Monday, January 26, 2015

Beach, Please.

Hey y’all! I hope it’s been a happy Monday for you so far.  It’s never easy to start the week but I am thankful to have a week to start! I went to the beach this weekend with my mom so instead of weighing yesterday, I weighed early on Thursday and I was actually up two pounds.  I’m not sure what’s going on with my body.  I’m eating healthy and exercising.  I’m chalking it up to the fact that I weighed early and without giving up too much detail, I also blame part of it on some stomach bloating issues.  I’m trying to add some fiber and additional preventative measures to promote regularity but I still don’t think I should be gaining weight considering that I think I’m eating like an angel.  I won’t weigh again until this Sunday so I’m hoping I show some progress for my hard work.  I did an amazing job at the beach and that was supremely difficult so I deserve some results on the scale.  I am going to keep going with the slow carb diet a few weeks in case my body needs some adjustment period but I’m working too hard to be gaining weight.  So, I’m once again finding all of this so frustrating.

Over the past several years of eating healthier, I’ve grown to tolerate and even enjoy some foods that I never thought possible.  One of those foods is asparagus.  I didn’t try asparagus until I was an adult.  It was not a staple ingredient of my household growning up.  If it’s prepared well, I actually enjoy it.  One simple way that I prepare it is my merely baking it in the oven.  It tastes great if you pop it on a cookie sheet, add some olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic and bake it.  I also wrapped it in deli ham and baked it.  Adding the protein made it filling and tasty.

Another discovery is edamame.  I don’t LOVE edamame but I eat it because it’s super healthy and one of the few snacking options allowed on the slow carb diet.  I found these snack packs that you can just pop into the microwave.  They are only 90 calories and you get several minutes of snacking time.  You can also buy the kind that aren’t in a shell and top your salads with them.  They are loaded with protein and a nice option to have when your boyfriend is eating an entire bag of buttered popcorn when you’re watching a movie.

I joined a gym  a few months ago and it’s been great so far.  There are fun classes to take and I’m getting several good workouts a week.  They launced a new class called Pound a few weeks ago and I’ve been loving it.  It’s a dance class that doesn’t require the coordination of Zumba.  It uses weighted drumsticks that you get to smack together and pound on the floor which lets out some aggression.  The moves aren’t difficult and you get a total body workout.  It was akward the first time just getting used to it but I absolutely love it now.   If you hear about it at your local gym, I highly recommend it.

Like I mentioned above, my Mom and I went to the beach for a little getaway.  We left Thursday and I stayed true to the diet with her support the entire time…until Sunday of course which is my cheat day.  We made big, fresh salads and stuck to protein and veggies when we went out to eat.  I was so proud of myself because one of my most difficult challenges is to eat right when I’m out of town. We also did a lot of activity.  I ran one day.  We walked, we mini-golfed, we drove go karts, and we bowled so it was a nice time.   We also did a little shopping and Mom took advantage of some crazy clearance at the Fossil outlet which turned out beneficial for me.

Well, if you aren’t interested in my opinion on movies then you can consider yourself done reading at this point.  If you are, I wanted to alert the media that it’s time for Operation Oscar! Jordan and I see all of the Oscar nominated films every year and we are officially into high gear.  I still have several to go but I wanted to give a little opinion on each movie I’ve seen so far and I’ll do that every week leading up to the show in which Jordan and I have our own little fun and food filled affair.

American Sniper is nominated for Best Actor and Adapted Screenplay.  This little film has turned out to be a huge controversy.  I have heard reason on both sides of the debate and I’ve also heard extremism on both sides of the debate which is no surprise when it comes to war and politics.  Having said that, I thought the movie (without agenda) was pretty good.  It’s disturbing and it doesn’t glorify the acts of war like I think some war movies do.  I thought it had some character development issues as in it could have done a better job showing how Chris Kyle went from having a severe case of PTSD to being pretty much fine.  That part of the movie didn’t feel realistic.  Also, the doll they used in the movie to show his baby was clearly fake and it was something that stood out a bit to me (after someone pointed it out).  I think Bradley Cooper was great and ultimately, I think as a nation, the movie’s greatest achievement SHOULD be that we have an open discussion about the way we take care of the soldiers that fight for us on a daily basis.  They go through so much and it can’t be easy to be integrated back in society.  Sadly, the media has exploited his life and now it’s become a political circus like everything else.  I hope at some point his wife and family can get peace.  He more than likely wasn’t perfect, as most people are not but he was a human and I just wish we could all be more rational and sensitive in our discussions but I don’t see that ever happening. I give it a B.

Boyhood is nominated for Director, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress and Original Screenplay.  I’ll keep this short.  Patricia Arquette is great in this movie and it’s cool the amount of dedication the film must have taken.  It was neat to see the child actor grow up on screen.  Having said that, it was a little slow for me. If a movie is going to be close to three hours, it needs to engage me that whole time and there wasn’t anything particularly enthralling about the plot.  I give the movie a B.

Gone Girl is nominated for Actress and that’s it.  I totally concur with this nomination.  Rosamund Pike is amazing in this film.  This is also controversial because of it’s content and the role of the woman in the movie.  I could probably discuss the movie with a feminist lens for quite some time and I think there is a time and place for that discussion but since this is supposed to be a blog about food, I’ll just say that the movie keeps you on the edge of your seat.  It’s suspenseful and I enjoyed every second of it.  I give it an A.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is nominated for Director and Original Screenplay.  I am not the biggest Wes Anderson fan and I completely HATED Moonrise Kingdom so I didn’t have high expectations for this movie.  I have to say, it is probably my favorite one.  That doesn’t say much though because the bar is pretty low.  I guess I just don’t get the point to these movies.  It had some funny parts and a somewhat endearing love story but it’s weird and the “coolness” of it seems to be above me.  That’s fine though; I’m OK with not “getting” some things.  I like what I like.  Overall I give the movie a C+.

The Imitation Game is nominated for Director, Actor, Supporting Actress and Adapted Screenplay.  Everyone should go see this movie! I’m interested in WWII films but this one tells a unique story based on truth and I think it is an important story to tell and holds completely relevant in 2015.  Benedict Cumberbatch is totally outstanding.  The movie is intense, sad and funny at times.  It’s definitely one of my favorites so far.  I give it an A+.

Into the Woods is only nominated for Supporting Actress.  I love certain musicals so I wasn’t sure how I would feel.  I hated Les Mis but have a few songs from the movie on my ipod.  I’m obsessed with muscials like Hairspray and Grease.  Into the Woods is not a movie in which I would download any of the music.  I wasn’t struck by any of the songs at all.  However, I thought the movie itself was really cute.  I thought Anna Kendrick was adorable and Meryl Streep was great as a witch (though I’m not sure she should win over someone like Patricia Arquette this year).  I wouldn’t buy it but I wouldn’t mind watching it again if I was caught up on my DVR and it was on TV.  I give it a B-.

Nightcrawler is nominated only for Original Screenplay.  This movie is creepy and sucks out every ounce of hotness that Jake Gyllenhaal has and I could have easily been on board with a nomination for him.  I think the most disturbing part of the movie is that people seeking gore to entertain their viewers really exist.  The movie was pretty good but strange.  I give it a B.

Whiplash is nominated for Supporting Actor and Adapted Screenplay.  I’d say this is definitely my other favorite movie.  J.K. Simmons is comolpetely believable as a scary drum instructor and the display of musical talent in the movie is a true pleasure to watch.  I was captivated the entire movie and that’s something important to me because I have severe attention issues.  I give this movie an A.

That's all folks! I plan on reporting on more food and movies next week and HOPEFULLY some positive results on the scale.  Good luck to everyone and have a great week!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Great Eggspectations

Well, my 7 pound loss the first week was amazing.  I followed all of the rules again and I was up 0.2 this week...but I did lose inches. This was not a great feeling but I'm pushing past it.  I missed exercise Wednesday and then today because of a wicked sinus infection.  I got some prescribed medicine in me now so I'm hoping to snap back into it.  I'm not sure what happened last week other than perhaps an excessive use of olive oil one night and two teaspoons of peanut butter instead of one on another night but other than that, I really don't think I did anything wrong.  All I can do is keep on keeping on.  I've got a Misto now thanks to my mom so that will help me moderate my olive oil usage.  It's just a can that you put olive oil and then pump it so it can act as a spray. I had a better cheat day yesterday and even though I was stuffed, I only had two big meals rather than three like last week and I wasn't in quite as bad of a state last night when I went to bed.  I also weighed a day early because I went to Nashville and a lot of times for me, that one day can make a noticeable difference.  This week, I'll weigh on Thursday instead of Sunday because I'm going to the beach with my mom so I anticipate that this week won't be much better than the last.  It's all good though.  I'm following the rules.  I could eat more veggies and less protein but I've been tested and I've succeeded.  I ate three salads in one day when I went to Nashville. I've faced pizza twice and Mexican food and managed to hang in there.  Hopefully it will pay off soon.  My goal tomorrow is to get some exercise in.  I needed to rest today but I can't just go without working out.  It's a dangerous habit to start.

I pretty much start my day with eggs every day.  They provide the easiest protein in the morning and for now, I still like eating them.  I use a lot of egg whites but also eat whole eggs if they are cage free, as prescribed by the diet.  My favorite breakfast is cage free eggs over medium with turkey sausage and some black beans on the side.  Not every meal is this big.  The diet recommends a big breakfast.  It works well because I'm not hungry at all for hours after eating it. They recommend you get 30 grams of protein as soon as you get up to give you energy.

I also mix it up and use egg whites so I'm not having yolks every day.  I can use my egg maker to make an omelet or scramble them up real quick and add whatever I want.  I'm not the biggest fan of black beans but they are filling and have a lot of protein so I eat them a lot.  It helps to mix them with food because they aren't my favorite as the star of the show.  So, I popped some in my eggs with some onion and it was tasty.

I also use my egg maker to make some hard boiled eggs.  I added one to my salad last week.  I'd like to do this some more and perhaps make an egg salad.  The egg maker worked like a charm for this.

I got back yesterday from a one night trip to Nashville with my dad, my brother and his friend. We saw Linkin Park again.  I was totally sick but I was trying to hang in there.  I hope my brother has had a memorable time turning 21.

I'm heading to Gulf Shores with my mom on Thursday for a long weekend so here's hoping I can limit my intake and keep away from the carbs and have grilled seafood instead of fried.

Until next week...

Monday, January 12, 2015

Taco Night-Slow Carb Style

Hey y'all! I am proud to announce that I lost 7.6 pounds and 2 inches on my first week of the Slow Carb diet! I realize that I won't get these numbers every week. I had eaten so much prior to my weigh in so my numbers were super high.  I now have 28.2 pounds to lose before my birthday in May in order to reach my goal. The first week was tough but not as bad as I expected.  One of my biggest challenges was following through with my self-inflicted ban on Diet Coke. I got pretty grumpy multiple times during the week. I ate a lot of food so that's not a problem.  My favorite treat every day was a tiny spoonful of peanut butter and a glass of wine before bed.  I will say I think the most difficult aspect of the diet is getting used to preparing every meal.  I especially found that difficult today because I work from 10:30 in the morning until 9:30 at night and I'm walking all over the place from point to point and it's hard to make slow-carb friendly recipes that I can take on the go.  My goal is to begin preparing meals on Sundays so I have something to take with me.  The problem is I don't always have access to a microwave and it's not always easy to keep things cold.  Today I procrastinated and had to buy lunch and dinner which stressed me out because I'm trying not to spend money.  I had Moe's for lunch which was yummy and slow carb friendly.  I had Panda Express for dinner which essentially amounted to a giant box full of broccoli that I paid nearly $8 for and that made me sad. It was my own fault though. I was lazy yesterday and didn't plan out the week like I should have.  Finally, I learned quickly that cheat day is going to be more fun if I don't put so much food in my body that I want to explode.  I've always overdone it in cheat situations but I wasn't thinking yesterday that my body hadn't had carbs in a week so my stomach couldn't handle all of the food I wanted yesterday.  So, I am going to have to plan cheat day more carefully because I was totally miserable last night after I had dinner.  All the food I had was delicious but as usual I went good far.

Ian likes pizza and different fast-food and non-fast food variations of Mexican food.  These two categories make up about 90% of the food that he eats on a daily basis.  I love these things to but they aren't exactly slow-carb friendly.  It was his birthday last week and his mom came to town to treat him on Monday (my first day on the diet).  He wanted Mellow Mushroom.  I'm not sure if he hates me or if the poor thing is just oblivious but I wasn't too happy about that choice.  I tried to tone down my dramatics though since it was HIS birthday.  They have a build your own salad option so despite the ridiculous, inflated price of the salad, it was a good option.  On his actual birthday he chose Mexican food. I can actually eat Mexican food but one of my favorite things in the world is chips with queso and that is most definitely not an option.  I got the fajitas minus any fun carb-y stuff.  The point to this rant was that we went to our new favorite Mexican place.  It's a small, hole in the wall in Cottondale called Chabely's.  They have a dish there that I'm obsessed with.  It's called Chabely's tacos and essentially it's just 3 steak tacos that have steak, grilled onions, bacon and melted cheese.  The steak is cooked perfectly and the bacon and cheese are amazing.  I tried to recreate that and made it slow-carb.  I bought the pre-packaged steak that is already in fajita strips and I sautéed it with turkey bacon bits, onions, mushrooms and black beans.  Once it was done, I used big Romaine leaves as taco shells.  Obviously, without cheese, this recipe never stands a chance if you compare it to the tacos at Chabely's but on its own it was quite tasty.  It took less than ten minutes to make.  It was filling and I thought it was delicious.

As I mentioned before, I have beeb having a glass of wine at night.  I was proud of myself because I didn't overdo it.  You are allowed one to two glasses a day and I only had two glasses one night.  I did perfectly my first week and I hope to continue that momentum.  

Speaking of Ian, I never gave him a birthday shout out.  It seems unlikely he will read this but in case he does, Happy Belated Birthday.  I hope it was a good one. Wish me luck this week y'all! It's my first full week of balancing school and the diet.  I'm heading to Nashville with my Dad and brother on Saturday for another celebration for my brother's 21st birthday.  We are going to see Linkin Park.  I'll be back next week with more recipes and hopefully more good weight loss news.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Let's Do This

Happy 2015 y'all.

The damage:

Since October 24th, 2014 I've gained 17.4 pounds which is an average of .24 pounds A DAY.  I mean, that is just ridiculous.  That is how quickly I can gain weight.  What's sad is I didn't completely let it go with food until a couple weeks ago.  I would be on and off the diet.  Also, I never stopped exercising. I haven't been as aggressive as usual but I was out there at least a few times a week.  I can only imagine how much I COULD weigh.  It's amazing how long it takes to come off and how quickly it can come back on.  At my lowest weight, I was down 115.4 pounds.  That was in April of 2012.  Since then, I've put on 35.8 pounds.  Granted, there is some serious inflation on those numbers since it was the holidays and then I JUST went to New Orleans but that is a highly alarming number.  That's an average weight gain of .9 pounds per month over the past couple years.  That brings my overall weight loss since I started this journey to 79.6 pounds total.  While that's nothing to feel ashamed of, 115.4 is far more impressive.  I felt the need to put all these numbers in writing to make it real.  My biggest fear since I began losing big amounts of weight is that I would gain it back.  I've worked so hard and it's been a long journey but it isn't over.  Unfortunately, because of my body type and my inability to do well on my own, I have to have structure.  I was saddened by the numbers but there's no time for tears or for self pity.  It's time to go at it harder than ever.  I am starting a new path because counting calories and points is no longer motivating or effective.  I believe in myself, I just need to find that spark again and I'm hoping the slow carb diet will be the trick.

The goal:

On the slow carb diet, you are allowed one cheat day per week.  I've chosen to make that day Sunday.  Occasionally, I may change that to Saturday depending on the things going on.  On this diet, it's important to stay consistent so other than my allotted cheat day, I want to make sure that I don't slip up during the week. The slow carb diet doesn't allow "white" carbs which includes foods like rice, bread, cereal, potatoes, pasta, etc. Also, no cheese, beer or fruit.  The good thing is you don't have to limit calories and you can have a glass or two of wine every day.  I may sneak in a vodka water drink a couple times a week as well.  On Sunday, I can have whatever.  My goal is to get back to my lowest weight by my birthday.  That means I need to lose 35.8 pounds by May 13th.  That's about a third of a pound a day.  I know that's an intense goal but I am hoping the first couple of weeks will show big results since I'm shocking my body back into business.  I'm also going to pick up the exercise game but I'm starting slow and getting progressively more active as the week goes on.  I think this is a diet I can stick to because I have a day to look forward to every week.  It also helps that I like vegetables.  I just have to make sure not to overdo it on fatty proteins like nuts and bacon.

It's important to get protein in the morning when you wake up.  Ian got me an egg cooker for Christmas and I tested that puppy out this morning.  I LOVE it! I used liquid egg whites and added bacon, mushrooms, onion, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  I let it work it's magic and then poof, I had an omelet.  I served it on a plate with a couple pieces of bacon and a dollop of hummus to make sure I got my 30 grams of protein for breakfast.  It was delicious and filling! I can't wait to try to make hard boiled eggs in it.

I'm severely addicted to Diet Coke.  On the Slow Carb diet, you are supposed to limit your intake of artificial sweetener to one drink a day.  I am used to drinking many more than that.  It's no secret that studies have shown that diet drinks aren't good for you and in some cases, they can even slow down weight loss.  So, since I like unsweet tea and grew up on it, I'm also getting rid of the diet drinks.  I plan on treating myself to Diet Coke on the weekends but my goal is to clean up this body of mine and severely limit the amount of artificial ingredients that go in it. It's going to be mostly unsweet tea and water from now on. I am probably going to be pretty grumpy the next couple weeks as I work through all of this.

My brother turned 21 on December 30th so we got to go out and that was a lot of fun! I'm really going to miss beer.

Dad and I traveled to NOLA to support Bama and it didn't end well but I had some amazing food and I'm blaming some of the high numbers on that because I'm know I'm bloated and dehydrated from the trip.   It's super disappointing when Bama loses now but we did and overall it was still a good season.  Now I can detox from the holidays and game days and focus on my health.  Wish me luck everyone and I'm also going to be rooting for all of you.  I weigh on Sunday morning and I will post results on Monday.