Counting Down The Pounds

Friday, April 30, 2010

Nourishing Foods & Weight Watchers Points

I'm reading a lot of inquiries about how one can balance Weight Watchers with REAL food.  I don't do Weight Watchers, but have in the past.  In order to calculate these points, I pulled out my old materials.  The points are my own calculation/estimation and I cannot guarantee accuracy.  Page references are from Nourishing Traditions Revised Second Edition.  If you don't have a copy, order one from Amazon (I've found it's cheaper than local bookstores, no I don't make money if you click and order).

Don't know what kefir is or how to make it?  Check out my kefir blog, The Kefir Queen.

Ingredients listed should always be:
Whole, Raw Milk (or at least non-homogenized)
Real grass fed butter
Oils- extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) or unrefined, organic, coconut oil
Grains soaked 12 + hours
Eggs- Free range/foraged (from your own yard, hopefully!)
Spinach/kale- blanched and drained
Meat- grass fed, organic, local
Fish- wild caught

*Omelet- 2 eggs + mushrooms + zucchini + 1 TBS REAL butter~ 7 Points
*Kefir smoothie (8oz whole milk kefir + 1 cup blanched spinach + 1/2 cup fruit + 1TBS honey)~ 6 Points
*1 slice Soaked Whole Wheat Bread w/ 1 tsp REAL butter + 1 1/2 TBS lacto fermented berry preserves~ 4 Points
*1/2 cup soaked, prepared brown rice + 2 TBS Piima Cream + 1TBS local, raw honey~ 6 Points
*Nourishing Traditions Brown Rice Pudding (pg. 554) 1/10th of recipe,~ 7 Points

Lunch & Dinners
*Nourishing Traditions Vegetable Fritata (1/4th) pg 442,~ 10 Points
*Grated raw cheese, shredded lettuce, lacto fermented salsa, and sour cream pita sandwich. (1/2 large whole wheat pita, 4 TBS grated cheese. 1 TBS sour cream sauce)~ 7 Points
*1/2 large whole wheat pita, 4 oz water packed tuna, 1 TBS mayonnaise, celery, red pepper, green onions~ 7 Points
*Grilled cheese sandwich, 2 thin slices soaked whole wheat bread, 4 TBS grated raw cheese, 1 TBS REAL butter~ 8 Points
*Sprouted Wheat Tortilla spread with 1 TBS cream cheese, lettuce leaves, chicken, lacto fermented salsa~ 9 Points
*Spiced Chicken Breasts (pg. 283) 8 Points
*Leaf-Wrapped Salmon (pg 270)~without stuffing 7 Points, with stuffing 11.5 Points

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Two Week Weigh In & Breakfast

I'm down 10.2 lbs... :) Nine days left until official first month weigh in.  (I weighed in late, so I'll only be 3 weeks in, while everyone else is four weeks. 

Today for breakfast:

1 cup cooked oats
1/2 ounce (about 7) almonds, chopped
2 Tbs dried cranberries
1 Tbs raw honey
1 Tbs cream (oh yum!)
400 calories/ 10.5 grams fat/ 8 WW points (high fiber, but also higher in HEALTHY fat)

What I'm drinking... WATER.  Occasionally I'm mixing in some Crystal Light Pure Fitness (15 cals/serving) or adding a squeeze of lemon. 

Do I miss soda?  Nope.  Amazing.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fish Dinner... Skinny Girl Style

Fish is GOOD for you... but you already knew that, right?  Wild caught fish is better than farmed fish (that's a no brainer).  Fish is low in fat and calories.  And it tastes so darn good.  To reduce calories further, skip the noodles.  For a more Nourishing food, replace the noodles with soaked, prepared brown rice.

This recipe is from Alton Brown's, I'm Just Here For The Food, with some minor alterations.

Ramen Radiator
Serves 2
Each serving provides 9 grams fat & 370 calories, 8 WW points*

1 tsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil, cloudy is good!)
1 tsp sesame oil (I like coconut oil or real butter here instead)
1/2 lb BROWN mushrooms, washed and sliced
1 package ramen style noodles (or Asian rice noodles for GF)
2 Tilapia fillets (or other mild white fish)
8 ounces scallops *not in the original recipe
2 GIANT shrimp (or several small shrimp)
Celtic sea salt
Chili flakes
1/2 white onion
4 scallons, biased sliced
2 Tbs soy sauce/gluten free tamari
1/4 cup mirin (sweet rice wine or other cooking wine)
2 cups vegetable stock

Heat saucepan over medium-high.  Add oils and saute mushrooms until caramelized.  Transfer to a plate and set aside.  Line two serving bowls with (recycled) aluminum foil**, leaving excess over the edges for later folding.  Break the ramen loaf in half, place in the bottom of foil lined boils.  Lay fish on top of the ramen, pour honey over fish, season with salt and pepper.  Add a few chili flakes.  Place the mushrooms & onions around the fish and noodles.  Lay the GIANT shrimp on top of the fish.  Top with scallions.  Fold the foil and crimp to seal, leave an opening in the top.  Now, mix the liquids together and pour half into each foil pouch, seal pouches.  Transfer to a baking sheet. Place in oven at 400F for about 25 minutes.   Place foil pouches back into serving bowls, open at table to enjoy aroma and steam.  Enjoy with chopsticks.

*Calorie and fat content will be altered based on your choice of seafood, oils and noodles or rice.
**I simply make the pouches on a baking sheet and skip the bowl step... seems simpler to me!
***Don't forget to have a bunch of veggies with it. 

10 lbs down...

I cheated (are you surprised?) and stepped on the scale this morning.  I'm down exactly 10 lbs in 13 days. 

*Doing a little victory dance*

I'm really trying to focus on the positive... this is working.   If I stop to think long enough (or look in the mirror long enough) I get distracted by how far I still have to go.

I'm looking forward to my first official weigh in on May 8th.

My Nourishing breakfast this morning (and yes, I do measure my portions):

1 whole wheat english muffin
1 egg, over medium w/ pepper & Celtic sea salt
1 tsp REAL butter
2 Tbs grated mozzarella cheese
270 calories/ 13.5 grams REAL fat

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How I Am Avoiding Over Indulgence

12 days in.  Wow... the changes already!  (BTW, I haven't weighed again because I don't want to see myself still stuck... so I'll be waiting until Thursday AM, but I feel and see a difference!)

I'm not really craving sweets.  This is an extraordinarily weird experience for me!  I did enjoy a mug of homemade cocoa and a slice of buttered toast yesterday (comfort food!).  Othewise, I've had only a couple treats in nearly two weeks.  Since I used to eat treats daily (because my body/brain CRAVED chocolate), this is amazing!

How I'm avoiding over-indulgence:

I'm eating every 2-3 hours (6am, 9am, 11-12, 3pm, 5-6pm, maybe a light snack in the PM).  This way, my body is nourished so I'm not feeling deprived, although I am feeling hunger. 

I'm adding REAL fat to my meals... too little fat is not a good thing.  I enjoy a bit of cheese, real butter, whole milk, coconut or olive oil.  (I've been enjoying veggies with olive oil and salads with cheese.)

I'm limiting sugar.  We only use SuCaNat (pure evaporated cane w/ minerals intact), Stevia, Raw Local Honey, and Organic Maple Syrup.  That said, I have purchased a couple of "diet" frozen treats... I'm really not sure why.  I can scoop up some nourishing ice cream or real whipping cream and berries just as easily.  

My breakfast consists of whole grains (oats and whole sprouted grain breads), fruit, & protein (almonds, eggs).

For a morning snack, I enjoy fruit.  It's plenty sweet. In the afternoon, I try to switch off fruit to veggies.  I'm eating a lot of veggies and a couple fruits a day.

When hunger strikes, I opt for protein if possible (by adding some almond or peanut butter to my fruit, having a few nuts, a chunk of cheese, real hot cocoa).

I'm altering my thinking.  I realize that 80-90% of what goes into my body is responsible for fat loss (or retention).  That's no small thing.

Did I mention, I don't even miss soda anymore?  Really, I don't.  I am working on some kefir blueberry soda... it'll take a few days, but should be promising!

*Water kefir grains (avaliable at Cultures for Health), turn sugar water into a fermented, healthy, good bacteria filled beverage.   Think yogurt goodness in a soda like beverage. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Frozen Food Ridiculousness...

I really don't know what I was thinking (in regards to freezer meals) except that I wanted results and I want them NOW (remember, I'm a lack of patience/instant gratification girl).

In case I haven't mentioned before, I follow Nourishing Traditions.  I truly believe that not all fats are equal and that fat is essential to healthy (and lean) bodies.

But I'm also in a hurry to be thinner and therefore healthier.

Am I doing more harm than good by cheating myself in regards to my nutrition in order to lose the excess pounds?

Because once those pounds are gone, I'll be a lot healthier.  (PCOS symptoms will decrease, Insulin Resistance should stabilize, Thyroid function will improve.)

So, being the mostly smart girl I am, I'm going off the freezer meals (even the healthier options still aren't all that great, especially when compared to my cooking).

I'm going to start preparing and freezing my own pre-portioned meals to make my crazy days a bit easier.  I'll be including things like:

*Wild Seafood (I just bought these BEAUTIFUL jumbo wild shrimp... yum!)
*White meat free range chicken
*Grass fed beef
*Whole (soaked) wheat pasta
*Soaked brown rice
*Soaked Quinoa
*Almonds (I love almonds)
*Soaked Oats
*Plenty of fresh and lightly cooked fruits and veggies
*Raw, whole milk
*Real pastured butter, EVOO, and unrefined coconut oil
*Dairy Kefir
*Raw cheese
*Sweetners (in moderation) are limited to sucanat, honey, stevia

A sample freezer meal might be:

1 cup brown rice (218 cals/ 1.5 grams fat) w/ 6 medium shrimp (20 cals) and a sauce made from 1 tsp real butter (35 cals/4 grams fat), 2 Tbs raw cheese (or kefir cream cheese, 90 cals/5 grams fat ), herbs, and mushrooms.  Then I will add sauteed (with 1 tsp olive oil) zucchini, spinach, and asparagus at meal time.

Sweetness Update:  My sweet cravings have DRASTICALLY reduced.  I have enjoyed a couple of frozen treats, but otherwise fruit is doing it!  I enjoyed a cold, crisp, organic fuji apple this morning and it was delicious!  This is amazing because I've spent the last several months craving chocolate like crazy.

Today I enjoyed a cup of Nourishing hot cocoa for snack.  (This is my recipe, but I'm sure there are millions that look just like it... there's not a lot to put in cocoa).

1 cup Raw, Whole Milk (150cals, 8grams fat)
1TBS sucanat (45 cals)
1TBS dark chocolate powder (10cals, .5 grams fat)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
dash of cinnamon if desired

Combine in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir with whisk until desired temperature is achieved, pour into a mug and enjoy!

*I'm suspecting a thyroid issue... I've wondered for a while but frankly, I don't want to toss money at the lab for a test that may be unreliable.  So, I'm going to start NatureThroid and see if that helps alleviate my symptoms (of which there are many, like sleepiness!).

**I'm going to have to start enjoying a TBS of local, raw honey everyday because its seasonal allergy time again.  Yes, I'll journal it and include in my daily totals even though its medicine!

Early Plateau?

For three days now I've been stuck... (yes, I'm weighing daily even though I was trying to wait a week!).  I'm eating between 1400-1600 calories and my fat is staying around 30-35 grams/day.  I'm still recording everything I eat and drink.

I'm combating with the following tactics:

*Increase water intake
*Decrease sodium intake (no freezer meals for a couple days at least)
*Take my natural cleanse to flush excess water
*Increase activity level
*Decrease calorie intake to 1200 cals for 2 days, then back to 1400. 

I'm trying to add 30 minutes of planned physical activity a day (I already move, A LOT... so this focus is on planning/intentional activity).  Today I rediscovered the mini trampoline.  I keep it with the kid toys and they LOVE jumping on it.   Even if I only jump for 5 minutes several times a day, that will add needed activity.  I'm also going to go dig up the kids jump rope... these are activities I can do even with the kids running around like crazy.

I have too much weight to lose to plateau this early in the game... and I didn't cheat at all over the weekend.

Yesterday I did have a nonfat 12 oz mocha (150 cals) and had lunch at Taco Bell (Fresco Chicken Burrito Supreme + water 340cals/8g fat).  My daily total was 1440 cals/ 30 grams fat.

Breakfast today:

1 slice Dave's Killer Bread, 1 egg scrambled + 1 Tbs grated cheddar cheese (235 cals/10.5 grams fat)

I'm skipping my coffee and creamer that adds 150 cals/5 grams fat, so I ate more fat at breakfast since I've been pretty low.   This will help keep me closer to 1200 cals/day.  Today's breakfast was also ~70 cals less than my normal breakfast of oatmeal.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What's Up With The Food Pyramid?

Have you looked at the food pyramid lately?  Seriously... what gives?

Since I am 32 years old... I fall into the 31-50 female bracket with says I should consume the following amounts per day:

  • 6 ounces grains w/ half being whole grains
  • 2 1/2 cups of veggies
  • 1 1/2 cups of fruit
  • 3 cups of milk (or equivalent dairy)
  • 5 ounces of meat/protein
  • 5 tsp of fat/oil including what's in nuts/fish/etc...
  • Total calorie intake of 1800 for inactive and 2000-2200 for active w/ discretionary calories (ie solid fats such as real butter) being no more than 195 at 1800 and 290 at 2200.
  • 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day.

A daily menu that stays EXACTLY within these ranges might include:

1 cup oatmeal (2 grain servings, 166 cals, 3.5 grams fat) + 1/2 ounce (about 12) chopped almonds (1 protein, 82 cals//7grams fat) + 1/3 cup dried cranberries (counts as 1/2 cup, 138 cals/ .5 fat) + 1/2 cup whole milk (1/2 serving, 75 cals/4 grams fat)     Total 461 cals/ 16 grams fat

1 medium banana (1 cup fruit, 105 cals/ .5 grams fat) + 1 Tbs peanut butter  (1 Protein, 95 cals/8grams fat)  Total 200 cals/ 8.5 grams fat

1 cup rice (2 grains, 242 cals/ .5 grams fat) + 1 1/2 ounce mozzarella cheese (1 milk, 135 cals/ 10.5 grams fat) + 1 cup garden salad (1 veggie, 30 cals)  Totals 407 cals/ 11grams fat

1 medium baked potato  (1 veggie, 161 cals) + 1/2 cup greek yogurt (1/2 milk, 68 cals) Total 229 cals

1 cup whole wheat pasta (2 grains, 174 cals/ 1 gram fat) + 1 tsp butter (35 cals/ 4 grams fat)+ 1 1/2 ounce grated cheese (1 milk, 135 cals/ 10.5 grams fat) + 3 ounce chicken breast w/out skin (3 protein, 142 cals/3grams fat) + 1/2 cup green beans (44 cals)  Total 530 cals/ 18.5 grams fat

Daily Total:
Fat grams: 54
Calories: 1827
Discretionary calories: 1 tsp butter + 1 Tbs PB/140 of total cals
Grains: 6 ounces
Milk: 3 cups/servings
Protein: 5 ounces
Fruit: 1 1/2 cups
Veggies: 2 1/2 cups

Really?  The breakfast here is pretty standard for me.  Dinner is a derivative of what I would normally do, but my choice would have put me way over my "recommended" intake of veggies.  I would opt for 1 cup whole wheat pasta + 1/2 cup tomato based sauce (1 cup veggie equivalent) + mushrooms and zucchini (1 veggie) + 3 ounce chicken breast + garden salad  (1 veggie).  In this scenario, dinner alone would provide 3 cups of veggies, which is more than the "recommended" intake.

I also don't agree at all with eating half your grains in whole grain form... we consume 100% of our grains in whole grain form. 

It's also very possible to maintain your calorie and fat gram limits by choosing animal proteins wisely.   Venison comes in at 130 calories and 2 grams of fat per 3 ounce serving,  Buffalo/Bison 143 calories/2.42 grams fat per 3.5 oz/100gram serving,  skinless chicken breast 142 calories/3 grams of fat per 3 ounces. Many seafood items such as halibut, cod, clams, shrimp, tuna have less than 2.5% fat per 3 ounce serving.

Added fat: we only use EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), unrefined coconut oil, or real butter.  I still use these items sparingly because I need to control my fat intake in order to lose weight. 

*I would NEVER eat a potato for snack, in fact, I don't eat them at all (starch city!) but in order to actually reach the recommended 1800 calories, I had to keep a veggie there and find more calories!
**I LOVE bread... but I'm not eating it. 
***Please eat more veggies
**** I know the pyramid is a guideline... but seriously, the way this is hounded into our children at school makes them think it's how it should be done.  If my kids start staying, "oh, no, Mom... I can't have carrots for snack, I'll be over my recommended servings" I will SCREAM.
*****The menu above is do-able for me with a few changes, ie, more veggies and no potato.  I don't like having to use cheese w/ lunch and dinner for dairy and not getting a lean protein at lunch.   We might also add a treat such as a baked apple for dessert.
******This exercise has really opened my eyes to how little food it takes to reach your calorie and fat limits.  Everyone who says, "I don't eat that much" should do a similar exercise.

Crystal Light Pure Fitness

Otherwise known as when I shamelessly plug a new product with no incentive whatsoever.  No, I wasn't sent samples.  No one is paying me.  No one asked me to talk about this product.

We watch limited TV in our household... but during one of those times (I think I was on TLC watching What Not to Wear), I saw a commercial for Crystal Light Pure Fitness.  I found this intriguing because we are a natural household and I don't buy Crystal Light because it has artificial sweetners, flavors and probably colors as well.

From the box, I figured Stevia was used to sweeten the product.  I was correct, but it also contains cane sugar.  All flavors and colors are naturally derived.  The package is also labeled GLUTEN FREE, which means it is safe for my children (I should be GF as well... but that's another story and we will get back to it eventually).

Each packet makes 16.9 ounces of flavored water.  We are a water bottle free family, so I simply pour the packet into a large glass, add 2 cups of water, a few ice cubes and stir it well.  I generally drink one cup (half packet) with each of two meals.  I mix it up once, enjoy some and refrigerate the remainder for later.  Each serving (1/2 packet) has only 15 calories.  For a reformed soda addict, this is good news!

At our grocery, I was only able to locate lemon lime and kiwi strawberry... I'd love to try more flavors, especially pink lemonade but I it hasn't been created!  The website boasts a grape flavor as well... not sure if I'd like that one!

This week, Safeway stores in my area have Crystal Light on sale, 2 for $5.00.  In the front of the store, there with the buy 5 save $5 displays, there was a packet of additional coupons.  One was $2.00 off Crystal Light... so my 2 boxes cost $3.00.

One Week In and What About Exercise?

Today marks one week since my first weigh in (with my Biggest Loser girls).  I'm down 8.3lbs.  Woohoo!  That marks the most weight I've ever lost in one week.

Yes, I'm still enjoying eating freezer meals for lunch and dinner (Healthy Choice and Lean Cuisine offer many preservative free/better choice options).  I'm adding a cup of zucchini, a cup of mushrooms and 3 spears of asparagus (all pan sauteed with a dab of olive oil, Celtic Sea Salt and pepper) with each lunch and dinner... I'm also usually adding a salad of organic mixed salad greens with a drizzle of full fat ranch.  I haven't gotten tired of this veggie combo yet... after all, they are my favs.

A typical daily menu looks like this:

6am: 1 cup Post Shredded Wheat Vanilla w/ 1/2 cup almond milk  (240 calories, 3 grams fat)
8am: 1 cup coffee w/ 2 Tbs ff creamer and 2 Tbs good creamer, 1 banana (150 calories, 4 grams fat)
11am: Lean Cuisine meal, 3 cups sauteed veggies, Crystal Light Pure Fitness- Lemon/Lime (cal depending on meal chosen, I keep lunch calories under 450, fat under 15grams)
2pm: garden salad or airpop popcorn (160 cals, 5 grams fat if dressing on salad)
4pm: Apple slices or carrots  (50-60 calories can add a bit of ranch or pudding dip)
6pm: Lean Cuisine meal, 3 cups veggies, garden salad w/ ranch (cals and fat vary based on meal variety, dinner total under 600 cals/15 grams fat)

On the high end this gives me 1480 calories and 45 grams of fat (if fat is high end per meal and added to snacks).

I try to stay about 1200 calories and 35 grams of fat to keep my body out of starvation mode.   

In addition to the Crystal Light Pure Fitness, I'm also drinking plain water.  I generally drink 1 Pure Fitness a day (16 ounces total/divided by two meals) and I try for another 32 ounces of water a day, plus 8 ounces of coffee.  This isn't perfect, but I also know that the large amount of fresh veggies I'm eating daily add water also. 

Now, EXERCISE (isn't that a four letter word?).  I'm a moderate activity level person.  At this time, I'm maintaining that activity level.  That means, walking at least 2 miles a minimum of 3 times a week or doing some other sort of physical activity that burns 150-250 calories (mowing the grass, dancing, walking, etc...).

I'm also signed up for both ballet and tap starting this summer.  And I hope to add a third dance day of line dancing... with five active kids going for three nights of dance a week might prove too difficult.

To kick start the morning, I'm starting with 30 minutes of yoga.  This is for relaxation, breathing, over all well being, and please let it be so flexibility. 

Back in the day, I did one hour of high impact aerobics, 5 times a week.  I was graded... therefore, I worked hard.  I'm not sure that I will reach that level at this stage of my life.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Yo-Yo Dieting

I don't consider myself a yo-yo dieter, even though I've tried numerous weight loss solutions.  I'm not a yo-yo because the most I've ever managed to lose is maybe 10lbs and then I fall off the bandwagon.

You see, I'm an instant gratification kind of girl.  If I can't finish a task in the time frame I've envisioned, then I put it away and don't come back to it for some time.

This is true with sewing projects, scrapbooking, household improvements, and yes, weight loss. 

My need for instant gratification is why I stepped on the scale after only six days instead of waiting for the one month weigh in (as I'd initially planned).  I was rewarded with a 4.8lb loss in those six days which gave me the momentum I needed to go forward.  I'm going to try to limit myself to one weigh in a week.

Normally, I avoid the scale because I don't want to know what it says (denial!) and I also know I have the tendency to become obsessive.  If I don't keep myself in check, I'll be on the scale every morning and it will take over my life.

For those who are wondering about long term maintenance, I have a plan.  I know how to eat healthy.  I know about portion control.  I can name off the fat and calorie content of most any food.  I simply have to gain control over my emotional and social eating.  This plan is helping me get there.

Lifestyle Changes~ Pantry Clean Out

Dr. Oz recommends beginning your journey by eliminating the five main offenders from your pantry.  Thankfully for us, the majority of these are already gone from our cabinets.  (Here's the article on Dr. Oz)

~High Fructose Corn Syrup (We avoid corn syrup of all kinds).  This is nasty stuff.  I keep it out of my kids bodies because it affects their behavior and I know its not good for them. My one personal offender was soda (pop, coke, whatever).  I escaped that one with Lent this year, when I gave up soda.

~Hydrogenated Oils~ Since we are a Nourishing Traditions family, we've already switched to EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), real butter (grass fed preferred), and unrefined coconut oil.  We still use these fats in moderation.

~Sugar~ We are still working on this one, but have made drastic improvement.  We've switched to Sucanat when sugar is needed, otherwise we opt for honey or maple syrup.  We also use stevia or Sun Crystals (blend of sugar and stevia, 5 cals per pack).  My goal is to completely remove refined sugar.

~White foods~ (white flour, pasta, potatoes, white rice).  We already use whole wheat flour in addition to gluten free grains like almond and coconut flours and brown rice (though hubs is a hold out and requires white rice).  We do still eat pasta & potatoes.

~Enriched Flour~  Read labels... anything that says enriched needs to go.

I feel that this is a redundant list... sugar is white, so it goes with the white stuff.  Ditto enriched flour.

In addition, we are preservative free, artificial flavor and color free.  This can be tough if you use any packaged (ahem, frozen meals) foods. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Eating Out and Healthy Weight

Restaurants definitely are not conducive to weight management. Huge portions, high fat, carbs galore.

Here's some eating out tips~

If you must do fast food:

McDonald's (use the nutrition site with bag your meal or select per item to add/remove condiments)

regular hamburger + fruit and yogurt parfait (410 calories, 11 grams fat) -or-
grilled chicken sandwich - mayo (340 calories, 5 grams fat) -or-
small french fry + apple dippers w/ caramel (330 calories, 12 grams fat)
Add a side salad and low fat dressing for 80 calories and 2.5 grams of fat.

Taco Bell
 7 Fresco (Drive Through Diet) options with calories and fat on sign. Stay away from the salads, they are all high calories and fat.

Fresco Bean Burrito (340 calories, 8 grams fat)
Regular Bean Burrito (370 calories, 10 grams fat)
Fresco Ranchero Chicken Soft Taco (170 calories, 4 grams fat)
Regular Chicken Soft Taco (200 calories, 8 grams fat)
Fresco Chicken Burrito Supreme (390 calories, 12 grams fat)
Regular Chicken Burrito Supreme (340 calories, 8 grams fat)
Cheese Roll Up (200 calories, 10 grams fat)
Grilled Chicken Taquitos (320 calories, 11 grams fat)
Tostada (250 calories, 10 grams fat)
Pacific Shrimp Taco (170 calories, 7 grams fat)


Stick to one slice, blot the oil.  Add a salad with low/no fat dressing. Skip the breadsticks. 

Sit Down Restaurant~

Some offer weight management options with nutrition information available on the menu.  Order smarter, for instance, the other night we ate out at a local sports bar.  Normally, I'd order either the cheese fondue (1/2 order includes bread) + a grilled chicken breast or a grilled chicken + buttered pasta + steamed veggies.  Either way, I'd munch on the deep friend mushrooms w/ ranch that Hubs orders and probably have a soda.  Instead, I ordered my usual grilled chicken with salad (no croutons,  dressing on the side) instead of the pasta/potato and veggies without butter.  I did eat two of the small mushrooms from Hubs order.  I had water to drink.  I enjoyed my meal and didn't feel deprived.  It was a bit difficult to see (meaning I wanted to try them!) many of the fat and calorie laden plates on the tables around us or walking by on the hands of a waitress.  In contrast, my husband ordered a club sandwich with fries, a beer, and the deep fried mushroom liberally dipped in ranch dressing.

In general, order broth based soups (instead of fatty cream based) and skip the bread (killing me...). 

If everyone around you is munching on bread or fried appetizers~ opt for lettuce wraps, steamed salad rolls, minestrone/egg flower soup or a garden salad w/ low fat dressing.

Pasta~ Go with red or wine sauces instead of cream based.  Order a lunch portion if possible, otherwise immediately put half your meal into a to go box.  Have a salad or minestrone soup, skip the bread.

Sandwiches & Burgers ~ skip the fries, have a salad or fruit instead.  Opt for turkey, chicken, or buffalo burger over ground beef (much less fat), omit the cheese.   Go for avocado (has fat yes, but nutrient dense!) or dijon over mayonaise.  Another option- go bunless (lettuce wrapped) and add sauteed mushrooms (without butter/oil) or remove half the bun ( a regular bun can have 240+ calories).   Choose whole grain breads. 

Remember: Steamed over Fried.  Skip, Reduce or Replace with Whole Wheat Bread and Buns.  Choose ketchup and mustard over mayo.   Leave out the cheese.  Add a veggie (avocado, mushrooms, etc...) when possible.  Drink water add lemon for flavor.   Stop eating when you are no longer hungry instead of when you feel full (this takes some getting used to).  Eat slower. 

If eating is social for you (like me) chew gum or suck on sugar free candy when you are in situations that would normally cause you to snack when you aren't physically hungry.

Programs I've Tried

Weight Watchers ~ Worked for the short time I did it, but I'm not for public humiliation and that's what the weigh in meetings felt like. Without accountability I lose track real quick, so not going to the meetings and online didn't work for me.

Jenny Craig ~ I'm sure it would have worked, but it's expensive. And my now ex husband threw a ginormous fit over the price, so it only lasted a week.

Metabolife ~ ICK. I felt jittery all the time.

SlimQuick ~ Ditto Metabolife.

Some eat only rice, meat and veggies program where meetings were held in a church... can't remember the name (limited other carbs get added back in slowly). Worked, but the lack of fiber leads to constipation and what a boring diet, so I gave up quickly.

SlimFast ~ Those shakes leave me starving, plus they are packed full of chemical nasties and gave me belly aches. Yuck.

I never tried Atkins, which is kind of odd considering my Nourishing Traditions mentality... but, I've also been a vegetarian and just can't stomach that much meat for the long run.

I want to eat all kinds of food. This is a life style change, it's about moderation while still enjoying my food. A friend told me that she lost 80lbs by cutting all her portions in half. That's probably a good idea for most of America since we are all over portioned!

My Action Plan

My initial thought was that I'd order NutriSystem for about three months... just enough to kick start my loss and get me headed toward my goal.

Then I decided against it for several reasons:
1. I want to handle my own breakfast and snacks.
2. I want a larger choice of meals, but I don't want the company to preselect choices for me.
3. Price, ouch!
4. Nutritional content. 
4. I'm confident that I can do just as well on my own.

So, what I'm doing instead is eating one of the freezer meals available at the supermarket (Smart Ones, Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice, on sale the cost is $1.55-$2.55 each) for lunch and dinner along with lots and lots of veggies.  Right now, I'm on a kick of enjoying zucchini, mushrooms, and asparagus little grilled with fat free olive oil pan spray, Celtic sea salt and pepper.  I also add a fairly large portion of mixed organic salad greens with a drizzle of my favorite dressing, full fat ranch. :)

For breakfast, I'm enjoying proper serving sizes of whole grains (oats, brown rice, whole grain cereal, kefir smoothies, whole wheat bread), along with a fruit.

Snacks, if needed are fruits, veggies,  a serving of whole grains, or a lower fat/calorie treat (such as 100 calorie pack, small fudge bar, Smart Ones Dessert).

I'm aiming to keep calories between 1200-1400/day and fat grams under 45.  The fat I add is nourishing fat.  I'm not a fan of all these margarines and oils that have been created to make us more healthy.  I am a follower of Nourishing Traditions and believe that when consuming fat, we should consume natural fats.

Yes, the freezer meals go against all my dietary rules... luckily, many are now more natural and free of preservatives.  They are a long way from organic, grass fed, free range or sustainably produced.  Use of them is a short bridge to get me across this first hurdle.  I feel strongly that regaining a healthy for me weight reaps many more health rewards than the short term use of processed foods.  I stress short term... my plan is three months, which I will evaluate as we go.

Yesterday I also started taking Alli again.  I waited 4 days into my reduced calorie/fat diet to start to reduce the risk of treatment effects (I've only had those effects one time when I first used Alli over a year ago and that's because I ate out without restricting fat intake).

Alli is a reduced strength of the prescription drug, Orlistat.  It binds with fat to prevent the body from absorbing all of the fat consumed and flushes it out of the body (via the bowels).   I used it previously for all of two weeks.  I don't know why I quit, lazy I guess.  That round I was recording all my food intake and spent a lot of planning time between shopping and determining proper portion size.  I was losing weight at a good rate... but gained it back once I returned to my old habits.

Because of this, I know that developing a healthy attitude about food is important.  Just because my Grandma made me pour on the gravy (I hated gravy until around age 10) as a child doesn't mean I have to now.  By altering my entire way of eating and my beliefs about food, I will be successful in losing weight and keeping it off.

The time is now.  If I don't do something, I know that I will gain more weight and end up in a much worse situation than I am now... my family has a ridiculous history with Type II Diabetes... I don't want it, thank you very much.

I'm six days in and feeling good. 4.8 lbs gone, sweet cravings drastically reduced.

The Journey Begins

I have a plan.

I know that accountability (peer pressure, call it what you will) helps keep me on track. 

In high school, I worked out like a demon was after me because I got a grade for it.  Accountability.

I recently joined a group of local ladies who are all in various stages of their weight loss journeys.  We are holding a competition among ourselves.  The are no rules or regulations... no you must do it this way or that... no work out requirements.  It's simply a group of ladies (currently 8) who have decided to use a monetary incentive to lose weight. So we each add $10 to the monthly pot at weigh in.  Whichever lady has lost the highest percentage that month wins the pot of cash.  That's enough incentive for me, I don't like to lose! In addition to monthly weigh ins, we are also doing monthly body photos to chart our improvement.  I'll post those on here once I receive a digital copy. Our next weigh in is May 8th.  So far, I've lost a little over 2% in less than a week... if I continue at this pace, I'm pretty confident of a win.

Stay tuned for my weight loss plan of action!

Winning the Mind Battle

It's not news to most of us that the only socially acceptable size is skinny, even if that comes at the price of unhealthy.
I've never been a skinny girl, though I have been a thin girl (does that make any sense?).  My smallest grown up size wore a 4/6 on my petite 5' 1" frame.
I don't aspire to be micro thin.
I don't buy into societies views that we must be uber skinny in order to be H-O-T.  
I'm a Mama.  I'm the daughter of a deceased Mother.  I'm a wife twice over. 
I desire health.  I desire to overcome my life long battles with food. 

I've realized that yes, my childhood has shaped my eating habits.  Yes, those "damages" will always be present.  Yes, I am more than a sum of childhood experiences that were beyond  my ability to control.  Yes, I can overcome.

For me, food is social.  We like to eat.  This has been the steady theme throughout my life.  Family gatherings were always based around food, outings with girlfriends always centered around food.  I don't eat because I'm hungry (although, I do that as well)... I eat socially.

A few months ago I was invited to a girls night out at a friends house.  I call this the "skinny girl" party.  Seriously... they were all thin.  No one ate, even though it was a dinner party.  Ok, I take that back, everyone nibbled on the (healthy) dinner of mahi mahi fish tacos.  I brought along bread and cheesy artichoke dip with veggies and hummus.  Where I come from, people EAT.  I took home almost all what I brought. 

In a conversation with the host of this gathering, I mentioned that I hated this "starving" feeling and that it makes me CRANKY (and who likes a cranky girl anyway?).  She said, "you get used to it".  Whaaaaaat?  That's what it takes to be thin?  I don't think I want to hop on that bandwagon!

So, I'm on a mission to overcome.  To move beyond being force fed as a child because I wouldn't eat... to move beyond my bouts with eating disorders/obsessions... to move beyond feeling that food is necessary for entertainment... to overcome my love/hate relationship with the mirror and my inability to ever try clothes on at the store.

Currently I'm unhappily wearing a size 14.  My final goal is a size 8 but I will be equally content with a 6 or a 10.  I don't care that a 14 is the average American woman's size, so don't try to make me feel better.  My first goal is to lose 30 lbs, although I don't really care about how many pounds the scale says... I just know that 30 lbs should get me back to a size 10.  Then I will re-evaluate and go from there.