Friday, January 17, 2020

Conquering the Reece's Cup: A weight loss Saga

My all time favorite candy is a good old fashioned delicious Reece's Cup!  Ahhhh just the thought of the perfect mix of peanut butter and chocolate just makes my mouth water!  I can open a pack and tear through them so quick that if you blink a king size package is GONE.   Absolutely delicious!  I literally have had no self control when it comes to Reece's Cups!  

A few months ago I was walking through a store and saw a display in the distance.  (Should I be ashamed that the beautiful orange color of the Reece's packaging draws my attention, even from a distance?)  As we walked closer I was happy to see a new product. 

Reece's Thins.  Of course I picked up the package to see what this was about.  I was pleased to see the calorie count (about half of a normal cup....give or take).    But, I was skeptical.  I am really old school.  I like the perfect ratio of chocolate to peanut butter that the regular cup offers. (I don't usually even buy the egg shaped cups at Easter or the tree shaped Reece's Cups at Christmas.  Nor do I buy the mini's....why?  It messes up the perfect ratio.)  I had to try the Thins though!  So I bought the package!

Honestly, they aren't too bad. The perfect PB and chocolate ratio is not messed up too badly.  They hit the spot.   They are also individually wrapped so that it is easier to stop at one!  It was a good fit for me! Furthermore, I was happy with just that one Reece's Cup.   The process of eating ONE cup (and a half sized one at that) helped me come to terms with an important concept.

I don't HAVE to eat every Reece's cup out of a package!  Just because I open the package doesn't mean I need to eat it!   I have a CHOICE. And that choice can be to just eat one 'normal sized' cup out of a package and leave the rest for another time.  I know....REVOLUTIONARY!

Really, something clicked in my head and it is easy! I buy a package of Reece's cups, open the package and just eat one!  The package then just sits on the counter until the next time I decide to splurge.....which might be the next night but it might also be a week later! 
The crazy thing about it?  I savor that ONE cup!  Before I would practically shovel the whole cup into my mouth in one bite!  Now I take my time.......and bit off small pieces that I savor!  I make that one up last me!  Probably even longer than I used to eat the whole PACKAGE!
So, I live with someone.  What happens when Jason sees my open package of Reece's Cups and decides to help himself to one.....or two.....or the rest of the package?    Why nothing!  I have crossed over some line where I am quick to say "If I really want another one I will just run down the street to the store and grab another package"   And guess what?  I never run down the street.   I am just fine without it and don't even miss it!!!!

Am I delusional to think that I have conquered the Reece's cup forever?  I wish it was forever, but I don't expect it. Life will happen and I will lose control and bury myself in a vat of Reece's Cups!   But I am learning all I can during this time of success!  I am learning that I can make a choice to leave some behind.  It doesn't hurt and so what IF they are eaten by someone else.......I am pretty sure that the grocery store, gas station or convenience store will be more than happy to sell me another one!  Just one more step in the right direction as I work to conquer this weight loss journey!

Of course I have a Reece's Teeshirt.  It's getting old though and I only wear it to exercise now!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Vegetarian??

It is definitely part of life to change and adjust, but there is one thing that for some reason just keeps coming back to me. It's like my North Star!   What in the world an I talking about?  Why I'm talking about the consumption of meat!   I am talking about going to a more vegetarian lifestyle.

When I was young, still in school and living with my parents young, I went through a stage where I didn't eat a whole lot of meat.  It just wasn't something I liked.  I can remember eating steak, sitting at the kitchen table at the house my parents owned in Johnstown, PA and chewing a piece of steak and thinking, "This really doesn't taste like anything I want to eat".    At that point I became extremely picky about the meat that I would eat.   I remember many meals where I would have the jar of peanut butter beside my plate.   But, eventually I grew out of it. (ok, maybe college and cafeteria eating had something to do with that....).    I was still never a huge proponent of a lot of meat, but no one around me picked up on any alteration in my diet.

Fast forward to my early to mid 30's and I was driving down the interstate and happened to be riding alongside a cattle truck.  I looked over and those cows on that truck looked out at me and they had such gentle sad eyes.  It broke my heart as I knew that they were going to the slaughter house for their death.  And that was the day that I stopped eating beef.    A while later I read a story about how pigs are actually quite intelligent and how they are raised make them literally go crazy.  Crazy enough that they bite off their own tails.  What????   Oh heck no...I can't eat pork was my next sentence!  Bye bye pork!   On a rare occasion I would indulge in either pork or beef, but the longer I went without, the less I liked it!   I went quite a few years in that manner.....either eating no meat with a meal or defaulting to chicken or turkey.  (As a side note, someone once asked me why I could still eat chicken and/or turkey and my response was "they have beady eyes"   So I guess it's the eyes and intelligence that get me!) 

When I met Jason I was eating meat about once or twice a week. He jokingly made the comment "Give it six months with me and you will be eating meat again."   His comment was made as a joke, but it was so true!   I started eating meat...regularly!

But about midway through last year we started to talk about our health and what changes we need to make and Jason started talking about eating less meat.  Yes, Jason!   I started to talk about incorporating more vegetarian meals into our weekly menus.  And I tried.  I really tried!  But it was so much easier to default to the tried and true recipes......which almost always were meat laden.  One vegetarian meal a week was a struggle most weeks.  But we kept talking about the benefits.

I talked to a coworker who mentioned that she gave up meat when a personal trainer told her that her love handles would disappear if the meat disappeared from her diet.  So she gave up meat  And guess what?  The love handles were gone in a month!  REALLLY?   I sat up and took notice!  For sure!

In December Jason and I had a serious conversation.  Ok it was a random conversation that was serious.   We decided to just dive into eating more vegetarian.  Jason was all for diving all in 100%...but from my experiences, I fought for less than 100%.  I told him that I would be happy with eating 5-6 days of vegetarian existence.  I reasoned that starting that way would allow us to still have the foods that we do love and would definitely miss.  (I know from experience that the ONE beef item that I would occasionally crave was a burger......and the pork item would be bacon!)  I also reasoned that we could go 100% at a later date if we wanted.   

So on January first we started.  Thus far it is going well.  The first weekend in the new year I broke the vege-fast with a Jimmy John's turkey sub.  And the second weekend I broke the vegetarian fast with some homemade ham salad.  (We had some ham left in the freezer.)    I'm really not missing meat at all though and we have been eating lots of fun unique meals.

If you have any awesome vegetarian meal ideas...pass them along!

So what goes around comes around is so very true in terms of eating meat....at least for me!   I don't know how long this will last for us....but I'm enjoying it for sure!   The question is this....how is this going to affect my weight loss efforts?  Will eating a more vegetarian diet help the weight fall off? (I can only hope!)

Monday, January 13, 2020

Weekly Weigh In

Another weekly check in on my weight and to see what I did over the past week.   This is the first full week of the new year and I had vowed that I was going to rock out this journey in the new year...the question is,did I do it?

My week started strong.  Jason and I spent some time roaming through the stores and shops downtown.  It is a neat little area and some of the shops carry such neat things.  It was threatening rain, so this was the perfect way to be outside and still have cover should a rain squall blow in..

On Sunday the nice weather from the day before turned decided un-nice.   It got cold and windy!  But we didn't let that stop us.  We headed out to hike.  This time we went to Gathland State park and looked at the history for this tiny park.   (A news reporter from the Civil war made a monument to all war correspondents after the civil war and built his summer home here at this site)

We also then walked a few hours on the Appalachian trail. 

Lots of calories burned there!

Monday was back to work. I had a fair amount of use it or lose it time at the end of the year and then with the holidays and those days off.....I have not worked a full work week in a long time. This week was the rude awakening!

I still managed to ride the exercise bike twice this week.  I'm disappointed in myself.  My goal is a minimum of 3 times.  Why didn't I ride?  I was just feeling off all week long!  I was cold ALL the time.   My head has hurt near constantly (sinus pressure) and toward the end of the week even my ears were hurting.  I chose to rest and try to allow my body to fight off whatever ailment it was at war with!

Walking at work?  Yeah, that didn't happen either....same reasons as above.

So how did I do????

I"m pretty happy with that.  My week was not 'perfect' in terms of my food...but I was within my caloric range!   I still was struggling with the sweet treat after dinner. (I ate some wilbur chocolate buds.....best chocolate.....almost like fudge in my mouth!   Amazon link)    And I just admitted that the exercise wasn't all that either!   So I'm happy!!!!   I have grand plans for my food consumption (or rather a lack of) and exercise plans for this upcoming week!   I am planning to rock out another 2 pounds!!!!   (I'll be happy with ANY loss!)








Friday, January 10, 2020

Foodie Friday: Baked Zucchini Parmesan

Zucchini, the vegetable of the summer.  It seems as if zucchini is super plentiful in the summer, to the extent that people are sometimes inundated with zucchini.  This happened to me a few years back.  I was determined to let NO produce from my garden go to waste.   I scoured and searched for different ways to prepare and use zucchini and I stumbled upon Baked Zucchini Parmesan.

What a find.  This recipe quickly became one of my all-time favorite ways to prepare zucchini.   No, not one of my all- time favorite ways.  This is the BEST way to make zucchini.  The light breading that coats the outside gives the vegetable the bit of a crunch but gives way to the soft and tender flesh of the zucchini.  The flavor of the parmesan bursts to life in your mouth.  This is truly heaven!
When I was young my mom once told me that making homemade onion rings was a labor of love.  We loved them and she loved us, so she took the time to bread the onions herself.  Every time I make Baked Zucchini Parmesan I think about the statement.  You see, they are a labor of love.  And while Jason knows that they baked zucchini parmesan is breaded and takes a few minutes of my time, so he rarely asks for them.  I quickly offer them because they are a labor of love.  I would definitely make them for him because I love him.  BUT, they are a labor of love for me also because I really do love these delicious bites of goodness!  I may think to myself for a hot second “I don’t want to take the time” but within seconds I am slicing and breading up my zucchini!  
I’m telling you, they really are that good!   Now honestly, if you wanted to you could mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan together and bread them as normal and fry them in a skillet of vegetable oil.  And admittedly, they are good that way but why bother?  That little dot of butter on top of the baked ones gives it the same flavor and taste and is so much easier!  

So here goes, I give to you the perfect Zucchini Recipe!

2 zucchini (medium) 
1 cup of plain breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 tbs butter
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a cookie sheet with a non stick spray.
2.  Wash and trim the ends from the zucchini.  Slice the zucchini into 1/4 inch slices.
3.   In one bowl place bread crumbs.  In a separate bowl whip egg slightly with a fork to break the yolk.
4.   Doing one zucchini slice at a time dip first into the egg and then dip into the breadcrumbs to coat and place on the cookie sheet.  Continue until all slices of zucchini are breaded.
5.  Using the butter cut off a small sliver and place on the top of each zucchini disk.  Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top of the breaded zucchini
6.  Place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the zucchini slices are golden brown.



Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Weekly weigh in

It is that time again.   It’s time to review my week and see what I did in terms of fitness, food and weight loss!  Let me tell you, this was the last week of the holidays and I was just hoping that I could hold on.  And boy did I hold on tight!

So let me be clear.... it was actually weekly weigh sharing time on Monday!  BUT, Monday was my blogiversary…my 14th actually and I needed to do the obligatory post to commemorate it!    So here it is…my week in review…just a wee bit late!

We started out the last week of December with a family get together.  I love spending time with my family so I was tickled!  The weather was nice so we did get outside to fly Jason’s drones.   So that was a bit of time outside.  And in keeping with my error over the whole holiday season, I got exactly NO pictures of the holiday event.  OOPS.

On Sunday we were gung ho to get outside……except that it was raining.  So we headed off to the mall and to an antique store.  Hey…it was steps!  At least I was moving!   As always, we had a hoot and of course I tried on some hats at the antique store.
I went back to work on Monday and that is when I realized that I had a heck of a lot of steps to take if I was going to make my monthly step goal for December!  I stepped up to the plate and I walked every chance I could.  It was raining…but I walked out in the parking garage on my lunch break AND two 15 minute breaks!  I was NOT going to go down without a fight.  


And guess what?  I was so proud to be able to say that I did it!  I was also getting up at 4:45 AM and riding my exercise bike for those first two days.  I was a machine!

Throughout this time my eating was ok…but I was still indulging a bit in the desserts.  OOPS.

On Wednesday I was determined that the holidays were over and I was going to get a fresh start!  That included eating……which I managed to do GREAT with.  But it also included my fitness.  So we started off the year right.  We headed out to hike!  We went to a tail that we both love.  We have hiked this trail a gazillion times before. It was just as gorgeous and fun as I remembered.  It was just as hard….let me tell you.  


The Thurston Griggs Trail is a pretty steep incline.  I think Jason referred to it as ‘the devil climb’ when we were going up!  The arthritis in my knees were kicking, but I knew that when we got to the top of Thurston Griggs and entered the Appalachian trail that things would level off as we were on the ridge at that point and I wanted to get to Black Rock!  

Once we got to Black Rock and looked around, I knew that I wanted to get to Annapolis Rock.  Afterall, it’s a flat nice trail up on the ridge!  So off we went!

The way back was fine too….until I got to the Thurston Griggs trail.  My knee was SHOT by that point.  The trail down was just as difficult.   My poor woobly knee made me feel like I was drunk and staggering around.  I was going SLOW.  When I got to the very last stream crossing I was in my glory!  I could actually see the car!  I don’t know if my knee just gave it up or if I got careless……but I went down!   It could have been bad.  I was in a really jagged rocky area.  This wasn’t just  a matter of falling into a pool of water.  This was a thing of me falling onto large rocks….jagged uneven rocks.  SOMEHOW I managed to NOT hit my head.  I was twisted around…and shaken up.  But with just a scraped up knee and a brush burn on my finger I managed to escape unscathed.   I was super sore the next few days…every things hurt. My hip…my arms…my wrist.  But I know how lucky I was!   But hey….I got over 20,000 steps that day AND I got to be out in nature and see some gorgeous sights!  It was worth it!

So with that said…I got no more lunchtime walks or exercise bike rides the rest of the week as I recovered.   This is a journey toward health…..my body needed to heal!

So how did I do on the scales????? 

Why I maintained!  I would have LOVED to have shown a loss for this week.  But I am perfectly fine with a maintain.  My goal was to maintain through the holidays….and it has only been two days since the holidays!   So I managed to do exactly what I wanted to do for the month of December.  BUT now it is January….it’s time to get this weight loss show on the road and lose some weight!!!!!   I’ve got this!



Monday, January 06, 2020

14 year Blogiversary

Holy cow!  How has it gotten to the point that it has been 14 years since I started this blog/website?  What an amazing journey!  I have had incredible success with weight loss.  I have had some set backs in my weight loss journey also.   But through it I all I can honestly say that I have been continually learning about myself.  

So here is the fourteen years  in review and some lessons learned along the way post.     I have struggled with taking pictures of myself along the way.....a regret of mine.  (pictures are SO important on this journey) so the pictures are somewhat sparse in the earlier years of my journey!

I started this blog as a heavily overweight woman.  Here is a picture or two from that time....or rather, these pictures were taken December 2005....the closest pictures of myself I could find in conjunction with the start of this site.   I was probably right around 260 pounds at this time..  I had actually already lost about 50 pounds by this point in my journey because I did not start my online journal (aka blog) when I first embarked upon this weight loss journey.



Yeah, those pictures are definitely NOT easy for me to look at.  I am saddened that I let myself get to that point and thought it was ok.

But I had a mission.  I was going to lose the weight.  I sadly, was losing the weight for the wrong reasons.....NEVER lose weight to try to make someone love you the way you want to be loved.  They need to love you for you and not the number on the scale or the size of your body.  It took me quite a few years to figure that lesson out. 

Right or wrong reasons, I started working  diligently on this weight thing!!!! I walked.  I rode my bike. I became a collector of exercise videos and I actually used them....EVERY DAY!     I watched everything I ate.....and guess what?   It worked!   I can see my face had started thinning out in this picture.


By mid 2007 my weight was lower than ever and I was feeling fantastic!!!!  I wasn't done  I kept moving!  I kept working it!  And the weight just kept dropping!!!


By 2008 I had reached my goal weight (as prescribed by my doctor).   Oh my word.  I can't even describe how fabulous I felt.   I was on top of the world.  I had never felt that well physically as an adult.   My arthritis in my knees all but disappeared.  I felt confident.  I just can't describe how life was...I just felt GREAT! (Size 10 shorts in the picture below..my lowest size)


I even managed to make it to be a lifetime member at Weight watchers!!!!!!  GO me!!!!!!!



I still had some weight to lose.  I was still about 15 pounds over where the BMI charts told me that I needed to be in order to be healthy.  I pushed..and pushed.   Family and friends started to worry about me and told me that my face looked gaunt and started asking if I was sick.  I knew I wasn't.  But I still struggled with self image.  I never saw myself as a thin person.  So I pushed forward.  But I can NOW see how my face was SOOOOO thin!  

It was shortly after this picture that I realized that losing the weight in an effort to make my husband love me the way I needed to be loved was NOT working.  My marriage was still on the rocks, and nothing I was doing was working  (I had tried everything, not just a massive weight loss!).  I stopped caring about my weight....after all the purpose for losing weight had crumbled and proved to be ineffective so why continue?. Ok, I still wanted to be thin, but I didn't want to bother with watching everything.  I didn't want to worry about the work it would take to complete my mission.  I started to slip.  

By late  2009 I had done something I said I would NEVER do.....allow my weight to creep back above 200 pounds.    

By the way...I don't like the weird mouth thing going on...but my hair was AWESOME in this picture!!!    In 2009 I met a blog buddy for the first time  and we rode Girls with Gears!!! What a fabulous experience and what a fabulous friend!!  I was about 210 pounds.  


Donna and I had so much fun doing the Girls with Gears Bike ride that we decided to do Pedal to Preserve the same year.  You can see that I gained weight between these two rides...two short months.  My hair was still awesome though!!!

I vowed over and over to stop the weight gain.  But I'm ashamed to say that it kept creeping up and up.



I took steps to try to eliminate the weight.  I just struggled.  I rode in Pedal to Preservethe following year, 2010  (I have no pictures of me doing it)   I had gained even more.     

I never gained everything back as evidenced in this 2011 or 2012 picture. But I had done some serious weight gain!


My salvation during this time was that I never stopped exercising.  I still rode my bike.  I had started going to zumba religiously.  I was still moving  and being active.  I was just gaining.  Weight is lost in the kitchen....NOT the gym and I was living proof!

In 2013  I decided to start losing weight for ME.  I didn't care what anyone else thought.  This was a mission for ME.   My weight started to drop again.  I was well on my way.   Things were looking GRAND for me and my weight loss.  I was featured in a newspaper article talking about my weight loss.  I had this in the bag I was on my way back to my goal weight!!!!!











Yup.....a picture from the article.  Not the grandest picture...but it was out there for the world to see.

Remember when I said I 'had this'?   I thought I did.  But my already crumbling marriage took a blow that no marriage should EVER have to endure.....and I lost my focus again.

I'd like to say that I got that focus back.  But I didn't. Once again I kept moving.  I was running.  I was going to zumba.  I was riding my bikes.  I was walking.  But the weight was not coming off. 


I ran in 5K's and even a few 10K's and the weight just wasn't dropping......


 In mid 2014 I started to lose weight again.......


Then my life changed drastically.  My marriage ended I was forced to admit to the world what I had known for years that I was in a dead end relationship and leaving that relationship!      Life was upside down and I still couldn't get a grip on it...but I kept moving!!!!  I kept pushing....but gained again. 



2015 was rough for my weight.  I regained what I lost in 2014.....maybe I needed that year to come to terms with where I was in life.  My life had turned upside down in so many ways.  I had to come to terms with being single.  I had to come to an understanding with the dating world (wow.....just wow....you can purchase the book I wrote about that experience here. I had to figure out where I stood in this world.  And my weight suffered.

It took quite a bit of time....but in October of 2015  it  clicked and I got back on track.  AND....I met Jason!


I was in amazing shape.  We hiked mountains 




 And then we started to ride bikes together!
We were on FIRE!

And then we both switched jobs in 2017. The evening walks got a lot shorter due to our long commutes.  The weekend rides and hikes happened less and were shorter also due to the lingering tiredness from the long work weeks.   We still moved...but not as much and it started to show in my weight.  I started to gain!

2018 rolled around and I was so sure I was going to be successful.  But the year turned out to be me maintaining my weight but  losing some of my fitness levels.  I saw it happening and just lacked the willpower to stop the train.  I DID buy a new bike and plan on using that new bike in 2019 to get healthy!
In may of 2019  I got really serious about losing weight....again.  But the weight dropped slowly.  Some of that is my age...but I took a decidedly different approach to weight loss this time around.  I was not restricting anything.  This was moderation.  I still had a piece of cake here and there. I also still had a reese's cup on occasion. But it was not everyday and I learned that it IS possible to eat one Reece's Cup out of a package....the one that is left doesn't go bad and will be waiting for you when you want it!   Amazing discovery!

2019 saw me making progress on the bike.  I rode and I learned.   We rode as often as possible!

I tried to walk as much as possible on my lunch breaks also.
At the end of the year we purchased an exercise bike.....this is going to help boost me into a new stratosphere.  My long work days won't be a hindrance anymore to me getting a good workout in and I couldn't be more excited!

2019 did not see me reach my goals...but I learned some huge lessons.  I feel so much more equipped to handle this journey and carry it into a maintenance phase.

See, I told you...it was a journey!   It IS a journey.  It is emotional to write and read this.  It is hard to see some aspects of the journey.  But I am in awe at the journey.  I am amazed to see the confidence on my face when I was a thin woman.  It is definitely torture to see the weight creep back on and my continual lack of change.  But through it all I an see the value of the effort.

This journey has shaped me into the person that I am right now!   I am now making this journey PERSONAL.  This weight loss is for ME!  This journey is because I want to live a long and active and healthy life!    I am in control of the next chapter of this book.  I can write it as a overweight woman or I can write it as a healthy woman.  The choice is mine!   Stay tuned!