Saturday, August 14, 2010

Aug. 14: CanFit Pro

As you know, the last year has been rough for me.  Today was an absolute highlight for me!

My youngest daughter and I went to Toronto for the CanFit Pro Conference and Trade Show today.  I was fortunate enough to get to meet Tosca Reno, who was the inspiration behind my weight loss.  I wrote here about that moment that I saw her "before" picture and suddenly believed that a 40 year old overweight single mom could really do it - lose weight, change her life, and be an example for her children.  It was a privilege to meet her.  She was warm and friendly and seemed sincerely interested in everyone's story - and there were many of them.  Here is a picture of my daughter and me with Tosca. Yep, I'm kinda geeky and pale!

My little girl, Rachel and I wandered around the many displays.  There were cooking demos, weighted hula hooping, Zumba - any kind of exercise wear or equipment you could imagine and some you couldn't!  We had a few "what the heck is that thing?" moments when looking at the equipment.  Rachel tried every single protein bar that was cut into sample sized pieces and decided quite definitely she does not care for protein bars.

We ended up back at the Oxygen booth and got to meet Bob Kennedy.  What a nice man!  I wasn't quite sure what to expect after reading some of his more acerbic comments in his editorials, but he could not have been kinder.  He asked Rachel if she ate clean also and she told him she did.  He told her she was just beautiful.  He asked how much I'd lost and I replied about 60 pounds.  I said, "I still have a bit to go."  He looked at me and said, "Not that much - you're looking pretty good."  Now coming from Bob Kennedy, I took that as a HUGE compliment.  I was nearly star struck and giddy.  So then I shut up and let Amanda, one of the super nice Oxygen people, take our picture together.

We had an excellent time.  Tosca is a very motivating speaker - even Rachel was pumped about good eating habits when we left.  I had an excellent day sharing something I am passionate about - nutrition and fitness - with my little girl, and hopefully helping to kindle the flame for fitness in her.

On the way home, we were starving.  I asked, "What do you want to eat, Rachel?"

She replied, "Well, we can't really have french fries after that!"

We settled on pitas.  Rachel got a whole wheat pita with meatballs, marinara, mozzarella, and red and green peppers.

I had a flat baked Thai Beef pita - also on whole wheat - it was so delicious!  I was pretty astounded to discover that it had just under 500 calories and 28 whopping grams of protein!  (Sorry Tosca - I'm still a calorie counter - but a clean one!)  It was loaded with marinara sauce, red onion, mushrooms, broccoli, steak, a light sprinkling of mozzarella and a drizzle of Thai chili sauce.  Yummmmm.....I'm going to recreate this one at home!

Aside from this meal, my day has not been a protein winner, I'm going to have a protein shake as an evening snack. 

m1: Bagel with light cheddar and butter, berries
m2: the above deliciousness
m3: pita crisps with light ranch dip
m4: protein float

Okay, today was not a nutritional goldmine.  Tomorrow is weekly food prep and I have some spectacular foods to make!  I'll take pictures and also go over my weekly food prep plan - I haven't done that in quite a while!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Aug. 13: Recipe Friday!

Friday sounds like a great day to brighten things up with some new recipes.  I really like EASY foods that are wholesome and nutritious but satisfy wicked cravings for things like chicken wings and nachos and other foods I don't want to regularly indulge in.


Buffalo Chicken Breast:
1 serving of grilled or baked chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
Frank's Red Hot sauce, to taste
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp low carb BBQ sauce of choice

1 cup fresh baby spinach
shredded carrots and celery
cherry tomatoes
1-2 tbsp freshly crumbled bleu cheese
2 tbsp fat free Ranch dressing

1.) In a large plastic food storage container with a lid, combine Frank's, honey and BBQ sauce with a fork until well mixed.
2.)  Add chicken breast, put the lid on and shake vigorously to coat with the sauce.
3.) Meanwhile, make the salad by layering spinach, carrots, celery and tomato.
4.) Top the salad with yummy sauce covered chicken, sprinkle with blue cheese, and toss with fat free Ranch dressing.

(Note:  When I am making this for myself, I just dump the salad fixings on top of the chicken in the storage container, add dressing, put the lid back on and shake again.  It's not the most beautiful presentation, but you can always light a candle and put it on a plate if you're into that!)

(This is my favorite too-lazy-to-make-anything-but-I-know-I-need-to-eat meal.  I have it numerous times a week and also use it for an on-the-go meal in my cooler bag when I don't have leftovers I want to take.)

3/4 cup non-fat yogurt of choice ( I usually use Greek or organic vanilla)
1 serving of vanilla protein powder
1/2 cup of in-season or frozen fruit
1/4 cup Kashi cereal or other healthy granola

1.) In a serving container, mix the protein powder with the yogurt, using a fork to blend well.  You will get a pudding-like consistency.
2.) Top with fruit and granola - that's it!

(Note: as a to-go meal, take the granola separately and add just before eating.  Also, the consistency of the yogurt thins down a bit as it sits, so if you are like me, consider a bib!)

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Aug 12: Curses, Foiled Again!

Today I discovered a special, particularly intense form of torture.  Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

Okay, I'll give you the good news.  I was fortunate enough to get a freelance gig editing a cookbook!  Woohoo!  Hooray on the career front - what a thoroughly pleasant way to spend a day.  I spoke to intelligent people, got to read all day long surrounded by other people reading and working quietly on their computers.  It was work in the industry I am trying really hard to break into.  How awesome is that?  I'll answer for you - pretty darned awesome.

The bad news - I didn't take enough food.  I ate breakfast in the car and brought a great, filling meal with me.  Unfortunately, I ate that meal at 11 am and didn't leave until after 5.  Add to that looking at stunning photographs of luscious-looking food, reading the decadent descriptions and scanning the recipe for errors.

This, my friends, was a special level of hell.  I was really hungry - like the light-headed kind of hungry - and I was reading about things I would absolutely love to eat at that very second.  Because things got off to a late start this morning, if I had left to get something to eat, I wouldn't have had time to finish the assignment  So I sucked it up and got the job done.  I did have some Diet Coke, which is my own personal form of crack right now, but I survived and even made pleasant, somewhat coherent conversation.

Despite the hunger pangs, it was the best day at work ever - I so hope that this is a step in the right direction for my career!

Now for the really bad news.  I was driving home, and of course, I was stuck in traffic.  I knew after creeping along for twenty minutes that there was no way I'd make it home in an hour to have the healthy meal I had prepared there, so I crossed three honking, angry lanes of traffic because I saw a Wendy's sign.  I didn't just cave a little and make healthy choices. 

Oh no.

You know me.  Go hard or go home.  I shoulda gone home.

In my defense, I immediately threw away half of the fries.  And I had a Fresca (0 calorie drink!!!)

I'm guessing that doesn't really make up for the DOUBLE cheeseburger, though, huh.


Today's Eats:

m1: whole grain organic English muffin, dried cranberries, natural peanut butter, and skim milk
m2: Greek yogurt mixed with protein powder, a ton of blueberries, and Kashi cereal
m3: Wendy's double cheeseburger, half an order of fries
(See - even the font is blushing.)

Well, I made it a whole two and a half days before caving, but at least I didn't have sugar. Tomorrow is a fresh start, just like always.

The beautiful thing about going off your plan is going right back on it.  When you go right back on it, you've had a minor "blip".  When you get yourself into trouble, when you fail is when you say, "Well, I already blew it with that cheeseburger, I might as well have some ice cream now!"  When you say that, it is a greasy slide to chub, my friends.  We always have another chance to get things right the very next meal.

How am I rebounding from this "blip"?  A nice walk with the dog and great eats tomorrow.  I concocted an idea in my head on the drive home today - so we will see if it's as good in reality as it was in my brain!  Look for recipes - at least one - tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Aug 11: Food, at last....

This pile of deliciousness will stand between me and the vicious triangle of starvation and junk food!

I got skim milk, cheese and Greek yogurt.  Veggies are broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes and spinach. Protein sources include chicken breasts, xlean ground turkey and xlean ground chicken (they mix together for spectacular meatballs!).  I got some salsa that doesn't contain a lot of sugar and ickyness, as well as Kraft Pure Raspberry Yogurt dressing (so delicious on a broccoli/cauliflower salad.)

Just a little inspiration for the days ahead!

Aug. 11: A Topic Escapes Me


Really, I tried to focus and come up with a scintillating topic that I would discuss with you today.

I got nothin'.

So, I'll just ramble

Yesterday I stuck to my no sugar plan.  It nearly killed me, I will tell you that.  I stared at the goodies in the vending machine while I ate my Kashi cereal.  People probably find me quite strange.  I didn't cave, though, and that is the important part.
I didn't stick to my eating plan exactly, but I stayed on the straight and narrow.  I had:
m1: grilled chicken, oven sweet potato fries
m2: spinach salad, taco style w/ blue corn tortillas and ground turkey
m3: (at midnight eek) whole grain, organic English muffin w/ a little butter
snacks: Greek yogurt and berries, kashi cereal
A bit high carb and low protein, but all in all, I would consider the day a dietary success.
Today's plan: I have to hit the grocery store. MUST hit the grocery store, or I will starve to death.  Or eat at McDonald's.
Meal Plan:
m1: Turkey bacon, egg and English muffin sandwich
m2:  grilled chicken, broccoli
m3: another taco salad (so good!)
Snacks: Greek yogurt w/ protein powder, some kind of fresh fruit obtained on today's shopping trip
The night shift at the job I'm working is kicking my butt.  I hate working nights.  I'm constantly tired and lethargic because this is so opposite my natural body rhythm.  Workouts have been non-existent, aside from walking the dog.
Maybe lack of sleep is why I'm so rambly and unfocused.  Maybe I'll take a nap.................

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Aug 10: Sugar is the Devil

............ The cold spoon slides between my lips.  I run my tongue over the top of it and the flavor of the ice cream deluges my taste buds.  The overwhelming sensations, the sweetness, the coldness, the texture like melting satin in my mouth........Again and again, I dip the spoon in the carton, revelling in the sugar, the glorious sugar........................

Sugar, my friends, is the devil dressed up as Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and Antonio Banderas, all rolled up into one enticing, decadent package.

One bite and you just want more and more...........the cravings don't stop.  Insatiably, I want more sugar. It's two of the Seven Deadly Sins, Gluttony and Lust, rolled up into one big fat temptation that is nearly irresistible.

Why?  Why is it so hard to resist?

Well, refined sugar causes the same effect on the human brain as heroin! Sugar and heroin both cause the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that causes stimulation in the brain that feels positive. In animal studies, scientists have discovered that the lab rats will perform nearly any task when rewarded with dopamine. Dopamine is key in the treatment of drug addictions.

So once you invite it back into your life, it's like a bad house guest - it leads you astray and is nearly impossible to kick out.

My goal this week is NO SUGAR.  I need a week long detox to get rid of the horrific sugar cravings coursing through my body.  I'm actually "jonesing" for sugar.

I also need to cut out my artificial sweeteners again.  When we ingest artificial sweeteners, it confuses the body.  Our body goes searching for the easily digestible calories of sugar, can't find them, and in turn, this  triggers feelings of hunger.

I had decided that now that I'm maintaining, having a bit of sugar here and there would not be a problem.  Then here and there became here and here, and I was eating sweets every day.  A cupcake one day, ice cream another day, a handful of jelly beans the next.  And suddenly, I was back at square one with the sugar, craving it constantly. 

I'm thinking that "occasionally" must mean just that.  "On Occasion". 

Occasion: n, [əˈkeɪʒən] 1. A significant event. 2. Something that provides a reason or justification; a ground..  3. A large or important social gathering.

Supper is not an occasion.  Because it's free is not an occasion.  Because it-looks-really-good-and-I-haven't-had-that-in-a-long-time is not an occasion.

Sugar is the devil.  I'm sending it back to hell where it belongs.

Aug. 10: Little Victories

The dance is because yesterday I managed to stick to my eating plan without veering off it.  It was so hard.  I forgot to empty the change out of the bottom of my purse and had to talk myself out of using it in the vending machine.  My blueberries were in a Ziploc bag and got squished, so that was my "reason" that I should have a vending machine snack.  However, I persevered and ate my squished blueberries.

In a way I feel like I am starting all over again on a diet plan.  I'm not rabidly trying to lose weight right now.  Although I am not where I want to be, I am at a healthy weight, so my number one priority is maintaining.

It's frustrating because these good habits should be ingrained by now and one month of stress and it all went out the window.

I'm putting the brakes on all that, though, and if that means starting over, then I'm starting over.

One of the things that I did previously that helped keep my spirits up was listing my little victories of the day, no matter how small.  They are not all food and exercise related either - just positive accomplishments.

#1.  Eating squished blueberries instead of getting something from the vending machine
#2. Consulting a lawyer about ex-husband issues and learning what my options are
#3.  Left the house nice and tidy when I went to work (so nice to come home to)
#4.  Refilled prescriptions before I actually ran out of them
#5.  Submitted an article to a magazine
#6. Ate only what was on my food plan

Yep, I know these are little things, but they worked together for me.  I can feel proud of the fact that I ate well, did not procrastinate, and educated myself about my legal situation instead of just worrying about it.

Today's Meal Plan

m1: yogurt with protein powder, mixed berries, and Kashi
m2: grilled chicken, sweet potato fries
m3: Spinach salad, taco style, with ground turkey, blue corn tortillas and salsa

Snacks: natural pb and crackers, hmmmmmmm.....out of fresh fruit, maybe a handful of Kashi cereal and raisins

Looks like I will have to drag myself out to the store soon - pickings are getting kind of slim!  Running out of healthy food is NOT an option.

Thanks for all the wonderful positive feedback!  I truly appreciate the support!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Aug 9: See? Told you I'd be back!

It's painful for me to admit this, but I have NOT completely conquered my emotional eating issues, as I had previously thought.

I am not capable of having the above foods in my house and eating them in moderation.

On the bright side, I don't need to purge the chips and ice cream from my house, because I ate it all.

I hopped on the scale this morning, and I am still holding steady but I won't be for long eating like I did this past weekend.  I had a few healthy things but I also had:

ice cream
McDonald's Angus Burger
half an order of McDonald's fries
ice cream
an entire bag of Barbecue Ruffles
and more ice cream

Did I mention that I had some ice cream?

Clearly, this is not the nutritional pattern of someone who is going to maintain a substantial weight loss. So the above items simply cannot reside in the same house with me.

I'm not saying I can never have a cheeseburger again, or potato chips, or ice cream, but I need to only get single servings, and not all at the same time.

Now I have to detox again from all of that sugar, the high fat intake and the nasty chemicals.

I'm off to a good start because my kitchen is free of all the crap.  The last of the ice cream has just gone into the outdoor garbage, to melt and get stinky.  The rest of the food will hopefully be pooped out, unabsorbed by my body.

Yesterday I prepped some healthy eats for the week.  I made two big salads - one Greek and one garden.  I made a huge batch of succulent chicken breasts, and cooked up a pound of ground turkey with Mexican seasonings.  I have loads of fruit, Greek yogurt, protein powder, eggs and egg whites, and some organic English muffins with no nasty chemicals in them.

The next strategy is leaving my wallet at home.  Apparently, I am completely incapable of having change and not hitting the vending machines at work.






Today's Menu:

Meal 1: English muffin w/ a little real butter, 1 egg
Meal 2: Greek Yogurt w/ protein powder, berries, granola
Meal 3: grilled chicken, Greek Salad, Homemade vinaigrette

Natural PB and crackers

Now all I've gotta do is stick with it!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Aug 8: Dusting off the Blog

"It is foolish to tear one's hair in grief, as though sorrow would be made less by baldness." ~ Cicero

"It is foolish to eat french fries in grief, as though sorrow will be made less by gaining 50 pounds." ~ Daisy

You may be wondering where I have been for the past month.

I'm going to put it right out there.  I have been wallowing.

And I've come to a grand discovery.  Wallowing does not get you out of a bad situation, it only assures that you will do nothing to change that situation.

So, I'll tell you what's been going on.  List form. It's not been fun.

1.)  I'm selling my house.  I have to sell it before the bank takes it.  I will walk away without a single penny to show for the burgeoning equity that I have in my home because I foolishly borrowed so much money against it that there is not a dime to spare.

2.) I've been unfocused on my diet.  I've remained pretty stable in weight but I have indulged in a few episodes of emotional eating, something I thought was a thing of the past.

3.) On top of the house situation, I am so broke that I've nearly lost my car, my electricity and, heaven forbid, my internet.  We have not a dime to spare. I'm not looking forward to back-to-school expenses.

4.) I began to pull out of my funk, looking at the loss of the house as an opportunity not to be tied down, so I began applying for jobs that spoke to me, all around the US and Canada.

5.) My ex-husband is attempting to ki-bosh my new start by threatening to try to take custody of my youngest daughter from me.  He "refuses to allow it." 

6.) It freaked me out and I spent nearly a week in fetal position, crying my eyes out over the fear of not having my little "bestie"with me.

7.)  A long time friend dumped me, and I really don't blame her.  I've been a horrible friend over the past year, not holding up my end of the bargain on anything.  I don't return calls, I don't return e-mails, I just wallow and wonder what to say that might be construed as positive.  If you read this, and you know who you are, please know that I love you dearly and I am sorry I hurt you.  I have no viable excuse, but know that I will always care about you and think of you, and sincerely want the best for you.

So, that has been my life in a nutshell.  All my pigeons have come home to roost, all at once.  And they are pooping on my head everytime I walk out the damn door.

Clearly, this has not really helped with my depression issues.  But I'm starting to feel stronger.  I am feeling capable of overcoming every single bit of this.

1.) The house is a tangible tie, keeping me in one place where I am not prospering, either financially or as a person.  Without the house, most of my debts are paid and I can go somewhere for a fresh start and new experiences.

2.)  Diet is an easy fix.  I've done it before and can do it again.  I'm starting to think that these little "treats" I'm indulging in are making my stress level and depression worse - you all know that I feel certain additives cause anxiety.  Really, like I need to eat anxiety along with having it all dumped on me!

3.) I'll just keep on trucking with the money, having faith that God will provide.  He always has in the past, and I know that he will keep us afloat in the future.  It's just how that works.

4.)  I'm still looking for my dream job and I have found about 5 that qualify.  Hopefully one of these companies decides that I am their dream employee and wants to relocate me to some fantastic place. I'm changing the focus of my career at the ripe old age of 41 and competing against new college grads for writing positions because, darn it, that is just what I want to do.

5.)  If I ignore him, maybe he'll go away.  Doubtful, but a girl can dream.

6.)  I will move heaven and earth to keep my dauughter with me.  I know that our place is together, and if comes down to a choice between keeping her with me and my dream job, well, my little girl wins every single time. I have high hopes to have both, but if it comes down to a decision, well, there isn't one.

7.) Nothing to be done for this.

So, I'm back to my blog.  Enough moping.  Enough baloney.  I thank you all for sticking with me during my writing strike and I promise to update regularly again.

I'm planning to post eats again to try and keep myself on track.  As soon as I find where I buried the camera, numerous photos of the food I eat shall be published.

Love to all of you!