Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Dreaded "Plateau"

So, I have been going at this weight loss thing for the past 3 months.  I have lost 23 pounds, and gained muscle in the process. I was really hoping it would be more by now, not gonna lie! (Especially when your husband loses 60 pounds in three months!!)  The hard part is that it has been PAINFULLY slow this last 6 weeks.  I think I only lost 5 or 6 pounds within that time.

Now, I am not going to say I have been perfect at my diet either.  The more I lose, the more I tend to justify a small cheat here, and another one there. And I do mean small.  Maybe some snack mix here, or a few Cheetos there.  I haven't been as strict as I was when I first started, but it is so darn hard during this time of year!  I still feel like I have a good hold on my calorie intake though, it's just the quality of food could improve a little.  My exercise routine hasn't changed. I am still busting butt at least 5 times a week with that!

202 before, 179 now.  I can see a big difference when I look at the above pic.

The above pic is Tom and I exactly one year ago.  I remember feeling so uncomfortable and bloated in these pics.  I was probably about 205 (or so)  I was sucking in, and I still look pregnant, lol!  My cheeks were so round you hardly see my eyes!  Below is Tom and I this year.  You can SO see a difference in Tom's face!  I am so proud of him!!  And you can see my eyes this year ;)

I am down to 179, I can't tell you the last time I was in the 170's!!  Probably seven years ago, maybe?  Honestly, my goal is to just get through the holidays without GAINING any weight.  That should be hard enough!  I try not to get too caught up with numbers on the scale.  There was an experiment I saw online (wish I could remember where)  where a gal posed in a bikini and people were asked how much they thought she weighed.  She was very toned, and you could tell she worked out and took good care of herself.  She was only my height of 5'3".  Answers ranged from 115 - 135.  She was actually 155.  Muscle weighs a lot!  The point is, you don't always have to be 120 pounds to be healthy.  Health comes in different shapes and sizes, and despite being 179 I feel like I am stronger and more fit than some of the 130 pounders I know ;)  I have a goal in mind though, so I will keep going until I reach it!!

Here are the most recent pics of my weight loss.

For those of you that have been following me on this journey, thank you.  It means so much to have cheerleaders.  The comments on Facebook REALLY push and motivate me.  Weight loss is HARD.  I need the support, and it does help!!  I hope I have been able to inspire some along the way as well.

So, how about you?  What do YOU do when you reach that dreaded plateau, and how do you push past it?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Candyless Halloween

That's right, there will be no consuming of candy this year (at least for me!)  My children will still stuff their little faces and end up with tummy aches like every other year, and I will rub it in, like every other year ;)

When I began this journey, the holidays really scared me.  Fall is ALL about eating!  Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas - they all seem to circle around delicious (and not so good for you) food and I wasn't sure how I was going to handle the temptation this year.  We have already been to a couple Halloween parties, and I am happy to say I was quite content with my small bowl of chili or whatever other semi healthy option I could find.  The temptation to indulge will always be there, but I guess the difference now is my life no longer revolves around food, which is kind of amazing. Because it use to.  Like A LOT.  Fun = FOOD.  My mindset is different now.  Now FUN = LIVING.  It means being active, and being comfortable in my own skin, it means having enough energy to run around with my kids and having the confidence to try and experience new things and people.

I am excited to enter the holiday season with this new frame of mind.

This Christmas I am giving myself and my family the gift of a healthy mom, sister and wife.

I am down to 181 now.  21 pounds GONE since August and 32 pounds gone from my highest weight!

 SO excited to get in to the 170's..... :)  Bring it!!

These are one of the few pairs of jeans that actually still fit me.  All of my old jeans are now giving me that flattering gangsta crotch (how low can you go?!).  Time to go shopping soon!  I tried on my winter coat from last year that used to fit snugly, and I am now drowning in it.  Nice problems to have, I guess :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

10 Changes in 10 Weeks

1.  I lost half a shoe size 
     I was hoping to lose weight anywhere, but this was unexpected and not needed since I can't afford 50          new pairs of shoes.  Let's hope the trend stops (although a girl can always use an excuse for new shoes,        so forget that last part)

2.  I can now wear my daughter's shirts 
     It's true.  Much to my 14 year old's dismay she will catch me wearing her clothes more and more often          these days.  It's a good thing she has good taste.

3.  Hayden can reach his arms all around my waist now when he gives me a hug 
     This makes my heart happy.  I feel like he can love all of his mommy now, and not just the fat part in the        front, lol.

4.  I don't get out of breath when painting my toenails anymore
     Ladies, you know what I am talking about, especially if you've been pregnant!  Bellies get in the way,            pregnant or not. It is so nice to be able to BREATHE again.

5.  I no longer avoid mirrors
     Especially the dreaded bathroom mirror that add shadows in all the wrong places!  I am no Jillian                  Michaels.  I still have quite a way to go with my weight loss, but it is nice to look in the mirror and feel            proud of my progress these days instead of feeling ashamed of my lack of effort.

6.  I suddenly have many more clothes
     All those clothes I have been holding on to for years, you know the "one day I will fit in to this again" pile?      Today is that "one day", I am wearing dresses and jeans I haven't worn for years, and dare I say some          are even loose!

7.  I can watch TV or work late at night without snacking.
     Say what??  Yep, I just don't.  Cravings are pretty much gone, and in fact because I don't snack at night        anymore, I really don't watch much TV either.  Funny how they can go hand in hand.

8.  My girls are making better food choices
     My lifestyle change hasn't gone unnoticed by my 11 and 14 years old girls.  I don't push it on them, I              prefer to lead by example.  I notice them grabbing an apple or celery sticks for snacks much more now. I      feel at peace knowing Tom and I are being good examples to our kids and teaching them how to respect      and take care of their bodies.  Notice I didn't say anything about the boy?  Ya, that's probably not going        to change, unless they make vegetables with Mine Craft on them...

9.  I don't take naps anymore
     I use to nap in the afternoons, almost every day.  By 3 pm I was exhausted.  I think most moms are, so I      didn't think much of it until one of my friends recently mentioned napping, and then I realized I hadn't              taken one in weeks!  Bottom line is, I have more energy and stamina.  I feel better.  In fact, I was able to      climb 3/4 of the incline a week ago!  That thing isn't for sissys!

10.  My husband won't keep his hands off me.
       Oh wait, some things never change!

Before (about a year ago, 205 pounds)


Sometimes it takes pictures for me to realize, "wow, my body really is changing!"

For those that are following along, I am down to 184 now.  18 pounds gone since August 3rd, and 29 pounds gone from my highest weight. It still sounds like such a big number to me and I still have 44 pounds to lose to get to my goal, but I am proud of my progress and proud of the girl I see in the mirror!  I am grateful to feel better, and that is the ultimate goal!!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Worth it

I use to be a glutton.  Yuck.  Looking back even a few months ago before I seriously began this journey, my husband and I would eat whatever we darn well wanted, whenever we wanted.  There was always a reason to eat junk in our family - birthday?  Yay, let's eat cake!  Hard day at work?  Let's get crazy with pizza and chocolate!  Another day alive?  Let's overindulge in dinner, again.  Too busy?  We'll just stop and get fast food.....we didn't count our calories, and we certainly didn't exercise enough to counteract all we were eating.  We fooled ourselves in to thinking that eating salad with our giganto meals, or making the occasional smoothie was making it ok.  We were trying. We actually thought we were living it up, living life to the fullest by overindulging. No wonder I gained 35 pounds over the last 5 years!!  I was in denial for a long time.  That's the first step, is realizing you are in denial.

I am ashamed that I was so irresponsible with my body.  You can't hide what you put in to your body, it shows.  Trust me.

I had to stop making excuses, because you know that's what they are right? I know them all well:  I am too busy, I have health issues, it's too expensive, I don't have support, my kids come first, I am TIRED...I have used them all.  Maybe you have to. I had to stop the excuses for my children, my spouse, but most importantly for ME.    The longer you go without change, the more you are damaging yourself - and not just physically.  I can attest that there are emotional and spiritual consequences to not taking care of your body. They are real.  Only you have the power to change.

I know it's hard, I am in the middle of it being hard.

I am down to 185 now.  I have lost 17 pounds in 7 weeks, and 28 pounds from my highest weight (non pregnant)! I have busted my butt to get here, and I still have a long way to go.  I know hard.  But I will keep going, because I feel alive, and because I am worth it.  My family is worth it.  I feel like me again.  When I look in the mirror, I am starting to recognize that girl again.

I promise you, that pizza, soda or high carb meal - those extra calories don't taste as good as feeling healthy.  They just don't. If you are struggling to stop the excuses, remember that you are so worth it, and you are BIGGER than the excuses.

Friday, September 27, 2013


I've been at this for 7 weeks now.  I realized today I no longer call it a "diet", it has become a way of life for me now.  It's just what I do every day, and I really hope it stays that way.

I have noticed pleasant changes the past week or so.  Mostly, that almost all my pants are falling off me.  (ok, not quite)  but they are so much more loose.  Give me a few weeks, and I think I will have to go shopping for new jeans! The funny thing is, the numbers on the scale haven't gone down that much in the last couple weeks (I am at 188 now, so down 2 more pounds), but I can tell my body is changing in other ways.  I am starting to see definition, I feel stronger, I have more energy. I am definitely gaining muscle. So, I have lost 14 pounds since I got serious 7 weeks ago, but overall I have lost 25 pounds since I was at my heaviest a couple years ago.  That is MAJOR.

A couple people at church who don't know what I have been doing asked me on Sunday if I had lost weight.  It's a good feeling when people start to notice your hard work!

My friend Niki and I work out with the big boys now, and I think we annoy some of the personal trainers.  Their clients actually give US praise, haha!!  And we are doing it by ourselves!  We pretty much ROCK.  I am grateful to have a friend to work out with.  We are a couple of sarcastic and whiney gals sometimes, but I think we are kicking butt, and I am proud of us ;)  Speaking of butts, this picture was actually taken to ask if I should cut my hair or not, but I got lots of compliments saying I was looking skinny, and I thought - maybe those squats are working afterall.

I graduated to weight gloves.  I messed up my hands pretty bad after one session - see image below.  That's the mark of a good workout right there!!

Today one of the "big boys" saw us walk over to the barbell laying on the floor and asked us if we needed him to move it for us.  HA!  Niki, said no thanks, we are actually using it.  We rocked that barbell!!  Those are the moments that make me feel good.  When guys in the gym think we can't do what they do, and then we DO IT.

Next week Tom and I are doing the incline.  I am scared.  Not a fan of heights, or climbing 2000 steps (which aren't normal steps by the way).  They are railroad ties strewn about along a mountainside.  I am determined to reach the top, so it was nice knowing you.

And I am throwing in this pic of a Greek Salad I had the other day, because it was freakin' amazing, and because I can.  If you are local, go to that Gyro's place in the food court at Chapel Hills mall and ask for the Greek Salad with Souvlaki.  They will hook you up!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hi, My Body is a Rollercoaster.

Oh my heck, this is HARD work, you know- this whole losing weight thing. I have been eating clean/healthy and watching my calorie intake and working out faithfully for a good 6 weeks now.  The first couple of weeks the pounds were melting off, I think I lost 13 pounds in the first couple of weeks.  I kept thinking, wow!  This is actually easier than I thought, I should be at my goal weight in no time!  And then....a few weeks in, I actually started to GAIN weight.  Like 5 pounds worth! Wha?? I hadn't changed my diet, or my exercise routine.  Was I gaining muscle mass?  Maybe. But it was frustrating as heck.  I have been working SO hard.  It is not easy to stay this disciplined, trust me.  No dessert, no sugar, no chips, nothing!  Working out HARD every day of the week...there are days I would much rather be LAZY, trust me.  There were days where I was moody and grouchy and NEEDED a candy bar, but didn't give in.

What makes this time different though, is that I didn't give up. Even though the scale was laughing at me, I didn't give in like I had in the past.  "Well, this isn't working, so pass me the pizza" was the attitude I would have in the past.  I kept on keeping on!  So here I am, and whatever the reason I gained that five pounds, I have now lost all 5 of them. It took a week and a half. I am still holding strong at 190.  Still down 12 pounds from when I started, which is still a big deal.  It is SUCH a rollercoaster, this weight loss thing.  You can be doing the same thing day in and day out, and your body still reacts differently.  Some days you need more calories, some day you need less, some days you retain water, the next day you don't. It's hard knowing the right thing to do. Our bodies are such complicated things!!  (Or maybe just mine is?!)  I guess the most important thing is that I FEEL so much stronger, I have more energy, and my clothes fit better.  I am starting to see "definition" in some of my muscles!  That's really my ultimate goal.  To achieve optimum health for my age and situation.  What obstacles have you come across while losing weight/trying to get healthy.  How do YOU overcome them?  No, seriously, I need all the help I can get.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A "Whole" Bunch o' Recipes

I am that girl who posts pics of her meals on Instagram and Facebook.  Yep, totally guilty.  I am not an aspiring chef, nor do I think everyone wants to see my pictures (so I apologize if they annoy you).  It's mostly a personal diary of sorts for myself.  I like to look back on healthy meals I have made and that were successful.  Successful = yummy and healthy, and I don't want to forget them!  I do however think a good recipe can inspire others to eat healthy, so if I can achieve that as well, then I am a happy girl.

Recently, some friends have asked for the recipes to some of the meals I have prepared, so I dedicate this post to sharing some of them.  I try to prepare healthy and whole food whenever possible.  Whole meaning REAL.  No additives, chemicals, junk or anything processed. Basically, the good things that God put on the earth for us to ingest.  Sometimes this is impossible to fully achieve, because I do buy some pre-packaged food here and there (bread, salsa, salad dressings, etc) but I try to make sure the ingredients are few and are as natural as possible.  Also, I try to make meals that are well balanced and full of vitamins and nutrients.

Below are some of my most recent creations along with the recipe. Warning:  I am not a "measure" girl, I kind of make up my recipes as I go along, so the amount of some ingredients is approximate. Use your own judgement! I have also included the fast track version if applicable.  Enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash
1/4 cup olive oil
crushed garlic (I use the pre-chopped fresh garlic in a jar)
favorite tomato sauce
parmesan cheese

Wash the spaghetti squash, and place WHOLE squash in a pan and bake for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees.  They are HARD as heck when they are raw, and I promise you, almost impossible to cut open!!  After baking for 15 minutes, it will become more soft.  Cut it in half, length wise.  Take the seeds out, and rub olive oil, salt and pepper on the flesh.  Place halves down (with rinds facing up) on a baking sheet and bake for about an hour at 375 degrees (it might not take as long if you are a lower elevation).  Squash should be very tender and soft.  Let cool for 5 minutes.  Scrape squash out with a fork in to a bowl.  Toss it with garlic, salt, pepper to taste, and olive oil.  Add your favorite tomato sauce on top (I am partial to Traditional Prego) and garnish with fresh herbs and parmesan cheese.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Portabello mushroom(s)
plum tomato
feta cheese
olive oil
italian seasoning

Clean out the mushrooms so they look like shells.  Chop up fresh spinach and tomato and toss it with some feta cheese, herbs, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  (Lay off the salt because feta is usually salty on its own).  Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until sizzling.

Alternative: Stuff the mushrooms with whatever sounds good to you, mix it up with different cheeses, sausage, bacon, crab or shrimp.....

Fast track version:  Many supermarket delis (Whole Foods, etc) sell these pre-made in the produce section.

Do you want the recipe for the yummy looking sweet potatoes from my image above?  Get it HERE.

Veggie Burgers

1 can of black beans (rinsed and dried)
half of red pepper, diced
half an onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
1/4 cup of corn (optional)
1 egg
3/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. hot sauce
salt to taste

mash black beans until pasty (make sure excess water is gone before mashing).  Blend garlic, red pepper and onion in food processor and add to bean mixture.  Mix up egg with chili, cumin and hot sauce and add to bean mixture. Add corn (optional) Add bread crumbs and mix thoroughly.  Pat in to 4 patties, and bake on an olive oil greased pan at 375 for about 10 minutes on each side.  You can also grill them.

Serve by themselves or with a whole wheat bun.  Great garnishes are avocado, tomato, red onion, salsa and cheese.  Enjoy!

Fast track version: MorningStar brand sells veggie burgers at the grocery store.

Pesto Chicken with whole wheat pasta

4 chicken breasts
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (or spinach, or combine the two)
2 cloves garlic (more if you are a garlic fan like myself)
1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

Grill or sautee cut up chicken breast in olive and garlic until cooked.  Pour pesto on top and heat thoroughly.  Pour over cooked whole wheat pasta and garnish with parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

Fast track version:  Buy pre-made pesto sauce, "Classico" brand in the glass jar is very good.  Buy a pre-roasted deli chicken to save yourself prep time.

Fiesta Chicken Bowl

precooked chicken breast
brown rice
taco seasoning (find your own all natural recipe, or use Mrs. Dash taco seasoning)
diced tomatoes
black beans
fresh cilantro
one lime
red onion or green onion, diced

Cook chicken in taco seasoning (Mrs. Dash now has an all natural taco seasoning).  Serve it over cooked brown rice, and garnish with all the fixin's from above, your fave salsa and squeeze fresh lime juice over it all.  Enjoy! :)

Fast track version: Use chicken breast from a pre-roasted deli chicken.  I do this a lot!!  It saves me tons of time.

Rise and Shine Smoothie

This is my favorite smoothie recipe!

equal parts of (maybe like half a cup):

fresh pineapple (frozen)
fresh blueberry (frozen)
fresh spinach leaves

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1.2 cup coconut milk

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

Open Faced Bruschetta Omelette Sandwich

1 egg
half cup of fresh spinach
8 diced cherry tomatoes
half tsp. of crushed garlic
whole wheat bread

Sautee tomatoes, spinach and garlic in olive oil.  Beat one egg and add it to the pan.  Stir up all ingredients.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve over toasted whole wheat toast.

Quick tips:

  • Buy a jar of fresh minced garlic.  This saves time (no pressing) and it tastes amazing.  I add it to *almost everything!
  • Buy fresh fruit on sale, chop it up and freeze it for your smoothies.  This saves time and mula.
  • I buy 2 roasted deli chickens and cut them up, and put them in baggies for the week.  I use the chicken for meals and salads.  They are delicious.  My dogs love the scraps :) (don't feed them the bones though!!)
  • Always keep fresh spinach on hand.  I buy a big container of Organic spinach and use it for my salads, my smoothies and for "lettuce" in my wraps and sandwiches.  Spinach contains SO many vitamins and nutrients.  Iceberg and RomaineLettuce contains hardly any, so I say don't bother for the most part unless you mix them up with greens.
  • Always keep lemons and limes on hand.  They are great in your water, but I use lemon over all of my avocado to keep them from going brown, and lime over almost every "mexican" inspired dish.  It adds such a yummy fresh flavor!
  • keep chia seeds on hand.  They are supa healthy, and great in your yogurt, smoothies and even mixed with peanut butter as a healthy dip for apples.