Making old habits new again

It poured rain again today, all day long. When I woke up, I did the routine I created on the Wii Fit U. It was a 35-minute routine that was mostly yoga and strength training exercises to work my hips and balance.

Even though I've been doing the physical therapy exercises for a while now, I don't feel like they are working. I don't think I've gotten any better at them, which means it's unlikely I've gained any strength (I could be wrong, we'll see when I go to my appointment this week). I noticed when I was walking on the treadmill yesterday that my left knee still buckles inward upon each step--and that's what the physical therapist is trying to correct. When I look straight ahead, it doesn't feel awkward or anything; but when I look down at my legs, I can see that my right leg looks like it's functioning normally, but my left has that weird buckle.

I tried SO hard to correct it while I was walking, but even when I really focused, I couldn't make it look symmetrical to the right leg. So, I'm afraid that even if my stress fracture is healed, I'm just going to fracture it again unless I correct that problem. I can't help but wonder if it's happening because of my weight gain... when I was at my goal weight, my thighs didn't rub together when I ran; but after gaining 25 pounds, they do. I think it may make me swing them out to the side a little when I walk or run, and maybe that's causing my knee to buckle in. I'm not sure why it would be on just the left side, but it's just a theory.

Regardless, I'm going to continue with the strength exercises and getting my weight back down. I've been doing really well on Weight Watchers! The weight is coming off very slowly this time around, but I've logged a loss each week this month, so I'm happy with that. And I'm currently on a binge-free streak of 12 days. That may not sound like much, but it's my longest streak in months, maybe even a year!

After I wrote the post about the habits that helped me lose 125 pounds, I decided to take my own advice and stop worrying about what's "right" or what other people think about my diet. Over this past year, I was eating a lot of crappy food that I wasn't used to eating (fried foods, particularly); so when I was trying to go back to eating a healthier diet, I realized that I just didn't love the healthy foods that I used to. Adjusting my taste buds takes time.

I ended up impulsively buying a couple of Lean Cuisine meals because they were on sale, and while I never really cared for them before, I discovered that I actually like them--and they make staying on track during/after lunch much easier for me. I know that the LC meals have all kinds of processed junk in them, but they are definitely healthier than a binge or super heavy restaurant meal. They're the perfect amount of points for lunch (6-8, generally), and I pair them with a fruit or vegetable, so they're really satisfying. Lunch has always been the most difficult meal for me, because I never know what to eat, and I don't want to cook for just myself. The LC meals have made that easy for me.

For dinner lately, I've been experimenting with new recipes from some cookbooks that I have. I remember doing that when I first started losing weight--I would go through cookbooks and mark several recipes to try, and then we'd try them. If they were good, we added them to our rotation, and if not, we just didn't make them again. Today, it was pouring rain all day, and soup sounded really good. I ended up making an old favorite, Stuffed Pepper Soup. So good!

This whole bowl, 2-1/2 cups, is only 6 PointsPlus
I love this soup, and I think I'm going to try making a stuffed cabbage soup as well, by replacing the peppers with cabbage.

Since the kids started baseball, I've been making a lot of dinners in the crock pot. I normally like to eat dinner at around 4:00, but we don't get home from their practice until 6:15! For the first couple of practices, I was starving, and it was stressful to try and make dinner while helping the kids with their homework and all that. Using the crock pot is so helpful!

In the evenings, I've gotten back in the routine of having a small dessert. This whole week, it's been a tin roof sundae: 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream with 1 T. chocolate syrup and 1/2 oz. peanuts. It's small, but because I love ice cream, it gives me something to look forward to at the end of the day.


I've actually managed to keep a container of ice cream in my house without eating more than 1/2 cup per day--crazy! ;) Usually, it doesn't last one night.

And finally, I've gotten back in the habit of NOT snacking. I lose weight best when I eat just 3-4 times per day, so now I've been having breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Because of this, I can eat more filling meals (I can spend more points on meals, since I'm not spending them on snacks) and I'm much more satisfied.


I'm going to do Motivational Monday tomorrow, no matter what! I still haven't figured out the whole Photos app thing, but I figured I can at least take a screen shot photo of the email, which saves to my desktop. I really need to take an Apple class or something to get this Photos thing figured out. I can save pictures there, but they aren't there when I want to upload them. They don't show up until DAYS later. So frustrating! But anyway, if you have a submission, here is how to do it :)

Incline walk

Well, I found out what happened to my iPod... remember I mentioned someone had broken into our garage last weekend? Yesterday, my mom saw an article in the newspaper about a bunch of teenagers in a nearby neighborhood who had a party Sunday night, and five of them decided to go around and break into garages, stealing a bunch of random stuff, just for the fun of it. They said that it "seemed like a good idea at the time".

From our garage, they took (along with my iPod) our weed wacker, a gas can full of gas, and a hammer (that we know of). They may have taken more, but those are the things we noticed, because we needed them all yesterday. I didn't file a police report when I noticed my Jeep had been broken into, because my deductible on my insurance costs more than the value of items stolen, so I didn't think there was any point. But after reading the newspaper article, we hoped maybe some of our stuff was recovered, so we ended up filing a police report. The police said they had recovered a weed wacker, which was awesome--but then we discovered it wasn't ours. It sounds like the teens stole a LOT of random stuff from several garages. Jerks.

Yesterday, Eli had a field trip at the River Raisin Battlefield (a battlefield from the War of 1812) and I was a chaperone. My friend Andrea was chaperoning as well, so I met her at her house, and then she drove to the field. History is not exactly of interest to me, so it wasn't the most exciting field trip; but it was cool to see the memorial that was still up from Memorial Day. They had flags (I think there were about 450) in the ground in rows, and a list of names of fallen soldiers that each flag represented. Seeing that many flags in one area really puts the loss into perspective.

The kids participated in some sort of reenactment, and even dressed the part. Eli LOVED that he got to carry a gun ;)


As you can see, it was pouring rain. It's been raining hard all week. We lost power a couple of times, and three out of four of the kids' baseball practices were canceled!

Today, I really wanted to get in a workout. Not just my PT exercises, but something that would burn a lot of calories. I decided to walk on the treadmill, with a high incline, and see if I could get my heart rate up as high as it is when I run. I set the incline at 12% (the highest it goes), and the speed on 3.5 mph, and started walking.

I wore my Garmin and heart rate monitor so that I could get an accurate calorie burn, and I was shocked when I saw how many calories I burned just from walking! By walking at 3.5 mph (I even decreased it to 3.2 mph for a little bit, because it was tough) for 30 minutes on an incline of 12%, I burned 335 calories! That's the same as, if not more than, I burn when I run for the same amount of time. I continued to walk for about 10 minutes afterward on a 0% incline, so the total for 40 minutes was 2.08 miles and 380 calories. That incline is no joke!

Heart rate for my incline walk; during a typical run, it is usually in the mid- to high-150's. 

After the treadmill, I did my PT exercises, and then did a few games/exercises on the Wii Fit U. I set up a routine on the Wii Fit U that includes a bunch of exercises that are for hip strengthening and balance (two things I really need to work on). I'm getting discouraged because I STILL feel pain in my leg here and there, and marathon training is supposed to start soon. I'll see what the physical therapist says on Thursday.


My dad finished another painting that I absolutely LOVE. As soon as I saw it, I pretty much claimed it as mine :)


I think it's the colors that I love so much. Now I just need to get a frame for it so I can hang it up!

Galloway training?

A few days ago, I decided to dust off the old Wii U and do some of the games on the Wii Fit U. I didn't realize it had been SO long since I had used it until I got on the balance board and it registered my weight. It had been something like 15 or 16 months since I last used it, so it was pretty sobering to see the change:


When you weigh in the scale every day or every week, it's easy to look at a gain of 1-2 pounds and not panic. It just seems like no big deal--a weight fluctuation, which is totally normal. But when you see +25.1, you realize all those little "fluctuations" really added up in a big way. Then, to rub salt in my wounds, my Mii got fatter right in front of my eyes... hahaha!

I did the step aerobics, which is probably my favorite game/exercise. I bought a step attachment from Amazon that raises the height of the balance board to make the step aerobics more difficult. It was actually a pretty good workout! I did the advanced workout for about 30 minutes, and probably would have done it longer if the kids hadn't gotten home from school (when they get home, it's instant chaos in the house). I'm going to start doing the Wii Fit U again, mostly just for a fun way to stay active. I'd forgotten how much fun it was!

Today, Jerry was off work, so we took Joey for a walk to the lake. He loves the water, so we let him off his leash and he swam for a while (when he "swims", he really just leaps through the water like a deer, only he's not at all graceful).


It was pretty hot outside, and I must say, even though it sucks that I can't run right now, I am glad to not run when it's hot!

I go to another physical therapy appointment next week, and I've been trying to think of a plan to talk to the PT about for marathon training. I'm going to see if he approves of starting training in mid-June, and I'll plan to do Jeff Galloway's method. The Galloway method of training is to run/walk in a particular ratio. For me, it would likely be three or four minutes of running followed by one minute of walking (and then repeat) for the total duration of the run. If three minutes is too hard on my leg, then I may have to shorten the running part a little.
From Jeff Galloway's site, which explains it much better
ETA: Someone commented that those numbers have changed for 2015, so I dug around the site and found the new ratios:




Since my PT told me that I would have to do a run/walk program to get back into running, I figured I'd ask if I could start training that way. As the training progresses, and my leg heals, maybe I'll be able to run more and walk less... we'll see. The only problem is, Jeff Galloway's marathon training plan is 30 weeks long! I was planning to start my training 18 weeks out (mid June). If I move ahead in the schedule, it would be too hard on my leg (a 12 mile long run right off the bat). So, I'll just ask at my appointment next week and see what he thinks.

Anyone train for a marathon using the Galloway method? Do you feel like it prepared you for the marathon well?

Today was another solid day on Weight Watchers... Day 9! (I'm hoping to beat my best streak from the past year, which was only 24 days).

Accountability

Today was Day 8 of being 100% back on track with Weight Watchers--no extra bites of food here, no heavy-handed portions there, no "well, I'll just eat this now and get back on track tomorrow"'s, etc. It's been a long time since I had a week as committed as I was this week, and I feel really good.

Over the weekend, someone broke into our garage, and stole my iPod out of the Jeep. I'm so bummed! It was just an iPod Nano, but it's what I used to listen to music in the car and podcasts while out for a walk. I'm not going to replace it, so I'll just try to get used to using my phone, even though it's pretty big (the Nano was really small).

We were supposed to have a big thunderstorm last night, but all we got were some sprinkles and heavy clouds--and then our power went out. I never understand that! We can have major storms come through and still have electricity, but then a gentle breeze will knock it out for a few hours. I'm always tempted to eat in those situations, because there's nothing else to do--it was too dark to see much of anything, and my phone was almost dead. But, I stayed on plan, and didn't use the power outage as an excuse to eat.

This morning, I had my Weight Watchers meeting. My weight was only down a smidge, but that may be because I was wearing really light clothes (yoga pants) last week, and heavier jeans today. Also, I weighed in on Friday last week, so it's only been five days between weigh-ins at Weight Watchers. Anyway, I logged another loss, regardless, so I'm happy with that!

At our meeting today, we talked about accountability. Glenda had asked us to write down what "accountable" meant to us. It was hard for me to put into words, but I wrote:



It reminded me of back in 2009, when I first started Weight Watchers. I specifically remember measuring out one cup of spaghetti noodles, and I made it a little more heaping than it should have been. Just before I dumped it onto my plate, I thought, "Who am I really kidding? Does anyone in the world (other than me) really care if I have an actual cup or a heaping cup? No. The only person who is going to care about the consequences is me. What good is lying to myself?!" So I re-measured out my spaghetti, giving myself a proper cup.

Would that extra little bit of spaghetti be devastating in the long run? Heck no. But it was the accountability that I was after. I wanted to be completely honest with myself from the very first day. If I wasn't losing weight, I wanted to know why. And likewise, if I was losing a lot, I wanted to know why.

My main focus, though, was this: I wanted to be 100% sure that I was doing everything in my power to reach my goal--I wanted to follow the plan so that I knew that no matter what the scale said, I was doing my best. I didn't want to look back after a year and say, "I could have done this better", or "I should have done that instead". I just wanted to look back and say, "I did everything I could, and this is the result."

This past week, I did my best. There isn't anything I wish I'd done differently, actually. That mentality makes it easier when I don't see a big loss on the scale. I know I did my best, so it is what it is.

Our homework for next week is to write a situation in which we feel confident--it could be a place, an outfit, a person, or something else. This is a hard one for me, because confidence is not my strongest suit. It's kind of interesting, actually, that my confidence goes hand-in-hand with my weight. When I was at my goal weight, I felt very confident in most situations; now, I don't feel that way at all. I'll have to think about it this week!

Wins for Warriors Detroit 9K (volunteer) race report

I hope everyone has had a fantastic weekend! I am going to postpone the Motivational Monday again, because today was the Wins for Warriors race in Detroit (and I still haven't figured out the stupid Photos app).

I woke up at 4:30 this morning to get ready and leave at 6:00. I was told to report to the volunteer tent behind Comerica Park at 7:00. I was nervous to drive there by myself, because I don't ever drive in downtown Detroit alone--it's unfamiliar to me, and I am notorious for getting lost in unfamiliar areas. Thankfully, Thomas taught me how to use Google Maps (which I'm still learning), and that gave me perfect directions! (I know, welcome to the 21st century, Katie...)

I went to the volunteer tent, where I was told I would be on the Riverwalk at mile 3.5 for a water station. I love the Detroit riverwalk, and was really excited when I learned that's where I would be. The problem is, it was nearly two miles away from Comerica, so it would be a long walk to get there. There was plenty of time to spare, though.

I had won a Tigers sweatshirt in a sweepstakes, so I picked up that (it's awesome!) and brought it back to my car, and then I started walking to my water station (following the directions on Google Maps). It was kind of eerie walking through the city when it was so quiet--there weren't any people or cars around at that time of morning.




Once I got to the water station, there was a lot of waiting around for the supplies to be delivered. It was such a pretty view, though!


The riverwalk has a really cool photo gallery on the sidewalk. There are photos of different areas of Michigan that all sorts of people took and submitted.






Once the supplies arrived, we set up cones to mark the course, and filled a ton of cups with water.


One of the volunteers had this, so I finally got my selfie with Justin Verlander ;)

The first runner came through, and it was a while before the second runner came through (this was a small race, about 300 people). After he went through, a minute or two later, we heard him yell, "Which way?" because he had made a wrong turn. I decided to go down to where it was a little confusing and direct runners instead of handing out water, because I didn't want anyone else to make that wrong turn.

It was fun standing there, because I got to watch all the runners go by, and cheer for people, and take some pictures. There were a couple of readers who recognized me, which is so fun. Nathan stopped and chatted with me for a few minutes before moving on (he was running it as a "fun run" rather than aiming for a certain goal). I saw Kendall (Nathan's girlfriend), who was running her farthest distance to date. There were a lot of walkers, which surprised me--if I had known there would be so many people walking, I would have opted to do that! But it ended up working out for the best that I volunteered instead...

We were told that there was one more person on the course, who was walking with the sweeper (a "sweeper" is a volunteer that "sweeps" the course by keeping every other runner in front of him/her; they stay at the very back of the pack to make sure that nobody gets left on the course). We cheered and gave them water when they came through. The person walking with the sweeper was a 15-year old boy named Daron. (Edit: I spelled his name wrong yesterday when I posted this--I just corrected it. Sorry, Daron!)

After Daron and the sweeper, Beth, passed through the water station, we started moving the table and supplies to the car of one of the volunteers. It had just started raining a little, so I decided to get a ride back instead of walk. As we were walking to the car, however, something told me that I should go back and walk the rest of the race with Daron and Beth.

I walked as fast as I could to catch up, and I asked if I could join them. They said sure, and we started chatting. I learned that Beth is quite the runner--she's done several 100-milers! She's also an Ironman (and a speedy one at that). Daron said his boss convinced him to sign up for the race, but he didn't know how far 9K was when he signed up. This was his very first race, and it was 5.6 miles!

It was tough for him, so I encouraged him the best that I could. He still had two miles to go, and at that point, it was already the farthest he'd ever walked before. It was interesting to be at the very back of the pack. I've been *near* the back before, but never last... and today, I got to experience that. We had a police escort the whole way (the Detroit police were AWESOME--they were really encouraging to Daron and never pushed us to go faster or showed impatience at all). The volunteers were still on the course, and they were fantastic as well--it was really heartwarming to see them root for Daron to finish.

Daron did awesome--he never complained, even though the race was really difficult for him, and he stayed in good spirits the whole time. When we finally saw Comerica Park, and the finish line, it was a relief for him! Right as we were walking past the stadium exit, a bunch of Team RWB members were walking out, and they spotted us walking toward the finish line. They started cheering really loudly for Daron, which was so cool!

I told Daron I was going to go ahead to the finish line so I could get a picture of him as he crossed. Beth continued to walk with him, and I went just past the finish line. Daron started running toward the very end, and he proudly crossed the finish line with several volunteers there cheering. Being as emotional as I am, I naturally got all choked up watching him finish. I know what a HUGE feat this race was for him!


We went inside the stadium for a lap of the ball field, and so Daron could receive his medal. There were several volunteers still there, too, and they cheered loudly for him. We took some photos (we got to go in the dugouts!) and then headed out. I thanked the race coordinators (I had met them at the game on Saturday), and got Daron's phone number so that I could text him the pictures I'd taken. Then I headed home.

With his boss
I felt SO GOOD after the race, and I didn't even run :) I think most things happen for a reason, and my volunteering today was one of those things. I got to witness an incredibly inspirational teen complete his first race--how awesome is that?!

I told Daron I would send him the link to this blog post, so feel free to leave him a congratulatory comment if you'd like :)

VIP Tigers game!

Yesterday was amazing! I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I was ridiculously excited to receive the invitation to the Tigers game and VIP reception for the Wins for Warriors race.

First, Jerry and I went to Nathan's house for lunch before heading to Detroit. I've only been to my brother's house once, and that was right after he moved in--it's been a while! He told us we could bring Joey, and Joey could stay at his house with Bailey while we went to the game. When we got there, the dogs played in the yard while Nathan grilled chicken and we chatted.

Nathan made grilled chicken Caesar salad wraps, which were amazing. After lunch, we drove to Detroit. We were instructed to get our tickets and go up to the suite at 2:30, and we got there at 1:30, so we decided to go to Cheli's for a drink. I just had diet Coke, because I've been really doing well at sticking with counting all my Points and staying on track. If I decided to have a beer, I wanted it to be at the game.

Once we picked up our tickets, we made our way through Comerica Park to our suite--which should have been easy, but it was pretty much a maze of elevators and winding through different areas. When we got to the suite, we were the first ones there, other than the people who organized the reception. We made introductions, and then went outside to watch batting practice. 


The suite was awesome! It was actually two suites that had a partition, but they took the partition down so it was one large room. There were several tables and counter top stools that faced the field. There was a large spread of food--everything from hot dogs and hamburgers to soft pretzel sticks to a chicken-bacon-cheese-ranch-entree that looked fantastic. Lots of water, soda, and beer, too. Of all the weeks to get back on track with Weight Watchers! ;)

At around 3:15, Justin Verlander made an appearance. He thanked everyone for the work they'd done for Wins for Warriors (most of the people there helped put the fundraiser/race together; we were only there because we were the top fundraisers). He came around the room and shook hands with everyone to make introductions. We were told we couldn't do individual pictures or autographs, because of a time crunch, so I wasn't able to take a pic with him.


After he left, we went outside and sat down for the game. Sitting in front of a suite is SO NICE. It was totally shaded, and we had a perfect view of the field. If there is one thing I can't stand about going to baseball games, it's sitting in the sun--I burn really easily, and I hate getting sweaty and sticky--so sitting in the shade was awesome.


It kind of looks like Nathan has horns in this picture!

The game wasn't too exciting. The most exciting thing to happen was actually when Houston made a triple play--I've never seen a triple play in major league baseball, so to be there for that was fun (too bad it wasn't the Tigers who did it, though!). The Tigers ended up losing 3-2.

I had been planning to eat a hamburger later in the game, but by the time I went to get one, they were gone. So I was absolutely starving by the time the game got over! I hadn't eaten anything since the wrap at Nathan's at noon, and the game got over at 7:00. It took us forever to get out of Detroit. What is usually a 40-ish minute drive ended up taking us nearly two hours, due to all the traffic getting out of the city. We dropped off Nathan and picked up Joey, and then stopped at Subway so I could grab a sub for dinner (at 9:00 pm). I even had enough points for a glass of wine when I got home! 

I'm really proud of the way I handled the game. It was tempting to pig out, with all the free food and drinks, but I did what works for me, and I feel good about it. The VIP reception was amazing, and I am thrilled that I was invited to take part in it. Tomorrow is the Wins for Warriors race, and I'll be volunteering somewhere on the race course--fun! :)

Noah's first track meet

Yesterday evening, I got a really exciting email from the race director of the Wins for Warriors Detroit 9K. As you know, Nathan and I have been fundraising for it. They've had little incentives along the way to try and get people excited about raising more money (for example, a sweepstakes for a pair of shoes, or a baseball signed by Justin Verlander, etc.)


On Wednesday, I got an email saying that I won a sweepstakes for a Tigers sweatshirt and a baseball signed by Justin Verlander--I was super excited, because I never win sweepstakes! I'll get to pick up those things on Monday at the race.

So, back to yesterday's email... the race director emailed me to thank me for being their top fundraiser for the event, and she invited me to a VIP Reception at Comerica Park tomorrow. There is a meet and greet with Justin Verlander (he's actually the one that started Wins for Warriors), and then I get to watch the Tigers game from a SUITE. I was stunned. She said that Nathan was invited as well, and that I could bring Jerry. How awesome is that?!

Nathan and I never imagined we'd raise so much money; and then to have this opportunity to watch a Tigers game from a suite on Memorial Day weekend to top it off? So exciting!

Tomorrow, Jerry and I are going to Nathan's house for lunch (he's going to cook on the grill) and then afterward we'll head to Detroit for the meet and greet and Tigers game. I love going to baseball games, so I'm really excited to go.

This morning, I had to go to Weight Watchers, because I wasn't able to go on Wednesday. Glenda, my leader, told me her other meeting times, so I chose this morning to go. I weighed in and was down two pounds from last time (a week ago Wednesday), so I'm happy with that. Still not back to where I was before I left for Indy, but I've lost something at each weigh in for a few weeks now, which is good.

Noah had his first track meet today after school. This is his first year doing track, and he's been going to practice for the past few weeks. Today was their first meet, but it wasn't very formal--they didn't compete against another school or anything. Noah deliberately chose events that had the least amount of running--haha! He picked the long jump and the 70-meter dash.

I wasn't expecting him to be very good at the long jump, because he's pretty small compared to all the other kids; but he really surprised me! Here is a short video of him doing a practice one.


video

He ended up being one of the best kids at the long jump. He was definitely the most consistent (he had three good jumps, all about the same distance).

The 70-meter dash is tough, because it's a sprint. When kids sprint, they are FAST--it blows my mind how fast they can be! As we learned in cross country, Noah is one of the slower runners, so I was nervous for him to do the dash. I didn't want him to get upset if he was last. He ended up finishing (I think) fourth out of six. He later said it was a lot harder than he expected it to be, because he was running against some of the fastest kids on his team; but he had fun.


Seeing his track meet made me wish that I had tried track when I was in school. I'm sure I wouldn't have been good, but it would be so fun! And maybe I never would have gained so much weight--who knows? But I'm glad that Noah is doing it and that he enjoys it. He's going to do cross country again in the fall, too.

I already mentioned that I wasn't going to be able to run the 9K on Monday, so I was planning to walk the 1-miler. But, I decided to do something different, that I've never done at a race before--be a volunteer! I signed up to be along the race route, which involves: helping distribute water to runners, assisting runners at the start line, cheering participants on along the course, and picking up trash after the race. I don't know why I didn't think of it before, but I'm excited to be a volunteer. It's something I always say I want to do at a race, and just never think of it (usually when I think of races, I think of the ones I want to run!).

Well, I probably won't be writing tomorrow, because I'll be at the Tigers game. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Unusual breakfast smoothie

I wasn't able to go to my regular Weight Watchers meeting today, because I had a physical therapy appointment at 9:00. I'm going to try to go to Weight Watchers tomorrow or Friday, even though it'll be a different meeting than the one I'm used to. On my home scale, however, my weight was unchanged from last week. I'm not surprised, because I wasn't 100% on-program all week. After writing yesterday's post, however, I feel fired up to stay on program all week!

Lately, I've been making a very unusual smoothie for breakfast. A few months ago, I would occasionally make a smoothie with just three ingredients: milk, banana, and peanut butter. It was really good! Anyway, I recently bought a four pack of cartons of egg whites at Sam's Club, because I was planning to make breakfast sandwiches with English muffins like I used to. I tried the breakfast sandwich, and just wasn't feeling it the way I used to, so I was looking up other ideas for egg whites (because I had a lot of them to use up!).

I discovered that people make smoothies with them! That's sounds so odd to me, but because the egg whites are pasteurized, you can use them straight out of the carton without cooking them. I decided to give it a try, and perfected it a few days ago.

1/2 cup pasteurized egg whites
1 frozen banana
2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter

Blend it all together, and it makes about 1 cup of a very thick smoothie. If you wanted more volume, you could add more egg whites or another liquid, but I prefer it the way I just wrote.


And here's the thing: this keeps me full for HOURS. I drink it at 8:00, and lunch doesn't even start to sound good until around 12:30 or 1:00. I still feel a little weirded out about the egg whites, and I wish that I didn't know they were in my smoothie (if someone else made it for me and handed me the smoothie, I would have no idea that there were egg whites in it). But it tastes fantastic, and it's pretty darn healthy.

After I got the kids off to school, I headed up to Novi for my physical therapy appointment. While I was driving, the weirdest sensation came over me, and I started to have an anxiety attack. If the expressway wasn't super busy with rush hour, I would have pulled over to let the feeling pass, because I was that anxious. Instead, I just put the window down and tried to sing along with the radio so that I wouldn't focus on the anxiety (which would make it worse). I have no idea what triggered it, because I was happily just listening to music and I wasn't rushed or anything. It just hit me out of nowhere. After a minute or two, I felt fine again. So weird!

My appointment went well. My PT (Dave) had me do the exercises that I've been doing at home, because he wanted to see if there was any improvement in my form. He also had me do some new exercises. He explained the findings of my gait analysis, and he showed me some still photos from the videos he took of me running and walking. It was really interesting! I tend to push my left knee inward, which forces my left foot out a little, and it raises my left hip. When looking at the photos, you can clearly see the asymmetry.

When I was doing the exercise where I step up, it was really noticeable that my left hip is off. I can see that I push my left hip outward when stepping up, but I don't do that on the right side. So, the goal is to make me move symmetrically--I really have to focus on strengthening my left hip. Also, I have very tight calves (one of the stretches Dave had me do for that was excruciating!).

By the end of the session, my legs were shaking SO badly. I feel like I definitely worked the hell out of them today, so I'm going to try to replicate that at home. I go back in two weeks, but for now... still no running :(

Memorial Day is the Wins for Warriors Detroit 9K that I helping to fundraise for. I'm super bummed to have to do this, but I'm going to have to switch to the 1-mile walk instead of the 9K run. (I would walk the 9K, but because it specifies that it's a run, I'd better not; it would take too long). I'm still really looking forward to the race, though! The Wins for Warriors is an awesome cause that I wrote about on this guest post by my brother. If you haven't read it, please do so! And if you can, consider donating to Wins for Warriors--just in time for Memorial Day :) Thank you again to all of you that donated already!

Fundraising Websites - Crowdrise

Habits that helped me lose 100+ pounds


I've been thinking about writing this post for a while, but I kept second-guessing myself. I'm always getting asked for tips on how to get started, how I lost the weight, how I stayed motivated, etc. I hesitate to even share all that because I truly believe that everybody is different, and what works for me may not work for others; just as what works for others may not work for me. Through a lot of trial and error, I discovered what worked for me. My diet was never perfect, nor did I strive for it to be; my exercise was what I was willing to do, but not more; and my thought process was pretty much whatever would get me through the day!


As you know, I've been really struggling with maintenance for a little over a year now, and I just can't seem to get back to the lifestyle and mindset that I had in 2009-2010 when I was losing the weight. I'm not making excuses--I know what I need to do, and how to do it, but I've just been making bad choices for whatever reason.

So, lately, I've been thinking again about this post, and I decided to go ahead and write it--if only for myself. I wanted to gather all of my habits, tricks, and tips into one spot so that I can remember what it is that I did to drop this weight. As you read this, please just keep in mind that I'm not trying to tell anyone what they "should" or "shouldn't" do. I encourage people to find what works for them. But these are just suggestions--things that worked for me--so hopefully they'll help others to get some ideas, too!

I've written this in past tense, which feels kind of awkward; but I would be lying if I wrote it present tense, because I've fallen out of a lot of these habits over the past year. By writing them down, I'm hoping that I'll get back to these habits.


Food
  • I weighed or measured everything that I ate, except for 0-Point fruits and vegetables.
  • I kept a food log, writing down everything that I ate and calculating the Points in each food.
  • I very rarely ate out at restaurants.
  • I stopped eating fast food--not because I didn't "allow" it, but because it wasn't worth the amount of Points I'd have to spend on it. If I did eat fast food, it was Subway, but even that was rare.
  • When going to a restaurant, I always looked up the menu online and decided exactly what I would order; then I would calculate the Points and log it before I even left the house. I used DWLZ.com to look up Points in restaurant food.
  • I switched to unsweetened black coffee. It took some getting used to, but eventually I liked it that way. Later, I quit coffee altogether, and now I find it repulsive.
  • I didn't force myself to eat foods I didn't like (yogurt and salads come to mind).
  • I saved my "big" indulgences for my long run days--typically, desserts with 500-ish calories. They tasted even better when I knew that I'd already burned the calories off ;)
  • I didn't let anyone else tell me how I "should" be eating. I've heard it all--too little protein, too many carbs, too much sugar, not enough vegetables, too much processed food--and I don't care. I know that I eat much better than I did when I was obese, and I will settle for that. (Even on this post, someone will likely tell me some of these habits are "wrong"--but I will continue to do what worked for me.)
  • I had a "safe" snack as my go-to when I just felt like eating. Grapes! They are 0 PointsPlus on Weight Watchers, and I happen to love them. I ate SO many grapes when I was losing weight, despite people telling me that they had "too much sugar". I guarantee they didn't have as much sugar as all the ice cream and cookies I was eating before I lost the weight!
  • I saved enough calories/Points to have a treat every evening. It may have been a dessert, or it may have been a glass of wine and a piece of chocolate... regardless, it was whatever would make me look forward to the end of the day while staying on track. It helped me to say no to a lot of otherwise difficult food situations.
  • I didn't let anyone push food on me. If I didn't want something (whether it was on my plan or not), I just said no. I didn't feel the need to make excuses--I just told the truth and I didn't let anyone convince me otherwise. After they saw I was serious, they stopped pushing food on me.
  • I lost weight the fastest/easiest when I was eating just 3-4 times per day. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a bedtime treat.
  • I ate whatever I wanted, completely disregarding the carbs/protein/fat/etc. in each food. I only focused on the calories (or Points) in what I ate. By eating what I wanted, I avoided bingeing. Also, trying to calculate all the macronutrients was overwhelming and time consuming.
  • I started drinking a ton of water. I started my day with a quart before breakfast, I'd drink another quart in the late morning, and then a third quart in the afternoon. At first, I wasn't thirsty for that much water; but eventually, I began to crave that water right when I woke up in the mornings.
  • I started using brown rice instead of white rice.
  • I discovered Smart Taste pasta, which is white pasta, but with more fiber. I didn't like the taste or texture of whole wheat pasta, so this was a good alternative.
  • I completely gave up drinking soda. I didn't want to "waste" my calories on a beverage, unless it contained alcohol ;)
  • Pete Thomas (from The Biggest Loser) taught me something that was very helpful when I asked him a question about binge eating. He said that if you're going to binge, at least find something that satisfies the binge but is a lot less calories. For example, instead of bingeing on Haagen Dazs ice cream, try sugar free fudgesicles. Even if you eat the entire box of fudgesicles, you've still consumed less than a third of the calories in that pint of Haagen Dazs. He said that when he was on the ranch for The Biggest Loser, sometimes he'd eat an entire can of Reddi-Whip. It was only 200-something calories, but it satisfied him. (I'm not saying that eating a box of fudgesicles or a can of Reddi-Whip are healthy habits--please don't misunderstand me--but when looking at the less of two evils, those made more sense for weight loss). Here is the post with lots of advice from Pete
  • If I found myself eating too much of something (going back for seconds or thirds...) and I was on a slippery slope to a binge, I would get one more large bite ready, then throw the rest away. After it was in the trash, I'd eat that final bite.
  • I ate popcorn for a bedtime snack very often, and I loved it! I would air pop the kernels, and then drizzle them with two teaspoons of canola oil (now, I would use coconut oil) and a heavy sprinkling of salt. This was very satisfying because it took a while to eat, and the fat and salt made it feel indulgent.
  • I wasn't afraid of processed foods. I know that they are unhealthy, but when I was first trying to lose the weight, I couldn't make that many big changes (eating far less, no processed foods, adding veggies, etc.). So, I ate the processed foods because I enjoyed them. And eventually, as I lost weight, they appealed less to me. I started enjoying healthier foods. Now, I eat a mix of both, and I don't feel badly about it. Nobody eats a perfect diet!
  • I cooked a lot of the same foods I made before I started losing weight, but I made them less caloric by substituting ingredients. For example, I used to buy ground beef, but I switched to lean (or extra lean) ground turkey. Now, Jerry and I (and even our kids) actually prefer the taste and texture of the turkey better! Most of the recipes on my recipes blog are things that I ate when I was obese as well as when I was losing weight; I just changed some of the ingredients to make them Points-friendly.
  • By planning a weekly treat (whether it was a higher-calorie meal at a restaurant or a dessert that I'd been craving, or something else), I found it much easier to turn down temptations on the other days. Also, by planning for that treat, I didn't feel any guilt about eating it.
  • I made a list of common foods or meals that I would eat, and wrote the Points value next to it--when I was hungry, but couldn't decide what to eat, I could just look at the list and something would inspire me.
  • I ate a dark chocolate Dove Promise every evening, taking the tiniest of nibbles to savor it as long as possible. Sometimes I would have it with wine, or sometimes with hot tea.
  • I started drinking hot tea as a way to keep from snacking. I never liked hot tea until I tried adding a touch of cream and sugar to it (half a teaspoon of sugar and a tablespoon of half and half).
  • After a bad day of eating, instead of trying to make up for it by eating as little as possible (like I had in the past), I just continued on with what I was doing before. I found that by trying to make up for the bad day, I would feel deprived and binge, which turned into a cycle of bingeing and restricting--which is hard to quit! So by going right back to normal, I didn't feel deprived, and there was really no harm done.
Social Situations
  • At a party, if there wasn't any food that I could fit into my plan (or that just didn't appeal to me) I ate before I went or after I got home. Nobody says you have to eat at a party. Sometimes, I would just have coffee or tea and sip on that while others were eating.
  • When going to a party, I always asked the host what to expect as far as good goes, so that I could plan ahead.
  • When drinking in a social setting, I would either have a 5-oz. glass of wine (or two) to sip very slowly, or I would drink the low calorie beers (Bud Select 55, Miller 64, or my favorite, Beck's Light). If I wanted something very high calorie, like a margarita, I would have to work that into my plan for the entire week.
  • I brought my own food to my mom's house when she was making a big dinner. I wasn't doing it to be rude, but because I wanted to stick with my plan, and what was best for me.
Exercise
  • I committed to walking/running 30 minutes, three times per week.
  • I registered to walk the Indy Mini-Marathon (13.1 miles). Knowing that I was registered for the race forced me to train for it. Exercise was no longer a choice, but something I had to do to prepare for the event. Skipping the training wasn't an option. Eventually, the exercise became a habit.
  • I hated exercise, so I didn't start doing it until after I'd lost about 60 pounds, and then I started walking. I eventually set a goal to walk or run 30 minutes three times per week. I was willing to do that! I was not willing to aim for 6-7 days a week of hard cardio, so I chose not to.
  • I got a treadmill so that I wouldn't have any reason not to run or walk when I didn't have anyone to watch my kids.
  • I discovered that I really enjoy doing active games on the Wii--the Wii Fit has a lot of fun games that didn't even feel like exercise. And since I'm competitive with myself, I enjoyed trying to beat my scores.
Motivation
  • I always had a pair of jeans on hand that were one size too small. Every week, on my weigh-in day, I would try on the jeans. As soon as they fit, I'd buy a size smaller. It was fun seeing the sizes go from 24 to 4.
  • I visualized myself at my goal weight--a LOT. I loved to think about going to Indy for the Mini Marathon with a group of family and friends, and not being the fattest one there. When I started running, I would spend the majority of the run thinking about crossing the finish line of my races. Visualization sounds so hokey, but it really helped me.
  • I took full-length photos of myself every 10 pounds I lost, so that I could see a side-by-side comparison. Seeing that progress really helped me to keep going! The changes were never visible in the mirror, so the pictures were key for me.
  • I read a ton of success stories on SparkPeople.com while I was losing weight. It kept me motivated to keep going.
  • I wrote a list of things to look forward to when I was thin. Things like, "wrapping a bath towel all the way around me", "tying my shoes without getting out of breath", etc. It was so fun to check things off that list! Here is a list of non-scale victories that I noticed during my weight loss.
  • As hokey as it sounded to me, I created a "vision board" of sorts. The ONLY thing that I put on there was the cover of People magazine's Half Their Size issue. I wanted to reach half my original size so badly!
  • I made monthly challenges--things like getting in 10,000 steps per day or not eating peanut butter. I enjoyed the short, direct challenges and felt accomplished when I succeeded.
  • I wrote out goals very often--I liked to imagine what it would feel like to reach those goals. Just listing them made me feel successful, in a way.
Other
  • While watching TV at night, I started knitting and crocheting to keep my hands busy in order to not snack. I also like doing puzzles, and I can't eat while doing that.
  • I stopped looking for quick fixes. I knew I'd probably lose weight faster if I exercised more, or cut back on carbs, or whatever the trend was--but I stuck to what was comfortable for ME, and accepted that it might take longer than I'd like.
  • I used a dry-erase board every evening to plan out the following day's meals. If something changed, I could just change it easily on the dry-erase board.
  • I typed up all of my favorite recipes and calculated the Points value for Weight Watchers in each. Then, I put them all in a three-ring binder, so it was easy to find a recipe and see how many Points it was without having to calculate all over again.
  • I didn't make excuses. Even on my busiest of days, I would make time to track my food or do my planned activity.

Okay, hopefully some of these are helpful! Please don't think of them as a set of "rules" I followed. These are just things that I sort of fell into while I was losing weight. I didn't make a lot of changes at once, because it was too overwhelming; instead, I just did what I felt *I* could handle. Now, I just need to get back to that place ;)

MM Frustration!

Well, I started a Motivational Monday post today, but I got so frustrated that I just quit. I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to save it for next week. Apple added a new app on my Macbook called "Photos" which is supposed to replace "iPhoto" (the app I've been using for a couple of years). For the life of me, I cannot figure out the new app!

I spent a few hours today just trying to save the Motivational Monday photos from my email to iPhoto, like usual, but I can't do that; and then I was trying to figure out how to use the Photos app, and I can't find any of the photos that I'm trying to save from email. So basically, to write the Motivational Monday post, I have to save the photos from my email to my computer, and then upload them to my blog post--and I can't figure out how to do that anymore with the new Photos app.

So frustrating!!

Anyway, I will have some time at the library tomorrow while Joey is at his doggy daycare, so I will hopefully be able to sit down and figure it all out then. I'll save the Motivational Monday stories for next week. Hope everyone has a great week!

You can still check out some stories on the Motivational Monday Facebook post!

Incline walk

As I stated that I was going to, I did a long walk today. It was really tempting to just forget it, and start the walking program tomorrow, but I really needed to follow through with what I'd planned. I always feel better mentally when I do what I say I'm going to do.

It was 70 degrees and really humid this morning, so I decided to walk on the treadmill. Also, I wanted to walk without distractions; if I walked outside, I'd have to take Joey with me (because I'd feel guilty if I didn't). When I walk Joey, I always feel pain in my leg where the stress fracture is, probably because he is not good on the leash. Even when I use the no-pull harness, he pushes it just to the limit and any sort of pulling at all hurts my leg.

Anyway, I started watching a new show on Netflix while I walked--it's called Bloodline. I watched the first episode, and I really like it so far! I was going to do one of the treadmill preset walking programs, but the programs are pretty easy, so I ended up doing my own thing. At first, I started doing 3.5 mph and then increasing the incline by 0.5% every 30 seconds. Once I got to 12%, I walked at 4.0 mph for a minute; then went back to 3.5 mph started decreasing the incline by 0.5% every 30 seconds until it got back to 0%.

I wanted to finish out the episode of Bloodline, which was 55 minutes, and it was only halfway over after doing the pyramid, so I just set the incline at 5% and walked at 4.0 mph for a while, and then decreased the incline to 2% until the show was over.

I was impressed at how difficult the incline made the walk, even when I was just walking at 3.5 mph. Once I was up to about 8-9%, the incline was really tiring! I actually broke a sweat and was breathing heavily, so that was a good thing. The thing I really miss about running is that feeling afterward, like I really pushed myself--aching muscles, dripping sweat, breathlessness, etc. The walk today didn't exactly get me to that point, but it was the closest I'd come in a long time. And I felt really happy with myself when I was done!

Today's Weight Watchers Photo A Day is "Exercise Goal". This is a totally depressing topic for me right now, considering my injury. I have pretty much written off any sort of running goals. In an ideal world (before my stress fracture), I would have said that my exercise goals were to run a sub-2:00 half-marathon again this year, and to run a PR for the Detroit Marathon (under 4:16:38). There is nothing that feels better than crushing a running goal!

A 5K in 24:03... once upon a time in 2013

But, since I am injured, and it's not an ideal world, my only goal right now is to be able to run again someday. I'm hoping that I'll still be able to run the Detroit marathon, but it's not looking likely.

Anyone else want to share an exercise goal right now?


Well, I finally have most of my taste and hearing back, so I decided to try the Arctic Zero "ice cream" that I'd mentioned last week. I got the chocolate peanut butter one, and I was fully expecting NOT to like it, especially after the comments on that post. But, I actually liked it! It certainly didn't hold a candle to my favorite Haagen Dazs chocolate peanut butter, but it was totally worth 3 PointsPlus.

The best way I can describe it is that it tastes like a fat free fudgesicle. Sometimes, I'll scrape a fudgesicle off the stick and into a bowl, to eat with a spoon, and that's what it reminded me of. It didn't have a strong peanut butter flavor, but for so few calories, I didn't really expect it to. I bought a couple more flavors to try--Salted Caramel and Cookie Shake. I ate a small spoonful of each of those, just to write my thoughts, and they weren't too bad, but I like the chocolate peanut butter better. The Cookie Shake is like a cookies and cream flavor, but it's very vanilla-y. I liked the salted caramel better.

As far as Points-friendly ice cream goes, I definitely the like the Weight Watchers brand better, but for those times when I want to sit down with a whole pint, the Arctic Zero will do the job!

A walking program

I had a bad day today, but I somehow managed not to let it derail me completely (which is some serious progress!). A few days ago, Jerry and I went to Sam's Club, and I bought some dried cherries. I probably shouldn't have bought them, knowing that they are a binge food for me, but I told Jerry that I was going to portion the bag into individual servings (and I had every intention of doing that!)

I totally forgot to portion them, but I was doing well with having them in the house. I had one serving, for 4 PointsPlus, each of the last two nights. After lunch today, I was feeling really tired and just didn't have any energy, and the dried cherries popped into my head. After debating with myself, I finally ate them--a LOT of them. (A serving is 1/4 cup, and I guessed I'd eaten about 6 servings). I was tempted to just finish off the bag, but I decided to stop myself and portion the rest into single servings (not that there were many left).

I weighed them out, and had enough for two single-serving bags. The bag had nine servings to start with, and since I'd eaten two before today, that left seven. And since there were two left over, that meant I had eaten five servings today. At 4 PP per serving, that meant I'd spent 20 PointsPlus on dried cherries.

And to be honest? I was kind of relieved! I thought for SURE it was more than that, and I was already thinking about how I'd get through the week without any weekly points. After that, it was tempting to just say, "Screw it!" and go eat all kinds of junk, I wrote down the cherries and logged the PointsPlus. Realized it wasn't the end of the world. Then I went about my day.

(This was before I logged my dinner)



When I first decided to take some time off running to heal my stress fracture (back in January), I was super gung ho about staying in running shape. I went to the rec center 3-5 times per week to do deep water running, and I was doing fast walking about once a week. I think it really helped me, too! When I started running again in March, it didn't take long to get my fitness back to pre-injury level.

And then in April, when my stress fracture recurred, I just felt totally deflated. I wanted to throw a tantrum and just scream that I quit. I was so irritated at the whole thing that I just didn't care to come up with a training plan for while I was injured.

And to be blunt, I've been really fucking lazy. I haven't been making excuses; I just lost the desire to even keep trying to maintain my fitness after my stress fracture recurred. I go for short, easy walks, and I've been doing the strength exercises that my physical therapist gave me, but other than that, I haven't made any effort to exercise. I've only done one deep water run, and two elliptical runs. I don't have any sort of schedule that I'm following, which has really screwed me up.

So, to get back on a schedule, I decided I'm going to start doing a walking program. I used a walking program when I was losing weight in 2010, before I started running, and I liked following a plan (as opposed to just going out for a walk whenever I feel like it). I had printed out the Hal Higdon's Half Marathon walking schedule, and hung it up in my kitchen. Every time I did one of the walks, I'd cross it off. It was fun to see the calendar marked full of X's.

I'm going back to the physical therapist on Wednesday, so hopefully he'll give me an idea of when I can start working back to running, but for right now, I'm just going to assume I'll be walking for several weeks. So, I chose Hal Higdon's 10K walking schedule.


I have no idea what to do about the Wins for Warriors Detroit 9K a week from Monday. I've fundraised for it, so I have to do it--but I may end up having to just do the 1-mile walk instead of the 9K run. I'll talk to my physical therapist and see what he suggests. I'm hoping he'll let me do a run/walk, but I don't even know if there is a time limit, so that may not even work.

The asterisk for 6/8 is when Detroit marathon training is supposed to start. Again, something to talk to the PT about. I'm hoping that I'll at least be able to do a run/walk in June, and then work my way up to all running by July. My PT said that when I do start running again, it's going to be a run/walk--because he doesn't want me to fracture my leg yet AGAIN.

Anyway, I think having a planned schedule for walking will be good for me, if nothing other than mentally. Right now, I hate feeling so lazy, and even though I would ideally go to the pool for deep water running, I just don't see myself doing it. With walking, I know I can force myself to get out there! So, I am going to do a long walk this weekend, and then start the schedule on Monday.


Today's Weight Watchers Photo A Day prompt is: Best Condiment

This is tough for me! I'm not a huge condiment person. I suspect Sriracha is a popular one, but I'm just not into it. Actually, we've had a bottle of it in the fridge for a few years--probably time to throw it out! ;)  I think that MY favorite condiment is probably sour cream. A tablespoon or two goes a long way, and you can use it on anything from chili to potatoes to any sort of Mexican food.


I also like mustard, but it's not *as* versatile as sour cream. Anyone else want to chime in with your favorite condiment?

Favorite recipe

Today was Joey's first day at doggy daycare. I signed him up for a half day (four hours), because I figured that would be plenty of time for him to play and wear him out; but that didn't leave me with enough time to go back home while he was there. The daycare is a good 45 minutes away, so if I were to go home, it would add up to three hours of driving time (there and back twice) before lunch today! 

I sent Jessica a text this morning to ask if she may want to go for a walk at a park that's about 15 minutes away from Joey's daycare, and she said she'd meet me there at 10:30. So, I got the kids off to school, and immediately had to leave to take Joey to daycare. I dropped him off at 8:30, and then drove back toward the park where I was going to meet Jessica. There is a library nearby, and I'd never been to that library branch before, so I decided to go there until I had to meet Jess.

It was really nice inside, and a lot bigger than I'd thought. I walked around for a couple of minutes to check it out, and was really curious when I saw these things:


I have no idea what they are! My only guess is that they are some sort of chair that you lean into? I was dying to go over and try it, but I really had no clue what it was, and didn't want to risk the embarrassment ;)

I found a comfy spot to sit for a while, and played a game on my phone to kill time. Eventually, I headed to the park to meet up with Jessica. When she got there, we walked on a dirt path that goes around the perimeter of the park, which I know (from running it) to be a little less than two miles. It ended up being 1.74, so we looped it twice, and then added a little extra to make four miles total. 

My feet were actually starting to feel blistered by the time we were done! All this time I haven't been running, I've been losing my calluses, apparently. I was wearing cotton socks today, though, and I never wear cotton socks to run; so hopefully that's why I got blisters. I was glad to have gotten in a long walk, though! Having bronchitis zapped my energy all week, so I wasn't getting much activity in at all. After my walk, I had 12,000 steps on my Fitbit, which is more than I've had in a few weeks!

Today's Weight Watchers Photo A Day challenge is "My favorite recipe". This one is tough, because I have so many favorites, depending on what I'm in the mood for! I ultimately chose Moroccan Meatballs over Orzo, because it's one of my favorite dinners and it's very easy to make. I got this recipe from a book called "Cheap. Fast. Good!" several years ago, and I love it. I almost didn't even try it at first because it calls for cinnamon, which I thought was odd--but the cinnamon + jalapeƱo is what makes it so good!

I didn't have orzo in the pantry today, so I used acini de pepe instead
Here is the recipe:

Moroccan Meatballs over Orzo

4 servings turkey meatballs (I buy frozen ones, but you could use homemade if you want)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (if you don't use the seeds or ribs, this is a very mild dish that even my kids enjoy--but I like the spiciness of the seeds when the kids won't be eating it)
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1 can crushed tomatoes
4 servings cooked orzo pasta

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook until onion is soft. Meanwhile, put the meatballs in the microwave to thaw (about 3-4 minutes on high).  To the skillet, add the meatballs, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, tomatoes, and jalapeno. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook over low heat about 10 minutes.  Serve over orzo (or quinoa, rice, barely, or whatever other grain you'd like).

I had this for dinner tonight, and it was 10 PointsPlus--not bad at all! 

Weight Watchers homework

Jerry was off work today, so he decided to go to my Weight Watchers meeting with me. He's over his goal weight also, so he was dreading weighing in. Lucky for him, he only gained back about 15 pounds (versus my 27!). My weight was down 1.6 this week, which is about what I expected. I know I could have done better, but I'm happy that it's going the right direction.

Glenda, my WW leader, asked us last week to answer three questions as "homework":

1) What are your strengths?
2) What are your weaknesses?
3) How can you improve the weaknesses?

I wrote that my strengths are: saying "no" to food pushers; drinking lots of water; accurately tracking food; planning ahead.

  • Food pushers-When I started losing weight in 2009, I decided that I wasn't going to let ANYONE stop me. I started doing what was best for ME, regardless of what others tried to push on me. The more I stood firm in my decisions, the stronger my willpower became. Saying "no" to food pushers is definitely a strength. 
  • Water-I have a quart-sized water bottle, and I make sure to fill and drink it 2-3 times per day. 
  • Tracking-I love numbers, and lists, and all of that kind of stuff, so tracking (when I want to) is easy for me. 
  • Planning ahead-Planning ahead is sort of fun--I like to (again) write lists, so listing out the week's dinners is interesting to me.


I wrote that my weaknesses are: boredom snacking; social drinking; eating vegetables; and the "all-or-nothing" mindset.

  • Boredom snacking- I snack a LOT when I am bored. I know that I'm not hungry, but I still do it!
  • Social drinking- Social drinking is tough--alcohol has a lot of Points, so if I'm going to stay on plan, I have to be really careful about what/how much I drink; but that kind of ruins the whole point of drinking! It's so much more appealing to just relax and "live a little". Definitely something to work on.
  • Vegetables- I am terrible at getting in vegetables! I don't hate them, but I find them so inconvenient (I don't like raw veggies, so I need to cook them).
  • All-or-nothing- I hate that I have an "all-or-nothing" mindset sometimes. When I have a bad meal, it's so easy to say, "Well, I already screwed up, might as well start fresh tomorrow!" and then continue to make bad decisions that day.


How can I improve the weaknesses?

  • For the boredom eating, I could keep my hands busy with projects--knitting and crocheting, namely.
  • For the social drinking, I could go back to having the low-calorie beers (Beck's Light is my favorite, and it has 74 calories per bottle--even if I drank several, it wouldn't do too much damage calorically).
  • For the veggies--I can aim to fit in 1-2 per day, instead of aiming for 5+. Getting in one per day is much more do-able than feeling overwhelmed by thinking I have to aim for five.
  • For the "all-or-nothing" mindset--I need to really plan out what to do when I make a bad choice (because there WILL be times when I make bad choices), and get don't let one bad choice turn into a bad day or week.
This was kind of a fun homework assignment! It helped me to really think about my weaknesses, and plan on how to overcome them. And since I thought about my strengths, I can really make sure to use those to my advantage when needed.

I came across this Weight Watchers Photo A Day challenge on Instagram yesterday, and while I'm late to the game, I decided I'd like to play along--if for nothing else, then it's a topic to write about ;) You're supposed to post a picture of each of the following topics (once a day) for the month of May.


Today is the thirteenth, so I'll start with that one. This is an interesting topic for me. Typically, trigger foods are junk foods; but in thinking about it, I've realized that it's actually a bigger binge trigger for me to eat a salad than it is for junk food! 



Occasionally, I get in the mood for a salad; but typically, I don't choose to eat them. I just don't like them very much. The reason that they are a binge trigger for me is because salads are never satisfying to me. It doesn't matter how big it is, or how much stuff is on it, I never feel satisfied (mentally) after I eat one. That usually leads to my going to the pantry to find something to snack on, and possibly binge. I wish I liked salad! It would be an easy way to get in a ton of vegetables.

If we're talking about traditional trigger foods, like food that I just cannot keep in the house without devouring, there are several ;) Ice cream is definitely the biggest problem food of all for me. It's interesting, because I can keep a bag of chips in my house for weeks, and never feel the urge to binge on them; but I can't make a container of ice cream last one single night in my freezer!

Anyone else want to share your trigger foods? (I'll probably post most of the Photo A Day topics here on my blog, but if not, I'll do it on Instagram).

Habit changes

Still sick here :(

The bronchitis is getting better, though, so I hope I'll be back to normal in a few days. Right now, the most frustrating part about being sick is that I can't hear very well (ears are clogged) and I can't smell or taste anything! Noah wanted to cook dinner last night, so I was helping him make turkey loaf. After adding some herbs and spices, he said, "That smells weird!" I couldn't smell anything at all, and I started wondering if the ground turkey had gone bad or something. I never realized how much I use my sense of smell! I think he just meant the Italian seasoning I'd used smelled weird.

I've been craving ice cream like crazy lately. I bought some popsicles because they were soothing on my throat (they're peach-flavored, but I can't taste them, unfortunately). Because I've been really focused on staying on track with Weight Watchers, I even bought something to try that I've avoided for a few years now:


Arctic Zero "ice cream". I'd heard of it several years ago, but it just didn't sound good. How good could it be, at 3 PointsPlus (150 calories) for an entire pint?! I've read mixed reviews from people who either love it or hate it. It's pretty expensive (I think it was $6 for the pint), so I just never tried it. But considering my cravings for ice cream lately, I figured it was worth a taste.

It's now been in my freezer for three days, because it would be a waste to eat until my cold is gone. I tried a tiny little spoonful, but I couldn't smell or taste it, so I figured I'd better wait until I'm healthy again so I can form an honest opinion. There are several different flavors, but I went with chocolate peanut butter--no surprise there ;) Anyone else have thoughts on the Arctic Zero?

Yesterday, I was replying to some emails, and I was looking for a post in my blog. I got caught up in reading a bunch of old posts, and it made me feel so nostalgic! Over the last year or two, I sort of got away from talking about my diet and weight, because I was getting quite a bit of unsolicited advice. My blog is really just a daily journal of my life, so it was off-putting to read opinions about my diet and weight. But looking back on those posts yesterday made me want to write more about it again. When I first started this blog, that was my full intention--to document my day to day life in maintenance after a large weight loss.

I made a goal to lose weight each week for the full eight weeks of Glenda's challenge (Glenda is my Weight Watchers Leader), so if I stick with it and see some progress, I may start doing my Wednesday Weigh-ins again. I got away from doing those because I was tired of not seeing any change in the scale (or seeing a gain) and then hearing what I was doing wrong. I already know what I need to change--I just have to stay consistent to do it! ;) Writing everything was one of the things that helped me to stick with it while I was losing weight, so maybe it will help to write more about it again.

Over the past few weeks, I've been working on getting back to the habits I formed when I was losing weight--things like drinking a quart of water first thing in the morning, and using brown rice instead of white rice, etc. I promised a blog post about it, listing all the habits/tips I formed, and I've been working on that. Hopefully I'll have that up this week. I never consciously made all those changes at once, but as I list them out, I realize that I really did make lots of small changes that added up in a big way. Eventually, it was just a lifestyle--I did it all without thinking. Over the past year, though, I got away from most of the habits that helped me to lose the weight, which is why I gained nearly 30 pounds back. Jerry mentioned a couple of days ago that he likes that we're getting back to all the old healthier habits again, because it makes him feel good, like we did when we were at goal.


Joey was supposed to go to his doggy daycare today, but we had some bad storms last night, and the weather wasn't great today. I decided to reschedule for Thursday this week, when the weather will be better. While he's there, it wouldn't be worth my time to drive all the way home, and then all the way back to pick him up, so I have to think of something to do while he spends four hours there. I was thinking I could go for a long walk at a park that's about 20 minutes away, but that still leaves a lot of time to kill.

I was feeling bad for not being very active with Joey all week, since I've been sick, so yesterday, I took him to my parents' house to play in the lake. He's been doing really well off-leash, so I took him down by the water and let him go. He had a blast exploring--he kept dunking his head totally underwater, like he was looking for something under there. He loves chasing rocks, too, so he was begging for me to constantly keep throwing rocks. I'm excited for him to play at doggy daycare on Thursday!