Friday, February 21, 2020

Mexican pizza

Sometimes in life we need that ultra quick meal to get on the table.  It might be because you are just stone tired and can’t fathom making anything complicated.  Or it just might be that life got in the way and you have no time.  No matter the reason, this recipe is the perfect recipe for a quick meal to throw together.  Even better, it is delicious.

Just the other night I made this recipe and Jason asked me what we were having.  I answered “Mexican Pizza” and he asked skeptically, “Do I like it?”.  I assured him that he had told me he liked it before.  A few minutes later he walked into the kitchen and saw what I was preparing and his reaction had me grinning.  “Oh yeah!,”  He happily exclaimed.   “I remember this meal now!  I like this!” 

So you see….winner!  What’s better, I can have this meal prepped and ready for the oven in about 5-10 minutes….TOPS!  



Mexican Pizza

Ingredients

3 flour tortilla
1 can (14 oz) refried beans
2 cups fat free salsa
2 cups Shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions:
1.        Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.       On a baking sheet place one flour tortilla. 
3.        Spread 1/3 of refried beans over the tortilla.  Cover the beans with 1/3 of the salsa and top with 1/3 of the cheese. (making sure to get beans, salsa and cheese completely to the edges)
4.       Repeat with two more layers.
5.       Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden.
6.       Serve immediately.   Can be served with Sour cream and salsa (I also have used taco sauce)

You can add onions, green peppers,corn or any veggies to your beans….just saute them in a pan before adding them to the beans.

Spreading the refried beans can be easier if you heat them in a pan.  (I am usually tired and strapped for time so chose to just spread them straight out of the can!)


Enjoy this recipe…it really can’t get any easier or more delicious!  

For more recipes, visit my recipe page!


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Believing in myself

I have come to a realization recently that my mind is my worst enemy.  Ok, maybe that’s not a new realization…but it was brought to the forefront (again) recently.   My mind is a strong tool that can be used for or against me in this weight loss journey….and really in life.  Yes my mind!


I have always known that my imagination is strong and can affect me in so many ways.  Seriously, if someone around me talks about how they were sick and throwing up all morning before they came to work…. suddenly my stomach starts to hurt and I’m convinced that I’m coming down with whatever ails them.  I have to mentally talk myself off the ledge of panic, because I KNOW that it is a trick that my mind is playing.   So it should come as no surprise that this kind of thing happens in weight loss also.  But it shocks me every time!


A few weeks ago I decided to join Weight Watchers (WW).  I was so excited and I knew that WW was going to be the solution to my struggling journey.  Of course it was!   I started so strong.  I was excited.  I lost over four pounds.  WOO HOO!  Go me!  I was on fire!   I was secretly excited because I was sure that I could make it into the 220’s by the end of the month of February.  Easy peasy, nothing was going to stop me as I rolled into my second week on Weight Watchers!


I had day one of my second week planned out and I was strong.  Ok, I was strong until the unexpected arrival of pizza for our team.  Oh yeah, pizza.  You can read about it here  but if you don’t’ have time, let me just say that I caved…and I had two pieces of pizza.  Yup.   Now, I know that there are weekly points to account for these little extras.  I know it.  That is what makes the program work.  It allows for those extras….those days…those moments in life.  It allows us to live.


So why in the world did I begin to almost immediately panic.  Why indeed?   I know that I typically use some of my weekly points (eat higher calories) on the weekends but I had blown so many of my weekly points on the first day that I knew that I wanted to keep my points low for the weekend.  I worked that plan!  I managed.  I ate zero point foods.  I didn’t have any sweet treat.  I was doing it.  I was actually showing great success….in my actions.   However, in my head I was sure that the pizza had totally annihilated my good efforts.   Oh yes, I was sure that the two pieces of pizza on that first day of my weigh in week was going to totally mess up the numbers on the scales…..numbers that I would be looking at a full 7 days later.  My mind was convinced, even as I counted my points and managed and worked to stay within my lower points.   I just knew it in my mind.


All week long I talked about the mental warfare.  Seriously, I knew I was battling this in my mind!  I tried my hardest!  I really did.  Yet when it came time to weigh myself for my official weigh in I was up about a pound. 


Self-fulfilling prophecy maybe?  I don’t know if my mind has that much capability, but isn’t it interesting?  And yes, there may have been one or two other things at play (hormones from the monthly ick for one) so I can’t say it was all a gain caused by my mental status.  But it sure made me think!

There is a reason that I named my website, “Belief in Myself”.  You see, I realized a long time ago that I really need to believe in myself.  I need to have faith in my abilities and my efforts.  I need to believe that I can do it.  Because if I believe that I can not do it……I will not be able to do it!

 

This applies to so many areas, not just losing weight.  I have to believe that I can climb these mountains when we are hiking.  I have to believe that I can ride these trails when I’m biking.  I need to believe in myself.  Our bodies are amazing things and we need to start believing in them!

Monday, February 17, 2020

Weekly weigh in...how did I manage that?

Another week has passed!   I headed into this weight loss week with a positive attitude.  I was not going to let the mental warfare beat me down.  I was going to persevere!

The week was....well....wet.   We had rain...we had more rain...and then it rained some more!   So there went my lunchtime walks.  But by some miracle we had clear skies on Saturday and Sunday and we made the most of our time by hiking on both days!!
The first day close to home....

And the second day at a state park a bit further from home.

I did ride the exercise use bike......once...

My food was in line too!   I didn’t kill my weekly points and my daily points were right in line!   I had a great week!

But the scales were not working with me for most of the week!   Seriously...not!   All week long I held onto that one pound gain from the week before!   Thursday I showed up by a pound and a half!   I still had belief that it would right itself by my official Friday weigh in though....but did it happen???  Let’s see!!!

I lost!  Not much, but it is a loss!   0.6 pounds.   So roughly a half pound.  I’ll take it.   I’ll take any loss!   I was sure I was going to gain!  What a relief!

My weight loss is not fast.  It’s not amazing...but it is happening...freakishly slow, but it’s happening!!!




Friday, February 14, 2020

Banana pancakes

Sometimes ideas come to you randomly and out of the blue.  This is exactly what happened a few weeks ago to me.    It came in the middle of the day, and not even in themiddle of a conversation.   I received a text from my friend Shantel.  Shantel and I do text each other frequently, so receiving a text was not that random.  However, the text read, “You need to try 4 ingredient banana pancakes for a foodie Friday video on Youtube.”   Yeah, I was hooked just from that line!

Of course I made the pancakes. (although I now add a fifth ingredient!)  Of course I made a video!   And now it is time to share with you!  It’s easy, tasty and choke full of nutrition!

BANANA PANCAKES
Ingredients
1 banana
1 egg
¼ cup oatmeal, uncooked
¼ tsp baking powder
Dash of cinnamon (optional)

Instructions:
1.        Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until ingredients are well incorporated (the longer you blend the more the oatmeal will break up and create a smoother batter).
2.       Heat a skillet on the stove.  Spray with non-stick spray (I use an Olive Oil spray).
3.       Pour a generous amount of the batter into the pan and allow to cook on one side until golden brown (large bubbles will appear on the top to help indicate that it is ready to turn)
4.       Flip the pancake and cook the other side until golden brown.
5.       Eat immediately.  
I have eaten these with butter and maple syrup. I have had these with butter and chocolate syrup.  And oh my, I just thought about maybe trying them with peanut butter!  That sounds delicious also doesn’t it?   Oh the possibilities!

Thank you Shantel for a winning recipe!  These are as delicious as you said in your text!

For more recipes, visit my recipe page!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Weekly weigh in: I hate scales

What in the world????   It can’t be true!   Noooooo!    Yes, I am shocked and appalled at my weigh in for the last weight week!

I did it all right!   I counted my WW points.  (Green plan). I tracked.  I measured!  I did it!  I did it right too!  I was spot on!  

We hiked...I rode my exercise bike...I walked!  

But apparently it was wrong!   I showed a one pound gain!   


Seriously, this is the most frustrating thing!   How do I go on?  What do I do???

I am not changing anything.  I’m going to continue to count my points.  I’m going to continue to track my food.   I am going to keep on moving!   I’m on a journey to get healthy and fit.  My actions last week were in line....I can’t help it that the scales apparently took a vacation!  All I can say is that I am not giving up!!!

Monday, February 10, 2020

Really? It’s already February???

It is that time of the month!   Time to end out January and talk about my goals...and time to set my goals for February!     How can January already be gone?  It’s crazy!  But there are no complaints from me, I’m ready for spring!!!

So let’s get right to it!  January goals:

1.        Track Every Bite. This one was easy!   I had no problem whatsoever with this!   Done and done...every day every bite!



2.       Build my Savings. Also a victory.   It is slowly recouping after the purchase of the car...so I’m feeling better about my savings...but I will be continuing to save!
3.       Weigh less at the end of the month  (who cares how much as long as it is less!) I didn’t think I was going to make this one....but due to my change in plans and my recommitment to this journey (thanks to the new plan) I nailed this one!
4.       Be active at least 3 times a week  (This may be bumped up to 4  in an upcoming month).  Victory!!!!   Oh I was on fire!   At least three times a week...and most weeks four or five times a week!  No problem!
5.       Keep my eating in check at least 6 days of the week!  This is where I fell apart.  The first part of the month I stayed ‘close’ to my goal...but not so much...maybe 4 days a week I was on target (at the top end of my range).  So the first part of the month was a colossal failure!   The second part of the month...after I made my change...spot on!!! 
6.       Average 5,000 steps a day!  this was no problem!   I made my average of five thousand steps easily!   Thanks to the long hikes on the weekends.  However, when I reviewed the stats I see that it really is the hikes...most weekdays I did not hit 5k steps!   So while I am happy I made my goal, I am going to try to focus more on getting my steps up each day!




So there you have it!  My goals....I love the monthly goals because it is the time to reflect and see what went wrong and what I did well. (For example the steps...where I made  my goal but I identified a weakness that I need to correct!).  

I’m sure your asking what is on tap for February!    I have for many months kept my goals the same...but in February I need to alter and adjust.  Some of this is to accommodate the change in my weight loss plan.  But also there is a need to grow and push myself..  


1.        Track Every Bite
2.       Build my Savings
3.       Weigh less at the end of the month  (who cares how much as long as it is less!)
4.       Be active at least 20 minutes four times a week! 
5.       Keep my eating in check at least 6 days of the week (Allowing one cheat meal) and never never never go over my limit in weekly points in a week!  (And currently I am not swapping and using my fit points!)
6.       Average 5,000 steps a day!  (While this is still an average, I will be looking more closely at my daily totals  to try to avoid the hikes carrying the rest of my slacker days!

I can do this!!!



Friday, February 07, 2020

Mental war

Happy Friday!  Another week of weight loss efforts is coming to a close and I am excited and nervous to see the numbers on the scales.   I actually held steady and I followed the plan.  I worked this plan!   Yet the mental aspect of this game really got to me this week.  REALLY got to me.

 

It started with last week this time.  I had my meals and food intake planned for the day.  I was on top of the world.  I was rolling!  And then they arrived at work with Pizza for all of us.  Now there are two things wrong with this picture.  Number one, this pizza arrived at 1PM and came with no warning.  So I had no idea that I would be offered pizza, thus my lunch was already eaten!   Secondly, my points (calories) had already been planned out for the whole day.  Dinner was not something I could easily adjust.    I sat there and I stood firm.  “I am not eating any pizza,”  I boldly declared.  


I was strong.  I was amazing. I was doing this!

And then my coworkers made the comment “Get your pizza and we will share your pieces between us.”   Sounds like a reasonable plan right?  Sure it does!  I thought it was a great plan, except that I know myself.  I know that if it sits on my desk that I would eat it.  Plain and simple.   I knew it.  I was accounting for it.  I was holding strong.  I was on fire!


And then I saw the pizza.  And then I smelled it!   I decided to have one little piece.  That wouldn’t throw me too far over my points right?   But then the old fat voice in my head started screaming, “get a second piece”   and before I knew it, I had two pieces of pizza in my stomach!  Oh yeah, I ate two pieces of pizza!

 

I went WAY OVER my points for the day.  Sure, I have the weekly points that I used (and I used more than half of them with that pizza).   BUT, let me tell you this, the rest of the weekend I was there and I was watching close what I ate.  I didn’t want to blow it and the pizza put me behind the eight ball and I didn’t like it.  


So with that story out in the open, my mind started to play HORRIBLE tricks on me.  Oh those voices and conversations in my head (I swear I’m normal and I don’t hear voices) were really vicious this week. “Maryfran, the 4 pound loss was a fluke….you are going to gain this week….all because of that pizza!”   and “Why bother trying, that pizza already messed you up!”  Ohhhh it was tough.  I wanted to dive head first into a vat of chips and cheese!  I wanted to gobble up everything in sight!   But at the same time I was also hearing the calm reasoning voice telling me that “two piece of pizza at the very beginning of your weigh in week are not going to derail you….stay strong.”  

 

Mental wars!  Let me tell you….they are REAL in this weight loss journey!.

Monday, February 03, 2020

Weigh in time: first week back at WW

So my first week of being back on weight watchers has passed.  And the big question...how did I do!!!!

I worked the plan.  I stayed within my points!  I did exactly what the plan called for in terms of my food!

I exercised!  I got in morning stationary bike rides!  I walked at lunch!  We hiked!


I lost 4.4 pounds!  

I am absolutely tickled! That is a fabulous weight loss!  Now to just keep that downward trend going!  I’m still on the plan and working it!   The nerves are here as I worry about my weigh in this upcoming week and my ‘performance’.  Oh heavens...I have performance anxiety about my weigh in!   Hahaha

A weight loss journey isn’t easy...but this last week was a winner!!!  

Friday, January 31, 2020

Hope or Despair

I have been doing quite a bit of reflecting these past few days.  I have been reflecting quite a bit on this long and arduous weight loss journey.   It has been a ride of a lifetime for sure.  From 330 pounds 180 pounds and then back to 250 pounds, what a journey!  And my  journey is far from over.  

Helping the mood of reflection was a simple task that I completed one morning.  I noticed that Jason had pulled a picture of me off of this website and had it on the background of his phone. As you may suspect, this resulted in a lesser quality picture.  Now come on now, if he is going to look at my face every time he picks up his phone the least I can do is make sure it is a good quality shot, right?  So I went on a hunt to find that picture in my files.  And that caused so much reflection.   I spent quite a bit of time looking at pictures of me when I was down near 180 pounds.

 
 Holy Cow...was that really me?
 My oh my...I was showing off my slender legs too!

 My face looks so tiny!
 I just look like I was at a healthy weight!  Not obese!!

And a picture from the night I made lifetime at weight watchers.


I haven’t seen some of these pictures in years!  And I will admit, sometimes when I have seen them, I sit back and stare with sadness because of how I have let myself go again.

But this week I was filled with hope! 

I was filled with excitement for the future. 

You see, I am going to get back to that weight!  This change in plans, by switching back to weight watchers (which I talked about in my most recent post…..here) has given me the motivation and renewed excitement about this journey.  This weight loss journey is far from over.  I, for one am super excited to see where this road takes me.  And the beauty of the journey this time?   I have a good idea where I’m going, all I have to do is look at these pictures!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The temptation to give up

I waltzed into January with high hopes and dreams.   January was going to jumpstart my stalled weight loss efforts.  January was going to be my month.  I was going to be on fire!  This weight was going to drop off.  This weight loss journey was going to be going full speed ahead!   But that is not what happened.  Instead I have struggled on the scales.  I have cleaned up my eating by quite a bit....but the weight is not dropping.  My body is clinging to this weight...and honestly, I am thoroughly disgusted and so tempted to give up!

I have kept my food intake within the confines of my caloric goal....which is between 1200 and 1550 calories a day.   High end or low end of that goal is still a range that I SHOULD be losing!   Seriously, I am tracking every bite religiously!   There have been one or two random days where my calories were a night higher ...as in 1700/1800 calories.  But those were also days that includes long hikes and extended periods of activity/exercise.   There is no reason!

So in answer to the questions that pop into the mind....

1.  I already imit my complex carb intake.
2.   I do indulge in a sweet treat on the weekend...but track it and account for it....and try to make sure it is on a day where we have hiked or biked and been really active. 
3.  I am moving and try to be active most days of the week...most week days I strive for at least 20 minutes of activity...the weekends are usually quite a bit longer.
4.   This was never this hard before.

So that left me with a few thoughts.  The first thought was going really strict with my food intake.   I know from past experience that I lose better when I am only eating around 1200 calories.  So Should I be heading back to strictly 1200 calories? It makes it tight in my food budget and does not give me much wiggle room for a higher calorie meal. But...oh well.


The next thought was that I have been doing overnight oatmeal every morning recently and I’m debating dropping that....too much carbs?    I recently took the time to look at some of my nutrients...here is a brief look.  

So I can see that I am slightly over the goal on carbs and fat...but it’s not a huge overage!  

And then last week I had another thought...and that was to totally switch up everything in my plan.   Total change!  So I came up with the idea to go back on weight watchers.   It worked before.  I haven’t done it in years so it would be fresh and new.  Could it work?

So late last week I bite the bullet.  I joined online weight watchers.   Attending a meeting would be difficult/a hardship with my current schedule and life commitments.  But if I need to go to a meeting, I can always add that back in.  Jason told me that we can make it happen if we need to.   But right now I’m doing online.   I took the little quiz and I am going to be following the green plan.  I am actually excited to do this.  I’m excited to sit back and follow their plan and trust...and lose weight!  (Surely this will work...right??). 

 In the first few days of being back on WW, I noticed a difference in my attitude and behavior....I don’t want to go over my daily points!  With calories I was always thinking ‘1275 is close to 1200’ and calling it a day!  But there isn’t that wiggle room with points.   This might be a good thing for me!



This weight loss journey is not for the faint at heart!  It takes constant evaluation and constant adjustments.   This is just one more adjustment.  Just as stepping away from WW years ago when I stopped working for me was an adjustment I needed to make.  (Maybe because I needed fresh and new back then and I wasn’t working the program).   To lose weight we need to learn, grow and adjust just as to be an affective person in life we need to learn, grow and adjust.  This is just a new chapter in this weight loss journey.




Monday, January 27, 2020

Weekly weigh In

Another week has come and gone!   In some ways this weekend was fantastic but in other ways this week was a bust.

Let’s talk about fantastic first.  

The weekend that started this weigh in week started out with an ice storm.  We ran a few errands and did some chores around the house.  It was a nice relaxing day.  On Sunday we decided to get out and hike.  The weather had cleared and the sun was out, it was perfect!

Ok up at the trailhead it was a bit icy (solid showed of ice).  Surely the trail would be clear...right?

Not exactly, but we hiked anyway....carefully!  It was a good time!

Monday was back to work.  I managed to get in multiple rides on the exercise bike (at 4:45AM).  Go me!

My food wasn’t perfect...but I did stArt to pull on the reigns to slow the bad spiral down.  However my weight was just being wonky.  I was continually disgusted with the scales and with myself!

And my official weigh in for the week has me gaining 0.4 pounds.  So a half pound up!  (Yes, it could have been worse and looked like it was going to be all week long!)

So I did some soul searching.  What did I need to do to change this course!  What cha fed did I need to make to start losing!   I want this to be a lifestyle that can last forever.  I need to not give up my favorite foods.  It have to live my life.   I want to find that balance.  But I know I need to make a change.

This journey is full of pitfalls and land mines that cause us to take a detour and to chose other paths.   This is one of those times in my weight loss journey.  A new path is in the works.  Stay tuned!!!



Friday, January 24, 2020

Foodie Friday: Homemade Granola Bars


Sometimes we just need a snack!  Sometimes a granola bar is just what we need!  I have purchased granola and snack bars countless times.  That is until I figured out how to make my own granola bars! 
This recipe is easy and delicious!   The end results stores well and is the perfect quick snack to have at the house!

Chocolate Granola Thins


3 cups rolled oats (pulsed in a food processor)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup peanut butter (melted)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
12 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips (for melting on the top of the granola bars)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and generously grease a 15x10x1 inch baking sheet.
2.  In a large bowl mix together all ingredients except the chocolate chips.  Mix it very well.  (it is easiest to just use your hands.)
3.  Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan, making sure that it's pressed together well, especially along the edges and in the corners.
5.  Bake for 20-25 minute until the granola begins to turn golden at the edges.  Allow to cool completely.
4.  In a microwave safe bowl, (or double boiler) heat the chocolate chips, stirring every 60 seconds until melted.  Spread melted chocolate over baked granola.
6.  Allow to cool and harden before cutting into squares.  Store in an air tight container




Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Choices


Life is a series of choices.   I made choices in my life that took me to a whopping 330 pounds on the scales.  I made choices that maintained that weight.  I didn’t get there because someone force fed me.  I made choices.  On the flip side, I made a choice to start a weight loss journey and each day I made a choice (many choices) that carried me along that weight loss journey and toward my ultimate goals.
It is a hard pill to swallow but I made choices in my life that brought me to that point when I stared at the scales and saw a number that I did not like.  It was actually a multitude of choices over many years.  That day I looked at that number and I made a different choice.  I decided to choose health.  I decided to change my life.  I made a new choice.   Changing isn’t easy, but it is necessary if you do not like the path that your life is currently taking.
I was satisfied with the change that I had made for quite some time.  I was proud of myself.  I had accomplished some amazing success and even though I had regained I figured my ‘choice was made.’  It wasn’t until I recommitted to this journey that I realized that I have to actively make a choice time and time again.  Multiple times a day I have a choice to make and each time I choose one thing over there other it will have a direct effect on my health.
But you see , everything we do is based on a choice.  We make a choice about where we are going to work.  We make a choice each and every day when we decide to get up and go to work.  You may say “that’s not a choice….I have to go to work.” But do you really?  You could call off sick?  You could quit?  You could go in late or you can chose to go into work on time.  I choose to go to work every day not because I HAVE to and I don’t’ have a choice.  I go because I am an adult and I know that for myself, the proper choice is to go to work so that I can afford to live the life that I have CHOSEN!      I CHOOSE to brush my teeth…sure it’s a good habit and is beneficial to me, but I MAKE that choice each day.   I choose to do laundry.  I choose what outfit I’m wearing.  I choose  to put gas in my car…..sure, my car needs it but I don’t HAVE to do it….it is a CHOICE that I make.  I also choose what I’m going to eat for my meals.  I choose what activity I am going to be doing.  EVERYTHING is a choice.   
This revelation came to me years after I first started my weight loss journey.   All of a sudden it hit me.  This journey isn’t easy…but it is all about choices.  What do I want more?  Do I want to be thin and say no to a food or do I want to indulge and stay the same and be overweight?     Do I want to be fit and healthy and go for that bike ride or do I want to allow my muscles to disintegrate to a place where I stuggle to even walk.    This really is my choice.  What do I want more?  Do I want to be thin or do I want to eat that super high calorie treat?  Do I want to be fit and healthy or do I want to sit on my couch and watch TV?   What choice am I going to make?

We have a choice about our future.  Now let me preface this paragraph by saying that we are all going to die.  But we have choices that may affect how we meet our end.  We could not take care of ourselves and we could die at the age of 55 (Right around the corner for me) when we are confined to using an electric scooter because our health has degnerated so badly that we can't walk and can barely breathe.  We might be riding on our Lark or Hover-round and ride off a curb and break our neck and die.  Death by lark while we struggle to survive...which is not living.  OR we can make the choices to be healthy and maybe just maybe we will be 99 years of age and climbing some amazing mountain and die in an avalanche....living life!  It's a choice that we can make to better the odds!

There is a crazy thing about making choices.  You see, today you may sit back and say “No way, I am NOT having that food, I want to be thin more than I want that treat! If I splurge today it will hurt my efforts”   That is an awesome choice for sure.  But you know what?  Tomorrow you may look at that same treat and say “I can manage to eat that today.  I am strong enough.  I’ve got enough calories left in my day.  I’ve worked out enough….I can do it today.”  It is a choice.  If I decide to splurge each and every day then I am choosing to not lose weight.  I am choosing the life that the constant splurges will bring to me.  I have made the choice.
So how can we make a wise choice when we are staring at that sweet treat? How can we override the salivation that occurs when we think of the deliciousness?   I won’t lie to you, it’s not easy.  One of the things that I started to do was to make myself wait at least a half hour before making my final decision.  For example if the thought popped into my head to have a Reece’s Cup at  7PM, I don’t just  run to the kitchen and grab the candy, gobble it up and say,  “By golly yes, I’ve been good and I have a few extra calories today.”   I make myself wait.  I wait for at least a half an hour.  Sometimes the thought passes and I honestly forget that I was even contemplating the sweet treat.  Other times I find that by waiting my mind catches up and I am no longer hungry.  (It takes a while after you eat for your body to actually recognize that it is full/satisfied).    As the time rolls by, if the urge to splurge is still there, I will look at my food intake for the day (and expenditure if I exercised) and I try to decide if I have enough calories or how it may work into my plan and goals.  Sometimes realizing that I don’t have the calories available is enough deterrent.  There are times though that during the half hour wait that I decide that it’s not as important as my end term goal, but sometimes I do decide that I can splurge.    Each day is a different and new choice.

Those months where I splurge and splurge and splurge (or even binge). I was still making a choice.  I was just making a choice and I didn’t care about my weight.  The weeks surrounding my dad’s death I didn’t care.  I made choices to eat.  Sure, I reaped the consequences, but there was absolutely no motivation to lose weight for me….and my choices reflected that.   And do you know what?  That is ok too.  But If you want to lose the weight bad enough you will make the choices that will bring about change!
Weight loss is all a choice.  Do I want this or do I want that!   Make the choices that reflect what you want and your life will reflect that in your fitness levels and in the size of your clothes and the numbers on the scales. 


Monday, January 20, 2020

Weekly weigh in: rough

So another week in my weight loss journey has passed.   And let me tell you...in some ways it was a rough one! Oh the weather was fantastic and I got some activity but my emotions were a train wreck!

First and foremost let’s talk about activity.   The weather at the beginning of this weight loss week was off the charts awesome!  It was literally high 60’s!   We did our best to get outside as much as possible.  We went for a long hike.

And we went for a long bike ride.

I also walked on some lunch breaks and rode the exercise bike a few times.   So that wasn’t the problem....but it sparked the issue.

I was so sore after my hike...I went home and I literally cried from the aches and pain.  Ok not so much from the aches...but from the pain of the arthritis!   And maybe it wasn’t really the pain....it was the utter despair and fear that my arthritis is always good to be this bad.  Sure,   I lost weight before and the pain almost totally went away.  But I was younger. And what if I only had one ‘get out of jail free’ pass.  What if I had once chance to fix it and I did...but then with my regain and current state of unhealthiness I blew it and I am now consigned for a life of pain?  Yeah...despair!

So I struggled with that...but kept moving!  I also kept my calories pretty much in line.  Sure I ate a bit more (as in 100-300 calories over my upper limit) on two days but they were also the days that we hiked for 4 hours and the day that we hiked for 2 hours.  I did good!

So why did the scales jump me up by FOUR pounds overnight!  What?  How frustrating.   So all week I worked to stay on task and I watched those higher numbers!  And by about Wednesday I was done.  I literally stood in the shower one morning and said “ok, I’m tired of all of this. I’m fine being fat!  No more weight loss journey.”  

I didn’t give up.   I stayed the course and on Thursday my weight dropped a bit and by my official weigh in my weigh had returned to exactly where it was last Friday.  So I weeks out a maintain!    And I’m happy with that!  



So this week of my weight loss journey has been an emotional roller coaster.   I have always said that a good portion of this journey is mental and this week the mental portion was struggling.  But I’m still in this game.  I’m still ok this journey.  


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.

For more recipes, visit my recipe page!