5%

This past weekend I met my first mini goal of losing 5% of my total weight since I started on November 12th.  I have lost 11.6 pounds in 12 weeks, which is super exciting.  My clothes are fitting bigger, I have more energy, and the best part is I feel better about myself. I can honestly say there hasn’t been a day that I have felt hungry or deprived.  It truly has become a lifestyle change, I’ve noticed I’m making better choices because I want to, not because I feel like I have too.  I can’t think of a single food that I crave all the time because I “can’t” have it, that is probably the most amazing thing I’ve felt since starting this program again. I have regained control of my life, and it is absolutely wonderful!

I thought I would take this opportunity to explain why I’ve started this journey for the final time.  I am in a program for Medical Laboratory Technology (ie. I test blood, urine, poop etc.) this program has opened my eyes about all kinds of disorders and diseases and frankly I don’t want to become another subject.  The idea of being on dialysis because diabetes destroyed my kidneys scares me more than anything.  These situations became real to me like never before and allowed me to reflect on the choices I had been making.  I decided that I want to be a happier and healthier version of myself and to do that I had to get real with myself about my weight.  It’s easy to ignore what’s been staring at you in the mirror day in and day out and make sad little excuses to make you feel better.  You tell yourself that you’re not getting bigger, your clothes are just getting smaller (most of us have been there, am I right?).  It takes courage to look yourself in the eye and say “Self, we have got to fix this. It’s not going to be easy or fun all of the time but it’s time to face the facts, your clothes are not shrinking!!”  I knew this would be a hard journey, but it was time. I knew myself, so I gave up all fast food (except for Subway) and I’ve been clean for well over 12 weeks.  So if you’re in that place where I was 12 weeks ago, believe in yourself.  You can do it.

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Start your day off right!

I could go into excruciating detail about why breakfast is important and what it does for your body, but I won’t because I actually want you to keep reading! Figuring out what to eat for breakfast has always been tough for me, I get into these ruts and eat the exact same thing day after day.  I just finished a week of only Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast!  Even though this can keep me full and happy, I begin to get bored with the same old breakfast routine.  I came across a recipe on Hello Giggles for Baked Oatmeal.  I absolutely love oatmeal, I once ate it every morning for two months straight (see what I mean?) so I was very excited to give this recipe a try.  I knew I would be the only one partaking in this particular recipe so I was happy to read that it is also freezer friendly for future meals. I made this last Saturday morning after my Weight Watchers meeting and let it bake while I exercised, and enjoyed another serving today from the freezer (heated up of course).  So let’s get to the reason you’re reading this post, the recipe!

Baked Oatmeal

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup plain oats

generous dash of cinnamon

pinch of salt

1 egg

1/2 cup of apple sauce

3/4 cup milk

1 banana, sliced

optional: 1 or 2 teaspoons white or brown sugar

Get Bakin’

1. Preheat oven to 375

2. Grease a small baking dish with butter or cooking spray (I used cooking spray, less calories)

Bananas layered and apples sliced

3. Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl, if you want to use sugar add it now.

4. Mix together the wet ingredients in another bowl.

5. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix well.

6. Slice the banana and arrange in a single layer on the bottom of the dish.

7. Pour the wet mixture on top of the bananas in the dish.

8.  Slice up the apple and arrange slices on top of the mixture.  Optional: sprinkle sugar or cinnamon on top of the apple slices.

Ready to go in the oven.

 

9. Bake for about 45 minutes.  When it is done it will be slightly brown around the edges.  Allow it to cool for a few minutes before diving in.

The finished product!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I doubled the above recipe to fit my pie plate so I would have extras to freeze.  To reheat from frozen, microwave for 2 1/2 minutes and then place in a oven at 350 for about 5 mins if you want that toasty slight crisp to it.  I also used quick oats because that’s what I had, but you can also use regular oats and it would still turn out (probably even better!). This recipe makes 4 servings and each serving is 4 Points Plus. I opted to leave the sugar out of the recipe and drizzle honey over my slice which will add 1-2 Points Plus depending on how much you use.  This recipe was absolutely fabulous and I hope you enjoy it!

Feel the Power

And by power I mean pain and soreness, that after 4 days will turn into the most amazing feeling of empowerment you can imagine.  Nine days ago my sister and I started the exercise program Power 90 (for anyone that has hear of P90x, this is the precursor to that program) when we first started we found it hard to even look at the stairs in our house much less actually tackle them.  The first 4 days were the absolute hardest, I couldn’t imagine doing this for 90 days.  Then day 5 came and I could move, I wasn’t as sore, and I actually felt my muscles becoming more toned.

Decide. Commit. Succeed.

I know you might be thinking that is impossible and it’s probably all in my head and if it is that’s okay it’s just the right motivation I need to continue the program.  Ashley and I even took before pictures (which no one will ever see unless the results are really really amazing!) to let us know where we started and motivate us to get to where we want to be.  Even though Ashley is now back at school 2 hours away we still talk every day to make sure we both exercised that day. I’m not suggesting you do this program too, but I am suggesting you add exercise into your daily routine, you’ll be glad you did!

I’ll leave you with one final quote from my Weight Watchers Meeting:

“Dieting makes you look good in your clothes, exercise makes you look good naked.”  And really let’s be honest, who doesn’t want that?

‘Tis the season for Peppermint!!

I love all things peppermint this time of year.  I recently stalked every frozen yogurt bar in the city to find peppermint yogurt to give into a craving (I finally found some, don’t worry).  Starbucks Coffee has a wonderful Skinny Peppermint Mocha with only 100 calories per tall drink, talk about amazing! To top it all off, I have even been using peppermint body wash since well before Thanksgiving. As you can see, when the peppermint bug bites me, it bites hard.  I was so excited when I opened a Hungry Girl email and found a recipe for Peppermint Bark Fudge, it was amazing.  I took it to school and shared it with my classmates and instructors and I got positive feedback all around.

Peppermint Bark Fudge 

The finished product!

Recipe can also be found at Hungry Girl

2 cups canned pure pumpkin

1 18.3 oz box of Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie Mix

3 tbsp White Chocolate Chips, chopped (I used 3 Dove Peppermint Bark pieces, just the white chocolate part)

1 Standard Size Candy Cane or 5 Mini Candy Canes, lightly crushed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 X 8 cake pan with nonstick spray and set aside.  Combine brownie mix with canned pumpkin and mix until smooth, add to the pan and put into the oven. Bake for approximately 35 mins until the top center is dry to the touch, the sides may be slightly firm.  Take out of the oven and immediately sprinkle the white chocolate and candy cane mixture on top and allow to completely cool and place in the refrigerator (overnight is best).  Cut into 36 pieces and serve. One note I want to make about this fudge, it does not have the same texture or consistency of normal fudge but it is a very good substitute if you’re craving the real thing.  1 piece is 2 Points Plus.

As I mentioned earlier, I have a bit of an addiction to yogurt bars especially Sweet Frog.  This can be a great no guilt way to get an ice cream fix if you know how to handle the yogurt bar and don’t add every topping ever created.  Here are a few tips if you’re heading out for some sweet frozen goodness.  First, stick to a sugar free and fat free flavor, and add what you estimate to be around 6 oz (which is 2 servings, but who is only going to eat 3 oz??) this should be a skinny tower in the smallest cup, see picture below.  When it comes to toppings, I try to stick with fruit because they are zero points, almonds are a good option as well.  The other day when I got Peppermint I added approximately 1 Tbsp of mini chocolate chips, about 2 Andes peppermint bars, and a mini candy cane (I had some points to burn here, can you tell?) my grand Points Plus total was 8.  If I had chosen to skip the toppings it would have been 5 Points Plus.

My Sweet Frog Peppermint creation!

 

I hope you all have wonderful peppermint filled holiday!

3 Thanksgiving dinners and 1 pound down..

You read that right, I actually lost a pound this past week even with all of the temptations of Thanksgiving getting in the way.  I stepped up my exercise game and walked for 30 mins around my neighborhood while on break from school (my dog Bailey loved this) to make sure I was staying active. I also tried the hard boiled egg and apple trick that I mentioned in an earlier post, however, dinner was delayed so it didn’t really seem to work for me.  I did resolve to only have one plate of food and 1 slice of my diet friendly pumpkin pie.  My family really enjoyed my tweaked dishes (cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and stuffing) and they were all completely eaten! Even though the holiday is over I still want to share my stuffing recipe with you because it’s a good one to have in your holiday dish tool box.  This recipe is super simple and it really does taste like the real deal, no one would have known if I wasn’t so proud and told everyone anyway.

Save the Day Stuffing

Ridiculously good stuffing!

 Recipe can also be found at Hungry Girl

6 slices light bread (40-45 calories per slice) -I used wheat bread

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped mushroom (I left this out)

1 cup fat-free chicken or vegetable broth, room temperature (I used chicken)

1/4 cup fat-free egg substitute (like Egg Beaters Original)

1 tbsp light whipped butter or light buttery spread

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (I left this out)

salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, to taste

If you think about it in enough time, leave your bread out uncovered a night or two to get nice and stale.  Otherwise, slightly toast the bread.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut bread into cubes, spray a medium casserole dish with nonstick spray and add the bread cubes to the dish.  In a medium pot, combine broth, celery, onion and cook for 8 minutes over medium heat.  Remove the pot from heat and add mushrooms and garlic (if you’re going to use them).  Season the mixture with salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme (I got a tad carried away with the thyme, it’s potent).  Let this mixture cool for several minutes, then add egg substitute and butter and stir.  Add any other add ins (I added 1 chopped Granny Smith apple, and a handful of crasins) stir and pour over the bread cubes, and mix gently with a fork (I found it easier to add the bread crumbs to my pot, stir and place it all back in the casserole dish).  Cover with foil and cook for 20 minutes.  Remove foil, fluff, and cook uncovered for an additional 15 minutes. That’s all there is to it.  I doubled this recipe because I was taking it to a large family dinner. This recipe yields 5 servings at 2 Points Plus per cup. Enjoy!

What’s Thanksgiving without Pumpkin Pie and Cranberry Sauce?

Thanksgiving always proves dangerous for the dieter, but not with these two recipes under your belt. These two recipes are classics at any Thanksgiving dinner. My friend Amanda and I have been getting together to make pumpkin pies for 4 years (and never made a perfect pie until this year!), so this year we decided to try a more diet friendly version.  I also set out to make a fresh cranberry sauce and found an amazing one online, but tweaked it to make it more diet friendly.  I hope you enjoy these recipes and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Spiced Cranberry Sauce with Oranges and Pecans 

So much better than the can!

The original recipe can be found here.

12 ounces fresh cranberries

1 1/2 cups Splenda

1 cup chopped toasted pecan halves

11 oz canned mandarin oranges in their own juice

1/2 tsp allspice

1/4 cup Trop50 Orange Juice

Combine everything except for the orange juice into a medium pot and cook covered on medium/low heat for about 10 minutes until the cranberries burst and release all of their amazing juices. Take off of heat, add orange juice, stir, and chill.  It’s really that easy! This recipe yields 6 servings at 6 Points Plus per 1/2 cup.  If you leave out the toasted pecans the points per serving will be 2 Points Plus.  (The toasted pecans really do add a nice texture and toasty goodness to the sauce)

Deliciously Delightful (and Diet Friendly) Pumpkin Pie

Our Perfect Pies! We did it :)

Recipe courtesy of Weight Watchers

3 oz Cinnamon Graham Crackers, reduced fat (5 1/2 sheets)

1 tbsp Light Brown Sugar, packed

2 tbsp Butter, melted

2 large Egg whites

1 large Egg

1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar

1/4 tsp Salt

2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

1 cup Canned Pumpkin

1/2 cup Fat Free Evaporated Milk

1/4 cup Light Whipped Topping

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place graham crackers and light brown sugar in food processor and process into crumbs. Mix in melted butter into the crumbs are a coarse meal.  Distribute crumbs evenly on the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9-inch pie plate.  Chill for 30 mins before baking for 8-10 mins, after baking remove from the oven and let cool.  In a large bowl using an electric mixer whip the egg whites until frothy, then fold in the egg, dark brown sugar, salt, pumpkin pie spice, canned pumpkin, and evaporated milk.  Beat the pumpkin custard until smooth and pour into a pie shell.  Bake for 40-45 mins (ours were done in 35) or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Slice into 8 pieces and top each piece with 1/2 tbsp of whipped topping and serve warm or at room temperature.  Yields 1 slice per serving. 5 Points Plus

A loss is a loss, no matter how small

So, I went to my Weight Watchers meeting on Saturday and I only lost 0.6 lbs, which is okay and it’s not going to get me down.  I have tried to troubleshoot over the weekend to figure out what I can do differently to increase my weight loss this week.  I looked over my tracker and realized that I hadn’t been getting all of my water in for the day and I hadn’t been taking the suggested multivitamin.  Also I noticed that I didn’t use all of my points or even touch my weekly allowance points, so I’m going to try harder to use all of my points without going crazy.  Which brings me to the elephant in the room this week…THANKSGIVING!

I am trying to get more exercise in this week to give me extra points for Turkey day as well as saving most of my weekly allowance points as well.  One tip that I would like to share about how to keep it in control on turkey day is before you go to dinner eat 1 hard boiled egg (2pts), 1 apple (0pts), and drink a low point warm beverage (ex. hot tea with sweet n low is 0 pts) at least an hour before you expect to eat and it will keep you from over eating.  I’ve never tried this before, so I’m interested to see if it works.  The number one thing to remember is to not lie to yourself about how many points you are eating that day, and take a dish to dinner that you know will be low in points (you don’t have to tell everyone it’s good for them).  I know my friend Amanda and I will be tackling a better-for-you pumpkin pie and I will add the recipe on here with some other recipes that I find that are suitable for the great feast.

Sorry I haven’t posted in my tracker this weekend, I had a lot going on. (I did track, I just haven’t added it on here) It should all be updated tonight if you are interested!

Taco Soup!

I absolutely love taco soup, it has been one of my favorite cold weather foods for a long time.  My mom used to make it for me and freeze it and bring it to me at JMU for a cold day.  So when I noticed that the forecast was calling for some chilly days ahead I quickly added this to my menu. I was also excited to use the Weight Watchers recipe builder to figure out the points, but it made it extremely difficult because it wanted to use one serving amounts for all of the ingredients, but I quickly figured it out.  So, without further ado, here is the recipe:

In the words of Rachael Ray, "Yumm-o"

Taco Soup:

1 1/2 lbs Ground Beef (I used 80/20, if you use a different ratio the points will be different)

4 cans Light Red Kidney Beans

1 can diced Tomatoes (Garlic, Basil, Oregano)

1 can Mild Rotel with Chiles

1 can Corn

1 packet Reduced Sodium Taco Seasoning

1 Packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix

V8 Low-Sodium Vegetable Juice  (I used about 2/3 of the large bottle, around 31 oz.  You can make your soup as thick or thin with V8 as you want)

Serving Size: 1 cup Makes about 20 servings.

5 Points Plus per serving

I got a complicated order…

Have you ever gone to a restaurant and added this and subtracted that from your meal and wondered if your special order did anything at all to the nutritional bottom line, are you really even making a dent in the calorie count and so on? I know I do, I special order almost everything, but it always makes me wonder how my changes reflect the nutritional status.  So I began scouring the websites for some restaurants that I visit to see if they had any information that could help me decide how to order.  The other night I decided I wanted Subway, but I wanted to make an informed decision on dinner before I went so I knew how many points I would be using so that I wouldn’t deviate from my plan.  I found that on Subway’s website you can design your own sub and they will update their nutritional info to reflect your additions and changes to their default (aka Jared’s sub).  Once I had this new information I can then calculate my points based on the Fat, Fiber, Protein and Carbs in my sub and put it into my tracker.   For example a Turkey sub on Honey Oat bread with no cheese, some veggies, and Light Mayo was 10 points for a six inch.  So I decided to check around on some other websites to see if they offered this feature, here are the ones that let you customize your orders: Wendy’s, Panera Bread, and McDonalds just to name a few.  Other restaurants are headed this way so always check before you head out.  Most if not all restaurants these days do provide their nutritional facts for their food using their standard preparation, but do not allow customizing such as Chick-fil-A and Sweet Frog (my new addiction), but it is helpful to know the worst case scenario!   If you come across any other websites with this feature please let me know!

Turn show time into go time..

Like most people I have a few TV shows that I like to watch during the week, and I’ve been trying to think of ways to make TV time work for me.  Lucky for me this week in my Weight Watchers meeting we talked about what to do while watching TV.  On average a 30 minute show has 7 minutes of commercials (which is my favorite part) and you can exercise or move around during the commercials instead of just sitting still.  Some people suggested lifting arm weights during the show, doing some stretching or laundry during the commercials.  Every little bit of movement will make a difference, it’s my goal this week to do something during the commercials instead of just sitting and watching them.  As far as snacking during TV shows goes, decide before the show comes on what you will be having as a snack and do not go back to the kitchen.  One of my personal favorites are clementines because they take time to eat and keep your hands busy.  So this week try to do something different during your weekly routine that will help you out in the long run.

Also, I have added a new page on the right where I will be sharing on a daily basis what I am eating and the points values that go with them.  Just click on ‘My Tracker’ to get the inside scoop.  So far I have been having a bit of trouble eating all of my allotted points, which is a problem I can live with.