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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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

And On The Menu Today . . .

 . . . only healthy stuff.  Do you ever just get tired of hearing yourself whine?  That's where I was yesterday.  So after posting yesterday's thoughts, I decided to kick my butt in gear and get back to focusing on healthy, not just on calories.  I always feel better when I focus on health and not just on the weight.

Yesterday was pretty good although it was a little heavy on the carbs - blueberries and vanilla greek yogurt for breakfast, Kashi Lemongrass Coconut Chicken frozen dinner for lunch, wheat thins and hummus for a snack, a chocolate vitatop for another snack, and chicken/apple sausages on wheat buns with greek pasta salad for lunch.  I also had a KIND Coconut and Almond bar right before I went to dance class.  I ended the day at just over 1900 calories, a little higher than planned, about 150 calories over my goal.

After dance I stopped by the market to pick up some more healthy snacks for the week.  I ran across some buttermilk cheese that sounded interesting, picked out some pretty plums and apples and stocked up some hummus from my favorite local restaurant.  I really try to keep healthy snacks around that are easy to take with me to work so I can keep my regular meals smaller.

Today was also pretty healthy.  Breakfast was a canadian bacon and raw spinach on a sandwich thin and I added some of the buttermilk cheese.  Interesting flavor, kind of mild with a cheddar flavor.  For a morning snack I had raw broccoli and sliced cucumbers with hummus.  So yummy.  Lunch was organic turkey, raw spinach, buttermilk cheese and Dijonnaise on Ezekiel sesame bread.  I am generally not a sandwich eater but this was so good and very satisfying.  It's almost 3pm and I still have over 800 calories left for today.  I have my cooler that right now holds a KIND snack bar, a small cucumber salad, and some kale salad so a snack later before dance class should not throw me off my targets.  And dinner after dance class tonight should be ok because I am having sushi with the girls.

I feel better and I am not hungry.  There is something about eating healthy that just makes you feel good.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Going With The Flow

It's the same 4 pounds.  Over and over and over for the last 2 months.  I am fluctuating between 238 and 242.  The same 4 pounds.

I'm actually ok with that.  Ok, not really.  I know it is completely natural to be frustrated when you are not really losing.  But realistically I also know why the scale is stuck there.

I have been going with the flow.  The flow of out of town trips and weddings and graduations and celebrations and guests and all the food that comes with all of those things.  Add to that a reduced exercise schedule because of travel. I'm not making excuses or reasons for giving in to temptation.  No guilt about it either.  This is real life.  It all adds up to basically maintaining the weight.

I have not decided that maintaining is a bad thing.  Losing would be better but I also think that it is good to control what you can, when you can, and to enjoy the rest.  Just don't lose control. The key is not giving up or giving in.

I know myself well when it comes to this journey of weight loss.  Every time I have lost a noticeable amount and start to get compliments, I get comfortable.  When I get comfortable, I stop trying.  When I stop trying, I gain the weight back.

But this time I am determined to not go there.  I am staying with my program.  I am counting my calories and continuing to attend my dance and yoga classes 6 hours each week.  I will not give up and I will not give in.  I will continue to lose the weight albeit at a slightly slower pace than before.  This is a life changing experience and I know I will have to do this for the rest of my life.  And I'm still learning how to do it.

Are any of you struggling with that same crazy summer plateau?  Let's share ideas in the comments on how you cope with it and make it through without losing your focus. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Back From The Edge

Last week was a little bit of a challenge.  I attended a week long work conference in St. Louis.  There was a lot of food over the week and it came frequently.  I don't think I over ate and I focused mostly on eating lots of veggies but I did eat desserts and other things I would not have eaten otherwise. 

The stress level was kind of high.  It was a long week . . . meetings, training attended and trainings led, performances (I was Oprah), awards, top executive visitor . . . you get the picture.  By Thursday, I was so ready to go home.

Our flight out of St. Louis was delayed by an hour.  We knew we were going to cut our connection very, very close so we decided to eat at the airport before we flew out.  I shared a pizza with another friend.  Finally, we took off and headed for Atlanta.

Our flights in Atlanta were the last flights of the day.  My flight was at 10:50pm and the other girls' was at 10:52pm.  We knew that if we missed our connection, we would be stuck for the night.  Our plane arrived in Atlanta and we were not able to pull into the gate for about 10 minutes.  As we exited the plane, we found we were on concourse A and had to go to concourse D.  We ran, took the train, and ran some more.  We arrived at our gates at 10:45 and the doors were closed.  They would NOT let us on.  Seriously???? But they did put our luggage on the plane.  Ummmm, how thoughtful of them.  We would be staying in Atlanta for the night but our luggage would make it home.

I rented the other girls a car to drive home to Alabama and called my daughter, who now lives in Atlanta, to come pick me up.  She had been wishing all night that I would miss the connection so I could stay with her.  I'm not sure she considered what I would smell like the next day since I had no clothes or toothbrush or clean underwear but at least she could take care of me.  We arrived at her apartment at 1:30am.

A friend drove to Atlanta on Friday to bring me home.  Of course, we all had dinner before leaving at a wonderful restaurant in Old Roswell.  It was amazing and we took off for Knoxville around 10pm.  We were stuck in traffic outside Chattanooga for one hour and finally arrived at the Knoxville airport to pick up my car around 2am on Saturday. 

However, I couldn't get out of the parking lot.  There was only one booth open and it had a sign on the window that said "back in 20 minutes".  Ummmmm, really?  I waited.  I moved the cones from the automated lanes and tried to pay but the machines were broken.  I wondered when I had pissed off Karma?

Finally, after 25 minutes, I called information on my cell phone and got the number for airport security.  They went and found the booth worker.  He came barrelling across a median on a golf cart, obviously angry.  He unlocked the door, went into the booth and slammed the door.  He couldn't get the window open which made him MORE angry.  Finally, he got it open.  Lucky for me! The officer was trying to carry on a conversation with him and "dude" was so rude.  He never apologized or even spoke to me.  RUDE!  It was 3am when I got home, ready to just fall into bed.

I remembered as I walked in and the temperature was the same as outside that I needed to call the air conditioner repairman.  I went into my kitchen to set my purse down and there was about an inch of water on the floor and towels were floating on top of it.  My water/ice line for the refridgerator had sprung a very small leak and my son had put towels down to soak it up.  Of course that was about 12 hours before when he left for work and my kitchen was now flooded.  As I held back tears, I picked up the towels and put them in the sink.  I went to get more towels and soaked up some more water.  I went to the sink with an armload of towels again, slipped on the wet floor and went down.

I cannot repeat here the words that came out of my mouth.  Lots of inappropriate words.  I got the mess cleaned up and turned the water off under the sink.  I found 3 fans and pointed them all at my bed.  I turned them on "high" and fell into the bed.  Ahhhhhhh, sleep.

It would be a lie if I said I didn't eat like crazy that weekend.  I spend most of Saturday picking up my luggage from the airport, calling repairmen and setting up appointments and just laying on my behind.  And eating.  And eating.  And eating.

Monday was another day.  Back to work and back to healthy eating.  I jumped right back into my routine and ended the day having consumed 1541 calories and burned 2100 calories.  I felt in control again and it felt good.  Today has been good too.

I think I can do this.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Stupid, Stupid, Stupid

After a few weeks of eating slightly over my calories, I have had a really good week.  I write it all down, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Then today, I did something stupid, stupid, stupid.  I hate it when that happens.

It was a crazy day at work.  We have a huge conference next week and all the last minute prep was overwhelming.  It was stressful but I was handling it with humor and a list.  I forgot to bring my lunch so I ran to pick up some KFC grilled chicken.  I was well within my calorie limit with this choice and glad that I had more than enough calories left over for dinner.  Today is a day that I don't exercise so I am always pretty careful about my food on those days.

Later a friend called and said she was going to run by Sonic and pick up her lunch and a chocolate milkshake.  Oooooooohhhhhhh, milkshake!  I asked her to bring me a small chocolate milkshake.  Yum.

She walked in with the milkshake and I tasted it.  SO good but . . . what is that taste?  This is not just chocolate.  She tasted it.  Chocolate peanut butter.  Wow.  Even better.  I slurped that yummy concoction down and finished some more conference prep. 

Later I pulled up my Daily Plate on to record my decadent treat.  WHAT THA??????????????  A small chocolate peanut butter milkshake from Sonic is 678 freakin' calories!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh my goodness.  I typed it into my Daily Plate and I have one, yes one, calorie left for dinner.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.

The moral of the story . . . take the time to look it up before you decide to eat it.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Trying Yoga

My dance classes are working and I love them.  I like them so much that I was ready to add some additional classes.  I do Sizemology Dance on Mondays and Saturdays, Zumba on Wednesdays and Choreography on Thursdays.  I needed something for Tuesdays when some of my friends in Sizemology  mentioned a yoga class they were interested in attending. 
First of all, my past experiences with yoga have not been positive.  In fact, I kind of hated it.  Again, I am not a particularly “still” person and, although I was raised in a sort of New Age environment, I don’t generally respond to the New Age type of thought.  But my friends explained that this was different, this teacher was different.  So I decided to try it. 

I was pleasantly surprised.  I am pretty flexible and always have been, even for a fat girl, so the poses were challenging but not painful.  The instructor, Angie, told us to trust our body and let it guide us.  Angie is a Reiki practitioner and throughout the hour, she would walk through the class and gently touch the students, sometimes to slightly adjust the pose.  I am never comfortable with strangers touching me but Angie’s touch was comforting.

Angie’s melodic, soft voice was soothing.  She talked throughout the whole class, sometimes explaining how to do a pose, sometimes talking about energy and healing and spirituality.  Again, I am not one that normally responds to this type of thing but there was something about Angie’s voice, her excitement, the flow of her words that was so relaxing, even as I was sweating through a pose. 

Before I knew it, the hour was over.  I felt amazingly worn out, powerful and relaxed at the same time.  I went home that night and bought a class card.  And I went back this Tuesday.  I will be adding the Saturday class this week.

So now I am dancing four hours a week and doing yoga two hours each week.  I feel like I am getting into a very well rounded exercise routine that works on all parts of my body.  But the best thing about doing all that is that I get so much more than the calorie burn.  I love dancing and am learning that I love this type of yoga.  And it makes me a happier person.   That goes way beyond the weight loss.
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Monday, May 17, 2010

Being Mindful

Never have I had so intimate a relationship with a strawberry as I had on Saturday night.  No, I have not irevocably lost my senses nor have I moved over to fruit for emotional support.

I was invited by a friend to attend a seminar by a local life coach which was centered around the topic of the Zen practice of mindful eating.  The woman had lost over 350 pounds after gastric bypass and kept it off for many years so I was interested to hear what she had to say.  I am not a meditative or particularly "still" kind of person but I am open-minded.  So off I went to the seminar.

I have been aware of mindful eating as a part of my weight loss process but I guess I practice my own version.  I try to slow down, chew food more, and recognize the taste of the food and appreciate it more than when I used to just shovel it in. It has allowed me to savor and enjoy food more and it allows me to eat less and be satisfied.

During the seminar, the life coach did an exercise in mindful eating using strawberries.  First she had us select a berry.  Then she turned the lights down and asked us to close our eyes.  She led a guided meditation to allow us to center ourselves.  Then she spoke very slowly and had us examine the berry, noticing it's texture, it's color, the shape, the seeds, the smell.  She asked us to think about how the berry got there, who picked it, the people who had been in contact with that berry.  Then she told us to take a small bite.  Notice the flavor, the sweetness, the sourness, the texture.

Okay, I know I shouldn't be like this but I do NOT have the time to take 5 minutes to eat a strawberry.  Nor do I want to take that much time to eat anything.  I know it was just an exercise and it had an impact on many in the room.  They enjoyed the berry more than they have when eating strawberries in the past.  They appreciated all the effort that brought the berry to us and the beauty of the fruit.  I did not have that epiphany.  I am just not capable of being that spiritual about my food.

I do believe in appreciating your food and the person that prepared it, slowing down, savoring it, and enjoying what you eat.  And I will continue to listen to other's different thoughts on how to eat healthier and how to become a better person. 

But I am trying to change my relationship with food and really do NOT need to love it more than I already do.  I am trying to teach myself that food is not about the feeling.  That it is needed to help me stay alive and to nourish my body but food does not have to have emotional attachment. It will be okay if something does NOT taste amazing.  I also don't have to eat it if it does taste amazing because it will not change my life.

That is my version of mindful eating right now.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Love My Bugg

I was never one to commit to wearing a pedometer and was never one to completely understand how to figure out calories burned at an activity.  So although the concept of "burn more calories than you take in" was so simple and clear to me, the problem was . . . how do I really know how many calories I'm burning?

The problem centers around the fact that you burn calories with every little move of the finger, ride of the bike, jog around the neighborhood, and even when you sleep.  How could I keep up with all of that and get an accurate picture?

I had seen the Bodybugg on TV on "The Biggest Loser", heard others talk about it, and even read a little on-line.  But I didn't really get it until I got one.  The Bodybugg is a little square contraption that has an stretchy arm band attached.  You wear it all day (and night if you like) on your upper left arm, except in the bath or shower or pool.  It does NOT like water.  You can get a small display that looks like a digital watch that you can wear on your arm or clip it to your pants or bra strap like I do.  The display gives you the data if you are into instant gratification as I am. 

A couple of times a week, you hook it up to the computer, go to their site and upload your information and charge the battery.  I won't go into all the details on what you can do but there is tons of info on their site so check it out.

So what the Bodybugg basically does is counts calories you burn as long as you are wearing the armband.  It also counts steps you take, amount of time at an activity, calories burned during activity, calories per minute burned during high activity. 

So here's how I use it.  I wear it all day and night except in water.  The armband counts calories from midnight to midnight so I know how much I burn in total during a 24 hour period by checking the running total on the display.  When I attend dance class or just want to see how many calories I burn during an activity, I set a "trip" and the display tells me.  When I reach my calorie burn target, the display alerts me.  Since I am counting and logging calories all day on's Daily Plate, I don't use Bodybugg's website for meal tracking but it is available for those that want to do that.

Every morning, I go to Livestrong and pull up the previous days meals.  Then I enter my total calories burned (the display will show you the previous day's total) and compare how many more calories I have burned than I took in.  Some days I burn a couple of hundred more and some days I burn over a thousand more. 

My target to lose 1.5 pounds each week is to burn 800 calories more each day than I take in.  That goal is based on age, height, and current weight but it sounds like a lot, right?  It's really not.  Remember, you burn calories when you sleep.  But what happens is the armband and display remind me to get up off my hiney and move a little more.  Instead of sitting at my desk, I get up and walk around a couple of times more each day.  When I'm in the car for long stretches, I "dance" to the music on my Ipod.  Yeah, I look stupid to people in the other cars but they don't know me, right?  The point is, the little device reminds me that I need to move.

Bodybuggs are a little pricey - over $200 for the armband and display - which made me hesitate for a long time before buying one.  But it was well worth the money.  There are other brands with similar devices and all work essentially the same way with very few differences.  I have no knowledge if one is better than the other, I only have experience with what I own and I am receiving no compensation for endorsing the Bodybugg.  I just love it and want to share how it has helped me lose weight.

How do you track your exercise?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Finding The Reason

 760x315_RubyI love the show Ruby on Style Network.  The show is about a real woman, Ruby Gettinger, and her struggles to go from over 700 pounds to a normal size.  All fat women can identify in some way with either Ruby or with her friends.  On tonight’s episode, the season finale, Ruby and her friends attend a 6 day intensive therapy session to deal with their food addictions.  It was enlightening and hard to watch.  Ruby and her friends all went in thinking they were not addicted to food.  Don’t we all feel that way?

I am not one that leans toward group therapy.  I think it’s wonderful and works for many people but I don’t think I am one of them.  I am more of a one on one kind of person.  Of course, no one ever thinks it’s for them but I see it really does work and this show was interesting and gave some insight into the process.

One thing I’ve learned is that there are a lot of reasons people are fat but the reasons generally have nothing to do with food.  Things in their past, issues of control, or depression all lead to issues with food just like they lead to drug addiction or alcohol abuse or exercise obsession.  It’s all addiction and none of us ever think we are addicted.

To watch the women on the show and see them relive the horrors of their childhoods and teen years was heartbreaking.  So many women have stories of abuse or alcoholic parents or unhappiness.  They use their weight as protection or as control.
I recognize now that I have an addiction but I am still trying to figure out where that addiction came from.  I had a very happy childhood.  There were unhappy moments as with all children but I really had parents that loved me and siblings to which I was close.  No trauma, no abuse, nothing to lead me to an answer.  There were addictions in my extended family but they did not directly affect me.

My family was a military family so we traveled and moved all over the world every few years.  We would return to my grandparents or family members would visit us at various times.  There would always be a feast or special meals.  Visits from or to the homes of family and friends were some of my favorite memories and I was always so happy during those times. 

I think that because some of my best memories and times in my life were always centered around family and food, I try to constantly recreate that feeling.  My favorite foods are foods that were served during those times.  They bring back that feeling.  And when family visits me, I want to serve those foods and provide that feeling for them.  It’s like rather than some time of pain causing a food addiction, the feeling of pleasure caused it.

I don’t know if that is the reason I’m fat.  My logic mind tells me I would not make myself fat because I want to be happy, especially because being fat does not make me happy.  But I do know this is a problem that I have to deal with and have learned that I cannot center family events around food.  I still do but I am trying to change that.  Thanksgiving should be about what we did, not what we ate.  That’s hard for me.

No matter the reason, I am changing my life.  I am learning that I need food to survive but it cannot make me happy.  It’s just food and it’s not that powerful.  I will not be happier if I eat three servings of mashed potatoes.  In fact, I will be mad later because I did it.  I can eat one serving.  Or I can take control and not eat any of it because it’s just potatoes.  It doesn’t bring back any of the people I love and miss.

And I will keep looking for answers and inspiration.
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Monday, April 26, 2010

Dancing It Up

I have talked about my dance classes as a form of exercise.  But it has become more than exercise.  It is a form of self expression and confidence.  My favorite class by far is Sizemology.  It is designed for all women of all sizes but primarily for women that want to dance but that might hesitate to attend a class due to body issues or confidence or because of their age.  It’s a lot of fun and we alternate jazz and hip-hop music and choreography. 

I have been dancing in the performance troupe and this past weekend we performed at Rossini Festival, a huge Italian street fair in downtown Knoxville put on by the Knoxville Opera Company.  It poured rain, the sound was messed up, the covered stage started leaking, they cancelled the performance due to the risks and problems but some of the troupes decided to go ahead and perform.  Since they had lost our CD of our music, our troupe leader’s husband held her IPhone up to the microphone, hit play, and we performed.

I kept tugging at my shirt because it kept sliding down and exposing about 4 inches of my bra.  You should ALWAYS ignore wardrobe malfunctions because the distraction causes one to miss steps as I found out!  And I am pretty sure no one but me noticed the bra showing.

I had a great time and it felt great.  Would you like to see?  That’s me on the left.
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Monday, April 12, 2010

My Personal Relationship . . . With Food

Recently I was involved in an online conversation about food that made me think.  It started innocently enough.  It was not a bad conversation but I realized I had some feelings during the conversation that led to me examining my relationship with my way of eating.

It started with a status update on Facebook (doesn't it always?).  I was in Nashville on business and posted that I was "having a "healthy" breakfast at IHOP before taking on Nashvegas".  It was random and insignificant.

An old friend from high school posted the comment "What can you find at IHOP that is healthy?"  I explained that they have a new "For Me" menu that uses Egg Beaters, Turkey Bacon and Sausage, and they post the nutritional information. He commented that he eats nothing but fruit for breakfast and can't imagine eating like that.  I said that I do better with protein for breakfast rather than carbs. Then he sent me a message.

He advised that I think of breakfast not as an event but rather as just another part of the day.  He then detailed how he has eaten fruit all day for 16 years and feels even better than he did at 15.  He eats fruit first thing in the morning and then eats fruit every 30 minutes throughout the day until later in the evening when he has protein.  I explained how my eating pattern works for me and that although I love fruit, the sugar makes me hungry and it doesn't stay with me for long.  He shared his thoughts on eating and processed food and evolution and the bible, as did I, and then he said . . . "People get so offended when you they think you are trying to change the way they eat when really it's only that you care about them and their health".

Hmmmmmmm.  I thought about why his whole tactic offended me a little bit.  I thought about my personal relationship with food and why I am so protective of that relationship.  I thought about how there is no one right way to eat and how you have to find the way that works for you. 

When we share our way of eating, is it really because we care about others or because we feel the need to share our knowledge.  Or is it our need to be right all the time?

I hope that as you read this blog, you understand that I share what works for me and only me.  I have said that in many posts.  I am definately no expert, just someone who has tried a lot of different ways to lose weight.  I have found a way that works for me but I am learning and trying new things every day.  Some things work FOR ME and some don't.  But I share them because they MIGHT work for you. 

I am thinking about what he said.  I am not going to change to eating fruit all day but I am considering that I do tend to think of meals as events.  Maybe I can get to the point one day where food is for sustenance rather than pure enjoyment.  I'm not there yet. 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Just Move It, Move It

dogwoods3 Today, I got rid of Winter.  For the last few very cold, very wet months, I have allowed my back yard to descend into a giant muddy, dog-destroyed mess.  I have 3 large outside dogs.   One is a 13 year old Black Lab, one is a 14 year old Golden Retriever, and one is a 2 year old German Sheppard mix.  The 2 year old belongs to my daughter and he has drug around and destroyed most anything that was outside – dog bowls, chairs, tables, grass, pieces of wood, fencing, you name it.  I spent the winter looking through my windows at the sad state of my yard
Today was the day to fix all of that.  And it was a beautiful day.  Earlier in the week a tree in my yard had fallen on my neighbor’s fence.  Some very good friends came over to help me with the repairs.  I actually love doing home projects but since I have NO idea what I’m doing, I prefer to be the assistant so that was my role today.  I woke up early – 5:30am and could not go back to sleep. So finally, around 8am, I got busy.  Before they arrived I took the opportunity to drag all the destroyed items from across the yard through the gates so they could be placed at the curb for trash pickup.  Then we all got busy replacing a section of the neighbor’s privacy fence
After completion, my friends helped me enclose the open bottom area of my sunroom.  A few years ago, a friend of my daughter had closed off a section under the sunroom so the dogs have a sheltered area but it was very haphazardly done and looked really trashy.  I really wanted to fix it so it looked better.  We went to the hardware store for supplies, picked up lunch and then got busy, carrying large sheets of plywood, measuring, cutting, lining it all up and attaching everything.  My friend is a stone mason and he is going to do a stone treatment with stucco and stone to cover the plywood and my dogs now have their very own “condo” under the sunroom.  Very cool!

After cleaning everything up – clearing the built up dog hair and dried leaves off the deck, sweeping the deck and patio and cleaning the cobwebs from every window and door and corner – I headed out to take Senior portraits for my friend’s son and some couple photos of him and his girlfriend.  We had a great time climbing around on the railroad tracks, playing on small hills, standing on benches, walking down paths through the woods.  Move it, move it.

I arrived home about 9pm.  I have hardly sat down all day long.  Moving, just keep moving.  I hit my calorie goal about 6 pm.  Due to my job which involves a lot of sitting – at a desk, in a car - I usually exceed my calorie goal only on dance days and even then, it’s close.  Today, I will surpass that goal by over 600 calories.  YAY!

And my yard looks like a yard again.  I see results.  I accomplished something today.  I was moving.
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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Yummy Recipe - Tropical Chicken Fingers

I came up with this recipe on the fly tonight and it was so good I wanted to share.  It's nothing new or even creative but it was really good.  The mango coconut sauce is pre-made in a bottle.  It is made by Tropical Pepper Company.  I get it at Earth Fare but I know you can find it in a lot of grocery stores.  I had the chicken and sauce with some grilled asparagus and it totaled under 400 calories but I had only 3 chicken fingers instead of a full serving of 4.  If you have 4 chicken fingers and 3 tablespoons of sauce it is a total of 431 calories per serving.  Enjoy.

Tropical Chicken Fingers with Mango Coconut Sauce

  • 1 lb Chicken Breast (boneless,skinless)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Panko Japanese Style Bread Crumb
  • Non stick Cooking Spray
  • 1 whole lemon, cut in half
  • 6 tbsp Mango Coconut Pepper Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder


Spray skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat. Use pre-cut chicken strips or trim chicken into 8 strips. Break egg into a flat bottomed dish and add salt and garlic. Mix well with a wisk. Dip chicken strips into egg and then roll in panko crumbs, coating the chicken well. Place the chicken in the heated skillet and spray with a little more cooking spray. Turn chicken once browned. Cook thoroughly. Squeeze lemon juice on chicken and place on plate. Serving is 4 chicken fingers with 3 tablespoons of sauce on the side.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

This Too Will Pass

stress_city It’s been a tough week.   I never really thought I was an emotional eater until now.  In the past, I did not react to stress by going to food.  At least not that I was aware.  I tended to not really think about food when stress came around.  I don’t really have a lot of stress in my life on a regular basis so maybe I just didn’t know.

This week was stressful.  And I wanted to eat all kinds of things that were bad for me.  I wanted a McDonald’s hamburger and fries.  I don’t really even like McDonald’s except for their french fries.  I wanted pizza.  I wanted a foot long hot dog from a local drive-in in a combo with krinkle cut fries with lots of salt and ketchup.  And a milk shake.  And I ate it all over the course of the week.

I don’t really even like fast food.  I have not really missed it at all during the last 8 months.  But in a reaction to the stress, I wanted all that stuff.  I wrote it all down too in my on-line tracker, every day and all of it.  It was a lot of calories every day and I didn’t burn much more than what I took in each day but I did burn more.  The tracking and the lack of calories burned gave me a wake up call.  It had to stop.  And hi, my name is Tere and I am an Emotional Eater.

It made me look at what I was doing and made me realize it has to stop.  I have lost a lot of weight and gained so much more over the last 8 months.  It really has not been hard until this week.  I ate more than one serving of everything.  I ate things I didn’t really love.  All because I was stressed. 

The stress will go away but the weight gained (or not lost) will be here to remind me that I cannot do that.  The trips I have made to the bathroom have also reminded me!  Ugh!

Like I said, this was a tough week but I will not self-destruct.  I have done some self-reflection and learned something.  The stress will pass on by eventually and it is not in my control.  But what I put in my mouth is in my control. 
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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Favorite Recipe – Szechuan Shrimp

I love recipes from Cooking Light.  You can go to Cooking Light’s website and my favorite section 5 Ingredient Recipes.  I have found so many healthy, easy and quick recipes that have helped me lose weight.  I also own several of their cookbooks.  I love that they include all the nutritional information with every recipe.

Please enjoy one of my favorites then visit their site and find more.  And NO, I do not work for Cooking Light nor do I receive anything for endorsing them.  I just like them people!

By the way, I usually add Chinese pea pods to this when I add the shrimp.  It adds very few calories but gets some green veggies in and tastes great.

Szechuan Shrimp
cookinglight szechuan shrimp
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup)


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2  pounds  peeled and deveined large shrimp
  • 3/4  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
  • 1/2  cup  light sesame-ginger dressing (such as Newman's Own)
  • 4  green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2  tablespoons  lightly salted toasted soy nuts, coarsely chopped


1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; coat with cooking spray. Coat shrimp with cooking spray; add shrimp and red pepper to pan. Stir-fry 2 minutes. Add dressing and onions. Cook 3 minutes or until shrimp are done, stirring constantly. Sprinkle evenly with soy nuts; serve immediately.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 190 (18% from fat)
Fat: 4g (sat 0.6g,mono 0.3g,poly 0.6g)
Protein: 29.5g
Carbohydrate: 7.9g
Fiber: 1.4g
Cholesterol: 252mg
Iron: 4.4mg
Sodium: 708mg
Calcium: 72mg
From Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast, Oxmoor House, APRIL 2009

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Meal Tracking 3/16/2010

Today was a busy day and I love being back to tracking my food.  I had enough calories left over for dinner to have some yummy Swedish Meatballs with sauce over egg noodles.  I love that I can have just about anything I want as long as I have just one serving.  And I still have 288 calories left today.

March 16th, 2010

Meal Item Brand Item Name

Your Servings Calories


Laughing Cow

Light Swiss Cheese

Bagel Thins




breakfast Oscar Mayer Pre-cooked Bacon Slices

1.00 70

breakfast Raw Spinach

1.00 7

breakfast Starbucks Venti Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte

1.00 160

lunch Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake

1.00 340

lunch Jello Mousse Temptations - Dark Chocolate Decadence

1.00 60

lunch Navel Orange

1.00 64

afternoon snack Back to Nature Cranberry Pecan Granola

0.50 100

afternoon snack Chobani Nonfat Plain Yogurt

1.00 100

afternoon snack Truvia

1.00 0

dinner Prepared Ikea Cream Sauce

0.25 64

dinner IKEA Swedish Meatballs

1.00 210

dinner Great Value Wide Egg Noodles

1.00 220

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Back To The Real World

I have been on vacation.  It was a vacation from life, vacation from work and a vacation from my diet.  My daughter and her friends were on spring break from their various colleges so we planned a girls trip to the beach withpiggyback2 moms and daughters.  Now I am back from my very relaxing week and headed back to the the real world. 

For the most part I was careful on my vacation when it came to eating.  I was thoughtful about what I ate but I did not restrict myself.  I was at the beach so it was easy to do seafood.  I was the cook all week so I was able to control what I ate and how it was prepared.  I used a lot of Cooking Light recipes that everyone could enjoy and they all loved the food I made.  The few times we ate out, I passed up the Cheeseburger in Paradise and went for the grilled fish with steamed veggies.  I ate steamed shrimp but also enjoyed baked oysters.  I stepped out of bounds on occasion but it was a conscious choice.  I ate dessert and I drank some pina coladas and had a few beers and enjoyed some chips and dip.  

But the difference during this trip was I made the dessert and only made enough for one day rather than every day.  I had a few chips and some dip rather than a bag of chips and a container of dip.  I had one pina colada instead of the whole blender full.  I shared an order of fries rather than getting my own.  I brought my hula hoops and hooped on the beach.  We went for a walk.  I made an effort to stay moving rather than just sitting in a beach chair or on the couch.

But I will not be getting on the scales for a couple of weeks.  I don’t feel like I gained, more likely I maintained.  But because I reached a milestone of 50 pounds the week before I left for vacation, I don’t want to get wrapped up in the number on the scale or the inevitable guilt that might result.  I don’t do guilt and I don’t need it affecting my progress.  The next time I weigh, it will be a lower number than the last time.

Tomorrow I will be back to food tracking and wearing the bodybugg and attending dance classes and moving my butt more.  I am excited to be back to my routine.  I am thankful for the time I had with my daughter and her friends and my friends.  But I love my routine of healthy choices and focused effort to make changes in my life.  I really don’t want go back to my old way of living.  I like things the way they are now.  I have learned so much and have come so far.  And I have a really long way to go so I know I can take a vacation and come right back and stay on track.

It was a good week.