Hop on the Big Train.

So lately I have been struggling with food.  This should not be a surprise.  One has to struggle with one component or another right?  Things are never easy going in the land of health and wellness.  I love to cook, I find it so fulfilling, extravagant dinners, thousands of calories, food is love right? … yeah… I thought so. I don’t even mind healthy cooking, grilling, stir-frys, broiled seafood, YUM! However I live in a tiny little apartment… the only grilling I do is on a Cuisine Art griddle thing, my stove is a disaster, I don’t have tons of counter space, and I am fairly certain that one of these days my fridge is going to die.  I miss having a huge kitchen like where I grew up, I hate having to decide what to make day after day.  So many things look so good, but I just lack energy most of the time.  Worse than any of that is the dishes! I hate doing dishes.

So for now I am hopping on the Big Train… shake wagon that is.  No this isn’t a paid advertisement, heck I don’t even know what it is going to do for the scale since I haven’t weighed in in at least a month.

I have had a lot on my mind.  I have been consulting my various options, I had a WLS surgery consult before I went to fitbloggin.  I am undecided what I want to do with that road.  I opened the door, and it’s there.  A place to be explored, a tool, one I may need as my hunger is often uncontrollable.  The surgeon looked at my files, found my highest weight was actually closer to 450 than 430.  :/ Either way, my expected outcome if I had WLS would land me in the 200-250 range… which is where I was before I took my current job.  But I was barely there… 245-250 starving, working out like a maniac, scale not budging, trying sooo hard… If nothing else that consult was a wake up call that I have unrealistic expectations of getting below 200 pounds because of how big I was.  It doesn’t mean I can or will give up.

I met with a nutritionist just before that consult, she said my eating looks like it is spot on, my exercise when I do it is great, things will be slow but I will get to where I was.  So right now I am working on my 1200-1500 calories a day goal where I was before, working on getting in my water, and vitamins.  Focusing on protein and fiber and getting exercise, and finding balance.  I wish things were easier, I am trying to listen to my body, learn the signals for hunger, learn the difference between hunger and thirst, learn where my limits are physically again.  I want to get back to having my life in my control instead of feeling like I am floating along or being pushed.

So for right now my meal planning feels a lot like Slim Fast, :/ not that I am loving that but it makes things easy.  I have an 8oz Big Train first thing in the morning, my faves are the Big Train Campfire Mocha (made with Sugarfree Smores Syrup) but I also have Raspberry & Coconut syrups that rock in the Mocha shakes as well.  I have a 3lb bag of the Vanilla that just arrived yesterday, right now I am sipping on a Vanilla raspberry hazelnut shake.

I have a morning snack, somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 calories, give or take… sometimes a granola bar, or a greek yogurt, today 2 hardboiled eggs.  Lunch is another shake, this one is a 16 oz, more of the same, powder, syrup, water, ice.  I try and finish 2 liters of water during the day, usually carbonated, flavored if it needs to be.

Dinner, well… you know that meme where breakfast and lunch are all normal and dinner is out of control… that’s sort of what my life is like… but having my day mostly under control lets dinner be a bit more relaxed if need be.  I don’t stress too much over dinner I have 800-900 calories available to me for dinner/dessert I have been known to go over at dinner but usually I am in control.  We are working on planning meals a few days ahead of time, this week there is shredded chicken in the fridge, Chicken topped salads, stir frys, salsa chicken I’ll figure something out for the week.  Trick is veggies with everything… and water… lots of water.

Back to basics… We can do this. The scale… well it can stay hidden I don’t need that stress.


Week1 at Weight Watchers

So for those that follow me on “The Twitters” You saw something fun on Saturday morning.  Or rather, something that started out unusual.  I was not apprehensive about going for my weigh-in.  See I have kind-of taken this whole new adventure into the Weight Watchers 2012 Points Plus program as a, low pressure experiment.  Seeing as my calorie counting has become such a failure with the added stresses of my job This was logical.  So Saturday morning I tweeted as I headed out to my meeting.  Arrived, hopped up on my scale and collected my very first 5 pound loss sticker.


Now those of you that know me, or have known me for any period of time know I am a freaking sticker junkie.  I am absolutely obsessed with all things cute, cuddly and adorable, and also with stickers.  So the simple fact that WW uses stickers as part of the reinforcement for this program is just AWESOME!

Changes that have occurred in my household in the last week are things like, planning and packing my breakfast and lunch, instead of ordering Jimmy John’s (mmm vegetarian, add onions and hot peppers).  I have also gone out searching for new recipes again, instead of relying on old standbys.  I made breakfast for dinner twice, once was bacon egg and cheese biscuit cups, and once was hash-brown sausage egg cups.  Both are made in Cupcake tins! Yumm Cupcakes for dinner.


I have now attended three meetings, trying to find a group/leader that I mesh with.  I really liked the leader that I met on Saturday, sadly she was a substitute, and her meetings are on Thursday mornings at like 10Am which wont work.  The Sunday morning leader and group that I met yesterday seemed really fun, plus it would put me in the perfect spot to go do my grocery shopping at Target right after.  Nothing like getting inspired, and heading right to the store so I don’t fill the cart with junk right?


My fridge is pretty full of good things, I have been eating the same thing for breakfast everyday.  Cottage Cheese with fruit (a combo of pineapple, kiwi, plums, peaches, cherries) and some cucumber slices.  I like adding the cucumber to it because it lightens the flavors and makes it taste even fresher.  You will also find in my fridge tons of mushrooms and zucchini, some salad mixes, grape tomatoes (which aldi had for $.79 a pint!) Seaweed salad.  Then theres the typical base items to build meals from, eggs, chicken sausages, chicken breasts, lean ground beef, steaks.  I want to stop at Coastal Seafood this week and get some shrimp or fish.


Of the 5 new meals I cooked last week there was only one miss-fire, which isn’t too bad when you think about it… it called for 4 cups of cheese… I cut it in half… and it was still far too much.  Anything that isn’t a miss goes in my cute little book of dinners along with the point value per serving that should make meal planning a snap!

Confession time… I am still not in love with the gym.  Big surprise right? I am trying to keep my modalities mixed, and I am shooting for five days of activity.  I get so utterly bored when I am in the gym, I get in there and I just don’t want to be there.  I know I need to think outside of the box about activity, perhaps a class or something, and maybe shift one of my activity days to the weekend, and maybe try Zumba or something different but I don’t know.  Last week I did 2 days of walking 2 days of elliptical and 1 day on the bike.  I didn’t do any of those things on consecutive days.  I want to keep my body guessing a bit.  I may also spring for a personal training session or two in the next month to familiarize myself with the way the weights in the gym work, because that should become a part of my routine as well.




—–Closing thoughts—–


This week did have a rough spot in it.  My friend Mark passed away early Wednesday morning.  I have been grieving, in my own way, trying to feel my feelings, but not let them interfere with my life.  I appreciate my friends that have all reached out to me during this time, and I also appreciate the understanding when I haven’t returned calls because I just needed some space.  This is my first Monday morning without Mark, I mean he hasn’t been in the office in a long time on a Monday, but there was usually a phone call or some laughter.  This is the second coworker I have lost since I started here in 2005, but I was really close to Mark.


Mark paid me some of the highest compliments of my life in his last few weeks of life.  Speaking to his daughter and I together telling her how strong I was, and how much of a fighter I am, and how she needs to be sure to get to know me and stay involved in my life because that is important to him.  I am glad that I could provide him some awesome company during his life as well as some laughter and comfort at the end of his life.




So after the turkey is roasted and you have eaten the same roast turkey dinner for the third meal it is time to start your mind churning to come up with some ideas for those leftovers right?

Now some options are buy a smaller turkey, (not in my house!) or don’t take home leftovers!  Other options are to make lunches and dinners and freeze them off for future meals.  Let’s be honest though I can only eat so much turkey as plain turkey.

So what do you do with your leftovers?  I am a big fan of making things that pull double duty, meaning I can cook them for a meal and make enough of them to freeze half off!  There is the ever popular Turkey Noodle soup, or here in Minnesota Turkey wild rice soup.  Something with lots of mushrooms and veggies to stretch it out.  There is turkey pot pie, where you can substitute out some filo dough instead of that pie crust to cut down on some of those calories.  I generally make just the filling and freeze that off so it is ready to thaw and top with dough!  You can also make a turkey chili either traditional red chili or white, and that freezes great!

Tonight on my menu is Turkey nachos!  Yep that’s right lots of veggies (and beans) and some spices and seasoning and I will be in heaven! I will very likely make a turkey hot dish (called a casserole where I come from) for dinner tomorrow night.  There really is an endless stream of possibilities for leftover turkey that even extends to things as easy as sandwiches both hot and cold.  Also don’t forget to freeze off some turkey by itself to add to your salads over the next few months.

Now you know why we never buy a smaller turkey around the holidays, and actually we buy a bigger one than we need!

Do you have a favorite thing to do with your turkey leftovers?  Care to share a recipe or a tip?  I would love to hear it!

Pizza Par-Tay!

So once upon a time in a land far far away, there was a girl who was often left off of the invite list for birthday parties, and social gatherings.  In fact there were people who went out of their way to univite her to parties where “everyone” was welcome.  Think things like school dances etc and you start to get the picture.   (Secret truth here in the trust tree, that girl was me).

As I got older I tried hosting my own parties, trouble was people would say yes and then back out and not show up leaving me all alone late into the night waiting.  It sucked.  Now I jump at the chance to hang out with my friends.  Wednesday night I had the opportunity to attend a girls night.  It was nothing formal, a few friends gathering for dinner.  A MAKE YOUR OWN PIZZA DINNER!

HealthyPizzaToppings1Okay I am so lame but I get excited when it comes to things like this.  I love to cook.  I love mixing ingredients and coming up with fun unique flavor combinations to see how they work.  There was a plethora of options for toppings, everything from traditional Pizza Sauce from Trader Joes, to Franks Red Hot (which is the “sauce” I opted for) to pineapple and shredded chicken! Talk about awesome!
One of the things that I enjoy about the make your own pizza nights, whether you are having it as a party or in your own home is that everyone gets involved and everyone gets what they like!  For example I am not a big fan of bell peppers, so I don’t have to have them on my pizza.  I can however have a pineapple tomato and hot sauce pizza which was SO GOOD!  I made each of my tiny pizzas a little different.  Some chicken some veggies, all with hot sauce because well… I like my hot sauce.  I opted for only having three of the four portions of the sandwich thins that Jen put out for me because I knew that it would be enough for me.  I didn’t feel uncomfortable making or eating my food during the evening which is a huge step for me!

MyCreationYou eat with your eyes first, well how does it look?  I had a little bit of color splashed in there.  Some zucchini and spinach in there, pineapple olives.  YUM!

What I really enjoyed was how comfortable the whole night was.  For so much of my life food has been almost a shameful experience for me.  Even though I never truly ate to excess it was always something I never wanted to be involved in with people.  It was not a pleasant experience.  I don’t think or feel that I wanted to eat in secret, I just didn’t want to eat around others.  I didn’t want to be judged for my choices.  I didn’t want people thinking, oh this is what she is going to eat here and you know as soon as she leaves or we leave she is going to inhale some more.  Even as far back as childhood I remember making excuses not to have to eat around people.  So the fact that at no point during the evening did I get the urge to “run” from my food or hide the fact that I wanted to needed to eat it was a very big victory for me.

I see that I am growing and changing and I think it is a good sign for my future.  I know that there has got to be some psychological problem based in the fact that I wouldn’t eat in front of people but I am getting through it.  Everyone eats… unless you are sick… and that isn’t healthy. There is nothing wrong with properly fueling your body and that is one of the biggest reminders I got from having dinner with my friends last night.


Look at these Happy Ladies

So thank you Jen for being our host, and Ann, Jen, Kat and Mer for being a part of a great night for me!  each outing I have with any and all of you ladies helps shape my future self just a bit more and reminds me of how far I have come, how strong I am and can be.  It also reminds me that I can do anything I put my mind to.

You can view the whole slideshow from the party if you like!

Peeking at my Dinner

0414010322a.jpgA few weeks ago I fellow blogger Kristi over at Eat Drink Love and Exercise had a contest on her blog where you could enter to win some of the leftover party favors from her Kraft Cooking Creme Party.  So earlier this week I got the package in the mail, a recipe booklet, a wooden spoon a notepad and some coupons! I LOVE coupons!

So off I headed to the store… I bet Kristi didn’t know I hadn’t been able to wait and had already been whipping up different dishes with some of the Cooking Cremes already!  With one of the coupons I got I decided on pizzas this time.  I snagged some garlicky pitas from my favorite local source Holy Land They make AWESOME hummus too!  I used a small bit of the garlic cooking creme and topped my pizza with pepperonchini and kalamata olives and some fat-free mozzarella and fat-free feta. 

Served that pita-pizza up with a heaping pile of cucumbers and some greek-yogurt tzatziki sauce (not pictured) for dipping.  So delish! This makes pizza something easier for me to think about again.  I was never a big fan of frozen pizza so this is great to have as a go-to pizza idea. 

Other things I have done with the cooking creme are pasta tosses and mexican rice dish with loads of pico-de-gallo and lean protein and veggies in it!

Thanks for peeking at my dinner!