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!