Thursday, June 20, 2013

Busy Times

     I am not sure where all my time went this week, but it seems to have disappeared. Next week is very busy too and hopefully, it may provide some blogging inspiration. So, I just wanted to let you all know that all is well and I'm just on a little break for a few days.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Every Excuse in the Book (Part 2)

Last night's dinner

     What did we find helped us the most? We started by using the website It also has an app for your phone or tablet. You simply log what you eat into it each day and it keeps track of everything from calories to carbs, sugar, fats etc. For us, it is so much easier than counting points (although that works for many) because so many foods and brands are already programmed into it. You can also scan bar codes with your phone app to add them to your meals and there is a way to type in any recipe you might make and save it to use in a meal listing. I go over on my sugar suggested amount almost daily and often on my protein, but I try very hard to not go over on carbs or fats. We eat about 1200 calories a day, but I have learned to stretch those to include everything I want and no fat free or fake food for me. You also log in your exercise for the day and you can have more calories if you exercise (I rarely use the bonus calories). You can link your page to other people, so we can watch each other progress (or slack) and send messages of support.

     We also started exercising 5 or 6 days a week. My daughter likes it. I hate it. I hate the time it takes. I hate to sweat. I hate having to take a shower after. I do mine at 5:00 pm, so now instead of being happy when my husband comes home from work, I tend to say, “great-you are home-I have to exercise now-crap”. However, I tried walking an hour a day for over a year before this and never lost an ounce. In order for me to be healthy, I have to sweat and feel as if I might die for at least 30 minutes a day. I opted to get a dance DVD (message me and I'll tell you which one) and it is as fun for me as exercise could ever be. I almost died doing the 15 minute program the first few times. Now I do 35 minutes and while it is a workout, I can do it. I always feel better after I have finished...always. Even if I am dragging and tired, I have more energy after I am done. It is just the starting that is difficult!

     There have been a few interesting things happen along the way. My husband started exercising when I did (he is competitive like that). He is just a few pounds over his high school weight, didn't need to lose an ounce and has probably lost 5 pounds as he is eating the same things I am, just in larger portions. He says he feels better and we have both noticed that big heavy meals, fried foods etc. (which were never a big part of our diets) don't even sound good anymore. We didn't eat a lot of beef before and we eat very little now. He had beef twice in one day a few days ago and felt horrible afterward. That doesn't mean we never go a little crazy. At my girlfriend's wedding (read here) I had 2 little pies, pizza and lasagna! I loved every minute of it. I just didn't do it again the next day! In the beginning of this process I was a grouch every weekend. I never cooked on Friday nights before and I didn't want to start now. The thing I have learned is that it is restaurant food that is really is toxic to me. One meal in a restaurant and I gain weight. There is so much hidden fat and calories in the food that even if you think you are ordering something healthy, it is bathed in butter and salt. For the first few weeks, I just stayed home on weekends and complained. Once I was seeing results, I would go to places that had true low-cal options (many have nutritional information online). Now, I will go where I want and have what I want...but I won't eat something that isn't “worth it” to me. If I gain a pound, I know it will leave again in a day or two. I do tend to want the healthier choices now...but I certainly had Crème Brulee in Epcot and I will have Fried Green Tomatoes the next time I see them on a menu. This isn't a diet, this is a life! 

     I asked my daughter the 5 things that most helped her change her life and she said:

1. Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges
2. Quinoa
3. A Food Scale
4. Kid's meals in restaurants
5. Sugar Free Jell-O

     My top 5 are:

1. Trader Joe's Savory Thin Rice Crackers (I swear I couldn't have done this without these. You can have an entire bowl for almost no calories. They taste like a cross between a cracker and a chip. I have had them with cheese, peanut butter, home-made hummus, in soup, in the car...I make a 100 mile drive to stock up).

2. Weight Watcher String Cheese Sticks (I like the plain ones best, but they do come flavored).

3. Wonton Wrappers- I have made everything from Crab Rangoon and Nachos, to Cinnamon Sugar Crisps and Chocolate-Filled Wrappers with them. I love pastry and these make things have that crispy, crunchy texture.

4. Non-fat Frozen Yogurt: Pinkberry, Menchies, TCBY or even McDonald's cones. I am a dessert girl and if there is a frozen yogurt place, I'm in. I put lots of fruit on top. Expensive some places (McDonald's is only $1) but I don't care...I need dessert!

5. Quinoa (I like it best with a T. of Brummel and Brown Yogurt “butter”) which is great for a side dish or cold with veggies in it as a salad or main dish.

From my daughter: It is hard to do this at my age because so much of our social lives revolve around “going out” for drinks, for dinner, etc. It is doable if you plan ahead and try not to walk into a situation where you don't have a game can't always know what food will be around but you can plan how you will handle it. Eat a snack before going out to dinner, order off the kid's menu (most restaurants will let you and it is instant portion control), exercise in the morning and get it out of the way so you can enjoy your day, look at your before pictures often-they will remind you why you are doing it, still enjoy life; it is not a prison sentence. Have a glass of wine or that slice of pizza every once in a while. Know that people will give you funny looks at first when you go from eating cheeseburgers and beer to grilled chicken and iced tea, but know that it will be worth it when they start asking you how you did it.

     I found a new cookbook that I love. “The Looneyspoons Collection”    takes recipes for things we love and makes them healthy without using a bunch of fake sweeteners, fake eggs etc. I have loved every recipe (except for the scones-my recipe is more fattening but “worth it”). My daughter bought me Bobby Deen's cookbook, “From Mama's Table to Mine” for Mother's Day and it has many of Paula's recipes made healthier. The pimento cheese spread is wonderful. I will be sharing some of the recipes from both books in future posts. They have both really helped me be able to cook great food in a healthier way.

     Can my daughter reach her goal? I have no doubt she will, I have never seen her this determined. Will I maintain what I've done. I hope so. I certainly am well aware that I am one crisis away from eating those pounds back on, they go on much faster these days. Did I get rid of my clothes that no longer fit? No way. I know what they say...get rid of the “bigger” clothes.  I never thought I'd need to be doing this in the first place, so I'm not cocky enough to get rid of those clothes yet. I do know that at this point, I simply feel better physically when I am exercising and not eating heavy, fattening food on a daily basis. I never was a big eater, or a night time eater...but, look at what a portion of pasta is (2 oz.) and ask yourself how many portions you are eating. I think I was eating at least 4 servings. I know that I feel like I am back in my own body again instead of one that had 30 pounds of extra padding on it and I like the way my jeans fit (okay, we all have a little vanity about that, don't we).

     I also know that all those excuses that I listed at the beginning can be overcome if you go at it kicking and screaming (and sweating). It certainly helps if you have someone to push you when you feel like giving up or when you injure yourself (yes, we both have had sports injuries-that is such a joke for us). It also helps to have someone tell you the truth. I told my daughter she was too heavy and I wanted to help her...she reminded me that no matter what size I wear, my body is never going to look 25 again (darn it). We are 1000 miles apart and supporting each other daily with recipes, new food items we find and tons of those inspirational quotes and pictures. I told someone recently that the word “willpower” is so often used around dieting, exercising and healthy living. I think that is the wrong word. That sounds like it is a battle to fight, which sounds negative to begin with. That is the way I have approached this in the past. I like the word “commitment”. I am going to try my best to be committed to exercising regularly, eating more healthy foods than unhealthy and to also enjoy my life. So, some days...I'll have a cupcake, or two!

     One of the questions I have been asked is "what are you eating"? It changes daily, but yesterday I had:

Breakfast: Greek Yogurt (I always do, I did before this)
Morning Snack: 2 Weight Watcher Cheese Sticks (or sometimes an apple)
Lunch: Salad of baby greens, peppers, tomatoes, asparagus, shaved turkey and parmesan cheese.
Afternoon Snack: Skinny Cow Mint Ice Cream Sandwich
Dinner: (see above photo) Baked Rosemary Chicken, Baked potato with Brummel and Brown and Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella Salad with Balsamic Vinegar
Dessert: Pound Cake with Frozen Greek Yogurt and spray whipped cream.
     I drink lots of green tea, some coffee and try to drink water (I don't like it). The website will help you figure out portion sizes to make it all add up to your daily recommendation. I am more than happy to answer any questions or give you recipes etc. and so is my daughter. We are absolutely not experts at this. We are winging it here as we find ways to feel better without feeling as if we are "doing without" the things we enjoy.

I am not endorsing any products, didn't get anything free...nada. I'm just telling you things that we found helped us.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Every Excuse In the Book (Part 1)

      It is impossible at my age. I take a medication that prevents it. Menopause. I don't have time for that. I travel too much. For my age, I'm not that bad. I'll do it Monday. Do any of those statements sound familiar? I'm sure I could probably come up with more thoughts that went through my head over the past few years as I have gradually watched my pants get tighter and the 10 pounds I wanted to lose, creep up to a bit more than that. The real truth is, I like interesting food, restaurants and cooking; I hate exercise and the past few years have been very stressful for me. When I get stressed, I bake...and I'm a damned good cook when I want to be and somebody has to eat it!

      We all know “those” people. They might be our sisters, our co-workers or our Facebook friends. They talk or post pictures and information about how they just love to eat nothing but salads, they don't mind drinking a meal or two a day and they think exercise is the most fun thing in the world. They carry their salad dressing out to eat, always order a baked potato dry (if they haven't given up carbs all together) and say they will NEVER have sugar, soda, chocolate, bread, carbs, coffee, dessert, breakfast, whatever...ever again in their lifetime. They are so happy eating nothing and doing constant cardio, weights, 5K's, marathons...and so on. More power to them. I'm not one of them, so if you want that kind of blog post, stop reading now.

      I have to have breakfast, lunch and dinner along with a couple snacks and dessert. If I travel, I'm going to have the regional foods that I love and while I do love a walk on the beach, I truly hate exercise that makes me sweat. With that said, I thought I'd share a blog post or two about what my daughter and I have been doing the past 5 months. She has had numerous people ask her what she has changed in her life and I have actually had a couple people question me too. So, since this started out as a Mother-Daughter blog, we are going to tell this story together. This isn't really a weight loss story, it is a feel better story and we are still works in progress. We also aren't experts at all and wouldn't begin to tell anyone else what to do, I just thought that I'd share a few of the things that have helped us start to take better care of ourselves and survive (and thrive) the past 5 months doing it!

      A little background information as to what made us decide over Christmas that we needed to make a few changes. We are coming at this from 2 different ages, 30 years apart and 2 different body types. My daughter is about 5'3” and works at a place where every meeting, event, gift from her co-workers and social outing included food and drinks. When you throw in every possible restaurant you can imagine and a kid who loves to cook like her mother...6 years in Orlando and she had gained enough weight to feel unhealthy, not fit into her clothes and to be really unhappy with her reflection in the mirror. As her mother, I was worried about her health and I knew that while everything in her life was going really well, she still wasn't happy because she wasn't comfortable in her own skin.
     I have an entirely different body type and history. I'm 5'7” and over the past 10 years, the combination of empty-nest, travel and eating out and various stressful situations had made me eat too much and move too little. My clothes were too tight and I was a heartbeat from buying the next size. For the first time in my life my BMI was out of the healthy range and into overweight and I had my first experience with “muffin top” and I didn't like it. I didn't feel like myself anymore and while I have little control over some of the issues in my life...this one was all my fault.

     Over the holidays, my daughter and I decided that we were going to do something and we were going to do it together. We decided to approach this differently than the times we had tried and quit after 2 weeks. This wasn't going to be a diet. We weren't going to set crazy goals or promise to never eat a specific food again. We weren't going to trade meals for protein shakes or take 50 supplements daily. We were going to make realistic changes and have realistic goals. We decided never to think, “I can't have...” but to sometimes think “I choose not to have...” and also to sometimes decide that maybe a piece of pizza or two was just worth it!

     My goals were simple. I wanted all of my pants to fit AND not leave deep ruts in my stomach by the end of the day. I wanted my BMI to be back in the healthy range again and I wanted to help my daughter look and feel good about herself. I had no goals that involved pounds, no sizes, just to get healthy again.

     From my daughter: My original goal was to lose 60 pounds, look great for the wedding and not feel like an old person already.

     We started this at the beginning of the year and my daughter has lost 40 pounds so far and gone down 3 sizes to single digits. Her BMI has gone from being in a really bad place to almost in the healthy range and she is having a great time buying the cutest clothes and feeling happier and healthier. She still has a little way to go, but not much and has become a person who actually loves exercise.

     As for me, my BMI is back to being very healthy, my clothes are a size or 2 smaller than they were and the biggest bonus for me is that my migraine headaches are almost gone. I am not sure why, but something that I changed, changed my headaches. That alone was worth what we have been doing.

     So, if you have read this may want to know some of the changes we made and some of the things that have helped us make changes that after the first few weeks we barely noticed anymore, the changes became our normal way of life and we aren't doing without anything we really want. Check out your BMI (Body Mass Index) here.
My daughter a few days ago.
Part 2-Tomorrow

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

When Food is Art


 Today I saw a hint of summer coming...