Saturday, December 31, 2011

You Mean I Have to Plan??

*Please note that I am in no way affiliated with Lysa TurKeurst or Proverbs 31 Ministries. This is my own work using Lysa's book Made to Crave as reference. Thank you - Jennifer.*

One of the reasons I feel Weight Watchers didn't work 100% for me is because of all the planning involved. Every hour of every day you are thinking about food - what I ate, what I didn't eat, what I need to eat, what I'm going to eat today, tomorrow, next week . . . Every . . . Single . . . Moment.

For a food addict, that doesn't work very well.

And yet . . .
You still have to have a plan, right?

Think about it.
When we're battling the enemy in our lives, we have a plan, right?
(the correct answer here is PRAYER)
So why should our battles against our temptations be any less significant or important?

It's important to have a plan of attack.
Even something as simple as: "I won't eat __________"

What I'm learning is that I have to have a plan - a BIG plan.
I don't count calories.
I don't measure portions.
None of that.

My plan is simple:
Eat what God made and eat it in smaller portions.
Exercise daily.
There are four food groups: Protein, Dairy, Plants, Grains
That's it.
Notice what's not on there?

God made food for our bodies for one purpose only - to fuel us so that we can better serve Him.

I have had many, many complex plans in the past.
None of them worked.
Because they focused on the one thing that was taking me away from God - food.
My new plan focuses on God, not food.
Because I am a Jesus girl and I am made to crave God, not food!

God Bless you all!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Sacrifice

*Please note that I am in no way affiliated with Lysa TurKeurst or Proverbs 31 Ministries. This is my own work using Lysa's book Made to Crave as reference. Thank you - Jennifer.*

Everything is permissible - but not everything is beneficial. 
1 Corinthians 10:23

When it comes to this journey there's one thing I've noticed about myself. 
I don't make any sacrifices when it comes to my eating.
This is a problem, especially for someone trying to renew a spiritual relationship with God.

The fact is, weather we like it or not, we have to make some sort of sacrifice in order to be truly close to the Lord. Weather it be drugs, alcohol, money, or sex - no one questions the sacrifice of these things in their daily lives. But people do question the sacrifice of food.

John tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:23 that "everything is permissible - but not everything is beneficial". 
Everything is permissible. 
But NOT everything is beneficial.
Yes, there has to be sacrifices made. 

I have made a list of things that I will and won't do when it comes to this journey. It's interesting, now that I look at it, how many things I haven't been willing to sacrifice - not only in food, but in behavior. For example, I was not willing to sacrifice my little "safe" indulgences (100 calorie packs, to be specific). Sure, one is okay, once in a while. But three or four daily? See where I'm going with this?

Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. Before he did this, he told his followers that they would also have to make sacrifices to follow him. For some that was money (Zacchaeus). For others, sex (Mary Magdalene). For others, power (John). What is that sacrifice for you? For me, it's the unhealthy foods that have ruled my life for the past 35 years.

Here is my revised list:

I Will . . .

 . . . Pay attention to what I eat, and rely on foods that are beneficial to my body for fuel.
 . . . Take and eat smaller portions of anything unhealthy and eat larger portions of foods that are healthy.
 . . . Not indulge myself on a regular basis (weekly) - only in small amounts on special occasions.
 . . . only weigh myself once every 10 days (I was an every-day weigh person).
 . . . Fully rely on God and make daily sacrifices in His honor.

God bless you all,

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Made To Crave - Finding Your "Want To"

*Please note that I am in no way affiliated with Lysa TurKeurst or Proverbs 31 Ministries. This is my own work using Lysa's book Made to Crave as reference. Thank you - Jennifer.*

I have a bad case of the "I don't wannas".
I don't wanna clean.
I don't wanna get up out of my nice warm bed.
I don't wanna eat carrots and salad when it's cold outside.
I don't wanna get off my butt and exercise.

I just don't wanna.

That is one of the most challenging parts of changing your eating lifestyle, isn't it?
Let's face it, no matter who I point fingers at, or what failed diet plan I blame, the fact remains:
There's a reason I'm unhealthy, and it's all about me.

I start, I stop. I start, I stop. I start . . . I stop.

I have done:
Atkins, South Beach, the Blood Type Diet, Lean Bodies, Weight Watchers, the Eden Diet, Weight Watchers again, Spark People, fasting, starvation, calorie counting, sugar counting, fat counting . . . The works.
The problem is not that these do not work.
The problem is that I don't have enough will or desire to stick with them.
This is something that I know I have addressed more than a few times on this blog.
Let's face it, this is something that affects me daily.

But here's the thing, my "want to" has, in the past, been tied to the wrong things.
A better body. Looking good. Fitting into a certain size . . .
See where I'm going with this? Vanity. My want to has been tied to my vanity for my entire life.
So what has to change? What do I need to do to change that for me?
I have to realize that it can no longer be about things like size or looks.

The point of this rant?
I am a food addict, plain and simple. My lack of will comes from the same place that a crack addict's or smoker's might come from. This is where there has to be a focus shift.

All of these diet and eating plans didn't work for me because they forced me to think consistantly about the one thing that was taking me away from my God. Food. Food was my golden calf, my idol, my false God. When I was depressed, I turned to brownies, chips, ice cream . . . Did the same thing when I was happy.
I was not turning to God.
Daily my focus was around food: what I was going to eat, what I was eating, what I was going to eat later. I made meal plans, counted points/calories/carbs/etc., scoured cook books and recipe web sites. I spent hours staring at Paula Deen and Rachael Ray on the television. Then I'd look at the scale and wonder why I'd gained a pound that week.

The entire focus of Made To Crave is that God should be the center of our lives, not food. When we search for that will, that desire, that "want to", we need to be searching for that in the Father. Like the song says: "we are weak, but HE is strong".

Jesus told the rich man to give everything away. He told his followers to rebuke their selfishness and  "take up your cross and follow Me" (Matthew 16:24). In other words, give up the thing that means more to you than Jesus. For some, that sacrifice is money. For some, drugs or alcohol. But for even more of us, that is food.

Not that we have to stop eating entirely, mind you. That's not the point. The point is that we should re-think how we view food in our lives. Are we replacing God with food? Are we eating when we should be praying? Are we focusing on our meals for the day or on God's grace?

It's certainly something to think about.

Next Week: My Sacrifice

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Made To Crave - God, Not Food

It's been a while since I've sat here at the keyboard pouring my heart out for the world to see. For a while there, blogging just got to where it wasn't fun anymore. It became tedious. I became more concerned about followers and readers than about the real reason I started this journey to begin with: ME. So this and my other blog, The SuperMom Blues will both change slightly over the course of the next few months. Thank you for reading, and enjoy.

I longingly stare at the plate of chocolate chip cookies before me. Ooey, gooey goodness. Homemade. From scratch. Still warm from the oven. Calling to me. Beckoning me. Tempting me. I shove the plate away from me, stand up, and grab a banana from the fruit bowl instead. Chocolate chip cookie it ain't, that's for sure. But there's a part of me that is more fulfilled for choosing that banana. The cookies (yes, "-ies": ya' really think I'd only eat one??) would have satisfied for the period of time it would have taken to put them into my mouth, chew them up, and swallow them. Then, the guilt would set in. Almost immediately. "What have I done? I just compromised all that work I did yesterday! I am such a failure."

That's the one phrase that reverbs through my head consistantly through this journey: I am a failure.
But I am NOT a failure.
I am a woman of God. Fearfully and wonderfully made in His image.
Any setback will not define me for the next thirty years. It's what I do AFTER the setback that does.
Do I sit in wallow in my own self pity, depressed because I gave into a moment of weakness? Or do I forget it and move on?

This is the point of the book Made to Crave by Lysa TurKeurst. Well, one of the points, anyway. Lysa points out in her book that we don't have to be imprisoned by our cravings, chained by the choices that face us every day. God made us to crave: HIM. The entire focus is that we shift our cravings from ones for cookies and chips and fried chicken (my weaknesses) to ones for Him using prayer and scripture. And the best part is, in reality, it has less to do with weight loss and food, and everything to do with your spiritual relationship with the Father.

I still crave cookies. I struggle daily. Some days I win, some days the food does. But the bottom line is that with each setback comes opportunity to learn and to grow both emotionally and spiritually.

Beginning this week, I will start a series based on the Made to Crave book. This blog will become my personal journal, for the world to see. I will share my joys, my frustrations, my prayers. I look forward to sharing this journey with you all.

God's blessings,

Monday, September 19, 2011

Reaching Goals, Setting New Ones.

I am pleased to announce that I have finally reached my 5% goal this weekend.
I don't know the last time I saw that weight, but it sure did feel good to see.

With the reaching of that goal, another one immediately takes its place:
10% or 263.3.

There is another goal that I'm going to be embarking upon this week.
As I was reading my lesson in Made To Crave this week (more on that in tomorrow's post!) I realized something pivotal.
In all the things that I have sacrificed to "get healthy" there's one thing that I have yet to let go of.
Diet sodas.
Now for some people, this isn't a big deal.
For me, however, it is.
I have overcome addiction after addiction in my life: alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes . . .
So this is just one more addiction to let go of.
If I can let this one go, then I know that I can do anything through CHRIST who strengthens me (Phillipians 4:13).
It also reminds me that I need to rely on God for this journey more, not just myself.
I can count, track, walk, run, jump, and scream all I like. But it means nothing without God right there with me.
And I can't do it without him.
Think about your goals. Can YOU reach them without God's help?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Old Demons Die Hard

I have been overweight my entire life.
At least it seems that way.
In school, I was the fat kid.
I was also the weird kid, so I didn't have many friends.
It was a lonely existence.
Don't get me wrong, I did have SOME friends, and the ones I had were great.
But you know a teenagers mind.
The "popular" crowd would often not give me the time of day.
If they did, it was to laugh, point, call names, tease . . .
Not all of them,
But a lot of them.
The ones that didn't just ignored me.
They pretended I didn't exist.

I revisited that old pain, long forgotten last night at my daughter's cheer practice.
All the other mothers were huddled together in one area.
I was alone on the bleachers.
I've tried to approach them before,
But was kind of ignored - blown off.
I'm just not one of them.

You see, they're all thin, beautiful, and are well-off financially.
And I'm, well, NOT.
I once again felt like the fat weird outcast that no one wanted to talk to.

I know I am better than that.
I know I should be nicer to myself.
I know that I am a child of God and perfect in how He created me.
But sometimes those old demons you thought you'd exorcised years ago come back to haunt you.
And you wonder if you will ever feel like a "normal" person again.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Vegetable Soup with Brown Rice

This is light yet surprisingly hearty! Even better the next day!

Vegetable Soup with Brown Rice
3 pp/Serving at 6 Servings

1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 rib celery, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 yellow squash, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 cup baby spinach, washed and roughly chopped
1 can green beans, drained
1 can great northern beans, drained
1 can fire-roasted tomatoes with juice
2 cans chicken broth
1/2 c instant brown rice

In a stock pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute until tender. Add garlic and squash and combine well. Add beans, tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil. Add spinach and rice and stir well. Return to boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until rice is tender. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before eating.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Weight Watchers: On Plan - Not ALL Points Are Created Equal!

Something that bothers me is when people say "I've been eating my points, why aren't I losing weight??"
My first question is always "have you been tracking 100% everything you put in your mouth 100% all the time?"
If their answer is yes, my next question is "well, have you been eating fruits, veggies, and lean protein?"
Usually, the answer is something like: "Well, no, but that doesn't matter as long as I stay within my points, right?"


Let's get one thing straight:
The beauty of the Points Plus program is the freedom it allows. Sure, you can have a slice of chocolate cake or a piece of fried chicken.
Let's face it.
You eat it every day, I don't care HOW many points you count, you're NOT going to lose.

Well, it's the same concept as the old saying that "Not all calories are created equal".
For example:

A slice of 100% whole wheat bread is 2 points plus per slice.
So is three Hershey's Kisses.
Let's say you go on a binge and eat 14 slices of whole wheat bread.
Now, let's say you go on a binge and eat 42 Hershey's Kisses.
Besides the fact that you're probably going to get sick eating all that chocolate, let's look at something besides just the points plus values:

Whole wheat bread has fiber, iron, riboflavin, B12, beta keratin, and a slew of other wonderful, marvelous vitamins and minerals. Not to mention it's low in fat.

Hershey's Kisses, on the other hand, do NOT have these wonderful minerals, nor do they contain fiber, and they are most certainly NOT low fat.

Now I'm not telling you to run off and eat a loaf of whole wheat bread.
Nor am I telling you not to ever eat Hershey's Kisses (that would be blaspheme!)
But I am saying that, even when we're counting points, we still have to be mindful of what we're eating.

Spend your points on the "good stuff" first: lean proteins, whole grains, low fat dairy, healthy oils (since most veggies and all fruits are free!). When you have points left over, THEN add in the "extras" that make the Points Plus program so wonderful.

And remember, not all points are created equal.
Some will help you burn fat, while others will help you keep it on.

Here's to being losers in 2011!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Weight Loss Surgery

For the last few years, I've been a bit skeptical of weight loss surgeries like lap-band and gastric bypass. I've even spoken out about them making claims that they cure the symptom, but not the disease. But yesterday, as I lay in the doctor's office wearing EKG sensors all over my body I realized something very, very frightening.

I am a walking death trap.

My current weight is 282 lbs. Since joining Weight Watchers in February, I have managed to lose a whopping 10 lbs. In six months, quite frankly, I should have lost more than that.

So, the doctor and I discussed the possibility of surgery.
He didn't push, he just asked if it was something I'd considered.
And I hadn't - until yesterday.
So for the next six months, I will be returning to my doctor for an official medical weigh in.
If, in six months, continuing Weight Watchers, I have not lost at least 20 lbs (that's my number), then I plan on starting the process towards surgery.

I will most likely go with the Lap-Band procedure. It's what my mother has had, and I know many people that have had it done, so I will have a wealth of real-life scenarios. I, of course, have many trepidations. I know a lot of problems that people have had with it as well. One woman I know, for example, will throw up about 50% of the time when she eats. Another can't eat certain things like bread or rice. And another can't eat meat.

Lap-band users have complained about band slippage, acid reflux, and vomiting.

Right now, I am thinking though, that all of these things might be worth having it done.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Let's Get Physical . . .

Today will be my very first physical.
I know that the end result will be:
I'm out of shape.
I'm unhealthy.
I need to lose weight.
Hopefully he'll take into account that I've been doing Weight Watchers.
And while I haven't lost near as much as I've wanted to (due to my own self-sabotage), I have lost. And that's the important thing.
When I started this journey, I was 310.
Today I am 285.
Any way you look at it, that's 25 lbs that have come off, and STAYED off.

My biggest hope is that we figure out what's causing the fatigue and lethargy.
It's gone on a bit too long for me. And I'm not 100% certain that it's depression.

So, here's a friendly reminder, kids - if you haven't already, make an appointment today for your yearly physical!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Crock Pot Night!

This is what I'm having for dinner! Just put it in the crock pot and it already smells AMAZING!!

Asian Style Pork Ribs with Cabbage and Onions

2 lbs boneless pork ribs, trimmed of all visible fat (about 8 ribs)
1/2 small head cabbage, shredded
1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 C low sodium soy sauce
1/3 C rice wine vinegar
1 14.5 oz can chicken stock
1/4 tsp Chinese 5 spice seasoning

Prepare 5 qt crock pot by spraying well with cooking spray. Layer cabbage and onions on the bottom of the crock pot. Combine garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, stock, and 5 spice. Pour 1/2 over cabbage and onions. Dip ribs in remaining mixture and place on top of cabbage and onions. Pour remaining sauce over top. Cook on low 5-6 hours or high 4-5 hours. Serve with brown rice.

The leftovers (if there are any, LOL) will be ground and used in pot stickers later on!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Cook Once, Eat Thrice!

I love bulk cooking.
It's easy and a HUGE time-saver.
And lets not forget the money that can be saved!

This week we're talking about a staple of the Weight Watchers Diet: The Chicken Breast.
Most stores now have huge two or three pound packages of breasts for super cheap. Sometimes you can find them on special for less than a dollar a pound. When this happens, I stock up! Most of the time, I separate them into one and two breast portions, but this time around, I was out of baggies and food saver bags. So I had to freeze the whole thing. Thus, I had to cook the whole thing.

The first meal I made with them is a simple crock-pot recipe that I got off the Weight Watchers message boards. The second is a simple chicken and chili enchilada.. Finally, there's a great chicken pot pie that will blow you away!

Meal 1:
Crock Pot Chicken (served with cous cous and green beans on Monday)
Servings: 9-10

1 market special package of chicken breasts (9-10 breasts/pkg.)
2 low-sodium/low-fat cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup (I used both!)
1 C chicken broth
1 packet low-sodium onion soup mix
1 T Herbes De Provance or your favorite herb mixture

Combine soups, broth, soup mix, and herbs in a large crock pot (5 qt). Add chicken and toss to coat entirely. Cook on low 6-8 hours or until chicken is tender and shreds easily.

See?? Easy, right!

Meal #2:
Cheesy Chicken Chili Enchiladas (I served with vegetarian refried beans and fajita-sauted peppers and onions)

2 chicken breasts, shredded
1 low-sodium/low-fat cream of mushroom soup
1 can chopped green chilis, drained and rinsed
1 C shredded low-fat cheddar cheese, divided in half.
1 small can red or green enchilada sauce
8 fajita size whole wheat tortillas

In a large bowl, combine chicken, soup, chilis, and 1/2 the cheese. Mix well to combine.
Place tortillas on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a moist (NOT wet!) paper towel. Microwave on high 30 seconds to 1 minute or until heated through.
Cover the botton of a rectangular glass baking pan with 1/2 the enchilada sauce.
Place 1/8 the filling into a tortilla and roll gently.
Place seam side down into the pan. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
Top with remaining sauce and cheese.
Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and slightly browned.
Allow to rest for at least ten minutes to allow for the filling to set.

This is made even easier if it's made in advance! It's also slightly tastier, as the flavors will have had time to meld!
Meal #3:
Chicken Pot Pie

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg white
3 chicken breasts, shredded
2 can cream of chicken soup
1 c chopped onion
1/2 c chopped celery
1/2 c chopped carrots
1/2 c frozen peas
1 T Herbes de Provance, or your favorite herb blend

In a large bowl combine chicken, soup, herbs and vegetables. Turn out into a 9X9 glass baking pan sprayed with cooking spray. Top with puff pastry. Beat the egg white slightly, then brush onto the puff pastry. Bake at 425 for 25-30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly and puff pastry is puffed and browned.

There you have it! Three meals from one package of chicken. The best part about all of these is that they can be assembled beforehand and stored in the fridge or freezer until you're ready to bake them. Be sure to adjust times accordingly though. PS: if you do this with the pot pie, be sure to add the puff pastry later, when you're ready to bake!


Here's To Being Losers in 2011!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Getting Back On Track

I am finally motivated and going strong. Yesterday I tracked everything - EVERYTHING - and stayed within points range.

Today I'm planning well - I know I'm going to be having fried chicken, broccoli rice casserole, and pea salad for dinner followed by cherry cheese pie. Granted, everything will be within portion size, but still. That's a lot of points. So I'm planning. I had a small bowl of cereal for breakfast, a yogurt for snack, and I'm going to have a sandwich and some carrots and celery for lunch. And if I go over my points, that's okay too because I do have all my weeklies right now.

That's the key.Plan and track.
I think I'm finding the groove.

Another plus, I maintained this week!
I am a happy girl.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Can't Get My Act Together

One of the things my wonderful WW meetings leader, Christy, tells us is "find what motivates you!"
But for some reason, I can't find that motivation this week.
I think about seeing my kids grow up, graduate high school.
I think about being hot by the time I'm 40.
I think about being able to shop at the "normal" size clothing stores.
And yet, I still pick up that chip and put it in my mouth.

But motivation can't always come from those things. Motivation is something that has to come within. No matter how hard you try to convince yourself otherwise, it just will not come from without. You have to push yourself - no one can do it for you.

For example, I had several choices today - chips, celery, carrots, apples, WW ice cream, cherries, and grapes.
I chose chips.
I chose ice cream.
I chose chips again.
Because they were there.
No one made me eat them.
No one handed them to me.
It was all me.

I am learning something about myself here -
I am not like some other WW's people I know.
Some of them can have things in the house, and measure, and only eat the portion size, etc. I am not one of those people.
There are just some things that I am going to have to accept that I can't have them in the house.
For me, it's more than just counting points.
It's more than just getting in my good health guidelines.
It's a fight for my life.
It's a fight against an addiction that I have struggled with since childhood.
I have to stand up against this addiction and say NO MORE.
It's time I get control and find that motivation in me.

Here's to being losers in 2011!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Wordful Wordless Wednesday - A Night in the E.R.

The I.V. stand. Emily said it sounded cool,
when it was quiet enough to actually hear it.

Monday night we took Emily to Cook Children's Hospital in Ft. Worth. She had been sick since the Monday before, and was extremely dehydrated. Along with that, she has problems with constipation, so we were fearful that this could turn into something horrible.

The good people at Children's took great care of us, and did so quickly. We were in exam in less than 10 minutes, and in x-ray in less than 30. Emily was a trooper the whole time, and didn't even get upset when they had to try THREE times to put the IV port into her hand. We watched Bolt, Phineas and Ferb, and played I Spy a few times. Everyone handled her anxious talkativeness beautifully.

And she was anxious. I don't think we realized just HOW scared she was until she commented: "Grandpa died in the hospital, didn't he?" We assured her that Grandpa passed because he was old and very, very sick. We then reminded her that her Daddy had spent the night in the hospital a few months ago and was fine, and that her PePaw had to do the same and HE was fine. She seemed to feel better after that, but I think she wasn't fully convinced until they told us we could go home.

Two x-rays later, we find out that she had somehow ingested something that looked metallic in the x-ray. There were four "shards" no bigger than grains of rice that appeared in her lower bowel. The doctor wasn't overly concerned about it, and told us it should pass within the next day or two. He's put her on two doses of Miralax a day until she "goes" and then one a day for a couple of months after that.

Emily was a trooper, though. An expression we use often is "A Rock Star Dipped In Awesome Sauce".  She never complained, never whined, never cried, screamed, or shouted. She stayed calm, cool, and collected, and even remembered to use her manners - "yes please" "no thank you" "thank you". She reminded her PePaw, who was very worried, that "I'll be just fine, PePaw. Don't worry about me!" The only thing that bothered her was that she was cold - but she showed so much gratitude for the blanket that the nurses brought.

Before we left, Emily wanted to say a prayer for the children surrounding us that couldn't go home that night. And there were several. The one that broke our heart was a small baby - no more than 3 months old - in a bed across the room from us. He just cried and was inconsolable. We passed by at one point on the way to x-ray, and saw the mother and father watching over the baby while the doctor examined him. They just held each other and she was crying. The love in that room was huge, and I continue to pray to this day for that baby's healing.

The moment that really got me though, in that whole evening of sitting next to a hospital bed in the ER, was when we got home and Emily was going to bed. She was headed to her room, then stopped and looked at Ronnie. A look of pure love and relief came over her and she ran to him and kissed him on the head. It was one of the sweetest things I have ever witnessed in my life.

Emily has continued her rock star status, even chastising me yesterday for forgetting her second dose of medicine. "Mama, I'm supposed to take it TWO TIMES A DAY!"

She is such an amazing little girl, and I am so blessed to have her in my life, and so thankful for her health.

For more Wordless Wednesdays visit 5 Minutes for Mom!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Quinoa Skillet with Chicken and Zucchini

This is my new go-to meal. Sometimes I substitute cous cous or instant brown rice for the quinoa, but the quinoa is my FAVORITE!!

You will need:
One large skillet with high sides and a lid to match
Wooden spoon


1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bitesize pieces
2 medium zucchini, cut into bitesize pieces
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 1/4 cup quinoa
1 can chicken broth
2 tsp dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in the skillet. Add chicken and cook until just no longer pink. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add onion and zucchini. Cook until tender and slightly browned, about 10-15 minutes. Add garlic and quinoa. Saute about two minutes or until garlic is fragrant. Add parsley, salt and pepper, and return chicken to pan. Stir well to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Put the lid on and simmer 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until all liquid is absorbed.

Monday, August 1, 2011

OUCH! Heel Spurs

For the last month or so, I haven't been doing all the exercise that I SHOULD be doing. That's because of a nasty little heel spur that I've managed to develop sometime in late June/early July.

I knew absolutely nothing about heel spurs - other than the fact that they HURT.
I thought they were cause from pieces of bone or cartaliage or something similar.
I also thought the only cure would be surgery to "dig in there" and have it removed.
Then I did a little research.
And I found out a LOT about heel spurs that I didn't know.

First of all, a heel spur isn't bone-related at all!
It's actually caused by strain and damage to tissue in our foots called "fascia".
This damage leads to the sensation of something "stuck" in the heel of our foot poking us - which can be quite painful if you've ever experienced it.

When I first started feeling the heel spur, I stopped wearing shoes, thinking that would help. But it only made it worse!
Wearing shoes, especially those with a slight heel or wedge to them, actually HELPS the spur by taking some of the weight off it, thus allowing it to heel.

I also found out that 9 times out of 10, a heel spur doesn't need surgery, but instead needs STRETCHING. The fascia is kind of like a muscle (only less flexible) and stretching the area will reduce the tension put on the fascia.

So, today I put on my shoes. I will also be doing a few stretches today to see if that actually helps! I'll keep you all posted - I really want to get my move on this week!

All information regarding heel spurs was found at the Heel Spur Website.

Here's to being losers in 2011!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Savory French Toast with Balsamic Berry Topping

This is what I just had for breakfast and it is PHENOMENAL.

I am a French Toast Purist. I don't like it all fancy-schmancy. No orange juice, vanilla, or powdered sugar here, please! Straight up eggs, bread, and butter! Back before I changed my eating habits, I would cook up a HUGE batch - four pieces of white bread, three whole eggs, and a half stick of butter. Imagine the calories and fat I was consuming!! I was so excited when I discovered I could retain my love of french toast and STILL be on plan! The Balsamic Berry Topping was on a whim this morning - and it was SO worth it! SO good, and zero points!!

French Toast with Balsamic Berry Topping
(2 Servings at 4 pp/serving)

4 slices reduced calorie whole wheat bread (I used Sarah Lee Delightful 45 Calorie Multigrain bread)
3 egg whites
1 T light margarine with zero trans fat, divided
1 C frozen strawberries
1 packet Splenda
1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Spray a small skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium low heat. Slightly beat the egg whites until just combined (this will not be a meringue!) Add salt and pepper to taste. Melt 1/4 T margarine in the pan. Dip one of the bread slices in egg, covering both sides. Place in the pan and cook for about 30 seconds on each side, or until slightly browned. Repeat with remaining three slices (spray, melt, dip, cook).

In a medium microwave safe bowl, place strawberries and Splenda. Add a splash of water and microwave for 90 seconds. Remove from microwave and allow to cool slightly on the counter for about 5 minutes. Once cooled a bit, squish with a fork and add 1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the French toast warm with the balsamic berry topping right on top - or on the side, whichever you chose.

Sorry no pics this week - this was literally a spur of the moment recipe!

Here's to being losers in 2011!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Veggie Pasta with Sausage

Today's Tasty Tuesday recipe is one of my absolute favorites.
This will feed three people at about 7 pp/serving

2 Lean Turkey Italian Sausage link, removed from casing
1 zucchini squash, sliced into crescent shapes
1 sm onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 C sliced mushrooms
11/2 C cooked rigatoni pasta, cooked
2 C marinara sauce
1 Tbs. olive oil

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add sausage and cook, breaking up with back of spoon, until no longer pink. Remove from heat and set aside. Add peppers and onions and cook until just tender. Add mushrooms, squashes, and garlic. Cook until browned and slightly caramelized. Return sausage to pan, add sauce and rigatoni, and mix well to combine. *If desired, add some Parmesan cheese to the top, but remember to add the points to it!*

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Inspiration in Unexpected Places . . .

Recently I and my mom started taking a water aerobics class. We were thinking we'd get a great workout without any impact. Well we were right about the low-impact - but this was no-impact and no-intensity!! NOT what someone in need of a workout for weight loss needs.

Enter Linda ...
Linda was our substitute instructor today. Linda, who's classes we overlooked because we thought they'd be too much for us. Amazing wonderful Linda that worked us out today until our bodies screamed and we began to SWEAT - yes! Sweat!! In a POOL!! My heart rate went up, my muscles ached, my body screamed in Yiddish (didn't even know my body KNEW Yiddish!!).
THIS was what I wanted out of a water aerobics class!!
THIS was what I NEEDED!
Then my mom and I started talking to Linda.
She once weighed over 400 lbs.
She lost over 200 lbs. on Weight Watchers and doing water aerobics - which is EXACTLY what I'm doing.
I was hooked.
Needless to say . . . My mom and I have decided to switch to Linda's evening workout classes.
I have a feeling this is going to be a wonderful relationship and that I may have found my "mentor" in Linda.
I am so excited and hopeful.
God is blessing me!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Things I'm Learning . . .

If you had told me any of the following last year, I would have told you that you were nuts.
But there are a few things I'm learning about myself over the course of this journey . . .

  • Shirts that used to be tight and are now loose are not very flattering.
  • Ditto for swimsuits.
  • Two tablespoons of cream are more than enough for coffee.
  • Egg whites are really good.
  • Quinoa, chicken breast, and squash is an ultimate comfort food.
  • I am a lot stronger than I give myself credit for.
  • I love the water and I love to swim.
  • One (actual) serving-sized serving of something is MORE than enough to satisfy.
  • Carrots and laughing cow Garlic Herb is the world's greatest snack (and an answer to chips and dip!)
I am still struggling with tracking and measuring EVERYTHING, but I'm getting better. 
I guess, in a sense, I'm following Weight Watcher's "simply filling" without thinking about it.
I still have to count my chips.
I still have to eat ONE brownie instead of five.
But I've learned that I CAN do these things - and now, I do them without thinking about.
It's become automatic.
And that feels pretty good.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Healthy Recipe Time!! Cheesy Beef Fajita Skillet - 7pp

This is what was for dinner last night and it was amazingly good!
Tip - be sure to marinade the beef in some acid for at least 30 minutes before slicing to ensure tenderness.

Cheese Beef Fajita Skillet
4 1/2 C servings at 7 pp

16 oz flat iron steak, trimmed, marinated, and sliced against the grain into strips
1 bell bepper, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
2 T salt-free Mexican-style seasoning blend (I used Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime)
salt and pepper to taste
3 oz 2% Velveeta

Stir fry beef until no longer pink. Add onion and bell pepper and stir fry until crisp-tender. Add seasoning, salt, pepper, and velveeta. Mix well to combine.

Serve over 1/2 C brown rice for a full 10 PP meal.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Move, move, MOVE

We all have so many excuses for not exercising.

"It's too hot"
"It's too cold"
"I don't feel good"
"I feel too good"
"I just ate"
"I haven't eaten yet"

The list could go on and on.

Let's face it, exercise is not exactly the most fun thing in the world, and if you're a parent it's almost impossible to find the time to do it!


The fact is, exercise, weather we want to admit it or not, is important. It's important to keep our muscles and joints loose, it's important to cleanse our bodies of impurities, and it results in better sleep habits, better moods, and sometimes better . . . er . . . sex marital relations Um . . . A better love life.

So how do you find the time in today's busy world?
Sometimes, you have to consciously MAKE the time.

To keep our hearts healthy, studies have shown that all we need is 15 minutes a day.
Now, if you're working on losing weight, you might need to add another 15 minutes to burn fat.
But, trust me when I say it CAN be done.

Sure, walking, running, bike riding, swimming, gym hopping . . . those are all great exercise. But what if you don't like them?

Try these things: gardening, housecleaning (vacuuming and mopping especially!), playing outside with your kids, dancing, walking the dog (or two).

ALL of these things are great exercise, and chances are you're going to be doing one (or two) of these things on a daily basis.

The point is, it doesn't matter WHAT you do to move your body,
just MOVE it!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What Thin People Don't Know . . .

Some of us were born into obesity. 
Maybe not directly, but some of us have a link that ties us there, something that almost guarantee's our fate into being overweight. 
A pre-dispositioning if you will. 
Whether it be genetic or environmental, no one can say, but the fact is, there are over 60 million obese Americans with medical costs of over $140 billion annually, and that statistic is growing year by year.

Even so, it's very common for "thin" people to look down on obese people. 
They look at the "fat" as though they are lesser humans. 
They look at us as though we are bad people. 
They point. They stare. They laugh. 
They shout cat calls when they see a fat person walking or jogging or working out. 
They giggle when a fat person can't fit into a restaurant booth. 
They gasp when they see a larger person out dancing or riding a bike. 

For a thin person, it's easy. 
They look at an obese person and say "why don't you just put down the fork" or "why don't you just exercise". 
They will never understand that it's just not that simple. 

You see, we obese people have a lot to deal with. 
Of course there's the physical aspects of just being obese - the health problems such as shortness of breath or swollen joints and ankles; the fact that it's difficult to fit into small spaces or sometimes to maneuver around obstacles. 
But there's also some very deep psychological and emotional issues as well. 
First we deal every day with societies views of the obese. 
Second we deal with the reasons we are obese to begin with (for many of us, it stems from some form of trauma). 
Third, we deal with an addiction that is stronger and more powerful than any drug or cigarette could ever be.

Yes. I said addiction.

See, this is my point - thin people don't understand the addiction, and they probably never will. 
For a thin person, it's about 
"eat when you're hungry, stop when you're not". 
For a food addict it's about 
"eat everything that tastes good until you feel sick to your stomach then eat a little bit more" 
and then there's 
"I'm sad . . . let's eat" 
"I'm pissed . . . Let's eat" 
"I'm happy! Let's eat!"
You see the pattern here?
This is not the way thin people think.
For thin people, celebrations include things like shopping, dancing, driving, swimming, fishing, etc.
For obese people, celebrations are all about the food.

So here's what thin people will never know:

Weight loss is a daily struggle against an addiction that many people either don't realize they have or can not control. 
There is a lot more than just "putting down the fork" or "getting up off your butt" to it. 
Each and every day is a struggle, sometimes to just get out of bed and face the sizest world we live in. 
It is a struggle to make the choice to eat that piece of fruit, rather than that chocolate bar. 
It is a struggle to NOT pick up the phone and call Pizza Hut, no matter what our bank account is. 
It's a struggle to cook every healthy meal, to look at the scale, to just look in the mirror.

So, for my thin friends, I ask this favor.
When I am struggling, be supportive.
When I am hurting, be a shoulder.
When I am crying because I can't have chocolate, offer me a hug, and an apple.
When I'm whining about having to get on that stupid eliptical again, offer to go for a walk with me.
Don't look at me like I'm crazy.
Don't assume I'm being melodramatic.
And please, don't tell me to "just do it"
Because you will never know that it's just. not. that. easy.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Starting Over

It WILL happen.
You WILL "fall off" the wagon.
It's inevitable.
In some ways, it's necessary.
Because without those setbacks, we cannot move forward in some cases.
That's when we pick ourselves up.
Dust ourselves off.
And start over.

Tomorrow marks my "starting over" day.
I've been "off" two weeks now.
I never imagined how much I needed the WW meetings.
How much I needed the tracking.
How much I needed to PAY ATTENTION.

I missed two weeks ago because of finals.
I missed again last week because I was out of town.
I don't want to miss any more.

I am terrified of the scale tomorrow.
I'm worried to see how much I've actually gained in the last two weeks.
I'm worried that I will be right back to my starting point.
I'm afraid that I will feel like giving up for good.

But I know that I am surrounded by family and friends that love me.
And I know that my health is top priority.
So, even if I AM back to 292, it won't matter.
Because I'm starting over.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Recipe! Yummy Breakfast Taquitos

This recipe is a modified version of Hungry Girl's Egg Mug recipe.

Servings - 1
Points Plus Value - 6


1/2 C Liquid Egg Whites
1 oz turkey sausage crumbles
1/4 C Baby spinach, chopped
1 Wedge Laughing Cow Spread, Chipotle Flavor
1 Slice reduced-fat American Cheese
1 Low-Carb Whole Wheat Tortilla, Fajita Size


Spray a large microwave-safe mug or a microwave-safe bowl with cooking spray. Combine egg whites, sausage, spinach, and laughing cow in the bowl. Microwave on high for one minute. Stir to break up bits and add american cheese. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each one, until eggs are set but still creamy.

Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Put tortilla on the pan, dry, and heat thoroughly until tortilla starts to blister slightly. Remove from heat to serving plate.

Spoon egg mixture into tortilla and wrap burrito-style. Enjoy!!

*Note - I like to serve this with a side of fruit*

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Life On Weight Watchers . . . Decisions, Decisions . . .

Oh, the decisions we make in life.
What to wear.
How to wear our hair.
Who to marry.
And what to eat.
Sometimes these choices are a no brainer (like marrying my husband for example - I didn't have to think twice about that one!)
And some of these choices . . . notsomuch

The hardest choice I have on a daily basis is what to eat.
I have a plan, sure.
But some days I just don't stick to it.
Not because I don't want to, mind you,
But because I other choices looming over me
Hovering with their "Jennifer-come-eat-me" stares.
It's hard to say no and run away, isn't it?

That's the best thing I've found about the Weight Watchers plan -
I don't necessarily HAVE to run away.
I still have to make the decision to (generally) eat the right thing,
But every once in a while . . .
When you want something delicious and delectable . . .
You can make THAT decision too!

Even so, MOST of the time we still have to make the conscious decision to eat things that are healthier -
Let's face it, you're just NOT going to lose weight eating fast food every single day.
So here are some ways to make those choices easier:

1) pre-prep favorite veggies like carrot sticks or raw broccoli and  keep them in storage containers wrapped in dry paper towels for up to 5 days. Alternatively, you can put them into baggies in serving sizes (remember, most veggies are free, so you can eat as many as you like!) - also wrapped in paper towel.

2) keep favorite fruit on hand and in plain sight! Fruit bowls for apples, bananas and citrus fruit are great for this. In the fridge, put plums, nectarines, strawberries, mango - whatever fruit you like - in plain sight on the top shelf of the fridge. Also, the trick with the raw veggies? Works great for fruit like grapes and blueberries. NOTE - do not wash strawberries until you are ready to eat them!! They will spoil quicker.

3) make the healthier choice more accessible than the unhealthy one - create meal kits and pre-prep meal ingredients so cooking doesn't take quite so long on an in-a-hurry night. Have a freezer meal made and frozen, ready to pop into the oven on a night that you just don't feel like cooking. Utilize your crock pot for big meals and freeze individual portions of leftovers. Make sure the healthy snacks are visible and the unhealthy ones hidden.

4) don't buy the junk. This sounds easier than it is, I know - I have three children - it's next to impossible to keep the junk out of our house. But the fact is, if you don't buy it, it won't be there to tempt you. You children will have to make healthier choices in the long run as well, so this is one that benefits everyone.

So remember, if you take some simple steps now to make the healthy stuff more accessible to you, you will find it easer to make the right choice when it comes to food!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Taco Taters

When I was at my Weight Watcher's meeting this weekend, our Fearless Leader, Christie, inspired me.
She told me that you can bake potatoes in the CROCK POT.
I just about died.
You see, I am the
You tell me I can cook something in the crock pot and I am all over it like white on rice.
THEN she proceeded to tell me what she does with said potatoes.
She makes a big batch of taco meat and then stuffs the potatoes with it.
My two favorite things in the world combined to create a luscious little pocket of spicy, starchy, taco-tater LUV.

I will be making these tomorrow to celebrate my very last day - EVER - of college classes.

Here's the recipe!

Taco Taters I
Serves: 4
Points Plus Value: 10

4 medium baking potatoes, washed
1 T olive oil
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 packet commercial taco seasoning OR you can make your own
1/4 c water or chicken broth
1 can ranch-style beans (or any bean, really) OR 1 can corn, drained

cheddar cheese, sour cream, lettuce, tomato, onions, scallions, cilantro, avocado, salsa, etc.

Wrap potatoes in foil and place in crock pot, making sure they don't touch the sides of the crock (bottom touching is acceptable here). Cook on low 6-8 hours. Remove from crock pot, remove foil, and set aside.

In a 12 in skillet brown meat in 1 T olive oil. Add taco seasoning and water or broth. Allow to reduce for about 5 minutes. Add beans and cook for another five minutes or until beans are heated through. Remove from heat.

Split potato and scoop out part of the middle (optional, but it gives you more room for filling!). Fill potato with 1/4 meat mixture and top with desired toppings. Repeat with remaining potatoes.


Another recipe was born from this inspiring nummy creation.

Taco-Taters II
Serves 4
Points Plus Value: 4

2 medium baking potatoes, washed and cut into wedges to make about 16 wedges.
1 packet commercial or home made taco seasoning
2 T olive oil

In a large bowl, toss potatoes, olive oil, and taco seasoning. Turn out onto a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 425 for ten minutes, then turn the potatoes and bake for a remaining 10 minutes, or until browned all over. Serve with light sour cream, if desired.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sketchers Shape Ups: My Review

Okay, so here's the deal kiddies, I don't do a whole lot of produce plugs as you well know. And with good reason - I will NEVER EVER plug a product I don't believe in or love.

I have fallen in love . . . with SHOES!!

As someone that is . . . well, as big as I am . . . It's really REALLY hard to find shoes that are supportive of my weight - especially during walking or elliptical sessions. May times I'm left with sore ankles and/or knees as a result. But somehow these shoes are more supportive than any I've ever owned.

The idea behind Sketchers Shape Ups is that they are curved on the bottom to allow for a different flow of energy when you walk. They're meant to "tone and shape" your bottom half including your legs and butt.

But here's what the ads don't tell you . . .
The first couple of days my balance had a hard time getting used to them. But once I did, I didn't want to take them off. Here's why -
I have had ongoing hip pain for several months now. Wearing these shoes, for some reason, helps alleviate that. Scientifically, it's supposed to be linked to the shape of the shoes - they allow for a different distribution of weight along your foot, and thus along your knee and hip joints. Whatever the science it, they work.

Now I have to admit, I haven't worn them long enough to see a difference in my legs or my tush, but I have a feeling that will come in time. I still have a lot to lose yet!

Interested in reading my "official" Sketchers review?
Here ya' go:

Originally submitted at SKECHERS

By SuperMomBlues from Bowie, TX on 5/1/2011
4out of 5
Sizing: Feels true to size
Width: Feels true to width
Pros: Comfortable, Stylish, Good Cushioning, Good Arch Support
Best Uses: School, Casual Wear, Walking, Exercise
Describe Yourself: Weight concious, Stylish, Comfort-oriented
The very best thing about these Sketchers shoes is the versatility and comfort. I wear them daily as I am a stay at home mom and am on my feet a LOT during the day. I am morbidly obese and working on losing weight, these shoes help me to get a workout and tone, BEFORE my workout session! Also, being morbidly obese, many shoes just don't feel right or support me. These do - beautifully!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Life on Weight Watchers . . . On Plan, On a Budget - Getting Those Grains! *WITH RECIPES!*

One of the easiest things to get into your diet is whole grains. But how to do it on a budget sometimes escapes some people, and rightfully so, when a full loaf of 100% whole wheat bread can cost up to $5 - and fuggitabouwt those "sprouted grain" breads that you have to refrigerate - I've seen them go for a whopping $9 a loaf!!

So, how can you get in the whole grains without having to dip into Billy's college fund?


Pasta is relatively cheap - and when used in casseroles or skillet meals, one 1 lb box can feed a family of four for almost a week. There are inexpensive varieties of the whole grain stuff - some store brands even go for $1 a box! Can't beat that!

Whole Wheat Pasta Skillet
The little glove guy ain't got NUTHIN' on this one!

1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 lb ground turkey breast
1/2 c chopped onion
1/2 c chopped bell pepper
2 c whole wheat elbow macaroni or other short pasta
2 T  tomato paste
1 1/2 C chicken stock/broth
1 packet taco seasoning OR 1 packet spaghetti sauce seasoning
1/4 c reduced-fat pepper jack OR part-skim mozzarella 

In a high-sided skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the turkey breast, onion, and bell pepper and cook until meat is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender. Add tomato paste, broth, and seasoning packet, mixing well to combine. Add pasta. Raise heat to medium high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and cover. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Turn off the heat, cover with cheese and put the lid back on. Allow to sit for 5 minutes for the cheese to meld and sauce to thicken.

*TRICK - pre cook your pasta and cut the time in half! Allow the liquid to reduce over medium heat for five minutes, add the pasta and cook for another five, or until the pasta is heated through!*

Brown Rice

Brown rice is very cheap - you can get a 1 lb bag for less than $1 or a box of instant for about $2 (give or take). Granted, the "real deal" can be a bit of a pain to cook, so what I do is cook up the whole bag at once and portion it out for meals throughout the week. That being said, I do keep two boxes of instant brown rice in my cabinets at all times. It really does come in handy in a pinch.

Asian Style Chicken and Vegetables with Brown Rice Bake

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts,  cooked and cut into cubes
2 C frozen mixed vegetables (any type)
2 C pre-cooked brown rice
2 T soy sauce
1/2 C chicken broth
1 can reduced sodium, fat free cream of chicken soup
1 tsp. Chinese five spice seasoning

In a large bowl, combine broth, soup, soy sauce, and five spice seasoning. Check the seasoning for flavor, and add more if needed (remember to add in SMALL doses - both five spice powder and soy sauce can be potent). Add chicken, vegetables, and rice. Mix well to combine then turn out into a rectangular glass baking dish that's been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover with foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until heated through and liquid is just absorbed. Remove from oven and allow to stand 5 minutes.


This is where it can get pricey to go whole grain. While there are some wonderful whole wheat breads on the market, if you just can't justify shelling out the money, try making your own homemade wheat bread. To get the soft texture and a great rise, add some "vital wheat gluten" when you add your yeast - the results are beautiful. If you don't have the time or don't want to take the time to make your own bread, shop around for the best value on whole grain breads. And don't forget to read labels - fiber content per slice should be around 2 grams.

Homemade Wheat Bread
Yes, it's a little involved. This is not an every day thing, for sure. But it is SO worth it.

2 C warm water
1 packet yeast (NOT rapid rise!)
1 T sugar
3 tsp Vital Wheat Gluten
1 T olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 C all-purpose flour
3-4 C whole wheat flour

In the bowl of the standing mixer, combine water, yeast, sugar, and gluten. Allow to sit 5-10 minutes, or until foamy. This "wakes up" the yeast. Using paddle attachment, mix in all purpose flour on low until well combined. Add olive oil and salt and mix well on low. Add 2 cups wheat flour and combine on low. Continue to add wheat flour by the 1/2 cup ful until dough pulls away cleanly from sides and bottom of bowl (depending on your altitude, location, air quality and weather, you may need more or less than four cups. Don't be alarmed if this is the case, contrary to popular belief, bread baking is NOT an exact science!). When dough is pulling away from sides, switch to dough hook attatchment. On low, kneed dough for five minutes, or until it springs back when pressed gently. Remove dough from bowl, spray bowl with cooking spray, replace dough and cover with tea towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for one hour or until double in size. Punch down dough by gently placing your hand in the center of the mass then pulling the sides in on themselves. Form dough into loaf and place into loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray. Allow to rise for another 45 minutes. Bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped. Allow to cool in pan for five minutes, then remove from pan and allow to finish cooling on tea towel.

Whole grains are such an important part of being on plan. The fiber and nutrients obtained, not to mention the vital complex carbohydrates, are important for digestive health and energy. Don't skip these just because you can't afford them. As you can see, eating healthy isn't as expensive as you might think!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Handling a gain . . .

It's inevitable.
One week, you have a huge loss.
The next, another loss.
Then, it happens.
The dreaded, unwanted, awful, horrible GAIN.
Sometimes it's an ounce or two. Sometimes it's just a pound.
Sometimes it's FIVE POUNDS in one week.

So, how do you deal with a bad week?
Some people want to just throw in the towel and say "forget it, I'm done, I CAN'T do this!!"
But giving up defeats the purpose and completely erases any progress made.
You can't allow yourself to be defeated.
If you have a gain, go ahead and be mad. Be upset. Cry, throw a fit, hit a pillow.
Then get over it. Move on.
Realize that it's a minor setback in a major life change.
Gains suck. There's no doubt about it.
But that's when you have to get back on track.
That's when you have to look at yourself in the mirror and say "I CAN."

Friday, April 22, 2011

Life on Weight Watchers . . . Plan, Plan, PLAN

Let's face it, we are of a time when life is all about going.
Go to work.
Go to the doctor.
Go to school.
Go to practices.
Go to games.
Go to rehearsals.
Go to . . . go to . . . go to!

It's like we never get a moment to breathe, isn't it?

One of the hardest parts about staying on an eating plan - ANY eating plan - is finding the time to cook. It's so easy to order that pizza. OR that Chinese take out place that makes the AMAZING cashew chicken and the to-die-for pot stickers . . . oh, yeah, you know what place I'm talking about. The problem with ordering pizza, or Chinese, or going for burgers or chicken is this . . .

It's expensive and it's not good for you.

Still here? Okay, great!
Yes, I know the beauty of Weight Watchers is that you CAN have pizza or Chinese or burgers . . .so long as you plan for them. And that's the entire point of this post. Would you rather spend 25 points on a burger and fries and be hungry later or spend 12 points on good ol' home cookin' and still have enough for that ice cream bar calling your name from the freezer (Jeeeeennifer . . . JEEEEEEEEnnifer)?

Me? I'd rather get to have the ice cream.

So, what do you do?
How do you solve this issue?

Well, by PLANNING.

We track. We calculate. We points plus everything we put into our bodies to death.
And then we're left at the end of the day wondering why we ended up with 9 points left at the end of the day.
Or, worse, why we ended up using up all of our weekly points in one day (this has happened!!)
Planning will solve this issue.
I have to plan everything - my food, my exercise, even my housework and classwork. If I don't, I get overwhelmed and enter self-pity world, party of one. Then I eat. Everything.

Take the Time
I usually few a couple of hours on Saturday to do the following:
1) go through favorite cookbooks or recipe websites to find recipes I want to try.
2) go through my pantry, fridge, and freezer to see what I have on hand and write it all down.
3) go through the list and see if there's enough of anything to create a meal.
4) plan as many meals as I can through the week using only what I have on hand.
5) plan the remaining meals and list the items NOT on hand I need for these meals
6) make a grocery list
7) go shopping
8) come home, rinse and prep as many vegetables as I can for the week (works great with most vegetables except potatoes)
9) make any meal kits that need to be made
10) refrigerate/freeze it all for later in the week!

Now, keep in mind, this is a little time consuming to do all in one day, so if you have soccer, baseball, or any other slew of sports/dance/gymnastics/music/art/theater stuff going on that day, you may chose to do it another day. Or break it up:

Day 1: Read recipes
Day 2: Take inventory
Day 3: Meal plan
Day 4: Shop/Prep/Meal Kit/Store.

The thing to remember is to PLAN EVERYTHING - breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 2-3 snacks.

Now, to take it one step further, take a little more time to do some research and checking - find the points plus values for your meals, if you don't already know them, and write them down next to the meal, so you know how many points you have planned. Then you can adjust as you need to account for any extra or missing points.

Rolling your eyes yet?
It seems like it will take FOREVER to do all that, doesn't it?
If you take the time to do this once a week, it will save you time every evening.

You get home at 6 and realize Timmy has a game at 7! What do you do? Look's like it's Burger Queen again. But wait! You planned! You have a meal waiting for you in the crock pot! Or a stir fry meal kit in the freezer!
Dinner takes all of 5-15 minutes to make. You can eat and hit the road in no time.

You're tired and don't feel good and don't want to cook. Looks like the hubbs is going to stop by That Chikin Place again. But wait! You planned! You have a casserole in the freezer just waiting to be popped into the oven. Make the hubbs stop for some salad instead.

As you can see, planning ahead can save you a wealth of time and points plus.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Life On Weight Watchers . . . On Plan, On a Budget - Protein, Protein, Protein!

I am a meat eater.
I love red meat, white meat, dark meat, light meat.
If it once walked upon the ground, clucked, swam, mooed, baa'd, gobbled or oinked, chances are I will LOVE it.
But it's not easy to be carnivorous in this day and age.
Have you SEEN the price of chicken?
And let's not discuss the cost of lean beef or lamb.
So, how do we get our protein in without hurting our budget?

First -

Buy chicken breast in bulk, on sale, and only buy it once a month. A bulk package of chicken comes with 10-12 breasts and usually runs about $10-12. This is a MEGA bargain and one that you should NOT pass up. Buy one or two packages, separate the breasts out into 1 and 2 breast portions.

Now, here's the fun part about chicken breasts - if you have a food scale weigh one - just one. It will probably weigh about 6-8 oz. This is TWICE the serving size of 3-4 oz. So, nights that you want just some grilled chicken, take one and cut it in half horizontally. This will give you a correct portion size, while stretching your meat budget.

Another option is to create a casserole, soup, stew, or chili using 1 or 2 chicken breasts - for the entire recipe. If you need to, you can bulk with extra veggies or beans. This is a trick I've been doing for YEARS. Two chicken breasts in a casserole is MORE than enough to feed a family of 6.

Chicken Legs
Drumsticks are one of the best bargains out there. Very VERY low in points and cheap. You can buy a bulk package of drumsticks for about half the cost of a bulk package of breasts. And you can do anything with them. Roast them with the skin on or pull off the skin and cook them in some barbecue sauce (who likes rubbery barbecue chicken skin anyway?).

Chicken Thighs
These are way cheaper than breasts as well - buy them boneless and skinless and treat them like you would a breast. Plan on one - and ONLY one - per person.

Okay, lets face it, red meat is WAY to expensive to serve on a daily basis, as much as I hate to admit it. Come to think of it, even ground beef has gotten up there in price. So here are a few tricks -

Ground Beef:
Well, simplest here - don't buy it. You can get ground dark meat turkey AND ground turkey breast for less than ground beef if you buy it in the packaged rolls (you pay way more for Styrofoam packaging). If you HAVE to have beef every once in a while, buy in the packaged rolls. If you can find lean or extra lean ground beef in bulk and on sale, though, snatch it up because that price will be comparable to the ground turkey.

Oh, I am a girl that loves her some steak. Give me a rib eye as big as my head and I am a happy girl, let me tell ya'. But steak is just not a practical purchase for a mommy on a budget. Unless you learn some sneaky tricks (like me) - You can buy pre-packaged frozen steaks in most supermarkets. These will be smaller in size (ideal for WW's) but will also cost less than buying them from the fresh meat counter. There are also some wonderful bacon wrapped chopped steaks that are to DIE for when they're grilled up. And yes, even with the bacon, they're WW friendly!

Other cuts
Flank steak, rump roast, and briskets still top the charts for the least expensive cuts on the market. Trim them well (especially the brisket!) and marinade or brine them for up to 24 hours to tenderize them, then cook them low and slow - think crock pot, smoker, or oven for 3-4 hours.

Pork is fairly inexpensive when compared with chicken or beef, and is very versitile. You can buy "mixed pork chops" which will have some bone in and some bone out chops. Trim them up, take the bone in ones off the bone, cut the meat into strips and you have meat ready to go for stir fries or fajitas!

Even boneless pork chops can be budget friendly - I buy a bulk package, pull some out to grill that night and freeze the rest for later in 1 and 2 chop packages.

Pork tenderloins can be a bit pricey, so buy a 2 pack once a month (on sale), split it in 1/2 and freeze both loins separately.

Turkey is one of the most versatile meats available out there. Loins, breasts, drumsticks, ground . . . You can do anything with this meat.

Ground turkey is a wonderful substitute for ground beef in just about everything. Meatloaves, meatballs, sauces, soups, skillets, even burgers - and it's about 1/2 the price of lean ground beef. Look for ground turkey in packaged rolls rather than Styrofoam packages - you'll save a TON.

Turkey loins can run about the same price as a pork loin, but they're usually a bit larger. Like their pork counterparts, buy them on sale!

Turkey breasts are a great alternative to a whole roasted turkey, especially in families where everyone fights over the breast meat. You can also slow cook them in a crock pot with some barbecue sauce and make a wonderful pulled turkey sandwich.

Turkey legs are a bargain and you can buy them raw or smoked. If you buy them smoked, they're a great alternative to a ham hock or bacon in a pot of beans. Raw can be roasted, boiled, broiled, grilled, smoked . . . Very versatile, VERY delicious and VERY VERY inexpensive!

Oh, how I love a good lamb chop.
Sadly, even on sale lamb is still way to expensive for this mommy's pocketbook.
So we save Mary's cute little friends for special occasions.

Salmon is SUPER expensive unless you can get it frozen and on sale. I stick to tilapia or cod,  which are relatively cheaper. You can dredge them in bread crumbs and bake them and your kids will think they're eating fish sticks!

When it comes to shellfish, shrimp is going to be the best bargain. Stick to buying it frozen with the shell and tail on - it will be much better quality that way. And unless you live directly on the coast, chances are that "fresh" shrimp your buying has been frozen and re-thawed. This actually goes for ALL shellfish and most fish.

You DO know that you can get protein from other sources, right?
Of course you did!
Tofu, beans, peanut butter, nuts, lentils . . . these are all wonderful meatless alternatives that will give you your protein allowance for the day. And each of them are a LOT less expensive than meat. Although . . . Not quite as fun to eat!

There you have it - Meat on a budget.
Some further tips -
Once a week, go meatless! Serve beans, spaghetti with no meat, stuffed mushrooms, veggie stir fries.
ALWAYS buy in bulk and buy ON SALE when it comes to the terrestrial meats.
Don't make meat the star of the meal - use it in casseroles, soups, stews and bulk with lots of veggies and a few whole grains!

Here's to Being Losers in 2011!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Life on Weight Watchers . . . On Plan, On a Budget - Gettin In Your Daily Five on the Cheap

Both here and my other blog, I have done several posts about healthy eating on a budget. With doing a plan like weight watchers, I thought I'd revisit that idea, from a Points Friendly Perspective:

Fresh Fruits and Veggies:

This is the center of the Weight Watchers program. All fruits and most veggies are free foods. But they can be quite pricey. But what you might not know is that even frozen and canned fruits and vegetables count - as long as they're packed in water. So that is something to consider when shopping.

Frozen mixed vegetables and stir-fry mixes are great for in a hurry stir fries, to mix into soups or casseroles, or to just steam (*hint* steam in chicken broth for even more point-friendly flavor!). The bonus is, you can stock up on these for a fraction of the cost of all the veggies it would take to make up one bag.

Frozen fruits are also wonderful additions - berries and peaches are a lot less expensive on the frozen food aisle, and you can quickly and easily thaw them for a quick mix in for oatmeal or cereal, for a topping for pancakes or waffles, or for a delicious fruit salad.

Canned veggies are perfect quick side dishes, and you can also add these to soups and casseroles, like their frozen counterparts.

Applesauce and canned fruits (packed in water) are great quick snacks.

And lets not forget the bargains in the fresh fruits and veggies aisle - apples, oranges, and bananas are often on sale, as are lettuces and tomatoes. Fresh carrots, cabbage and celery are also less expensive then the gourmet veggies that are en vogue right now.

Try taking a non-buying trip to you local grocery store. Look at your favorite fruits and veggies and write down their prices - fresh, frozen, and canned. You may be surprised to see that getting in your daily Five WON'T break your budget.

Here's To Being Losers In 2011!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lighten Up!!

WHY does weight loss have to be so SERIOUS.
People need to laugh at themselves for a change, really.
I have found that I have found my humor on this journey.
Honestly, sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself.

Recently I started coming up with a list of "things that will be awesome when I lose this weight"
Among the things on this list are:

1) I'll be able to wear knee socks that won't cut into my cankles.
2) I'll be able to look at myself naked in the mirror and not throw up a little in my mouth.
3) People will no longer mistake me for the fat kid in "Goonies"
4) (Rennie edition) When I wear a bodice I will no longer look like a beached whale shoved into a high top sneaker.
5) When I go for a run, people will no longer assume I'm chasing the ice cream truck.
6) My clothing size won't resemble a porno rating.

The list could go on and on.
And so I leave you with just one point to ponder:
Can fat people go skinny dipping?

Here's to being losers in 2011!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Life on Weight Watchers . . . Accountability

I never thought in a million years that weight loss would be this easy.
Sure, I've only been at it really for two weeks, and tomorrow is only my 3rd weigh in, but I feel like I have come farther and been with this longer than anything. I've certainly seen more results from this than from anything.

The thing is, I KNOW all the information - I know what I need to do, how I need to do it. I know that I need to "eat right and exercise". I know all the names of most major additives and preservatives and what many of them do to your body. I know all the major "power foods" (NOT the WW list) that are said to hold the most antioxidants.

I am a wealth of nutritive knowledge.
Clearly this is NOT an issue of ignorance for me.

The problems I've had in the past rested on one thing and one thing only -
I have never in my life been held accountable for my weight issue. Not by my parents or friends or my husband. Not even by my doctors. I may hear every now and then, "Jen, when you're thin, you're going to be beautiful". or "You know your BMI is ------- (insert double digits over 30 here)" But I was never really held accountable.

With this program I am in so many ways.

I think the largest part of it is the fact that I have a lot of people counting on me to be a part of this. My mother in law, my best friend, my sister in law, a good friend from church, and a good friend I used to work with . . . All are friends, all are as close to me as family. If I don't show up, how is that going to feel for them. These people - many of whom started because of ME. That would be pretty . . . well, this is a G-rated blog so let's go with "not cool".

And then you have the weigh in. You can't fudge it when someone else is weighing you in, writing it down week by week. With online weight loss, you can fudge it all you like. It's a lot easier to fool yourself that way. But here, there IS no fooling yourself. Everything you do, every morsel you put in your mouth, every step you either don't take or do is right there in your face - and in someone else's. You want the number on the scale to go as low as possible every week (within healthy ranges, of course) and you certainly don't want the embarrassment of gaining.

So, in a nutshell, accountability is everything when it comes to my personal weight loss goal.

Oh, and for the first time in my life, I finally decided that I want to be out of the 200's completely when this is all over. In fact, my total target weight is 150. I have never in my life thought that it could be attainable, so I always set my goals lower. But now, I know it can be done. Now, I know it WILL be done.

Here's to being losers in 2011!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Snuck a peek at the scale . . .

Okay, so weigh in isn't until Saturday morning, but I snuck a peek this morning to see how I'm doing and I couldn't be happier!! I won't reveal the numbers here, because I really don't want to jinx it, but I am excited and hopeful.

On the WW site there are message boards. Now, let me tell you for some of them you have to have a pretty thick skin and a good sense of humor! Thank God I have both. But there are a few things that people will ask that really even make ME cringe . . . One of these things has to do with something that I have been passionate about for years - children's eating habits. So for today's post, I thought I would delve into a subject that is no stranger to me, and thus shouldn't be a stranger to any of you that are my regular readers . . .

(enter meancing "dum dum DUUMMMMM" here)

i hate school lunches

Not because they're gross, although I'm sure "fajita chicken enchiladas" is REALLY unappitizing to a seven year old, but because of the nutritional value (or lack thereof) included in these meals.

For the elementary school the menu for the month looks like this. Notice the chicken nuggets, the hot dogs, the pizza, the steak fingers . . . and a lot of which is served with "gravy and a roll". And look at the veggie selections: mashed potatoes, green beans,corn, baked beans . . . Now from a kids perspective, I'm excited about these lunches. Chicken nuggets with mashed potatoes and gravy is still one of my all time favorites. But the fat, the cholesterol, the sodium . . . Really?? You are REALLY giving my kids this??

The Jr. High is even worse. They have the same things on the elementary menu, except they also have the "a la cart" line in which they can chose to have things like chicken strips, popcorn chicken, cheeseburgers, pizza, french fries . . . daily.

Not so long ago celebrity chef Jamie Oliver started a "food revolution" in schools. I think it's time we take matters into our own hands, so to speak.

In a nutshell, don't let your kids buy school lunch.

I don't.
I haven't in over a year (unless it's a special occasion, or I'm running late - my kids have bought their lunch twice in a month).
My kids get in their lunches:

Juice or water
a sandwich made with 100% whole wheat bread, lean ham, 2% cheese and mustard or low-fat salad dressing.
yogurt or applesauce
baked chips
a piece of fruit or a veggie

And they LOVE it.
It's not very creative, I'll admit, but it's a darn sight better than what they'd be eating at school!

If you're a parent with your kids in school, I urge you to try sending them lunches to school. Buy them a really cool lunch bag or box, and let them help chose (would you prefer apple sauce or a tangerine?) what they would like to put in their lunch box. Their health will improve, and you'll have piece of mind about their nutrition!

Here's to being losers in 2011!