Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Whatever Wednesday!

Happy Wednesday! I’m going to jump right in here with a little confession…I was pretty lax over the weekend, and because of that, I didn't lose any weight. I didn't gain either, which I guess is a good thing? But, I didn't feel 100% Monday and part of Tuesday because of it, so if nothing else, I realize how putting that junk into my body truly affects it. I even had my first headache in 2 weeks, and I have to think it was food related. So, there ya have it. I mean, it is MY blog, so if I can’t be honest here…there’s no point, right?!

Moving on…I made a really delicious soup for dinner last night. If you know me very well, you know that Tuesday night is known as “Frankie Night” at my house. Every Tuesday, Frankie (my brother, if you’re new here) comes over for dinner, which is suuuuper important to me because as our lives get busier in their own right, knowing I will see my brother at least once a week is awesome. Anyway, back to the subject at hand…I introduced Ryan and Frankie to one of my (new) favorite things in last night’s soup. Quinoa! If you’ve never had quinoa, let me enlighten you. It’s from a grain originally found in South America. It’s nutritionally amazing because it’s packed with lysine, amino acids, protein, fiber, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. It’s also gluten-free and considered “easy to digest”. You can use this as a substitute for rice in just about anything, which is what I am doing these days. And, like rice, it doesn’t have much taste by itself, so it really absorbs the flavors of whatever you cook it in/with. After I made (and devoured) this soup, I really wanted to give it a name. I felt like it deserved something more than “Soup with Beef, Potatoes and Quinoa”. I knew I wanted the word “Hearty” in it but that’s as far as I got. I DID get some amazing suggestions though. ;) My always mature brother suggested “Hearty Poop Soup”…cause he is a boy and soup rhymes with poop. (Don’t let that suggestion fool you…he loved the soup and took home the leftovers.) And one of my bffs, Kim, suggested “Hearty Healthy Starchy Meaty Soup!” <- The exclamation point was included in her title. After telling several people that Ryan doesn’t like many soups because they never keep him full I decided to go with this for now…

“Hearty Enough for my Husband” Soup

Servings: 6(ish) • Size: 1 1/2 cups • WW Points: 8 pts
Calories: 308 • Fat: 14 g • Protein: 16 g • Carb: 31 g • Fiber: 5 g (<-these are all estimates based on plugging it into Weight Watchers Points calculator.)

• 2 tsp olive oil
• 1/2 an onion, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/2 can diced tomato, with juice (you can add the whole can if you love tomatoes)
• 1-1 1/2 tsp cumin
• 3/4 lb beef, cubed into small bite size pieces
• 6 cups water
• 1 beef bouillon cube
• 1 cup carrot, chopped
• 1/2 green bell pepper, diced (I will probably use a whole pepper next time)
• 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
• 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa*
• 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

Sauté oil in a large pot, add onion and garlic and sauté until soft over medium heat, about 4 minutes. Add tomato with juice, cumin, and cilantro and cook another 4 minutes. Add beef, water, bouillon, carrot, bell pepper, and any other seasonings you might like and bring to a boil. (I added a dash of kosher salt, pepper and chili powder.) Cover and simmer on low about 1 1/2 hours, until meat is tender.

Add potato and cooked quinoa* and cook an additional 20-25 minutes, or until potato is tender.

*Cooking quinoa:
• Measure out 1 cup of quinoa grain into a fine mesh strainer/sieve. Rinse very thoroughly as there is a soapy-like residue on the grain. It will be very bitter if you cook it without rinsing.
• Bring 2 cups of water and 1 cup quinoa to a boil.
• Simmer uncovered for 10-12 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed, similar to cooking rice.
• Fluff with a fork.
• This will make about 3 cups of quinoa.

My mouth is watering as I type all that out…this is definitely one I will make again. It would be a good one to keep on hand for lunches or quick dinners you can just pop in the microwave. And, for my non-red meat eating friends/followers, I'm sure you could easily substitute chicken, tofu or more veggies instead of beef. I hope you enjoy it!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

15 Days - 8 Lbs

It’s been 15 days since my “Day of Reckoning”. (I’m totally stealing that forever, Mandy.) For the past 15 days I’ve carefully watched what I eat, have been drinking much more water than I used to, and have been more active. And in 15 days, I’ve lost 8 lbs.

I started back on Weight Watchers on 1/3. They have a new Points system and so far, it’s really working for me. The first couple of days are always tough and my body kind of went into shock/detox mode but after a week it worked itself out, and let me just say…I feel really good. Better than I have in a while. I know - it’s only been 15 days. But I really think…maybe that’s all it takes? I'm not tired all the time, which I imagine will only improve the more weight I lose, and that's a big deal. 15 days ago, I'd be in bed by 9:30 and when the alarm would go off at 6, getting out of bed was a struggle, and then by 3pm I'd be dead tired. This week, I haven't gone to bed before 10:30 a single time, most nights it’s been 11, and I get up at 6 with no problem...and I don't have a 3pm slump. It's so crazy how just two weeks can make such a drastic change on the inside. Of course, I'm really ready to start seeing it on the outside too!

I want to thank everyone again for the undying support. This 8 lbs was so much easier because of it…and I know the next [enter an obscenely large number here] lbs will be easier because of it, too.


Monday, January 3, 2011

A NEW Year ... A NEW Me - Part 2

“I used to be skinny. And fit. And confident.” That's one of the hardest truths I’ve faced through this ‘ordeal’...while I am still confident of WHO I am, I've lost complete confidence on the outside. I hide behind people in pictures; I don't go shopping with my friends because I don't want them to see the sizes I buy. It just plain sucks and I am DONE with it. I am SO BLESSED to have so much love and support. That love and support is going to be invaluable on this journey. I was truly overwhelmed by the emails, texts, phone calls and FB messages I received after my “Day of Reckoning”…and I will keep them all as a reminder of the amazing support system I have. I’m lucky to have a husband, family and friends who love me JUST THE WAY I AM…but who are all also willing to do whatever they can to help me reach my goals.

I’m doing a lot differently this time around. Before, I would look at pictures of myself from high school and think “It sure would be nice to look like that again”. I’m not doing that anymore. I just need to get to a healthy, happy weight/size for me. I don’t know what that exact number is yet. I’ll know when I get there. What I DO know, is it’s a long way from here. That’s not to say I don’t have a goal. I have a number in head of how much I’d like to lose.

So, what am I going to do to reach this goal? It’s got to be a lifestyle change for me, which is why I didn’t list it as a “resolution”. There is no room for me to slide back into old habits, ever again. So, I’m going to eat healthier foods, in more moderation and exercise. Sounds easy enough - NOT. It’s NOT going to be easy. It’s going to be a long, hard road. And there are days I’m not going to want to do it anymore. But I’m going to do anyway. It’s no longer a “want to”. It’s a MUST.

As far as the food is concerned, I did a lot of research over the weekend to pick the best plan for me. There are so many options out there. I knew I didn’t want a “temporary fix to a permanent problem” like Jenny Craig or Nutri-System. I’m not interested in eating microwave meals for the rest of my life. That left the Biggest Loser program, Weight Watchers and good old fashioned calorie counting. After much research, and listening to my “gut” (no pun intended), I’ve decided to go back to Weight Watchers, at least for now. It’s really the only thing that has ever worked for me. 

And for the exercise portion? Well, I don't have a gym membership...yet. I WILL get one, but I am so out of shape, I am going to walk 5 days a week for a month, get some of the initial weight off, get some strength back and then I'll join a gym. Honestly, I'm too embarrassed to set foot inside one right now.

SO! That's my plan. And I feel good about it. I am really pumped so it's not that I need it, but I also have several "events" ahead of me to help keep me motivated, but I'm not quite ready to reveal those yet. ;) And THANK YOU again to everyone who is there to love and support me along this journey. I love you all!!


Saturday, January 1, 2011

My New Year's "Resolutions"

Happy 2011!!! I have to say, I was amped to wave good-bye to was a bit of a roller coaster! And I am as equally amped to see what 2011 has in store for us. I feel like good things are headed our way this year, and a lot of it is based upon plans and goals we've set for ourselves.

Last year, I didn't really make an resolutions. I had a mind set that resolutions are just setting us up for failure because we lose momentum as the year goes on. And come on, who likes to fail?! But this year, I have this strange energy and excitement that I can't really explain, but I feel like maybe I'll give this whole resolution thing another chance. First, let's take a a look at what a resolution is:  
res·o·lu·tion -
1. a formal expression of opinion or intention made.
2. a resolve or determination: to make a firm decision to do something.
3. the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
4. the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.
Ok, I can get down with that. I'm making an intention, a firm decision, a course of action, a firm purpose. So, with those thoughts in my head, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to resolve to do in 2011 and I came up with this:
1. Volunteer more - Anyone who knows me very well at all knows I love helping people. It satisfies my soul. And when I was still in college, I volunteered for several local charities/organizations but when I started working full time I used the excuses "I'm just too busy" or "There just aren't enough hours in the day".  What a cop out. There are plenty of hours and if I make the time, I won't be too busy for it. I haven't decided on a cause yet, but I'll let you know when I do.
2. Reduce our debt/increase our savings - This is a two-part-er. First let me say, I think everyone wants this. We just didn't really make it a priority in 2010. I think we were so grateful to both be working, that we just went with the flow. But, if we learned nothing from our stint of unemployment in 2009, it's that you can never have too much saved. I am really going to focus on paying down debts first, and then building our savings.  
3. Produce less waste - This is a personal choice for me. While we already recycle most of our cans, glass, plastic and card board, I feel like I could really work harder on producing less paper waste. More research will go into this one, but I'll share what I learn.
4. See more of friends I've lost touch with - This one is pretty self explanatory. I have some amazing friends who I just don't get to see as much as I'd like...and I am going to change that. Period. 

Now, I realize it might be a little overly ambitious to take on so much change, but I feel like several of those things won't take much effort, once I get a system in place. Man...I really can't explain it but I feel like this is going to be a really good year. :)

Oh by the way, you'll notice, I did not list "weight loss" as a resolution...but more on that later! For now, I wish you all a happy and healthy NEW YEAR!