Sunday, March 20, 2011

Feel Good or Eat Good

Why are so many feelings wrapped up in our eating patterns?  Call it emotional eating, comfort eating, weakness, or whatever.  The foods I love are foods that bring back feelings and memories of the past.  Comfort food.

Cardin's drive inAs I struggle to regain my focus on eating healthy and losing weight, I find myself doing a bit of comfort eating.  A friend and I took her son to his grandmother’s in another East Tennessee city.  We also went back several days later to pick him up.  Both times we took a ride through her childhood memories and they reminded me so much of my own.  I was on a memory high.  On the way back both times, we stopped at an old style drive-in.  You know the kind . . . you drive up and they come to the car and take your order.  Or you can sit at one of the wood picnic tables.  The menu boards list what seems like 100 options, from breakfast biscuits to burgers, hot dogs, chicken, chili, and sides.  And then there are the ice cream options – cones, sundaes, floats, and milkshakes.

Memories from my childhood came back.  I always loved crinkle cut fries with lots of salt and ketchup.  I ordered the large size.  I asked the waitress what kind of milkshakes they had.  She rattled of the standard flavors and then kept going.  She said banana and my eyes got very big.  “With real bananas or just banana flavored?”  She responded, “Real bananas” and I did not have to hear anymore.  Mmmmmmm.  My mom used to make us banana milkshakes.

Emotions definitely come into play when you make choices about food.  I let the emotions control what I ate and didn’t think twice.  I can’t do that all the time or I need to find healthier alternatives that will satisfy that emotion.  This is my biggest challenge on this road to healthy eating.

What is your biggest struggle?
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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Here’s Your Sign . . .

There is something about keeping a blog that holds you responsible for what you say and do.  One does not really want one’s shortcomings or downfalls right out there for everyone to see, right?

Since September, I have not been eating healthy.  Mostly, I have been eating whatever the heck I wanted and as much as I wanted.  I have made some effort to get back on track but those efforts quickly fell by the wayside.  I maintained the weight for a while but could tell my body was changing.  I was eating more carbs so my stomach was growing larger where it had flattened out slightly.  Then, I wasn’t maintaining anymore because I was eating too much and the exercise was being canceled out by the number of calories I was eating.  Long story short . . . 17 pounds returned, making me unhappy and embarrassed.

It was easier not to come to my blog to try to write about weight loss because if I did, I had to face my failures.

So I didn’t.  I haven’t written in months.

Well, it’s time to face it.

I have gained back 17 pounds of the 52 pounds I lost.  And things have to change.

Have you ever received “a sign”?  You know . . . the sign you need to change something in your life?  Sometimes they are subtle and sometimes they just jump up and slap you in the face.

Last night, I was at work a little later and I was overly hungry.  I had eaten a Chick-fil-A sandwich at about 11:30 and had eaten nothing since then – almost 6 hours.  My stomach was growling as I talked to my boss on the phone.  I got off the phone and ordered dinner online at Outback so I could pick it up on the way home.  I ordered a wedge salad and a small filet with broccoli.  Again, overly hungry, I scanned the dessert menu and saw a carrot cake.  I added that to the order.  I left work, swung by the restaurant to pick up the order, and headed home.  It smelled soooooooo good.  My stomach was still growling away.

When I arrived at home, I took the salad out and began enjoying it.  Who doesn’t love a wedge salad?  I opened the larger container holding the steak.  Yum.  Where was the broccoli?  There were two smaller styrofoam containers so I checked them both.  The broccoli was in the first.  The other must be the carrot cake, right?  I opened it to look at it.  Inside were about 10 pieces of celery.  Celery.  CELERY!!!!!

celeryMy first reaction . . . no, make that my second reaction . . . was to call the restaurant and complain.  Then I thought about the situation for a bit.  Then I said some ugly words.  Then I thought some more.  I finally decided to take that celery as a sign that my time as a free eater is coming to an end.  Carrot cake is not a vegetable.
So I am here, confessing my embarrassment and stupidity but also trying to set myself right again.  I heard the celery talking and I am going to change my ways.  It will be hard and I’m not perfect so I am back to talk about my struggles and my successes. 

Ahhhhhh, that feels so much better.  Damn celery.
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Serving Size . . . Really?

Ok, we all know that we need to pay attention to serving sizes, right?  Manufacturers are quite clever and frequently package their products in a way that might mislead the consumer into thinking they are eating one serving size when, in fact, they are eating more than that.

How many of you have ever gone into a gas station while on a trip, grabbed a drink and a snack bag of chips and headed along your merry way?  I think we all have at some time.  That snack bag of chips generally has multiple servings, usually at least 2, as a standard serving size of chips is only 1 ounce.

I recently stopped for gas and picked up a Sobe Lifewater.  Thankfully these are zero calories so it doesn't affect my calorie counting but the other nutritional info shows that there are 25 mg of sodium and 6 g of carbs per serving.  However, there are 2.5 servings per container.  So if you drink the 20 oz. bottle (who is really going to share or save the rest for later?) you will actually get 62.5 mg of sodium and 15 carbs.

I learned long ago that I needed to read the WHOLE label and campare labels between products.  I'm actually pretty good at doing that.  But this weekend, I got stupid, I guess.

I was at Earth Fare picking up a few things and saw some yummy looking cranberry orange muffin cookies that advertised "no eggs, trans fat, or dairy" and cholesterol free.  They were packaged individually, easy to grab and eat in the car on the way home since I was hungry and knew that would hold me over until I could get home and cook.  I flipped over the package, saw that it was 230 calories and decided that was pretty fair for so large a cookie.  Once in the car, I opened up the package and enjoyed the heck out of that cookie.  So yummy.

When I got home, I went to log what I had eaten, flipped over the package and noticed this:
Seriously???  One cookie is 2 servings?  So my tiny splurge to hold me over was a total of 460 calories, more than the entire dinner I was preparing!!!  Who would have thought that a cookie was anything other than 1 serving?  One serving, one cookie, right?

I felt a little betrayed, a little stupid, and a little angry.  So I decided to share my stupidity and lesson learned with you all as a cautionary tale.

Have you ever had anything like this trip you up?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Week One All Over Again

Success!  I was determined that this week would be the one where I got back on track and became a disciplined person again.  I was through with holidays, vacations, and laziness.  I planned to eat healthy, to stay within my calorie range, and to burn more calories than I took in.  I was also going back to getting at least 8 glasses of water in.  So far so good on all of that.  

The work week started well on Tuesday.  I logged my food and went to my classes.  The total calories taken in - 1731, burned - 2923, so I burned 1192 calories more than I took in.  I actually went to dinner with friends from dance that night at Ruby Tuesday and had steak, mashed potatoes, broccoli, and a beer.  Ruby Tuesday has new Fit and Trim options on their menu that are all under 700 calories.

Wednesday went well also.  It was Zumba day so I knew there would be a high calorie burn and I also had dance rehearsal for a performance.  Even so, I did not go nuts.  I was careful throughout the day and was even able to have two servings of parmesan crusted tilapia for dinner.  Total calories in - 1702, total burned - 3124, burning 1422 calories more than taken in.
Today is yoga day so I will have to stay on track.  While yoga is amazing for toning, health, flexibility, and strength, it does not burn a ton of calories.  It has been something on which I have had to adjust my thinking.  I am motivated by the fact that I see my body changing and I am so much stronger, so the calories burned are just a plus.  Today my meals have been:

  • Breakfast - Bagel Thin sandwich with Laughing Cow Light Cheese, 2 strips bacon, fresh spinach leaves, coffee and cream.  Total 309 calories.

  • Morning snack - Dole organic banana.  110 calories

  • Lunch - 2 Jennie-O Turkey burger patties, light american cheese, Arnold's Sandwich Thin, and edamame.  Total 590 calories which is a little high for lunch but I will have about 600 calories left for the day which is easily doable.
After only a few days, I can already tell a difference in the way I feel.  I think the key is the reduction of "white carbs".  White potatoes, white rice, white pasta, and bread are all my "drug" of choice.  I have not had hardly any bread except for my breakfast which is either multi-grain or whole wheat.  I have not had rice or pasta at all and the small serving of mashed potatoes with my steak was the exception.  I had to change my mindset last year when I started this process to get away from filling my plate with a protein, a starch, and a vegetable.  I now serve myself a protein and at least one or more green vegetables.  It works for me and on occasion, if I am craving pasta or rice, I do whole wheat pasta or brown rice, 1 serving only.

I really can tell a difference already and I know once again I can do this.  Stay with me!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

You Are What You Think

I rode back from the beach this week and had a lot of time to think.  It was just me and my daughter, it was a long drive and there was a temporary lull in the conversation.  I was in my head, mentally beating myself up for finishing off the bread pudding the night before and eating 2 dozen baked oysters the prior afternoon.  

I looked down at the seatbelt and the bulge coming over the top of the lap belt.  I was kind of disgusted with myself.  I thought about the fact that I had taken a few weeks off from tracking my food, blogging about my weight loss, and over the last few days, I had taken off my Bodybugg so I could tan evenly.  I was on vacation!  Stupid choices. Why did I do that?  Great . . . now I felt FAT again.

As I thought about it, I decided that I was just a little bit crazy.  I have not gained back any weight since March or April.  I am still 50 pounds lighter than I was a year ago.  I am wearing the same size I have worn since May which is either an 18 or 20.  A year ago I wore a size 26. The dancing/exercise has allowed me to maintain my weight loss while I "vacationed" from eating healthy.

So what happened?  Two months ago, I was proud of the way I looked and how far I had come.  What was different now?

My thinking was the difference.  I was thinking the same way I thought last year so I felt the same way I felt then.  Our self image is not based on any type of reality at any given moment, it is mostly all about what we think.  It's the reason an anorexic teenage girl thinks she's fat.  It's the reason at 292 pounds I thought I wasn't THAT fat until a saw a couple of photos telling me otherwise.

It's amazing what our mind does to us.  When I start thinking I'm fat again, I visualize that, get frustrated, and eat poorly.  When I am eating healthy, I see myself getting smaller and I am proud of my appearance.  Mind Tricks.

The fact is, I'm still fat even though I have lost 50 pounds.  I weigh 242 pounds.  I have 80 - 90 pounds to lose still.  No matter what I see in my head, those are the facts.  Sitting and thinking about it doesn't change a thing . . . action does.

I will find the physical strength and the mental strength to lose the next 80 - 90 pounds I need to lose.  I don't know how long it will take and I am not in a hurry.  It's a process.  The first step was putting that Bodybugg back on last night.  The second step was logging back into this morning, recalculating my calorie goals and logging all my food today.

The next step . . . changing my thinking.  That's a much harder thing to do so stay tuned!
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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Dance Your Hiney Off

zumba helpsIt’s been a while since I discussed how things are going on the exercise front so I thought I would give an update on how things are going.  Here is my weekly schedule:
  • Monday is Sizemology.  This is a one hour dance class and we alternate jazz and hip hop dances.  Average calories burned for the hour is 275.
  • Tuesday is Sizemology Choreography.  This is a 4 week series of one hour dance classes and we learn an entire song over the series.  Average calories burned for the hour is 275.
  • Wednesday is Zumba.  This is a one hour dance/fitness class combining Latin dance with aerobic moves.  Very fast paced and intense.  Average calories burned for the hour is 650.
  • Thursday is Mool Mani Yoga.  A very relaxing but challenging form of yoga created by my instructor, Angie Collins.  She combines vinyasa yoga with reiki healing and meditation.  Average calories burned is 200 but there are body toning and flexibility elements that are not measurable.
  • Friday is an off day.
  • Saturday starts with Mool Mani Yoga at 10am and then Sizemology at noon.
  • Sunday is Zumba again.
That’s a total of 7 hours per week, averaging 2525 calories burned each week
I have spent the last few months maintaining my 50 pound weight loss.  I am trying to get back on the weight loss wagon but until I get my butt in gear, the classes and my weekday calorie counting have allowed me to not gain.  Weekends are blowing it for me but my goal right now is to NOT gain and it’s working.

What do you do to make sure you don’t ruin your progress?
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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Recipe – Summer Squash Side Dish

market squash 2
My recent trip to the Farmer’s Market yielded some beautiful squash.  I bought yellow summer squash, zucchini, and Mediterranean squash.  I wanted to share one of my favorite easy, low calorie summer side dishes. You can also add some fresh mushrooms for additional flavor.

As always, I am a “dump” cook so these amounts are an estimate.  Have fun with it.

Summer Squash Side Dish

3 – 4 average size of any type of squash or a mixture of types, sliced into about 1/8 to 1/4 inch round slices
1/2 cup diced red onion
Non-stick cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Beau Monde seasoning
A “shake” of Cajun seasoning such as Tony Chachere’s or Emeril’s

Spray cooking spray in a large size skillet and heat over medium high heat.  Add the diced red onion and saute until soft.  Add the sliced squash and spray with more cooking spray.  Add seasonings and stir well.   Cook over medium high heat stirring frequently until the squash is soft and cooked through.

This dish will give you 2 large servings and each serving is about 50 calories.  It is a great side dish for fish, chicken, or beef.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Market Fresh Blackberries

Yesterday’s trip to the farmer’s market yielded a lot of photos and some amazing produce.  I got these blackberries while there and I do believe they are the largest blackberries I have ever seen and they are so sweet.  The one I am holding is not even the largest!  They were a great healthy breakfast this morning.

I also got some beautiful tomatoes that I will be using for a caprese salad later today.  For those that aren’t sure – a caprese salad consists of sliced tomatoes, sliced fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and balsamic vinegar.  All you do is take a slice of tomato, lay it on the plate, lay on a slice of mozzarella, add the fresh basil and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.  So good.

I got some fresh corn, some beautiful green onions, and a few different types of squash.  One type of squash was interesting to me – Mediterranean squash.  It looks like a zucchini but is a much lighter green color.  In looking for recipes on Google, it appears you use it like any other summer squash like zucchini or yellow squash.

What kind of things do you gravitate to at your farmers market?
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Friday, July 9, 2010

Okay, That’s Enough

_MG_8038 005After a week of careful planning and thoughtful choices, I let a little crazy creep in.  I spent the long weekend at my daughter’s in Atlanta and it felt like we did nothing but eat and eat and eat.  The food we ate was pretty healthy . . . it was the sweet stuff that was crazy.

I almost never eat sweets.  I eat a lot of fruit but I don’t really like candy and could do without cakes or pies or sweet stuff in general, though I do love good chocolate.  But during that long weekend, I went on a sugar binge – pies, ice cream, chocolate, just piles and piles of sugar.  When I returned home on Monday evening, I continued to indulge in the sweet stuff, things I never eat.  On Tuesday, same thing.  And Wednesday too.  I ate really healthy during the day but at some point daily, I ate sweets.

Every day, I struggled in the afternoon.  I was worn out.  Every evening, I went to bed early and every morning, I had a hard time getting out of bed.  I assumed I must be coming down with something.  My body just didn’t feel right.  I was sluggish and had a hard time keeping my eyes open every day around 2pm, even though I was sleeping at least 9 hours each night.  On Thursday afternoon, I really didn’t feel well and went home around 3pm, crawled in the bed and slept for an hour.  I went to yoga later, came home and got in the bed at 9:45pm and slept until 8am this morning!!!

I was catching up on my blog reading this morning and went to one of my favorite healthy living blogs Loser For Life.  Today’s post was all about her struggles with fighting off the sugar urge on vacation and after she returned home.  She talked about being tired.  A light bulb went on.  I was experiencing the sugar rush and the sugar crash.  And I had kept on feeding it.  My body was reacting to the sugar.  Stupid sugar!

So bear with me over the next few days as I detox and get that stuff out of my system.  Stupid sugar!
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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Recipe - Cajun Broiled Grouper

cajun broiled grouper
Tonight’s dinner was so easy and so good.  I am not a huge fan of fish but I really enjoy this Cajun Broiled Grouper with yellow carrots, white beans and spinach in an herb sauce , served with a glass of Reisling.
The vegetable mix is frozen - Green Giant Digestive Health.  Look for it in your frozen vegetable aisle.  It is microwaveable in a steamer bag, is only 90 calories per serving and there are two servings per box.  I used both servings.

For the grouper, I used 7 ounces frozen grouper fillets.  Prepare baking sheet with non-stick spray and place fillets in pan. Spray each fillet lightly with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spray. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning. Lay lemon slices on top. Broil fillets on high for 5 - 6 minutes depending on thickness. This is also great with tilapia. Calories for 7 ounces is 245.

So this dinner took me about 10 minutes to prepare from start to finish and the total calories for dinner, including the wine was 605.  If you leave off the wine it is only 425 calories.  Healthy, low calorie, fast, easy, and good.  That’s my kind of meal.
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