Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Tale of Two Cheesesticks

Two polly-o cheesesticks frighten the hell out of me. How could a seemingly delicious snack scare someone?

Well, let's go back 8 years to my sophomore year in high school... Everyday for lunch I walked to my best friends house for lunch. She only lived a few blocks from our high school, so the walk never took too long. Upperclassman students at my high school had the privilege of going out for lunch to their homes or local food places if their parents signed a permission slip. When we'd get to her house, I would get my lunch out of the refrigerator...

Two polly-o cheesesticks

I can remember eating my lunch very slowly and very methodically, trying to make the food last as long as I could, pulling hairlike strands of cheese off the stick and placing it in my mouth, barely tasting a thing. I would chase the cheesesticks with one bottle of water. That concluded my lunch. I never used to think there was anything wrong with eating that everyday for lunch, but when I think about my breakfast- nothing or a granola bar- and my dinner- a bowl of soup or a salad- and paired with 2 hour practices for competitive cheerleading, I realize now that I was not consuming enough food.

Sure, I was at my lowest weight and smallest size of a 6/7, and loving the attention of my body was garnering, but I'm sure my body was suffering from the lack of calories and nutrition it needed to keep up with school and practice.

I don't think I would go as far as to call it anorexia, but it certainly was not a healthy relationship food. It's amazing how healthy I thought I was just because I had managed to get into a size 6. I know now that health doesn't correlate with a size.

I feel healthier now at a much larger size 12. I, and others, need to be reminded that a good relationship with food takes work, but the benefits of a healthy body will make you feel better than any silly size regarded as "the perfect size".

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Weighing in and Excitement

I weighed in at 183.0lbs last night (+0.6 lbs) from last week. I must say that I am accepting the gain and moving on. After the amount of pizza I ate in the past week (1 small pie or 6 slices- not all in one sitting!) it's a wonder that I didn't gain more.

So far this week, I have managed to make exercise a priority again, even with my busy work schedule; I did 45 minutes (Banish Fat and Boost Metabolism) on Sunday, and the Shred Level 3 on Monday. It's been really difficult to fit anything into my weeknights. I can't remember the last time (must have been 3 or 4 weeks ago) I did something on a weeknight that wasn't cooking dinner, eating, exercising, or reading. Tonight- I'm going to the mall and I'm really excited! I am literally quivering with excitement to go to the mall tonight, because it is a weeknight- wow, what a sad little life!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Review: Banish Fat Boost Metabolism

I really love Jillian Michaels. She really has a handle on what it means to be a healthy but balanced woman. I love every DVD of her's that I have purchased, and the Banish Fat and Boost Metabolism DVD delivers again.The video is structured in her signature circuit style. There are 7 circuits, a warm up, and cool down. Each circuit is 5 minutes long: 5 exercises, each for 30 seconds, and then repeats the same 5 exercises.

The moves can best be described as a mix of kick-boxing, classic cardio moves (butt-kicks, high knees running, burpees, etc), and power/jump moves. I did a few kick-boxing classes back in the day, and I loved them. This video definitely satisfies when I have a craving to punch, kick, and sweat out my crappy day at work. Its also great for getting in a great cardio sessions and a total body workout.

I don't think it has the same toning benefits as "No More Trouble Zones" or the "30 Day Shred" because it does not use hand weights or incorporate other strength moves. I certainly break into an all over sweat in the second circuit and I am dripping with sweat but the end of the video. My fiance always comments that it looks like a really tough workout, as he leisurely turns the page of his latest book, that skinny bastard.

Catch a glimpse of some of the workout in this montage video clip:

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sheer exhaustion

It has been a rough week. I have been working 10-12 hour days with a 2.5 hour commute round trip. There just isn't enough time or energy. I have felt really drained, and I finally had a meltdown on Wednesday. It was a good old fashioned cry fest, and it felt soooooo good. I followed it up with some liquor, pizza, a trashy movie, and lots of hot sex- all my favorite indulgences in one night ;-)
Maybe indulging isn't always a good idea, but I feel much better. Work is still just as rough, but I somehow feel better.

I haven't been tracking my points all week, so my plan to stay on track was to just eat as similarly as possible to the last two weeks when I tracked everything- I think it's working, but we'll see for sure on Monday when I weigh in.
I also haven't gotten in any exercise. I plan to break this trend tonight with a 50 minute sweat fest a la Jillian Michaels- Banish Fat and Boost Metabolism, and tomorrow I hope to get in a run.

I'm finally catching up with everyone's blogs and it's fun to see how everyone has been. Happy Friday!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Few of My (New) Favorite Things

A Few of My (New) Favorite Things:

Admittedly, I have not been to the grocery store in 4 months! My wonderful fiance has been doing all the grocery shopping as I have been working very long hours and very late days, and we always seem to travel during the summer weekends. I broke this trend on Sunday with a couple's trip to the food store. Fiance and I stocked up on stuff for dinner and snacks. Since I hadn't personally been going to the food store, fiance was picking up the usual snacks for me- rice cakes, cheese sticks, granola bars, fruit, etc. But, there are constantly new snack products popping up, so I decided to pick up a few this week and was pleasantly surprised!

Oikos Greek Yogurt with Honey
I have always been a firm believer in Dannon Lite and Fit creamy vanilla. I detest yogurt with "chunks" as I un-affectionately call those foreign particles of fruit that ruin the smoothness that I love about yogurt. I also tended towards sweetened yogurts out of habit. I saw some people seemed to love this Oikos yogurt for some reason and I saw it in the food store and thought I'd give it a whirl. I picked up the honey on the bottom version. The yogurt is perfectly tart and seriously creamy and heavy-bodied compared to the watery Dannon I was consuming. The honey adds the perfect balance of sweetness (aka, not too much honey), but the honey somehow lacks the usual floral taste that I love from honey.
Special K Crackers
I have purchased many different types of crackers in my time as a WW. I thought why not give another cracker a shot. These crackers remind me of Wheat Thins, but they are less "greasy". Something about Wheat Thins was oily, always leaving oil spots on a napkin or a nice greasy film on your hands. I haven't had Wheat Thins in a long time so it's nice to have a cracker that reminds me of them- salty and wheat filled!

I have also been discovering new "out to lunch" places because I am in a new work location (New York City). I had Chipotle for the first time last month. Don't freak out, I may have never had Chiptole before, but I have been to Q-doba several times, and it is just like Chipotle. At any rate, I have figured out how to build a healthy and tasty burrito at Chipotle so I can eat out with my co-workers and not feel like someone on a diet.

Chipotle vegetarian burrito bowl
See Carlos, it is possible to continue eating at Chipotle! This bad boy only sets me back 5 WW points (290 calories, 5g fat, 53g carbs, 13g fiber, 11g protein)

Throughout the weightloss journey, I have gradually added foods that I never thought would pass my lips: all sorts of seafood, veggies, fruits, legumes, and beans. I was a very picky eater growing up, so it has taken a long time, but I continue to expand my food horizon. One of the latest foods I have tried, thanks to an awesome place in the city called Crisp, is falafel! I get a beautiful salad from Crisp with humus, falafel, salsa, mixed greens, pine nuts, and wheat pita on the side- yum! It does set me back a lot of points, but it is so delicious and healthful.

I encourage everyone to expand their food horizons- continue to try new things! It'll add variety to your diet in terms of nutrients and keeping things interesting. Also, continue to frequent the places you love, but take some time and consideration when ordering. I know it's hard not to order your "usual", but you'll never break a bad habit if you don't try.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Weigh In and Summer Smoothies

Weigh in: 182.6lbs

This weekend I also made one of my stand-by favorites for the summer and or a breakfast on the go: smoothies! I was reminded off how much I miss them when I saw people blogging about "banana ice cream", aka blended frozen bananas.

I used to go to this awesome coffee shop in Hoboken called Frozen Monkey, and they had a specialty drink named after the place that had banana, Tasti D-light vanilla ice cream, and iced coffee. I recreated the smoothie to save money and calories when in college. I replaced the ice cream with frozen chopped bananas, threw in a scoop of protein powder, and used coffee and skim milk to help thin the smoothie to my liking. It was delicious and it prompted me to make different combinations.

I love these smoothies for some many reasons:
The combinations are endless and easy to customize. They taste like a dessert but are very healthful! They help me get bananas into my diet because I am not a fan of them. It also packs more fruit into your diet. They help use up fruit that would have otherwise gone bad. When the bananas are getting too ripe, and I don't have time to make banana bread, I chop the bananas up and throw them in the freezer, same goes for mangos, berries, and pineapple.

Some of my favorites are:

Frozen Monkey (Approximately 155 calories, 1g fat, 34g carbs, 9g protein, 3g fiber)
1/2 cup cold coffee, 1 frozen chopped banana, 1/2c of skim milk and more to thin the smoothie to your liking

PB Banana (Approximately 290 calories, 9g fat, 43g carbs, 14g protein, 3.5g fiber)
1 Tbsp Peanut Butter, 1 frozen chopped banana, 1 cup skim milk plus more to thin the smoothie to your liking

Banana Split (Approximately 300 calories, 1g fat, 64g carbs, 10g protein, 3g fiber)
1 -2 Tbsp Chocolate Syrup, 1 frozen chopped banana, 1 cup skim milk plus more to thin the smoothie to your liking

Berry Smoothie (Approximately 150 calories, 1g fat, 25g carbs, 12g protein, 2g fiber)
3/4 cup frozen berries (any kind- I like mixed berries), 1/2 cup fat free vanilla yogurt, 1/2 cup skim milk plus more to thin the smoothie to your liking

Tropical smoothie (Approximately 200 calories, 1g fat, 39g carbs, 12g protein, 2g fiber)
1/2 cup frozen mango, 1/2 cup frozen pineapple, 1/2 cup fat free vanilla yogurt, 1/2 cup skim milk plus more to thin the smoothie to your liking

Happy Blending ;-)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Winding down the week

I woke up and got in a nice run this morning. The weather is perfect for running. It really made me look forward to running all fall. I really want to run a 10K, so maybe the end of this fall will be the perfect timing. Only time will tell, because I am letting my body dictate my actions more and more these days, only allowing my mind to interject when it has something worth value to contribute. Case in point:

Fiance and I went on our usual date night out and we chose a greek place for dinner. I wanted something sweet all day, so I instantly wanted baklava. With this in mind, I ordered a light dinner and saved plenty of room (and points) for baklava. For dinner I chose the vegetarian platter with 2 falafel, a tomato and cucumber salad, tabbouleh and parsley salad, and hummus. Then I ordered dessert, I asked the waiter to only bring half the portion to the table and box the other half for me to take home.

The good choices continue. I'm sure it makes for a boring story, but it's been so hard for me lately that it's only appropriate that a celebrate every success, no matter how small!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Food Wars

I have been fighting the good fight all week against food. There were many battles won, but in the end I must win the war.

Last night, I had a lovely time in Hoboken, NJ with my fiance and two of my dearest friends. We went out for Restaurant week and had a pre fix dinner of three courses. I chose the watermelon and brie salad, shrimp nachos (split with a friend), and braised oxtails with gnocchi and carrots, and topped it off with two drinks ;-). The portions were small so it was easy to control myself. The food was good, but it wasn't amazing, so that also made it easy to control my eating.

Afterward, we went for coffee. I had a skim chai latte and I eyed up a beautiful pink frosted cupcake. I blame this lady for my nagging cupcake craving after posting a picture of a frosting filled cupcake! I had wanted dessert all day, so I opted for a gingersnap cookie instead.

This morning, after little to no sleep and drinking last night, I was craving my sleepy hang-over food: the bagel! The bagel lost, however, to the much more svelte oatmeal.

Score 1 for the gingersnap. Score 1 for the oatmeal. And score 2 for me for making better choices!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Weigh In and My Weekend

Weigh in Monday: -3.0lbs, 184.6lbs
B: Oatmeal (3 pts), 3 munchkins (3.5 pts- whopps!)
S: Fiber One bar (2 pts)
L: 1/2 chicken sandwich and gazpacho @ Hale and Hearty (7pts)
S: Fruit salad (2pts)
D: Bruschetta angel hair pasta with grilled chicken and balsamic reduction (13 pts)
Total- 29.5 pts (used 3 AP earned and 0.5 WP)
Exercise: 30 Day Shred, L1 w/ 5lb weights (3 AP)

I went to the Bronx Zoo this weekend; I try to go once every summer. I love animals! It's really comforting and soothing for me to observe animals. The Bronx Zoo also does a really nice job with the animals' faux habitats so it's a pleasant experience instead of an animal in a cage kind of a feel. My fiance and I really enjoyed each other's company and were sure to act like children. Exhibit A: Take a picture with a weird prop from the gift store:

My greatest eating triumph this weekend was my lunch choice. Last year when we went to the zoo, fiance and I split the fried chicken fingers and a soda. This year fiance got his own and I chose and grilled chicken, tomato, spinach, provolone and red pepper romesco sauce on ciabatta. Props to the Bronx zoo for having choices. Eating the whole sandwich was around 11 points, which is high but I needed my energy for all the walking we were doing because the Bronx Zoo is huge!
Exhibit B for acting like children: a snapshot of some suggestive animal species

A snap of one of the lemurs in the newly constructed (2008) Madagascar exhibit. It's such a great exhibit!
There are even beautiful peacocks that roam the zoo, this one finds solace on the grass that is clearly labeled with "Keep off the grass":

Monday, August 3, 2009

100th Post: A List of 100 Things

100 Things

Things I have done

Things I plan to do

Things you can do too

I wanted to relive some of my greatest moments- things that I am eternally proud of- to remind myself of the power of trying new and scary things, setting goals, and achieving them. None of these things came easily- nothing good ever does. It's important to remember that the road ahead is long and it's an up-hill battle, but working towards and achieving one goal is a catalyst for more goals. Set a new goal for yourself, work towards it, and you'll be pleased to see the change in your attitude. Nothing will feel out of reach. That's how I am sure that the new "Things I plan to do" will lead me to a better, more fulfilled and happier me!

My younger years

1. I started my own food drive in 5th grade to collect food for Veterans

2. I won two national titles for competitive cheerleading (Age 10 and 12)

3. I was invited to take the SAT's as a and 7th and 8th-grader and I scored better than most kids entering college that year

4. I was the youngest ballerina at my dance school to be invited to take Pointe (toe shoes) at 12 years old

5. I served as a junior member of the Ladies Marine Corp League- doing community service and projects for local veterans

6. My 6th grade artwork was put on a special display in my elementary school

High School

7. I went out for a made the cheerleading team all 4 years of high school

8. I was named the captain 3/4 years

9. I also made the co-ed competitive cheerleading team as a freshman (only 1 other girl did!)

10. My artwork was selected to be displayed at the county library, highlighting talented artists

11. I took 4 AP tests, passed all of them, and scored high enough to receive college credit for 2 of them

12. I received 3 additional scholarships from outside groups (I applied for probably 40!)

13. I was offered a "full-ride" to Northeastern U (No, I didn't take it)


14. I planned a successful conference for 200+ people that included workshops, fun events, and community service projects

15. I participated in 2 week long Habitat for Humanity project during my college spring breaks

16. I organized a car show and raised $1000 for a local hospital

17. I coordinated a group of 20 volunteers for a YMCA fundraiser that raised over 50,000

18. I filed for a patent on a medical device that I designed with colleagues in college (this one is a biggy, as it was a lifetime goal I had set for myself!)

19. I graduated college and met my goal GPA upon graduation

20. I explored many career options while in college, I held 4 co-operative education jobs at different pharmaceutical and medical device companies

21. I garnered more research funding for my co-op company thanks to the work I did and the presentation I made to the funding sponsor company

22. I received a beautiful award upon graduation for my dedication to the Co-operative Education program at my college

Adult Life

23. I took control of my life (most days anyway)

24. I try new things that scare me

25. I had a job 6 months before I graduated

26. I got my own apartment straight out of college

27. I promptly dumped my apartment to save for a wedding and a home when I got engaged

28. I am getting married to my best friend even though I had "planned" to be single after college

29. I am wise enough to let the best laid plans go

Weightloss Adventures

30. I recommitted myself to Weight Watchers after maintaining for 7 months

31. I completed the 30 Day Shred program

32. I completed the C25K Program

33. I became a "runner"

34. I ran in an 8K

35. I inspired my mother to start walking again and she's stuck with it for 5 weeks so far

36. I went down 3 dress sizes

37. I lost 45lbs so far and have kept it off

38. I lost 19.8% of my heaviest weight

39. I decided to create a weightloss blog and have updated it every week since

The Future

40. I want to run in a 5K (well, a bunch of them actually) since I skipped that distance and went for the 8K.

41. I want to run in a 10K.

42. I want to do a triathlon.

43. I want to take a yoga or a dance class.

44. I want to own a townhome, house, condo, something, anything in 2010!

45. I want to continue to update this blog as long as it brings me happiness.

46. I want to paint one painting a year as long as it brings me pleasure.

47. I want to finally make a scrap book out of the hundreds of dollars worth of supplies I have.

48. I want to start a blog about my wedding planning.

49. I want to lose the last 20 lbs.

50. I want to have a healthy BMI.

51. I want to run some kind of business one day- baking, cooking, event planning, something crafty or a dog-breading business.

52. I want to take at least 1 vacation a year for the rest of my working career to recharge.

53. I want to go to Tahiti, Italy, Australia, and Greece at some point.

54. I want to continue to appreciate my relationships.

55. I want to stay best friends with my fiance.

56. I want to create a family tree and history to learn more about my ancestors.

57. I want to bake my grandma's Christmas cookies every year to celebrate her, her life, and something beautiful that she taught me.

58. I want to continue to volunteer to help veterans out of respect for my grandfather and the sacrifices he made for my country.

59. I want to learn how to remove all sorts of stains from clothing (a seemingly protected secret of grandma's everywhere).

60. I want to learn how to better iron clothes and be disciplined enough to do it every so often instead of tossing clothes in the dryer or buying tons of Downy de-wrinkle spray.

61. I want to plant a garden and grows vegetables and herbs.

62. I want to cook dinner for my family with the vegetables and herbs that I grew myself.

63. I want to stay interested and involved in cooking dinners instead of eating out.

64. I want to keep buying my Christmas wrapping paper and cards right after the Christmas before to save lots of money!

65. I want to create a database of the addresses for my Christmas cards and birthday cards so I never forget someone I love.

66. I want to have children (healthy children).

67. I want to create an environment where my children are nurtured to be creative, curious, and healthy.

68. I want to always remember that it is better to create structure for my children instead of being their best friend (like my mother did). Children will have many friends and do not need one more, but they only have one mother.

69. I want to be lucky enough to remember that home is being with those you love. It is not the square footage of the home, nor the coast you reside on that defines your home, but it is being surrounded by those you love.

70. I want to own a boat.

71. I want to throw an awesome birthday party for every decade my fiance ages- 30, 40, etc.

72. I want to be open enough with myself and my friends because in my honesty I always find solace and in the process sometimes I help my friends find solace.

73. I want my friends and my family to remember me as someone who was always honest, open, loving, sharing, supportive, and there for them when they needed someone.

74. I want to always live near the water, preferably the ocean because I am always reminded of who I am when I watch the waves crash onto the shore- only one person in a great big world.

75. I want to learn how to speak some Italian- I find it to be oh so sexy!

76. I want to learn to love every inch of my body.

77. I want to treat my body with respect and give in the nutrition and exercise it deserves.

78. I want to recognize my family's health history and take active steps to prevent those diseases that claimed lives.

79. I want to make healthy choices because I love myself and not because I hate the way I look (i.e too fat)

80. I want to get promoted.

81. I want to always believe in the company I work for- I invest so much of my time there so I should love and respect what my company does.

82. I want to find balance between a work life and my personal life.

83. I want to remember that taking time out for me is not taking time away from those I love but an investment in a healthy future with loved ones.

84. I want to find a balance between saving for the future and enjoying the present.

85. I want to find more blogs that I truly enjoy to add to my Google Reader. I only follow those that I enjoy reading every post!

86. I want my teeth professionally whitened.

87. I want to get massages more often.

88. I want to learn how to use my smart phone to it's potential- I pay so much for it but barely tap into it's capabilities.

89. I want to remember to take time for my fiance, even when life gets busy, because he has my heart.

90. I want a Kitchen Aid standing mixer!!

91. I want to make my own ice cream, sausage, pasta, and tomato sauce because these items are so special when homemade.

92. I want to be a grandmother.

93. I want to live to enjoy my retirement.

94. I want a big back yard with an in-ground pool for my children to play in. So much of my childhood memories are wrapped up in my parents pool and I want that for my children.

95. I want a puppy of my own to train- a Shiba Inu to be exact.

96. I want a classic set of diamond earrings and a pearl necklace to be passed down for generations.

97. I want the perfect red lipstick.

98. I want to be surrounded by love.

99. I want to always be proud of the life I lead.

100. I want all of these "wants" to come to fruition or to adapt them as I change and my life changes.

Thank you to the wonderful people who have come into my life via the blogging world. I cherish your posts and your comments more than you know.

Happy Blogging!