Friday, January 29, 2010


I thought I would open today (and the next couple of days) to ask any weight loss questions you might have. I need to say that quite obviously I am not an expert or a doctor, but if there is a recipe you are wanting, a secret you think I'm keeping, anything weight loss related I will answer to the best of my ability! So come on shoot me some questions...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Beautiful Bowl

Isn't this a beautiful bowl full of veggies?

This is one of my favorite new kitchen tricks. I am in love with my bowl full of veggies. You see, each Sunday I purchase 1 stalk of celery, 2 cucumbers, 1 bag of baby carrots, 1 green pepper, and 1 container of grape tomatoes. All together, I am sure I spend less than $10 on fresh produce. (I purchase a few other fresh items, but this is the majority.) So I take my veggies home, get out a LARGE bowl, cut the celery, slice the cucumber, cut the pepper, and pour in the tomatoes and carrots. This takes about 10 minutes. I clean the items off, and there you have it, a beautiful array of fresh veggies for the entire week... what to do with all of them?

Well, since they are ready to go, I eat them every day as a side for lunch. I get 1 serving of my favorite salad dressing, and then I make it a challenge to see how many veggies I can eat. I am guessing that I am eating close to 3 servings of veggies at lunch for approximately 75 calories (I don't even count!)

I set the beautiful bowl in the center of the table at dinner, and everyone loves picking out of it. I don't care what they eat, as long as they eat it! I mean really, do you think I am going to say, "Cole please don't eat so much celery!" Ha! Cole is especially loving eating the bowl of veggies, and I think it's fun to see what they are going to pick. Celery and cucumbers are turning out to be favorites, 2 things I probably would have never set on their plate alone.

Make a quick salad. Once you have all of your veggies ready to go, salads are a breeze. Just grab a bag of salad, pull out your veggies, and pick some to throw on. You can have a salad ready in 1 minute flat. To make a salad a meal in a jiff, grab a bag of precooked chicken strips, and throw some heated ones on top. Use either a LITE Honey Mustard, or a Wing Sauce, and you can make salads as good as Doc Green's for 1/3 of the price.

I should mention that I don't store the veggies in the bowl. They are OK in the bowl for a little while, but to keep your veggies as fresh as possible, I store them in a gallon size Ziploc bag with just a little water in it.

Now, go eat your veggies!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


So I had planned on posting a recipe today, and since Kylie asked for meatloaf, here they are:

NOTE: I think if you are going to take the time to make a meatloaf, double all of your ingredients and make two. Don't cook the second one, wrap it in foil, and freeze it. When you need a quick meal take it from the freezer to the oven for an EASY dinner. Most times the only extra item I have to buy to double the recipe is more meat. Enjoy!

The first meatloaf is Buffalo Turkey Meatloaf. I absolutely LOVE this dinner. It replaces buffalo wings around here. When I serve the meatloaf, I also drizzle a little more buffalo sauce over the top for an extra kick (and buffalo sauce has hardly any calories!)

Buffalo Turkey Meatloaf
What you will need:
2/3 c. old fashioned oats
1/2 c. fat free milk
3 tbsp buffalo wing sauce
1 pound extra lean ground turkey
1/2 c. finely chopped carrots (I buy matchstick carrots, then chop them more)
1/4 c. purple onion
1/2 c. finely chopped celery
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp salt
2 ounces reduced fat blue cheese crumbles (when I purchase the little cartons they are 4 ounces, perfect for doubling the recipe!)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mist loaf pan with olive oil spray..

2. Combine oats, milk, and wing sauce. Mix and allow to set for 3 minutes. Add turkey, celery, carrots, onion, egg whites, and salt. With clean hands mix the ingredients. Gently add in the blue cheese.

3. Transfer mixture to pan, and pat flat. Bake 35-40 minutes (until turkey is no longer pink).
** I always have a small layer of grease that pools on top of the meatloaf that I scrape/drain off.

4. Cut into 8 slices.

Nutrition Stats: Each serving is 2 slices. 298 calories, 13.9g fat, 14g carbs, 30g protein, 781mg sodium

The next meatloaf we love is Manwich Meatloaf

Manwich Meatloaf

What you will need:
2/3 c. old fashioned oats
1/2 c. +1/3 c. Manwich Sauce
2 egg whites beaten
1 pound ground turkey
1/3 c. minced green pepper
1/4 c. purple onion
1/2 tsp. minced garlic

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mist loaf pan with olive oil spray..

2. Combine oats, manwich sauce (hold back 1/4 c. sauce to spread over the top), and egg whites. Mix and allow to set for 3 minutes. Add the turkey, green pepper, onion, and garlic. With clean hands mix the ingredients.

3. Transfer mixture to pan, and pat flat. Spread remaining 1/4 c. manwich sauce over the mixture. Bake 35-40 minutes (until turkey is no longer pink).
** I always have a small layer of grease that pools on top of the meatloaf that I scrape/drain off.

4. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, and cut into 8 slices.

Nutrition Stats: Each serving is 2 slices. 256 calories, 9.2g fat, 17g carbs, 26g protein, 422mg sodium

Sometimes we put the sloppy joe meatloaf on buns (if I have calories to spare), and eat it like a meatloaf sandwich, however, I will say I kind of prefer it alone.

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do. Happy cooking!

Monday, January 25, 2010

So What Do You Eat?

Back to food. A favorite subject of mine! It is hard to stay within your calorie count sometimes. It takes practice and some patience. Like I said when you are just starting on your journey, ONLY worry about calories. That is what will ultimately help you lose weight. NOTE: make sure when you are looking at labels that you are reading the info for 1 serving, and you are only eating 1 serving. A bottle of Coke has 2.5 servings in it, so you may think you are only drinking 100 calories, but if you drink the whole bottle, that is actually 250 calories! Once you have your calorie counting down, you can focus on getting 50% carbs, 25% protein, and 25% fat in your diet. It is easily tracked by going here and then clicking on the Analysis button after your foods have been entered. It will give you a grade for your food choices, and a pie chart to tell you what percentage of carbs, fats, and protein you are eating. I love!

So, what do you eat? I wanted to give you some ideas of what I eat to stay within my calorie count (1400-1600) calories each day...

My two favorite breakfasts are:
1. Egg Sandwich:2 slices whole wheat toast, 2 egg whites, and 1 ounce low-fat cheese.
Total calories: 212
2. Banana Bread: 2 slices and 1.5c skim milk. Total cal: 348
3. Peanut Butter Toast: 2 slices whole wheat toast, 2 tbsp peanut butter, 1 c skim milk. Total cal: 370 cal

1. Tuna Sandwich: Sandwich thins bread (these are new to me, and I LOVE THEM) 1 pouch tuna, 2 tbsp fat free mayo. Total Calories: 200
2. Grilled chicken sandwich: Sandwich Thins, 3 oz grilled chicken, buffalo sauce, lettuce, tomato. Total calories: 230
3. Grilled chicken salad: (Make a heaping salad- a whole bag of lettuce is only 45 calories!) Lettuce, tomato, 1/2 ounce cheese, 2 tbsp Ranch dressing, 3 oz. chicken, 2 tbsp Buffalo Sauce. Total calories:390

Sides I put with my lunch:
1. Sunchips: 140 cal
2. Jello Sugar Free pudding: 60 cal (dip some strawberries in the chocolate one- it only adds about 50 calories- yummy!)
3. Jello Sugar Free: 10 cal
4. Cheese stick: 80 cal
5. Fresh veggies: minimal calories depending on what you choose

I skip all around for dinner on what I eat, but be sure to always save yourself about 600-700 calories for dinner. One of our favorite things to eat are the Stouffer's or TGI Friday's skillets.

You can find them in your grocer freezer section for $4-$7. The are delicious, can be cooked in the microwave, and average about 450 calories. The most wonderful thing about them is they force you into portion control. I am positive these bags were a key to my weight loss.

We also do things like grilled chicken, meat loafs from the Biggest Loser cookbook, Subway. Whatever goes as long as you stay in your calorie count. Now, I won't lie. These skillets would probably leave me wanting more, so I always either make a big side salad or veggie to go with them.

Snacks: (I don't always snack, it truly depends on whether or not I'm hungry, but if I do, I try to keep it under 150 calories, and I try not to snack after 8 p.m.) Most of my snacks are afternoon snacks . Rarely do I eat any snacks after dinner.
1. Popcorn: mini bag 150 cal
2. Apple: 100 cal
3. V-8: small can 30 cal
4. Rice Krispy Treat (for something sweet): 90 cal
5. Pickle: 5 cal

As you can see, my diet is not perfect. I am not a rabbit! I eat things that normal people eat. The key is finding foods that fit. Get creative. Take a little time to prepare. I cut a bag of veggies each Sunday. I put celery, carrots, tomatoes, green pepper, and cucumber all in one bag, then when I need fresh veggies for a side or a salad, I grab a handful. Easy as that.

One other tip is, don't reinvent the wheel. As long as you vary your diet slightly, you can eat the same things. You can have the same general breakfast or lunch. Find a few things that work, and use them. You don't have to eat 30 different breakfasts or lunches each month. I stick to the same 3-4 breakfasts and lunches, and work to vary my dinners.

I would love to hear some of your ideas. It would be wonderful if you would add some ideas in the comments section! I hope this was helpful.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


So Move is the angle corner of the weight loss triangle, and like a triangle is made, you can make weight loss either a big, equal, or small angle in the configuration.

Moving can be almost non-existent if you so chose, or it can be a huge part of it. Really, any part eat, will, or move can be that way, but in the end you have to make the angles add up for weight loss. An equilateral triangle has 180 degrees, so in the future I may refer to a perfect day being when you give 180%... working to make your will, movement, and eating balanced. It's tough to always give 180%, but you should always try to find balance. If you eat too much, move more, if you stayed within your calories, or just need a break, move less. You get it... so on to move...

Moving is different for each person. Start slow if you haven't done anything. Here are some tips for moving.

1. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FOR WEIGHT LOSS... You must find your Target Heart Zone. Click here to find yours. To lose weight, you have to burn fat. To burn fat you have to be in your Target Heart Zone (THZ). Once you find your THZ, divide it by 6. Then while you are exercising, you should be able to reach this number in 10 seconds of taking your pulse.

So for example, my THZ is 124-164. This number divided by 6 is 20-27. So while I am exercising, I stop to look at a clock, start the timer for 10 seconds, and take my pulse. I should be between 20-27 beats by the time the 10 seconds is up. If not, I need to work harder.

If you are willing to invest the money, I think one of the most useful things I have purchased is a Heart Rate Monitor.

It was around $100 at Target, but it's usefulness has been priceless. Basically it is a strap that goes around your chest, and a watch that you wear. After the watch has been set up to your body setting, it will track your heart rate and calories burned for you. One of the things that I think has really been nice for me is exercising can sometimes hurt, but that doesn't mean you are burning calories. When I am lifting weight, I can be lifting some major weight, and be in a lot of pain (momentary of course), but I will check my heart rate and it will be in the 90's. I am not in my THZ, therefore, I am not burning fat. A Heart Rate Monitor keeps me constantly in check, and tells me when to work harder, therefore, working smarter.

2. Find something you love. When you move, don't do something you hate, or you won't have the will to continue to do it. Start slow, and do something you love. As long as you get into your THZ, you are working your heart to make it stronger, and you are burning the calories to shed the weight. Here are some ideas of things you can do to move:
Walk (be sure you are walking fast enough and moving your arms to get your heart rate up)
Play sports with your kids or grand kids
Go to the local gym
Take a swim class
Turbokick or kickboxing
Run Stairs (or just climb them at a moderate pace)
I have to say I don't feel very creative about what I am offering you for options,but this is also where will comes in. If you want it bad enough, you will just do it.

3. Alternate your workouts. To have a truly rounded workout, you should do cardio several times per week, but you should also lift weights. When I lift weights, I like to add in spurts of cardio to keep my heart rate up while I am lifting. This way I burn calories and build muscle. Also, if you do the same workout day after day, your body becomes used to it, your heart rate will lower, and you will burn less calories, so try new things. Get creative!

4. Don't worry! My motto is: "I don't look good going to the Y, I go to the Y to look good when I'm not there." If I had worried what others thought of me when I walked into the Y on August 15th, 2008, I would have never gone back. I weighed 262 pounds and was wearing a size 24/26. I had to push past what others were thinking (or what I thought others were thinking) and get on a machine. 72 pounds later, I am changing my life a little each day because for once, I could care less for 1 hour a day what others think of me. I wiggle, I jiggle, and I am getting better. Get started. Don't worry. Get better.

Once again, I feel like there are so many things I could talk about, but this is somewhere to begin. Now, go out and start giving your 180%!

Friday, January 22, 2010


I don't have time to write my "Move" post today, so here is a yummy recipe that I love to eat... I have taken the sugar and oil out to cut calories and fat. Stay tuned and get ready to move tomorrow!

Here is a recipe for one of my favorite breakfasts. I eat this every other day, and it fits well into my weight loss plan... When the bread is done, I cut it into 8 slices and each slice is 114 calories and 0.8g fat! Eat a slice (or two if you like) with a glass of skim milk for a healthy start.

One thing to note it that I use the ZERO calorie Splenda, not the baking Splenda. I think this causes the bread to bake faster, so watch it. Also, Splenda has no preservatives in it, so be sure to slice your bread and then store it in the freezer immediately, otherwise, you will have moldy bread in a day or so! Enjoy

Banana Bread:

1.5 c All Purpose Flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg
1 cup mashed bananas
3/4 c Splenda NO CALORIE sweetener (this is NOT the baking splenda)
1 of those individual cups of applesauce that you feed the kids
1/8 tsp salt

1. Grease the bottom and sides of your loaf pan. In a... mixing bowl
combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set

2. In another bowl combine the egg, bananas, sugar, and applesauce.
All at once add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir just until
moistened. (Batter will be lumpy.)

3. Spoon batter into pan and bake at 350 degrees for a varying amount
of time. The book says 50-55, but mine is usually done within 25-35
minutes. Just watch for it to be golden brown, and for your toothpick
to come out clean.

4. Cool on a wire rack, cut into 8 slices, store, and freeze.


Hopefully yesterday didn't push you all from reading again because today I will talk about eating. The way you eat is what determines if you will lose weight. What I'm saying is I often hear people say "I don't have time to exercise", and I will address that more in my next post, but YOU DON'T HAVE TO EXERCISE TO LOSE WEIGHT! For example, you don't see the half-ton man exercising to lose weight. Instead the doctors put the patients on a diet restriction.

Restriction is a word I hate. NEVER, NEVER, I REPEAT NEVER RESTRICT YOUR DIET. Also, never call it a diet. Diets are short, temporary, fads, trendy, whatever you want to think. Why do you think most people lose 10 pounds and gain 12 back after they stop the cabbage diet, or the apple diet, cookie diet... because they restricted themselves so much that when the weight was gone, and the temporary diet was over, the over-restriction got the best of their will. Eat what you want, when you want. In the past week I have had candy, desert, pizza, etc... The key is staying within your calorie count. You will soon learn it is easier to find healthy options and eat more, than to eat one greasy meal per day.

I have so many things to say about eating that it may take more than one post, but here are some points to think about.

1. Get some tools: measuring cups, measuring spoons, a food scale.

2. Get some books: If you are willing to invest, there are 3 books I would purchase again. I have several more, but I find myself constantly using these 3 books...

The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook. It has been such a wonderful resource for low cal recipes. They tend to be easy to prepare, quick, and budget and family friendly. Some of our favorites are the Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf, Sloppy Joe Meatloaf, and the Creamy Cherry Sorbet. I try and pick one or two new recipes every week or so to try. It's really worth the money.

Eat This Not That Supermarket Survival Guide. KEEP THIS IN YOUR CAR... otherwise, you will get to the supermarket and realize you forgot it. This book will help you chose the healthy alternative to things you already eat. It's sort of a temporary book because you will start to know what to look for, and you will need this book less and less.

Eat This Not That Restaurant Survival Guide. If you think you already have this one, double check. This book just came out. The first book like this had some restaurants in it, but this book is dedicated to restaurants. For example, you may be shocked to know that it it would save you 140 calories to go to McDonald's and eat a McDouble than a Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich! When you are only eating 1400 calories, that saves you 10% of your daily allowance!!! KEEP THIS BOOK IN YOUR PURSE... often times eating out is a spur of the moment, convenience thing. Whip this out, make your choice, and feel better for it.

3. Count and Log: This is the meat and potatoes of eating (no pun intended). You have to count your calories to know you are staying within them, and just keeping a tab in your head is nearly impossible. It has been proven OVER and OVER that weight loss is based on calorie count alone. Not fat, not carbs, calories. Like I said yesterday, your body has to burn more energy than it takes in to lose weight. That is all based on calories. Here are the quick steps to starting:

1. Figure out how many calories a day your body burns. Enter your stats here and be sure to click on SEDENTARY for your activity level. This is so if you have days when you don't do much, you won't gain weight.
2. Now that you know how much you burn each day, subtract 500 calories from that. It takes 3500 calories to lose a pound, so theoretically you should lose 1 pound a week by sitting on the couch, and not exceeding your calorie count... see, you don't have to work out! You could lose weight faster by adding workouts into your day, but we can discuss that later. ONE NOTE: Never eat less than 1200 calories a day. This is what a body needs to survive. Anything less than 1200 calories per day, and your body will go into starvation mode, and the whole plan will backfire.
3. Finally, LOG. This is the website I use to log my foods. It already has 80,000 foods input to the system, so it is rare I can't find what I am looking for. It takes a couple of weeks to get really good at this, but once you are used to it, I think logging your foods here should take less than 5 minutes per day. Make sure you log EVERYTHING you eat, including those 20 M&M's you ate for a snack. They count for calories also. Really take the time to set this website up for yourself. Try the tools, get on the message board. I know it was a key to my success. It even shows you each day how many calories you've burned vs. how many you have eaten, and if you click on Analysis, it will give you a food grade for the day.

Well, I feel like this has been a long one, but eating is very important. It makes this journey incredibly easy, or tough. I hope this has helped a bit. I plan on posting a little more about food in the coming days, but this was something to nibble on!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Ok, so dieting and exercising has seemed to come easy to me, and I'm constantly being asked "What do you eat, how do you exercise, etc, etc, etc?" So, I'm going to write a couple of posts. If you like them and want me to keep writing them, let me know. If you are sick of hearing about it, I understand that also.

Last night as I was lying in bed (thinking of nothing and everything all at once), I decided there a 3 things that will make your body change and do what you want it to. You only have to remember these 3 things...
1. Will
2. Eat
3. Move (I won't use the word exercise. It's such a nasty word that scares people away)
Let me expand...

Will: I think this is the most important of the three things, and kind of holds it all together. Every second of every day you will be put in a situation to decide which "lifestyle change" path to take. Case in point: Took the kids to the mall today and had several friends eating Subway sandwiches for lunch. Please understand, they are very healthy girls, and Subway is a very healthy choice. I LOVE SUBWAY, but whenever I eat Subway for lunch I don't lose any weight, therefore I must exert all of my will to forgo Subway and eat a lunch that I know will allow me to lose weight that day.

It seems like I often hear people are going to start dieting on Monday, but when Monday comes and your co-worker brings doughnuts or it's easier to grab McDonald's for lunch, YOUR WILL MUST BE STRONGER to make a change than your want for something lesser.

Watch will in action... I get up in the mornings and make the kids cinnamon rolls while "I will" have an egg white breakfast. I walk through the kitchen and notice some yummy M&M's sitting there, but "I will" pass. At lunch "I will" eat the things that are good that feed my body. "I will" also drink water to replenish my body. At snack time "I will" pass on the kiddos chips, cookies, etc, and eat an apple because it will pay me back in the end. When the evening rolls around, and I am exhausted and just want to crawl in bed and watch my favorite TV show, "I will" get to the Y to exercise, and when I come home "I will" eat a healthy dinner, and "I will" skip late night snacking because that will do me no favors.

Don't start a diet tomorrow. Start a lifestyle change right now. Each time a choice is laid out before you make the best decision you can for that moment. You will have to eat out. Make the best choice. Birthdays will come around, and cake will be presented. Make the best choice. The best choice is not to always skip the cake. Cut your slice in half and share with a friend. Make the best choice for yourself in that moment.

I'm not trying to sound preachy. I am not perfect. I screw up, but what I am saying is if each time I screwed my eating up I decided I would just start again Monday, I would never get there. Use your will each time a choice is given to you and make the best choice. Start now, not Monday.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Yep, we're still amongst the living

We've just been having too much fun to blog about it! Here's proof:

Cole had his first Preschool Christmas program. He was one of many reindeer! Very cute, and he managed to have his entire costume removed before the 3rd song. He also almost gave his mommy a heart attack by making many tricky maneuvers on the top step of the risers.

Carter said "Bye, Bye, Baby Bed!!!!!" Literally. He helped daddy take his crib apart, and was a very happy big boy in his new bed.

Mommy was not quite as happy about how the first night went(these are his finger peeking our under the door because he would not stay in his bed), but all in all, it has been a smooth transition...

Side note: I walked into his room the other day, where he was playing. He was opening his closet door (where the crib rails are stored), saying "bye, bye, baby bed", then closing the door, and then doing it over and over again. They are too cute sometimes

January has already brought REALLY cold weather and a little snow... but apparently any snow constitutes a snowball fight here!

And, after about 30 minutes of dressing in all of our winter gear to stay warm, we got to sled on the creek hill for about 15 minutes before I thought my face was getting frostbite. Fun times!
We have started 2010 off really good. I did a "New Year's Day Mini Triathlon" with the YMCA (this was not an actual triathlon, but required me to take a water, cycle, and land class in 3 hours). Brian and I will have our final "Battle of the Bulge" weigh-ins either this week or early next week, and we are both expecting to have lost at least a couple of pounds... at this time of year, I am really happy with that!
So here comes a new decade with high hopes, and big dreams. Yep, we're still amongst the living, and we're doing well. Really, really well.