Saturday, July 31, 2010

July Goals - New Recipe # 3 Tortilla Crusted Quiche

Happy Long Weekend!

This recipe is something I never, ever would have tried before challenging myself to find three new, low-point vegetarian recipes. I love breakfast for dinner (mmm, pancakes) but I'm only so-so on eggs. I'll pass on omlettes and eggy casseroles most of the time. But this looked so good when I spotted it on another blog that I had to give it a try!



This is one of those great meals that can be thrown together after a crazy day of work with minimal prep. It's also really adaptable, based on what you've got in the fridge. It would also make a nice weekend brunch, if you're the type who makes their own brunch.

In a greased pie plate or cake pan (apparently I have no pie plate, another thing for the imaginary registry I guess!), make a 'crust' out of tortillas by overlapping them a bit. I used two of the larger ones here, but four small ones would work, too. Put said pie plate on a baking sheet, and pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.



I diced up some bell pepper and mushrooms that I had in the fridge, sauteed them for about 5 minutes in some olive oil, and then added some spinach to wilt a bit.



Plop those veggies into the 'crust'.



Sprinkle about 1/3 a cup of feta crumbles over top.



Mix together 3 eggs and a half-cup of plain greek yogurt. I used the fat-free Balkan Style, which is the closest to skim greek yogurt I can find. Add some salt and pepper, and mix together well. Pour over the veggies.



Bake for 30 minutes until egg is set and a little bit golden brown. Remove from oven, let sit 10 minutes, cut and serve. Yum.




Using the ingredients I had, this worked out to 3 points per 1/6 of the quiche, or 7.5 for two pieces.

I'm definitely going to try this one again, but have some fun with the veggies and cheese. Maybe I'll use corn tortillas, black beans, peppers, tomatoes and sharp cheddar and serve with salsa!

PS - Don't forget to enter my giveaway! Contest closes Wednesday, August 4th.

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Grande Skinny Giveaway!

I am really excited about this, because I think you are all fantastic. You support me every day by reading this blog, by leaving comments, or checking in. Just knowing that there's a group of people out there cheering me on is what I need sometimes to keep my healthy lifestyle train on the rails. And not, you know, in a giant plate of poutine.

The kind folks over at CSN have offered you, Grande Skinny Latte readers, a chance to win a super $40 gift certificate for any of their online stores.

I checked out their site and they have pretty much everything. I was really excited about these Dutch ovens - Le Creuset cookware is on my fantasy wedding registry list. (Along with a KitchenAid Mixer and a full set of crystal stemware!) Not that I'm getting married anytime soon.



Gary, don't you want some of these awesome cast-iron pots? Seriously? I'd use them to make you some of this awesome no-knead bread!! Yes, this is a diet blog, but everything in moderation, right?

Or if you were more virtuous, you could get this weighted hula hoop.



Imagine the abs you'd have after using this sucker for a few months!

But I can't hula hoop, so I'd probably reward myself with these:



Because Mama likes to make irresonsible footwear decisions on someone else's dime.

So! What will you spend your gift certificate on?

To enter, do one or all of the following before MIDNIGHT on Wednesday, August 4th. Each one will give you a chance to win!

1. Leave a comment below telling me what you're most looking forward to doing this August.
2. Follow this blog and leave me a comment below saying you are a follower.
3. Mention this giveaway on your blog - be sure to leave a link in the comments to let me know you've done it!

Good luck!

Unfortunately, contest is only open to readers in Canada and the USA. Canucks, additional shipping fees may apply.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

That sore feeling? It's a good thing.

Woohoo! Yesterday I reached two of my July goals. I've exceeded the number of minutes of exercise I aimed for this month, and I've attended 3 Zumba classes. Yay!
 
Last night's Zumba class was a killer! There were only 3 of us there, but I made sure to work extra hard. I don't know why I feel like I'll let the instructor down or something if I slack off if there are fewer people in the class, but it pushes me to work harder. I also had a blast. For the first time I could make it through a couple of the routines with a big smile on my face, instead of a screwed-up look of intense concentration.
 
The best part, though, came this morning. On my walk to work, I noticed that I was sore from working out. I used to absolutely dread that feeling. I don't like being uncomfortable. But I don't like being fat and out of shape even more. When I feel it the next day after a good workout, I know I've pushed my body a little bit. I've asked it to do more for me, and that somewhere down the line, I'll reap the rewards of that little bit of extra stress. I feel great. I'm proud of myself. What a change!
 
What's the biggest attitude or perspective change you've noticed? Do you like that post-workout soreness, even a little bit? Or do you loathe it?
 
And stay tuned, because tomorrow, I have something REALLY fun for you!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WI # 11 - Wednesday, July 28, 2010

This morning the scale showed the exact same weight as last week. This is kind of a buzz kill, because despite a week of mental struggles, I stayed totally on plan and got in a ton of activity.

But that said, I did have two big losses in a row, and maybe my body just needs to hit pause for a minute. Better than a gain, right?

I'm starving. I had plain yogurt, berries and a tablespoon of slivered almonds this morning for breakfast, and it's just not holding me over. I also have zero interest in what I packed for lunch - spicy blackbean soup - but I don't know what I'm craving instead. It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to have a big lunch, as I've got Zumba tonight and I definitely will need the energy to make it through an hour of hip shaking.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Meg looks like a lady



Carrying on my 'look less frumpy' kick, today I wore a dress to work that hasn't fit since November. I bought this dress last fall, and it was a bit tight. I figured, that's what spanx are for, right? Plus, at the time, I was working at the Ballet and I was too busy to care if I looked like a sausage.

Well, now the dress fits without spanx, and I think by this November, it'll be too big. Which is too bad (not really), because I think it's cute!

Then I came home from work. It was way too hot to do the Shred or another dvd in our apartment, so I hit the running trail outside. I did 30 minutes of jog/walk intervals. I was a sweaty, sweaty Meg. Not so ladylike.



Sometimes I feel bad for my boyfriend. I dress up for work (most of the time) but he never sees me in my nice clothes. I have a pretty strict "I'm not doing my hair, putting on nice clothes or makeup unless we're leaving the house" policy. Have I let myself go? Meh. Maybe. A little. But I think he likes that I'm low maintenance?

I also tried out my new running belt for the first time. I've been looking for something that will hold my keys, my apartment scan tag, id, some emergency cash, and water. I have an armband for my ipod, so the fact that this one has an ipod pocket was an extra benefit.



I picked this up at Winners for $15 or so. It's okay. It bounces too much and I found that annoying, but it certainly was hot today and I was glad to have water on me! I tried wearing it in the front, on the side, and the back. None of them were awesome, but the back was probably the easiest for running, and the front for walking.

Tomorrow is WI...sleep tight!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Is the honeymoon over?

The first few weeks of any weight loss program can be easy. Results are fast, everything is new and exciting. Turning down temptations and hitting the gym feels fantastic! The first few pounds and inches come off, and it's gravy, baby.

But then a few months go by. And things start to get...routine. That excitement of achieving something - another 10 minutes on the treadmill, another kilometer run, another pound lost or dress size down - starts to waver a little bit.

I think that part of the reason that I'm feeling my motivation to finish the 30 Day Shred waver is that sense of routine settling in. It's not exciting. It's challenging - god, it's hard! But it's not novel and thrilling anymore. In fact, sometimes, it's boring.

I've done the workout two more times since I wrote last week about not being sure if I could finish it this month. I've got 3 more workouts to do to meet the 10 I'm aiming for, but I'm going to be satisfied if I make it to 8. I've decided to cut out the goal of starting Level 3 of the 30 Day Shred this month, and try a few different things instead, like a cool water workout I found in a magazine. I need more variety, and feeling like I 'have to' do something often makes me want to do ANYTHING but.

Same with my diet. I had salads for lunch just about every day for two months, and now I'm just disinterested. Instead of turning to fatty fast food or unhealthy, empty calories, I'm trying to come up with some fresh ideas. I've been buying seasonal fruits and vegetables, and trying out new recipes to stay motivated.

I think it's important to recognize this about myself. When the bloom starts to come off the rose, it's crucial to find something else to keep yourself going. I'm 16.2 lbs closer to my goal weight, and I don't want to give up now because it's not as easy as it used to be.

Do you thrive on routine, or do you need to mix it up constantly? What do you do to stay motivated for the long term?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

July Goals - New Recipe #2

Seriously, if I had known years ago that healthy, vegetarian recipes were this delicious, I would be a very different girl!


The ingredients await their fate...

I picked the wrong weekend to make Smitten Kitchen's Ratatouille, but the results were worth the sweat. Tender vegetables baked over a flavourful tomato sauce, spooned over polenta rounds. Simple, fresh...what's not to love?


oops, dead camera battery - cell phone photo, sorry for bad quality!

Now, I've never had ratatouille. I've never had polenta, either. So making this was kind of like being blindfolded. Mine certainly wasn't as pretty as Deb's, and I had my doubts about whether something so simple could be delicious - summer squash, zuchini, eggplant and red pepper layered over tomato puree, onion and garlic, sprinkled with salt and pepper and herbs de provence? Well, at least it was new.



before the oven

I had to run out while the ratatouille was in the oven, but when I got back home I was greeted by the most delicious of delicious smells coming from my kitchen. A few minutes later, the smell did not lie - deeelish.

Gary gave this dinner a 4/5. I'm giving it a solid 4.5/5, because I was the one labouring over the mandoline to get those veggies paper thin. I could really taste the love in this dish!

I'll for sure be making this again, served over couscous or with good crusty bread. But I'll save it for the fall, when it cools off a little :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A trip to the Farmers' Market

This morning, instead of going to the gym, Gary went to the Dentist and I went to the Farmers' Market. We'll make up that gym time tomorrow.

I love going to the Farmers' Market. There's a small greenmarket every Thursday in front of my office, and I grabbed some BC nectarines this week. They are so much better than the ones from Superstore!

One of the many big markets we have here in Calgary is the Calgary Farmers' Market. It's indoors, open every weekend, all year round. They're moving to a different location in November, but I've got lots of fond memories of coming here with friends.



I scoped out the vendors, checking out the fresh flowers, seafood and meat, jams, locally produced honeys, sausages, and crafts.





Of course, tucked between the healthy items are more tempting treats, like pastries. And french macarons. And sausage.





I came home with zuchini, beets, green beans, some sausage, and two macarons. I can't wait to go back and see what else comes into season!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Struggling

Hi.

Yesterday was just not a good day. After I posted about the 30 Day Shred and whether I should continue with it, I went home. The whole way home, I debated with myself about what I was going to do. Was I going to swim? Maybe I should go for a run. No, looks like rain. Maybe I'll do that yoga DVD again. No, I should just suck it up and Shred. Yoga and a run? Yoga and swimming? Maybe I'll go to the little gym in the basement and hit the stationary bike.

I did none of these things. I just needed a break. I was starving when I got home, and I had dinner at Joey Tomatoes ahead of me. I had checked out the menu and already decided what I was going to order - a salad with chicken, apples, avocado, other good stuff, but I knew that if I got any more frustrated with the day - hungry, stressed, tired, whatever, I was just going to collapse and cave and order a giant plate of fries and whatever else my irritated lizard brain wanted.

So I made a snack - some cottage cheese and some berries, and I settled down with a magazine. I had a hot shower. I did my makeup. I went out and had dinner with my cousins. It was a good choice for me.

I'm not generally a believer in perfection. I do think it's better to workout 5 days a week than 0 days a week, but sometimes you don't get to 5. I wouldn't be this tough on anyone else, so why was I beating myself up about missing a workout?

My feet are bruised (dropped a can of soup on my toe) and covered in blisters (stupid red flats - anyone a size 8.5 and want some cute shoes?). I'm tired and sore. I just couldn't push anymore yesterday.

But now I feel better. I feel refreshed. I'm looking forward to a workout when I get home this afternoon, to let off some steam.

And then I'm going out with a girlfriend to talk through the rest of my emotional crap and let off some more, different steam.

Thanks everyone, for your support yesterday. It really, really makes a difference. If I didn't have you cheering me on, I don't know. Maybe I just would have quit yesterday. But I didn't. Thanks.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Goals

Guys, I'm feeling a bit frustrated.
 
I set my July goals (see sidebar for a refresher) when I was getting ready for our holiday and feeling super in love with the 30 Day Shred. Well, a month has passed, we're nearing the end of July and I'm not so much in love with it anymore.
 
Level 1 was hard, but I felt empowered doing it. I could actually track my progression in the number of pushups I could do and whether I could complete the whole thing without stopping. I could see results. I felt awesome.
 
Level 2 is harder. WAY harder. There is no end to the plank position - plank jacks, plank twists, plank i-hate-you-so-freaking-much. I've often fallen into the "I Can't" trap when it comes to fitness. I can't do pushups. I can't run. I can't swim.
 
I have been pushing myself this time. Not so hard as to hurt myself, but still. I've tried a lot of new things, scary things like Crazy Lady Yoga and running outside. The other day I doubled the length of time I spend on the elliptical, up to a full hour. I'm going to this intense Zumba class. I haven't let myself say "I can't" - frankly, I haven't even let myself think it.
 
I have five workouts left to complete my goal of finishing Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred. I know I CAN - I'll have to do it pretty much every week day between now and next weekend - but I don't know if I want to. I'm just not feeling like I'm getting anywhere with it. It's hard, and it's intense, like Leve 1 - but I'm not seeing any progression. I'm not feeling empowered. I feel a little defeated, actually. I have trouble with the plank position, with walking pushups. I'm scared of Level 3.
 
I committed to finishing the DVD. I don't want to feel defeated by a workout tape. I'm seeing results. I dread doing it. I set a goal, I can meet it. It's not like the world will end if I quit.
 
What would you do?

Popchips

I love chips - but they have to be plain, ripple chips. I occasionally will eat BBQ chips if I'm at a party and needing something salty and crunchy, but I don't dig the flavoured chips.

Before I started this healthy revolution of mine, one of my favourite ways to drown my sorrows was on the couch with a giant bag of ripple chips and a girlfriend to listen to me rant. Maybe a chick flick or two, add some gummy candies and you have perfection.

For obvious reasons, giant bags of chips aren't in my food plan anymore. I can and do eat chips, but in smaller servings and occasionally. Sometimes I buy those baked lays, but they just don't do it for me. They don't have that real chippy chippness to them, y'know? Almost soggy.

When I found single serving bags of Popchips at Shoppers while renewing a prescription, I figured I'd give them a try.



100 calories, 3 grams of fat and 1 gram of fibre for the bag (23 grams) is pretty good. So is the sodium content - 230 mg. At least, I think this is good. I've only recently started checking the sodium content on the things I eat.

I was skeptical. These chips aren't baked or fried, they're 'popped' using heat and air pressure. But they're pretty good. In fact, they're mighty tasty. Next time I've got a ripple chips craving, I'll head for a bag of these. I just wish they stocked them in more stores!

Have you ever tried popchips? What's your favourite junk food snack? Have you found a substitute for it, do you enjoy it in smaller portions, or have you banned it altogether?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

WI # 10 - Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I am so pumped this morning. Today I was down 2.4 lbs, for a total of 16.2 lbs in 10 weeks. That is pretty awesome!

It's been about a month since my last progress photo, so here's another one. On the left - me on June 4th. On the right - on July 19th. There's about a 9 lb difference between the two photos. (click to enlarge)



I can totally see the difference, but this time I'm looking straight at my face. I have lovely chipmunk cheeks, and I didn't really expect to see a difference in my face, but I can see it.

How is your week going?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Give up the frump!

Today I wore my new jeans for the first time. It's amazing how wearing clothes that actually *fit* make me feel so much better! I felt totally hot today, guys. It's not like I'd even done myself up - I had some bad, bad hair going on - but I wasn't drowing in saggy clothes that were too big.

Lesson learned.

One of the things I've got to work on is making myself feel attractive and pretty. I need to focus on the things I love about myself, and learn to work on the things I don't.

I used to feel like I didn't need to put in any effort. I was (am) a chubby girl, and in my mind, that meant I was invisible. No one cared if I did my hair in something other than a ponytail; makeup was wasted. After all, no one noticed me. No one was looking at me, anyway.

Whenever I start a diet, I'd always promise myself a solid makeover once I reached goal. I'd be hot. People wouldn't ignore me anymore.

Now, I'm starting to feel like I need to sass myself up for me. I'm looking at myself. I shouldn't wait until I've reached my goal to make myself over a bit. I'm worth it, right? We all are.

I'm a good-looking girl. I inherited good genes - I've got great skin, huge green eyes, hair that does pretty much whatever I want it to with some effort. I'm tall, and I've got long legs and a defined waist. I'm only going to get hotter, people. With a little more pride in my appearance and some actual effort...lock up your sons!

(uh, I mean that hypothetically, as I'm sure that none of you reading have sons in the 27-35 range, plus, I'm basically married in the eyes of the law anyway to a super duper guy.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

July Goal - New Recipe #1

This evening I tried out a new recipe. It's one of my goals this month to try three new low-point, vegetarian recipes.


Image Credit: Women's Health Magazine

This one is a keeper. Lime Biryani Salad, a curried quinoa salad with chickpeas, carrots, almonds and raisins (or craisins if you're me and have no raisins in the cupboard) with a zingy lime dressing. It was really good. Gary and I both gave it 4/5 stars, 5 being make it again tomorrow and 0 being make this again and we're relationship off.

I'd never made quinoa before, but was curious as it's a great source of fibre and protein. I can't make rice without the aid of a rice cooker, so I was a bit nervous, but it was pretty simple. The recipe is easy, doesn't have a lot of strange ingredients, is quick to make, and is mighty tasty. This makes 4 HUGE, satisfying meal-sized servings for 9 points. It's fresh tasting and perfect for summer.

I got the recipe from Women's Health, you can find it online here.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Shopping and a Game!

This afternoon I stopped in at the Gap factory outlet store to pick up some new jeans. I've been feeling quite frump-a-licious lately, in my saggy, ill-fitting pants, but I'm cheap and the jeans I like wearing are around $80. I'm not stopping this weight-loss train anytime soon, and I figured that I could get by with the few pairs I had, for a few more pounds, but yesterday I reached my breaking point. I'm working hard on my body, and while the changes so far are small, there ARE changes and I want to show them off and feel good!

I figured I'd buy some new jeans to tide me over at the Gap outlet - instead of $80, they're about $40 a pair.

I grabbed three styles of jeans in one size smaller than what I've been wearing. One pair was cut too low in the rise (dang you, long legs and torso...), one pair was waaay too small and one pair, in the style I normally wear (Long & Lean) fit okay. They were a bit snug, actually. This was pretty depressing, people. Yes, I went down a size (18 to 16), but I have another pair of this style of jeans in my closet in the size 16 and they are too big. What gives? !

What gives, at least to my best guess, is that I had bought them at a lower weight, and wore them as I gained 30 lbs (or so). Denim stretches. Go figure.

I'm sure after a few wears and a few more weeks, these 16s will fit perfectly and be on the way to the frumpy, saggy end of the closet.

After a day of shopping, errands, laundry and other chores, Gary and I made dinner. He suggested I take a photo - it was pretty darn good!

I thought I'd play a game with you - how many points do you think are in this meal of bacon-wrapped filet steaks, foil-pack potatoes, mushrooms, and corn on the cob?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Non-scale Victory

In the world of weight loss, non-scale victories (nsv) often are the ones that feel the hardest won and are truly rewarding. It can be buying a smaller size, passing down a temptation, or a fitness achievement.

This morning at the gym I cranked out 60 minutes on the Elliptical. I usually do 20-30 minutes of elliptical and then another 20 minutes or so of stationary biking. If my back is sore, I will skip it altogether, but today I really went for it.


hello, friend

I can't believe I'm even capable of doing a full hour of pretty intense cardio! I kept my heart rate up the entire time, and didn't stop. Two months ago, squeaking out 20 minutes was tough. I guess all that time with crazy Jillian really is working :)

What are your NSV's this week?

Friday, July 16, 2010

DVD Review: Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown

A few weeks ago I asked if anyone had tried Jillian Michael’s Yoga DVD. Unfortunately, no one seems to have tried it, and after extensive searching for a decent review online from someone ‘like me’, I came up empty. Then a coworker asked me if I had tried it yet, and that was enough of a prompt.

If I couldn’t find a review, I’d have to review it myself.

I picked up the DVD and gave it a whirl. By whirl, I mean, I struggled through it covered in an incredible amount of sweat, punctuated by occasional grunts and whimpers of pain.

This is not a yoga DVD for beginners.

If you have never been to a yoga class, tried a yoga tape, or done any kind of yoga at all, you shouldn’t start here. This isn’t really even a yoga DVD. This is a resistance training DVD with a yoga flavour. But, that’s not necessarily a bad thing!

Sometimes I don’t feel like doing jumping jacks and lifting weights. And sometimes, I don’t feel like doing the yoga DVD I have, because it doesn’t really feel like a workout. Sometimes it’s too cold or too hot to workout outside, and the dance-based exercise DVDs on my shelf just don’t appeal.

This video is perfect for times like that.

It’s short - each of the two levels is about 35 minutes long. Other than a non-slip surface or a yoga mat, no equipment is required.

Level one starts with a quick warmup, and then right into it. Jillian Michaels doesn’t really inspire the body-mind connection that most (all?!) yoga instructors strive for. She stumbles through yoga terminology, like “melt your heart to the sky”. She’s not buying what she’s saying, so halfway through she switches back to terms and phrases she’s more comfortable with. That’s ok - not everyone is into the yoga spirituality thing, and I’d rather not see someone force it.

The poses are difficult, and are done in combinations. A few sun salutations for cardio here and there, and then a different modification on yoga. Instead of holding a pose for an extended period of time, you will move into a pose, and then out of it and back into it several times, and then hold the pose for 15 or 30 seconds. These poses include a variety of warrior poses, balance poses, downward dog with a leg lift, camel, cobra, locust, and my absolute least favourite - chaturanga pushups.

If you don’t know what those words up there mean, this might not be a great place to start your yoga adventure. Check out some other yoga dvds, or, even better, take a class. Jillian doesn’t go into how to actually DO the poses, and I really feel like you could seriously hurt yourself trying to get your body to do the things the lady on TV is doing. I’m a yoga beginner, but I’ve taken several classes in the last 8 years, so I know how to downward dog, and what it’s supposed to feel like. I also know when I’m doing it wrong. I know that the backbend she was doing at one point was NOT supposed to hurt like that, so I stopped and skipped that one.

I’ll give this workout a third try, having done level one twice now. It’s definitely tough! I was sweating buckets, had to take a quick break a few times (damn chaturanga pushups!) and I was very sore the next day - but in a good, lengthening, yoga-ish way. I doubt that you can drop the 5 lbs a week the cover promises if this is your only workout, but it’s worth a try if you’re looking for something new and are somewhat familiar with yoga basics.

Plus, people who do yoga have hot bodies. That in itself is enough for me to give this workout another try!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Failure to plan, ole!

Today was one of those days where everything just took a sharp, slanting turn in the wrong direction. I woke up late, so I didn't have time to pack my lunch or make breakfast. That, my friends, was my first mistake.

I grabbed a muffin at the coffee shop across the street, the one that makes the BEST home-made style muffins. Rasberry Lychee, Peach and Almond, Chocolate Praline Apple - these are just a few of the flavours they make. SO GOOD.

I've found that a sweet pastry or muffin in the morning doesn't really fill me up, or satisfy me. I need a breakfast that is high in fibre or protein, or both. The muffin held me over until 10:30, when I had a peach. So far, not so bad, right?

Lunch rolled around and I went out in search of...something? I had no idea what I wanted. I wanted something healthy, but I was craving beef on a bun or a hot dog. I ended up walking around in circles for about 45 minutes until I settled on a vegetarian lentil stew and a sugar-free italian soda. For sure, this could have been far, far worse. But again - not really that satisfying, and higher in points than I would have guessed once I looked it up. I was craving ice cream seriously hard, but I knew that wasn't going to end well (late afternoon sugar crash, anyone?), so I had some cherries that I had tossed in my purse on the way out of our place in the morning.

Dinner was planned, though. Grilled chicken sausage, corn on the cob, new potatoes. I was really looking forward to it. Last night I went to Zumba and I'd been feeling sore all day, but I thought I might as well head home and go for a swim or something...and then I ran into some coworkers and had a beer on a patio instead.

I got home, and the sausages I remembered being in the freezer were nowhere to be found.

So that plan? Abandoned. Instead, we went out. For Mexican.

Mexican is the one type of food that I can't resist. I can go to pretty much any other restaurant and find something healthy on the menu and be satisfied, but at a Mexican restaurant, all bets are off. Enchiladas it was. And chips and salsa. A LOT of chips and salsa. Ugh. I actually ate to the point of feeling sick.



I hereby present myself with the Sombrero of Really Pathetic Planning. I was going to call it the Sombrero of Failure, but that's a bit harsh. Back on the horse tomorrow, right?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

WI # 9 - Wednesday, July 14

I've been following weight watchers for two months now, and I'm pretty pleased with the results so far. Sometimes I look at my own previous results, and the weight loss of others, and I think that this time, the weight is coming off really slowly.

I read a lot of magazines and blogs and occasionally I watch weight-loss themed tv shows, where contestants and celebrities lose twenty pounds a month or more. This isn't realistic, healthy, or actually even feasible! While it'd be great to drop 5 lbs a week, every week, I'm pretty sure I'd get cocky, slip back into bad habits, and gain it all back again. I know myself, and I know my body. Working hard for the weight loss means I'm less likely to sabotage myself and throw all that hard work out the window.

Now, talk of hard work and slow weight loss aside, this week I'm down 2.8 lbs - for a total so far of 13.8 lbs! The number I saw on the scale this morning surprised me so much that I had to step off the scale and weigh myself a few more times to make sure. I had a tough week, and it wasn't easy to get back on the program after a vacation. A wedding, a few parties, the Calgary Stampede - temptation was everywhere and I was sure that this week I'd see a gain.

Wahoo!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sweet, sweet bbq

I don't know if it's because my Grandpa was from Alabama, but I love me anything barbecued. The dinner we had tonight was so good, I could have licked my plate clean.

This morning I got dressed and decided I looked pretty good, considering I slept in and had about 10 minutes to get ready! These are one of the two pairs of jeans I have that fit me right now - two pairs are too small, and the rest are falling off saggy. One of the acceptable fit ones has that stretchy, faux-maternity pants top, so they're not really work appropriate. (Yes, I can wear jeans to work - one of the perks of working in the arts/non-profit sector!)



This blazer is another favourite that is soon going to be too big to wear. Thought I might as well get some wear out of it while I still can :) (Yes, my office really is as big as it looks. I'm very, very lucky, and I also have huge windows!)





Breakfast today was coffee with milk and splenda, and some oatmeal with a banana. I ran out of plain oats, so I grabbed a package of instant flavoured oatmeal - brown sugar and maple syrup. This used to be my favourite, but it's way, way too sweet for me now. Yech!





It was cold today, and I was happy to have packed soup for lunch. This is the Weight Watchers Smart Ones brand minestrone. It's 0 points per cup, but 1.5 points for two cups...so be wise :) It was good, but no better than your average canned soup. I had a sandwich thin, toasted with a little bit of butter. And water. 3 L today!





I had my daily vitamins and some cherries for dessert. I also had a short, non-fat mocha from starbucks and a babybel cheese, but I didn't get a photo. Bad blogger!

Around 3:30 the snackies hit, so I had a nectarine and some crystal light.






I headed home at 4:30, did my 30 Day Shred workout, and then got dinner prepared for the bbq.



We had corn on the cob, a spinach salad with a few tomatoes, and bbq'd chicken breast. The sauce on this was FAB. It's Bullseye brand Guiness sauce, which is AMAZING and I highly encourage you to try it!

That's it for my day. I'm pretty full now, and it's WI tomorrow, so it's unlikely that I'll eat anything else. Fingers are crossed for good results tomorrow...

More popcorn...

Okay, since we've been on the popcorn theme this week, I thought I'd keep it going.

I often make microwave popcorn at work for an afternoon snack. I usually buy the 94% fat free Smart Pop or equivalent, in the mini bags. They're about 100 calories, 2 grams of fat, and because of the fibre content, come out to one point. One point for a salty carby snack? Colour me satisfied!

But plain popcorn can get a little boring. I like to jazz things up sometimes. Last week, one of my coworkers brought in Lime and Sea Salt flavoured popcorn. Also in mini bags. It smelled sooo goood that I walked out of my office in a zombie-like popcorn haze. POPCOOOOOORRRRN! I moaned.

She let me try some, because she's nice like that. And also, I think I scare her a little bit.



Holy Dinah. That popcorn was awesome. On Sunday, I checked out the nutritionals at the grocery store. Compared to my one point bag, this stuff had 140 calories (not bad) and over 10 grams of fat (I can't remember if it was 11, 14 or 19 grams of fat, but I didn't write it down. Blogger FAIL.)!

Plus, it came with a price premium. Not. Worth. It.

I decided I could probably make it at home. If all else failed, I could just sprinkle some lime juice and salt ON my plain jane popcorn.

Here's a recipe I found on Martha Stewart's website. Does anyone else have any awesome popcorn tweaks? Sometimes I sprinkle some parmesan cheese on it, and I've heard that hot sauce is another tasty add-on.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Movie theatre treats

Thanks guys, for your support re: yesterday's crisis of confidence. I've had nearly 20 years of experience feeling bad about the way I look, and sometimes I get really wrapped up in my own sad little pity party. But the good news is, those feelings used to make me head straight for the ripple chips - and now, I just sort of lose my appetite and strengthen my resolve to change how I look and feel about my body.

So onwards to a great week, right?

Today I'm chugging back the water like nobody's business. Gary and I went to see Toy Story 3 yesterday afternoon. I loved it! But there's nothing quite like sitting in a room full of children who are amazed and in awe and so terribly cute to jump start that biological clock. Gary and I spent the entire 30 minute drive home talking about how much we both want to have kids and how much that movie made us want to have a baby RIGHT NOW.

And we pause, so my mother can peel herself off the ceiling.

But of course, for us, having kids RIGHT NOW is not in the Current Life Plan, so no worries. We've got a few things to take care of before we decide to become parents.

Anyway. I scarfed down some popcorn at the theatre, and my whole body feels the salt intake. My fingers feel bloated, which is weird. Hopefully a few litres of water and some exercise tonight will help me flush out all the delicious, delicious movie theatre popcorn salt.

I don't usually buy popcorn at the movies. I'm more of a sweet gummy-candy or licorice girl. What is your favourite movie theatre snack? Do you have any good healthy substitutes? Usually I sneak in my own soda - but in the past, I've snuck in sandwiches, bags of cookies, even a slice of pizza!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Open Bar and the Weight-Watching Girl

Saturday night Gary and I went to the wedding of two friends. The ceremony was beautiful, and the reception was a great time.

Instead of a dinner, they had a hot hors d'oeuvre selection, desserts and cake. Yikes. I did reasonably well, filling two small plates - the first with a few slices of cheese, 4 crackers, and two small dessert squares; the second with three dumplings, a mini samosa, some fruit, and a small pretzel bun with prime rib (like a mini burger or slider but SO MUCH BETTER). I thought I had chosen reasonably, and while I probably could have skipped the cheese, I didn't feel deprived. Even when I passed on the slices of pie (my favourite dessert) and wedding cupcakes.

But dealing with an open bar was a different story altogether.

In the course of the evening, I had two glasses of wine, two gin and tonics, and a malibu rum and pineapple juice. This really isn't a lot of liquor, over 6 hours - I wasn't in the least buzzed. But the calorie count! Oy vey!

I tried really hard to enjoy myself and not think of it as depriving myself of anything. I skipped the midnight lunch of deep dish pizza, telling myself that it really wouldn't sit well with the booze and that would kill my urge to dance. I tried to remind myself that I wasn't there for the food, I was there to spend time celebrating with friends. I tried to stay positive, and not obsess.

I'd say I did pretty well not obsessing. Obviously I remember every single thing I ate, but that's more of an ingrained habit by this point.

I felt healthy, satisfied, and I felt good about the choices I made.

On the other hand, when I compared myself to the other women at the party - the ones in the stunning, tight dresses with the cute hair and shoes, the ones who didn't seem concerned about eating pizza or having another cocktail, or concerned that they were going to pop out of/burst a seam in their dresses while dancing...I felt not so hot about myself.

How do you stop comparing yourself to others? This is something I really need to work on - I felt cute when we left our apartment, but by the time we got home I felt frumpy. I'm sure I was still cute...but I don't have any photos to prove it - hiding from the camera is something I've gotten very good at.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I have to learn to listen to myself.

I will not eat any pancakes. I will have coffee but no pancakes. I will not eat any pancakes.

But it's so hard to say no to free pancakes. Especially when they're outside your office door and you haven't had breakfast yet.

So what happened? I ate two pancakes. AND the breakfast I packed.

Just put the free trail mix you got in your desk drawer. It's too high in fat - 19 grams per serving!! Just put it away.

But the 3:00 munchies hit, and sure enough...I ate the trail mix.

Just stay at the work party for a half hour, have a diet coke, and go home and work out. You don't need a drink. You don't need anything to eat. Just be social and then excuse yourself early.


But a glass of wine later, I was hitting the cheese tray - hard.

I know I'm stronger than this. I know that I'm only letting myself down. I know I can't continue this way and expect to see any results.

So, despite a crappy day of eating and a post-work vino, I dragged myself out the door with Gary for a long walk. I wasn't hungry when I got home, so I didn't eat the dinner I had planned. I went over my points for today by 1 - not a big deal. Tomorrow is going to be a new day, a better day, and another opportunity to say no to those free Stampede Breakfast pancakes.

Recipe: Mediterranean Chicken and Orzo


This is a dinner I make quite often. It's kind of a throw-together sort of meal; it's hard to mess up (aside from burning the orzo to the bottom of the skillet), it's really easy to adapt depending on what you have on hand and how many people you'd like to serve, and it's healthy. And tasty!

Serves 2

1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, finely chopped (I used 2)
3/4 cup uncooked orzo
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup water
2 tsp chopped fresh or 1 tsp dried rosemary - or, italian seasoning, or herbs de Provence, or greek seasoning, or spice blend of your choice. I like mine with lots of flavour so I use more than this, but it's up to you and your taste buds.
1/4 tsp salt
1 medium zuchinni, sliced thinly
2 plum or roma tomatoes, chopped OR cherry tomatoes, about half a pint
1/2 or 1 bell pepper, chopped (depending on how much you like bell pepper or if, like me, the idea of having half a pepper in your fridge bothers you)
black pepper, to taste

1. Heat some olive oil or cooking spray in a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, cook chicken in skillet about 5 minutes until browned.
2. Add garlic, spice, pasta and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Cover and simmer for about 8 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. You want to watch it pretty closely, as this is where the sticking to the pan and burning happens. Give it a good stir a few times. You might need to add more liquid if the orzo hasn't softened and the liquid is absorbed. You don't want the pasta fully cooked - but not crunchy.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients, including water. Bring to a boil again, reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until veggies are crisp-tender. Add more broth or water if you need to, and give it a few good stirs again.

Serve sprinkled with black pepper. If you want, a little parmesan on top tastes awesome.

If you double this, it tastes great the next day, warmed up OR cold like a pasta salad. I think you can play around with the veggies - add mushrooms, broccoli, peas, eggplant - whatever you've got kicking around in the fridge. You could omit the chicken to make it vegetarian (use veg broth). Play with the spices and make it your own!

Deets for 1 serving:

370 Calories
6 g fat
5 g fibre
7 WW points

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

WI #8

(WI #7 didn't really happen, I logged it as staying the same weight as I didn't have a scale)
 
This morning I was really out of sorts. I went to bed last night with a really brutal headache. I had also cut open my chin and scraped my face when I hit myself with the cupboard door in the kitchen, so you can imagine that I was not a happy camper. Just in time for tons of photos at a wedding this weekend!
 
I had a lot of trouble getting out of bed. My headache was gone, but I was totally groggy and quite stiff from working out the night before. Then the weekly reminder I have set up in my blackberry buzzed, and I remembered that today is Weigh-In Day so I got out of bed.
 
I was up 0.6 lbs, which is really not that much at all!
 
This week, I'm going to work extra hard to counter-act the wedding (open bar, hors d'oeuvre reception, super good friends!) and get back on the losing side of the scale. Hopefully my sleep pattern will regulate soon enough and I'll be back to getting up with the birdies.
 
 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mountain climbing


I grew up in Saskatchewan, on the flat flat flat prairie. 8 years ago I moved to Calgary, which is within spitting distance of some of the finest hiking, skiing and outdoor mountain sports activities in the world.

I always brace myself for the scorn I inevitably receive when I tell people that I don't ski, hike, or mountain bike. In the almost decade I've been here, I've never hiked through the Rockies, even though I can see them from my window.

When we were in BC, Gary took me on my very first hike. We climbed up a path leading to the top of a small hill/mountain. The hike was about 2 km to the summit, and then back down, and it took us just over 2 hours in total. It was awesome.



The hike was pretty steep, and was marked intermediate for the slope of the path. After two minutes, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to make it. I felt unfit, out of shape and totally pathetic.

When we got to the top, I felt an incredible sense of achievement. It was really great to know that I did it - I made it.

Today I was struggling to motivate myself to exercise, but I made myself do it. As I was doing horrible, horrible bicycle crunches, I thought about that hike, and how good it felt. How good it will feel 60 lbs from now, to bound up a mountain and not be held back by doubt over whether my body can actually handle what I want it to do.



Here's a photo of me on that mountain. I think I'll print it out and keep it close at hand for those times when motivation lags.

Getting back on track is hard.

It's like I'm fighting some kind of stupid internal battle. I want to get back on track so badly. I want to eat healthy, exercise, do all the right things. But the other side of me just isn't having it.
 
I woke up early this morning with the intention of working out. I got out of bed at around 6:30, walked to the bathroom, and turned right back around and got back into bed for another hour. I packed a great breakfast (yogurt and berries) and lunch (salad with chickpeas and berries, and a mini babybel cheese), and some snacks (a granola bar, a delicious nectarine, some mini rice cakes).  I decided I would absolutely work out after I got home from the office, no ifs, ands or buts.
 
Buuuuut. But it's cold. And I'm tired. All I want to do is snack, but I've eaten everything I've packed. I want to go home, curl up in my pj's and read a book. Or nap. Or do anything but exercise.
 
Why am I doing this to myself?! I have to find the energy and the urge to workout in the next 2 hours, or I'll feel even worse tomorrow. Bah.

Monday, July 5, 2010

I'm back!

Hello again! I'm back from my week of vacation, fresh and relaxed and a little bit tan - but mostly peeling, due to a wicked sunburn I got on the second day of our holiday. Oh, my pasty skin never fails to remind me that SPF 30 is mandatory!
 
I'm happy to report back that I survived the vacation, food-and-exercise wise, with no crazy binging. I was pretty concerned I'd fall off the wagon and set myself back significantly, but I'm really pleased with the way I held myself together. The first half of the vacation, I watched what I ate very closely, trying to pick healthier options like soups or salads where I could, or trying to limit my portion sizes when I didn't have much control over the menu. I did splurge on the spaghetti, but definitely didn't eat as much as I would have six months ago. I had a few little treats, but mostly watched my diet really carefully.
 
We also went on a few long walks, two hikes, and swam in a beautiful outdoor pool twice, so I tried to get in activity when I could.
 
The second half of the trip, I indulged a little more - we went for Mexican, I had ice cream (often), drank my fair share of wine. But I really enjoyed every bit, and again, tried to be reasonable in my portion sizes and choices.
 
I got on the scale this morning, even though my official weigh-in day is Wednesday. (I didn't take the scale with me in my suitcase...the sane side of my brain won that battle!) I deliberated for awhile over weighing myself today, knowing that the weekend was when I ate some of the more indulgent things and didn't get much exercise. But then I figured, I'd better assess the damage; otherwise, I might spend today and tomorrow saying, 'what the heck, I've already blown it. Might as well have some chips and cake..."
 
I was up less than a pound. Not bad for 10 days away! I'm sure that if I watch what I eat, work out a bit and drink a lot of water, by Wednesday I'll be back on the weight loss track, or at least quite close to it.
 
How was your Canada Day (or July 4th) weekend? Did you do anything special? How do you get back on track after a vacation?
 
 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Love-hate (mostly hate) (ok, it's mostly love)

I love to hate her, but I've got to say: I can definitely credit Jillian Michaels and her 30 Day Shred dvd for the great results I've seen toning and shrinking my body. A 10 lb loss often doesn't show at all for me, and this time, it's really incredible how much difference I see in my body! The resistance-circuit training has GOT to be a big part of that.

Jillian has other videos, but I'm not super interested in trying some of her other resistance-training or circuit workouts right away. What I've got is working for me right now, but as my body changes, I'll need more of a challenge.

But she does have a new dvd out that I'm interested in - Yoga Meltdown.



It seems different enough from the Shred to be interesting, it's short (30 minutes) and even though it's not in any way 'proper' yoga, I'm interested in the concept of it.

Have any of you tried it? Love it? Hate it? Not worth the money? Really tough? I'd love to know!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July 2010: Goals

Goal setting worked really well for me in June. I found it really motivating to work towards mini-goals, instead of think of the 60 lbs of weight I want to lose (which is down to 49 now!). These little goals kept me on track and I really pushed to achieve my fitness goals, and I think that absolutely made a difference in the results I saw in June.

I've decided to make a few goals for July, but stick to Deb's philosophy of goals being something you DO, not DESIRE.

So my goals for July are:

1. 720 Minutes of Exercise
2. Attend 3 Zumba Classes
3. Finish Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred, and start Level 3
4. Try Three New Recipes for Low-Point, Vegetarian Dinners

Of course, I'm also working towards my next weight loss goal - 10%, but I'm not going to set a specific deadline. I am confident that achieving the above goals will help me get there!

What are your goals for the month? Do you have any recipe suggestions for me?