Thursday, February 18, 2010

I now own new running shoes. Spending money is sort of a commitment for me. If I pay for something, I am motivated to use it. I know I can do this. There is a casual marathon that takes place in late summer in a city near where I live. As soon as the snow melts, I will begin preparing. Well, actually preparation has already begun; that’s what the new shoes and online research is all about. ;)

My hamstrings are killing me and I hope they do not hold me back. I started jump training last week to “ramp up my metabolism” and the work out is causing my thigh muscles to hurt badly. I just hope that this doesn’t mean that pain in my hamstrings is some weakness or defect that will hinder my running aspirations.

Before work out:
1/2 of a banana with 1 teaspoon natural peanut butter on whole wheat flat bread – 200 calories

1/3 cup oats mixed with 1/2 of a banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon brown sugar – 250

1/2 lemon Lunar bar – 100

PB & J on whole wheat with crispy kale – 400

Snack size Snickers bar, a couple conversation hearts (V Day just never really ends) – 100

Chicken soup – 200

Carrots with 2 ½ tablespoons of hummus – 200

Pumpkin yogurt – 200

Pumpkin yogurt is made with 1/4 cup plain canned pumpkin and 3/4 cup vanilla yogurt with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Total: 1650

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Today was a victory that I am only now fully appreciating.

This morning I awoke feeling awful. I have been feeling badly for a few days and blaming it on bad sleep. However, when I checked my blood pressure per doctor’s orders my heart rate was below 50. My pressure was something like 111/60, but the low heart rate was what concerned me.

For the last few days my heart rate has been around 56 or 57, but yesterday it was twice checked at 52 and this morning finally dropped to 49. Anyway, a trip to the doctor today confirmed that I am so over hypertension medication. They took them away! I am free of meds! Free!

My doctor was tickled. I mean fists above her head, arms in the shape of a ‘V’ tickled. I was happy, but felt too unwell to properly show it. I was trembling and dizzy. I am finally now enjoying my small victory.

Oh, and all of my blood work from last week was finished and my cholesterol, triglycerides count, everything is perfect. I am healthy! After a good night’s sleep, I will feel like a goddess.

Before work out:
1/4 cantaloupe with 1 tablespoon almond butter – 200 calories

Overnight oats – 300 calories

Lunch was awesome:
Grilled cheese on whole wheat with low cal cheese and bell peppers, crispy kale, and a side of bell peppers with 2 tablespoons hummus for dipping – 400

I made my crispy kale by coating bite size pieces of kale with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with a teaspoon of olive oil and then baking at 350 for 20 minutes. Halfway through the process I shook the baking sheet to make sure that all the kale became equally crispy. After baking I seasoned with sea salt. These were surprisingly good (at least I was surprised). I was offering a piece to everyone in the house exclaiming, “Try these! They’re so surprisingly good!”

Roasted potato and peppers with a cup of vegetarian chili and 1/2 cup plain yogurt – 700

Whole wheat toast with 1 teaspoon almond butter – 100

Total: 1700

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Due to snow, it looks as if this evening’s meeting at church will be canceled. These meetings are supposed to be similar to Weight Watchers and all who are “interested in nutrition, exercise, and healthy living are welcome.” I am really looking forward to beginning a program that will keep me ramped up to lose these last lingering 20 pounds.

Last week I added jump training to my daily work out. This has been very challenging for me. I have always been a book worm and never athletic, so my body is surprising me all the time. At the age of 32, I am just now learning where my physical strengths and weaknesses lie. Most of these surprises have been wonderful in that I am amazed at what I am capable of. The bad surprises lie in learning how painful and tight my hamstrings and thigh muscles can become. Today I became terribly cramped in my left thigh. I’ve studied anatomy and physiology, but I can’t remember all that stuff, so let’s just say my lower a$$ is hurting on my left side. I kept going and the cramp mostly worked itself out, but tomorrow I may skip the jump training and do something else.

I haven’t been doing a good job of chronicling it, but I’ve already made time for 2 thirty minute sessions of yoga this week. My weekly goal is 3 yoga sessions.

To be honest, I am a bit of a mess right now. I appreciate my body more than I ever have and I am taking very good care of myself, but this is a difficult time for me emotionally. My husband with whom I am very close is living 2 hours away, I am trying to prepare my children, myself, and my house for the move, and I have 3 final ten page papers due this weekend to end my current term. If my husband were here these tasks that just seem so huge to me would not be so difficult. He supports me with encouragement and he helps with the kids and house, so I am really missing half of my team right now. Still, I am so happy to have made these changes because being healthier allows me to better tackle the hardships of life.

Here is some truth: if we are each lucky, we will live long enough to witness our bodies cease to work properly. No matter how well we take care of ourselves now, this will inevitably happen. When this does begin to happen and we find ourselves facing the disorders and illness that come with old age, we will be in better shape to deal with the problems. Surgery and treatments are scary enough without having to face such procedures knowing that obesity stacks the odds against you.

I look at my body as a tool; these days I am taking better care of this tool and it is working better for me because of it. Whether I am forced by life to face great illness or just the stress that comes with daily living, I am now better equipped.

Before work out:
1/2 frozen banana – 100 calories

Rice pudding – 300

2 egg white orange omelet – 100

The rice pudding was made with 1/3 cup of left over rice, 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, and raisins and warmed in microwave.

The omelet was a variation of a recipe I found once in a cookbook of medieval meals. I whisked 2 egg whites with about 2 tablespoons of orange juice, orange rind, and a pinch of nutmeg before pouring into a heated skillet. The egg whites rise and puff a little and the flavor is similar to a custard, but not as sweet. I used to make these with whole eggs and a side of marmalade.

For some reason that I cannot fathom all that food was not holding me until lunch. Perhaps it is because I’ve pushed up the intensity of my workouts.

1/2 cup Fiber One cereal with 1/3 cup skim milk – 100

Turkey on whole wheat with Greek yogurt, cucumbers, and lots of spinach – 200

Kashi cereal bar – 120

Black Chai tea with light soy milk – 80

Subway six inch chicken sub with loads of veggies – 400

Low cal frozen yogurt – 300

1/2 cup fro yo – 120

(Yes, I really did measure out a 1/2 cup of frozen yogurt because I knew I was overindulging a bit.)

Total: 1820

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Last Twenty

I have lost to date 70 pounds. My scale has refused to budge for 4 weeks or so. I need to lose just 20 more pounds to be considered within my healthy weight range for my height. It comes down to this. I am redoubling my efforts. I am determined. I am even joining a group similar to Weight Watchers at my church. Let’s see where this takes us.

Before work out:
Slices of apple salted and wrapped in spinach leaves – 100 calories

Today was a difficult day to get started. I think I have caffeine withdrawal after staying at the Baby Boomers’ Paradise that is my mom’s and dad’s home. Much like chain smokers who light up as they extinguish, they grind the beans as they drink the last remaining cup in the pot. It is high priced, gourmet stuff and it flows like milk and honey for my entire visit leaving me deliciously wired.

Breakfast after working out:
Overnight oats – 300 calories

I think I got this recipe here. Last night I mixed 1/3 cup oats with 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1/8 cup skim milk, 1 teaspoon almond butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, and a few raisins and then stored it in the fridge overnight.

1 piece whole wheat bread with less than a teaspoon of almond butter – 100

Lunch was a processed mess.

Weight Watchers burrito – 220

Low cal vitamin water – 25

These were leftovers from about 3 months ago before I became serious about eating cleaner. I do not intend to bring any more frozen diet goodies into my house. I have found that when one eats fewer calories it becomes even more imperative that every bite offer nutrition. Low calorie burritos will not ruin you, but is it really the best you can offer your body?

Baked chicken breast, Jasmine rice, roasted veggies – 700

Dinner was good, but the rice was extremely high in calories.

1/3 cup ricotta cheese and peaches – 200

Total: 1645

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Come Monday

I am currently visiting my parents, so I am in the land of comfort food. I am staying on track as much as possible and just finished a rather awesome work out (if I do say so myself). Days like this when I am not able to eat the way I usually do actually motivate me. I return to exercise with a renewed vigor charged up to work off the excess calories I've consumed. I always go home ready to eat clean with plenty of good fruits and veggies. It also doesn't hurt that I've bought a slew of new summer clothes while down here, so I am ready to tone up and look good.

I plan to return to blogging as usual on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Before workout:
1/2 frozen banana – 100 calories

This morning I did 2 segments from The Shred Level 2 and 2 segments from level 3 plus the warm-up and cool-down. It is snowing here, so I suppose I had better get happy about DVD workouts for a little longer.

Breakfast cookie – 300 calories

This is my current favorite made using 1/3 cup of whole oats, teaspoon of natural peanut butter, teaspoon of light brown sugar, teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa, and 1/2 of a banana.

Chocolate covered soy nuts – 100

These chocolate covered soy nuts actually come in the little 100 calorie snack packs. One thing that I am learning from blogging about my daily meals and snacks is that processed food is still a part of my diet almost every day. The cereal bars and snacks I eat often contain corn syrup and other nefarious or unnatural ingredients. I’ve made a world of progress since I started this process in May of last year, but I would like to work harder in the future to make my diet even cleaner.

3/4 cup of bran flakes with 1/2 cup skim milk – 135 calories

Salmon steak, 1 ½ cups of brown rice, small spinach salad – 500

Ice cream cake – 600 calories or more

Yeah, this birthday celebration sent me back to work out hard for another 40 minutes. I knew the party was coming, so I ate fewer calories throughout the day and the additional work out felt good. I may try to fit an hour and half in more often.

Total: 1735, but maybe more

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Yesterday I visited the doctor for a checkup. The results of my blood work are not back, but according to the doc I am radiating good health. They sort of treat me like a rock star when I go in and this makes me think that not many at-risk patients choose to lose weight. I even talked the doctor into weaning me from my hypertension medication. We’ll see how that goes, but for now, my dosage is at least lowered.

I try hard not to get on my soap box because losing weight is sort of like finding religion. I think we’ve each had that friend who “finds God” and can’t shut up about how great it is, and wants everyone to “get saved.” I wish I could make everyone realize how great they would feel if they lost the excess weight they are packing around, but I keep it to myself unless someone asks. I hope that analogy is not offensive to anyone.

Before workout:
1/2 cereal bar – 60 calories

1/2 frozen banana – 100

After workout breakfast:
1 whole wheat cracker topped with 1 teaspoon peanut butter, 1/2 banana and 1/4 cup plain yogurt – 300

I did level 3 of the Shred. I think I may start mixing it up and doing a segment from each level and changing it up each day. I cannot wait to get outside for exercise! Yesterday the sun peaked out for maybe 30 minutes, so I ran outside to jump rope. Rocky Balboa would not have been impressed, but I jumped until I couldn’t, stopped for about 3 deep breaths and then continued the cycle. Anything is better than nothing, I suppose.

Salad with dry roasted chickpeas, feta cheese, and salad spritzer – 300

Today I dry roasted chickpeas. Some recipes call for coating the chickpeas in olive oil, but someone advised me to try dry roasting without oil or salt. Apparently they do not get as dry and crunchy when you season them before baking.

I baked chickpeas from a can (rinsed, drained, and blotted dry with paper towel) in the oven at 400 for about 40 minutes then dusted them with a seasoning salt that included onion powder and garlic. This snack seems very versatile; if you want a sweet snack you could season with a little cinnamon sugar or pumpkin pie spice, if you want a different taste try lemon pepper or garlic salt. The texture is similar to corn nuts.

3 prunes, a few dried chickpeas – 100 calories

Coffee with soy milk – 100

I got in 20 minutes of yoga today. Yay!

Broccoli soup – 180

Small salad, basically just like lunch but without feta – 200

1 whole wheat flat bun with 1 heaping tablespoon peanut butter – 300

Total: 1640

Friday, February 5, 2010

I Shredded today and although I am feeling somewhat ill, I pushed myself and felt good about my performance afterward. Last night I watched The Biggest Loser for the first time. I don’t have TV, so I downloaded episodes on Hulu.

All I can say is, wow, they are making a ton of money from this show! I have not had TV for like 10 years or so therefore I’ve missed this whole “reality television” phenomena. On each episode they endorse new stuff like water filtering pitchers and sugarless gum, and there are ads encouraging people to make reservations at Biggest Loser resorts. Wow, $$$!

The 30 Day Shred really helped me when I first began exercising, but had I watched The Biggest Loser before buying a Jillian Michaels DVD, I don’t think I would have tried it. I think it is wonderful when contestants who weigh 400 or 500 pounds lose weight, but there is something exploitive about the show that turns me off. The shirtless weigh-ins, Jillian perched like a gargoyle atop the treadmill screaming into the face of a contestant, Bob offering a “trainer tip” to a contestant telling her to chew a particular brand of gum when she gets a craving for sweets, and all the constructed drama. I feel intrusive and voyeuristic watching it.

1/2 frozen banana and 1/2 cereal bar – 150 calories

Breakfast after working out:
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt with chopped apple and teaspoon of peanut butter – 250

Raw veggies (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower) with about 3 tablespoons hummus – about 200 calories

1/2 lemon Luna Bar with a cup of coffee with 1/3 cup almond milk – about 200

Early Dinner:
Six inch Subway chicken breast sandwich – 400 calories

Coffee with 1/2 cup almond milk, 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa, 1 teaspoon light brown sugar – 100

I stopped drinking daily coffee months ago. It just seemed that as I began eating better, I felt so good in the morning that I didn’t need caffeine to get going. It is usually on days like today when I am feeling blasé that I begin hitting the French press hard. Still, this was a really tasty coffee treat for only around 100 calories (approximately 15 for coffee, 25 for sugar, about 15 for cocoa, and 40 for almond milk).

1 whole wheat cracker with a tablespoon of peanut butter and 1/2 cup of vanilla yogurt with a diced apple – 350

This “dessert” was all crunched and mixed together and tasted a lot like pie.

Total: 1650

Thursday, February 4, 2010

This morning I did level 2 of The Shred again. Today I did butt-kicks (basically running in place) during the cardio portions of the routine. I wanted to see if I could sustain a “run” for the full two minutes, and I did, every time. I would think that propelling oneself forward is probably more difficult than running in place, but I am trying to work up the courage to do this in public. As Hamlet said, “There’s the rub.”

I live in a small town. Think somewhere between the Duke Boys and Redemption (no, I am not kidding). When I hit the road running, everyone who drives by will recognize me and probably snicker. I know I once drove by while our mayor (who is known affectionately as “Dough Boy”) was running and because of his red face and gasps for air I thought perhaps I should call whoever is in the line of succession behind the mayor (sadly, I don’t know who that is right off the top of my head) and tell them to begin moving their stuff into his office. I could choose one of the many wooded hollows to take a secluded run, but if I happen upon someone’s illegal herbal garden, I may never be seen again.

We are planning a move to the city, but I need to get over this embarrassment of people watching me run.

Plain fruit topped with vanilla yogurt and raw oats – 300 calories

Second breakfast:
4 oz. chicken breast on a flat, whole wheat bun thingy with spinach and plain Greek yogurt – 300

To ensure I received my daily requisite of fecal matter, I used spinach from a bag. As the witch said at the end of The Wizard of Oz, “Oh, what a world! What a world!”

Green oats – 200

1 piece of whole wheat toast with teaspoon of molasses – 100

Mixed nuts – 200

1/2 of a cereal bar – 60

Small cup of Veggie Chowder (last night, I promise) – 200

Chicken breast on flat, whole wheat bun with spinach and Greek yogurt – 300

1/3 cup of vanilla yogurt with a peeled, cubed orange – 100

Total: 1760

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Yesterday must have been a day of evaluation and refocus for many within the weight loss blogosphere. After writing about my desire for fresh motivation and reevaluation, I read many similar posts by various bloggers. For some, I think the New Year’s resolutions are beginning to chaff and wane. For others, I think this will be something we will be doing again and again for the rest of our lives. Once the weight is off and our goals are met, we will have to keep returning to the fount hoping to find that motivation that got us here in the first place. I truly hope with all my heart, mind, and body that I am in this second camp of lifelong members.

This morning I popped The 30 Day Shred into the DVD player and worked out to Level 2. I hate to give Jillian Michaels any credit because of her recent endorsement of diet supplements (pills) which I think is very irresponsible of her, but I love that I first was introduced to walking push-ups through this DVD. The first few times I did this exercise, I couldn’t believe my body was working this way. I have moments like that all the time during yoga. I do a routine that takes me through a number of stretches and while my body is bending in new ways I can’t believe I am doing it.

This winter my scant collection of workout DVDs has been worn out. I realized yesterday how bored I was becoming with the exercise routines I’ve been doing. I can’t wait until it is warm enough to go out and exercise. I have a secret dream of running, but I am not sure how to get started. Maybe this spring/summer of 2010 will be my time to run!

Before workout breakfast:
1/2 a frozen banana – 100 calories

Post workout breakfast:
Breakfast cookie – 300 calories

Last night I made this cookie using 1/3 cup of whole oats, teaspoon of natural peanut butter, teaspoon of light brown sugar, teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa, and 1/2 of a banana, and popped it into the fridge overnight.

After breakfast and attempting to finish a paper on Goethe’s Faust (I am a fulltime student majoring in English and about 30 hours from completion of my BA. Yay!) I did 20 minutes of yoga.

I may fit in another yoga session this evening to help me unwind after my Girl Scout Troop meets. Cookie time is not my favorite time of year.

1 whole wheat cracker smeared with a tablespoon of part skim ricotta cheese and a teaspoon of strawberry preserves – 100

Cup of Veggie Chowder – 200 calories

Tuna salad on two corn tortillas – 200

Lunch was so filling! This was a lot of food for just 400 calories. I made my tuna salad using light chunk tuna and a tablespoon of garlic and cucumber Greek yogurt. The chowder was still wonderful the second day.

1/2 Kashi bar and glass of unsweetened iced tea – about 100 calories

Small baked chicken breast (about 4 oz.) – 200

Spinach side salad with sprouts and ranch salad spritzer – 100

Cup of Veggie Chowder – 200

After dinner snack/dessert:
3/4 cup of vanilla yogurt with plain peaches and strawberries – 250

1750 calories

Veggie Chowder

Last night I made a healthy, delicious soup for the fam. I served it along with sushi that I had brought home. The recipe came from The PDQ (Pretty Darn Quick) Vegetarian Cookbook.

I think that I’ve mentioned that I am only now learning to cook. My husband, who was the primary cook until moving for his new career (we will join him soon), would say this is “mixing” not cooking. But, this is where I am right now and this recipe produced a wonderful soup. This is my variation of the Potato, Broccoli, and Corn Chowder found in the book. I used frozen veggies that I had on hand and it turned out very nicely.

Veggie Chowder

1 (14 ounce) can vegetable broth
1 bag frozen mixed veggies
1 bag frozen broccoli
Garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup of Neufchautel
1 ½ cup skim milk
2 (15 ounce) cans diced potatoes

In medium stock pot combine all frozen vegetables with broth and seasonings. Bring to a boil, turn down to medium heat and allow to cook for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add Neufchautel (or vegan cream cheese substitute; the book suggests using Tofutti), cook while stirring until fully incorporated and smooth. Add skim milk (or a vegan substitute like unflavored rice milk) and potatoes. Cook uncovered for 7 to 10 minutes. Serve.

This recipe says it makes 4 servings with each serving coming in at 238 calories, 4g fat, 2g saturated fat, and 16g protein. These would be huge servings!

This was a very healthy, quick and easy, hearty meal. I will make this again.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I have been thinking today about motivation and focus. I did not lose 70 pounds by eating frozen pizza and sneaking chocolates. I need to refocus my attention on the goal of being healthy and use that aim to motivate me. I can do more.

I have been busy today, so I do not have the meal breakdown, but I did stay within my “number” today and I fit in my 40 minute workout this evening because I was unable to do so this morning. I can do more.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I have been tempted to try the Green Monsters, but I don’t own a food processor or blender. Well, actually I do have a very small, maybe two cup size, mini food processor that I use for dicing veggies. This led to my morning adventure of Green Oats.

Oh, my! They were green! But, very tasty. I made mine using 1/3 cup of old fashion oats, substantial dash of cinnamon, smaller dash of nutmeg, and a teaspoon of light brown sugar. I then diced a big handful of raw baby spinach in my teeny, tiny food processor and added it to my prepared oats. I will definitely eat this again!

Green oats – 100 calories

Cardio and strength training for 40 minutes... however, I do not feel like I gave it my “All” today. Sinus drainage is affecting my sleep and I felt tired before I even started. I did work up a good sweat and got my heart thumping, but I had difficulty pushing myself to my fullest. As always, I felt much better after exercising and it was far from a useless workout.

It is a good thing I was able to get some exercise in. I needed it because a birthday party was soon to follow.

Lunch (?):
1/2 doughnut with scoop of fat free vanilla frozen yogurt – 300

1 piece Valentine’s Day candy – 75

I rounded total to 500 just in case that doughnut was worse than I thought. You may have noticed by now that I am constantly surrounded by children who bring concoctions such as snow cream and doughnut parties into my life. This is no excuse, but I have found that sugar stimulates my appetite making it harder to avoid overeating. Recognizing this has helped.

Real lunch:
Whole wheat flat bread with a smear of hummus (about 1 tablespoon) and spinach, spouts, and tomato – 200

2 pieces Valentine’s candy – 150

1/4 cup unsalted cashews, almonds, peanuts – 150

Broccoli soup – 160

1/2 baked potato with 1/4 cup of cottage cheese – 200

After dinner snack/dessert:
1/2 cup fat free frozen yogurt with tablespoon natural peanut butter – 200

1/2 cup fat free frozen yogurt with plain peaches and strawberries – 100

Total: 1660

I try to eat around 1700-1800 on days that I do the whole cardio and strength training routine. I purposely allowed myself more fro yo because of this. It is amazing how much you can eat when you are eating healthy! Thank goodness the Valentine’s candy is gone now!