Monday, September 28, 2015

Weigh In (9/26) + Goals

The results of this week's weigh in were pretty great!


I finally reached 40 pounds down, AND I lost another point! I guess my efforts from the previous 2 weeks finally paid off, so even though I had kind of a "meh" week, everything still balanced out!

I think situations like this really prove that it's important to look at the whole picture and not just immediate results. What if 2 weeks ago when I "only" lost .4, I'd thought, "What's the point of all this exercise if I only lost .4?", or last week when I gained over a pound what if I'd thrown in the towel completely and just immediately went back to all my old eating habits?

I'm certain that if I'd given up due to lack of immediate results, I would have gained at least 3.4 pounds instead of losing 3.4 pounds, and I'd be on my way to regaining these 41.6 pounds that I've worked so hard to lose. 

That's why it's so important to have goals other than weight loss, goals of health, longevity, clothing fit, simply feeling better. Weight Watchers has officially ditched setting weight loss goals for their members, and instead members will set their own goals. They'll still give out 5-pound award stickers, and 5% and 10% charms, etc., but the ultimate goal, the one where you get Lifetime status, will be set by you rather than the BMI chart.

I've never had an ultimate weight number in mind--I always figured I'd figure it out as I got closer to goal. However, I've always had a clothing size in mind--a size 10. I've never been a 10 (even in 6th grade I wore a women's 14/16). I was just starting to squeeze into a 12 before I stopped the diet pills in college, and I always thought that a 10 would have been perfect. Who knows, if I get to that point and my body wants to go smaller, I'll re-evaluate. I know that this is probably in the 160-170 pound range, so I do have an idea of how much weight I need to lose.

One of my goals for this week was to have a fantastic run on Sunday morning to make up for my crappy previous Sunday run. At the last minute, I decided to run 3.2 miles in honor of my 32nd birthday coming up on the 29th; I thought it was a little serendipitous since I usually run 3.1 miles on Sundays (which is also the longest I've ever run). It was a pretty AWESOME run, if I do say so myself. It was cloudy and sprinkling just a bit throughout the entire run, but maybe 2 seconds after I stopped my Garmin at 3.2 miles, the sky opened and it was pouring! I was about half a mile from home, but I just took my time walking and enjoyed the rain--it wasn't lightning or thundering yet, and it wasn't quite raining cats and dogs... just hard enough that I wished I had my hat to keep the rain out of my eyes.

I tried to get a selfie afterward, but I looked a little crazy in all the pictures:
Food Journals 9/26 & 9/27 - Because I went so far over my points on Saturday (long festival day), I made an executive decision and only "used" 20 WP's that day so I have some left to use throughout the week. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Thoughts

  • I'm completely off my game this week. After my awesome Friday run last week, I had a terrible run on Sunday. I was tired, it felt super hot and muggy outside, and my body just did not want to run. I did some running on Monday with my Girls on the Run team, but outside of that I haven't managed to run all week. How about we just pretend like this week didn't happen and have a do-over next week? 
Taken mid-terrible Sunday run
Taken post-terrible Sunday run
  • I'm really great at consistency and sticking to my goals for about 2 weeks, and then I just lose it. Now, I haven't lost it completely this week, but I'm not pleased with some of the choices that I've made. Get it together, Christina!
  • Marc got a new job! Since moving to New Orleans, he's been a manager at an upscale dine-in movie theater--it was basically just a job he took to get us here. It had its perks, like free movies/drinks/food, and free parking 24/7 in the French Quarter, but the hours have been hard on him, and us as a family. His new job is with a high-end office furniture company, in their warehouse--apparently things are kind of a mess over there, so once he gets things in order, he'll be groomed to take on a management role when this other guy retires next year. They're a great company, good to their people, so it's pretty exciting for us. Also, he'll have his nights and weekends and HOLIDAYS with us!
  • I'm really hoping that once Marc gets going at this new job (his last day at the theater was yesterday), our stress levels will decrease and we'll both be able to better focus on our health and fitness goals...really really really hoping.
  • This weekend is the Catfish Festival at the kids' school. We're going tonight for the fish fry, and then tomorrow is going to be a looooong day. WW meeting first thing, then we have to be at the school by 10:30 because Karinne's class is performing at 11. We'll hang out there most of the day, and then Marc and I start working our shifts at the booths. I'm working one game from 3:30-6:30, Marc's at another booth from 6:30-9:30, then we're both working a drink booth 9:30-11:30pm (that one should be interesting!).
  • I'll leave you with this, something that came up on my Facebook feed:

Food journals 9/21-9/24:

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Dealing with Disappointment

I received some really devastating disappointing news yesterday. Everyone's healthy, nothing's wrong, but there was something I was really looking forward to that I was positive was going to happen, and then yesterday I found out that it didn't. I was crushed. I am crushed.

A war raged in my head... I wanted to eat binge, but the sane part of my brain knew that would just make me feel worse. Marc had to work last night so it was just me and the kids, and I certainly wasn't in the mood to cook anything so I ordered pizza. I ordered a 12-inch thin crust pizza with ham and mushrooms, and stuffed cheesy bread.

There was a time (not so long ago) that I would have easily polished off at least 3 quarters of that pizza, probably more, and most all of the cheesy bread without thinking twice about it. I knew it must have been bad when after giving the kids their portions last night, Karinne looks at me and says, "Don't eat all that pizza mommy!" Kids certainly do pay attention, don't they?

Anyway, I'm happy to report that I only ate 4 squares of the pizza (thin crust, remember?) and 2 (out of 6) pieces of cheesy bread. Once the kids were in bed, I got out my journal and wrote until I'd poured all the hurt and sadness I was feeling onto the paper.

Then I went to bed.

It was only 9pm, but I went to bed. The sink was full of dishes, I could barely see the living room floor for all the toys covering it, our lunches weren't prepared for the next day... but it didn't matter. I knew that at that point, the only thing that would save me from going down a road I'd successfully avoided for the last several months would be going to bed.

When dealing with something like this, this Binge Eating Disorder, you have to be selfish sometimes. You have to practice self-care and know your limits, know your triggers, and do what you have to do in order to avoid a binge. And sometimes, that means just being done with your day and going to bed early. Christina - 1, BED - 0.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Healthy Recipe Substitutions + Amazing Slow-Cooker Lasagna

I'm linking up for Weigh In Wednesday...

Today, I wanted to share a few tips and tricks I use to lighten up my favorite recipes that have little effect on the overall taste. 
  • In recipes that call for ground sausage or beef, use turkey sausage or ground turkey! I usually only do this if the meat has more of a supporting role in the dish--for example, a turkey burger just can't replace a 100% beef hamburger, no matter how good a cook you are! 
  • Use reduced-fat dairy products instead of their full-fat siblings. In some cases, the nutritional difference is negligible and won't really matter. However, in recipes that call for larger amounts of cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, etc., it definitely makes a difference! (The cheese still melts very nicely.)
  • Use plain nonfat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream. I almost always do this with dips, and there is literally zero difference in taste. 
  • Use Splenda's Brown Sugar blend in place of brown sugar. I usually do this when the brown sugar will not be heated, such as oatmeal topping or in a fruit dip that I make. (Depending on your feelings surrounding artificial sweeteners, this could be good or bad.)
Those are just a few of the easy substitutions that I use, because they're easy and inexpensive. I also usually keep all of these things in my house. For the record, whenever I'm making a recipe for the very first time, I always follow it to the letter so I can gauge how to alter it in the future. 

Now, that lasagna recipe I mentioned in the title... this lasagna is pretty much the best lasagna I've ever had, it cooks in the crock pot, AND it makes a ton of food! It also freezes really well, which is important if you're not planning to feed an entire army at one time. It's a little sneaky, because it doesn't look like it makes that much--however, it turns out that it's pretty deep so once it lands on your plate you're like, "Holy cow that's a ton of food!"

A few notes about this...

  • I use a 6.5-7 quart (I honestly don't know which it is) oblong slow cooker for this recipe
  • I put this on in the morning before work, and my slow cooker automatically switches to warm after the 4 hours, and it stays that way until I get home from work, usually an additional 5-6 hours. So far it hasn't been a problem. I do prefer making this on the weekends though, so it's not just sitting most of the day. 
  • If you're impatient and forget to put it under the broiler, it's literally no big deal. All it does is brown the top.
  • Don't spend $3 on basil if you don't have it already; the taste is not any different with or without it.
  • I compared the lighter ingredients to equal amounts of their "regular" versions, and here ya go... regular sausage=86pp, turkey sausage=36pp; whole milk mozz.=54pp, part-skim=45pp; whole milk ricotta=20pp, part skim=15. Obviously, you're saving the most by using turkey sausage here, but I feel like every little bit helps especially in higher-point recipes like this. 
  • This makes 12 really generous servings. You could easily get more servings out of it.

(Lightened Up) Slow Cooker Lasagna
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Slow-Cooker Lasagna
Servings: 12 | 13 PointsPlus/serving

1 Tbs. olive oil
2 lb. Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
2 jars (each 24 oz.) marinara sauce
2 cups water
15 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese
2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
15 ruffle-edged lasagna noodles (not no-boil noodles)
1 1/2 lb. part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated
1.25 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated
Thinly sliced fresh basil for garnish

Warm olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up any large chunks with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the marinara sauce and water and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.

In another bowl, stir together the ricotta, parsley, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Spread a thin layer of the sauce on the bottom of the slow-cooker insert. Cover the sauce with a single layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (about 3), breaking the noodles as needed to fit. Spread about 1/3 cup of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Top with about 2 cups of the sauce, then sprinkle with about 1 cup of the mozzarella and 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Repeat the layering 4 more times, starting with the noodles.

Transfer the insert to the slow-cooker base, cover and cook on low according to the manufacturer’s instructions until the noodles are tender and cooked through, about 4 hours.

Position a rack in the center of an oven and preheat to broil.

Transfer the slow-cooker insert to the oven and broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Let the lasagna rest for 20 minutes before serving. Garnish with basil and serve immediately.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Weigh In (9/19) + Changing Tactics

Weigh in from Saturday was NOT what I was expecting...

Up 1.6... whaaaaa?? Once I got over the initial shock, I thought about why I could have gained... for one thing, I really upped my exercise and added some strength training so I'm sure my muscles were holding on to some water. Another thing, I had quite a few tortilla chips with salsa, guac, and bean dip (not all at the same time) Friday night before weigh in; even though I still had points to spare, that was a pretty salty snack. Sigh.

I was reeeeaaally disappointed that I didn't reach 40 pounds gone again this week. However, I did manage to turn it around and remind myself of all the good I did last week:

  • I ran for 20 minutes straight
  • I ate well and stayed within my PointsPlus 
  • I exercised every single day thanks to my Lovely Ladies group
  • I felt really good about the choices I made all week. I wasn't lying when I circled the smiley face above my weigh in sticker!
So, even though I was surprised at the scale, I'm choosing to let it go. I may not be able to control how my body responds to certain things and how the scale reflects that, but I can control how I react. 

Now, with that out of the way, I am changing my tactics just a little bit. Usually, I use all my Weekly Points before dipping into my Activity Points each week, and I've always carried my AP's over each day, allowing them to build up throughout the week. By the end of the week, even if I've gone through all my WP's, I might still have 15-20 AP's to use--so I'm all, "WOOOO PARTAY!!!!". 

Starting this week, I'm using my AP's first each day, and they will not carry over day to day. Hopefully this will keep me from thinking, "Oh, it's okay if I go way over today, I'll just make it up later by earning lots of AP's" (which, inevitably, doesn't happen). 

Whether you follow Weight Watchers or track calories a different way, how do you handle your AP's/calories "earned" through exercise? 
Food Journals 9/19-9/20 (oops, forgot to post a few last week!): 
*WW is out of their 12-week journals, so I'm stuck using the free weekly trackers. Not my favorite, but they get the job done!

Friday, September 18, 2015

On Becoming a Badass

I'd planned on writing a random bullet-point post for today, but then something happened that required the use of "badass" in the title of this post... something that I could not put off sharing with you today.

This thing that happened is a huge achievement for me. I'd equate it to the feeling you get when you roll a critical hit against your worst foe in D&D, but it's bigger than that. Seriously, I'm not joking. It's bigger than winning the Spelling Bee, placing first in the Math Olympics, bigger than achieving that 4.0 GPA. (What?! All my achievements in life are pretty much academic--don't judge!)

You guys, today, September 18, 2015, is the first time I ran a mile without walking. First. Time. Ever. IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. Today was Week 5, Day 3, of C25K--run 20 minutes without walking.

Ummm, hello, the last run was run 8/walk 5 twice, and now you want me to just run 20 minutes like it's no big deal?!

Well... I crushed it. So today, not only did I run the elusive mile without walking, but I also ran for 20 minutes straight!

Shortly after my Garmin beeped to let me know I'd run a mile!
I remember doing those stupid "Presidential Fitness" things in school, and I'd never run the mile. I'd always claim, "I can't breathe!" or "But asthma!". I played soccer my sophomore year in high school, and I never ran through all the conditioning either. My senior year of high school, I took "Aerobic Walking" as my PE... my friends and I were pissed when the coach made us run to the end of the block! I, of course, claimed I couldn't breathe about halfway through.

I think in reality, I was just embarrassed because I ran so much slower than everyone else (at least I felt like I did). Rather than continue forward, getting further and further behind, I'd act like I was having an asthma attack so I could stop to walk, or quit altogether.

Taken after completing my run this morning; the sun finally made an appearance!
A little more about my running history... I officially decided I wanted to tackle running around late March/early April of this year, and used the Runner's World 8-week plan. One of my earliest blog posts, "Becoming a Runner," details more of that story.  I didn't complete it; I think it was just too hard for me, and I also got a little burnt out and lazy for a while (skipping whole weeks, or just running once a week).

About 4-5 weeks ago, I started running regularly again--this time with the Couch to 5K plan. So far, it's gone really well; in the Facebook challenge group I'm part of, we've got a couple of challenges going on right now that have really encouraged me to get up and be active even when I don't want to be. Right now, I'm doing C25K on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday or Friday; then I'm just walking, biking at the gym, or doing strength training on the other days.

I think Sunday is my favorite day to run. I don't have to get up at the buttcrack of dawn to run, so I can take my time a little bit. I have also designated that my "long run" day, which is 3 miles (in preparation for the 5K I'm doing on Halloween). I complete whatever C25K has for that day, then I walk (maybe run a few minutes here and there if the urge hits) until I reach 3 miles. The past several Sundays have been gorgeous, so I hope that continues!

Last Sunday's run... I was so excited because I woke up and it was in the 60's with relatively low humidity, but in my excitement to get out and run, I forgot to use my inhaler. Half a mile in, my trachea was suddenly the size of a toothpick and it felt (and tasted) like my lungs were lined with metal spikes. I sat down for probably 10 minutes and did some very controlled breathing and then sloooowly walked home. I cried a lot, felt a little sorry for myself. The sad face pic was while I was resting. I got home, recovered, and then headed back out after snack and inhaler. I proceeded to have a FANTASTIC 3.1 miles and the weather truly was incredible--check out that blue sky!

I'm finding that I enjoy running more and more, and it's also becoming more of an emotional outlet for me. I've noticed lately that when I'm feeling angry or sad or depressed, my first thought (more often than not) is "I need to run NOW" rather than "I need a pint of ice cream STAT"--and let me tell you... nothing, not even running a mile for the very first time in your entire life can beat how good that feels.

Wearing makeup because I'd just gotten off work. Shirt found here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Recipe: WW-Friendly Mocha Coconut Frappuccino Swap *improved!*

Alright, y'all (watch out, I'm bringing out that Southern twang!)...

I've written a few times about how much I love Mocha Coconut Frappuccinos (MCF), and how disappointed I was by this year's version. I also posted a recipe waaaaay back in the day to make your own.

Obviously, I love these things. Like, seriously, love. So I was determined to improve upon my previous homemade incarnation because, well, it wasn't awesome and it also didn't really have any healthy merit to it.

I mentioned not too long ago how much I love Weight Watchers' new chocolate smoothie mixes; I very nearly instantly thought the Creamy Chocolate would be a great addition to my Mocha Coconut Frappuccino!

Oh man, I was SO right. It's yummy, creamy, chocolate-coconutty, and has 14 grams of protein. Using 3/4 cup of the base allows it to better fit into a 12 oz cup, though sometimes I put it in my 16oz cup so I have room for whipped cream.

Food blogger, I am not.
Now, my homemade MCF is pretty much perfect, and it's so stinkin' easy to make! With only 3 ingredients (4 if you count the ice), it really can't get any easier.

Weight Watchers Friendly Mocha Coconut Frappuccino Swap  - 5 PointsPlus
Makes 1 12oz serving

3/4 cup ready-made iced mocha (found in the dairy section in 1/2 gallon containers; I've used Starbucks and Winn-Dixie brand)
1 slim pack Weight Watchers Creamy Chocolate Smoothie mix
1/8tsp coconut extract (I use imitation; a little goes a very long way, and too much leaves a somewhat unpleasant aftertaste)
Handful of ice cubes

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. If desired, top with whipped cream and sugar-free chocolate syrup for an indulgent treat!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Love Your Body Tuesday: Arms

Welcome to Love Your Body Tuesday, a series in which I talk about what I love about each and every part of me.

Today I'm talking about my arms. I've never particularly liked my arms, mostly because of the way skin gathered around my elbows--I remember being self-conscious of this as a child! However, I've also never really shied away from wearing sleeveless tops--hello, Alabama summers!

My arms are also the very first place I ever noticed stretch marks on my body; I was in PE in 3rd grade. I was always kinda spacey during PE and noticed the little silver streaks on the inside of my upper arm. Another girl saw me staring (I guess) and ran over and was all, "What's that?!?" in the way that 3rd grade girls do. She thought they were scratches; I, however, knew exactly what they were, and they meant I had big arms.

I didn't want to take random, generic photos for this post, so I went through lots of older photos on my computer and tried to find pictures where I can appreciate my arms.

My arms are wonderfully capable of...
holding children
hugging necks
cradling nursing babies...
... and bellies
showing off after a sweaty 5k walk
swinging babies
attempting to comfort a hysterical 3-month-old
capturing moments of newborn bliss
*pretending* to make traditional tea
"playing" guitar
and picking your friends' noses
Oh, and I can't believe I almost forgot--arms are awesome because they help take gratuitous running selfies!
I'm actually wearing a different shirt in each photo. Amazing!
 Alright, so arms are pretty awesome and useful. I think I definitely owe it to them to work them out a little more so they can get stronger; after all they've done (and do) for me, it's the least I could do, right?

How are your arms amazing?
Food log - 9/14

Monday, September 14, 2015

Weigh in (9/12) + What's Your Story?


I'm down .4! While I was reeeally hoping to hit that 40-pounds-gone mark, I'm thrilled with this weigh in. I had a great week, and I'm in a great place in terms of eating and exercise and life in general.

Weight Watchers introduced a new weigh-in book this week - "My Success Story". It a book rather than a folding card, and there are spaces to talk about your plan for "me time", how you felt about the week, measurements, checking in with yourself... it's pretty awesome. You might notice above the weigh in sticker is a place for "Monthly weight goal"; my leader said you do not have to fill that out, and I don't intend to. Weight loss is not predictable! Instead, I'm going to use the space to write a different monthly goal to focus on.

On Saturday, I mentioned that my leader had asked me to speak at the meeting. The questions she gave me were things like (paraphrasing, can't find my question sheet):
What motivations did you have for starting this journey besides weight loss?
How long has it taken? Are you still working on it?
How has that changed over time?
Why is it meaningful?
How has it effected your weight loss goal?
I'd written many different answers to these questions, but I ultimately decided that I'd bring notes but would let the conversation go wherever I felt it needed to go once I got there.

I ended up sharing my story, my defining moment, that led me to Weight Watchers. I realized this was the first time I'd ever shared that story out loud (besides talking to my therapist); I'd typed it so many times, yet speaking the words, trying to convey the feelings and emotions behind it--it was hard. I got through it, and I'm so glad I did. Many people came up to me after the meeting, thanking me for sharing my story and sharing their own struggle.

It confirmed what I already knew--that there are a lot of people struggling out there, but nobody talks about it because it's "shameful". Obesity, especially morbid obesity, is a symptom of a greater need, a psychological need--but society shames us into thinking that all we need is to "stop eating," "get up and move," "put down the cheeseburgers!" Well, guess what--nobody gets to be 300, 400, 500+ pounds because they just love cheeseburgers sooo much. 

I love Whitney Thore's response to that terrible fat shaming video from Nicole Arbour. The thing that resonated the most with me is when she says, "The next time you see a fat person, you don't know whether that person has a medical condition that caused them to gain weight. You don't know if their mother just died. You don't know if they're depressed or suicidal or if they just lost 100 pounds. You don't know. Let me hammer this one home. You cannot tell a person's health, physical or otherwise from looking at them." (P.S. I actually know Whitney--we met and became friends while teaching English in Korea. Isn't that neat?)

And that's really all there is to say--you don't know another person's struggles until you take the time to sit down and get to know them, and learn their story. Until then, let's all just be a little kinder, mmmkay?

Food journals:

Saturday, September 12, 2015

You're not alone... Or, going public

Since starting this blog, I've shared it with very few people in my "real" day-to-day life. There's something about allowing people that you see or talk to on a regular basis to know everything about you that's just...scary.

At last week's WW meeting, the leader asked me and another member to share a little with the group this week. She gave us some questions, and just told us to be ready. 

I'll share what I spoke about in another post, as I'm just quickly posting this from my phone before getting my hair cut, but one thing I learned from this experience is that there are a lot of people out there who are in this struggle, and nobody talks about the real issues that led us to this point. I even received a message recently from an old friend who found my blog through Instagram who is going through the same thing. 

So I'm going public and sharing the blog on my personal Facebook page. We are not alone in this struggle... YOU are not alone. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Weigh In Wednesday: I'm Awesome!

Even though I posted my actual weigh in yesterday, I wanted to link up with Winter today to talk a little more about the Weight Watchers meeting.

The meeting topic on Saturday was all about finding the positive even when your day doesn't go as planned--a great topic which complemented my post from Thursday on positivity! I swear I didn't know the topic in advance! I'm just that good... haha. 

We were encouraged to think of a short, personal phrase that we can use throughout the day to remind us of the positive things we're doing. Two came to mind almost instantly... "Progress, not perfection" and "Bit by bit"... because every small change, every little bit helps. We make hundreds of small choices every day, allowing us hundreds of opportunities to take positive steps toward our goal. I have a *slight* addiction to Frappuccinos, but every time I choose the tall over the grande, or the light version over the regular, it's a win. Choosing salad with my pizza, or marching in place during commercials--every single little bit helps, and those positive choices add up. 

We don't have to give up things to be healthy--we just have to find balance. Balance the healthy with the not-so-healthy... it doesn't have to be all or nothing. It really really doesn't.

Food logs: 9/3 - 9/8