Lifestyle Changes and Family

The past week has been filled to the brim. Beer events, flights, Portlandia, work, Fat Tuesday, and that pesky sleep thing.  You know, one of those weeks where you sometimes forget to breathe.  The dust is starting to settle, though, and I figure it’s time for a post about something that’s been flitting about in my brain for a while.

It’s been almost 2 years since I made the biggest lifestyle change of my 24 (and a half! I’m officially 6 months from my birthday!) years of my life.  I decided I was going to lose the excess weight from my body, resume the exercise that used to be a central focus of my life, and stop eating crap.  My family couldn’t have been more supportive.  In fact, my mother’s Weight Watchers account was probably my most frequently visited website on a daily basis.  My brothers were huge inspirations to me, as they’d both sculpted their bodies through P90X, regular visits to the weights rooms, and diet changes. Every time I came home, I was greeted with hugs and compliments.  Of COURSE it felt great.  And it fueled my fire, and it made me hungry for more progress.  I don’t believe I ever visited the land of Eating Disorders, but I definitely regulated my food intake more than most people I know.  It just worked for me that way, so I stuck with it.

I’m not sure when it happened, but despite the fact that I’ve maintained my 40-45lb weight loss for the past year and a half, the people closest to me started to have different thoughts.  No longer were the comments your basic “Wow, you look great!” or “You’ve gotten so fit!” but sounded a little more like, “Oh, come on, just eat the pizza!” or “You don’t HAVE to go to the gym every day do you?” “Do you really write EVERYTHING you eat in that little book of yours?”

It may have stemmed from the weekly weigh-ins.

Maybe it was the decision to give up drinking soda this year.

Perhaps it was the choice to go Pescatarian for Lent this year.

Not that tough when you can still eat this.

But they started to worry about me.  Now, I’ll admit, my family is pretty basic when it comes to eating. I don’t think I even have a vegetarian cousin or uncle. The idea of pescatarianism strikes them as outrageous, as a huge difference from the norm.  After researching the lifestyle for a while, and looking back on my own regular eats, it isn’t that much of a stretch for me to attempt pescatarian eating for 40 days.  And I don’t want anyone to worry about me.  I’m still going to work out, but I take rest days.  I’m still going to blog about my food and exercise, but I’ll never post about everything I eat.  And yes, sometimes my methods may seem a little “out there” to the average Joe (or Josephine), but I know how my body works.  I know how my habits work.

My brother brought up a good point when we were talking about all of this, and that point is that you should be able to enjoy something if you really want it.

For me to make a serious life change, I need to go drastic first, and then temper it. When I first started Weight Watchers, I tracked every bite of food and drink that went into my body. And now, I know a more general idea of what eating healthy is about, so I don’t have to know the points value of those Cheez Its I just wolfed.  I won’t drink soda for the next year but, after that, if I want a soda, I’ll have one. And if I don’t, I’ll know it’s because I lost the taste.  I won’t eat beef, poultry, or pork for the next 37 days, but I’ll be with you if you want a steak dinner on Easter.  I like to challenge myself, it helps me learn what I can or cannot do, and what I need or do not need.  Two years ago I learned that  I don’t need an entire frozen pepperoni pizza for dinner.  Now, it’s time to learn something else.

It’s important to have family, friends, romantic partners, etc. to be there and act as the occasional check and balance when you’re starting something new in your life.  But it’s also important that you stick to your goals (your well-researched goals that will not endanger your life).  And if I ever make a decision where I can’t eat pizza, please, someone, slap me.

Totally pescatarian friendly 3-cheese pizza!

Asiago flatbread topped with herbed goat cheese, parmesan, mozzarella, sugar-free sauce, spinach, onions, and Morningstar spicy “sausage”.  Hell to the yeah.

Has your family or friends ever been worried about your health following decisions you’ve made?  How did you get past it?

(SIDENOTE: My family and I have spoken about this at length and they’re not worried anymore, as I explained myself, my decisions, etc to them and let them know I wasn’t just jumping into some trendy fish-eating fad diet!  All is well, don’t want anyone to worry about THAT!)

Getting Fit with a fitbook

Long ago (March 2010, to be more specific), I started Weight Watchers with the help of my mom, aunts, and cousins. I’m the only one of us that really stuck to it, long term (I know that they gradually dropped off the plan one by one), with busy things like children, jobs, running households, etc. I was lucky enough to have a fairly empty plate, though (not literally!) which allowed me plenty of time to focus on meal planning and the like.  It was a fantastic method, for me.  However, after about 6 months, with a weight loss of about 40 lbs, I was working out 3-5 times a week and was much more active in my life. Ryan and I were living together, I started playing volleyball, I met new friends, and started getting interested in craft beer.  The idea of tracking my points was getting a little boring, and there were too many things I wanted to try without adding up points and doing math all the time. Plus, tracking all the craft beers I was drinking was getting a little shameful.

450 calories for 12 oz? I'll take two!

Well, new year, new you, all that jazz. Only it took me a week or two of the new year to really kick into high gear.  After a busy first weekend with all sorts of St. Anthony Hall fun times followed by a crippling sickness (ok, I’m being a baby, it was just a nasty flu), Martin Luther King Day was the start of my new year.  And, since I fare better with a plan, I had a handy tool to help me out.

Presenting the FITBOOK!

My fitbook was sent to me after participating in a little Twitter chat, and it’s been waiting for me to open it up for quite some time, now. When I opened it, there was a WEALTH of information to fill out including weekly goals, daily logs, and spots for inspiration!

Week 1 Wrap Up

The fitbook has room for 12 weeks of recording and normally costs $22.95, with a 4 pack going for $79.95.  The focus is both on nutrition AND fitness, which I like (instead of just tracking my food). There’s not a specific focus on calories, but a more general attitude relative to food (and SMILEY FACES!)

Easy peasy

The left side is for fitness.

Shakey arms are the sign of a good workout, right?

I think this section would probably make more sense if most of my workouts weren’t group fitness classes, but would be great to record weight-lifting sessions.  It’s nice to have somewhere to record my fitness workouts other than just on Garmin Connect, though.

Can't really tote this JPEG along with me

Anyway, I think I just needed a handy, portable way to track my eating and exercise in one location. And, since I can basically palm the fitbook, it works out perfectly.

Note of progress?

At my doctor’s appointment a little less than 2 weeks ago, I weighed in at 178 lbs.  Today’s weigh in? 173 lbs!!  I also tested my body fat percentage, and am happy to report 24.8%.  Making progress, folks.

And, don’t worry, calories or not, there’ll always be room for craft beer…

 

Top 6 Toilet Tips for Frequent Trips

TGIT(hursday) *y’all!

Glad to see that some of you were intrigued or interested by the Crème Brûlée by Southern Tier! I know it was a little early in the day for a beer post, but it’s a dessert beer so it all works out, right? Right.

Anyway, today marks my first day back on the Weight Watchers plan. After doing some calculations, and beep bopping some numbers, I learned that my allotted Points + total is 32 for the day. With a tasty (and boring) breakfast of cereal and almond milk and a most delicious salad, with dessert, I’m up to 10 points so far.

Classic 6 point salad

I was surprised at how much cheese really is in 1/4 cup, and think that I don’t really need that in the future. Good to know.

When I first started my Weight Watchers journey back in March of 2010, I realized that I was drinking a LOT more water.  I know it’s great to stay hydrated and I was exercising much more, and because it filled me up. Oh, and everyone else that I talked to raved about the benefits of chugging  64+ oz/day.  So other than my desk, this became my most frequently visited spot in the office:

Featuring my neon pink water cup.

As a result, this was the third most frequent spot I visited:

Yup, the bathroom. Featuring my neon pink OUTFIT!

With a bladder the size of a shot glass, I spend more time visiting the little girls room than I ever have. I probably wake up to use the restroom at least 3x every night. It’s actually a bit of a pain.

In case others were feeling my pain, though, I decided to come up with my top ways of spending all that extra tinkle time.

1. Find the Shape in the Cloud

Oooh, fancy artwork.

So often, bathrooms feature very abstract artsy looking paintings and decorations. And sometimes, I find that a hilarious thing to do is approach them like one does when one is looking up at the clouds.

“Hey! Is that a ravioli in the flower? That one looks like an evil eye! Sweet, I see a clown!”

2. Makeover Madness!

Clearly, I take great care of my makeup.

When using the bathroom at home, why don’t you take a chance to practice that smokey eye you’ve been trying to master? Or perhaps practice your face painting because Halloween’s right around the corner! Get creative! There’s no reason that bathroom time can’t also be beautification time!

3. Angry Birds

Why so serious?

You know you do it. Smart Phones (or dumb phones, for that matter) were meant to be toted into the toilet room and played with. Why do you think they invented Snake?

Poor man's Angry Birds?

4. Familiarize Yourself with Febreze

Looks.... healthy.

Sure, you spray this around your house and bathroom when either is smelling “not so fresh”. But are you really familiar with the ingredients and risk? OR the Good Housekeeping awards it has won?

Febreze is your Friend. Get to know it better.

5. Mediate the Mess

Darn Junk Drawer

If you’re anything like me, the drawers in your bathroom are, by far, the craziest ones in the home. Take some time to remedy that by organizing the junk you’ve collected. Mine’s closer to the toilet than even the TP Roll, so why I haven’t done this one, I’ll never know. This one is clearly an example of me not practicing what I preach. Maybe next time.

6. Make lists of other things to do in the bathroom.

Because someone’s gotta do it.

I know I’m not the only one that slams 64-80 oz of water everyday, so share some love.

Do you have any mindless tasks you do on your countless trips to the bathroom?

Shredding for the Wedding

Hey there friends!  Today’s a glorious Wednesday and you know how much I love Wednesdays! The Changing of the Sales was celebrated in full force this morning and, of course, my favorite: No-Pants Wednesday is currently being celebrated!

Wednesday, pantsless Wednesday!

I should also explain the other reason that I love to come home for lunches.

Oh, hey Vitamin D! (that's the one you get from the Sun, right?)

I just love to come home and open the sliding glass door and enjoy the sun, even briefly, during the day. While I love my job, I’m unfortunate enough to be the proud owner of one of the only windowless offices in the building. Drats.

Oh well, I also got my fair share of other tasty vitamins in the form of this tasty Mexican salad.

Spinach, black beans, tomato, green peppers, cheese, salsa, and chia seeds!

With a dessert of half a slice of the small cheese pizza from Mellow Mushroom last night (there’s still time, if you live near a MM, to get a coupon for a free small cheese pizza with purchase of a drink. Trying to spread that freebie love, even if it’s not your birthday!)

But now, tasty treats aside, time for some focus.

Shredding for the Wedding

I’ll lead into this section by saying that, if you aren’t aware, since March 2010 I’ve lost approximately 40 lbs. I’m incredibly proud of my progress and, for the most part, very happy with my body. That being said, the past few months have been full of lots of travel, lots of  fun and, going hand in hand with those two, lots of food. Visits home, birthday freebies, weddings, holidays,and all that jazz, quickly resulted in a little bit more cushion on my body than I’m fond of. Enter: Jillian.

Shred-master

After reading past folks reviews of the program (such as Meghann from Meals and Miles) and having started it (briefly) at the beginning of the year, I think I need something to whip my booty back into fighting shape. For the past 8 days, I’ve shredded 6 of them (one day was an “off” day and another I did Zumba for an hour). Though I haven’t noticed much of a change physically, I think it’s mostly because what I’ve been doing in my living room hasn’t been supported by what I do in the kitchen (or restaurant…. or at the tailgate). Here’s where the big change comes in.

My cousin’s wedding is the first full weekend of October (read: Columbus Day weekend. Mark your calendars, that’s a holiday, folks!)

I credit the first 20 lbs of my weight loss entirely to Weight Watchers.  When I got to a point I felt good at, I laid off and just rested on my laurels and the knowledge I had about what was good for me and what was not good for me. But with this whole “craft beer” thing becoming a super fun part of my life, and wanting to enjoy myself and wear the clothes I want to wear at my cousin’s big weekend, I’d like to kick the last 10 lbs that have been weighing me down (literally).

Starting tomorrow, I’ll start following the Weight Watchers plan again. I won’t be quite as strict as I was in the past, but I wanna rid my home of all the junk food that’s been lingering around and focus on what got me to where I am in the first place.

Know it, live it, love it.

I’m stoked to be shredding with some of my favorite fellow bloggers (like Jessica, Carly, Sadie, and Holly)  , and I’ll be tweeting along the way. The Weight Watchers thing, well, I’m hoping that’ll come back to me like riding a bike.

But on that note, it’s back to work.  No more slices of pizza as a lunch dessert (it was tiny, though, I promise) and it’s time to get back to my roots. Goodbye sunshine, see you later comfy pantsless time, and ta ta to y’all. At least until later tonight.

Have you ever followed a 30 day (or 60 or 90) day program? What’d you think?

How about Weight Watchers or some other type of diet?

OR for folks who haven’t ever tried either of them, what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever had for a dessert? 

Microwaves vs. Crockpots: A Weight Watchers Metaphor

Good evening, y’all!!

Today, after work, I took a rest day, as I knew I would.  I spent some time at the grocery store, and came out with a KILLER haul due to sales and bogos.  25 dollhairs for all of this:

Hooray Grocery Goodies!

Well, actually, the box of wine glasses/glass of wine on the left was simply what I was drinking post-grocery store.  I did some cleaning, I drank some vino, and I watched some X-Men and continued to feel like a superhero. It was a true success.

For dinner, we had tacos. Well, I had some taco salad and the beau nibbled some true tacos.  It was a SEXY looking meal.

Delightful!

In the salad:

  • Spinach base
  • 1 roma tomato
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 1/2 avocado
  • spicy turkey mix
  • salsa
  • low fat mexi-mix cheese!

It was simply the best.

Tonight, I was thinking back on a post I read back in my tumblr days.  The idea was on weightloss and how folks are either microwaves or crockpots.  This post, by the Active Artist, (real name: Alex) basically talked about how different folks lose weight incredibly fast (microwaves) or slow and steady (crockpots).  Please read the post to see his opinion (I don’t wanna sum it up wrong) but here’s my response.

I love this analogy.  I’ve recently been talking a lot about weight loss to my mother, who started my journey with me last March, but fell off the wagon with grad school, five kids, a husband, and a veryyyy busy life to handle. She was asking me questions about losing the weight I did, and how I did it so fast.  However, I just looked back at some old posts and maybe have an addition to this metaphor.

In March, I started my goal to lose weight. By August 12th, I was 181.5, down over 30 lbs.  However, at my last weigh-in I was 172.  This is about 9 lbs since August, which just a month shy of a year ago. So while I lost the initial 30 lbs in what seemed like no time, the last 20 that I’m trying to work on have been like inchworms they’re leaving so slowly.

Part of it may have to do with moving in with someone, and adjusting my eating habits to another person. Part of it may have to do with this newfound freedom of looking good in clothes and feeling great despite not losing every week, because I am eating what I want (admittedly, what I want is often grilled chicken, veggies, salads, etc), and feeling sexy.  But the thing is, I know I can do better.  So here’s my addition:

I think I’m a microwave. A trusty dependable one that’s worked your whole life, only one day, it’s not working. And so your food’s not cooking at all, and you’re confused. Only the thing is, it’s going to end up being something stupid, like it’s not actually plugged into the wall socket.

All I need to do is find that damn plug, and plug back into my weight loss. That, I think, will give my system the jump-start it needs.

And, if you’re not sure, I have mixed feelings about microwaves.

Thanks for reading, I know it was text-heavy.

How about you?  Are you a microwave or a crock pot?

Are you trying to lose weight or are you happy where you are?

The Best Laid Plans

Good morning, early birds!!

So, while yesterday didn’t go exactly as planned, I learned a few things, got a nice workout in, and spent time with the beau.

Dinner was a TASTY one, and very easy at that (mostly because the beau volunteered to finish up cooking so I could pack for MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING ON SATURDAY!!)  We picked up a pack of Al Fresco Chicken Sausage on sale at the store, and let me just say… it may have been the best decision of the week.

Hello little weenie-shaped links of goodness!

The flavor we chose was Roasted Pepper and Asiago and for two links, there are a little less than 300 calories.  We used the whole pack, cut up into little disks (as the weenie-shape was making my appetite fade fast).  We added these tender cooked disks to some Reduced Sodium Zatarain’s Jambalaya (a staple in our home considering the beau’s got hardcore cajun roots).  The sausage made this dish.  While I’m always a fan of the Zatarain’s rice dishes (I used to have the red beans and rice for dinner while I was on Weight Watchers at least once a week), this sausage added a whole new level of tastiness.  The Asiago cheese inside was so savory and made the sausage creamy almost.  Jeez, I wanna say creamy, but I feel like that’s not the right word…. Well, imagine a creamy sausage that still retains its “sausage-ness” and that’s what you get.  It was a perfect match.

Also, while craving a sweet treat after dinner, I remembered Chocolate Covered Katie’s Cupcakes for One.  The recipe seemed easy enough and, since I was feeling particularly lazy, I went for the microwaved version.  Well…. either my measurements were off (likely) or my microwave has super powers (more likely).  Either way, it ended up mostly rock hard.  I tried to remedy the situation by adding some chocolate… luckily I had a fresh bag of Adora disks and melted one on top, which made it edible (and full o’ calcium!)  I don’t know if I’m brave enough to try this again, and in the future…. should probably stick to baking in an oven, not a microwave.  And we all know my issues with microwaves

Today’s workout is BodyAttack, the early morning edition.  Maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll be able to squeeze some sunshine in at lunchtime.  Wish me luck!

Ever had a baking blunder?  My last blunder was with cooking, not baking, but it actually turned out delicious.

What’s your favorite day of the workweek?  Mine’s usually Thursday, due to an early morning workout, tasty appetizers for half price at dinner, and normally a trip to the mall for funzees….

Enjoy the day!!

Workin’ It

 

Hello out there fellow worker bees!!

If you’re like me at all, you MAY BE a 20-something YoPro (Young Professional, NOT yogurt professional, though that’d be glorious too…) And a common challenge in the world of my fellow YoPros (other than sitting on your booty for most of your entire day) is what to do for lunch.  I’ll admit, when I first entered the working world, I had recently broken my foot.  So my day to day thought process when it came to lunch was something sort of like this:

“Yeah… I could crutch over to the fridge, get some ingredients, put together an amazing dinner the night before work, put it in an adorable and eco-friendly lunch tote, and crutch to and from the fridge at work to retrieve it and eat with my homemade chopsticks… OR!! I could drive to Taco Bell for an easy to eat cheesy double beefy burrito with a side of 5 layer nachos and a soda!”

In my crippled state, my lazy bones aching with lazy, guess which one I chose?

First, you go in my mouth. Then, my hips. Sound like a plan?

When I started Weight Watchers, though, I realized that planning for your meals can actually SAVE you time, energy, and (hooray!) calories!  I don’t normally prepare anything too extravagant, but here are some of my usual go to guys for lunch treats:

  • Grilled, seasoned chicken breast – George Foreman = my secret lover. I grilled many en masse, and keep them safe and sound in my tupperware. You can add them to sammies, you can toss them in quesadillas, or just eat them plain!
  • Solid white albacore – A can of this, plus Hellman’s Low Fat Mayo (15 calories per serving), is a perfect sandwich filler for me!
  • Bird’s Eye Steam Fresh Vegetables – These are a total staple in my lunches.  One bag = 2 lunch sides for me, toss them in the microwave, and go to town. Some of them are pre-seasoned, which is nice, but all of them are delicious, seasonings be damned.
  • Arnold’s Sandwich Thins – I feel like, if there was some sort of unofficial sponsor of the healthy living blogosphere, these would be it. Totally versatile, totally delicious, a mix of textures and flavas, all great!
  • Laughing Cow Wedges – Again, a no-brainer. They are a dream to replace butter, cream cheese, mayo, etc. I use the queso fresco flavor on sandwiches with some lettuce and tomato for a spicy pick-me-up, and the blue cheese on sammies or wraps with some Frank’s Red Hot (Literally, I DO put that $*** on EVERYTHING!).
  • Jell-o Mousse Temptations – Best dessert that is portable that I know, to date. My favorite part? To quote Stifler: “I can taste the bubbles!” There are delicious little air bubbles that make it taste sorta like if pudding and tonic water had a love-child, and dipped that baby in caramel. (well that’s just the caramel flavor, but that’s my favorite).
  • Zatarain’s Red Beans and Rice – I know, you can’t prepare these at work a la minute, but prepare them the night before and you’ve got at LEAST two meals waiting for you in tupperware! Add some lean protein like shrimp or chicken breast, and you could definitely stretch it to three (I say two, and some people are probably like WHOAH THERE, Godzilla, that’s a heaping big serving… Yes. I like big meals. And I don’t think I’m the only one…)
  • Extra Dessert Delights (ESPECIALLY key lime pie flavor) – I had a 40 day span of time (some call it Lent) where I gave up sweets/desserts/the whole nine yards. These became my desserts.  I picked up a small carton at Sam’s Club once I realized how tasty they are, and never looked back. They maintain their flavor for a LONG time, and they rock for taking care of that sweet tooth.

While that’s not a comprehensive list by ANY means, those are some of my most frequent players in the game of lunch.  Curious about what I ate today? Well, after a breakfast of Chobani Champions Honey-Nana (love that name) with some Kashi Berry Blossoms and Tupelo Honey thrown in for texture, my lunch actually featured a fair amount of what I’ve listed.

Note the ADORABLE tote I brought it all in?

Toasted Flax Seed Sandwich thin, tuna sammy with that low fat mayo, some lettuce (thanks, Durham Farmers’ Market) and tomato, and a side of roasted veggies (also thanks to the DFM!!).  As for dessert, I’m still chewing it! (Yeah, it’s the Key Lime gum. Violet Beauregarde, eat your heart out!

If you’re a YoPro, what are your lunch staples? Or, if you stay/work at home, how does that change what you eat?

Do you think Violet Beauregarde is the most detestable character from the classic story of Willy Wonka’s baller factory?

Discuss.