Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Weigh-In

Another pound gone this week, 188 for a total of 89 pounds gone. I've been keeping very closely to my exercise goals and I feel really good if a bit sore from Tuesday's training session. Not much else to report at the moment so I'll leave you with something delicious...

Savory Vegetable Bread Pudding



I had completely forgotten about this recipe until I mentioned it in yesterday's post, don't know why, though, because it was an absolutely delectable dish. This is Marian's Savory Vegetable Bread Pudding from the September, 2009 issue of Southern Living magazine. I didn't make many changes to the recipe other than using a whole wheat rustic loaf that I purchased at Whole Foods and I added lots more veggies. In addition to what the recipe called for I added double mushrooms, lots of thinly sliced Brussels sprouts and two medium zucchini that I roughly chopped. I added the bread cubes to all the sauteed vegetables and mixed well to allow the bread to soak up all the lovely vegetable juices left in the pan, then transferred the mixture to the baking dish and poured over the egg, milk and cheese mixture. I let it sit for 15 minutes before popping it in the oven. This recipe made 6 very filling servings and was fantastic left over.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

So This Is What It Feels Like!

Is it possible for a person who was used to eating a huge number of calories from emotional overeating to being satisfied on about 1600 calories a day?

YES!

Although I've been learning to eat more slowly and pay attention to my body signals before, during and after eating, I tend to rely more on portion control. But I had an epiphany at work last Thursday night. I brought my dinner bag complete with fresh and dried fruit, nuts, a container with one portion of savory vegetable bread pudding and my bottles of water. I had my snack of a handful of raw almonds and a few pieces of candied ginger around 5pm as I always do because on work days by that time it will have been about 4 hours since I had my lunch. I never go more than 4 hours without eating a little something at least. Then about 6:30pm I sat down for my dinner break and had at my bread pudding and a magazine. After a time, I dropped my fork and said, "Ooh, that was good, I'm full!" And I looked down at the container and there was still about 3 hefty bites left in the bowl. I actually didn't finish and never even ate the rest of the food in my dinner bag! This was a big breakthrough for me.

After years of abusing food, my stomach got stretched out. Of course it would by eating for emotional reasons rather than when physically hungry, downing double portions at every meal and still forcing down a rich dessert or huge bowl of ice cream, eating lots of processed snacks between meals. This stretched out stomach condition caused me to "break so many diets" over the years. I'd be so hungry going cold turkey to a very small number of calories a day. Will power can only get you so far before you cave and find yourself in the McDonald's drive-thru slamming double cheese burgers faster than you can say, "Super size it!"

My strategy this time was to make gradual changes to my behavior (dealing with emotional issues in a non-food way) and the way I cooked and ate. By focusing on health rather than counting calories and by gradually reducing portion sizes I gave my stomach adequate time to get back to it's normal size. I only knew what "emotionally hungry" and what so "totally stuffed that I couldn't move" felt like. These gradual changes taught me the real meaning of hungry, satisfied and appropriately full. It's an amazing feeling to have your body and mind connected.

Don't be afraid to start making small, gradual changes right now. Don't wait until Monday or after the holidays. There is plenty of time to get your stomach back to its fighting weight before January 1st and instead of "breaking your diet" by Valentine's Day, you could be feeling lighter and happier and well on your way to your goal instead!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Girl's Night Photo

Last year on October 24th we got together for Tracy's 40th birthday. We had a fantastic time that night but I cringe at the photos.



Well not this year!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

More Juice Tips and Recipes

There are only a few things that I'm completely evangelical about and juicing is one of them. I can't express emphatically enough how much juicing has helped change my health. In fact, it's the foundation on which I've built a new healthier life. I cook with lots of veggies and I eat plenty of fresh fruit every day but there's no way that my husband and I would eat as much fresh produce each day that's really needed for optimal health. The juicer ensures that we get the nutrients and enzymes every day. Here's a great article about how juicing=happiness.

Contrary to popular belief, making freshly pressed vegetable and fruit juice is pretty easy and quite tasty. All it takes is a bit of planning and a few good recipes. I always try to maximize health benefits as well as flavor. The basic recipe is carrots, celery, apples, ginger, lemons, fresh turmeric root and spinach. The other produce that I rotate are summer squash, zucchini, fresh beet root with the green tops and kale. I also add a handful of fresh herbs from the garden depending on the time of year.

For a week's worth of juice for two people (approximately 32 ounces), I buy the following produce, organic and/or local whenever possible...
  • 5 pounds carrots
  • 2 large celery stalks, not just the hearts
  • 3-5 pounds of apples (varied by what looks best that week, some get eaten out of hand)
  • 7 lemons
  • a pound of fresh ginger
  • a pound of fresh turmeric root
  • a pound of pre-washed spinach greens
  • 14 small summer squash or 7 large green zucchini or a bag of kale or 3-5 beets
You can add any vegetable or fruit that you want like asparagus, sweet potato, broccoli, bell peppers, garlic, tomatoes, strawberries, grapes, clementines. The possibilities are endless. Juicing is great way to use up any veggies or fruit that may not have gotten eaten at the peak so nothing goes to waste. There are plenty of juice recipes to be found, here's the link to the Google search. Most juicers will come with a recipe book, too.

I wash all the produce for the week in a sink full of water and produce wash, taking special care with the beets and beet greens as they are very gritty. I let the water drain and then rinse well. All the produce gets divided into seven zip top bags and put in the fridge. I cut the ginger and the beets into equal sized pieces but use the beet greens the first day so they don't wilt. The pre-washed spinach doesn't need to be washed or divided, I just leave it in the container and take what I need at the moment. The whole process takes less than 2o minutes, time well spent to have everything ready during the week.

Each day, I take out the bag of produce and greens, run it all through the juicer, stir it up, pour and drink. Then I wash the juicer which really only takes a couple of minutes. When cleaning the strainer basket, hold it upside down under the running water while rubbing it with the scrubby side of the sponge. This is the secret to fast cleaning. If you do it the other way around, you just end up pushing the little bits of pulp deeper into the mesh.

Take the plunge and get a juicer. Sure, it's a small investment in money and time but at the end of the day, your health is worth it!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Weigh-In

Boy these Fridays roll around so quickly, don't they? One more shift then I have three days off with a girl's night out tomorrow evening that I'm really looking forward to. I worked out with extra oomph this week in anticipation of flowing Champagne and a really nice meal!

The scale finally moved this week down one pound to 189, total of 88 pounds lost. The fat % idea may have to get scraped because between my scale and the hand-held device at the gym, the numbers are all over the place. My scale told me 32% last night yet the gym device said 38% this morning which is frustrating. I'm striving for consistency in healthy eating and my workouts and that is going to get me where I want to be, so the numbers aren't going to make or break me.

I had an epiphany about hunger last evening while I was eating dinner at work so I'll be discussing that in upcoming post. Also, two of our new readers had some questions about juicing recipes so I'll be back with another in depth juicing post. The fact that I inspired two people to buy a juicer absolutely made my week!!! Why haven't you gotten your juicer yet? What is holding you back? Off to make my own juice now, have a fantastic weekend!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Inspiration

"Because you are in control of your life. Don't ever forget that. You are what you are because of the conscious and subconscious choices you have made."

Barbara Hall, A Summons to New Orleans, 2000

One of the readers left a comment asking me what my source of inspiration is. I've covered lots of different topics in the past year but I don't think I've gone into any detail on this one.

What is the source of inspiration to keep eating healthfully, to keep juicing every single day, to keep to my workout schedule even when exercise is the last thing that I want to be doing? In a word, freedom. 277 pounds slowed me down, put strain on my ankles, knees and lower back and overeating unhealthy food left me logy, bitchy and often times, depressed. I wanted to feel energetic, light and limber but fat was a prison that kept me from living the life I wanted.

Once I committed to taking back my health, I started to feel a freedom that is hard to describe. I do know that it's the best feeling that I have ever experienced and I don't ever want it end. I love the feeling of being free from the control of emotional overeating, free from the pull of junk food, free from the fat prison. I have never been keen on the phrase "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels," but I know for a fact that freedom feels and tastes incomparably better than the huge bowl of Halloween candy that was left at the nurses' station yesterday.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Comfort Food

It's that time of year. The leaves are falling, the air is chilly and I start to crave rich, comforting dishes. Grilled chicken breast and salad just won't cut it this time of year. The problem is that most comfort food is stodgy, laden with starch and fat and while delicious, definitely not nutritious. If you absolutely must have your favorite comfort food classic in all it's original glory, just remember that portion control is your friend. If you can't "have just one" then try a different approach.

There are so many great recipes out there now that put a lighter touch on traditional comfort classics. Eating Well magazine and the companion website is a fantastic resource for comfort foods for a healthier lifestyle. As does Epicurious.com and Taste of Home! Searching for "healthy comfort food recipes" in Google yielded lots of results.

Making tweaks to your favorite recipes like replacing heavy cream with 2% Greek yogurt or milk is a good strategy. Reducing the amount of oil or butter in a recipe (I'm talking food here, not baking) is another way of reducing the fatty impact. I like Mark Bittman's idea of using less meat and more veggies in a recipe. You still get that meaty goodness with all the nutrition of filling, tasty veggies. If you haven't had a chance to read Bittman's latest and greatest, Food Matters, get a copy. I love the idea that making a few small changes to the way we eat can make a huge impact on our health and the health of our planet. I just returned the copy to the library but I'm going to purchase a copy as soon as it's released on paperback.

I used Bittman's Chicken Not Pie recipe as the basis for a fantastic comforting meal the other night. The toasted and lightly buttered whole wheat flat bread made a wonderful stand-in for the traditional buttery crust. I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything. If you're a fan of chicken pot pie, try this delicious version. It got my comfort food and casserole loving English husband's highest marks.

Chicken Stew with Toasted Flat Bread
Adapted from "Chicken Not Pie" from Food Matters by Mark Bittman

Makes 6-8 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 leeks, chopped
1 large potato, cut into 1 inch chunks
3 cups low sodium chicken stock
fresh thyme and tarragon
kosher salt and white pepper
4 carrots, sliced into half inch thick rounds
4 parsnips, sliced into half inch thick rounds
1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 bunch of white asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 pound snap peas, ends trimmed, cut in half
1 cup 2% milk
1 teaspoon corn starch

Heat olive oil in heavy bottom stock pot over medium high heat, add leeks and saute until tender. Add chicken stock and herbs (I leave them right on the stems and pick them out at the end) and bring to boil. Add chicken and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken. Bring liquid back up to a gentle boil over medium high heat and add potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes. Add carrots and parsnips and cook for 5 minutes. Add green and white asparagus and snap peas and cook until the vegetables are the texture of your preference. I like them tender but toothsome. Cut up the chicken and add it back to the pot to finish cooking. Make a slurry of the milk and corn starch and stir it in. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously until it's hot, bubbly and thick. Serve with toasted whole wheat flat bread for dunking. Devour!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Weigh-In

The scale hasn't budged but I'm not freaking out about it. The new jeans that I bought last week already felt a little bigger when I put them on yesterday morning. I'm eating well and am on my way to meeting my fitness goals for the week. This morning was day four of cardio, the second day of running intervals of the week and I completed three days of strength training. Running is awful and so hard on the knees but my goodness, the endorphins are amazing! I actually look forward to running again on Monday morning.

I checked my fat percentage and it's at 37%. That's quite away from the 51% from last November. The Fat 2 Fit podcast had a great episode talking about how fat percentage is a much better tool for gauging a healthy weight vs. the antiquated height/weight ratio chart or the impossible BMI. Here is the link for the show notes for the Your Ideal Weight episode. I highly recommend listening that particular podcast, too. I'm aiming for the 25-29% range as my next big goal. I'm going to start doing a weekly tracking, Thursday night and posting it with the Friday morning weigh-in.

I'm off to fire up the juicer and then to work. I hope you have a beautiful weekend. I'm going to do a short walk early tomorrow morning and then get the house cleaned up and start on the few organizing projects I have lined up for this fall. Get out there and get some sun, rake some leaves or go for a walk!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Last Chance Victories

I wish I had written that phrase, but alas I can't take credit for someone else's idea. It was the title of an article written by Pilar Gerasimo in the Nov/Dec 2003 issue of Experience Life magazine. That little phrase was enough to get me thinking before I even stared reading the article. I looked back at the post where I listed my New Year's Resolutions and realized, while I had completed just about all of them (including recently choking through the very dry Four Day Win book) I haven't made my homemade vegetable stock yet. Now is the perfect time to get going on that, being soup season and all!

I'm not saying that I'm not proud of all I accomplished this year, but just because the year is winding down, it doesn't mean I'm going to fall into the holiday trap and wait until next year. As the article says, "But why wait until next year? You've still got at least a few weeks to put some of what you've learned to good use. More importantly, you've got the opportunity to get some important stuff done – and set yourself up for greater success in 2004" Sure, the article is dated but the information is as timely now as it was then.

If you haven't started putting your health and fitness first, now is as good as January 2, 2010 to get started on that. Now is a great time to figure out what your last chance victories are going to be. In addition to getting that homemade vegetable stock simmering, I am going to...

  1. Enjoy the pleasures of the season mindfully. Holiday meals and the fruits of my holiday baking labor will be savored as planned indulgences while keeping portions controlled. I'm going to have my (serving size of) cookies and eat them, too!
  2. Tweak comfort food that I love this time of year in the nutritious and delicious style of cooking to which I've become accustomed. This means minimizing fat and sodium content and upping the veggie factor wherever possible.
  3. Keep to my fitness routine of 4-5 days of cardio with 2-3 days of strength training each week.
  4. Have fun spending time with my husband and friends!

What are your last chance victories going to be? I know you can accomplish them!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Although my first post was October 7th of last year, it wasn't until October 14th that I actually got on the scale (after many moons of avoidance) and posted my weight of 277 pounds on a blog that I wasn't sure that anyone would even see. It's a year later and I wanted to recap what has become perhaps the best year of my life so far.

Let's start at the beginning. My 39th birthday in Puerto Rico, late September 2008. When I looked at this photo I was shocked. I almost didn't recognize myself. When did I get so fat? How did I allow this to happen? And make no mistake, I made it happen. But it was this photo that made me realize that I could turn it around. I can see the sense of humor in the face of the woman in this photo, a glimmer of the happy, vibrant person that I could be if I wasn't buried under the strain of emotional eating and poor fitness.


277 pounds, waist 52 inches

After that trip, I decided that enough was enough, I was going to deal head on with all the stuff that was holding me back from being a lean, strong and healthy person. No longer would my emotions dictate what I put in my mouth. I decided that my body was worthy of being treated with the utmost care and respect. I decided NO MORE DIETS! I decided that making small changes like giving up fast food and sugary soda and drinking freshly pressed vegetable juice every day was a very good place to start. Then everything else started falling into place. I read up on how to stock a healthy pantry, about sensible portion control and how by making nothing forbidden I could break the cycle of "on the wagon, off the wagon." I learned that making thoughtful choices about what I put in my body was the easiest way to getting healthy. And I lost weight in the process!

Once I started feeling better, lighter from fueling body appropriately, I decided to tackle exercise. I added a short walk a couple of times a week, either around the block or with Leslie Sansone in my living room. After a while it got easier. I walked longer. I started having more energy, less stress. I felt happier in a way that I hadn't in such a long time. So I kept doing more until it became part of my daily routine. And I'm getting fitter and stronger every day!

All the while I sat at the computer and blogged about the information that I had learned, the strategies that were working for me and how I was feeling. The accountability factor was key, by not only being accountable to the blog (and the readers) I learned how to become accountable to myself. It may have been the hardest thing to assimilate but it's the most valuable tool that I have on this journey.

What a difference a year makes. I feel amazing and have a whole new outlook on life. I lost 87 pounds by not being on a diet. By not having to give up my favorite treats and my beloved Chardonnay. By not having to workout 3 hours a day. After a lifetime of struggling with emotional overeating and yo-yo dieting, this is the longest I've ever sustained a healthy, balanced lifestyle. But why is this time different? Because I've changed my thinking, eradicated the diet mentality. No more "good food behavior" vs. "bad food behavior." I learned what my body needed and I provided it: Nutritious and delicious foods in sensible portions, treats and wine in moderation, enough rest and a balanced fitness plan.

Of course I haven't done it alone. I want to thank my husband, Rob, for supporting me through this process and putting up with many experimental recipes that weren't always winners. I want to thank my friend, Lisa, who has always been there when I needed a little extra push at work out time. I want to thank my friends and family for putting up with all my "health chatter" over the last year even when they probably wanted to talk about something else. I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read my blog, taken the time to leave thoughtful and supportive comments. This is by no means the end of my journey, I have lots more to do and lots more to say but it has been a fabulous year!



190 pounds, waist 35 inches

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Weigh-In

I'm here in the kitchen making curried carrot soup for tomorrow's supper. I was up super early today because I'm working the morning shift this weekend and needed to adjust my schedule. Cooking in advance is the best! I'll come home tired from work and there will be gorgeous, creamy homemade soup waiting for me. The delectable white bean chili that we had for Wednesday night's supper will also do double duty on Sunday evening. I'm happy just thinking about it!

I'm down another pound this week, 87 pounds gone, 190 pounds, Yay! That's just 40 pounds to go before I hit my goal weight of 150 pounds. I can barely wrap my head around the fact that I've already lost more than twice that. It's been a good week. I met my goals of eating well and getting lots of exercise. I'm heading to the gym in an hour for my 5th day of cardio. I also got in 2 days of strength training.

Got to run and get the soup finished. Have a fantastic Friday and a safe and healthy weekend!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Try Something New: Pomegranate

Have you ever bought a fresh pomegranate? I admit to being a little intimidated by the pom. How do you open it? Eat it? Alton Brown did an excellent episode of Good Eats all about the pom, which demystefied them for me quite a bit so when I saw some pretty ones at the market the other day I bought one. It was a beautiful color and yielded slightly when pressed.

Recalling Alton Brown's method, I cut it open, like in the picture above, held the half seed side down over a bowl and tapped the top of the fruit with a wooden spoon. I just kept tapping and tapping until all the seeds, known as arils, made a juicy, jewel colored pile in my bowl.

Pomegranate seeds are juicy, sweet, crunchy and full of fiber, antioxidants, potassium and folic acid. I topped the seeds with Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of granola and wow, the pomegranate was just what I needed to liven up my morning parfait. The seeds pop in your mouth! The seed holds the juice so as you chem them, the juice is released and you get lots of sweet, slightly tart flavor. I just loved it and will definitely be buying more poms this fall. PomWonderful has some really lovely looking recipes.

Take note, the de-seeding is a bit messy, so don't wear your Sunday best when tapping the seeds out and be careful of painted surfaces.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Make Your Own Take Out

So have I outed myself as a Rachael Ray fan? *ducks* To be honest, I'm not so much a fan of hers as a fan of her recipes. Say what you will about Ray-Ray, but she always cooks with fresh ,whole foods. They can be a little heavy on the butter but for the most part they are quick, easily adaptable and delicious. I've also adopted her "MYOTO" philosophy as my own.

There is no way around it, although delicious, takeout food is fattening and unhealthy. But sometimes I crave those flavors. Our local curry house closed due to serving booze to underage persons so I bought an Indian cookbook and learned to make a few of the dishes. I keep the pantry stocked with the spices and basmati rice and my local shops carry really nice naan bread so a Saturday night curry is never more than 30 min... ahem.

What's your favorite takeout? My husband loves Chinese food but the fat, sodium and calories just aren't worth it to me except for a treat now and again. I found a recipe for Quick Sweet and Sour Pork in an advertisement for the pork council in a magazine. I bought the ingredients and tried it out on Saturday night. Wow! It was really was quick and easy and tasted fantastic. It got the "you can make this again, Mrs." Rob seal of approval. Each serving is only 318 calories with just 9 fat grams. Compare that to (according to Spark) one serving of takeout sweet and sour pork which contains 1300 calories and 70 grams of fat. I used low sodium tamari to lessen the sodium punch and served it up with steamed jasmine rice and fresh snow peas and it was very satisfying meal. I had the leftovers for supper at work last evening and my mouth was happy!

If you have a favorite make your own takeout recipe, whether it's homemade pizza or Pad Thai, please share it. I'm always looking for ways to spice up a Saturday night meal without having to pick up that phone.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Reassess and Reset

I had my first session with my trainer in six weeks this morning. He seemed rather shocked when he saw me, saying "wow, I can really tell you've lost more weight." I'm so proud of myself because it means that I'm working my strategies daily and they are working for me.

As you heard me discuss time and again, the "diet mentality" works against the quest for good health and fitness. On again, off again dieting is unhealthy for both mind and body. Balancing a beneficial eating plan with treats and exercise and dealing directly with emotional eating issues really works. I needed a plan that I can live with for the rest of my life and I'm definitely laying a foundation for that each and every day.

Although "on the wagon, off the wagon" is not part of my lifestyle anymore, reassessing achievements and goals to avoid complacency has become crucial. I'm working toward a goal but I'm also building the tools for maintenance right now so checking up on myself has become very important. Self-examination is tough but it can prove to be very helpful.

I don't count calories on a daily basis, but every so often I log in to Spark People and track a week's worth of menus to make sure I'm sticking with sensible portion control and eating a wide variety of delicious and nutritious things. When the menus get a bit stale, I search for new recipes to keep the eats fun and interesting. I also go back in this very blog and review the strategies that I wrote about to make sure I'm holding true to them.

Most importantly, I set fitness goals and it's right about the time to set myself a new one. I'm striving for 4-5 days of cardio and 2-3 days of strength training every single week through the end of the year. Yes, right through the "Holiday Season" I'm going to keep moving! A couple of the cardio days are going to done outside so I can get some sun. This will help avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder that can kick hibernation mode into full force (which I'm avoiding like the pig flu.) I don't just want to maintain, I want to keep losing (even if it's slowly) right through the end of the year. I want to celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary on New Year's Eve lighter and fitter than I am now. I don't want to finish out what has been a wonderful year feeling bloated, guilty and unhappy with myself for packing on the pounds.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Starbucks Effect

My sister and I were reminiscing back to a simpler time . Back before there was a Starbucks on every corner. Back before "coffee drinks" were part of the everyday vernacular. Back in the late 8o's and early 90's we'd drive up to New Hampshire and have lunch at The Weathervane and then go to Fox Run Mall. There was a place in the mall called Gloria Jean's that had sweet and creamy coffee drinks that we'd have as dessert. So delicious!

Things are different now. Gloria Jean is no more and Starbucks has seeped into every day life tempting us with coffee drinks and baked goods, making them easily accessible with drive-thrus and one in every mall and Target store. I have no doubt that Starbucks has played a role in the ever widening waistlines of the people in this country. Not that I think Starbucks is completely to blame, after all, my local barista didn't hold me down and pour all those coffee drinks down my gullet.

I love a sweet coffee drink and a frosted maple or pumpkin scone, and the fall is when I get particularly vulnerable. The call of the Pumpkin Spice Latte and all the fall themed tasty cakes comes through loud and clear as the leaves fall along with my serotonin levels. I'm living my life differently now but didn't want to give up coffee drinks altogether. How can Starbucks (and coffee drinks in general) play a role in my healthier lifestyle? Getting a bit of information is a good place to start. I found on their website that Starbucks doesn't use trans fats or high fructose corn syrup in their food offerings. This is good information, though I definitely tend to stick to coffee over pastries unless I've made the trip a planned indulgence. Starbucks website also has a fantastic tool that breaks down the nutritional information of all of their beverage offerings. I can see that a tall Pumpkin Spice Latte with 2% milk and no whip has 240 calories. That's a lot for 12 ounces of drink. How many calories does your favorite drink have?

I keep my Starbucking to a minimum these days but I order thoughtfully when I'm there. I always get the tall (a grande PSL carries an additional 70 calories, the venti an additional 160) and I always ask for 2% milk vs. whole milk. I can't get used to nonfat milk, don't like it and probably never will. I ask for a double shot of espresso. Because it comes in the same size cup it means less milk so fewer calories. Most importantly, I ask for just one pump of syrup which means much less sugar without sacrificing the flavor of the drink.

Coffee drinks are pretty easy to make at home and I sometimes treat myself on a Saturday or Sunday morning. I made myself a lovely maple spice coffee drink this morning for a fraction of the cost and calories of a trip to Starbucks. I'm no barista but I thought it was pretty good.

Maple Spice Coffee Drink

6 ounces organic 2% milk
6 ounces strong Kona coffee or a shot or two of espresso if you have a maker
1-2 teaspoons grade B maple syrup
pinch of cinnamon
fresh nutmeg

Steam milk in a small saucepan, add maple syrup and cinnamon. Pour prepared coffee into your favorite mug. Whip milk mixture with a whisk until it gets a little foamy, then pour it in the mug. Grate a bit of fresh nutmeg over top of drink. Slurp!

Losing weight, or just living to be fit and healthy doesn't mean we have to give up all the treats we love. But treats are just that, an occasional indulgence to brighten up long week or a fun time to catch up with friends. So if "treat" yourself in a smart way you may find that enjoy it so much more!


Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Weigh-In

Ah, Friday. I have to work this evening but the thought of a whole weekend looming ahead is definitely a good thing. Pretty nice weigh-in this morning, 191. The three pounds of vacation bloat is gone and I lost an extra pound for good measure. I thought I would have a hard time with the eating plan after eating lots of tasty food and sweets while on vacation but it's been quite seamless. Planning and shopping appropriately is key.

My exercise motivation, on the other hand, is in the toilet. Not sure what's going on there but it's definitely time for me to set some fitness goals to finish out the year strong. Rob and I are going to hike the mountain this weekend, so I look forward to that and I'm seeing my trainer on the next four Tuesdays. I have workout appointments with Lisa on Monday and Wednesday so it's just a matter of getting myself out there. And I will, I will.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Starting From Scratch

Fall is coming and I have nothing to wear. I know many women say they have nothing to wear but it just means they have a closet full of clothes but may not like any of them at a given moment. But me, I got nothing. I have to start from scratch. This is fun in theory but it's hard dressing a new body, a body that's not going to stay this size for a long period of time. I don't know exactly what size I'm in now and am having a bit of a style identity crisis. For far too long, my style was dictated by what the plus size stores had to offer.

I did a fact finding mission at the mall this morning to find that I'm an X-Large in tops and a size 16 bottom, but very close to a 14. This is very exciting. A little while later, I walked by Lane Bryant and gave them "the hand." No one saw me but it was very symbolic, something just for me. I can't even begin to describe how liberating it is to not have to shop in a plus size store. I don't have to be at the mercy of their over-inflated pricing, poor quality and questionable fashion ideas.

Thank goodness for Lisa, my very own Trinny and Susanna wrapped into one. She was quite frank with me when I came away from TJ Maxx yesterday with something that could have come straight out of Lane Bryant. I returned it today. Now the fun begins, shopping with Lisa for a new fall wardrobe. Somewhere east of here my dear husband just got the shivers.