Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Secret to Weight Loss

via Say Something Posters
Proper nutrition and exercise.  I've known this for roughly forever, and yet- sometimes I guess we just need to be reminded.  If there was a magic pill with no side effects that let me eat whatever I wanted, and still lose weight?  I would totally take that.  But unfortunately, that does not exist.  So until that's invented and it doesn't turn us into zombies, I'll just stick with diet and exercise.  I got the reminder I needed last week when I met with my nutritionist that even though I'm at a calorie deficit during the week, and feeding my body right; the weekends are putting me over the top.  If three out of seven days are spent blowing through calories, the other four are just catch up days.  That's why I've been stagnant for so long. 

This past weekend I kept it (mostly) under control.  I still led my life, (went to a party on Friday) but exercised more over the weekend.  I ate fairly sensibly on Saturday and Sunday.  I know this upcoming weekend will be a challenge, but I'll be meeting it head on.  I've been sick all week and therefore haven't clocked enough exercise time.  That in and of its self will make this weekend harder, but I've been eating well all week and preparing mentally.  Again, this journey is about learning and making permanent changes- and I feel as though I've made a lot of good decisions for my health in the last year.

This week, I'm down, but didn't quite undo the damage I did the week before.  So here goes another week, fighting the good fight.

I'm adding in a new stat for my weekly weigh in- since I've been at this for over a year, I'm going to also log my weight loss stats for this year since my yearly weigh-in in January.

This week: -1.6 lbs
This year: -2.0 lbs
Total: -11.6 lbs

Monday, February 20, 2012

Recipe Round Up- Soup Edition

As I'm facing the upcoming 78 months of winter looming over the lake, I am once again turning to soup as my go-to lunch and dinner.  I did this a lot last winter, and it was really helpful to have an easy take along.  One thing I learned- only keep about 3-4 meals of one type of soup in the fridge and freeze the leftovers.  No matter how good it is the first couple days, any amazing leftover gets boring after you've eaten it for a week straight.  Pop your soup (after it's cooled down, of course) into some freezer ziplock bags in individual portions, lay flat in the freezer, and BOOM, you have lunches for anytime you want.  This way when you're onto another lunch, or forgot to go to the store, you can be all like, hey! There's that awesome soup (or other dish) in the fridge!  I'm rattling on.  Here's the deets:

Look at all that STUFF!
Tortellini Soup with Beans and Chard-  Looks like I'm on an Elly Says Opa kick lately.  What can I say, she likes her soups 'bulky,' as do I.  This is hearty, filling, cheesy, and spicy!  I had never used chard before, but it's a clear winner over spinach in soups.  The chard is peppery and holds up under the heat, instead of turning into wilted mush like most spinach in soup.  I'd also double her recommendation of fire roasted diced tomatoes- they're delicious in this.  Over all this brings the heat and fills your belly.  Two thumbs up.

Sausage Lentil Soup- I made this with chicken hot italian sausage instead of keilbasa, and it was amazing.  I say, the best soup I've ever made, and we all know I love making soup.  It's very hearty, filling, and low on calories.  TallBoy said that he was "afraid it'd be bland" (I think because he's never had lentils before), but was VERY pleased with the outcome.  I also didn't serve it with Parmesan, but that would probably be pretty good.  I mean, what isn't good with cheese!?

Chicken Spaetzel Soup- This is my own recipe, and it's super easy. 

2 Cups shredded, skin off, cooked chicken
2 Cups Spaetzel- I use Sophie's Choice- locally made, and I'm sure they have to be aware of their unfortunate brand name... but they're delicious, I swear)
6-8 Cups Chicken Broth
1 Bay Leaf
1 Cup Diced Carrots
1 Cup Diced Celery
1 Cup Diced Onion
2-3 Cloves Garlic, Smashed
2 tsp Butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

Sautee Garlic and Onion in large stew pot until onions begin to turn transparent.  Add in carrots and celery, sautee until soft.  Add bay leaf, chicken stock, salt and pepper, simmer for at least 30 minutes.  Add in chicken, simmer for another 20-30 minutes.  Add in spaetzel just before serving, let the dumplings get warm, and then serve.  Makes 6-8 generous portions.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Back To My Old Tricks...

Creepy, right?
Happy Belated Valentine's Day!  Since today is weigh in day, and I haven't posted in about two weeks, you should know now that it isn't looking good.  I yelled at my scale this morning.  I wish yelling at the scale made the pounds drop off, but we don't live in a perfect world.  I'm always talking about how stress affects my eating habits, and this week/weekend was no different. 

TallBoy and I went to the Cincy Beer Festival, to pour beer for The Brew Kettle.  I knew this was coming for a while, and had planned on trying some new beers and indulging a little bit, but Friday morning came with a panicked-stress-in-my-face type of morning.  By the time we got to Cincinnati, I was eating a donut burger.  Yes, you read that right.  It was a cheeseburger, with a donut for a bun.  Followed by copious amounts of pizza, beer, more pizza, and then Skittles and Doritos.  Saturday and Sunday were much of the same.  I got it back under control (kind of) by Monday, and then Tuesday was Valentine's Day.  Which I won't even delve into, because our meal was AMAZING, homemade, and I don't regret it.  I just wish it hadn't been preceded by a ton of junk food over the weekend.

Yeah, our Valentine's Day was amazing
I was chatting with one of my co-workers the other day, and I was telling her now that I've been eating fairly cleanly for a long time, that when I do indulge in fast food pizza (think Papa John's/Marco's) or other 'bad' foods, it makes me feel physically ill.  Papa John's now makes me feel like I've got a touch of the flu- I don't sleep well, and my stomach tends to feel bad for at least a day afterwards.  I know when I eat these foods that I won't feel well (which is why I don't do it that often), but I still do it.  I boggle my own mind.  Or maybe I just love pizza too much.  She was saying that she feels sick too, but kind of relishes the feeling- it means our bodies are no longer used to these types of foods and are basically rejecting them as fuel for our bodies.  Which is a good way to think about it, I guess, but I wish it made it easier to say NO to these foods.  I guess I'm learning.

So, here we are at weigh in; up again.  I have my 'mid-term' with my nutritionist this evening, and I have to tell him that in the month and a half since I started this wellness program, I haven't lost any weight.  I've just been losing and gaining the same three pounds.  Granted, I've started lifting weights and have been varying my workouts, but it's very discouraging.  I need a better way to deal with stress than food. 

This week: +2.2 lbs
Total: -10.0 lbs

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Basal Metabolic Rate

If my extra pounds were this cute, I wouldn't mind them.
In trying to figure out the sweet spot with weight loss, I've been restricting my calorie intake along with getting in a good amount of exercise (both aerobic AND anaerobic); consuming less refined carbohydrates and more lean protein.  I usually eat between 1100 and 1400 calories per day, a little more when I'm hitting the gym, but occasionally I'll have an off day (i.e. a Friday or Saturday) and eat upwards of 2200-3000 calories.  My weight loss has not really been at the levels I wanted, although I am aware I'm not super far from my goal, and weight loss slows down the closer you get to your goal weight.  I have been a little worried lately that I might not be eating enough calories to be feeding my body the proper nutrients.  I did a little research and started reading about Basal Metabolic Rate, or the daily amount of energy my body spends just to keep up basic bodily functions.  In other words, the amount of calories I need just to keep my body happy and healthy in a resting state.  By deduction, to lose weight I should be eating at LEAST this amount of calories a day, but less than the amount of calories my body needs to maintain it's current weight.  There are many calculators out there, but they should all be within 100 calories of each other.  This is the one linked and recommended by a moderator on LoseIt forums.

It's also good to remind yourself that while tools like LoseIt can tell you how many calories to eat to lose "2 lbs per week", that number may be below your BMR- which ultimately will not be healthy.  Remember that these tools are just that- TOOLS, and YOU need to do the research to make sure you are being healthy about your weight loss.

My BMR= 1491 cal/day.

I need to average approx. 2050 cal/day to maintain my current weight.

I'm going to try to up my daily average closer to 1500-1600 cal/day, and lower any outlier days like Fridays and Saturdays. (weekends! curses!)

Now that I've cut the majority of refined carbohydrates out of my diet, I actually find it's harder to reach my caloric intake goal without ingesting too much fat or carbohydrates.  Let's be honest, the things that make up the bulk of my daily intake volume wise (veggies, fruit, lean proteins) don't take up the bulk of my daily calories.  When 2 cups of spinach is only 14 calories and 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil is closer to 200, it's harder to eat the amount of spinach to make up for that 1 Tbsp.  Getting more calories in isn't something that's a problem for most Americans, but getting calories that contain the right nutrients to keep your body happy and healthy is a completely different battle.

At this point, it's much more about losing weight the correct and healthy way, and not the fast way.  Not that it's really been fast anywhere along the way, but that's okay.

Anyways, I'm going to go eat some cottage cheese and go to Group Groove! 

Monday, February 6, 2012

So True.

via Already Pretty
Sometimes life feels like an uphill battle, only made harder by our own thoughts and insecurities.  Don't let your mind bully your body.  Take care of your body and love it for what it is, not what you've been told it SHOULD be.  Listen to your body and appreciate it every day.

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Good Sign

Well, something in the last week shook loose.  Specifically, 1.6 lbs.  Oddly enough, I dropped a little over 2 lbs the first day after severly reducing my carbohydrate intake, and then maintained that over the course of the week, and then added an additional .4 lbs on Tuesday.  I actually scooted back my weigh in day until this morning in the hopes that I'd be able to move it back down, but to no avail.  This week was rough, but not as bad as I thought.  Friday and Saturday I felt mildly like I had the flu- much less energy, headachy, etc- but my nutritionist said anytime you make a big diet change that's bound to happen.  However, I didn't really crave carbs this week the way I thought I would.  I'm not really sure what the next step is to this, my nutritionist said to just try and keep my carb count below 100g per day.  That's good news for me, because now I can start incorporating more high carb fruit and veggies back into my diet- I really need to be getting in way more fiber than I have been this week.  Still no refined carbs, but I think that's for the best.  I think I'll try my hardest to keep those out of my diet as much as possible, since they're basically just pure sugar.  Don't get me wrong, I'll still have cookies every now and then- but I'll try and get a handle on really limiting what processed carbohydrates are entering my body. 

That being said- I ate Jimmy John's for dinner (no choice- had a family emergency) and ordered the "unwich" which is basically the stuffing of a sandwich wrapped up in lettuce.  Let me tell you WHY Jimmy John's tastes so good normally- it's all bread and mayo.  The rest of the stuff is REALLY unsatisfying.  Reason #4562302 that cooking at home is better.  My cooking is way better than "healthy" crap at restaurants.  No wonder I have trouble when it comes to dining out.

This week: -1.6 lbs
Total: -12.2 lbs

Since I reached my 12 lb goal- next up is 16 lbs!