Monday, December 29, 2014

2014: So long, farewell

Let me begin my last post of 2014 by first wishing my brother the happiest of birthdays! He turns 21 tomorrow and I am definitely more excited than he is.  He's a pretty cool guy and I'm proud to say I had a hand in making him who he is today.  21 is a fun birthday and I can't wait to celebrate it with him!

Now, the time has come, to say goodbye to 2014.  Over the past couple months I've complained a lot about how much weight I've gained and how little money I have.  It's true that my motivation has dwindled and I'm quite rounder than I have been in awhile but overall, 2014 has been an absolutely amazing year.  I have good health and a circle of friends and family that are amazing.  That's nice to have.  I would say my proudest acheivement this year would be landing a full time job teaching English at the University of Alabama.  Occasionally I like to stalk myself on Facebook and I came across a status I posted that said, "I'm so grateful to have a job, a steady check and a fairly laid back environment but man I love teaching.  I even love the grading that I complain about because when I see that my help with their thesis statement "clicked" and they "get it;" it feels awesome.  I think they feel pretty great when that happens too.  Some people never find what job makes them happy but I have and one day I hope it's my only gig but sometimes you have to take on more of the things you don't love to get to the things you do. Work hard y'all!" I wrote that over two years ago and this summer I found out all that hard work and wishing earned me a full time gig.  I am a lucky person but I'm proud to say it wasn't only luck that landed me that position. I worked my butt off.  I had three jobs for a long time.  I know that I'm doing what I'm supposed to now and I know that means I'm incredibly blessed.

When thinking about what I want for 2015 two things come to mind.  First, I'm starting a new diet (slow carb) and my goal will include dropping pounds but most importantly I hope to rediscover the initiative that I once had.  I want the will power back and I want to be healthy.  I have never given up but the spark I once had isn't nearly as bright as it used to be.  In 2015, I intend to do better than ever. I am going to weigh next Monday for the first time in awhile and then I will know how many pounds I gained and how much work there is to be done.  I'm nervous but I'm ready to take on the challenge and get going again.  Second, I want to write more.  When I had three jobs I felt like I had an excuse and then when I went from 48 students to 118, I needed some adjustment time to balance everything. Now, I have no excuses.  I have to make time for writing.  It's my first love and I'm so ashamed I haven't given it the time it deserves. Those are my goals.  Clearly, I want to balance my time and finances better but those are always goals that I have.

Finally, Bama is playing in NOLA in a couple days.  We are going up against Ohio State in the first round of playoff games.  I may be going to New Orleans for the festivities but I'm not sure yet.  When  I post next week, I'll talk about my first weight goal of the new year, my initial impression of the slow carb diet and share pictures from the week.  I hope you all have a safe and happy new year.  PS I had an AWESOME Christmas so thanks to everyone special in my life that made that happen.  Love y'all!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas Y'all!

I hope everyone has an amazing Christmas and/or holiday celebration.  I have a lot of things planned this week and I'm excited to spend time with family and friends.  Of course, there will be a lot of temptation but I worked out this morning and I plan to exercise a few more times this week.  I have little faith in my ability to turn down yummy food but the good news is I only have a couple more weeks left before I get super serious.  

Be safe this week if you are traveling!

Until next week!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Still Runnin'

Hey everyone.  I have literally nothing to brag about diet wise unless you count that one and a half days last week when I didn't go over my calorie count.  Since I'm all mopey and non-patiently awaiting the new year so I can start fresh, the only thing I can really be proud of is the fact that I am still training well for the next half marathon.  I've had some pain in my right leg which only got worse after my really long run on Friday but I rested this weekend and walked slowly for a couple miles today.  It still hurts but I will probably keep exercising because it's the only thing keeping me in my normal jeans.  I haven't eaten bad today but I have yet another Christmas party this week.  I hope you all are having holiday diet success!  I don't really have anything else to report.  My goal this week is to not eat ALL of the Reese's Christmas Trees my mother keeps giving me every week.

Good luck out there y'all.

Roll Tide.

Monday, December 8, 2014

In a nutshell...

Roll Tide Y'all!  I am unbelievably proud of Alabama's team this year.  My Mom and I got super lucky and we were given tickets to the SEC Championship so we got to witness them beat Missouri for the championship game.  That means we are officially in the playoffs and we'll be playing Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl.  I am so blessed to have access to these amazing football moments.  

I love pistachios but I'm not someone who is able to control my portions so I tend to shy away  because I'm always afraid I'll eat a pound of pistachios.  Well, I went to the craft store Michael's last week and I found 100 calorie packs randomly at the checkout. I bought several.  I'm obsessed. They are a bit pricey but they give you the perfect amount of pistachios.  My plan is to find a way to buy them in bulk somehow to cut down on price.

I haven't been weighing because I decided to wait until I begin my new diet on January 5th.  I want to know what my starting point is and begin from there with a fresh start.  Having said that, I exercised 5 days last week and dieted correctly about half the week.  That's about the best I can hope for right now during the holidays.  I am pretty hard on myself at this point and I'm feeling super chubby so I'll be very happy to begin the year right.  Having said that, I refuse to just let everything go the next couple weeks just because I don't feel like being good.  I know me and just from only dieting about half the time, I've put on a lot of weight...even despite my exercise efforts.  Having said that, I'm dieting today and since I'm strapped for cash and starting a new diet in a few weeks, I'm doing what I like to do sometimes and cleaning out the cabinets.  I tend to buy things and forget about them so rather than buying groceries, I'm trying to eat everything up in the house.  This week, I'm getting rid of the turkey burgers I have in the freezer.  I know I've told you before but I'll tell you again that low and slow is the key to a good turkey burger.  It is so easy to mess these things up and then they are a dry, yucky mess.  I don't mean to brag but I have pretty much perfected the process.  If they are frozen, make sure not to over thaw them in the microwave.  I put it on for a minute, took it out, flipped it over and put it in 20 more seconds and it was like it was never frozen.  Then, I keep it on low to medium heat and I'm just patient.  When I ate it, it was juicy and delicious.

It's that time of the year! There are parties and dinners and lots of fun moments ahead.

  I hope you're all having fun and hang in there if you are one of the few doing your best on the diet struggle right now.  Until next week!


Monday, December 1, 2014

Support Systems Of All Kinds

Happy December y'all! There is one more month left of 2014.  I am hanging on by a thread with my diet.  I'm back on today and my goal is to be perfect at least Monday through Friday since I have no excuses.  I feel puffy and fat and I'm not happy about it. I honestly cannot wait for the holidays and football season to be over because I'm ready to turn this diet around.  I'm just trying to stay in the same clothes y'all.  I know it's a struggle for everyone this time of year but my will power is busted and if it wasn't for the fact that I still exercise pretty much every day, I think it would be much worse.

Like I said, exercise is the only thing I'm doing right this holiday season.  I've been training for the half marathon again that's in March and I've been attending classes and doing the elliptical at the gym.  Between the running on Friday and the Body Attack class I took yesterday which included a lot of jumping around, I've had some soreness in the chest area.  I apologize if that's too much information but I'll just come out right now and admit I have breasts and what's worse...sometimes I talk about them.  It's ok guys and gals.  They are there and today they hurt a bit.  I have a couple sports bras that I thought were OK but honestly, I feel like I could do better.  I am especially feeling the pain because it's the holiday season so I'm a bit heftier than usual.  I have read some articles but if anyone out there has some suggestions on a comfortable, supportive sports bra, I'm all ears.

Since I'm being honest about my lack of discipline in the food department, I wanted to share a couple pictures from Thanksgiving in which I stuffed my face relentlessly. I always make the deviled eggs so I was proud of those.  It was a full house...full of people and dogs and a good time was had by all.

Almost just as important as family time at Thanksgiving, I wanted to express my total jubilation at the fact that Alabama beat Auburn in the Iron Bowl this year and I got to witness it in person.  We play Missouri in the SEC Championship game on Saturday.  We SHOULD win it but you can never be too safe.

Roll Tide, y'all!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving Y'all!

Hi everyone! It's time to lay out your fat pants because things are going to get real starting Thursday. I don't even want to talk about my "cute" second chin that visits this time of year right now.  I'm feeling super depressed about my belly so I'm trying to make these last weeks of 2014 fly by so I can officially get back on track.  I am trying to keep the winter fat storing to a minimum so I am counting calories today through Wednesday.  I'm just hoping I can resist everything until then. Obviously, Thanksgiving is going to be a day in which I defy all logic and show my family that I truly have no stopping point if I put my mind to it.  I will try to regain composure on Friday but it seems likely I will have pie or something.  Saturday is the Iron Bowl and to imagine counting calories that day is just absurd.  I'm so nervous about the game.  Last year was a total disaster and we HAVE to win.  The picture above is of me and my Dad at the homecoming game last weekend.  So, I have no recipes.  I have only a request of prayer and positive thoughts that I see you all on the other side of this weekend alive and well and still able to fit into my stretchy jeans.  I would be remiss if I didn't mention how thankful I am for my family, friends, job and health! Roll Tide and love to all!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Feeling Saucy

Hey y'all! Happy Monday and Roll Tide. I had to slip that in there because Alabama beat the number one team on Saturday.  We still have a long way to go but we are sneaking our way back to the top.  Meanwhile, in wretched diet land, I'm still struggling.  I am an avid football fan but I have to admit, when football season bleeds into holiday season I am weaker than ever on my diet.  This year, I'm borderline depressed because of my inability to stay strict.  I used to have so much motivation.  I did count calories yesterday and while I'm sure I ate more than I should last night, I had several hundred calories left before dinner.  I also made myself get out of bed and go to this Body Attack class at the gym.  So, the weekend wasn't a complete disaster but I'm thinking I need a change in a big way.  I know a couple things.  I am so tired of counting.  I don't want to count calories or points or exercise minutes any more.  I've been doing it for years and it's no longer motivating me.  I also know I can't be trusted to eat right without some kind of structure.  I have been heavily investigating the slow carb diet.  I'm not generally a fan of "diets" but this diet has a cheat day, includes a glass or two of wine and includes food I like to eat.  Most importantly, there's no counting.  I feel like my body needs a shock out of this plateau.  My mind also needs a shock.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet but I'm working hard to get my mind back to the place it was when I stepped on that scale all those years ago.  I'm terrified of gaining all my weight back.  I'm still looking so we will see.  Having said that, I'm not just eating what I want until I decide.  I'm counting today and I'm still in the fight.

Over the summer, my primary care physician wrote me a prescription for Topamax.  He knows me well and he knows I've lost a great deal of weight and that my current challenge is keeping it off.  He also knows that I'm frustrated.  He told me that the pill could possibly make me jittery and nauseated.  I think I shared previously that the side effects were much worse than I anticipated.  My face would go numb and I began developing horrific headaches.  It only mitigated my hunger for a few days.  I couldn't taste soda at all.  I would have these periods of time where my mind would completely space out.  Since I didn't see any weight loss from taking it, I weened myself off of it.  When I returned to the doctor a few weeks ago, I told him how much I hated the pill and that I was irritated with myself and with him for not being totally aware of the side effects.  I told him I was still struggling to stay motivated and he wrote me yet another prescription for Belviq.  I told him I was skeptical and he said nausea was a possible side effect. Before jumping on another Rx, I did some research on the side effects.  From Consumer Reports: "Risks galore. What's more, the drug can cause several side effects including, headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, dry mouth, and constipation. If you have diabetes, add hypoglycemia, back pain, and a cough to that list. The drug's label also states that Belviq may cause a slowed heartbeat, heart valve problems, painful erections, and if you take more than is prescribed, hallucinations, euphoria, and slowed thinking. Those last risks promoted the Drug Enforcement Agency to classify the drug as a Schedule IV controlled substance, meaning that it poses a slight risk of dependence. Finally, Belviq may also interact adversely with other medications you take, such as drugs used to treat depression, migraines, or colds, and supplements, such as St. John's wort and tryptophan."  I know that not everyone is susceptible to side effects but I told him my reaction to Topamax so I'm not sure why he flippantly recommended this.  I'm not filling it.  My problem is a psychological one.  It doesn't take a genius to figure that out.  I love my doctor but his reliance on pills to "fix" weight issues is disturbing.  There is no such thing as a quick fix.  

This week I added some store bought spaghetti sauce to my zucchini that I made into strands of pasta with my new Veggetti. Once again I got a LOT of tasty food for a pretty low calorie count.  This contraption is definitely one of my obsessions.  I will note that though I prefer the taste and texture of yellow squash, the zucchini is firmer so it's easier to use in the Veggetti and squash also has a ton of seeds that get everywhere so I think I'll stick with zucchini. The squash also looks more like pasta but I'm not exactly one of those people that makes pretty dishes.

I used some of that same marinara sauce to dip my skinny mozzarella sticks in.  I have made and showed these before but I made a good batch and wanted to remind you what a quick and yummy snack they are! It also allowed me to finish up those wonton wrappers finally! I only used two light string cheese sticks to make 9 mozzarella sticks.  I love these things!

Have a good week!


Monday, November 10, 2014

Don't Skip Breakfast Y'all

I wanted to first give a shout out to all veterans past, present and future.  Thank you for what you do!

I found this picture on Instagram yesterday and it could not be more true for me right now.  Last week I was aiming for a perfect week.  I did not anticipate getting sick though and that put a wrench in my goal.  I have a pretty intense chest cold.  I usually only get sick about once a year so I guess now is the time.  The way I had my calories set up on my Lose It app doesn't  really give me enough calories if I don't exercise so I've done some readjusting.  I exercised  on Friday even though I felt terrible because I didn't want to skip my weekly run.  Other than that, I haven't exercised since Wednesday.  This is unlike me.  I just couldn't muster the energy to get out of bed.  Of course I ate too much.  Sigh.  I still feel really bad today but tomorrow I have to do something active no matter how I feel.  I feel as if I could lose it I'm on the verge. I'm so tired of being obsessed with food and fighting for perfection when it seems like I don't have the power to reach it.  I changed my app so that it thinks I want to lose 1/2 pound a week rather than two.  This gives me more calories per day.  By all means, I don't need to eat more or gain weight but without exercise, I was giving myself only 1,140 calories a day.  I think I need to practice eating normally so I'm giving myself a bit more wiggle room but also taking away cheat days in hopes to find a balance.  I'm really struggling right now.  My goal this week is to follow the rules Tuesday through Sunday.  I know I can do it, I just need an attitude adjustment.

I am a firm believer that everyone should be eating breakfast.  If you're working out or going to work in the morning, skipping breakfast depletes the small amount of energy you have when you wake up.  Even if it's just a couple hundred calories, get something in your body in the morning.  I have showed you a breakfast burrito that I make.  I eat a lot of egg beaters, smoothies and other breakfast options.  One thing I love to make is an egg white omelet.  This is something that only takes about five minutes to make, gives you protein and tastes really good.  It makes you feel like you're getting a "real breakfast."  Another great thing about the omelet is that you can incorporate a ton of different flavors in it. I used Egg Beaters and just poured about 6 tablespoons in the bottom of a sprayed or non-stick skillet.  Once they were firm enough, I carefully flipped it, added low fat cheese, bacon bits and some ham and I had a tasty omelet.  

If you're in more of a hurry there are plenty of options in the freezer section.   Special K has a whole line of breakfast sandwiches that won't destroy your calorie budget.  I like the one with ham and pepper jack cheese because it has the best balance of flavor and calories (200).  Jimmy Dean also has several lighter breakfast sandwich options but the Special K sandwiches are just a bit lower.

Another breakfast sandwich idea is new and it comes from Ihop.  This French Toast sandwich is filling and has just a hint of maple.  If you are one to crave McGriddles, this might help fulfill your needs.  They have a couple other options but the Ihop breakfast options aren't meant to be light, it just so happens that the ham, egg and cheese one isn't bad.

One breakfast option that I think is smart to avoid is the gluten free waffle from Van's.  I'm not sure what kind of psychedelic diet trip I was suffering from when I thought it would be a good idea to get gluten free waffles but I got them and they were disgusting.  First, there's barely even a hint of the apple cinnamon flavor that was promised on the box.  Second, the consistency is that of a piece of dried out cornbread that's been sitting out for a week.  I've been trying to eat them from time to time since I bought them and I'm too cheap to get rid of them and I've also noticed they don't even stay with you very long.  I have found that eating veggies is great but when it comes to gluten free food, there aren't too many options that substitute for bread products that aren't really just terrible.  I suppose if I added a lot of butter and about a cup of syrup they would be edible but that sort of defeats the purpose doesn't it?

Bama gave me a near heart attack this weekend vs LSU and I don't expect it to be much different on Saturday when we pay Mississippi State.

Roll Tide Y'all!  Have a great week!

Monday, November 3, 2014


Well, as I suspected, the candy and temptation of my beloved Halloween weekend meant that my diet was on the back burner on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  I knew I wouldn't do well.  It's my favorite holiday.  I'm not going to beat myself up too much though because I look forward to Halloween all year and I like to go all out.  I am back on today and my goal is to have a perfect week.  I need to be good.  It's time to buckle down because I have a few weeks to trim down before Thanksgiving.  

I purchased a device that turns squash and zucchini into pasta-like strips and I am so happy I did.  You will probably see recipes in which I use this device a lot because it's been amazing so far.  The first thing I did was mix it with light alfredo sauce and chicken because that's what I had in the cabinet.  I used too much liquid I think so it turned out more like a soup but was still yummy.  

The next day, I put it in a skillet to sauté and added the same alfredo sauce and then sliced up some delicious chicken sausage to put in there.  Using the squash and zucchini instead of pasta saves you so many calories and you can definitely eat more.

I saved the best for last.  I am over the moon about the lunch I made for myself today.  I am obsessed with Chinese, Japanese and Thai food so I made a little stir fry for myself.  All I did was take a squash and some chicken and I sautéed it with teriyaki sauce and a little bit of soy.  When it was cooked through, I added peanut sauce on top.  I bought peanut sauce because A) it's delicious and B) it's a much better alternative than the yum yum sauce in my fridge.  One tablespoon of shrimp sauce can be anywhere from 80-90 calories.  You can have two tablespoons of peanut sauce for 60 calories.  Y'all! This was soooooooo good.  It was packed with flavor, I had a huge amount, it filled me up and the best part is, the whole dish was 395 calories.  Also, now that I've made it, I could probably do less soy, teriyaki and I could probably get away with one tablespoon of peanut sauce and save even more calories.  I could have also split it with someone but I love filling up a big plate of food and eating it without any guilt.

So, Halloween was a ton of fun as usual.  Ian went as the Dude from the Big Lebowski and I went as Maude (played by Julianne Moore in the movie) and I went as the version of her when the Dude is dreaming and she's dressed as a viking.   I had a lot of help from Cassandra and I'm pretty sure my insides are shimmering gold but it turned out pretty cool.  I also went to the Bacon and Beer festival in Tuscaloosa on Saturday and that was also a lot of fun.

Bama plays LSU this weekend so REAUXLL TIDE!!! Until next week...

Here's hoping I behave! Bye!

Monday, October 27, 2014

That's A Wrap

Hey y'all.  Well, the results came are in from the scale and I wasn't happy.  I worked my butt off all month and I was up two ounces.  I know that isn't much of a gain but I was hoping for at least a 3 or 4 pound loss.  I didn't take this well.  I actually cried a little.  I have been working hard for several years.  I know that I'm not always perfect but to say it's discouraging when you are almost too sore to walk from working out so hard and when you feel like you're starving most of the time, is a pretty big understatement.  I ran about 5 miles after I weighed to prove to myself that I wasn't going to give up. I'm no hero though because I let the discouragement get to me and ate way too much on Sunday.  I don't know if I'll ever reach my goal and I'm pretty tired, honestly.  My body reacts poorly to anything less than perfection and am not sure I have it in me to be perfect anymore.  I will do my best.  Halloween is this weekend so I am giving myself a little wiggle room since it's my favorite holiday but I am coming up with an action plan to not over indulge too much.  Other than this weekend though, I'm going to do everything I can to be good and then I'll weigh again Thanksgiving morning.

My roommate has been using wheat wraps for years for quesadillas and chicken wraps and I bought some after I was inspired by some Pinterest ideas and I've tried all kinds of things with them.  I haven't come up with anything revolutionary or anything but I will say, there are few limitations to the amount of things you can do with a wrap.  In addition to plain old ham and cheese wraps, I also started the week off with a breakfast burrito.  All I did was heat up some egg whites and add ham, cheese, hot sauce, salt and pepper and had a nice, filling breakfast.  It's different than the typical frozen sandwich I eat and it takes almost no time to make it.  It was good before my run because it had carbs and protein.

This is the one I saw on Pinterest that sent me into a wrap spiral all week.  You can buy a cheese, rice and broccoli mix in the freezer section.  Steam the ingredients in the bag in the microwave and then put half in a tupperware for later and use the other half on your wrap.  I added some chicken.  So, this is my cheesy, chicken, broccoli wrap.  I loved that I could divide the bag into two parts and make two wraps.  It was filling and tasty and stupid easy.

I am a fan of Moe's and I still eat there from time to time but I don't go often because what I really want isn't diet friendly.  Not only do places like Moe's and Chipotle over serve you, it's hard to say no to sour cream, cheese and guacamole.  So, I bought a fiesta inspired Lean Cuisine, heated it up, split it in two (saved the rest for another wrap later), added French Onion Dip made from Greek Yogurt to replace the sour cream, low fat cheese and salsa.  I will admit it's not as good as Moe's but I loved it! I know that Lean Cuisine's aren't the favorite of people who encourage you not to eat processed food but I also know people need to eat in a hurry and this meal already had chicken, rice, black beans and peppers so you didn't have to do anything else.  You could certainly leave out the cheese or add guacamole to make it yours.  Just remember to keep track of what you're adding and subtracting in terms of calories.

The last one is my absolute favorite.  We have a place in town called Tacogi.  It's a fusion place that essentially takes everything you love about a Japanese stir fry and stuffs it into a burrito.  This place is a guilty pleasure of mine and when I'm being bad, it's always on the list of potential cheat meals.  I bought a stir-fry Lean Cuisine (by the way, you can use whatever brands you like, I just chose the meals with the least calories), add low fat cheese, a little soy sauce and a serving of store bought shrimp sauce (make sure you're careful and measure the shrimp sauce.  I love the stuff but it's terrible for you.).  Y'all, this is delicious.  It's half the size of the giant burrito you're served at Tacogi but it's packed with the same flavors and you save a ton in calories and in price.  I will most definitely be making this again.  Also, I split this Lean Cuisine in two parts as well to make two burritos.  Half meal per burrito is plenty when you have the other ingredients and the wrap.  Yum, I want one of those again, right now.

I made a cake from scratch this week for my cheat dessert (to clarify, I only had one piece).  It was a peanut butter cake with chocolate frosting that I spiked with crumbled peanut butter cups.  It tasted delicious but the cake was a little on the dry side.  Is there a secret to moist cakes that you make from scratch because box cakes are so moist, it's almost not worth the effort.

Ian and I watched the first half of the Tennessee game at my parent's house this Saturday and we were both dressed up so I made my mom take pictures.  I thought this was a cute one.

Alabama is off Saturday.  Halloween is this Friday and it is by far my most favorite time of the year.

I'm also going to a Bacon and Beer Festival on Saturday.  I know I won't be doing myself any diet favors this weekend but sometimes you got to let loose.  I'll just try not to be crazy.

Have a safe and fun Halloween!