Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm engaged!

I've been a bad blogger, but I have a good excuse....

My boyfriend popped the question! After 5 years, my boyfriend and I are engaged as of yesterday and I couldn't be happier.

Me (with red teary eyes) and my fiance

I had a beautiful time with my family. This was the first Christmas since my grandfather died that it felt like Christmas. This engagement is the cherry on top of a big ass happy ice cream sundae!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I've always been someone that knows what they want and sets out to get it. I truly believe that I hold the power, know-how, and drive to achieve what I want.

I really love the image of the blonde women that I chose to grace this blog. Every time I see it, I reminds me of how I feel on the inside. She has her eyes set on something. Her smile is intentionally knowing... knowing her own strength, knowing what she wants, and knowing that eventually she'll get "it", whatever "it" is at the time being.

I'm big on the power of symbols, so I'm thinking about getting this image printed on canvas and hanging it in my home to remind me and empower me. And every time I see it, I'll have that same little knowing smile about how far I've come and the direction I'm heading in.

Face Comparison

Someone asked for some progress pics so I decided to post this comparison of my face. I have to get some new body shots (and I will with all the Christmas events coming up).

My face before (220 something lbs) and during (197 lbs)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Jeans, Dirty Looks, and Shred Progress

I went jeans shopping today (FINALLY) to reward myself for surpassing my 10% weight loss goal.

I was so nervous that I hadn't gone down significantly enough to buy designer jeans from Lord and Taylor. I hastily grabbed the first Size 14 I could find and..... they fit! They fit easily in fact :-) I even tried on a 12 and they fit too, but they give me a little undesirable fat pouch, so I'll wait a month until I try the 12's again.

It was quite a powerful feeling to stroll around the ladies department thinking "hmmm, which designer shall I buy today..." instead of nervously wondering "does this designer make 16's that are cut just right so that I'll still fit into them even though I'm more like an 18??" I felt sexy; I'm not gonna lie.

Speaking of feeling hot, I'm getting more and more unwarranted dirty looks from women!! That is definitely one way in which I like to measure my hotness. Back when my boyfriend and I started dating, I got TONS of dirty looks from women. So much so that even he would notice them.

I think I'm getting all the nasty looks because so far I have lost 6.5 inches total doing the 30 day Shred:

Chest: -1.25"
Waist: -0.75"
Hips: -0.5"
Thighs: -3" (1.5" off each)
Arms: -1" (0.5" off each)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

To infinity and beyond!

So far this week has been full of accomplishments:

+ Down 0.9 lbs (not huge- but I'm happy to lose!)
+ Lost more inches: I measured, but I keep forgetting to count and update my Shred results, but I will do it ASAP!
+ Went to a holiday happy hour last night and stayed within my points (yay!). I attribute this to making sure I ate steadily throughout the day, getting in all my fruits and vegetables before the event (including the apple I scarfed down as I was driving to the happy hour).
+ After the happy hour, I had to drive home in a snow storm only to walk in the door and exercise immediately. It was already 10pm at this point and I'd really rather be snuggled up on the couch with my boyfriend, but I pushed myself.

It's strange to think of how far I've come in the past month. I know my weight loss journey will have highs and lows, but right now I feel unstoppable.
A little nerdy math humor :-)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cookie Challenge

I baked over 12 dozen cookies on Friday night in preparation for my annual cookie decorating party. I throw a party for close friends and my cousins where I bake the sugar and gingerbread cookies ahead of time and provide tons of decorations such as icing, sprinkles, candies, and we all have lunch, drink some wine, and decorate the cookies. Then, I pack up the cookies and ship them off with the people. It a really great way to indulge in my passion for baking, without being tempted to eat the goods myself.

I'm very proud of myself, I didn't eat a single cookie on Friday when I baked them! This was especially notable because sitting down and eating a few of the cookies I just slaved over had been the way I used to pat myself on the back: "Great job, Ashley. Now that you have tasted these cookies, you can certify that they are delicious!" Instead of the usual fattening reward, I celebrated my cookie making success by taking the time to appreciate how effortlessly I rolled out the rock hard sugar cookie dough (thanks to my sculpted back a la 30 Day Shred), and how I breezed through the night baking all those cookies and still had energy. I amazed myself!

The party was a big hit, everyone had a great time, and I realized that I am really enjoying this holiday season thanks to all the energy I have!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I'm moving forward at a tremendous pace! The weight loss and inches lost have been so rewarding for all of the hard work I am putting in! I also finally surpassed by 10% weight loss goal, which I have decided to reward myself with is new jeans.

The motivation I have found by conversing daily with others on the WW 20 year old's board has been invaluable. These people are the reason I have been able to move forward at all. The most rewarding aspect of WW, however, has been the fact that I have started to inspire others as well! I started a "Shred Thread ~Shredding Sisterhood~" on the boards because people felt so inspired by the inches I lost this week. To think, 2 weeks ago I was longing to be just like the successful ladies on the boards, and now I feel like one!

I like to think of these rewards as WW rewards. They are just like credit card rewards: the more you put out, the more you get back (without all that complicated financial crap of course)! So here's a short list of some of the rewards I have received thanks to the all the effort I have put into WW:

Smaller sized clothing
MORE Energy
A new found self confidence
A revved up sex drive
Strength- physical and mental
Inspiring others
A lower risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, and having a serious back injury (genetic ailments from my family)
More satisfying relationship with my boyfriend :-)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Shredding Results!

I posted about the 30 day Shred exercise routine I've been doing, and the results are in! After only 1 week I have lost..... ::Drum roll::
Chest: -1.25"
Waist: -0.75"
Hips: -0.5"
Thigh: -1.25"
Arm: 0"
For a total of 3.75" lost!!!

Tips for Shredding and sticking with it:
Start at Level 1 "modified". If you feel like you are too sore to complete Level 1 again the next day, switch to Level 2 "modified". This way you'll be able to exercise everyday without feeling discouraged by the pain. Do this and you'll work up to Level 1 unmodified quicker. Then, full transition to Level 2 should be easier.

I also lost 2.5 lbs this week, and surpassed my 10% weight loss goal. So, as a reward for my hard work, I plan to get a new pair of jeans. This comes just in time, because my jeans are hanging off me.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Food Fetish

Here is the list of foods I have an unhealthy obsession with in no particular order:

Macaroni and cheese
Wise cheese doodles
Manchego cheese
Parmesan cheese
Mozarella cheese
Cream cheese
Skim Milk

Wallace (From Wallace & Grommit) likes cheese too

Since the bulk of that list is Cheese, I'm beginning to think I have an unnatural obsession with CHEESE!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Shredding Sisters!

That is what I like to call my fellow ladies that Shred with me. I have been specifically following another girl, Kate, on the WW boards and we keep each other updated with our progress and promise to complete the Shred everyday. It really helps keep me accountable to know that someone else's motivation is reliant upon me. Hopefully I can convince my blog followers to join me in the Shredding Sisterhood.
I took measurements of my bust, waist, hips, thigh, and arm before starting the Shred, so I am really excited to actually measure my results. I'll be sure to post about it on Monday because that will be one full week on the Shred.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Recipe: Jambalaya

I had a 2lb weight loss this week that brings me under the dreaded 200lbs!!
I haven't weighed this little in 3 years and it feels amazing. The following tasty and satisfying recipe is helping me lose weight while satisfying my need for hot comforting dinners in the winter months.

Jambalaya (adapted from a WW recipe)
Makes 4 servings
2 cups per serving- 9 points
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 17 mins

2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion(s), sweet, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 medium green pepper(s), chopped (about 1 cup)
8 oz uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
29 oz canned stewed tomatoes, undrained
12 oz shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 pouches Uncle Ben's Microwave Ready Rice (Cajun flavor worked nicely)
1/8 to 1/4 cup Frank's Redhot Sauce (Use caution if you don't like spicy food)
1 tsp Chili Powder
1 tbsp Cumin
1 tbsp Oregano
1 tbsp Spicy McCorrmick Grill Seasoning (could sub in dried garlic, black pepper, salt, dried onion and red pepper flakes)

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and pepper; cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
Stir in chicken; cook, stirring, until chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
Stir in remaining ingredients, except rice; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Stir in rice; continue cooking until liquid is almost absorbed and rice is thoroughly heated, about 2 minutes. Yields about 2 cups per serving.

Big Week for Me

This past week was monumental for me.....

Monumental act #1: I haven't exercised in about a month because I can't bring myself to get to the gym with the early darkness and cold weather. So, I pick up the 30 day Shred DVD on Monday and it was excellent. I will push myself to do it every day until I am ready to kick my exercise up another notch.
Lesson learned: When I physically push myself and achieve my goals, I am more confident in all aspects of my life: work, how I dress, feeling more sexually attractive, how I manage stress, etc.

Monumental act #2: I drank a bit too much and caused myself to overeat on Thanksgiving (see previous post). I didn't, however, let the guilt spill over into the week, and I didn't over-indulge any other day.
Lesson learned: While being hard on myself motivates me to achieve great things, I can also be my worst enemy if I let it become a self-deprecating. By allowing myself to forgive myself and move on, I encouraged myself to succeed.

Monumental act #3: I let my emotions take over and I had a bit of a meltdown in front of my boyfriend. Due to the events in my life over the past three years (I lost my maternal grandfather whom I lived with growing up and greatly impacted the life I lead today, that same year my father injured his back which lead to constant doctors appointments, procedures, good news, but mostly bad news, long term disability approvals and denials, and both of these events broke my mother who had always remained very strong for me, always being my support system, but her attention and support was ripped away from me to deal with these issues and I am tired of only breaking down to my boyfriend) I have been bottling up a lot of different emotions for many reasons, but mostly because when I keep a positive attitude it helps me get through stressful times.
Lesson learned: Sometimes it's good to let it all hang out- the good, the bad, and the ugly. And boy was my meltdown ugly! But rather than be mad at me or leave me vulnerable, my boyfriend seemed relieved and comforting, as if he knew about the necessity of this melt down before I even felt it coming. Relationships constantly reach new levels and the good ones get there just when you need them to.

I think when dealing with weight loss, other aspects of our lives have to be reflected upon and reevaluated, because for most of us with some serious amounts of weight to lose, there is always some underlying issue that got us to be overweight, or that keeps us there.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Side dish: Zucchini and Onions

Zucchini and Onions
Makes 4 large servings
1 pt per serving
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 25 mins

2 medium zucchinis
1/2 onion (I prefer spanish or vidalia)
1 tbsp light butter
1/2 cup light chicken broth
1/2 tsp thyme

Cut zucchini into half moons (about 1/4" slices). Chop onion to similar size as zucchini. Place butter in a large pan over medium heat. Once melted, add onion and saute until the onions begin to caramelize and become translucent. Then add the zucchini and saute to soften them slightly, then add the chicken broth and spices. Simmer and stir occasionally until desired tenderness.

This recipe is meant to make in larger batches because it is so versatile. Serve it as a side dish with dinner, then store in the fridge. It can be added to eggs for a yummy omelet or mixed up with some wheat pilaf (or other grain) and throw in some protein to make a delicious lunch. It just gets better as it sits.

Thanksgiving: Thank goodness it's over!

So this was my first Thanksgiving OP (on plan) and it was interesting. I did a decent job during most of the day (healthy filling breakfast, an after dinner power walk), but then the drinking began.

I haven't had more than 2 drinks in one night since the summer. I had a good time though because I was with my brother and cousins (even my mom drank a little which is very atypical). The drinking put me slightly over what I wanted to eat that day, but then the snacking started. Rice pudding leftover from dessert and then a MAJOR weakness of mine: Cheese doodles! They are disgusting, and I realize that, but I can not have them around me or I will eat them in uncontrollable amounts! Needless to say, Thanksgiving day was a bust!

As detrimental as that day was, I didn't let the failure continue on throughout the weekend. It would have been very easy to overeat all weekend, especially because I was at my parent's house, but I didn't. As the ladies of WW's say "It's a holiday, not a holi-week".

Monday, November 24, 2008

Snack Attack Recipes

Spicy Popcorn
Makes 2 servings
1 serving- 3 cups- 1 pt

1/4 cup un-popped popcorn kernels
PAM butter-flavored
3 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Chili powder
1 tsp Cumin
Garlic Salt (or plain salt) to taste
Pop the kernels in an air popper, spray with butter flavored PAM and sprinkle over the popcorn. For more even spice coverage, place popcorn in a ziploc bag, pour in spices, seal and shake to coat.

Boneless Buffalo "Wings"
Makes 2 serving
1 serving- 2 "wings"- 3 pts

4 oz Boneless, skinless, chicken breast tenders
1/8 cup All-purpose flour
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/3 cup Barbecue sauce
1/3 cup Frank's red hot sauce
1 tsp Garlic powder

Preheat over to 400F. In a bowl or plastic ziploc bag, combine the flour salt and pepper. In another bowl, combine the sauces and garlic powder. Cover a baking sheet with foil (to make cleanup easier!) and spray with PAM. Toss or shake the chicken tenders to coat. Place the chicken in the sauce and gently turn over to coat until completely covered. Place on a baking sheet covered with foil and sprayed with PAM. Bake for 15-18 mins.

For buffalo "bites" cut the chicken into bit sized pieces before tossing in the flour.

Serve with fat free blue cheese, ranch or sour cream (this adds points though!)

Attack of the over-eater!

This weekend presented a challenge in the eating arena. I fought hard and stayed within my points on Saturday even though I attended a potluck, went to a bar, hit up a coffee and bake shop, and attended a brunch where the only choice was a made-to-order crepe station. I just chose wisely. Yes, it is possible, even at these types of events

At the potluck dinner I took a controlled portion of the homemade macaroni and cheese I made. I also had mostly steamed broccoli salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil, 1 chicken wing, and some Indian chicken curry- 15-18pts (I guesstimated a higher point value to be safe. I know it was at least 15 though)

At the bar, I had one beer. I think it helped that I was the DD or I may have splurged a bit more there- 3 pts

At the coffee shop I had black tea and a ginger snap cookie- 2pts. I think this was my greatest achievement all week because this late night food run was after the bar in the city I went to college in with some very close college friends. This type of event was a weekly tradition during my college days and it certainly helped me gain weight so to be back in that same situation and know I have changed my ways was motivating to say the least.

Sunday started out with the same fervor that Saturday did, but it ended miserably. I had an egg and bacon crepe, a few bites of a nutella crepe with powdered sugar, and a coffee- 14.5 pts

Since I had a heavy brunch, I had a late lunch of light Progresso soup, salad with balsamic vinegar, and an apple- 2.5 pts

Then I felt that familiar beast inside that wanted to just consume food. It's a horrible feeling that seems impossible to overcome. I tried drinking water and green tea but that didn't help. So I made some air popped pop corn and sprayed it with butter flavored pam and spicy seasonings (hot spices are supposed to help curb hunger)-1 pt

It didn't satisfy the beast! Then my boyfriend and I decided to make some baked chicken wings. The flavor came out great, but the wings themselves seemed fatty so we didn't like them. After some time we decided that we really wanted wings, so we caved and ordered take out from this great bar grill a few doors down from our apartment. Not only did I have boneless buffalo bites, I had turkey on rye with cheese, bacon, cole slaw and Russian dressing with sweet potato fries- 25 pts or almost a day's worth of food.

The worst part for me was not eating all that food, but it was not feeling satisfied until I did.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dinner: Stuffed Peppers

The other night I made some delicious stuffed peppers for dinner that were very satisfying! I've made stuffed peppers for a few years, but I've never considered them "healthy" food so I've been avoiding them as a regular dinner option. The new version I made, however, are quick, easy, and a healthy 7 points each on WW!

Overall a great healthy day of eating on Wednesday:

Quaker Weight Control Cinnamon Oatmeal (3 pts)
1 Green Apple (1 pt)
Coffee w/ Skim Milk (0 pts)

12 oz (3/4 of a can) Hormel Turkey Chili, No Beans (6 pts)
1 Babybel Light Cheese (1 pt)
Green Tea (0pts)

2 oz Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese (2 pts)

1 Stuffed Pepper (7 pts)
1 Artichoke stuffed with Provolone Cheese (4 pts)
1 Glass of Red Wine (2 pts)

26 pts Total out of 27 pts that I get for the day

Stuffed Peppers Recipe
Makes 4 small stuffed peppers
7pts per serving (serving size 1 pepper)
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 40 mins

4 small green peppers
Pam non-stick spray
12 oz. 95% lean ground beef
2 cups brown rice (I use one Uncle Ben's Ready Rice microwave pouch)
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 medium onion diced
4 cloves garlic diced (Note: I like garlic a lot, if you're not too into it just do 1-2 cloves)
4- 1 oz slices of park skim mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 425 F. Cut the tops off of the peppers and pull out the ribs and seeds. Cut bottoms of peppers if necessary so they may stand during baking. Spray a baking dish with Pam, place peppers in the baking dish and spray them with Pam (both inside and outside). Place in the oven while you prepare the stuffing. For the stuffing, dice the onion and garlic. Spray a non-stick skillet with Pam and heat on medium. Place onions in the pan and cook to soften for 3-4 minutes. Then add the garlic and continue cooking. Move mixture to sides of pan and add ground beef in the center. Cook and break apart the meat until just brown (the meat will continue to cook in the oven). Add the tomato sauce, rice, and spices to the pan and stir to combine and heat through. Remove the peppers from the oven, they should look softer and wilt-y, with juices coming out. Lower the over to 350 F. Stuff the peppers with the beef mixture. Place 1 slice of cheese on each pepper and return to oven for 10-20 more minutes depending on desired done-ness of pepper.

These store well in the fridge for up to 3-4 days, making them perfect for leftovers as a lunch. I hope you enjoy them!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Virtual Me

So, I've seen this virtual model around and I wanted to make one of me to inspire more weightloss. You can make your own at!

Virtually shrinking me
221lbs ------> 201lbs ------> 180lbs

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Before and After (Take 1)

My current weight loss
Before: 221lbs, Size 16, November 2007
Current: 201 lbs, Size 14-16, November 2008

My first before and after
Before: 227 lbs, Size 16-18, December 2006
After: 205lbs, Size 16, March 2007

Me before the weight fluctuations: July 2004
Weight: 175 lbs
Size: 8-10

Ambition to Lose

A synopsis of how I got to be overweight and what I plan to do about it...

I lost someone very close to me during my sophomore year of college. I turned to food for comfort because I didn't allow myself to use the people around me for support and strength, mostly because these people were grieving the loss as well.
I gained LOTS of weight, 40+ pounds, and kept it on for almost two years. Then, I had the opportunity to go on my first "real" spring break trip (a Caribbean Cruise) as a college student. I wanted to feel comfortable in my bathing suit and enjoy myself more than I could at that weight. I joined Weight Watchers (WW) online in January 2007 and lost almost 20 lbs in 3 months.
I enjoyed the vacation, but did not stick to the WW plan during or after it. The weight slowly crept back for the rest of the year until I got fed up during the holidays. I recommitted myself to WW in January 2008 and lost the same 20 lbs but have managed to keep it off all year. I've stopped losing weight, however, and I attribute it to my lax WW point counting, binge eating, and inconsistent exercise regiment.
I'd like to have more accountability for my actions to help me achieve my goal so I will chronicle my successes, failures, and reflections along the way to help take off the next 20 lbs. I also have a true passion for cooking and pride myself in my recipes so I'll be sure to share them with you.
Thanks for stopping by!