Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday Inspiration

I've been friends with Patricia (or PA as Tonya and I call her) for more than 10 years. We bonded at Starwood Hotels and Resorts doing hotel reservations and have been good friends ever since. PA is a great friend and an inspiration to me. She came to visit last year and it was the first time I'd seen her in years! It was so fun to reconnect and be in the same city as her for a few days.

A few months ago we were talking and I was telling her about the blog and my struggles to get started. We decided we needed to do a girls only cruise in the spring. I've never been cruising and was dying to go! It was agreed that if we were going to go cruising, we needed to be skinnier. I'm proud to say that PA has really taken this to heart and to date has lost more than 50 pounds! Since August 1, she has been watching what she eats, exercising and working hard to change her body. I'm so proud of this girl! She is my inspiration and she will be yours too.

The above picture is the old PA and the picture below is the on her way to being improved PA! Isn't she a fox? Va-va-voom!

Here is her story written by her:

If you are a "heavy weight" (as my brother puts it), you secretly have been hoping for years to figure out how to loose weight.  Even if you seem happy, which I am, there is still that place in your gut that wants to be heathy and not feel like your bulging out of your clothes.  People have been kind to me and generous but, you can only hear so many times what a wonderful personality you have and only if you would, "loose some weight the guys would be flocking to you..." 


That is not the reason to loose weight.  We "heavy weights" need to loose weight for our health and to feel better about ourselves.  Married or not, not matter the amount you want to loose, we all need to get on the health train and hold on for dear life.  I began my my heath journey, believe it or not about a week before a cruise to Alaska in July 2010. I thought to myself, hey stupid at least if you would have waited to begin you wouldn't have to be concerned about what you ate on the crusie.  

I was at my gym and they offered 4 training sessions introductory for $129. My first thought was yeah, right. Been there done that. The trainers are looking at the skinny girls with the booties shorts and sports bras on and no one would be interested in training me.  I was told that if that happened like it had in the past my money would be refunded. So I figured why the hell not?

Then I met Eddie. I started working out with him on August 15. He is awesome and although he wasn't so sure about me and if my light had turned on, he stuck with me.  I lost five pounds before the cruise. I did OK on the cruise but of course put it back on.  When I got back from the cruise, I was discouraged and thought why I am I don't this if I am just going to gain weight I already lost.  Crap, I have to see Eddie in a few days I better get my crap together.  So, I did and after that is when it truely started to happen for me. I truely began my journey and I look forward to sharing my journey with all of you.

The last few months have had many ups and downs.  I have been amazed to see my own progress some weeks 2 pound or 1 pound losses and others I have had a great week of 6 and one week even of 7!  If you want it bad enough you CAN do it.

I had to change the way I ate, my whole eating regime. If you are eating fast food you MUST GET RID OF IT!!! If you are eating out 7 days a week, (like I was), try only to go 6 then 5 then so on. I have not eaten at a fast food resturant in 4.5 months.  You must start to wean yourself off of sweets. I had just finished a work out with my trainer and of course looked like HELL.  I had just shared with him my chocolate cake temptation from that day that I DID NOT eat even though it was that rich delicious looking chocolate cake. He said, Patti, you know that work out that we just did? I said, yes, he said, that whole work out is what it would take to burn off the cake you were describing.  I thought, no way not worth it at all.  

Each time you put something in your mouth think is it worth it? I was reading a really good book recently about health and it said, that if you must have something sweet you can take 3 bites and be done with it, wait 15 minutes and you will find you have the same satisfaction.  (Dr. Agaston, South Beach Diet book.) Although, I am not doing the South Beach Diet, I am exercising and eating better, I like to call it a life change, the book still had valuable information that I am using.  Another tip from that same book was that vinegar, and lemon slow down the digestion process so it will take your food longer to digest therefore, you will feel fuller longer. ( A VERY GOOD THING!)  So begin with small things, start by getting rid of the fast food. I am not saying you can't eat out.  I still have been to resturants and made wise choices while at the resturants but, prepare yourself before you go, check out the menu where possible online, plan what you are going to eat so you don't have to wonder what is the healthiest choice.  You will be glad you did and you will be on your way!!
Exercise, the dreded word. No "sain" person likes to exercise right?  Well, I actually have begun to like it.  Start with a small goal 3 times a week for 30 minutes, then work up from that.  If you can't do 30 min, do 15, just get out there and get moving. You don't need a trainer or a gym membership. Walk outside, do fitness tapes in your home. Get with a bunch of the ladies and go to a water aerobics class my friend did that and was very successful with her weightloss and made some great friends in the process. 

There are so many options. My new favorite things are the exercise balls. There are so many things you can do on an exercise ball. Get some weights and you will be all set to go. There are tapes that can show you the different things do do with the ball but, its great.  I have now worked myself up to 5 days a week. Can you believe it? I now want to add another day in, someone check my temperature!!!

Keep checking back for more progress on PA as she continues down her weight loss path. I hope she's provided you with the inspiration you need to get off the couch and to the gym!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

 If you know me, you know that I can't stand not to modify a recipe and make it my own. It's a little bit conceited but I just know I can make it better. And nine times out of 10 it is better. It's hard being so amazing all the time.

Winter is for hearty veggies that hide sweetness and flavor behind their tough exteriors. Squash is one of my favorite vegetables because of the sweet and nutty taste. My counter has been accumulating butternut squashes (I'm not sure how that happened since I haven't been buying them) but I think the culprit is my father. Regardless, I had three of them sitting in the counter and I'm was trying to figure out what to do with them. I've never made butternut squash soup but I thought I would try it out. And lucky for you I did.

Amazing. Rich. Sweet. Creamy. Good for you. Say what?

These are just a few of the words James used to describe it with a little "honey, you're amazing" thrown in there too. Hold your applause until the end of the post please. It's true, I calculated the recipe on Spark People's site and I was astonished. The carbs, calories and fat were low but it was really high in vitamins. Yay!

I scoured the web for recipes but couldn't find one that I liked. Some boiled the squash instead of roasting it, most added potatoes. I don't mind potatoes in soup but I didn't want to worry about the carbs today because I knew the squash would have enough. Plus sometimes potatoes can make soup grainy, which I hate. Enough talking, here's the recipe with the nutritional information:

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
By: Brenda Fisher
Makes 6-8 servings

2 butternut squash, split in half and seeded
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
4 oz. cream cheese (half a block)
2 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. dried thyme (or more depending on taste)
2 tsp. dried sage
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
kosher salt and pepper to taste

Place the squash on the baking sheet, cut side up. Season with kosher salt, pepper and a little dried thyme. Roast in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until soft. Allow the squash to cool before scooping out the pulp (you should have about 3 cups).

In a pan, add the olive oil, carrot and onion and saute until soft but not brown. Season the vegetables with salt, pepper and remaining thyme while they cook. Add the stock, squash, sage, nutmeg, and butter and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and use an immersion blender (or transfer to a food processor or blender) and blend the soup until its smooth. Return to the pot and add the cream cheese and Parmesan cheese and allow them to melt but do not boil. Add the water once the cheese is melted to thin it out. Adjust the season as needed.

 Nutritional information: 
Calories: 203
Total fat: 14.5g
Saturated fat: 6g
Cholesterol: 26.8mg
Sodium: 244mg
Potassium: 413.9mg
Carbohydrates: 14.8g
Fiber: 2.8g
Sugar: 2.8g
Protein: 5.1g

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Portion Size

Portion size baffles me. When I'm hungry, it's easy to justify that a plate full of potato chips has to be pretty close to an ounce. I was thinking about this last night as I was fixing dinner and making a small plate for Bridget. I looked at her plate, filled with about a half cup of white rice, 4 large broccoli florets and six pieces of orange chicken. Then I looked at mine. More rice, the same broccoli and way more chicken.

You've heard the expression "your eyes were bigger than your stomach" right? Well, I definitely think that's true. Bridget's plate looked more visually appealing - everything was filled on it and it looked like a full meal. My plate looked half empty. That unconscious need to fill that plate is part of the problem I'm having with my weight loss.

I ran across an article on iHerb today while I was stalking Facebook about portion size (click here for the link). It's a pretty good read. On that article it had another link to the Food Networks website about a visual index about portion size. Now this helped a lot! I'm a very visual learner and so when I can see that a cup of pasta is the same size as a tennis ball, that makes more sense. Here is what Food Network said about portion size:

A portion is how much food you should eat at one sitting to manage your weight — or even drop a few pounds. These suggestions below are general guidelines — everyone is different, and calorie requirements can vary by age, gender, activity level and genetics.
Three ounces of meat = size of a deck of cards
One cup of cooked pasta = tennis ball
Two tablespoons peanut butter = size of pingpong ball
1/2 cup of vegetables = size of baseball
1/4 cup dried fruits = large egg or golf ball
Small baked potato = computer mouse
One pancake serving = compact disc
One serving of cheese = six dice
One serving of fish (approx. 3 oz.) = checkbook
One teaspoon oil = size of thumb tip

How do you manage portion size? I'm going to put these pictures on a sheet of paper, print it off and put it on my fridge. Maybe that will help!

Exercise has been lacking this week because I've been fighting a cold. But my eating has been good and I took Dr. Oz's advice and had a daily vitamin today. Hurray! I'm on the way.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Christmas is over...let's move on.

2 weeks ago I was on cloud nine. I had almost lost 10 lbs and I had a game plan to survive the Christmas holiday without gaining weight. Too bad sometimes life gets in the way. My best friend Whitni who is 29 was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. It is such a shocking and sad diagnosis that I can hardly handle.
The past year and a half Whitni and I haven't gone more than a few days with out seeing or talking to each other (besides that 2 weeks she spent with her husband in Europe! Pure torture for me!) She is being treated at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, which means that Roswell feels empty. It really is a two edge sword because SLC is the absolute best place to get treatment and I wouldn't want her anywhere else, but Roswell is almost unbearable without her. It isn't like I don't have good friends in Roswell, but their just not Jared and Whitni.
Sorry for hijacking this weight loss blog with such downer news, but I just had to express what I am feeling. Maybe it is the only way to get out of this rut.
On happier news, I am so looking forward to this blog in 2011. Not only will Brenda and I be kicking ass and inspiring others to lose weight, but we will have others amazing transformations highlighted on the blog.
I love you all and am so grateful for all the friends, family and total strangers who support us on the super hard and not so fun journey to be skinny bitches.

Here is really the only picture I have of Whitni and Jared. Paige actually took it, hence the silly faces. Please pray for my BFF. I love her so much and I know she can kick cancers ass.

Happy New Year!

Can you believe it's already 2011? It seems like just yesterday everyone was worrying about Y2K. Like it or not, it's here and its time to put this new year to good use. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I don't like resolutions. I'm all for making changes to your life but I don't like the idea of making crazy out of reach goals that are impossible to reach, therefore setting your self up to fail. I'm tired of failing.

My "resolutions" this year are the same as last year - quit being a slave to everything in my life. I've started conquering my work and not letting my deadlines rule me, but I'm not there 100 percent yet. Obviously, I'm still a huge slave to my weight and to food. I'm on my way to becoming the master over my impulses but I'm not there yet.

But isn't that what this life is about, making progress toward your goal and working hard to get there? It doesn't matter when you start, it's that you finish and that's what I intend to do. I'm not going to dazzle you with amazing predictions about weight loss and all that crap. I'm taking it slow and going steady. But how to start?

I'm not an Oprah fan per se and I never watch her show. But I did run across an article written by one of her lackey's Dr. Mehmet Oz that I really liked. In the article, he outlines some strategies to help you follow through with your "resolutions". Here is the link to the full article but here is the gist of it:

1. Get more sleep
Sometimes, hitting the snooze button in the morning isn't such a bad idea. A lack of rest can cause your body to gain weight, Oz says, adding that seven hours of shuteye per night is the magic number.

2. Lose 10 Lbs.
The key to cutting your risk of having a heart attack or getting arthritis? Ten lbs. Oz says dropping the weight is "a huge benefit" that's "easily obtainable."

3. Work out every morning
No need to load up on lattes – Oz says the best morning pick-me-up isn't caffeinated. The doctor says a brisk seven-minute workout is the perfect way to jump start the day, whether in the form of a yoga routine – his personal favorite – stretching or running.

4. Have a multivitamin every day
A multivitamin ensures you're getting the 12 essential vitamins and minerals you need in your diet every day – especially if you're not getting them at the dinner table.

5. Make time for friends and family every single day
Oz says touching base with loved ones doesn't require hours of time (or cell phone minutes). "It doesn't have to be a long conversation – just three or four minutes," he says. "Most people do this naturally without thinking about it, but some don't."

I like how simple these are. Basic things that will improve our lives one small step at a time. As I'm sitting here pouring my heart out, my daughter is leaning on me, practically begging for attention and it immediately made me think of number five. Too often during a normal day, I rely on Bridget's self sufficient attitude while I'm working. Work is important but what if I spent an extra hour each day doing something with Bridget. Taking her to the park, doing a crafty project? An hour spent moving around and not just sitting in front of my laptop.

You see how easy these tips are to fit in and how it could impact your life? I'm kind of tingly just thinking about it. Let's make 2011 the best year ever and make those goals to becoming a better person. Baby steps are the key, just don't stop moving forward!

Tonya and I have some big changes coming to this blog and we will be featuring some amazing people that are on their way to conquering the weight loss beast. Stay with us friends, you won't be dissapointed.