Cooking, Measurements, and Serena’s Cakes

This week has been fantastic in our house! Aside from the fact that it’s summertime, we have literally done very little other than enjoy each other’s company. I could probably skip going to the gym based on the amount of running around I have had to do with Lady S. An (Almost) Three year old is a world of fun and she goes nonstop! Where she gets the energy I have no idea! The challenge this summer has been keeping her entertained and feeding her. Let me explain. Kids eat a lot of food. I sometimes wonder if she has a bottomless pit for a stomach because every 3 hours this kid is asking for a meal or a snack. It just depends on the hour of the day. Thankfully Lady S is a lover of simple things…bananas, strawberries, any kind of fruit she can get her hands on.

We’ve been cooking quite a bit this week since I am home everyday. I thoroughly enjoy cooking with Lady S and love it even more when Mr.S takes over in the kitchen. It makes my life so much easier. The downside to being home everyday is the temptation to snack.

So in honor of cooking and things that I covet and that are healthy and delicious…..Here’s my list:

  • Hummus – The BEST hummus I have ever had is from Aldi. Yes Aldi. Most grocers sell the Sabra brand or their own but it is nothing in comparison to Aldi’s. Try the Roasted Red Pepper one yourself and pair it with some pretzels or chips of your choice.
  • Grilled Chicken – I LOVE grilled chicken to the point of craziness! Thanks to Pinterest I find so many yummy lo-cal recipes or some that can be tweaked to be lo-cal.
  • Greek Yogurt – This stuff can used for just about anything! A meat tenderizer, a base for dips, a snack… Mr. S is a lover of chips and dip so I found this wonderful recipe to cut the calories only 20 per 2 tbsp serving!
  • Peaches, Strawberries, Squash, Oh My! – Tis the season of fresh fruits and veggies! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again! Get in your fruits and veggies! There are so many fresh options this time of year. Hit your local farmer’s market to see what they have to offer and eat away! Guilt-free of course!

Now….the last part of my post….let me bless you with these pics first

The greatness that is Serena Williams. I realize that some haters people look at Serena and think that her body is way too much…Manly even…let me just say that you people who think this way are haters! I am well aware that she has more muscle than some women and men prefer but I have always thought her body was impeccable. The amount of discipline that she must put in at the gym is more than I am willing to do. I’ll just be honest. However her waist to cakes ratio is interesting to say the least. Ever since the puberty God’s descended upon me years ago one thing that I recognized is that my own waist to cakes ratio is somewhat bananas. There are a variety of types of body shapes of women. You can look here to see where you fall. I am a pear shape which means my upper body and waist are smaller than my hips (no kidding?!).

Since the beginning of my journey I have kept up with my measurements because honestly, sometimes the scale just doesn’t move but the inches do. There have been weeks where I have lost maybe 2 lbs or so but have gone down a clothes size. There will be moments like this where you get discouraged because of that darn scale. I urge you to keep up with your measurements and in those moments go back to those and see the progress you’ve made.

Here are mine from September 2012 to June 2013. As you can see, the waist to cakes ratio is still bananas but heck, that’s just the way it is for a pear-shaped lady!

September 2012/June 2013

  • Waist ->>>>> 47 inches / 37 inches = 10 inches lost
  • Hips ->>>>>> 59 inches / 47 inches = 12 inches lost
  • Neck ->>>>>> 14 inches / 13.2 inches = .8 inches lost
  • Upper Torso -> 42 inches / 34 inches = 8 inches lost

So with all those inches lost (30.8 overall!!!) I have dropped clothes sizes from a size 26 to currently a size 16/18 in bottoms and a 14/16 in dresses! These are sizes I haven’t seen in a while!

Now….I am off to watch some t.v.!
‘Til the next time,

Ro

The Realities of my “diet” plan!

So many people have asked me what my diet plan is.  They wonder if I am doing Jenny Craig or Weight-watchers or some other diet plan.  I have even had people ask me if I use Sensa on my food to help curb cravings.  The simple answer to all of those questions is NO!!!  While I don’t knock what someone else is trying to do to get healthy, none of those options were cost-effective or time-effective for me.  For years I have known that the key to health is diet and exercise, however, knowing what to do and actually doing it are two totally different things.

I say that to say this.  I am not on a diet plan.  I am way too much of a lover of good food and good times to stick to some carb free, nut free, dairy free eating plan that I know I would fail at within the first week.  For example….I REFUSE to give up bread.  I simply can’t do it.  Lie to yourself all you want to, but there is NOTHING like a hot buttery yeast roll slathered in some butter.  It’s almost as a good as sex….well….maybe not but you get the idea!   I have seen too many people restrict themselves to certain plans and foods only to fail big time and then they feel this guilt about it.  In my novice health mind, learning how to cook clean and wholesome foods at home is the best indicator of success.

Below you will find out some of what I have been doing specifically during the last 10 months to get healthy and lose some pounds along the way!

Steps to Health Success 

  • Download the www.myfitnesspal.com app or the www.loseit.com app to your phone so that you can track your caloric intake for one week.  You can also access either via the web if you don’t have a smartphone.  The most important part of this is to be honest about what you are eating.  You want to get an honest and true visual of how many calories you are really eating during a normal week.  Also track your water intake during this time period as well to see if you are anywhere close to being hydrated.  Often times our bodies identify thirst as hunger causing us to overeat.
  • On week two set your weight loss per week goal.  Initially I started off at 2 pounds per week which calculated into a calorie intake of 1500 calories a day.  I have always used My Fitness Pal and it tells me how many calories my body burns with no working out and it will do the same for you in the goals/settings area.  My calculated calorie burn was around 2100 calories per day.  Technically without working out I was creating a calorie deficit.
  • On week two also start working out!  This will be just as hard as the eating right part!  In the beginning commit to working out 3 times per week getting your heart rate up.  I promise you, you will most likely want to give up and eat a bag of chips the first 2 weeks you are working out but it will pay off in the end!  PROMISE!!!!! 
  • Do not restrict yourself so strongly that you are craving foods!  For example, I like chips and dip.  I replaced that with pretzels and hummus!  I can not exist without coffee with creamer.  I replaced the full fat creamer to fat free and no sugar in my coffee.  I can not stress this point enough —–  incorporate fruits and vegetables into your eating daily!!!  Make baby steps eating a banana, a bowl of strawberries, pineapple, whatever you like.  Cook as much food as you can at home, calculating the calories per serving in either one of those apps.  Once you begin to track your calories, you will begin to ask yourself is that donut or two or three really worth the work it takes for your body to burn it off.
  • In the words of Antoine Dobson….if you are not drinking water all day, everyday then… Ok so maybe that’s harsh but its true!  Your body is made up of mostly water and we consistently deprive it of what it needs the most.  I hear this everyday in the lounge. “I’m thirsty let me get a coke.” REVERSE ma’am.  That is nothing but sugar, at least 150 calories of emptiness, and all it is going to do is make you more thirsty!  Purposefully take a big bottle of water to work with you and no change for the drink machine.  That way you will only be able to drink what you have which is the best stuff on earth.  Not Snapple folks…WATER!!!!
  • How many calories do you need to eat?  That is a loaded question as everyone’s body is different.  Normal guidelines state that women should NET no less than 1200 calories per day and men no less than 1700 calories per day.   Since increasing my weightlifting I have found that I have to eat more than 1500 calories per day or I will be one starving, raging person who is quite unlikable.  The apps above will help you figure it out but remember that in order to lose you have to create a caloric deficit.  More calories burned than calories in 🙂
  • Lastly about working out.  Many people think that cardio (running, treadmill, etc) is the key to health.  Well…yes and no.  Cardio will help you burn calories and help with creating a caloric deficit.  It will also increase your cardiac stamina over time.  In the beginning I could only use the elliptical machine for 5 minutes before my legs felt like jelly and my heart felt like it was going to beat right out of my chest.  At this point in my journey I can do 45-60 minutes without a problem, BUT that took time.  The best laid plans incorporate cardio AND weightlifting.  Ladies…do not shy away from weight machines or free weights.  Imagine this….You are losing weight but still looking the same or you see people who have lost a significant amount of weight only to still look “loose”. One of two things probably happened.  1) They lost weight and did zero toning exercises to firm it all up OR 2) They lost weight too fast for toning to even mater.  You want to tone and sculpt the body that is emerging from the fat you’re losing.

Ok that’s alot for right now so I will come back and do the second part of this!

Enjoy!

Ro

Slacker Sundays!

What a week this has been!  Tragedy struck our family in the passing of my beloved grandmother on Monday night and this week has been a whirlwind of emotions.  Some moments I am good to go and other moments, not so much.  With that said, eating well has been such a challenge.  There is absolutely nothing in the world that brings instant joy other than a fresh out of the oven brownie with vanilla ice cream!  Oh my!  I did manage to eat healthy the greater part of the week and have gotten in 4 solid, sweat-inducing workouts that no doubt undid the bad things I partook in this week.  

One of my goals this week was to down water like a fish which I did!  For some odd reason, people LOVE to bring sodas to family gatherings!  Can I at least get some lemonade?  Maybe some unsweet tea?  ok…that’s a stretch?  How about just endless amounts of bottled water?  That would be good!  I’ve been really thirsty because of the allergens in the air messing with me but this is one goal that I mastered. 

Another of my goals was to work out 4 times this week which as of today I made it!  Yippee!  Saturday nights at the gym are the best because literally no one is there.  I assume everyone is out on dates (sans kids of course), at the club (perhaps working on a significant other to make said kids), or they are pooped for the week.  In any case I understand and use the empty gym as my time to explore the most intimidating of machines without looking like a complete idiot!  

I failed miserably at the eating out thing.  I cooked all breakfasts and lunches at home with the exception of 1 lunch and all dinners with the exception of 2.  With the running around this week it was simply impossible to cook dinner everyday.  I will say, that in this house, we have met our quota of Chickfila for the next 7 days, although they literally have the best options when eating out.  

So it’s a new week starting tomorrow and my goals will pretty much remain the same: 

  • Increase water intake by 15-20 ounces daily (right now I am averaging about 70 ounces or so) 
  • Decrease eating out to 2 lunches or dinners this week 
  • Continue with cardio work, increasing reps on weight machines. 

And on that note…..it’s time for the kiddo to prepare for bed!  We’ve got a long day ahead of us tomorrow! 

Ro 

Peace out Plateau!!!!

Yippee!  Hooray! Awesome!!!  I finally broke out of this plateau I have been in for weeks!  I should give myself a round of applause because this literally took forever to break!

Ok, Ok…save your Obama comments!  I just thought this was a cute gif!

Now on to the real stuff.  In February I had surgery on my legs due to Venous Reflux Disease….esentially the veins in my legs had become weak and diseased for reasons they can’t tell me so I had to have them fixed/closed off.  The surgery itself was nothing but I had 3 separate procedures where I had to take a total of 4 weeks off from working out.  All I could do was walk on the treadmill and that is one piece of gym equipment I care nothing about! I have hit plateaus before but came out of them quickly by increasing my workouts and reducing calories, but this one lasted forever.  Or so I thought….

I have noticed over the last couple of weeks that while the scale is moving a little I am dropping clothes sizes.  This means I am losing inches!  Ya!!!!  I have upped my weight lifting focusing on a lot of different muscle groups and have gone back to my favorite gym machine, the Arc Trainer.  I admit….I am that woman who stands in the bathroom flexing muscles I haven’t seen in years.

This morning when I weighed the scale read 219!  That means to date, I have lost 81 lbs and gained some muscles and better health overall.  Ultimately my goal was to lose 100 lbs although the closer  I get to that number the less fixated I am on it.

Since it’s Friday I have to menu plan for the week so until next time!

Ro

Salad, Sweat, and Tears….

When I initially started this journey I knew it would be hard. One of the biggest mistakes that people make when it comes to health is they are fixated on losing weight. We are literally bombarded in the media about supplements, pills, some new revolutionary exercise where you are suppose to 10 lbs in 7 days. FALSE folks! There is no such thing. When we approach health in that way, I think it is a set up for disaster. Anyone can lose weight if they create enough of a caloric deficit (more on that later), but to truly get healthier and keep it off…that is a lifestyle change. Meaning the way that you thought about and interacted with food and the way you envision healthy has to change.

The first thing we had to tackle in our home was the food. The years of sweets, artificial colors, preservative laden, calorie dense food had to go. It was nothing short of a miracle when I didn’t die from throwing all that precious food out with the trash. Having an active toddler who suffers from food allergies, we had to do our due diligence and create a healthier kitchen for us if not for her. So out went the chips, the Oreos, the ice cream, the donuts, and the one thing that hurt me to my heart….the SWEET TEA! I could have easily given up all that other stuff but the southern sweet tea that had enough sugar to send a diabetic to heaven….Lawd….take me now I just can’t take it!


Ok so I wasn’t that dramatic but pretty close. Mr. S was not feeling the fact that the tea was gone but as I said before…this had to be a lifestyle change! Off to Costco I went and stocked up on bananas, blueberries, strawberries, apples, oranges, tomatoes, hummus, and salad mix. Now this is where it gets hairy. The kid will eat just about anything that has some sweetness to it and she has always been a fruit baby! Mr. S….well not so much! So out with the junk and in with the salad and fruits!

The next morning, in the dead of the July Hell Heat, I started off on my health journey walking, albeit slowly, about 2 miles in my neighborhood. Initially, I thought how easy until all those rolling hills started kicking my ass! Needless to say for the next week my legs were a throbbing mess, I was a pool of sweat and I had to shed a few tears by body hurt so bad.

Now hold your breath because yes I am going to disclose my actual weight…yes the real number. I realize that people have reservations telling their number but I don’t. The truth is at one time or another I was that weight. The truth is that while I hate that I let myself get there, I did. The most important thing is that I chose to change it.

I started this journey at ……….300 lbs give or take a few pounds….I can not begin to tell you how embarrassed I was to be that heavy.

Here is my 300 lbs pic….

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So remember this is where I started and we’ll see where I go 🙂

Til Next Time

Ro