Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Kid Likes Salad . . !

Every day my children amaze me.
I had no idea that my picky seven year old would like salad.
But she does.
No, she LOVES salad.
She ASKS for salad!
I think if I was to give her a big bowl of lettuce she'd be happy.

Now, I thought that maybe it was the dressing. Or the croutons. Or the bacon bits.
But nope.
Last night, I saw her eat her lettuce PLAIN. I can't even do that!!
When I told her she could eat as much salad as she liked, she got so excited. Her eyes shone.
It was like I'd just handed her a seven layer chocolate fudge cake with extra ganache and a spoon and said "Have at it kiddo"

She likes raw veggies too.
Won't touch them cooked, but she'll eat carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, even potatoes raw.
I have hope. LOTS of hope for my daughter's future health.

Now if I can just get the 14 year old to eat something other than chicken, mashed potatoes, and mac and cheese we'll be in business . . .

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hi, I'm Jennifer. And I Am A Food-a-holic

This post was inspired by this post by my good friend Teri at her blog, Mirrors Never Lie. Check her blog out and give her some love!

Addictions are strong in my family.
Alcoholism runs on my father's side.
I battled my own addiction demons in the forms of marijuana, alcohol, and nicotine.
All of those addictions were easy to break compared to this one.
Food addiction affects millions of people across the globe.
And most of them don't even know it.

My own addiction blossomed sometime in my childhood. I had a rough one. We won't go into details here. I began to eat for comfort at a very, very young age. I ate, I gained weight. I became an overweight child. Perhaps I was even an obese child, I really don't recall much about that.

I do remember being mocked and scorned for my weight. This led to depression. Which led to more eating. More weight gain. More taunts. More depression . . .
And thus the cycle began.
I remember at one point being so depressed that I though about suicide.
A lot.
So I ate more to stifle these nagging thoughts.
And the cycle continued.

I began "self-medicating" with smoking at around 14 or 15. A few years later I would supplement that with marijuana and alcohol. All the while trying to stifle the feelings of depression.

When I quit drinking and smoking pot (I continued smoking for several more years), I returned to food. I gained close to 70 lbs within a year.

When I quit smoking, I turned to food even more.
I had no more addictions to turn to, I had to have SOMETHING, right?

After the birth of my second child, I hit 310 lbs.

I am now learning that food is the ROOT of my problems, NOT the solution.
I am learning that eating for comfort will only cause more problems.
I am learning that God made my body specifically so that I would know when to eat and when to stop, and I am learning when to listen to those triggers.

They say that a food addiction is even worse to deal with than smoking or drugs.
I believe it.

Here's to being losers in 2011!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Bit of an Update and A Few of My Favorite Things . . .

I just realized it's been a while since I've posted, so I decided to give a bit of an update.

First, I've started finally shedding the holiday 5 I gained. Not back below 280 yet - but inching my way closer. I know I'll get there soon!

Now, exercise . . . Notsomuch. I've been having a lot of joint pain lately - mostly in my hips and back. I'm actually starting to get really concerned about it because the pain in my hips has been going on for almost a year now. I try to get up and move around as much as I can, and sometimes it helps, but exercise is out of the question for now because I learned the other day (danced my heart out with my son while cleaning the dining room) that extreme movement aggravates the pain. So . . . there ya' have it. I'm not really worried as far as how it will affect my weight loss, I just have to make sure I'm eating accordingly. I'm just more concerned that there might be another problem . . .

Eating - I've done better, but not as well as I could. Not as many fruits and veggies as I would like. Ran out of budget and forgot to buy salad and canned veggies for the week, so the extent of my produce consumption focused on the bell peppers, onions, and garlic added to some of my dishes this week. Oh, and the fried okra one night. Not bad . . . but not good either. The strange thing is, my daughter (7) has actually been ASKING for salad this week!! Guess I need to get on the ball with that. But I have been trying to focus on eating ONLY when I'm hungry and stopping when I'm not hungry anymore. Of course, I did go back for seconds a couple of nights . . .

Now, on to my Favorite Things.
I've come to realize that I have a few "favorites" that I seem to stick with - that are all healthier choices. Here's a few of them:

International Delights Coffee House Inspirations Skinny Line - especially the vanilla latte and the caramel macchiato. These are flavored creamers that are light and VERY yummy! It's like Starbucks without the thunder thighs and the guilty nightmares . . .

Skinny Cow Singles - this ice cream rivals any of the full-fat versions, and it's 150 calories a serving and all has at least 2 grams of fiber. Can't beat that!!

Spinach salad with strawberries and balsamic vinegrette - Mmmm . . . I can't wait 'til spring so I can enjoy this one again. Add some grilled chicken and you have a full - yummy - meal!

Re-vamped recipes - I love taking really, REALLY fattening foods like chicken Parmesan, chili, enchiladas, etc, and re-writing them to lower the fat and calories. I'm getting really, REALLY good at it too!

10-minute brown rice and whole grain pasta - feeding a family of five is not easy on a budget, and we HAVE to have some kind of "filler" to lower the cost. Quick cooking brown rice and whole grain pastas really fit the bill. I use less, though, than I would normally in things like casseroles and soups.

Speaking of soup . . . Did you know you can eat an ENTIRE CAN of chicken noodle soup for UNDER 300 calories?? Mmmmmm . . .

Hormel Completes Microwave Meals - MOST of these are under 400 calories, and there are a few "lighter" ones that are under 300! And most of them are really, REALLY good.

So, there you have it, kids. Long post today, but well worth it!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Getting the Rest of the Family to Eat Well

The question is inevitable.
How many meals should I make when I'm dieting?
Should I make my veggies and brown rice and then make PB&J or Mac and Cheese for the kids?
Or should I force them to eat exactly what I'm eating?

The problem with making multiple meals is this:
Twice the meals = twice the money and twice the work.

The problem with letting them eat junk while you eat healthy food is that, well, their eating junk.

This was a something I struggled with early on in my lifestyle change, but it wasn't long before I found a viable solution that made everyone happy.

I only make one dinner. This dinner contains something that everyone will enjoy, that's healthy (such as whole grain pasta entree or lean meat and salad) as well as veggies for me and my husband to enjoy (and we do - immensely). Now of course theirs always one in the family that won't eat most of what I cook, and that's okay. They know that they never have to eat anything they don't want. BUT I will not be making them a completely different meal.

I think this is a great compromise.

See, here's the thing. The ENTIRE FAMILY benefits when we start a new eating lifestyle. Why? Because THEY will start to be introduced to the same healthy food that we are trying to stick to. They may not want to eat it right away - let's face it, did YOU really want to eat chicken breast and steamed vegetables the first time it was introduced to you?

Some tips that will get the whole family more "into" eating healthy:

1) Allow kids (and even spouses!) to pick a new veggie or fruit to try once a week. Giving them some choice in what they try will enhance the chance that they'll want to try it.

2) Get the whole family involved in the cooking process! Chopping, grating, tossing, washing - statistics show that kids that are involved in the cooking process are more likely to at least TRY what they helped make!

3) Allow everyone to pick one new healthy recipe to try a month or a week.

4) When all else fails, offer healthy substitutions! Billy won't eat spinach salad, but LOVES orange slices? Go ahead and put some oranges on the table too, then! Allie doesn't like Brussels sprouts, but will eat her weight in carrots? Add some baby carrots and dip as a side dish for everyone to enjoy.

5) Don't be picky about the TYPES of healthy foods they eat. So what if they don't like Ahi Tuna and Bok Choi? They loved the homemade chicken nuggets and broccoli, didn't they?

6) Try re-vamping family favorites. Use ground turkey instead of beef in that meatball recipe. Substitute brown rice for white in your mom's famous Arroz con Pollo. Small changes can make all the difference!

7) Invest in some healthy family-favorite cookbooks. Weight Watchers has some really great family cookbooks. So does The Biggest Loser and George Stella. Look for recipes that you know your family will love, then sneak in a new one every now and again!

I hope this will help some of you that are struggling with the "what do I feed the rest of the family" drama!

Roasted Cauliflower with Balsamic Vinegar

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk oil and vinegar together in a large bowl, adding salt and pepper to your liking. Toss cauliflower in the mixture, then turn out onto a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Roast in the oven at 425 for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking, until the cauliflower is caramelized (browned, but not burned!!).
Here's to being losers in 2011!!! 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hunger? Yes! Hunger!!

You hear it in diet ads everywhere :
"Lose weight without feeling hungry!" 
"NEVER feel hungry again!" 
"Eat all you want and never go hungry!!" 
It's like it's being brainwashed into us that hunger is a BAD thing!

But it's not.
Those of us that our obese don't realize one important thing.
Our stomachs - the organ, not the belly - have been stretched out of shape by our overeating. When we overeat, our stomachs stretch past capacity, thus the bloated uncomfortable feeling.
Most of us have eaten that way every meal, every day, for years.
This is one of the reasons we become obese in the first place. Since we continually stretch our stomachs, they stay that way, so we get hungry quicker and need more to feel satisfied.

But, most of us don't stop there.
Satisfaction isn't enough - we have trained our bodies to think that "full" = "sick to our stomachs" "bloated" or "uncomfortable".
When we decided to make the conscious effort to change our eating habits (for the better) and eat less, our bodies tend to respond almost cruelly to that.
We get hungry. REALLY hungry.
Sick to the stomach-I-have-to-eat-right-now-hungry.
Blood sugar dropping hungry.

But is hunger REALLY a bad thing?
Well, if you feel like you're going to faint or throw up because you're so hungry, yes, you should probably eat something.
But if it's just a "nagging rumbly feeling" in your tummy, you should ignore it for a bit and allow yourself to REALLY feel that rumble. Why? That is a sign of your stomach shrinking to normal size!
(Just google "shrink stomach pouch" and you will find a myriad of articles and answer forums that will confirm that.)
As our stomachs get used to eating less food, yes, we will feel hunger less often.
We have to re-train our bodies to fight against what society is trying to force into our minds.
HUNGER is not the enemy.

Here's to being a loser in 2011!!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

It's a New Year and a New Outlook! Hellooo 2011!!

I gained five pounds over the holidays.
I guess all things considered, it's not THAT bad. And I know it will be off lickity split once I get back into routine.
But those five pounds still stare . . . looming over all the progress I've made.
It put me back over 280.
*sad face*

But, the bottom line is this.
I CAN fix it.
I CAN do better.
And I CAN lose it - and more.

How do I know this?
Because I've been doing it.
It may have taken me a year, but it has happened.
And it will continue to happen.

My new outlook in 2011 is to NOT be discouraged.
If you don't read my other blog, you should check out my New Year's Resolutions
Number eight might surprise you.
It says to "eat something really, really fattening once a week".
Yes, I will be fulfilling this resolution.
Because I CAN.

You see, I know that when I allow myself that one treat to look forward to, I can stay on a stricter regimine. As I eat my carrot and cucumber salad (which, with some balsamic vinegar is really, really yummy) I can repeat my mantra "fried chicken . . . fried chicken . . ." and it works. For me.

Now, for some of you, this tactic may be a little extreme. And that's okay!
But I want you to repeat with me my new Outlook Phrase:

Because, let's face it, if  I CAN than ANYONE CAN!!!
Happy New Year and here't to being LOSERS IN 2011!!!