Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Giving Thanks for Losing Weight

Do you like that title? I'm still working on figuring out how to do it- but when I do I promise to be VERY THANKFUL! I thought I'd share my Thanksgiving Menu. We are having dinner at my sister's house this year & for the FIRST time ever, Kurd & I are in charge of the menu! Scary. So- we sat down with about 6 Cooking Light magazines & came up with the following:
Starter: Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Bisque (140 calories)
Sides: Sauteed Carrots with Sage (75 calories), Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole (250 calories), Potato Gratin with Blue Cheese & Sage (186 calories), Spinach Salad with walnuts & cranberries (calories TBD) and a Fresh Cranberry Relish (my mom makes it so it is probably healthy).
Main: Turkey. Duh. Was actually thinking of doing a really good looking slow cook Garlic & Rosemary recipe- but it was for a 12 lb bird and I ended up walking out of Trader Joes with a 27 pound GIANT yesterday... and at a slow cook pace that would probably take about a week! So I found one today for a Rosemary Roasted Turkey that sounds delicious!
Dessert: YUM YUM. Kurd and I are thinking of doing 1 pumpkin recipe & 1 berry. Right now the Spiced Pumpkin Chiffon Pie is winning out (274 calories) and berry is still TBD. I may also do a repeat of the white chocolate key lime pie I made a few weeks ago because it's SO easy and tastes delicious.
If anyone wants recipes for any of the above- let me know and I will post them on the Google Group. Not a member? Sign up in the top left hand corner of the blog to get notifications when I update the blog & fun extras like recipes.
Oh and did I mention that my ENTIRE family is on some sort of weird diet? And I wonder where I got my food issues :) Let's see... Kurd's not eating wheat, my dad is doing some caveman diet- officially called the "Paleolithic Diet" where you eat lots of meat, eggs, fruit, veggies & root vegtables. And my mom is not eating sugar. They make me look normal- which is disturbing.
But I plan to enjoy myself on Thanksgiving- not a free for all, but definitely sampling all the fun dishes.
Jessica my trainer sent out an email yesterday that had some healthy tips to handle the holiday. I thought a lot of it was pretty useful- so I condensed it down and added a little of my own commentary :)
1. Thanksgiving is only one day. Don't let the entire week turn into an excuse for bad eating.
2. Make a concious choice to limit high fat items. Work the substitution angle if you are the one cooking- if not, just try and avoid fried & creamy dishes. You know the BAD ones- just steer clear.
3. Work out especially hard this week. I think we all get that. Doing it is the challenge.
4. Don't go to the Thanksgiving dinner hungy. Eat a wholesome breakfast & lunch and a light snack before dinner to prevent overeating.
5. Drink lots of water! Alcohol & coffee dehydrate you- so drink water in between. It will also help you not confuse thirst with hunger.
6. Thanksgiving dinner is not an all-you-can-eat buffet. She reccomends filling your plate 1/2 with vegetables, 1/4 with lean meat & 1/4 with starch. But WHERE do you put the sweets?? (oh right that's a separate plate :)
7. Save your appetite for side dishes & desserts. The key here is portion size- sample all the foods but use moderation. Jessica reccomends eating dessert within 30 min of finishing dinner so it doesn't spike your blood sugar.
8. The average Thanksgiving Dinner is 2,00-3,000 calories. Just FYI. Keep that in mind and keep yourself in check.
9. Be Thankful. Let's not forget the point of this holiday isn't actually food. Or even the pilgrims and Indians. It's remembering to be thankful for everything we have- food on the table, a roof over our heads and best of all- friends & family to share the holiday with!
Happy Turkey Day!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Starting Fresh (again)

All the coffee in the world doesn't make up for the fact that: 1. It's Monday again. 2. I did NOT get enough sleep last night (Chris & I went to a Black Crowes concert last night- really fun, but why a Sunday??) & 3. I have a weekend food hangover. Ugh. That's right- another weekend struggle... full of eating & drinking. Literally topped off with a tall can of bud light (they only sell the big ones- at least it wasn't PBR!) and fried crawfish bites at House of Blues last night... But today is the start of a new week and there are a few things I need to do if I want to be successful this week.
#1 Go GROCERY shopping. My fridge is EMPTY. At least the kind of empty that lead me to eat a plain "fake chicken" Morningstar Farms patty yesterday for lunch with no bun or toppings... and had Kurd and I making bisquick strawberry shortcakes (without strawberries!) last night when we wanted something sweet. Did I mention popcorn? When I'm starting to consider it a food group it's generally time to head to Trader Joes....
So- I thought I'd share my gocery list:
Baby Spinach Bag Lettuce
Head of Romane Lettuce (I've been buying it this way lately- rather than bagged- you get more for your money & you can use it on sandwiches)
Veggies:Baby carrots, Bell peppers, mini tomatoes (all salad toppings)
Chives & Cliantro
Sweet potato pre-cut "french fries"
Chicken Breast (bone in w/Skin) I think you get better flavor cooking with the skin & bone in & then removing before eating. Just a personal preference.
Stuffed Peppers (in the pre-made section. Roasted Bell peppers stuffed with lean ground turkey & rice. Such a good comfort food & only 290 calories- a quick & easy dinner)
Light String Cheese (60 calories- sticks with you)
Laughing Cow Lite Swiss Cheese- these are the individual ones, they come in a round container. 35 calories each & they are spreadable so you can put them on crackers, veggies, substitute in a sandwich for mayo/cheese- LOVE this.
Blueberry whole wheat toaster waffles
Go Lean Crunch Cereal
Lowfat Milk
Egg Whites (they come in a carton, pre-separated)
Greek Yogurt (non-fat, plain & flavored)
Lara Bars- I keep these in my purse at all times for food emergencies. They are made out of only fruit & nuts- no preservatives or anything. They run about 200 cal- so you can't eat them 24/7- but a good thing to have on hand.
Mini Cranberry Apple Bran Muffins- these have 80 calories each & HALF of your reccommend daily fiber. A great mid-morning snack with coffee.
Canadian Bacon. This stuff is great added on sandwiches for flavor or on an egg white english muffin- and with only 60 calories in 3 slices you don't have to feel bad about it!
Turkey- I love Trader Joe's pre-sliced sandwich turkey. It's not cheap, but so great in a pita or even by itself as a snack.
Whole Wheat Pita. 160 calories for the whole thing- but they are big so I generally cut them in half and stuff them with deliciousness.
Sparkling Water. A great zero cal drink option. I really enjoy it in place of soda.
Strawberries or blueberrys. Whatever looks fresh- love it on my cereal in the morning.
Stock up the Freezer:
Morningstar Farms Veggie burger or chicken patty. Their breakfast links are pretty good too.
Frozen salmon or mahi- the chimi churry marinated ones are delicious.
Veggie Medly. This comes in a delicious sauce- it's not great for you but not bad either and a good way to get your veggies if you struggle with that.
Chicken Fajitas frozen (super low cal & delicious)
Asian Stir Fry Frozen
Those are some of my favorites. Once I go shopping tonight- I'll report back with any new finds :)
#2. Plan Thanksgiving. This is actually a fun one- my sister and I sat down with a few Cooking Light Magazines and came up with a healthy-ish Thanksgiving meal that I'm actually really excited about. My parents are coming down this year- and although they will be cooking- we are in charge of planning the menu & doing the grocery shopping. I'll share our menu tomorrow.
#3. Workout! Workout! I'm going to bootcamp tonight and I'm going to confess to my trainer that I have been BAD about working out lately. Bootcamp isn't cheap- I consider it an investment in myself... but at the moment it seems like a bad investment because I'm slacking and skipping classes. Back to work this week!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Should I Develop Restaurantaphobia?

Am I the only one who gets daily emails from the "Eat This Not That" people? Because although I LOVE the concept... it's freaking me out! I'm terrified of going to a restaurant!
Today's email was a list of the Top 20 Worst Restaurant Meals in America. I feel like I'm pretty good at evaluating menu selections, but the calorie count on some of these was insane!
For example, you'd be better off getting In N Out Cheeseburger & Fries (total of 880) then eating something that sounds harmless like the TGI Friday BBQ Chicken Wrap (with NO fries or sides) for 1,720 calories! Or one piece of Sbarro Stuffed Pizza for 960 cals! The one that killed me though was from California Pizza Kitchen becuase it's TOTALLY something I would order, the Thai Crunch Salad with Fresh Avocado. It has 2,238! OMG. They make McDonalds look like diet food. Nowhere is safe!!
Since permanently avoiding all restaurants is pretty much out of the question- I guess the best thing to do is either: Buy the "Eat This Not That" book and bring it with me everywhere I go- slightly embarrassing and definitely bulky OR learn my substitutions. By knowing WHERE the calories come from and looking out for key words like: bread, sauce, cheese, spread, cream-based, dressing, fried, and even healthy things like nuts & avocado. Then I can pick and choose what's important to me. Personally I'd rather keep the avocado on my salad- but get the dressing on the side and no croutons. And I'd rather take half the bun off of a burger and replace it with lettuce but keep the cheese. It's not an exact science- but I think most foods can be fairly easily modified with just a little knowledge.
Today's blog was originally going to be about fasting & cleanses... I'm considering doing a 2 day "Liver Cleanse" to jumpstart me back to healthier eating (and c'mon whose liver couldn't use a cleanse??) BUT this scary restaurant email freaked me out and I felt the need to put out a warning immediately before another fake "healthy" restaurant meal was consumed! Diners beware! Have a wonderful weekend!
PS- There is a new law in CA that if a restaurant has over 10 locations they HAVE to publish the calorie counts on all menu items. They don't have to be printed on the menu- but available on request. Don't be embarrassed to ask for it! (unless it's a first date- probably keep it on the DL, you can always google calorie counts on your phone in the bathroom if you are really desperate! :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tis The Season to gain 1.5 pounds!

Thanksgiving is 1 week from Today. And anyone who's read this blog even once is aware of my year round struggle with "Exception" Eating. (Defined as eating crappy food because it's a "special occasion" which can ranges from a birthday to a Tuesday night happy hour). Considering I have not gotten a handle on this- I'm a little terrified of the next six weeks.
Thanksgiving is the official kickoff of Holiday Eating Season 2009- which extends until January 1st (Resolution Day) I'm trying to figure out a way to get through this season of while still fitting in my current clothing. (I bought the CUTEST pair of Hudson jeans yesterday- on sale & 2 sizes smaller than I was 4 months ago!!) Is that too much to ask for??
In hope of finding a solution I have been on a mission to learn as much as possible about this fat trap they call the Holidays. Today I came across "Holiday Weight Gain Myths" which helped me face a little reality on food & fun vs. the scale...
Myth #1: "Everyone Gains 5 Pounds During the Holidays So I might as well accept it."
Shocker- apparently that's NOT true! The average American gains only 1 to 2 pounds during the Holidays- but the bad part is that it NEVER comes off the rest of the year. So according to this theory- if I do "average" during this holiday season and the next few, buy 2019 I will have put on 15-20 pounds in Holiday eating alone. (Chris- don't read this- of course that would never happen :)
So what am I going to do about that? I think I'm going to "Just Say No" to gaining weight. I was already kind of rationalizing that it wouldn't be the end of the world if I gained "a pound or two" this year during the holidays- BUT not if they are going to stay with me forever! So- no mentally preparing myself for ANY weight gain. In fact- according to my boot camp & food plan I should actually be loosing 1lb per week. I know mental outlook is a HUGE part of weight loss- so if I go into each week of the season just as I do the rest of the year- expecting myself to be sticking on the plan rather than giving myself a permission slip to fail- my pants should continue to fit. :) Sound good? I also came across a few ways to lighten up a Turkey Day meal.
-Stick to White Meat. I know the dark stuff is good- but it adds 60 calories & 8 grams of fat per serving. Not worth it.
-Choose cranberry sauce (especially the fresh stuff) instead of gravy. **Honesty alert: I will not be doing that- I'm totally a gravy person BUT I promise to cut my serving of it in half. But if you can do it, good for you!
-Choose the Veggie Sides. Try and fill 3/4 of your plate with green stuff- salad, green beans, etc. Then you won't even have room for that 3rd piece of bread!
-Try weird substitutions. Girls in my boot camp were talking about blending steamed cauliflower with fat free sour cream (or even plain greek yogurt) with salt & pepper in place of mashed potatoes. There are lots of healthy recipes out there- try one fun one!
Maybe tomorrow I'll tackle myth #2: "I can take a "vacation" from my diet, because come January, I'll go right back on it."
Wait- that's not true??... I was really banking on that as my backup plan :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Today is Not My Day...

Recap of weekend: BAD BAD Eating and Drinking. I'm not going to get specific but let's just say it wasn't good... well it did taste pretty good, but you see where I'm going with this.
I hesitantly weighed myself this morning- preparing for the worst- and it was! I gained 2.5 pounds this week! Thats the biggest gain I've had in all 16 weeks since I've been in bootcamp. So frusturating especially since I'm only on schedule to loose 1 lb a week now- it's like I set myself back 2.5 weeks!
You'd think that would inspire me to be extra good today- but so far it hasn't! I mean I'm not out eating Big Macs or anything but I did have an amazing Submarina sandwich for lunch- and the reason I know I'm not "on track" is because I got cheese on it, and light mayo! Ok to be come 100% clean- I got white bread instead of wheat!!?? Who am I and what has happened to my motivation?
Definitely going to bootcamp tonight (even though I'm still sore from last night- we ran hills!) and then having a healthy dinner of mexican ground turkey pitas & salad. Going to try and avoid the remains of a DELICIOUS white chocolate key lime pie I made this weekend. (In NO way low cal- but oh so good).
I'm reminding myself of things I'm always telling others- two pounds is not the end of the world- I can take it off easily, and it's ok to mess up, you just need to move on. UGH. But I'm having a hard day. Being good starting... Now!
PS On a totally random note- does anyone shop at Kohls? I happened upon one during lunch today and it was kind of amazing! Really good deals and pretty much everything in the store was on sale! I got a cute jacket marked down from $90 to $60 and then on the clearance rack for $18! (I'll probably never wear it- but even once will be worth that price!)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Friends & Fat

I was reading an interesting article on MSN this moring- which cited a long term study on weight that found your chances of becoming obese increase by 40% if a spouse or sibling became obese- which made sense to me. The statistic that surprised me was that your likeliness of obesity jumped as high as 170% if a close friend was obese.
So- we aren't what we eat? We are who we hang out with? Interesting... but it does make sense. However- I think it's more about the TYPE of friends you have- rather than how much they weigh. On my current "diet" (I hate calling it that- more like healthy lifestyle change?) when I started out it was SO helpful to have close friends doing the bootcamp with me. We made healthy dinners at each others houses and spent time together figuring out calorie counts. There is NO WAY I would have made it to nearly as many 5:15am workouts without knowing they were counting on me to be there. Even as eating well has become more routine it still helps to my have my Diet Buddy- Jules, to reach out to in a moment of weakness.
For example- a text conversation from yesterday:
12:35pm: Jules: "This is not a good diet day"
12:36pm: Chel: "You can do it. Stay strong!! Just be good starting now."
12:37pm: Jules: "Anything healthy I can have at Carls Jr?"
12:39pm: Chel: (me googling while at work) "Yes- get the charbroiled chicken bbq sandwich- only eat half the bun. Even if you eat the whole thing it's only 380 calories"
12:40pm: Jules: "Ordered! Thanks!"
And in the span of 5 minutes- a diet slip up was averted simply because of support.
SO- choose the people around you wisely- not for their size (hanging out with skinny people has not been proven to make you skinny :) but for their influence on you and their support of your healthy living goals.
Ps- Brooke just emailed me and said "Can you please include something about what to do when you eat a 4th meal of patty melts and fries at 2am? Thx" Here you go: Get right back on the eating well wagon- what's done is done and today is a new day! Oh and even though you crave bad food when you're hungover- it NEVER actually makes you feel better- so what's the point in eating it? Aside from all that- I want to hear the story that ended in 4th meal :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Cost of Eating Well

I want to go see the movie Food Inc. I've heard it's going to make me never want to eat again which might be tough (but will sure help with the diet :). I watched a preview for it last night, and I think the basic concept is how the Food Industry has become really powerful and is dangerously unregulated, that the American public is eating things that could be harming our health over time. Overuse of hormones, inhumane treatment of animals, overprocessing- all of which has led to food that has less nutrients than it should and our bodies are not getting what they need. The "solution" seemed to be to "fight back" against the food industry by supporting local farmers and shopping at Farmers Markets rather than the large grocery chains.
It's an interesting concept & I definitely want to see the movie. I'm all for supporting local foods- but to be honest, price, selection & convenience also are a factor in where I shop. I'll keep you posted if I change my tune once I see the movie!
Speaking of price- this morning as I was eating breakfast I was thinking about how one of the common arguments against eating healthy is that it's "too expensive". And I agree- it can be. But there are definitely ways around that. For example- my breakfast this morning was an Egg White McMuffin with cheese & scallions. At McDonalds- the same Egg McMuffin would cost between $3-4 and have 300 calories (still not bad- I actually reccomend this if you're going to have a fast food breakfast). I calculated the cost on mine and it went like this:
Light Thomas Brand English Muffins (8) $3.49 +Carton Egg Whites 15 servings $2.99 +Bag pre-shredded lucerne reduced fat cheddar cheese (8 servings but I only used half a serving) $3.99+
Scallions 99cents (used about 1/6 of stock) =
Total cost for my Egg White McMuffin was $1.23 and only 185 calories. Oh and did I mention it was delicious and filling? Serve with a side of fruit and you've got a great start to the day.
Even my usual breakfast- a bowl of Kashi Go Lean Crunch comes in at 200 calories- 240 with milk and at $4.29 a box(and that's not even a sale price) divided by 16 servings comes out to 27 cents a day! Wow- I tend to be a little obsessive about deals when it comes to shopping for clothes- I don't want to get too hooked on this food thing... Next thing you know I'll be updating Chris daily on how much $$ I saved by eating healthy that day! He got an email yesterday detailing how much money I'd saved at Old Navy (is everyone aware of their 50% off all outerware sale??) Ok- Stopping calculations now :) but seriously- no more cost excuses for not eating healthy!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekends Are Killing My Healthy Eating!

It's no secret how much I LOVE weekends. I count down for them all week and usually have fun events or activities planned to look forward to. BUT lately I'm basically counterbalancing all my healthy eating and hard workouts from the week by completely abandoning my diet on the weekends. And I'll be honest- I don't mean I'm having dessert instead of opting out- we're talking more full time "blowing it" with wine, snacks, large dinners- all my old bad habits coming right back. I've even changed my weekly weigh in from Monday mornings to Tuesday- because I'm afraid to get on the scale on a Monday!
I've talked about before how I struggle with what I consider "special occasions" that tend to usually be food or drink based. And I guess I'm still struggling. But I just had to set up my 6 week check in appointment for Boot Camp and I am not meeting my goals. I haven't gained weight but I haven't lost any either. SO... I need to get out of this weekend rut. This weekend, I have a major "special occasion" coming up- Brooke's coming into town from NY and we're going out downtown one night, I've promised to cook a crock pot meal another and finally the Chargers game on Sunday. SO... how to get through this one without A. totally loosing it and giving up the diet and B. being totally annoying and food obsessive?
3 Strategies:
1. Be AMAZING this week. What does that mean? 4 bootcamps instead of 3, no drinking on weeknights, pre-planning my meals, packing lunches and lots of chicken and salad dinners!
2. Make a Plan for the weekend. On Friday- limit myself to drinking vodka soda and having no more than 4 through the course of the night. I'm making the crock pot dinner on Saturday- so it's up to me what goes in that pot- I'll pick a healthy recipe and serve veggie sides rather than bread & potatoes. And for the game, I can offer to be the Designated Driver and skip the massive beer consumption of empty calories.
3. Enjoy myself (without thinking about food!). Basically just enjoy my spending time with my best friends which is always a blast no matter WHAT i'm eating (or not eating).
Ok- so that's the plan! I'lll try and give updates on how it goes... if anyone has any reccomendations that might help, leave me a comment!