know about you guys, but this week has been DRAGGING for me!  If I'm being totally honest, I very much thought about not going to my meeting last night.  But, I knew that wouldnt' be the best decision, so I went, and I actually showed a small loss (surprisingly!).  Down .8, which is almost a pound, which is progress.  Something is better than nothing!

I'm trying to play catch-up with so many of your blogs... I have hundreds of unread items in my reader! I'm sad to hear that some of you have been having some tough times in your personal lives.  I hope things get better for you soon!  My family and I have also been having some struggles lately, though I won't detail them here.  I've been focused on these other issues and haven't made myself a priority.  I'm a "fixer".  I like to make things better & solve problems for others, and when I do that, my own problems get put on the backburner.  I know this is an issue I definately need to work on--to make myself a priority.  And that knowing that even if I make myself a priority, it doesn't mean that others can't be a priority too.

Planning is so key to my success, so I'm making a goal to plan plan plan next week in order to get myself totally refocused.  I got some really sage advice in a comment on my last entry--"instead of going to McDonald's I should just grab an apple or something".  It was interesting to me that it was just assumed that because I'm obese, I must be drive-thru hopping like CRAZY!  Ah, gotta love the common misconceptions about us fatties!  Sense any sarcasm, ladies?  :)  At any rate, like I said, I'm going to make an effort to plan like crazy (and hopefully try out some new recipes) this week!

I hope you all have a great weekend!  I probably won't be around much, as we've got a wedding to attend, then we've also got Father's Day stuff to do!  See you next week!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Two years later

On April 15, 2008 I wrote a letter to myself on here.  I revisited it today, because I really need a reminder.  I'm struggling.  I hate that it's a month into my journey, and already I am struggling to keep my head above water.  Last week was a huge gain, and if I'm being honest, this week will probably negate just about any progress I made in the last month.  So, a reminder of this old letter I wrote will serve as today's entry.

Dear Old Self,



On August 22, 2007 I took a vow to leave you behind. At first it was easy. I was motivated to find the New Self, and I walked away from you pretty much without even looking back. I gave up your desire for greasy McDonald's, daily candy bars, and calorie-filled, sugar-loaded pop. New Self was winning the battle, and pounds dropped off. I think New Self lost 30 pounds in 3 months. It was a great ego boost, let me tell you. New Self was kicking Old Self's ass.


Around Thanksgiving time, Old Self, you tried to sneak your way back into my life. I tried to remain strong & remember how great New Self felt, but you were trying your hardest to be the boss in my life again. I fought back hard too though, and even though I didn't lose like I had been, I still came through the holidays weighing less than I did at the beginning of them.


The new year came, and New Self was feeling lazy and tired... you are a figher, Old Self... You were really fighting to win my life over again, and I felt exhausted from fighting you! I went through some tough times in my personal life starting in January, and New Self started to feel defeated. Why bother? New Self tried to at least hold on a little through the storm, but Old Self, you seemed to be getting stronger.



Eventually New Self gave up. New Self was tired of fighting and it was easier to just back down and let you take charge again. I thought that New Self had totally hit the road, never to be seen again. Old Self, you have been ruining my life. You have got to go. I'm not happier with you around, and I'm certainly not healthier. Sometimes we keep old friends in our lives just because they've been there for so long. They might not be the best thing for us anymore (maybe they never were), but we feel attached to them in a very strong way. Well, Old Self, you are not my friend anymore. It's time to say goodbye.
I think in August, I really just said "see ya later" to you, but this time, I have to say goodbye for good. We can't meet again in the future, not if I want to be a healthy person and have New Self in my life. We have to close this chapter. You've been a close friend, Old Self, but I can't say you've been a "good" friend. You've been there for me when others weren't, but I know New Self will eventually be stronger than you ever were. It will just take time for New Self to thrive. But the good news is that even though you returned, New Self didn't really abandon me like I thought. Somehow, New Self held on through the rough waters lately, because she wants to be my best friend now.


New Self has grown her wings. It's time to fly.


Teale

Monday, June 14, 2010

Good, Bad, Ugly

The Good:
-Today I am back on track.

The Bad:
-I have not been on track for about 10 days.

The Ugly:
-I gained 4.2 pounds last week.

I don't know where my head has been!  First I was PMS-ing and wanted to eat crap, then I was on my period & bloated & wanted to eat crap, and I just didn't say no!  So for about 10 days, I haven't tracked, I haven't exercised, I haven't grocery shopped, I haven't done well.  So while I know my 4.2 pounds is due to that, I also know that (hopefully) some of that is related to period bloat.  But I know it all isn't cuz I've been eating my weight in junk lately.  The good thing though, is that I went to my meeting on Thursday and faced the music. 

I haven't been reading anyone's blogs, and I hope to play major catch-up today.  Thanks to those of you that checked on me!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Busy week!

I've been away for awhile... which usually is never a good sign.  Been a rough week.  Very busy, and inefficient planning on my part.  WI is tomorrow... will be back then to write a real entry.  In the mean time, I've got lots of catching up to do, you guys write like crazy!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Brandi at La Vida Subida for winning my very first contest! She was chosen using random.org. Shoot me an email, Brandi and let me know your mailing address so I can get these out to you!

Thanks to all who participated!

Shock and Awe

Well after my not so good Memorial Day weekend, I was prepared for a small gain, or at least maybe maintenance this week at weigh-in. I was resigned to the fact that I'd just have to work a little harder next week to make up for it.

So imagine my surprise when the scale was down 1.6 pounds! I was so surprised! That makes a total of 14.6, so next week I should be crossing the 15 pound mark! That's definately some great progress for 4 weeks in!

As happy as I am with my loss, a part of me wishes I'd had some kind of consequence for eating crap. That sounds weird, I know, but it's like if I ate crappy & still lost, I don't want it to get in my head that that's an acceptable thing & will always happen if I eat junk for the weekend. I just gotta keep my head in the game & stick to it!

This Sunday is the WW Walk-It challenge. I guess for a couple months they've been encouraging people to train to walk or run a 5K. I obviously haven't been doing that since I just started (nor did my old meeting tell us anything about it), but I'm going to walk 5K in my neighborhood on Sunday, just to prove that I can. Once I drop some more weight, I'm going to give the C25K program a shot. We'll see how it goes!

Oh, and there's 3 more hours to enter my first giveaway, so head on over and enter to win!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My First Giveaway! (CLOSED)

Today I'm hosting my very first giveaway! My fear is that NOONE WILL ENTER! Hopefully that's not the case & this giveaway will appeal to a few of you & you'll humor me & enter:)



Today, I'll be giving away 25 Weight Watchers food coupons! See for yourself:

The winner will receive 5 sheets of coupons, totalling the following:
(5) Save $1 on any 5 WW yogurt cups
(5) Save $1 on any 1 WW cheese or cream cheese
(5) Save $0.55 on any 1 carton of WW frozen novelty products or 2 WW ice cream cups
(5) Save $0.50 on any 1 WW by Whitman's bagged chocolates
(5) Save $0.75 on any 1 Jolly Time Healthy Pop popcorn


You may enter in the following ways, leaving a separate comment for each:
1. Tell me your favorite low-calorie snack item. It doesn't have to be WW affiliated.
2. Follow my blog via Google Friend Connect (see the sidebar to follow!)
3. Subscribe to my blog via a feed reader, such as Google Reader
4. Follow me on Twitter (see sidebar)
5. Add me on Facebook (see sidebar)
6. Promote this giveaway on your blog or via your facebook & leave me a link showing me you did so!


Don't forget to leave your email address so I can contact you if you're the winner! You have until Friday, June 5 at noon (central time!) to enter. A winner will be chosen at that time & posted shortly after noon on Friday!


Good luck to everyone!


*Full disclosure: These coupons were given to me at my WW meeting. I was provided them by my leader for my personal use, and I'm choosing to gift them to one lucky reader!

The Ugly Truth

The funny thing about having a blog is that you really monitor how much you disclose to your audience. So if there are things I don't want to share about myself, I don't. And if I screw up & never posted about it, none of you would ever know. But I would. So, it's confession time: this weekend was not pretty.

To start off with though, I did do some things right. I started out strong.

Friday my husband and I went out for dinner & I got shrimp kabobs with cajun lime seasoning at TGIFridays. It came with a side of broccoli. And I started off with a big salad, dressing on the side. It was a really great, healthy meal, so I didn't feel guilty when I ate the dessert that came with my meal. I had room in my plan for it that day, and so I enjoyed it. After our dinner, we had to go to a graduation party. Where they had delicious homemade bbq and fried chicken. AND CAKE. I sampled a few bites of the bbq, ate a little bit of the chicken (this was hours after dinner & I was a little hungry), then had less than 1/2 a slice of cake. It was like two bites. I went over my points for the day, but I had flex to make up for it. Overall, I thought I did OK on Friday.

Oh, a sidenote about Friday. I accidentally cut a woman off in traffic, and waved an apologetic hand in the air to let her know it wasn't intentional. This crazy broad tailgates me while honking her horn & shaking her fist, then when she's first able to, she whips past me, then cuts ME off, intentionally. I thought that was rude enough... then I change lanes because I'm turning at the next light & she continues to honk, lean out her window, and yell "FATASS" at me. Really? First of all, you can't even SEE my ASS from there, and second of all, what on earth does my fat ass have to do with my driving? I know I cut the lady off, but like I said, it was an accident. It's amazing to me that the namecalling doesn't stop when you're a kid, but that even some adults would be so rude as to scream out their window at me, just to be mean. I wish I could say that I brushed it off immediately, but her comment did kind of stick with me through the weekend & was in the back of my head the whole time.

Saturday I knew I would face some challenges as well, as I was having lunch with a friend, then we were going to see SATC2, then we were getting ice cream afterwards... at COLD STONE. Lunch I did really great on. I got soup & fruit salad and it was SO delicious. I wish I'd taken a picture of the fruit salad, it was amazing! So I was pretty proud of myself for eating at Atlanta Bread & getting something healthy! Next was the movie theater. I ate good at lunch because I knew I wanted to get a small popcorn. When I scanned the menu, I was surprised to find something listed as the "Healthy Pack". I inquired, and for only $4 I could get a little box with a bottle of water, a couple cups of popcorn, and a nutrigrain bar! I jumped on that, and it was the perfect little snack for the movies!

After the movies, it was time for ice cream. I played it safe & got a small dish of "sinless sweet cream" with sprinkles & lowfat caramel. It was tasty, and not overkill on points!

So, Saturday started out pretty strong.... but then came the cookout & margaritas... And I overindulged. One italian sausage, one cheeseburger, and four margaritas later... and I was feeling gross. It was too much & I went overboard, even though I was technically within points for the day. They weren't spent wisely.

Sunday didn't go so hot either. Our usual Sunday lunch is to get chinese. I usually do pretty well... but I didn't this time. Going overboard the night before caused an avalance for the rest of the weekend. So, I overdid it at lunch, then had ANOTHER graduation party where there was lots of tasty food, then I didn't put my foot down when my husband wanted pizza for dinner late Sunday evening. I didn't even write down my food. Bad Teale.

Monday was a full-on binge. I wanted brunch at a diner. I wanted ice cream. I wanted pizza. And I indulged. I tried to fight the urges, but ultimately, I caved. I felt sad for doing it & disappointed in myself for doing it. But then I gave myself a pep talk.

"Just because you went overboard this weekend does not mean you are going to continue going overboard. You are capable! There are always going to be holiday weekends, and sometimes you're going to splurge & give in to the temptation of junky food. As long as you get back on track tomorrow, it'll be OK. So maybe you'll gain this week, or maybe you just won't lose much... but there are going to be weeks like that! You have been going strong for 3 weeks and haven't had a single binge! This was your first holiday weekend on-plan, and you learned some things & will do better next time. This isn't the end of the world. You are capable!"

And so today? I'm plugging along & doing just fine. I've learned that having a schedule during the week really keeps me on-plan, so I need to implement a schedule on the weekends too. I need to have that structure continuing through my days off so that I don't get tempted to go the easy route for meals & get stuff that is not good for me & does not follow the plan I want to be following.

There's always going to be hurdles, but just because I didn't make it over this one successfully doesn't mean that I can't get right back up & keep plugging along. Next time I see a hurdle in the distance, I'll make a plan and stick to it. I'm reminded of a poem that I found years ago after my father went through a substance abuse recovery program. It held special meaning to him, and it does to me too. Our addictions were different--his to drugs & alcohol, mine to food--but the poem relates to each:

There Is a Hole in My Sidewalk
Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
By Portia Nelson

Chapter One
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.

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

Chapter Three
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…but,
My eyes are open
I know where I am
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

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

Chapter Five
I walk down another street.

Which chapter do you find yourself in? This weekend, that's a chapter 3 for me. Next time, I'll do better.

*Giveaway coming later today!*

Friday, May 28, 2010

Accomplishments & Goals

It's Friday, and that means it's time to evaluate how I did this week & set new goals for next week!

This week I accomplished:
-Lost 2.2 pounds! (-13 total)

-Walked 3 times, a total of 4.1 miles. Yesterday afternoon before my meeting, I thought about how I'd set the goal for myself to walk three times. And I'd only done it twice. It was 30 minutes before I had to leave for my meeting, and I really didn't want to walk. But I actually gave myself a pep talk... outloud, mind you... and said "You made a committment to walk 3 times. You have time to walk a mile with the dog. You need to follow through and do what you say you're going to do. That's how this time is going to be different. You are capable!" And you know what, I got my butt out there and walked a mile in the heat with a puppy who has no idea how to walk on a leash & pulled me the whole time, and I FELT GOOD!

-I got more fruits/veggies in this week. There's still room to improve, but I made a conscious effort to try to incorporate them more.

-Tried 4 new recipes: Veggie Alfredo, Cheeseburger Cassrole, Tuna Noodle Casserole, and Italian Wedding Soup.

-Was able to wear these every single day! My fingers had gotten too fat to wear both of them, and so I was only wearing my engagement ring (and sometimes even that wouldn't fit). But for the past 10 days or so, I've been flashing these babies daily! (Pardon the crappy cell phone picture)



This week I commit to:

-Have veggies as a side for dinner when I cook. Right now we usually are just eating a main course that has veggies included in it. I'm going to start cooking veggies as a side as well... gotta work on getting those suckers in!

-Walk 5 miles total.

-Look into how to get healthy oils. Weight watchers recommends 2 servings of healthy oils per day, and I don't get them ever, as far as I know. I need to figure out how to incorporate them (if there are any WW's out there who successfully do this, give me tips!

What did you accomplish this week? What are you committed to next week?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Italian Wedding Soup

This recipe is a little different from a traditional italian wedding soup, but hey, you gotta work with what you got! It was still super tasty and I'd absolutely make this again! Another perk, this was quick AND easy! What better combo is there?!




8 cups chicken broth
1/2 pound lean ground beef
2 cups escarole (but I used kale because my store didn't have any. It was still delish)
1 diced onion
2 diced carrots
2 tbsp bread crumbs
1.5 tbsp parmesan
1.5 tsp oregano (I used italian blend)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt/Pepper
(optional) Cooked Orzo (but again, my store didn't have this, so I used mini shells, 8 oz)


1. Put broth on stove to boil in a large pan. Meanwhile, chop veggies.

2. Combine meat, bread crumbs, parmesan, and remaining seasonings & mix well. Form into small meatballs (less than 1").

3. Once broth is boiling, add veggies & meatballs. Continue boiling for 15-20 minutes. Meatballs will begin to float to the surface when they're cooked.

4. While that's cooking, cook pasta in a separate pan. Add to soup just before serving.

Definately a tasty, easy soup! Yum!





My first award!



I was honored to receive my very first award today, from Sarah! You should stop by and leave her some love, because she is great! Thank you so much Sarah!

So, the stipulations of receiving the award are that you must choose 7 bloggers to pass the award on to, and you must share 7 things about yourself that your readers may not know!

First thing's first, so I'll share my 7 things!

1. I am the oldest of my parents' children. I have no full siblings, but I have 7 half siblings. I was raised by my grandparents though, as an only child. I've always known 3 of my siblings, but 4 of them were adopted out of the family at a very young age, over 15 years ago. In the last 6 months 2 of them have found me & have contacted me. I've met one of them & will meet the other next month, hopefully!

2. I met my husband online. I had just gotten out of a rotten relationship and wasn't looking to date at all. I was looking for new friends in the area & have always been one to have more male friends than female friends. He was new to the area and also looking to meet people. We talked online for a week or so before meeting up at a local diner. My friends insisted it was a date, but I insisted it was a "friendship interview". A year and a half later, we were married:)

3. Growing up, I always wanted a pet rabbit. My parents would never let me have one, because they insisted they were "dirty". As soon as I had my own apartment in college, I bought a rabbit. And she was not dirty. Mollie was the best little rabbit friend EVER! She would let me cuddle her & hold her like a baby & she never bit me (though she did try to nibble on my clothes from time to time!). I got her from the humane society, and they were unsure of her age. She was only with me for about 2 years, but she was a great pet before she died! We would even play tag--she would chase after me, then I would turn around and chase her. She was a really fun pet!

4. I don't like to wear shoes & socks. In fact, I'd go so far as to say I HATE wearing socks! I do it when I have to, obviously, but I'd prefer to be barefoot or in a pair of Havaiana flip flops any day!

5. I can't straighten my arms all the way. Both of my elbows don't "lock". They are as straight as I can get them, but they're really at like a 45 degree angle. I should take a picture sometime. I've never had to go to the doctor about them or anything, and I don't have a medical diagnosis for why they are the way they are, I'm just a little different! The only thing it's inhibited me in is certain sports. When I throw a ball, I can't throw very accurately because I can't fully extend my arm, and when I bowl, I have to compensate for the fact that my ball always goes to one side!

6. My favorite place to travel has been to Oregon. I went there a couple years ago & absolutely loved it! It was so lush & people were so environmentally conscious. It was a beautiful, beautiful place! I'd never seen the Pacific Ocean before, and it was so different from the Gulf coast or the Atlantic coast! It was amazing though! One of my favorite parts was seeing seals basking in the sun on rocks in the wild. Awesome!

7. I have a lot of hobbies/interests. I love to scrapbook, crochet, cross-stitch, write, read, letterbox, you name it. One bad personality trait though is that I sometimes don't finish what I start... which results in a lot of unfinished projects that could be amazing if I'd just commit to finishing them!

There you have it! Now, without further ado, here are the 7 bloggers I am awarding the Beautiful Blogger Award to:
1. Chubby Chick over at Journeying to Lose 200 pounds. She has been a blog buddy of mine since early in my blogging days. I love to read about her journey, and can identify with having a lot to lose! Stop on by and give her some love & encouragement!

2. Julia over at JewliaGoulia is a really inspirational blogger! She's dropped an amazing amount of weight, just this year, and she's kicking butt! Go ahead and tell her how awesome she is!

3. Laura at No More Weight For Me has a great blog detailing her weight loss journey! She's also doing Weight Watchers, so I enjoy reading about her accomplishments! Tell her what a great job she's doing!

4. Smasher Girl has done an awesome job this year losing weight! Her blog is fun to read and I love learning about her life and her weight loss! Plus we both love pink... so what's not to love? Stop on by and give her some comment love!

5. Becca is point countin'! She lost over 100 pounds doing WW on her own, and she has a great blog! I'm so glad I stumbled upon it & you should head her way & stumble upon it too!


6. Lindsay over at Healthy Stride has ALSO lost over 100 pounds! I'm so lucky to read about such inspirational women! Stop by and check her out (plus she's got a giveaway going on right now!)


7. Valerie at It's Only 100 Pounds has a great blog & a great attitude! She's a great example of how sometimes we can feel like giving up, but when we're lifted up by our blog buddies, it can make all the difference in the world! Stop by and leave some love!


Even though these ladies are just a small snippet of those of you out there in blogland, I think you're ALL beautiful and you're all doing great! Keep on keepin' on!!!

Visit Lindsay Too!

Lindsay is also having a giveaway today on her blog, Healty Stride! She's giving away products from Tru-Roots, including quinoa, lentils, and brown rice! Hop on by & check out her blog, as well as her amazing weight-loss story!

Go visit Tricia!

Tricia over at Fight Fat Phobia is having a great giveaway! She's reached 300 followers and is giving away 300 things!!! Stop on by and check it out!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tuna Noodle Casserole

This was one was definately good & we'd have it again! Makes 8 servings with 5 points each.

8 oz. whole wheat rotini, cooked
12 oz. can white tuna, drained
1 bag frozen mixed veggies (mine had asparagus, carrots, and corn)
3 cups skim or lowfat milk
2 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. worcestershire
1 tbsp italian seasonings (it called for dill weed, but I didn't have any)
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. low fat parmesan, grated

1. Add milk & flour to a small sauce pan & simmer until thickened. Stir often or it will burn!

2. Once sauce has thickened, whisk in worcestershire, italian seasonings, salt, and pepper.

3. Combine sauce, pasta, tuna, frozen veggies, and parmesan & mix well.

4. Cook in a baking dish for about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Let sit 5-10 minutes before serving.

This was super creamy & very tasty. The only thing I'd add next time is maybe some garlic & a tad more salt. I definately recommend it!






Cheeseburger Casserole

This wasn't my favorite thing I've ever made, but it wasn't bad. It made 6 servings, with a points value of 5 points per serving.

2 yukon gold potatoes (I couldn't find these, so I used regular old potatoes)
1 pound lean ground beef
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 clove minced garlic
2 oz. 2% velveeta, cut into chunks
1/4 c. fat free evaporated milk
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
8 lowfat tortilla chips (I used baked)

1. Peel & slice potatoes & layer in the bottom of a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven, then set aside.
2. Meanwhile, chop veggies & cook in skillet with olive oil until tender. Remove and set aside.
3. Next, cook ground beef, then drain. Add veggies and mix all together. Layer on top of potatoes in baking dish.
4. Combine cheese, milk, and pepper flakes & microwave for 1 minute, or until melted & mixed completely. Drizzle over meat & potatoes.
5. Crunch up chips & sprinkle on top.
6. Cook for 25-30 minutes & serve.



Ask Me Anything!

I've had a formspring account for awhile, but haven't used it in some time. I decided to link it up here (as well as my facebook & twitter accounts--check the sidebar!), so if any of you have questions to ask me, feel free to hop on over here and ask away! Also, if you're on formspring let me know so I can follow you on there! (Questions don't have to be weight-loss related, I'm open to any and all questions!)

Why I Do This Here

Some of you may be readers of the blog Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit, and if you are, you know that he asked his readers to write on notecards reasons for why they're blogging and/or getting healthy. I sent one in about a week ago, and mine was finally posted! You can check out others at his blog, and send in your own if you haven't yet!

A couple recipes to come later tonight, stay posted!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Beat the Heat!

Illinois weather is sometimes very strange. It seems like the past couple years, we've had two seasons: Miserably Hot or Frigid Cold. Spring & Fall have seemed to just skipped right over. For example, last Monday when my friend and I went for a walk, it was about 40 degrees and misting rain the whole time. We were troopers though and walked our 1.5 miles all bundled up in coats.

Then the weekend happened, and Mother Nature decided it was time to be hot like July & have record-breaking temperatures in mid-May. Not cool.

So this Monday during our walk, it was about 95 degrees with humidity that felt like probably 80-90%. MISERABLE. Buuuuut... we did it. Another 1.5 miles down, this time wearing as light-weight of clothes as possible! By the time we were done I was hot, miserable, sweaty, and had a headache. But, I did it.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Weekend Victories

Friday:
Date night at TGIFriday's. Whom I officially really dislike because of their lack of nutritional information on their website/menu. Does anyone else really dislike this fact? They provide you with NONE, and the info I found from other websites with nutritional info were totally inconsistent, so I just had to wing it. (I did all this research before we went to the restaurant, something I highly recommend others do too! Make a plan before you go!)

They had a 3-course meal thingy going on, so for my appetizer I got a wedge salad with dressing on the side. My husband got the same, but dressing on top, and his salad was SWIMMING in the stuff. So glad I asked for it on the side. They literally brought me probably 1/3 cup of dressing. I used about 2 tbsp. For my entree, I went with the sizzling chicken, which comes with grilled onions/peppers & some cheese sizzling in there with them. It also comes with TWO grilled chicken breasts & cheesy mashed potatoes. I substitued broccoli for the potatoes & took one of the chicken breasts home. Dessert was cheesecake, but I only had half and also took the other half home.

Another dislike for the nutrition at TGIFriday's... my broccoli was cooked with no seasoning/butter, as I requested, but I did ask for a side of butter, because I wanted maybe a teaspoon to top them, with salt & pepper. They brought me out another cup that was probably 1/4 cup of LIQUID BUTTER. wtf? Gross.

Saturday:
We grocery shopped & I got some good stuff for the week (FOUR new recipes to try, stay tuned!). When we got home, I was a little bummed to find out I had forgotten to thaw chicken for that night's meal! I made the most of it though & had some veggies that I grilled up & we had
Veggie Alfredo instead of Chicken Alfredo! Good stuff!

Overall, a pretty good weekend. My husband and I go to the chinese buffet every sunday for brunch, which to some probably seems like a dumb choice. But, I save my points up for it and I eat pretty smart, considering, so I don't have a problem with it! What about you guys? How did you do this weekend?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Veggie Alfredo

I had initially planned to make whole wheat rotini with Laughing Cow alfredo tonight & top it with cajun grilled chicken... but you know, best laid plans... I forgot to lay the chicken out. Soooo, I improvised (surprise, surprise, right?). We had some frozen cheese ravioli, so I thought I'd make that with the LC alfredo & sautee some onions/peppers to go with it. And it was pretty good!

I can't remember where I got the LC alfredo recipe, but there are a dozen floating around the internet. I tweaked one to my liking.

3 wedges garlic/herb Laughing Cow Light wedges
3/4 c. skim milk
2 tbsp grated parmesan
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp butter/margarine (optional--or you can use Molly McButter or spray butter)
Salt/pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan & cook til smooth. You might want to use a whisk to make it smooth faster. Simmer, stirring constantly (or it will stick/burn) until sauce thickens.

For my veggies, I just chopped 1/2 onion & 1/2 green pepper & sauteed it in some olive oil. Oh yeah, and I added garlic. Cuz I love garlic. Meanwhile, I cooked 1 slice turkey bacon in the microwave for about 1 minute, until good & crispy. Crumble that up & add to your veggies & cook for another minute or so to allow the flavors to blend. Top your pasta with sauce & veggies & you're good to go! The verdict: This was a quick, easy meal that I'd definately make again... only next time I'll remember to thaw the chicken!

*Edit* I forgot to add some nutritional info for the LC alfredo... It makes 2 servings, about 1/2 c. each, and it runs about 130 cals per serving!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Accomplishments & Goals

This week I accomplished:
1. Wrote down all food! I even made room in my points budget to have a small DQ treat this week! And it was good!
2. Walked 1.5 miles. Only got one walk in this week due to weather & husband having surgery, but I upped the walk from 1 mile to 1.5. I'm walking a 5K next month & I need to make sure I'm gonna make it!
3. Tried 2 new recipes,
Shepherd's Pie & Minestrone.
4. Took my vitamin every day!
5. Lost 8.8 Pounds!!!!! I couldn't believe it! My 2 pound loss last week surprised me a little, as in the past I'd always lost more my first week on WW, but I was on my period then too, which apparently caused a little bloat! So this week I played catch-up I guess! So I'm down a total of 10.8 pounds in 2 weeks. Amazing!

This week I commit to:
1. Try a new snack food option. (I don't want to get in the same "rut", eating the same things all the time... don't wanna get bored!)
2. Walk 3 times (1.5 mile each)
3. Work harder to get all fruits/veggies in every day. Some days I do really well with this and some days I only get 1 or 2 servings. Goal this week is to get my full servings in each day!

What did you accomplish this week? And what are you committing to next week?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shepherd's Pie

One of the features I like about the WW online e-tools is the ability to find recipes based on certain ingredients. I mostly use it just for tracking weight/measurements & the recipe feature, which was helpful for tonight's recipe! I knew I was going to have some extra veggies on-hand from the produce I bought for last night's Minestrone, and I hate when veggies go to waste because I didn't use them up! So, I searched and I came across a WW version of Shepherd's Pie. I've never actually eaten shepherd's pie before, so I didn't quite know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised though, and I think we'd have this one again! I did have a bit of leakage through the potatoes when I baked it, but it didn't mess up the taste!

2 potatoes, peeled & diced

1/4 c. low fat sour cream

1 tbsp margarine

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt/Pepper

3 carrots, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

1 leek, chopped (recipe called for onion, but this is what I had on-hand!)

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 pound lean ground beef (or turkey)

3 tbsp flour

1 tsp rosemary

1 tsp thyme

2 c. beef broth

1. Boil your potatoes until they are tender. Meanwhile, chop veggies & sautee in a skillet with olive oil until tender.

2. Once potatoes are finished, drain them and add sour cream & margarine. Beat until smooth, season with salt/pepper, and set aside.

3. Once veggies are tender, add ground beef and cook through. Once meat is cooked, add flour, rosemary, thyme, salt, & pepper, and stir well til all is coated.

4. Add beef broth to the meat/veggie mixture and simmer until sauce thickens.

5. Once sauce has thickened, pour mixture into a square or round baking dish, then spread mashed potatoes on top. Bake in a 400 degree oven until potatoes just start to brown on top, about 20-30 minutes. Let sit a couple minutes before serving, then enjoy!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Minestrone

Tonight I decided to try Krissie's minestrone recipe that she posted on her food journal. I followed her recipe to a T, but mine did not turn out as beautiful, or as soup-like. Here's the veggies in the soup:

1 leek, chopped
1 diced onion
2 carrots, chopped
2 zuchini, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 head cabbage, chopped
1 can kidney beans, drained
3 cans tomatoes, undrained

It was a whooole lotta veggies! She said she added about 2 cups of water, but even with doing that and letting it cook for awhile, it was just not soup-like, and I knew that adding pasta to the mix was just going to soak up all there was left... so I added more water. I also added some seasonings because I have a picky tongue. We used a couple tablespoons of an italian blend, salt, pepper, and more garlic. It was looking nice and soupy after some extra water, so I added the pasta & let it cook until it was tender. This was my end result:



It was mostly a bowl full of veggies with a bit of pasta & a bit of soupy-ness. And after we ate our bowls & I went to put the rest away, ALL the liquid had been soaked up in the pasta! Soooo, next time I think I'd add another can of tomatoes, only maybe I'd blend them up a bit to make them more liquid, plus add additional water or broth. Overall, it was a VERY tasty meal... my husband had THIRDS he liked it so much, my version just wasn't as soupy as hers, for some reason! Head on over to her blog to get the full recipe & see what hers was like!

Weekend Victories

I think my standard Monday morning post will be "Weekend Victories" because I like to reflect on what I did well to get me going for the week!

This weekend was less challenging than the last for a couple of reasons--last weekend was the Mother's Day hurrah, and I was also PMS-ing like crazy then! This weekend didn't have any special celebrations and I also didn't have the sweet/salty cravings like I did the week before.

Things I did well:

1. Ate a healthy meal for date night, followed by some mild activity (putt-putt, where I kicked my husbands butt!). I did indulge in the Skinny Bee Margarita, but at only 100 calories, it wasn't hard to fit in. My husband and I also decided to split one of their mini-desserts. It comes in a double-shot glass, and splitting it was the perfect size. We each got a couple good bites & left feeling satisfied, not stuffed!

2. We cooked dinner on Saturday night! In the past, the weekend has been kind of a free-for-all & we haven't planned much around meals, we've just gotten whatever sounded good. This weekend we planned for homemade pizza. I made whole wheat pizza dough in the breadmaker, then we divided it so we could each have our own personal sized pizzas. I used a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese on mine as the "sauce", then had mushrooms, spinach, feta, garlic, and a light sprinkle of mozzerella. It was pretty good! Next time I think I might make the Laughing Cow alfredo sauce that I've seen floating around the internet, because it was a teensy bit dry once it baked. Still, super tasty!

3. We ate out on Sunday, and I allowed it to be my one meal each week where I indulge & eat what sounds good to me, within reason. While I know we also ate out on Friday, that meal was planned out & within the points values for the day. Sundays meal allowed me to indulge a little using some of my flex points. When I made my plan, I thought in advance about how to handle eating-out situations, and I said that I'd allow myself one meal per week to indulge within reason. Because I planned this out in advance, it's really helped me in a couple of ways. 1.) I don't feel guilty for indulging one time per week, using my flex points, and 2.) It helps me not go overboard the whole DAY. Sometimes you'll indulge for one meal, then you figure "well, I screwed up the day, might as well go crazy!". I don't look at my indulgance as a screw-up, I look at it as a treat that I'm allowing myself. Since I know I get that treat once a week, I don't get discouraged or even think about going off-plan for a whole day!

4. While it didn't occur on the weekend, I also had a victory on Thursday. After I got news that my meeting was going to be closing, I felt pretty blue for the evening. I knew I had flex points that I could "blow" on junk if I wanted. But I was rational and reasonable. I told my husband "I have flex points and I really want chocolate or ice cream... but I know that I only want it because I'm sad. So I shouldn't go crazy, right?" He was proud of me for recognizing that while I could have "legally" eaten some junk, I wasn't doing it because I wanted the junk, I was doing it because I wanted to not feel sad right then. He suggested having a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich instead, so I did just that. Three points instead of maybe thirty that I would have blown at Dairy Queen. I was proud of myself!

How did you do this weekend? What were some of your victories?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Skinny Bee Margarita

Anyone who's been on weight watchers knows that Applebee's is always an easy place to go & eat on-plan because they have several items on the menu that are endorsed by WW and have points values listed. Well, last week at my meeting, someone mentioned that Applebee's now has a 100-calorie margarita, and while it isn't endorsed by weight watchers, it's still low-points & would be able to be fit into anyone's plan while eating out, if they desired.

So when my husband and I were deciding on a place for date night this week, Applebee's it was! And we decided to try the margarita. I was expecting it to either be A)tiny or B)not good. And surprisingly, it was actually not super tiny (though not the size of a regular margarita), and it was really good! This is what it looks like:



My only complaint about this margarita is the price! It was $5.99 for this little thing! Maybe to some that's not bad, but considering you can get a regular margarita at most restaurants for a couple bucks less (though for many more calories!), I thought the $6 price tag was a bit high! So while I did enjoy this little treat, I probably wouldn't be getting it again, unless I was dying for a little taste of margarita. Another thing that some might not like (but didn't bother me), is that it's served on the rocks, not frozen. I actually prefer my margaritas that way, but if you are a frozen margarita kinda gal, then you might not like this.

Has anyone else tried this, what did you think?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Accomplishments & Goals

At the end of each week in my WW tracker, there is a space to list your accomplishments for the week & your goals for the upcoming week. I will be sharing these here with you each week!

This week I accomplished:
--Walked three times, 1 mile each (though I hurt my knee on my last walk & have been in pain for several days!)
--Tracked my food every day
--Tried three new dishes, from scratch, with no recipe!
--Stuck to my plan!
--Lost 2 pounds

This week I commit to:
--Take my vitamin every day (I wasn't consistent last week!)
--Keep up with my exercise
--Don't feel discouraged about hurdles
--Keep logging all food

On a similar sidenote, one of my goals has been to give up pop. Last week I had just a couple of sips of diet pop, and to be honest, I didn't really miss it. Today I got Subway for lunch & the only fountain option they had that wasn't pop was powerade, which I don't like. So, I opted for Diet Coke. I got it and took one sip and almost spit it out! It was so syrupy & sweet to me! Isn't that odd that after just one week of going without, the stuff that I used to drink daily I can no longer really stand! It didn't taste good to me at all & I only had maybe 2 ounces of the whole big cup full, just to wash down my food. It was a pretty neat little victory!

What did you accomplish this week? What are your goals for the coming week?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A loss and a hurdle.

The good news: I saw a loss this week at WW. For my first week on the program, I honestly expected more (because in the past when I've done WW I've dropped more my first week), but a loss is a loss, and I'm trying not to hope for more. So, my loss was 2 pounds even. Two less pounds my knees have to carry around!

The bad news: I was informed tonight at my WW meeting, week TWO, mind you, that they are closing down the meeting due to low attendance. This is the only meeting held in my town, and the nearest other meeting is about 35 minutes away from home. I was devastated. It took me so much courage to actually start and take the first step, and now it's being pulled out from under me. I realize this isn't the end of the world, and that as part of my plan I made a committement to locate another meeting if I was unable to go to my own. I just didn't realize it would be permanently, nor did I realize it would be so soon! I could really use some encouraging words about this, cuz I'm feeling really upset about it. Probably moreso than I should be... I mean, I actually shed a few tears over it! I'm just bummed that I found a small, intimate meeting, and now I feel like I'm being abandoned.