Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Good News and the Bad News.....

I'll start with the good news: Working out with Curtis, my trainer, was great last night. I wanted him to really kick my ass and he sure did! His work out was fun but tough and didn't involve a single weight machine. My legs felt like Jello at the end of the session thanks to lots of squats and balance exercises. In my opinion, there are few things that are better than the feeling you have at then end of a great workout. It's exhaustion in the best sense of the word......

Now on to the bad news: I stepped on the scale this morning for my "Pre Weigh In" weigh in (so that there are no nasty surprises) and was up 0.2 lbs from last week. I knew that I would gain a little or at least maintain my weight from last week thanks to Mother Nature's monthly visit and all the glorious water retention that goes with it (ladies, you know what I mean). I'm sure the cheeseburger splurge at lunch yesterday didn't help either, but that boot camp work out last night may have been my cheeseburger saving grace. A slight gain isn't really what disappoints me (I haven't gained since Week 1), it's the fact that I didn't reach my mini-goal of reaching my 10% loss by Thanksgiving. I'm so close I can taste it, but with new resolve I am determined to get there next week and move on to my next goal of losing 25 lbs total by Christmas. Thankfully my picky eating helps with Holiday meals since I've never really been a big fan of Thanksgiving and Christmas food, but we'll see if a renewed spirit and Curtis' boot camp workouts can get me there! I'll check back in later with the official results of weigh-in.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Why I am excited to get my ass kicked??

I'm meeting with my trainer, Curtis, tonight for our first workout after my initial consultation and I'm really looking forward to it. I've worked out with a trainer before and had success, but my first trainer was into bodybuilding and I ended up looking a little "bulky" in the arms and shoulders if you know what I mean..... Curtis seems to have a good game plan for helping me strengthen and tone without looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I really hope that he has a plan in store that is going to really push and challenge me. I've got the diet part down, now I really need a great workout to maximize my results and jump start my weight loss.

I've got weigh in tomorrow, but to be truthful, I don't think it's going to go well. I'll either have a slight gain or maintain my current weight thanks to Mother Nature's monthly visit (gotta love retaining water, right ladies?). I also splurged on a lunch outing with coworkers today and got a cheeseburger and fries (Hey, when I'm bitchy, it's best to just let me eat it! :) I'll check back in tomorrow with the results of training session #1 along with the results of my week 10 weigh in. I have a feeling I'm not going to meet my "10% by Thanksgiving" goal........

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Slow Cooker Spicy Three Bean Chili

I made a great chili tonight that warms you up on cold winter nights and keeps you full. It's low in points (only 5 per serving) and works for those of you on the core plan too. Best of all, it's really cheap and easy to make. I put mine in the crock pot and just let it cook. You can add ground beef, ground turkey and any of your favorite beans, vegetables or spices to make it your own. 

Slow Cooker Spicy Three Bean Chili:
-1 28 oz  can crushed tomatoes
-1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed
-1 15 oz can white beans, rinsed 
-1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed 
-1 medium onion, diced 
-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
-2 tbsp chili powder 
-1 tbsp ground cumin 
-1/4 to 1/2 tbsp cayenne powder 
-3 cups water 

Mix all ingredients together in crock pot and cook either on low for 8 hours or on high for 4. Add seasonings to taste, especially if you don't like your chili too spicy. If you like your chili a little thicker add only 2 cups of water. Makes about 6 scant 2 cup servings. Great with chives, fat free sour cream or some reduced fat shredded cheddar. 

Meal Planning for the week

When I got up this morning and made breakfast, I started looking through the fridge and cabinets to decide what my meals were going to be for the week. I had plenty of basics work with like high fiber pasta, spaghetti sauce, ground turkey, frozen vegetables, chicken, and rice. So, here are some of the meals I came up with based on what's in my pantry and fridge:

-Spaghetti with ground turkey sauce
-Creamy chicken & mushrooms
-Vegetable stir fry with rice 

I've got plenty of soups and Smart Ones frozen meals for lunches, so all I'll really need from the store is produce and bottled water. 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Getting my butt in gear....

I had a great time at the gym last night with my friend Christina and got in my interval training on the treadmill. The more I run, the more I remember how much I used to like it when I ran cross country in high school. I also met with my trainer, Curtis for the first time who is going to get me on a weight and resistance training plan to really tone up and lean out. I have the ability to get very muscular arms, shoulders and thighs, so he's going to help me get on a plan to strengthen and tone my body without looking like a female bodybuilder... not pretty in my opinion. Tonight I'm going to get in 25 minutes of interval training on the treadmill and then do a 20 minute upper body and ab circuit followed by LOTS of stretching.....

Here's the meal plan for today:

-1/2 cup All Whites scrambled egg whites
-Weight Watchers English muffin with 1 tsp light butter
-1 cup fat free milk

AM Snack:
-Was supposed to be an apple, but I got busy and couldn't eat it

-Three mushroom soup
-Lemon-garlic shrimp with vegetables and 1 cup brown rice
-1 cup strawberries
-Diet Dr Pepper

Pre Workout Snack:
-2 hard boiled egg whites

-Gorton's Lemon-butter fish filet
-green salad with light dressing
-Weight Watchers English Muffin

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Weigh In Excitements and Disappointments

This week's weigh in was bittersweet for me. The great news is that I lost exactly 2 lbs, which is a good loss for a person my height and weight (the less you weigh, the slower it comes off). I should be happy, right?? For some reason, I can't help but feel disappointed for not losing more. I'm so close to my 10% goal (only 1.8 lbs away) that I can smell it and my goal was to be at my 10% by Thanksgiving. I've still got a week to lose that 1.8 lbs, but for some reason I really wanted it to be this week.

I read this guy's blog last night, and I could totally relate to the way he's feeling. I have the "never enough" attitude in life towards a lot of different things, but I've really been feeling this way when it comes to weight loss. I keep hearing the "It's a marathon, not a sprint" sentiments, but I feel like telling people to stop feeding me lines of bullshit. I just need to realize that when you have less to lose, you're not going to drop 4 and 5 lbs a week (at least not in a healthy way). What I've lost so far is an accomplishment and I just need to own it and be proud of myself......

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Delicious new meal....

First of all, I have to start by singing the praises of Eating Well for their delicious, healthy and easy meals. Last night's Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Vegetables recipe was no exception. If you like shrimp scampi, this is the recipe for you......I made brown rice to serve it with and I couldn't believe how delicious and filling it was! I always try to look for meals that are well-rounded with protein, carbs and of course vegetables which can be hard since I don't eat a lot of meat. Even though this recipe is amazing as is, you could easily substitute your favorite vegetables in place of the red pepper and asparagus or replace the shrimp with chicken or beef for those who don't like or are allergic to shellfish. The best part of this recipe was that it made 4 servings, so I had three meals leftover when dinner was done, taking care of lunch today, dinner tomorrow and lunch on Thursday!

I've got weigh in tomorrow and I'm very excited because I've been peeking at my scale all week to check my progress. I have to admit, I can't stay away from the scale and I weigh myself every morning and night.... it helps keep me accountable. I had both an SV (scale victory) and NSV (non-scale victory) this morning because I was only 0.8 lbs away from my 10% goal and my pants are definitely too big, so I can't wait to see the official results of my weigh in tomorrow. There is something very therapeutic about recording the amount of weight you've lost.........

Monday, November 17, 2008

Saving Time & Money While Shrinking

I've been pretty successful since starting my weight loss plan almost 9 weeks ago, with no gains since Week 1 and fairly normal losses each week given my age, height and starting weight. One of the things that I directly attribute my success to is planning my meals for the week. It saves me time, money and helps me keep losing. I know I've touched on this several times before, but I wanted to be a little bit more specific as to how I actually go about it...

1. Look at your budget. How much can you afford to spend on groceries each week? I give myself anywhere between $30 and $50 a week to spend on groceries depending on what "main supplies" I have in the pantry and fridge. If you need to, take out cash before you go grocery shopping so you don't overbuy.

2. Sit down and plan out your meals and snacks. I actually use an Excel spreadsheet to help me plan everything out, including my point values. I typically plan my meals for the following week on weekends or Mondays since that's when I go grocery shopping. I take some of my "old standby" meals, personal favorites, and new recipes I'd like to try into consideration before getting started, as well as what food I have that I need to use. It's important to keep variety in your diet, but also choose meals that are quick, easy and tasty. Try to pick meals that you can cook once and use for left overs during the week.

3. Once I know what I plan on eating, I look at what I have in the fridge and pantry and then make my grocery list. I only write down what I need to buy to make my meals for that week. When you make a list, STICK TO IT. This way your cart doesn't fill up with bad choices and your wallet can breathe easy. Lots of grocery stores offer some type of savings card to help you save money, but remember that these "bonus buys" and coupons can be a trap- they get you to buy things you don't need because it seems like a great deal. What's cheaper than buying one mustard and getting one free? Not buying the mustard in the first place.

4. When you get home from the grocery store, prep your food. Wash and chop your fruit and vegetables and put them into portions. Take your meat and portion it out, placing some in the freezer if necessary. This keeps you from overeating and saves on prep time throughout the week. I pay more for some timesaver foods like diced onion. My knife skills aren't great, so buying a bag of pre-diced onion is well worth it for me and I can always freeze what I don't use.

5. Get to cooking. Being single, I'll make a recipe that serves 4 but immediately portion it out when I'm done cooking. I've already made my dinner, but now I have three other meals that just need to be nuked. Plus, I can't go back for seconds. That's stretching a buck and your time- who doesn't love that?

We all love convenience and having a little extra cash left over and this is a great way to accomplish both while cooking healthy meals that help you reach your goals. Weight loss is about re-training yourself in terms of your thinking and your habits. Once you start cooking and shopping this way, it quickly becomes a way of life. So do yourself a favor and save time, money and shrink your waistline. Now you'll have more cash to save and more time to get in the gym!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The joys of Breakfast....

I have to admit, for most of my life I was not a big breakfast person. It was a meal I usually skipped, especially when I was in school. To me, breakfast was a caffeinated soda or a glass of OJ.... no food required. 

Since being on the plan, I've really learned to love breakfast. My eyes were opened to many foods I never knew I loved like oatmeal, egg whites, grapefruit and turkey bacon. Before I went to the gym this morning, I had a packet of low sugar oatmeal (made with water) and 2 scrambled egg whites so that I would have something to fuel my workout. After my workout I came home and made an egg white omelet with onion, red pepper, mushrooms and reduced fat cheese with 3 slices of turkey bacon and a glass of fat free milk. I had plenty of energy to get through my workout and my "second" breakfast left me full and satisfied. The best part? I could eat all of that food (pre and post workout meals) for only 9 points!

That leaves me with 17 points left for the day, including the 3 activity points I earned this morning at the gym. I'm going wine tasting with a friend this afternoon, so I've already decided on just 2 glasses of wine and no cheese & crackers!! Lunch will be a turkey sandwich with tomato soup and dinner will be leftover Mexican casserole and a salad. 

Friday, November 14, 2008

Skinny Jeans

About a month ago I bought a pair of "skinny jeans" (ones that are tapered like leggings) to wear inside my boots at Ann Taylor. I bought them in a size 8 and then had them professionally tailored from the knee down to make the legs even more tapered so that they would fit in my boots. I was so excited when I picked them up from the tailor the other day because I've lost enough to fit in them comfortably. I've been looking forward to wearing them all week and when I put them on this morning, I couldn't believe how great they looked and felt! I was so happy to fit into single pants again!

I was always the skinny girl who wore size 4 and 6 and didn't start wearing size 8 pants until college. Even after college, I remained a size 6 or 8 until about a year ago when I realized I had to buy size 10 pants. I almost cried the first time I had to buy them and I was devastated when I had to increase to a size 12 about 6 months ago. I started my weight loss at a size 12 and in just 8 weeks I'm back down to an 8. While my ideal size is still a 6 or a 4, I'm seeing my body get back to what it once was. Only wanting to lose 41 lbs, my loss of 13.2 lbs so far has been very noticable and I can't wait to "reunite" with my old figure. Now I can't wait to go to the gym tonight and hit that treadmill!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Vitamins and Supplements

A lot have people have asked me about what type of vitamins and supplements I take and I've done a lot of research into what I should be taking. Now I'm by no means a doctor, pharmacist, licensed nutritionist or "qualified" to tell anyone what to take, but I thought that by sharing what I take, someone else might be inspired to look into choosing the right supplements and vitamins for their body and lifestyle.

As a 24 year old woman in excellent health, I'm mainly concerned with things that can improve my weight, my mood, my immune system and my overall health. So here's my daily run down that I take with my dinner.

Women's Daily Multivitamin- it's got all the good stuff in it that I need like vitamins A, C, E, and B12. I used to never take a multivitamin, but I swear I felt a difference after taking them for a few weeks!

Omega-3 formula- this contains fish, flax and borage oil which will give you your Omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. These fatty acids are good for your heart and have been linked to cancer prevention. In terms of weight loss, Omega-3 has been linked to increased metabolic rates and increases in fat loss. Foods like salmon, tuna, flax seed and canola oil are all good natural sources of Omega-3.

B Complex- This contains extra Vitamin B1, B2, and B6 which aids your metabolism as it helps your body convert food into energy. The brand I take also has an extra 300mg of Vitamin C to boost my immune system.

What hasn't worked for me is diet pills like SlimQuick that contain stimulants which jack up your blood pressure, curb your appetite and most importantly DON'T PROMOTE A LIFESTYLE CHANGE. The leave you jittery, edgy and hungry at the end of the day. Vitamins and supplements can easily be added to any sensible diet and exercise regimen for a total lifestyle change. As you age and your body changes, so should your supplements and vitamins.

Daily Menu 11/13/08

Last night's Mexican casserole was delicious and I can't wait to have it again for lunch today! Here's the rest of the food game plan:

-2 egg omelet with 1/8 cup shredded reduced fat cheese, onions and red pepper
-2 slices whole grain white toast w/ light butter
-tea with Splenda and fat free milk

AM Snack:

-Mexican casserole
-green salad with fat free dressing
-Caffeine free Diet Dr. Pepper

PM Snack:
-Light & Fit yogurt

-Gorton's Lemon butter fish filet
-steamed zucchini & yellow squash
-1 serving Smart Taste Pasta

Workout: 1 hour of Pilates

-Sugar free mixed fruit jello
-tea with Splenda & fat free milk

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mexican Casserole Recipe

So I have to admit, I ripped this recipe off from's Chilaquiles Casserole Recipe. I have a slight obsession with Mexican food, specifically enchiladas. If it were socially acceptable to drink enchilada sauce, I just might do it.....

But really, here's the recipe with a few tweaks and I find it hits the spot when I want some enchilada goodness. It's high in fiber, has lots of veggies and doesn't taste low fat. I eat it with a side salad and some Baked Tostitos and salsa, but it would also be great with a side of refried beans or Spanish rice! Plus, this makes enough servings that I can eat it for a few days and it only tastes better because the sauce has really been absorbed by the veggies and tortillas! You can also add some chicken or ground beef/turkey if you need the extra protein.

Mexican Casserole Recipe- Makes roughly 5 servings with 5 points per serving (yes, only 5!)

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups onion, diced
1 cup zucchini, grated
1/2 can black beans, rinsed
1/2 can diced tomatoes, drained (you could use Rotel for an extra kick)
1 cup corn, fresh or thawed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
6 corn tortillas, quartered
1/2 can red enchilada sauce (I use Old El Paso Medium)
1 1/4 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar or Mexican cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add onion. Cook til soft and brown, stirring often (about 5 minutes). Stir in zucchini, beans, tomatoes, corn, salt and garlic powder. Cook til heated through, stirring often (about 3 minutes). Place half of the tortillas in the bottom of the baking dish and top with half the vegetable mixture, half the sauce and half the cheese. Repeat with another layer with remaining tortillas, sauce and cheese and cover with foil. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove foil and continue baking uncovered for another 5-10 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted. You can also assemble this ahead of time and refrigerate for up to a day before baking for a quick and easy meal. Enjoy!


Another Good Week!

I just came back from weigh in a little while ago and was down another 1.4 lbs for a total loss of 13.2 lbs! My goal was to lose 1.7 lbs, but 1.4 is good enough for me! I'm still right on track to hit my 10% target weight by Thanksgiving with 3.8 lbs to lose in the next two weeks (or 1.9 lbs each week for the next two weeks).

I've really got buckle down and follow the plan to a tee to make sure that I stay on track with my weight loss goals. Some people say it's not good to set "lose by" dates, but it works for me! It gives me something short-term to work towards and these mini-goals give me motivation to reach my next benchmark.

Here's my menu for today:

-Tea with Splenda & fat free milk (no breakfast on weigh in days)

-2 oz turkey breast with 1 slice havarti on whole grain white with fat free mayo, dijon mustard, 1 slice tomato and pickle
-1 serving Baked Lays
-Diet Dr. Pepper

-1 cup sliced strawberries

-Mexican casserole (I'll post the recipe soon)
-Green salad with fat free dressing

Either sugar free jello or pudding

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Just found a great product...

I was born on Long Island and lived there for 8 years, so seafood has always been a huge part of my life, even after moving to Virginia. I've never been a big chicken or red meat person, so fish and seafood have been a staple in my diet for as long as I can remember. Growing up, my Mom used to buy me the Gorton's flavored fish filets that can bake in the oven or nuke in the microwave and I loved them. While browsing through the frozen foods aisle the other day, I was reunited with the Gorton's filets and assumed that they would be too high in points and that they were out of the question. I pulled out my handy points calculator (I take it everywhere) and to my surprise, the filets were only 2 points each! They come in a bunch of flavors like Lemon Butter, Garlic Butter or even plain so you can add your own seasonings. Plus, you just stick it in the oven or microwave and you have a quick, flavorful and healthy meal. 

I made one of the the filets tonight along with some whole wheat pasta and steamed veggies for a tasty and filling dinner. I also cooked an extra serving of pasta and chopped an extra serving of vegetables so that I can save myself some time and make this meal again Thursday night. Here's my daily menu since it's been a while... 

-1 1/2 cups Honey Bunches of Oats cereal
-1 cup fat free milk 

-2 oz turkey breast on whole grain white bread with 1 slice havarti cheese, 2 slices of tomato, and 1 tsp fat free mayo and dijon mustard
-1/2 cup sugar free mixed fruit jello 
-Diet Dr. Pepper 

-1 serving Stacy's Simply Naked Pita Chips 

-1 Lemon Garlic Gorton's fish filet 
-2 oz high fiber pasta with 1 tsp light butter 
-2 cups steamed zucchini and yellow squash 
-Diet Dr. Pepper   

-Sugar free jello chocolate pudding
-herbal tea with Splenda

Happy Veteran's Day

I always look forward to Veteran's Day because 1) its a great holiday that recognizes brave people and their selfless acts of courage, and 2) its my brothers' birthday, so happy birthday Steven & Paul and thank you to all the former and active duty troops. 

I started off the morning by taking the dog on a 20 minute walk and then heading to the grocery store. I find that I make good food choices and save money when I make a grocery list and stick to it. I plan out my meals and snacks for the week, so I'm only buying the food I really need which saves time and money. This week was a lot of fresh fruits and veggies, frozen vegetables, yogurt, fat free milk, lean turkey bacon and lunch meat, reduced fat cheese, eggs, canned beans and high fiber pasta and bread. 

Things on the menu for this week include:
-Lemon Garlic fish filets with high fiber pasta and steamed zucchini and yellow squash
-Mexican Enchilada casserole with salad and fat free dressing
-Shrimp and vegetable stir fry with rice 

The good thing about these meals is that I can make enough for two meals and use the leftovers for lunch or another dinner. I save money by stretching the food and I save time by only cooking once and having the points value of my food already figured out. I can also keep my meals interesting by rotating new recipes in each week, especially quick, cheap and easy meals like spaghetti or turkey tacos. 

Monday, November 10, 2008

Long weekends make for bad eating....

This has been a little bit of a crazy week with a lot of ups and downs. The good news is that my sister delivered a healthy, beautiful baby boy named Tristan Matthew on Friday and he couldn't be more perfect! We've been anxiously awaiting his arrival and I'm so glad that he's finally here! However, his arrival also meant some celebratory eating. I made a good choice of ordering stir fry shrimp and vegetables, but then I spilt some German Chocolate Cake and Coconut Cake with my Mom & sister which negated the good entree choice. 

The bad news is that my dog (technically my roommate's but I love her like my own) was diagnosed with Lyme's Disease and allergies. Luckily they have her on medication and she should be back to her old self soon. A friend of mine was also admitted to the hospital with a potentially life threatening condition and even though he'll be OK, I feel bad for all of the stress he's under right now. After visiting him the other night, I made an emotional eating run to Taco Bell. 

I've taken today off from work and I have tomorrow off for Veteran's Day, so I'm trying to stay on track even though long weekends are dangerous for me because I'm not on my usual "feeding" schedule where I plan my meals and eat at the same times everyday. I've got my usual weigh in on Wednesday and so far the scale is telling me that I'm right on track to have the loss I'm looking for this week. Let's keep our fingers crossed..... 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Small Weigh-In Victory!

At today's weigh-in I was down another 1.8 lbs, for a total loss of 11.8 lbs in 7 weeks, which is a healthy pace. I'm very excited because I'm only 5.2 lbs from my 10% target goal. One of the goals I made yesterday was to get to my 10% target goal in the next 3 weeks, or by Thanksgiving. That means I would need to lose about 1.7 lbs each week which is a very reasonable loss.

To keep my momentum, I've decided to set another goal of losing 25 lbs total by Christmas (or 13.2 lbs over the next 7 weeks). If I can do that, then I'll be only 16 lbs away from my goal weight, which I want to reach by April 1st. I think with hard work, determination, and some serious time in the gym I can reach these "milestones" I have set for myself.

Keep checking back to see how I'm doing!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Setting some new goals

It's been a little since I've done this, so I'm making some new goals to help stay focused. One of my goals was to be down 2 lbs at weigh in tomorrow, so we'll see how that one goes.... and I joined my gym after my trial membership, so I want to get in some good workouts too.

1) Get to my 10% weight in the next three weeks (6 lbs).
2) Work out at least 5 days a week (cardio, weights, Pilates or a combo therein).
3) Eat the food I have in my house and not buy more or eat out.
4) Try a class at the gym (like Spinning, which I love!)
5) Eat breakfast everyday!

Slacking a little bit....

I apologize for not blogging more religiously lately, but I'm promise I've still been working hard and continuing on my quest to lose......

I've got weigh in tomorrow, hoping to be down about 2 lbs, so keep your fingers crossed for me. I haven't been the best this week in terms of food choices, but it seems to all be evening out. Eat something bad one day, work that much harder the next to make sure I didn't totally slip up.

So here is today's plan so far, with breakfast and lunch already done for the day....

B: Low sugar oatmeal, water

L: Turkey breast, cheese and fat free mayo on a high fiber wrap
- 1 sliced red pepper
-1 cup sliced strawberries
-1 medium banana
-100 calorie Jello pudding

S: 94% fat free popcorn
-1 kiwi

D: Chicken enchiladas with cheese, black beans and corn
-green salad w/ light dressing