The diet details . . .

I am so flattered that my recent blog post with my before and after weight loss photos was read by a few people out there.  I am even more flattered that I just might have inspired a couple of people too.  The comments have been very kind and inspirational to me as well.

In the before and after post I briefly talked about the keys to my weight loss. I thought maybe I could expand on that a little bit in this post.

First things first, set a realistic goal weight and target date.  Don’t just say, “I want to lose xx amount of pounds in xx months from today.”  Give yourself some time to think about a meaningful target date.  For me it was my 37th birthday.  Maybe it could be 4th of July or your anniversary or your child’s birthday.  If there is nothing momentous on the calendar that works within your target range then book something.  Maybe you could book a weekend get away with your favorite person.  Book a spa day for yourself and pay for it in advance.  The fact that you put your hard-earned cash down on something in the future will help you stay committed to your goal.

So once I had my target weight and goal date locked in I did the following:

  1. Calorie counting (I tried to stay at about 1200/day) – I used  LIVESTRONG.com to help me determine my daily calorie intake with their online weight loss calculator.  You enter how much you want to lose and by what date and it will tell you what your daily calorie intake should be.   I also used the site to log everything I was eating to keep track of  my daily calorie intake.  I’ve never counted calories before, it was too tedious.  But I knew it had to be done to keep me in line.  I counted calories religiously for the first 4 weeks of my diet and logged them.  After that first month of logging, I just “knew” how many calories were in what (well at least the things that I ate on a regular basis).  The site also allows you to input calories burned from exercising.   There are probably other websites that do something similar, but this is the one that I stumbled upon first.
  2. Portion control –  This is easier at home than at a restaurant.  I never really paid attention to my portions before.  Especially if I was eating in a restaurant.   Now, I kinda have to.  Next time you are eating out, order something sensible in a half portion (stay away from anything deliciously fried or with melty cheesy, duh) .  If they don’t do half portions, ask for a to-go container and put half away when you get your order.  You can save that for your next meal at home (no, not for a second lunch or second dinner.)
  3. No sweets – Easier said than done, I know.  This is the hardest part for me.  This requires sheer will power.  For me, out of sight out of mind really works.  I can’t have anything sweet in the house.  If I do, then I’ll eat it.  I do manage to stay out of my daughter’s little cookies or “tooties” as she calls them (for the most part).  One day my mom-in-law brought over a massive piece of cheesecake for us.  I had to tell her that if it stayed in the house I would literally eat the entire thing in one sitting.  It was really sad to see that piece of cheesecake walk back out the door.  But it felt good at the same time to “just say no.” Anyway, this is where you really have to just visualize your goal.  Picture yourself in those jeans, or cute dress that you want to fit back into. Keep an inspirational pic of a thinner you  taped to your pantry door.  Put it as your screen saver or cell phone wall paper.  It will remind you what you are doing all of this for.  You.  What I did was keep that darn pair of skinny jeans folded on my bedroom chair.   They stared at me constantly (when they weren’t buried under a pile of clothes).  However, I made the mistake of trying them on midway thru my diet, I was still way too big for them.  It made me feel so unaccomplished, but at the same time it really helped to keep my butt in gear.  Anyway, I kept raisins around for a sweet fix.  And fruit, in moderation.  At night after dinner when I get that “I’m craving something” feeling, I would have a cup of chamomile tea.  I know, it sounds boring, but it seemed to calm my cravings.
  4. Very little carbs – There is no way I could go carb free.  Especially since I was sweet free.  So I would have rice with dinner or have my tostada creations mentioned here and here .  Every so often I’d allow myself roasted potatoes for example.
  5. Active  (mommy) lifestyle –  Like I mentioned in the weight loss post, since I was on a lower calorie diet, I kept my workouts fairly light but consistent (for the most part.) I suppose I could have really done hard-core workouts, but then I’d have to replenish all those burnt calories to prevent from feeling run down.  And I’m sure that my idea of replenishing would include a cheeseburger and fries with a milkshake.  So I just made it easier on myself by staying active and going on frequent walks.  Nothing too heavy duty.  However, now that I’m at my target weight, I do need to incorporate more cardio into my current active lifestyle.  Ugh.

So there you have it.

I’d like to mention that I kinda just figured this all out on my own and there is probably a more “scientific” way to go about it.  But this seemed to work for me.  I hope that if you’re reading this and looking for a thing or two to inspire you to shed a couple (or many) pounds, that this brings you some inspiration and encouragement.

You can do it!

Until  next Monday,

jennifer

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Toddler plumping

Last week I finally revealed my 20 pound weight loss. Phew!  This week as it so happens, I’m writing about packing on the weight  . . .  for my little daughter, that is.

Two months ago at Lily’s well-check appointment her pediatrician said that she was under weight . . .  and that I needed to plump her up a bit.  Oh boy.  When I heard that my heart started to race and my ears got hot and I started to get very weepy.  I couldn’t help but think that I was doing something wrong.  The doctor assured me that I was doing everything right, rather it was my daughter’s personality (picky eater) and her activity level (would rather be toddling than eating) that made eating very uninteresting to her (and such a challenge for me.) She suggested that I start  supplementing her  diet with a store-bought children’s high calorie shake twice a day.  Of course after that appointment I dashed to the nearest pharmacy to buy loads of the stuff.  Unfortunately, Lily showed little interest in the taste of it.  I sat there exhausted and frustrated and took a look at the calories (habit from my own diet) then I glanced over at the ingredients.

There seemed to be a million ingredients none of which I could pronounce.  Yikes.

I thought there has to be more wholesome way to do this.  Then I remembered . . . Almond butter!  I discovered almond butter back when I started my diet, it’s packed with protein and calories.

I tinkered around in the kitchen and came up with a recipe that Lily loves.  She had her weight check up appointment last week and she gained two pounds in two months.  The doctor was pleased enough to give me a high-five.  She even asked me for the recipe!

The doctor suggested I give her breakfast in the morning before I give her the first shake.  But to be honest with you, my daughter is an unhappy camper until she gets her shake first thing in the morning.  Hmm, sounds like me with my morning coffee.  So she gets the shake first . ..  followed by a late breakfast.   She gets the second shake  during bedtime stories with dad.

Here’s the very simple recipe.

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 2 table spoons almond butter (I use whole foods 365 organic roasted)

Put ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  (I use a magic bullet.)

My little one doesn’t drink dairy so I use vanilla almond milk and vanilla coconut yogurt.  You can use any type of milk or yogurt of your choice.  The calorie booster in this shake is the almond butter.   This recipe will fill a 10 oz straw cup (like the one pictured above). It’s about 330 calories with the ingredients I use.  I usually make enough for two shakes.

You can add any frozen or fresh fruit you like as well.  However I have found that even with the magic bullet mixer  little chunks get stuck in her sippy straw.  Also optional, avocado or flaxseed oil.  I’ve tried to add these to Lily’s shake but she has turbo taste buds and can sense when the original shake recipe has been tampered with.

I hope this comes in handy for any of you who might have finicky little eaters.  It sure came in hand for us.

Until next week!

jennifer

The weight is over. My before and after reveal (gulp)

I can’t believe I’m going to do this?

So here is a little teaser before you scroll to the before and after pics . . . this was me, at 142 pounds trying to run to my mark before the camera timer went off.  Guess I wasn’t fast enough.

Also, since I’ve gone without indulgent foods for 3 months and since my birthday was this weekend, I’m going to (or may have already) allow myself the following things at some point in the next couple of days.

  1. slice of pepperoni pizza.  Nothing fancy.  preferably the kind of big slice you can fold.
  2. huevos rancheros
  3. a warm apple crumble of some sort.  With vanilla ice cream on top.
  4. chips and queso. (Velveeta with Rotel tomatoes)
So here, my friends is me at 142 pounds really squeezing with all of my might into my favorite every day pair of around-the-house jeans.  Pardon the self-deprecating comments.
Here’s the front (gulp)

And the back (double gulp)

Here’s the side by side before and after from the front

And side by side before and after from the back.

So there you have it.  I’ll just imagine a few slow claps coming from a few kind people in the back of the room.

So I did actually lose 20 pounds in three months.  Project LTBW accomplished!  Phew!

I will say that my body definitely wears weight differently since having a baby.  I still have some work to do.  But I’m going to give myself a break for a few days.

So here are the keys to my weight loss.  (For even more details, click here)

  1. Portion control
  2. Calorie counting (I tried to stay at about 1200/day)
  3. No sweets
  4. Very little carbs
  5. Active  (mommy) lifestyle

Here is a note on #5.  I didn’t “hit the gym” or run miles or anything.  I basically went on walks as often as I could.  Maybe 3 times a week or so.  I wanted to get down to my target weight before I started really strengthening and toning with heavy cardio and weights.  (Which I guess I need to start doing soon)

Phew.  Glad that’s over with.  Okay, so I’m going to push that little button to the right that says “publish.”

. . . .

A very unassuming button. . . .

Here it goes . . .

See ya next week,

Jennifer

Tostadas, the running yolk

I must say, I do have a thing for tostadas as you can see in one of my previous posts. It’s the perfect portion of food and the topping options are limitless. However, it’s easy to go overboard with the toppings. So if you’re like me and watching your portion size or tracking your calories, be mindful of all the goodness that goes on top.  Through tracking my calories, I was happy to learn that a fried egg is surprisingly under 100 calories.  This is my “go to” breakfast option when I need a protein and carb fix.

Here I topped the tostada with smashed black beans and a nice, runny, fried egg. I think the key here is frying the egg just long enough so that when pierced, the yolk is a decadent, bright yellow, and ooooozy.  But how do you know when it’s cooked to this point? If your yolk preference is like the yolk in the picture (considered over easy) here are a few simple steps:

– Use a non-stick skillet on medium/low heat

– Use oil or butter (if your diet allows) and crack the egg low into the skillet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper

– Cook the egg until the white part becomes opaque and bubbling (about three minutes)

– Using a good spatula,lift the edges slightly to see if it is ready to flip.  If there is no sticking, flip the egg.   This takes practice and it’s okay if it doesn’t flip over perfectly.  It’s fine if an edge is folded over.  The important thing is for the yolk to stay intact.  Have no fear.  Don’t let the egg intimidate you. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

– Cook on the other side for about 3 minutes.  (Keep in mind that all stove tops vary in temp settings, gas vs electric, etc.  I have a gas top)

How do I know when the egg is cooked to my preference?  My done-ness technique might not be so culinarily sound.  I call it the “waterbed” test.  (Yes, I had a waterbed as a kid.)  If you gently press on the yolk with your finger or spatula, it should jiggle or have the same give as a waterbed would.  Slide it out of the pan onto a black bean topped tostada and admire.  Then address the eating process as you like, it could get messy.

Now for the LTBW update (EOW 6):

I’m happy to report that it looks like I shed a couple of pounds this past week.  I did some extra “Bob-ing” around (aka using the Bob Jogger stroller)  last week, mostly due to many, many, many  trips to the various nearby grocers on the hunt for stuff my little girl will actually eat.  So I guess I can give the little one credit for helping mommy shed some of the weight.  How thoughtful of her?

Seems as though I am nearing the halfway point on Project Lose the Baby Weight.  Yay!  It’s interesting to see how my body is literally “falling” back into place since having a baby.  Things seem a little more “at ease” if you will.  I don’t expect to look EXACTLY how I did in my skinny jeans before, I just want to be able to button them without cutting off my circulation.  And maybe not pinching my belly if I bend over.  Oh, and less muffin top too.  But I am happy with my progress and as things are falling into place, so far.

Ants on a log . . . not just for the kiddos

Ants on a log

Creamy, crunchy, salty & sweet

I know, I know, peanut butter and celery, sounds pretty boring.  But I decided to give it a shot last week since I happened to have raisins, celery, and raw almond butter on hand  . . . AND I also added a secret ingredient that makes them a little more of a grown up snack.  But first, just a couple of notes about the ingredients.  Raisins.  I recently discovered that I actually LIKE raisins.  Take away dessert and sweets and YES, allowing yourself something simple like raisins can actually become a sweet, satisfying treat.  So raisins have been a staple in my pantry lately.  As for the raw almond butter . . . well I guess I kept hearing about how almond butter is so much better for you than regular ol’ peanut butter.  Apparently much of the nutrition in most peanut butter is lost in the processing . . . process.  However, raw almond butter does take some getting used to as it doesn’t have a sweetness or saltiness to it.   It does have a nice and creamy (and crunchy) texture though, and mixing it with the right things can really hit the spot.

So there  isn’t a real “recipe” to ants on a log, just some fun, gooey assembly.  So, get your ants assembled on the gooey log and add the secret ingredient that makes ALL the difference.  Ready for the big secret ingredient reveal?  . . . . .  Eh hem,

Kosher salt.

Yep.  I know, salt doesn’t seem to qualify as being a “secret ingredient”  but it really does make such a difference.  Have you ever had a piece of fancy salted chocolate?  Or salted caramel?  That little flake of salt can add a subtle crunch and tang making for the perfect bite.  And it can’t be the regular old-fashioned iodized salt.  Go get yourself some kosher salt and always have it on hand.  You’ll be surprised how a little sprinkle of kosher salt can finish a dish.  If you’re feeling fancy, flake sea salt works well too.

Oh.  I almost accidentally on purpose forgot to mention the 2o on my 2o.  Well, the scale didn’t move this week.  Hmf!  I’m pretty sure I know why.  For one, I was a bit lazy on the exercising.  Secondly, it was hard to plan my meals this past week mostly because I was busy planning and re-planning meals for my little girl.  She might be on a bit of a food strike.  Everything that I tried to feed her ended up on the floor, or just remained on the cutting board.   So all week I pretty much ate her leftovers, accompanied by a slice of meatloaf  here and a maybe a corn dog there.  Let’s hope meal planning in general will be a little more successful this week.  Oh, and WALK, WALK, WALK!

P.S.  I hate running.