Monday, August 31, 2009

August's Report of One Good Thing

My goal is to do one good thing each day towards becoming a healthier, happier me.

*8-12-09 I went to lunch with some co-workers. I actually only ate half my sandwich and fries! I brought the sandwich home and had it with a salad for dinner.
*8-13-09 Stopped by the local library today to pick-up what I hope to be an inspirational book, Confessions of a Carb Queen.
*8-14-09 Spent quite a bit of time today reading Confessions of a Carb Queen. I'm already half way through it!
*8-15-09 Connected with a friend via Facebook who wants to be my internet weight loss buddy!
*8-16-09 Joined Operation Fat Blaster, a community of people working on their weight loss and exercise goals.
*8-17-09 Had a delicious bowl of steel cut oats for breakfast. I've only been eating them for a couple of weeks now, but I really love them. They have such a great texture.
*8-18-09 I made a menu, then a grocery list before I headed out to Wal-mart this morning. I stuck to the list and didn't buy any tempting extras!
8-19-09 Tried out a new Weight Watcher's recipe for chicken stir-fry this evening for dinner. It was easy to make and oh so delicious! It's a keeper!
*8-20-09 Made another new Weight Watcher's recipe. Tonight it was Shrimp & Black Bean Soft Tacos. I made a few changes to the recipe, but it was another success! YUM!
*8-21-09 Went to the eye doctor today. First time in almost 3 years. Should do it yearly since I am diabetic. Good news! My eyes are doing fine. Need to start wearing reading glasses due to a crazy little thing called age.
*8-22-09 Spent the day with my hubby and my oldest daughter. Don't get to see my daughter that often as she is a senior in college. Got to see her new apartment and take her out to an early birthday lunch. She will be 22 next Thursday.
*8-23-09 Had a wonderfully long Sunday nap. I really needed it too. Felt GREAT when I woke up. Best nap I've had in forever.
*8-24-09 Had quite a busy productive day around the house and running errands. It feels good to be busy once in awhile.
*8-25-09 Weighed my banana and cereal before having breakfast this morning.
*8-26-09 Today was my first day back to work after my long summer vacation. First think I was tempted with was a huge chocolate cake at lunch. I passed on it!
*8-27-09 Went to lunch with some co-worker friends this afternoon. We went to one of my favorite restaurants, Cafe Rio. I had their huge salad with grilled chicken. I had them omit the rice & I didn't eat the cheesy tortilla shell the salad came in. Also, had the dressing on the side & used less than half of it.
*8-28-09 I made a delicious homemade whole wheat pizza tonight for dinner. By the time it was ready to be served it was around 8:00, and I was starving! I wanted to eat half of it like I normally would, but I figured out the carbs and only ate two slices. I ended up being perfectly satisfied and full.
*8-29-09 It was hard walking up and down the grocery store aisles today. All the bad foods kept catching my eye, and I was starting to get hungry. BUT, I didn't succumb to the temptation. I came home and ate a delicious, fresh peach. YUM!
*8-30-09 Hubby and I attended our church services today. There were some really good heartfelt messages presented. It is so important to not only feed my physical body with good healthy food, but I also need to feed my soul with positive spiritual experiences.
*8-31-09 I had to pass by brownies, chocolate chip cookies, German chocolate cake, and candy bars at work today, but I did it! Oh, the joys of working at a school that loves to have goodies around almost constantly.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday's Blast from the Past - 3rd Edition

I chose to share this post that was written back in June 2006, because it tells about some of my history with weight loss, both the ups and downs. It also gives some perspective to where I am finding myself again today. The original title was, "So Why Weight Watchers?"

So why did I choose to go on the Weight Watcher's program? Well, it is because Weight Watcher's is ingrained in my head. I have joined Weight Watchers so many times I have lost count.

So, you may wonder why I would go back to a program which doesn't seem to work for me? The truth is the program does work for me. It works very well for me and is quite simple for me to follow. My problems in the past did not have to do with the program. My problems had arisen when I would go off of the program. It is a fact in my life, when I go off of a healthy, nutritious eating plan I gain weight. I usually gain back all of the weight I lost. Therefore, the issue for me to be successful is not so much in the losing of the weight, but in keeping the weight off once I have lost it.

In August of 2003, after going through a horrible divorce, I woke up one Saturday morning, got dressed, and drove a mile down the road to a Weight Watcher's meeting. I hadn't thought a lot about joining. I just went and did it. I pretty much figured it would be like all of the other times I had joined and I would last a week, maybe two, or possibly even a month or more. I had no idea at the time this would be the beginning of my success story.

I followed the Weight Watcher's Points Program to the letter of the law. I didn't allow myself to cheat, not even once. When the holidays started to roll around in October, November, and December, I stayed on program by eating healthy alternatives to the normally high fat, high calorie holiday treats. I didn't feel deprived at all. I was quite proud of being able to actually lose weight during that time of year when most people are putting on a few pounds. By January of 2004, I had lost fifty pounds!

One important thing I was doing differently this time which I hadn't done in past attempts to lose weight was the exercising component of the program. This time, I was a member of the woman's gym, Curves. I was working out faithfully 3 times a week, and I was learning to love exercise for the first time in my life.
My health was not very good when I started Weight Watcher's and Curves in August of 2003. I was taking medication for high blood pressure and diabetes. I really felt horrible all of the time, and I could feel my body slowly shutting down. It was hard for me to walk up a flight of stairs. My back was constantly hurting. I didn't sleep well. All of these ailments became a distant memory by the spring of 2004. I no longer took any medication. I could almost jog up a flight of stairs. My back no longer hurt, and I was sleeping more soundly. I basically was feeling GREAT!

As time went on, I continued on my program. By June of 2004, I had lost 100 pounds! By August, my anniversary for joining Weight Watcher's, I was down 120 pounds! I had been in two 5K's, and had started hiking in the mountains several times a week. I was the happiest I had been in my entire life. I was even becoming somewhat of a celebrity around town. People from Weight Watcher's, Curves, my church, or the school where I taught were constantly complimenting me on my success. Surprisingly, people I had never met would even come up to me and ask if I was the person they saw walking/jogging down the street. They would always have something nice to say to me. I also had a lot of people asking me for advice on how to lose weight. They wanted to know what my secret was. Most people assumed I had surgery and were somewhat disbelieving when I told them I hadn't.

In January 2005, I was down 150 pounds! A friend of mine from work, asked if I would speak about my weight loss to a group of women at her church. I hate speaking in front of adults, but I said I would. I got a bit nervous, but I had a lot of fun telling the ladies about my weight loss story. I really wanted to share my success by helping others to have a healthy lifestyle. I even contemplated changing careers and becoming a dietitian. My dream was to one day be a Weight Watcher's leader.

Then, in February of 2005, I hit my first stumbling block. I was only 8 pounds away from goal, and I had my first slip. I was away for a couple of days at a convention for work when I decided to eat a few things I shouldn't have. I thought I would be fine and when I got home I would get right back on program. Unfortunately, that was not the case. The couple of days of eating badly turned into a week off of program and a twelve pound gain! I was horrified! How could I have stumbled so close to achieving my goal weight. My Weight Watcher's leader told me she wasn't surprised. She has seen it happen before. For some reason, being that close to goal was a scary thing for me. In my whole life I had never weighed a normal weight. I had always been overweight. Now that I was normal, I was sabotaging myself subconsciously.

For the next six months, I struggled with eating correctly. I would be back on program for a few weeks, and then I would have a bad week off of program. I would lose a few pounds and then I would gain a few pounds. It was very frustrating for me.

I no longer went to Curves because I had joined Gold's Gym in December of 2004, at the urging of my doctor. He told me I had come to a point where Curves was not benefiting me physically. I needed a more intense workout. I loved going to Gold's. I even had a personal trainer I was working with a couple of days a month. Once I began struggling with my eating, my exercising also became a problem. Before long, I wasn't exercising like I should, and my hiking had come to an end.

It was at this time I met my future husband. I was planning a summer wedding, trying to sell my house, packing my things for the big move, closing out the school year, and searching for a job in a new city all at once. Saying it was a bit overwhelming is an understatement. Looking back a year later, I wonder how I survived. When I am that busy it is very hard to take the time to prepare healthy meals and go to the gym.

I did work really hard on my diet in July because I had a wedding dress to fit into. By the middle of July, I was driving with my fiance to my new home thousands of miles away. We were married a week later. At the wedding reception, I let down my food guard again and ate some wedding cake. I continued eating that whole weekend and into the next week. On our one week anniversary, I could no longer fit into my wedding dress. That was embarrassing! For some reason, I was rapidly gaining weight. I didn't just gain a pound or two. It was more like 15-20. I was worried, but figured I would get right back on program and lose the weight.

Well, all of the stresses in my life involved with a new marriage, living far away from my three children, finding a new job, moving to a new state, going to a new church, finding new doctors, etc. were more than I could deal with. I turned to my old friends - M&M's, cookies, cake, ice cream, French bread, pancakes, butter, fried chicken, steak, etc. to help me through the transition from my old life to my new life. Unfortunately for me, in the process my new body was replaced with my old body.

Over the past eleven months, I have tried to stop eating. I joined Weight Watcher's twice, but just couldn't commit to doing the program again. I tried The South Beach Diet for a day or two. I watched The Biggest Loser looking for inspiration. I bought books and magazines to read about the latest dieting sensations. But, nothing I did put an end to my eating binge until now.

I joined Weight Watcher's Online the end of April, but I didn't commit to the program until last week. It is a daunting task ahead of me to lose over 150 pounds again. I know I can do it because I did it once before. It may not come off as fast as last time, but it will eventually come off. And, this time I am going to make it all the way down to my goal weight!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Big, Bad, Jealous Monster

I have to be honest about my feelings today, even though it will make me look like the big, bad, green jealous monster.

Today was my weigh-in day. I actually had been looking forward to it this week as I just knew I was going to have a good loss. There were days when I thought I could feel the weight flying off my body, and then there were all the middle of the night trips to the bathroom. Surely, the pounds were evaporating into thin air.

Bright and early this morning, I stepped onto the scale. What did I see? No, that couldn't be correct. Just a one pound loss. Well, a loss is a loss I told myself. Look at the big picture. You are finally going in the right direction again.

I couldn't really hear any of the positive self-talk I was trying to give myself because before I had weighed, my hubby had come upstairs to tell me how happy he was to have lost over three pounds this week without even really trying. So, instead of being happy with a one pound loss, I was jealous.

How come men can lose weight so easily? It seems as if all my hubby has to do is think about it, and he loses weight. He really isn't trying other than he eats the meals I place before him at dinner time. This week alone, he enjoyed a bag of Hershey's nuggets, lunch at Burger King, and miscellaneous other bad food choices. He loves to eat and he doesn't want to stop. It just isn't fair!

I could quickly tell that my motivation was heading down a slippery slope. I had to do something or I would be spending the rest of the weekend drowning my feelings in cookie dough and cake. I decided to go ahead and eat my planned healthy breakfast and continue on with the other activities I had going on. Then, an interesting thing happened. Suddenly, I had to use the bathroom and a thought came to me, "Just for fun weigh yourself again." So, I went back down to the basement and weighed for a second time. Oh, my gosh! This time the scale showed a two pound loss! I know it is silly, but that extra pound loss made all the difference in the world to me. Two pounds a week is what I usually average, so I was now happy. I went on with my day as planned and stayed on program.

As for my hubby. He doesn't know about any of this. He never did ask me today how my weigh-in went. My guess is he will find out when he reads this post tomorrow.

Friday, August 28, 2009

One Lovely Blog Award

Imagine my shock and surprise when eight days ago, August 20th, I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Journey To The Healthier Side of Life, and I noticed my name being mentioned as a One Lovely Blog Award recipient. I couldn't believe my eyes! I'm pretty new at this blogging thing and certainly didn't expect anyone to have taken notice of my site. So, I want to thank you Pam for putting a smile on my face.

Now it is my turn to pass on the One Lovely Blog Award to other inspirational bloggers. I have had over a week to think about it, and it is very hard to choose. I'm following quite a few people now who are all unique and special in their own way. Some make me laugh, some make me cry, some I totally relate too, while others give me insight on things I have never considered, but all have motivated me to take better care of myself. They are all deserving of this award, and tonight I am bestowing it on seven of them.

The One Lovely Blog Awards go to: (Drum roll please!)

*Marie Lose 2 Win ... No More Excuses!
*Ida Losing Myself
*Betsy Gluten Free Betsy
*Jessica Pudget: Losing Weight On a Budget
*Kristina The Incredible Shrinking Woman!
*Amy The Final 100

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Recipe Make-Over

The challenge this week for Operation Fat Blaster was to take a recipe from one of my favorite comfort foods and make it over into a healthier version.

I was excited about this challenge because I love to take recipes and tweak them. The only problem I had was deciding which recipe to do. I could have taken the easy way out and just posted one I had done in the past, but that would have taken all the fun out of the project. So, I narrowed it down between two casserole dishes I really enjoy - Chicken Tetrazini and Tuna Casserole. I laid both recipes out side-by-side on the kitchen table and stared at them. Then I asked myself, "Which one of these is truly a comfort food for me?" The answer to that question made my choice very easy. Chicken Tetrazini is not a dish that I make often. It is a bit time consuming, so I tend to make it when we have company or for a special occasion. Tuna casserole, on the other hand, is fast and easy to make, plus it totally satisfies me. In fact, I usually have trouble stopping at just one serving. And, isn't that the definition of a comfort food? A dish that you just have to have and can't get enough of.

Here are the changes I made to the original recipe:
*I halved the pasta and changed it to whole wheat.
*I also halved the mozzarella and changed it to 2%.
*I added 2 wedges of Laughing Cow cheese.
*I halved the mayo and changed it to low fat.
*I added mushrooms and celery which weren't in the original recipe.
*I sauteed the veggies in olive oil.
*I switched the cream of chicken soup to 98% fat free cream of celery soup.
*I changed the tuna from 9 oz to 12 oz.
*I omitted the salt and bread crumbs.

Original Tuna Casserole

12 oz. macaroni, cooked & drained

9 oz. can tuna, drained

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup 2 % milk

1/2 cup real mayonnaise

1/3 cup chopped onions

8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

1 oz. bread crumbs

salt & pepper to taste

Mix soup, milk, mayo, onions, tuna, and cheese together in a large bowl. Stir in macaroni. Pour in to a casserole dish sprayed with Pam. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Makes 6 servings.

Tuna Casserole Redone

6 oz. Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Penne Rigate, cooked & drained

98% Campbell's Fat Free Cream of Celery soup
2 wedges Laughing Cow Light Original Swiss

1/4 cup Best Foods Low Fat Mayonnaise

1/2 cup fat free milk

4 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms

4 oz. chopped celery
4 oz. chopped onion

1 TBS olive oil

2 - 6 oz. cans light tuna, drained

1 cup 2% shredded mozzarella

fresh ground pepper

Saute veggies in olive oil till crisp tender. In a large bowl mix soup, mayo, milk, and tuna. Add cheeses, veggies, then pasta; stir. Add fresh ground pepper to taste. Pour into a casserole dish sprayed with Pam. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Makes 6 - 1 cup servings

Nutritional Values:
Calories: 566/265
Total Fat: 28 g/9 g
Cholesterol: 57 mg/33 mg
Sodium: 836 mg/749 mg
Carbohydrates: 54 g/31 g
Fiber: 3 g/1 g
Sugars: 3 g/ 4 g
Protein: 29 g/18 g

The verdict is in. Tuna Casserole Redone is a keeper! Dare I say that I even liked the taste of it better than the original. Hubby even said that it was good, and he isn't a fan of pasta dishes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Healthy Kitchen Must Have . . . a Digital Food Scale

I have been receiving newsletters via email for several weeks now. In one of the first newsletters I read, was a list of five items you must have in your kitchen. One of the items on the list was a digital food scale. Hungry-girl had a link to the one she uses in her kitchen, but it was $99 (a bit too pricey for me), so I began an online search for a cheaper model. I was able to find several brands and models to choose from from many different stores. I ended up going with a Salter for $39.99 (plus I used my coupon of 20% off) at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

I absolutely love my digital scale. It does all of the things I wanted it to. It has measurements in grams and ounces. It can weigh items up to 11 lbs/5 kg. It has a zero reset button so that if you are placing a number of different items into a bowl to be combined, you don't have to weigh each item separately. You weigh the first item, hit the zero button, and add the next item and it will give you the weight just for the latest item added. It is small enough to just sit out on my kitchen counter for easy access. And, it is stainless steel in color which matches my other appliances.

Before buying this new scale, I had been using my old Weight Watcher's scale that I had bought ions ago. This scale was your typical spring loaded one that you had to manually adjust to zero every time you weighed anything. It just had a little line next to the measurement strip that moved up and down and was kind of hard to read. Every time I used it, I was worried my food wasn't being accurately weighed.

An interesting thing I have discovered about my new scale is that my measuring cups aren't exact. In fact they are slightly too big. Now, whenever I can, I use my scale to do the measurement for me. My serving sizes have become a tad bit smaller using this scale, but that's okay. I would rather be accurate and eat a tiny bit less, than think I am eating right when in actuality I am eating more than I should. All of those tiny over measurements add up and could eventually show up on me when I weigh myself. And, I DON'T want that to happen.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Just Maybe I Finally Learned Something

I am happy to report that after my major slip-up on Saturday, I have been back on my program for two straight days. I'm feeling that maybe after all of these years of up and down dieting I may have finally learned that one bump in the road doesn't need to equate to days, weeks, or months of being off course. I can turn myself around and be right back on track the very next day.

This is a pretty big milestone for me, and I'm thrilled to have gotten to this place in my journey to better health.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday's Blast from the Past - 2nd Edition

Today's post was originally written just over a year ago, June 24, 2008. I thought it would be good for me to review it as it explains why I got "Back in the Saddle Again".

Well, I have done it again. I have joined Weight Watchers for the umpteenth time! The plan was to get into a healthier lifestyle once my summer break began and I didn't have the stresses of the job weighing me down. It took me a month off with nothing to do, but I finally got on track.
A few weeks ago, hubby and I decided to try the South Beach Diet. We even joined Sam's Club to stock up on nuts, veggies, sugar-free Jell-O, and meats. The diet lasted two days! The thought of eating so much meat with no fruits or good carbs was too much for me to handle for even the short two week induction phase. So, another week and then two passed by with our poor eating habits reigning supreme in our household. Do you know how good Papa Murphy's chocolate chip cookie dough is? I do! I was making hubby go down to Papa Murphy's every few days to pick me up some more of their cookie dough. He was pretty embarrassed buying only cookie dough in a pizza place, but he did it for me.
As we ate and ate, I began feeling more and more tired and frustrated. I could barely walk up and down the stairs in my house without feeling totally fatiqued and out of breath. I was at the point where I knew I needed to do something or I was soon going to be in a pretty bad place. My doctor has been suggesting that I seriously consider Lap Band surgery as a vehicle to lose the weight. I was desperate enough that I seriously thought about it. However, when I inquired with my insurance company about coverage, my decision was made. They would only cover $5,000 of the $22,000 it would cost to have the surgery. Well, I simply couldn't afford it. I think now that is a blessing in disguise as I really didn't want to have surgery. I had lost all this weight before, so I knew it could be done without medical intervention.
That brought me to last Friday when I found myself at the door of the local Weight Watchers. I signed up and paid for ten weeks in advance. I was weighed in (MY HIGHEST WEIGHT EVER! UGH!!!). I attended the meeting and then went home to prepare for this big undertaking. I got out several of my old Weight Watcher recipe books and I made a menu for the upcoming week. I made a grocery list. Hubby and I went to Sam's Club and Wal-Mart to buy the healthy foods needed to make my menu items. Then on Saturday morning, both hubby and I began the program. It is now day four and so far, so good. I am already feeling better and have more energy. I also have had zero cravings for which I am grateful.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Weigh In & Mindless Eating

Even though I just got back to healthy eating on Tuesday, I decided to weigh myself this morning as I prefer to have Saturday as my weigh in day. That is the day that I usually attended Weight Watcher's, and I find it to be a good day to weigh in. It keeps me mindful of what I am eating on Friday nights, and provides the motivation to keep me strong through the rest of the weekend.

Now, for this week's results. Drum roll, please! I am down 6.2 pounds this week! I was so excited when I saw the numbers on the scale. Now I am back on the road to health and wellness. OR so I thought.


I'm sitting in Chili's with my hubby and my oldest daughter. We went to take some things down to her that she needed for school this semester, and we wanted to celebrate her 22nd birthday which is next Thursday. So, I'm pretty happy she picked Chili's as I know I can eat pretty healthy there. I usually get their salmon and veggies.

Well, first off my daughter wants an appetizer. Then hubby wants the bottomless chips and salsa. I decide to order the chicken fajitas because I can eat the meat and veggies and maybe only one tortilla. I keep telling myself that I will stay out of the appetizers and chips. Then the waiter places all that fattening food on our table and my daughter and hubby dig in. I just sit and watch them while I keep sipping my water. I was strong for about 10 minutes or so. Then I couldn't stand it any longer. I just had to try the appetizers. Before I knew it, I had eaten 1 southwest eggroll dipped in dressing & half of the spinach artichoke dip with chips. So, I figure that when my fajitas come I would just eat them without any tortillas, which I did do. The immediate result of this transgression was a horrible stomach ache. I couldn't believe how quickly I felt sick. We hadn't even left the restaurant yet. I ended up feeling sick for a couple of hours, which was good because I didn't want to eat another thing.

Later, when I felt better, I fell back into my old way of thinking. If I have blown it at one meal, then the whole day is shot. So, I spent the rest of the evening eating. I'm too disgusted to even list all that I ate.

Thank goodness tomorrow is another day!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Vision Board Challenge

As I mentioned yesterday, I accepted a challenge from Operation Fat Blaster to create a vision board. The steps to complete this mission were

1. Write an acrostic poem using your name and qualities you aspire to.
2. Find pictures that represent those qualities.
3. Place your poem and pictures on a board.
4. Leave a prominent spot for a 4x6" picture. More info will be coming later on the picture.
5. Display your board somewhere in your home and take a picture of it.

I am happy to report that I have completed the challenge for the most part. The poem was completed yesterday (see my previous post), pictures were added to the poem and printed out this afternoon, a paper frame was made for the future picture of me, and pictures were taken. There was one snag I ran into, however. Instead of using a posterboard for my project, I decided to use a corkboard. I bought one that had a maple colored frame at Wal-mart. I wanted a white frame, but figured it would be no problem to paint it white. Unfortunately, I have spent the afternoon painting coat after coat on the board's frame and it still needs one more coat. So, everything is ready except the board. Tonight is the deadline, so I wanted to at least post what I had done.

My Poem

Poem and frame positioned on fabric background that will be mounted to the board.

Corkboard with almost finished white frame.

I actually loved doing this challenge. Not only did it allow me time to reflect on some qualities I want to develop in my life, but it gave me the chance to do something crafty and creative.

I am going to hang my board in my newly remodeled craft room where I will be able to see it every day.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Inspiration Comes at the Strangest Times

This week I accepted the challenge at Operation Fat Blaster to create a vision board. As part of this board I was asked to write an acrostic name poem. I was to use inspirational words that start with each letter in my name in hopes that I would start to believe them to be part of who I am.

I have been thinking about my poem on and off all week. To be honest, I was kind of dreading writing it as I don't think I am very creative when it comes to written prose. The rest of my vision board I have been excited about as I love doing crafty things.

As it turned out, the poem was easy. I guess I should be thankful I was awakened sooner than I wanted to be this morning because it was while I was in the bathroom that my poem suddenly just came to me. Oh, what all that healthy eating and water drinking does! At least last night I slept through the night. It was a different story the night before. I was up almost every hour doing the 'potty dance.' lol

So here is my poem:

Cherished & charitable
Happy, healthy
Respectfully recognized
Luscious lady

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Food Tastes Best When . . .

Food always seems to taste best to me when . . .

*I'm eating healthy and taking care of myself.

*it is made from scratch at home in my little kitchen.

*I concentrate on what I am eating instead of mindlessly eating everything in sight.

*I have planned my meals in advance and I'm looking forward to each one.

*I slow down and enjoy every bite.

*I sit at the dining room table to eat.

*the correct portion has been placed on my plate and all left-overs have been portioned out into individual plastic containers for the freezer.

*I have used the freshest, non-processed ingredients I can to make the meal.

*I'm not full or hungry but have eaten enough to be satisfied.

*I'm eating with family and friends.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Well, I finally made it through an entire day this summer making good, healthy eating choices! Hooray for me! I feel like I am now on my way. I always think in my mind, "If I can just get through this first day, then I will be fine." I'm through that first day now! Next step . . . making it through the first week.

I started out my day with a weigh-in. I hated having to face the scale, but if I am going to be successful and beat this beast once-and-for-all, then I have to be honest with myself about my weight and the damage all of my excessive eating over the past several months has done. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't weigh quite as much as I had thought I would. I was sure I would have gone over 300 pounds again, but I didn't. I was close, but I'm still in the 200's!

I also made sure that I got to the grocery store today so that my kitchen would be stocked with healthy food options. I actually enjoyed shopping for the first time in quite awhile. There is something to be said for knowing you are doing what you should be. It just makes you feel happy!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Confessions of a Carb Queen Compared to Me

Over the past several days I have been reading the book, Confessions of a Carb Queen, by Susan Blech. This is the memoir of Susan's battle to lose more than 250 pounds. I think the one paragraph that spoke the loudest to me and reminded me of a very basic, but simple truth is the following:

It's not an option not to go to work for me. I wasn't born rich. I always kid my father that he "forgot" to give my siblings or me a trust fund. I had the good fortune to be born into a family that valued education and hard work. I was born healthy and strong. It's my "job" to keep that pact with myself and with my Creator to work at getting myself healthy again -- and at keeping myself that way.

While I was reading Susan's book, I also couldn't help but make a few comparisons to my life.

Comparison #1- The first food memory Susan writes about is when she is eight years and old she is making butter-sugar sandwiches with her friend. Like Susan, when I was a young girl, I also enjoyed these very same delicious sandwiches. In fact, I broke down just yesterday and had to make and eat a couple. :(

As a child I took the butter-sugar sandwiches a step further. I would sneak into the kitchen when my mom was busy with other things, and I would pull out the butter and white sugar. I would then take a mini Dixie cup and mix the two ingredients together with a spoon. I absolutely loved how butter and sugar tasted together! As I got older and learned how to make cookies, I would add a bit of flour and vanilla to my butter-suager mixture in an attempt to conjure up some kind of make-shift cookie dough.

My obsession with butter and sugar was a secret to my mom until just a few years ago when I told her about it. We all laughed about how odd I was to have done such a silly thing as a child. I probably should have cried, though, as butter-sugar was part of the beginning of my food addiction.

Comparison #2 - In the book, Susan describes how she would peer into the windows of restaurants to see if they would have chairs she could fit on. If she only saw booths or small, unsteady chairs, then she wouldn't eat at that establishment. Like Susan, I can be quite paranoid about where I eat out.

For years, I have had an actual fear of booths. I won't go to restaurants unless I know I have a place to sit comfortably. The odd thing about my fear is that it doesn't seem to go away even when I have lost enough weight to comfortably fit in a booth. Several years ago when I was a size 12/14, I would hesitate for just a second whenever a waitress/waiter would seat me at a booth. I would look at that booth with fear and anxiety wondering if I would fit. Then, when I sat down and discovered that there was an abundance of space between me and the table, I would be elated.

Comparison #3 - This one goes along with fitting in booths. Susan describes having to fly on a plane and the humiliation of having to ask for a seat belt extension. She also relates the thrill of that first flight when she no longer needed the extension and the seat belt fit around her. I have had both of these experiences myself. I don't think there is anything more embarrassing than having to ask a flight attendant for an extension. Every time I have had to do it, I have felt like the eyes of all of the other passengers are staring at me. It is such a horrible feeling that I have made excuses for not wanting to go on certain trips, when really the only reason I didn't want to go was that the vacation involved flying.

At the end of June, my hubby and I took a two week trip in which we decided to fly instead of drive. I was so excited for our vacation as we were going to be visiting family and we had some fun activities planned as well. But, I dreaded having to get on a plane and having to ask for an extension. On the first flight, my husband asked for our two extensions once we were seated in out seats. The flight attendant kept forgetting to give us the extensions. He had to repeatedly call her back and remind her. Finally, she brought one! Then my husband had to tell her we had needed two and she had only brought one. Again, she forgot. How humiliating that was to have to keep requesting the extension. I just wanted to hide in the overhead bins. On the rest of the flights, we asked the flight attendant as we were boarding. Sometimes we got the extensions right then, but other times they said they would bring them to us. How thrilled were we on the last connecting flight of our trip when we discovered that on this plane we didn't need any extensions! What a relief! One flight when I wasn't totally embarrassed.

Comparison #4 - Susan says, "When I was almost 500 pounds, why did I feel like I wasn't "that heavy"? Certainly, I didn't think I was obese. Why?" Before I had my first successful weigh loss, I too felt like Susan. I would look in the mirror and I would know that I was big, but I didn't think I looked that bad. Then a funny think happened to me. After I lost 165 pounds, I looked in the mirror and thought how incredibly fat I was, when in reality I was a normal size for the first time in my life. Now, that I gained all of that weight back, I think I am finally pretty realistic about just how large I am. I don't look in the mirror anymore and think that I'm not that bad. I know I am morbidly obese right now, and that is why I have to do something about it once and for all.

Comparison #5 - Susan shares a poem which she says reaffirms that she will be okay as long as she believes in herself. Here is the poem:

The jump
frightening between
where I am
where I want to be . . .
because of all I may become
I will close my eyes and

Four years ago I began to write my first blog. Included under the title were these words - "Taking the Plunge - Sometimes in life you just have to close your eyes and jump in." These words are very similar to the poem Susan shared. These are words that I have been trying to live my life by since my first marriage ended about 7 years ago. Sometimes I am strong and I jump right in, but other times I struggle and hold myself back for some unknown reason.

Comparison #6 - Susan says, "We've all made it another week. Someone says, 'Did you know that diet means 'way of life' in Greek?' I didn't. But I remember it, for later." For years I have been to tons of Weight Watcher meetings, watched lots of Oprah shows on weight loss, and been to way too many doctor's and nutritionist's appointments where I have heard that you can't just go on a diet, you have to make lifestyle changes. Because if you go on a diet, then there is a time when you go off of the diet and if you haven't changed your life during that time you were on the diet, then it will all be for not. So, in other words . . . It really isn't a diet, it's a way of life.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday's Blast from the Past - 1st Edition

I thought it might be fun on Sundays to post something I have previously written. So, here is my first installment of Sunday's Blast from the Past.

This list was originally titled, 101 Things I've Learned About Myself & Dieting. I wrote it during the summer of 2006. As you can see, I didn't quite make it to 101 things. I'm sure I could finish the list now that I have three more years of yo-yo dieting under my belt, but I will save those additions for a future post.

90. I don't have to eat inbetween meals, but if I am hungry a healthy snack will satisfy me.

89. You usually have to lose quite a bit of weight before anyone will notice.

88. Smelling freshly baked French bread is dangerous for me, and I need to leave the grocery store quickly to protect myself.

87. Smells can trigger a desire to eat a specific food.

86. An even bigger shock is I can stay away from sugar.

85. What a shock! Sugar makes me feel sick.

84. Sometimes, you can be totally satisfied with just one bite of a really scrumptious dessert.

83. Be picky about when you are going to indulge in something sweet. Save those times for special occasions.

82. If you take a bite of something and it doesn't taste good to you, don't feel obligated to finish eating it.

81. Buffets don't have to be a danger zone. Eat small amounts of what you really like.

80. Three must have kitchen gadgets for healthy eating: George Foreman Grill, Electric Vegetable/Rice Steamer, & a Crockpot.

79. You don't have to give up taste to eat nutritiously.

78. I get just as many, if not more, compliments for my Weight Watcher recipes as I do for regular ones.

77. You can cook or bake 'diet' food for your guests. If you don' t tell them it is 'diet', they will never know.

76. You can enjoy a holiday by making and eating healthy food.

75. We need to stop looking at Hollywood and the fashion world for the ideal body image.

74. I would rather be overweight than be too thin.

73. Just because someone is thin, doesn't mean they are healthy.

72. People who are thin and have never had a weight problem, have no idea what it is like for the rest of the world.

71. I love to eat dinner leftovers for lunch.

70. When you very first begin to feel full, stop eating.

69. When eating out, order one entree to share with your dining companion. You will both still have more than enough to eat.

68. It is okay to ask the waitress/waiter at a restaurant to substitute part of your meal with a healthier choice.

67. When I wait too long to eat and I have reached the point of thinking I am starving, that is when I am tempted to overeat.

66. When I am sweating a lot, I know I am burning calories because I am working pretty hard.

65. I hate to sweat!

64. I love it when someone compliments me on my weight loss.

63. Since weight can fluctuate from day to day, it is best to weigh yourself only once a week.

62. When dieting, take your measurements monthly so you can see the inches melting away.

61. Trying on old, smaller clothes to see if they fit is one of my most favorite things to do when trying to lose weight.

6o. I love to talk about dieting, good new food finds, new recipes, and anything else having to do with my weight loss.

59. When I am eating well, I often dream about food.

58. Sometimes to avoid eating when I shouldn't be eating, I just go to bed.

57. I think Splenda is the greatest invention of our times. Well, at least in the area of grocery products.

56. I believe soda pop (even diet varieties) hinders weight loss. Soda is the first thing I gave up, and I don't miss it.

55. I don't believe in cutting any food group out of my diet. A well balanced diet is eating from all of the groups.

54. You heard it a hundred times before, but it is true. Use moderation in all things including diet and exercise.

53. I have yet to find any food which tastes as good as being fit feels.

52. The weight loss successes of others inspire me.

51. There is no better feeling when stepping on the scale than to see a lower number than the week before.

50. When I am dieting, my brain is obsessed with thinking about food. What am I going to eat for my next meal?

49. Men lose weight faster than women. That is one of the injustices in this world!

48. It takes a long time for your brain to catch up with your weight loss. You always see the old you in the mirror.

47. When you have a lot of weight to lose, break it down into small achievable goals. I like to lose 10% at a time.

46. Talking to yourself is a good strategy to use when a tempting food comes your way. Just talk yourself out of eating it.

45. Eating a small, good piece of chocolate slowly is so much more enjoyable than downing a bag of M&M's in ten minutes.

44. I LOVE CHOCOLATE! It is the one thing I refuse to completely give up, but I can control how much of it I eat.

43. Suprisingly, bread is my trigger food. If I start eating it, I can't stop.

42. Eating the same thing day after day is boring, so mix it up and keep it interesting.

41. Don't be afraid to try new foods or recipes, because it is the fun part of dieting.

40. I have to live one day at a time when it comes to dieting.

39. A healthy lifestyle is really just about making the right choices. So, I am choosing to choose the right.

38. I can eat out anywhere. I just have to make wise choices on what I pick to eat from the menu.

37. My confidence grows as my weight decreases.

36. I am very picky about what I eat when I am trying hard to stay on a nutritious program.

35. People really do treat others differently depending on their size.

34. When I am making healthy eating choices, I could care less what other people see me put into my grocery cart.

33. When I am not eating well, I feel like everyone is analyzing what I am putting in my grocery cart.

32. I have a fear of booths in restaurants. I will almost always ask for a table unless I'm sure I will fit in the booth.

31. Eating nutritiously and exercising daily go hand in hand. Doing one without the other will only give you half the results.

30. The more I become involved in eating correctly, my interest in things like the TV wanes.

29. Exercise doesn't have to be done at a gym. Some of my best workouts have been while I am doing things around the house.

28. I eat when I am happy, sad, stressed, angry, excited, nervous, or pretty much anytime.

27. I am addicted to food, especially carbohydrates.

26. Learning how to truly take care of myself is a lifelong journey.

25. The real key to weight loss is portion control.

24. Drink water, water, and more water.

23. Eating well takes a lot of time, planning, and preparation.

22. When I am not eating right, I don't even think about food. I mindlessly eat all day long.

21. When I am eating right I look forward to eating.

20. Everything doesn't work for everybody. Find what works for you and DO IT!

19. Successful weight loss needs to include the support of others - family & friends.

18. No one else can lose the weight for you.

17. You aren't what you eat, but what you eat may determine who you are.

16. Weight cannot be cured. It can only be managed.

15. Dieting is not really what I am doing. I am really making changes to my lifestyle.

14. Just trying something does not always equal success.

13. Success begins with the decision to do something.

12. When you first start to feel hungry, drink a glass of water before reaching for a snack. It may be you are thirsty instead.

11. Never say never when it comes to dieting.

10. It is easier to eat slow when I am eating a healthy meal than it is when I am eating an unhealthy meal.

9. It is better to put any extra food in the waste can than on my waist.

8. It might be a hard thing to do, but I can leave food on my plate.

7. Food always tastes better when I am eating nutritiously.

6. I keep researching to try to find something simpler than Weight Watcher's.

5. Weight Watcher's is the best plan on the market.

4. I cannot diet halfway. I either follow it to the letter of the law, or I just don't do it at all.

3. It is nearly impossible to keep the weight off.

2. It is very difficult to lose weight.

1. It is extremely easy to gain weight.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

My Story in Pictures

Not sure how old I am here, probably about three, but you can already see that I'm a little bit chubby.

Speed forward about 14 years and here I am graduating from high school. I was always the fat kid at school.

Another four years go by and now I'm graduating from college. At this point in my life my weight is beginning to go down, then back up again as I become more concerned about dieting.

I spend the next eighteen years of my life as a yo-yo dieter. Every once in awhile I achieve some pretty good weight loss success, but something always happens, and I gain the weight back plus a little extra.

During this time I get married and have three children. Then after sixteen years of marriage I file for divorce. A year later, I finally become serious about taking care of myself.

My one and only school picture that I have ever liked! I'm teaching second grade now and have lost over 120 pounds! I'm feeling great! I have been on Weight Watchers for a year and working out at Curves. I am hiking all the time and over the summer did my first 5K. It was exhilarating!

By Christmas 2004, I am down over 150 pounds! I am snowshoeing for the first time. I'm really loving my life now and feel like I have finally become the person I always wanted to be. That person who was hiding inside me all those years that I was so fat.

I'm holding up my "big" dress from my heavier days. I hate to admit it, but I still have that dress and am now having to wear it again. :(

This is my all-time favorite picture of myself. I am holding my newborn niece who is now 4 1/2 years old. I am at my lowest weight ever! I have lost 165 pounds and am only eight pounds away from my goal!

A few months pass and I have met a wonderful man online. It is a whirlwind romance. We meet, get engaged, plan a wedding, and get married all in a matter of about four months! As for my weight, it is beginning to yo-yo again. I never lose those last eight pounds and reach my weight loss goal.

July 22, 2005 My wedding day!

Our first anniversary! I have gained back most of the weight I lost. I am now back on Weight Watchers, but it only last through that summer.

Two more years go by and I am now at my all-time high weight. It is July 4, 2008 and I am back on program with Weight Watcher's.

March of 2009 - I have been faithfully following the Weight Watcher's program and have been getting back into exercise. It's the first day of spring and I am down 98 pounds!

July 2009 - Here I am in my old "big" dress. I have been struggling with my eating and exercising issues all summer. Have gained 50 or more pounds back since mid-April, and I am just sick about it.

This story will be continued as
my life-long pursuit of good health and fitness takes another turn in the road.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Hubby Who Loves to Eat!

So, what do you do with a hubby who loves to eat? That is the question that I have had front and center in my life since I got married just over four years ago.

My hubby loves food! He loves to eat out! He loves to snack at home! He just plain loves to eat, eat, eat!

When we moved across the country a couple of years ago, the things he missed and talked about the most were his favorite fast food joints and his favorite ice cream that he had to leave behind. (Those particular brands weren't available in our new area.) In fact, this spring when we planned a vacation back to his old stomping ground for July, all he could think about was being able to eat all of his favorites again. Let me tell you, he was in hog heaven on our trip! He loved every meal and bite of food he had. I, on the other hand, was just miserable as I could feel my clothes getting tighter and tighter.

Now if hubby and I didn't both have major weight/health issues, then I wouldn't be concerned. But, the fact is we both have well over one hundred pounds to lose.

When we first got together, I had just lost 165 pounds and was in the best shape of my life. That is one of the things that attracted me to my hubby. He wanted my success to rub off on him. I wanted nothing more than to be his inspiration and to teach him how to have a healthy lifestyle by becoming physically active and controlling what he ate. As things turned out, though, the reverse happened. All of my old, bad, unhealthy habits came back into my life, and I gained all of the weight plus some back! And, here I am again trying to be a good example and inspire both of us to start taking better care of our bodies.

Now the biggest roadblock I face besides having my head back in the game is my own hubby. He supports me in my efforts and wants desperately to lose weight himself, but he doesn't want to give up the love of his life - food! If I say I can't have certain food in the house that he himself also loves, then he says that isn't fair to him and he often brings those items home and eats them in front of me. When we go out to eat he will often times want dessert even when I don't, and he almost always asks for extra rolls or chips to munch on before the meal even arrives. I know I can't force him to follow the same program or plan that I want to follow - believe me I have tried. But, I'm at a loss as to what to do.

For nine to ten months last year I was mentally strong enough to forget about what hubby was doing and just worry about myself and my own health. It wasn't easy and there were many arguments about what I thought he should be doing to support me and to take better care of himself. I was successful and felt great losing 98 of those 165+ pounds I had gained back previously. Hubby even had some success losing some weight by eating the dinners I prepared and going to the gym sporadically.

So that brings us to today where we both still want to get healthy. Do we have what it takes to do it as a team or if needs be to do it individually on our own? And, what do I do when I'm ready to commit fully to taking care of myself, but I still have a hubby who loves to eat?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What is it About Cookie Dough?

What is it about cookie dough that makes me think I have to eat it over and over again? I know cookie dough is one of my food addictions. Sometimes I just get it into my head that I have to have some, so off to the grocery store I go to by some Pillsbury Chocolate Chip cookie dough. You know the kind in the blue package with the dough already formed into perfect little bite-sized circles! It may be a memory floating back into my conscientiousness from childhood of licking the beaters when my mom baked homemade chocolate chip cookies that makes the dough so appealing. Or, maybe I just love the feel of that soft dough and the crunch of the mini chocolate chips in my mouth when I bite into one. All I know for sure is that I can't ever eat just one, and once I get started it is sooooooo hard to stop eating the dough day after day after day.

A couple of days ago I was grocery shopping and stood in Wal-Mart next to the cookie dough display for what seemed like an eternity debating whether or not I was going to put a couple of packages in my cart. I am proud to say that I overcame the temptation and walked away without getting any. I knew I had to put an end to this current obsession with cookie dough and this was the first step.

Yesterday, my husband got home from work and called out, "Honey, I got you a treat. Some CD!" I respond, "You bought me a CD?" He says, "No, some cd - cookie dough!" Arghhhhh!

So now I have been eating from this package of cookie dough my husband so lovingly, or so he thought, bought for me. When it is gone, though, that will be it. I can't have cookie dough in the house anymore!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Searching for that Connection

I am on a search for that mystical, unexplainable connection people get when everything just clicks and they embark on a healthy lifestyle. I've experienced this connection several times in my life. Each time resulting in a very successful run at losing weight and becoming more active and fit.

My last experience with this connection was just over a year ago when I had reached my all-time high weight of 344.2 pounds. That number is pretty frightening, I know! I spent the next nine to ten months putting my health front and center in my life as I joined Weight Watchers for the umpteenth time and started to exercise. I was thrilled to lose 98 pounds! Then just as quickly as that connection I had made appeared, it disappeared. I cannot explain where or why it went. The result of losing it, though, has been devastating as I have gained back fifty pounds or more this summer.

In an attempt to find that lost connection, I have been preparing myself and my kitchen for the time when I begin to take care of myself again. Here is a list of some of the things I have done over the past several weeks:

  • Bought's latest cookbook, 200 under 200
  • Subscribed to's newsletter
  • Began to follow Ruby(from the Style network) on Facebook & Twitter. I don't get Style, so I can't watch her show.
  • Bought a digital food scale to accurately weigh my food
  • Bought a new blender to make healthy drinks and snacks (It is still in its box in the corner of the kitchen.)
  • Cleaned out my fridge and filled it with healthy fruits and vegetables, many of which I had to throw out before I could eat them
  • Made a grocery list template on my computer listing healthy, unprocessed, fresh foods to choose from
  • Began to search out other blogs on weight loss for inspiration (I love to read about others successes.)
  • Started blogging myself
  • Began talking with friends about putting together a support group for those of us struggling with weight issues

I am hoping one of these things will lead me back to a healthier, happier life and that connection I lost.

I'm a lifetime yo-yo dieter who has spent most of my time on the up swing. On a few rare occasions I have been down in the weight game and it is then that I feel FANTASTIC. Just a few months ago I was in middle of one of those rare periods when all was going well and the pounds were coming
off. Then something went awry, and I started gaining it all back again. So here
I am starting over. Follow me on my journey to health and fitness.

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