Friday, October 30, 2009

Day 303 - The Danger of Sugar

I know sugar is bad.  You know sugar is bad.  We all know sugar is bad news!!  If given the choice though between sugar and artificial sweenteners, hands down, I'll take sugar!  It's natural, not made in a lab!

For the last year I have been trying to keep my sugar consumption in moderation.  I admit, I LOVE Sweetarts and all things sour gummy, but I really try to avoid the sweets because at the end of the day, you feel lousy and your teeth are all fuzzy against your tongue.  (Ever notice that after a day of sugar?)

So yesterday a dear family friend of ours dropped by to give the kids some Halloween bags of treats.  I asked for a vanilla Toosie Roll and a red Dot.  I was good to go.  But the kids kept sharing with me in their excitement to eat more.  So I ended up eating a couple more pieces.  It wasn't that much, not even close to what I normally would have consumed, but more than I have been used to.

The strangest thing happened at dinner time.  I felt like I was STARVING!!!  You know the feeling.  When you are in such a craze of hunger, you can't think straight.  When the Papa Murphy's Gourmet Veggie came out of the oven, if my mouth had been big enough, I would have jammed the whole thing in.  I was ravenous!  I haven't felt like this in a loooooooooong time!  I barely got through the blessing on the food, I felt like I was going to cry if I had to wait any longer, and I took a huge mouthful within 1 millisecond after saying "Amen."  After a few minutes of eating, as my mood slowly returned to normal, I thought about what the heck I just experienced.  When you feel like that, not only can you 1. not control yourself but 2. there is no way of keeping track of what you eat.  How can a person be successful in the weight loss journey or maintence control when feeling like that?  You can't!

I recognized that feeling, it wasn't completely unformailiar, but it's something I haven't experienced in at least a year.  Looking over the past year, I have been able to control my appetite much better they I usually do.  I have also been watching my intake of sugar.  Pondering, and putting two and two together I realized it had to be the sugar factor!! I had some candy around 2 and by the time 6 rolled around, I felt out of control.  More candy = increased appetite.  Now I didn't eat the whole pizza, but I did eat more than I usually do.  In fact, I ate so fast I am not sure how many pieces I actually ate.  3? maybe 4?  So to be on the safe side, being tired or not, I found a TV show to focus on and I did 30 minutes until I was sweating hard.  I probably should have done it longer, but my hubby was waiting to hop on.  :o)

So lesson learned.  If you want to stay in control of your appetite, which is important because then you can better control your eating, AVOID SUGAR especially CANDY that is made out of straight sugar.  It just sets you up for failure!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day 302 - Healthy Autumn Treat for Breakfast or Whenever

If you love pumpkin pie you will love this!!  Basically, it's the recipe on the back of Libby's canned pumpkin (NOT Pumpkin Pie Filling) and instead of putting it into a crust, you bake it in a casserole dish.  It comes out super moist like a custard. It's full of fiber, nutrient rich pumpkin and protein items such as milk and eggs.  Notice I called it a "treat", there is sugar in it so you don't want to eat your weight of it, (Although you can only eat so much pumpkin before you have that full feeling).  It's great to have warm for breakfast or a mid-day snack.

My kids LOVE it, even the baby gobbled a bunch before his nap.  What a great snack for the kids to eat too!!  Notice the picture is only half of the casserole dish?  That wasn't just for artistic presentation, it was the only part that was left after the kids dug into it.  Just after it was cool enough to eat, the kids grabbed bowls, spoons and within seconds, half was missing.  Like I said, the stuff is good and the kids just got a boat load of vitamin A to last the day along with some vitamin C, Potassium and Folate.

Day 302 - It's All About the Exercise

This morning, while I lay in bed contemplating getting up, the thought occured to me...there are only 2 more months remaining of the year!  I plan on trying to loose 10 more pounds, but I thought there was more time?  Come September 1st each year, time changes.  Maybe it's because I start thinking in "Holiday Mode?"  I swear time speeds up and more things end up on the "to do" list!

So recently, I haven't been able to give it a 100% effort to get those last 10 off.  In fact, I find myself starting to eat just a little more this and a little more that.  I have been eating a little more than I would like, not like I used to, but more than I would if I really wanted to drop some more weight.  The wonderful thing is, I keep at the same weight!!  Why? Because of the exercise!  Exercising regularly is keeping my weight at bay.  The biggest thing I have learned is that if you are exercising regularly, your body and diet are much more forgiving than if you don't.  If I can continue to eat like I have been and maintain as long as I am exericsing, I can deal.  Seriously!  Now I am not talking about full bore exercising either!  For the last couple of weeks, I have been super tired, almost like I was on the verge of getting sick, but I didn't get sick.  I was just tired.  (Maybe the baby's transition in schedule might have something to do with that?)  SO in efforts to not make matters worse and completely stress my body out, I dropped the time of working out to 15 min.  On days I felt a little more pep in my step, I bumped it back to 30 minutes.  One day I was feeling really good, had an awesome book and I did the elliptical for 90 minutes!!  (Mental note: get more GOOD books)  What I am basically saying is that as long as you are regularly doing something to move your body, if you go a little over on the eating, everything will be okay.  I know I put on most my weight when I felt like I made a mistake.  The "Well, I screwed up, may as enjoy the rest of the day and start over tomorrow" sort of thinking.  That thinking NEVER works and you only set yourself up for failure when you do.  EVERY TIME.  Forgive yourself and stay the course, move on, do better from the last bite on.  Don't wait until tomorrow to do better.  Tomorrow may be 40 pounds and a decade later. (Personal experience)

We are approaching a time where baking becomes plentiful and opportunity for goodies increase.  It's inevitable!  Time also tends to be stretched thinner as well.  These two events alone contradict each other.  To really focus on making the change to loose weight takes time to process and focus on, especially in the beginning.  Having sweets and treats more easily accessible, makes it easier to partake without much thought.  If you are too busy to think of your weight loss goals and can grab holiday goodness without thinking, you can see the problem there. It can be a vicious cycle and can be such a treacherous time of year if one isn't careful.  I personally think I gained 10 pounds last December alone, and that wasn't the first December it happened either.  (I love to bake and make candy for gifts)

The game plan this year?  Not to deprive, but not to indulge either.  Be selective with what I consume, only the best (which means home made most of the time).  In doing this, AND exercising, I know I will get through the holidays at the same weight.  I really do want to drop some more, and I intend to, but if I can't, I am certainly okay with maintenance!!  Can you guess what 2010's goal will be if I don't make it?  Yep, 10 in 10!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day 301 - Amazing What a Year Can Do

This morning I woke up and there was definately a change in the weather!  I love living in California!!  It seems like you get just enough of a season, and then it changes!  The garden is nearly done, the trees and grapevines are slowly changing colors and loosing their leaves.  This is my most favorite time of the year!  I love the color, the temperature and the excitement of the anticipating holidays that are coming up.

So this morning, I need to find something that was warmer than shorts and a shirt.  I had to dig in the closet for my sweats.  As I did so, I remember them being tight from last year.  I dreaded putting them on and then I remember I am a lot lighter than I was last year.  (Yea, I was still sleepy when I was getting dressed) I then got excited to see how everything fit!  I have a few things that are going to Goodwill because they are just not going to work!  Other items, items I wasn't able to squeeze in last year went on effortlessly.  :o)  I saw my reflection in the mirror and I was actually pleased with what I saw.  ???  I don't think I have ever really been "pleased" with my reflection before!!  Seriously!!  Don't get me wrong, I am certainly not claiming perfection, or even "doneness" with my journey, uh-uh, no way!  What I am saying is that I wasn't completely repulsed by it.  For the last couple of decades, I wouldn't look in the mirror at my body.  What was the point?  Don't want to start the day depressed!  So I do find myself taking peeks now and then and it's fun to be surprised.  I still have a little ways to go.  I swear the next 10 pounds will soley come off my backside, so I know there will be a big change there when I am finished. But it's nice to look in the mirror and feel happy or at least hopeful for a change.  That is certainly something to get used to I have to say.  You wouldn't think so, but after spending sooooooo long not liking your reflection, it is strange to feel at peace with it.

What made me feel compelled to write this morning was that I started to think about the last year.  It hasn't been quite a year that I started my journey.  In fact, last year at this time I just had a baby and I was absolutely hating the way I physically felt!  I had baby blues, probably PPD because it took over a year to shake it, and there are some days I think it's lingering around.  But what a difference a year makes!!!  Seriously!  My physical body has done a 180 since last year.  Has it been hard?  I wouldn't think so.  Just have to keep going.  Take one day at a time.  Don't stop and don't give in.  One foot after the other.  As I mentioned before, I am soooo not done yet, so I really shouldn't be reflecting on the year yet, but I just had to take time and share my thoughts.  A year is a long time and they seem to be flying by faster each year.  Years for me now seem a lot shorter then they did when I was a kid.  But a year is a long enough time to make drastic changes in your life whether it's physically, emotionally, spiritually, or mentally.  We just can't underestimate what can be done in a year.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 295 - Funny, Silly, Female Brain

Seriously, why are our brains constantly messing with us?  Why do our eyes fail us?  This week I have been feeling a little like I used to.  I swear I feel like I have gained a few pounds.  I look in the mirror, the reflection is the same.  I hop on the scale, it also hasn't changed.  I put on my clothes, nothing new.  So what is the deal??

When I used to feel like this I would just eat whatever I felt like, in large quantities.  It was almost like I was punishing myself for being overweight.  The thought was, "Well, I'm overweight, I feel like poo, may as eat things that taste divine.  I would ignore my better judgement and just eat.  Sometimes I would crave and unless I ate what I was craving, I would just keep eating.  I remember eating salty popcorn and then crave something sweet, brownies.  Then after that, I would want something salty, chips.  Then later, ice cream...  It was sad and I never did that when anyone was around because I would have been incredibly embarrassed. 

When I did Weight Watchers a few years ago, I was successful in loosing weight there, but I always felt on the edge. Like at any time I could slip and just go overboard.  (Which I did after having my 3rd baby)  Looking back and thinking about my WW experience, I was loosing weight, but I didn't change the habits.  There were nights where I would start with salty popcorn in a measured amount, then I would move onto a serving of fat free brownie cookies, then I would go back to the popcorn (let's face it, low fat chips taste like paper) and then I would move on to "Skinny Cow" ice creams."  On a rough day I would save a lot of my points just so I could gorge at night on junk.  I stayed within my point range, I lost weight, but I did it by beating the system.  But did I? When you try to beat the weight loss journey, it always comes back to bite you in the bum.  In my case, by adding everything I ate to my bum!  :o)

So I am learning that there are times are brain just freaks out for no reason!  We just feel heavy. We are females, with cycles and as soon as you accept that our bodies are not our own, the battle is easier because you stop fighting it and start to learn to listen to it.  By listening to our bodies, we can begin to work with it.  What I am hearing is that I need to refocus on what I am eating and to start thinking about my portions.  This is the time of year where there are lots of wonderful foods, warm foods, gooey foods.  I am a picker, and if I am not careful I could pick myself into a few extra pounds.  My game plan?  Don't take my eating for granted.  I need to focus and think before I eat.  Make my plate and don't go back for seconds.  If I am snacky, find something healthy that will curb the appetite.  DRINK MY WATER!!!

SIDE NOTE: A new snack that I am loving!  You can't eat a ton, and if you eat more than you would like, not a biggie, because it's a tomato after all.  Dehydrated tomatoes from my garden nearly taste like candy. They have a strong, sweet, savory flavor so after a few you are done with snacking.  Such an unexpected delight!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day 294 - Old Navy Experience

Yesterday I had an interesting experience I wanted to share.  I had a Dr. appointment near a local Old Navy and I thought I would go in really quick to grab some jeans for my kids.  While there I thought I would try on some jeans myself.  I have always had a hard time finding jeans.  My body is just uniquely shaped and it's impossible to find jeans that fit perfectly.  To fit my hips, there is always way too much room in the waist.  To fit my waist, well, I can't clear my bum to get the jeans to my waist.

As I walked to the dressing rooms, the anxiety I felt was strong.  Flashbacks from the days that I would go to Target and not be able to find anything that I liked that would fit.  The horrible feelings I used to have of my body because I needed clothes and couldn't find anything at the local Target.  It was always such a dilemma because I never had the time to go anywhere that had a Lane Bryant or department store  that had bigger sizes.  Those days I would just go home and fill myself.  Yes, it was a catch 22 and a downward spiral for me.

So I am in the Old Navy dressing room and the thought occurred to me that I have never been able to fit into Old Navy jeans.  Either they were so big in the waist you could see my bum when I bent over or so snug that I couldn't get them on.  I was hoping that this time would be different.  To my surprise, they fit and they were comfortable.  Now, the whole disproportion issue is still in play, they were roomy in my waist, but manageable with a longer shirt.  I  have faith that the next 10 pounds will fix that right up.  I am just excited to have a pair of jeans from Old Navy that fit and are comfortable.  I am super thrilled that I can now do some online shopping for myself!  I couldn't before because my size would range so largely that it was exhausting to try to hit the right size.  Right now I am between a 10-12.  I am happy with that.  Of course I would love to be an 8, but I am not going to be picky.

Trying to get the last 10 has been hard.  The weather has changed and I just love to cook and bake.  Allrecipes has such great things to bake.  I am excited though, because without any effort, I have been able to eat what I like and be able to maintain!!  This is huge!  I will need to bump up the efforts to get a little lower, but it's such a relief to know that I have found an eating and exercise regimen that is flexible and effective.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day 292 - Favorite Fast Food Fix

Sometimes life is busy.  Sometimes you are caught out in your busy-ness and it's lunchtime or even past lunchtime.  What to do?  Personally I would rather go somewhere with lots of healthy options, like Panera Bread.  If Panera Bread only had a drive-through... but they don't!

When in a pinch, we like In-N-Out Burger.  I have to admit, it's the one fast food place that doesn't make me gag.  It seems so clean of an establishment, the food is basic, not severely adulterated and I can even watch while waiting in my car to see if anything fell on the floor. Maybe their facade has me fooled, but maybe the place is as clean as it seems.

With such a basic menu, it's easy not to get distracted with other things on the menu. You need a strategy to make it through the dangers of all fast food experiences.  This is my strategy:

I order the same thing every time I go and I feel full, treated and I won't find it on the scale. I order a hamburger so I can save calories on the cheese.  (I don't think it's real cheese either) I order it "ANIMAL STYLE" so I can get tasty grilled onions and a bit of special sauce. It's such a juicy burger, I don't miss the cheese.  I also order some fries and ask for them "WELL" so that they will still be crispy by the time I get to our eating location (usually home).  I share this order with my kids because all I really want is a few fries, like 10.  As the kids have gotten bigger and eat more, I now order 2 orders.  I have a nice glass of water when I am finished and I am full. 

You might ask, "If you are going through the drive through just to take it home, why don't you just go home and eat something there?"  Yes, that is the best solution!!  There are just times where it's 1- 1:30 and we haven't had lunch.  By the time I get home (we live out in the country), make lunch and eat it, it's after 2 and we are famished.  As most know, when you get overly hungry, you will eat more.  This is my solution to prevent overeating on late days and late lunches on the run.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Day 286 - A Warm, Healthy Drink on a Cold Day

I am a muncher.  A grazer.  A snacker.  Whatever you want to call it, it all means the same.  I am home most of the time, and it's so easy to just snack unconsciously throughout the day.  Heck, I gained 10-15 pounds when we first started homeschooling because it's easy to do between subjects!!  I also eat when I am stressed.  So if there are things going on in life, it's easy to just snack my way through the issues.  This comes natural to me.

During this journey I have found that although grazing is so easy to do, I had to stop it.  It is too easy to get extra calories in without even being aware of it.  I have found that if I can fill myself up with fluid, I not only can curb the munchies, but i can also get extra water in.  When I speak of fluid, I am referring to water.  I always forget to drink my water, I swear I am mostly in a dehydrated state.  This isn't a good thing when trying to loose weight and I need to do better.  You need water to flush your system!  Not soda, not coffee, not anything with chemicals, just pure, clean, water.  When I consume fluid, I mostly do this, drink water.  In a year, the number of sodas I consume, I probably can count on my left hand.  The stuff offers nothing good for your body, nothing.  I have read that for every soda you consume you should also drink a glass of water because it takes water from your system to flush the toxins out of your system.  It's bad stuff and the farther away you can get from the stuff, the better off your health will be. 

A little trick that satisfies both needs is that I try to drink mugs full of warm fluid through out the day.  My two most favorite beverages is Pero with a little milk and herbal tea with a splash of milk.  Sometimes at the end of the day, around 9ish, especially if I had a light dinner, a little hunger twinge might hit my tummy.  A big mugful of one of these hits the spot and kills that feeling.

This is considered a coffee substitute and it tastes like it too.  I don't drink coffee, but this is just as good.  It's really tasty with some sugar, but I try to keep the calories down so I just add a few tablespoons of milk.  Read the ingredients.  If you are trying to kick a coffee habit, this will help in the process.  When I am feeling like a special treat, it's super tasty with a coffee flavoring like Coffee-mate.

This is my favorite herbal right now because there is choice.  Every flavor is so tasty and they have a natural sweetness so it's easy to pass up the sugar bowl.  A shot of milk adds a creamy to it that is really satisfying.  I am a little excited from this image because the Fruit Tea Sampler I have has an orange flavor instead of blueberry.  I am excited to try some blueberry!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Day 285 - A good book passes the time...

I just love books!  Especially a GOOD book!  I have found that on days I just don't feel like doing 30 minutes, I can grab a book and pass that time in what feels like 5 minutes.  The workout may not be as intense as it is when I am not reading, but reading gets the job done.  I have found that when I am at a part of the book I can't wait to find time to read, I will hop on the elliptical just to give me a reason to stop my regular routine, and read without guilt!!

Sometimes when it's time for working out, you just don't feel like doing it.  For those days, if you have something else to focus your attention on; a TV show, a movie, a book, a book on CD, or whatever you can do while working out, you can kill two birds with one stone.  Get lost in a good story, and those minutes will fly by.

For those who personally know me, do you know how long I could work out while reading this book?  If I need some power workouts at the end of the year to achieve a few more pounds, this puppy and my elliptical is all I will need for a marathon workout...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day 281 - Healthy Pancakes

My kids love pancakes, they beg for pancakes.  If it were possible, they would eat them everyday, at every meal.  Me on the other hand? I enjoy the taste, but let's just say my body isn't happy with me when I have them.  I have learned to enjoy other items for breakfast.

But I know this isn't so for many people.  I have an uncle who loves steak, loves it.  But he'll take a stack of pancakes over steak any day, this surpised me the first time I learned this because he REALLY likes steak. 

Most of the time, people think to loose weight, they have to give up their beloved pancakes.  What I have learned is if you bring nutrition into every meal, and eat properly sized portions and exercise regularly, it doesn't matter if you have pancakes every so often.

Here is a recipe that is adjusted to include lots of healthy ingredients.  It is kid tested and in order for everyone to get enough, I have to double this for my family of 6.  So you can have your pancakes and eat them too!

Wholesome Whole Wheat Pancakes

2 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
4 Tablespoons olive oil
6 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup quick oats 

Beat eggs until fluffy.  Add wet ingredients and then mix in the dry all together.  Let sit for about 5 minutes so the oats will absorb some of the fluid, it will make thicker pancakes.  Heat griddle over medium heat (375')

(For those who have avoided pancakes so long that they have forgotten how to actually make them) :o)  Cook pancakes until little popped-looking bubbles appear all over and edges are dry enough to get a spatula under it.  Flip and wait about half the time it took to cook the first side.  Both sides should be toasty, golden brown.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Day 280 - My New Favorite Lunch/Dinner

I am having a lot of fun finding new, easy, and tasty recipes!!  Here is the latest: Spinach Enchiladas Our one year old gobbled these up (at least the filling part)!  Great for a fast dinner because you get the benefit of greens without making a salad!  They were also great for leftover lunch too.  I found that they were quite filling with one for a lunch and two for a dinner.  Top it off with a piece of fruit and you have a balanced meal.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day 279 - Unexpected Benefit of my Goal

Yesterday, in efforts to expand our garden area, we pulled some grapevines out.  (We live in the middle of my parents vineyard) My father and husband used a forklift to pull the vines out, the kids and I watched in excitement.  After that was done, I jumped in to help clear the field.  The vines aren't too heavy, maybe 25 pounds or so, but they are awkward to carry.  We had a routine going.  My husband would cut the thick wires (I had a hard time not having enough hand strength-what can I say, I have girly hands!) that once held the vines to the trellis and I carried them to a big pile. (Notice how small the full sized tractor looks next to the pile?  Yea, it's a big pile!) I nearly stacked this whole pile myself too!  When the pile was done, we went through and collected all the steel stakes, along with the kids, and made a pile of those too. It took a few hours to complete the entire task.  Every so often, it's good for the soul to do hard labor.  I was tired, and I thought for sure that I would be very sore today.

Upon waking this morning, to my surprise, I am not sore!!  Not a bit!!  I am really surprised and just had to blog about it!!  I know that working out and losing weight has benefits, there are many obvious ones.  But the benefit I am seeing this morning is one I didn't see coming.  Being in shape gives us an opportunity to do more with our bodies without paying for it.  I still can't believe I am not sore and stiff, what a blessing of the goal!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Day 277 - A Warm Breakfast on a Cold Day

It's Sunday and it's always fun to make something warm for my family when it's chilly. I LOVE my Betty Crocker Cookbook!! If you don't have one, get one! It's full of basic, simple recipes. I grew up cooking out of my mom's and when I first moved out my mom gave me my own. I have literally worn it out and it's falling apart!

On page 42, there is a recipe for "Popovers." It's a basic recipe and I like to substitute WHOLE WHEAT PASTRY FLOUR instead of using white flour. Another thing I love in cooking because it's so fine, it can easily be used instead of white flour and you can't tell most times that you did it. I am always sneaking whole wheat flour in baked goods and no one ever knows...


2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour (or WWPF)
1 cup milk
1/2 tea. salt

Heat oven to 450'. Grease 6-cup popover pan (or I use the big muffin tins to make BIG Costco sized muffins) Beat eggs slightly in medium bowl. Beat in remaining ingredients just until smooth (do not overbeat). Fill cups about one-half full. Bake 20 minutes. Decrease oven temperature to 350' . Bake 20 minutes longer or until deep golden brown. Immediately removed from cups and serve hot. 6 popovers; 115 calories each.

They are great served with fruit for a balanced and filling breakfast!

**I was going to include a picture but I must have been too sleepy to think clearly because I cooked them like muffins (I did 350' for 20 minutes and took them out) and I ended with "popunders"...hope I can salvage them! Yea, I did jinx myself yesterday. On Allrecipes.com I was filling out a "get to know you" sort of page and it asked about cooking blunders I have had. I haven't had one in a very long time...until today**

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Day 276 - Rough workout day

Today was one of the hardest days to get on the elliptical. I have had a throbbing headache all day. No big deal, I get those periodically. What was special about today? On top of the massive headache, I started to get massive cramps around lunch time. Yea, you know the kind ladies. The kind you get every so often when you swear you can feel them in your toes. Ben, had an evening meeting to go to and so I needed to wait until he got home before I could even think about working out. I have to say, by the time he got home, I just wanted to go to bed. But I have a goal and I am not going to let a little pain get in my way of reaching it!! So I compromised and shortened my workout. It was the longest workout ever! I literally counted the minutes until I could fall off!! But I did it. And the reward? I swear when I looked in the mirror I noticed a figure I didn't realize I had. Maybe it was the angle of which I looked into the mirror, maybe I am just loopy from discomfort. Whatever the reason, I don't care, I liked what I saw!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Day 275 - Something New

I thought I would have a little fun with this new goal, give me new things to work with that will give added motivation during the busier-than-busy time of year. I am really enjoying the Allrecipes.com site and have a page there http://allrecipes.com/Cook/karenhansen It's always fun to try new and exciting recipes to add to your file box. I am working on a binder right now where I can keep meal ideas so when it comes time for meal planning, I have a handy resource there.

Each week I plan out a whole week of dinners along with basic lunches and breakfasts. This is probably one of the key things to staying in control of the food I eat. I have a plan. I love cooking and eating food that I have prepared. SO much easier to add nutrition to meals by eating at home.

I will post more on the details of my routine in future posts.