Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cupcakes and baking

I challenged my 4 year old daughter to do something for 7 days. I told her that at the end of every day if she was successful we would put a sticker on the calendar and when she had 7 stickers in a row we would make cupcakes. She loves cupcakes...and so do I! At the end of 7 days she had earned her cupcakes. I knew these would be a huge temptation to me so I made them low fat yummy cupcakes. I'm sure some of you have heard about replacing oil with unsweetened applesauce in baking. I do this all the time! Seriously! I never ever use oil in baking any more unless I am making something for someone else and I do not plan to have any of it.

Here's how it works: if the recipe calls for 1/2 C oil, you put in a 1/2 unsweetened applesauce! It's as easy as that! Some things come out a little "gummy" in the texture so there are a few recipes that you might have to adjust the amount of applesauce, but overall it's a 1 to 1 ratio.

Recently I made apple cinnamon muffins and replaced the oil with applesauce. In fact, I doubled the applesauce and put in a little more baking soda and I got almost twice as many muffins out of the recipe and they were so yummy! That really cut the points down too!

Dr. Oz featured this trick on his blog too and there are some comments from other fans who gave other substitution ideas too. You should check it out here.

Do any of you do this? Or any of the tricks talked about at the Dr. Oz site?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Do you have a favorite recipe?

I have several recipes that I love...but they don't love my weight loss plans. So rather than change what I eat completely I'm working to change those recipes to be more weight-loss friendly by substituting lower fact ingredients!

My mom made casseroles often while I was growing up. A couple of my favorites, and ones that I consider comfort foods, are covered in cheese! YUM! One of the first things I noticed after starting the Weight Watchers points was that to cover a casserole with cheese added those points up fast! I was looking at 1 cup of casserole being half my daily points allowance! That was unacceptable to me. I couldn't spend 1/2 my points on 1 cup of food and I did not want to give up those yummy foods. I found that one of the easiest ways to change that recipe but not the taste was to use a different cheese, but finding a good low fat cheese is harder to do than you would think!

After a lot of looking I found a bag of shredded pizza blend cheese that is yummy and also lower in fat than plain cheddar. This cheese blend includes Mozzarella, Mild Cheddar and Provolone cheeses. I love it! And since it's already shredded that sames me time too! :) Now, you may wonder if it really makes a difference...and the answer is YES! For example, on the old Weight Watcher's Points program the cheese alone to top the casserole was 21 points! Using this shredded cheese instead allows me to cover the entire casserole for only 6 points!! It is still gooey and cheesy and delicious. I also changed the hamburger in the casserole from 80/20 to 95/5. Now I can have a cup of that casserole for only 1/5 of my daily points instead of 1/2 and the taste hasn't changed at all! My kids are picky eaters and not only have they not noticed a difference but they love this casserole too!

This cheese has become "mom's cheese". We still have a regular cheddar cheese block that I will use for cheeseburgers or grilled cheese sandwiches for the family, but I always use the shredded cheese for myself. That way I can still have a cheeseburger or a grilled cheese sandwich with the family, but I don't have to fast the rest of the day to stay within my points!

What are some of the tricks you use?

Monday, May 28, 2012


2 months into my journey I had lost 15 pounds! I was excited, but also a little discouraged. I was excited to be down 15 pounds but I had to work hard not to be upset that I was only down 15 pounds in 2 months. Why was this a struggle? Well because I have heard so many stories of people losing 15 pounds in 1 month when they initially start. Looking back on it I can tell you that stress played a major role in my weight loss. In the past I would assume that being under a lot of stress would cause you to lose weight, and maybe that's how it works for some people, but not for me. I actually hold on to that comfort food...

I think it's a defense  mechanism. Do you remember learning about those in school? Flight or Fight...well I think my body goes into survival mode and when I get stressed my body holds on to every little calorie just in case I need it to survive! I can keep track of my food intake, track my points and even be under the number of points I'm allowed and I usually still gain a pound or two, or more. Sometimes I don't actually gain but I only lose 0-.2 pounds, or something like that.

The hardest part of that is to not get even more stressed. What is my initial reaction to gaining weight? STRESS! What does stress do to my body? ADDS WEIGHT! So it's this vicious circle! After recognizing this pattern (which took a long time) I have learned to look at the scale, review in my head what I have eaten and what my emotional state has been and then decide what changes need to be made. Now when I do that I can say "Ok I've been very stressed the last few days, so this is normal." Does that make me feel better? A little, honestly. Because I know that as I work to relieve the extra stress that my body will let go of those extra pounds. It's just going to take some time.

Sometimes there is nothing you can do to get rid of the stress, you just have to wait it out. Like at that time...(and coincidentally today too) my kids were/are all sick. That is extra stress to me because they are young enough that they lay on the couch and whine all day and holler for me constantly. There is nothing I can do to make that stress go away faster. I can only give them medicine and try to be patient and loving and remember they feel awful. The cost of taking them to the Dr adds stress too. But what can you do about that? When it comes time that you have to take them in then you just have to do it.

Sometimes there is something you can do. Like if you are stressing over something that is really a minor inconvenience, or something that is so totally out of your control (like the world economy) that there is no use in stressing over it. Then you have to find a way to LET IT GO! A little stress is good for you, but too much stress can not only cause you to gain weight but it can have other negative effects on your body, like high blood pressure.

So if you are carrying around too much stress find a way to let it go and then your body will be more willing to let go of the pounds too!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

week in review

I've really struggled this week with getting my full work out in. I haven't felt really good because my allergies are going nuts and all 3 of my kids have been sick. That's no excuse for not working out, but it sure has been a big stumbling block! The days that I have worked out I've struggled just to do the whole workout!

I always thought that after changing my daily routine to include a workout I would have an easier time doing it. Does that make any sense? Like I would be so used to that being part of my day that I would just do it without really thinking about it. Nope, not the way it works. I am still so tempted to skip days, and I have not been very good this goal has been to do at least 30 mins of cardio 6 days a week. This week it's only been 3 days.

I am sticking to my points though. Even though I was very tempted yesterday to just have a few extra cookies! :) Since this is a whole life style change I will just say "I will do better next week" and then move forward instead of beating myself up over the past!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Emotional Buffer Zone

One of the hardest things I continually struggle with is the emotional impact of losing weight. I would think emotionally things would be great! I'm getting skinny and feeling better. But what I have found is that I have a lot of "Emotional Baggage" that has to be sorted through. My weight gain is more related to my emotions than I ever recognized. I thought most of it was due to bad portion control. What I have found is that portion control was really a small part of it.

I was carrying around a lot of insecurities. Subconsciously I was adding a buffer zone between me and other people. I didn't think I was really trying to distance myself from people because I craved interaction with others. I desperately wanted people to know who I really was and to like me. I don't want to sound like I'm making excuses or trying to gain anyone's pity...nothing really horrible happened to me. The fact of the matter is that I had depression and didn't know it. I don't have a really bad or severe case of depression, in fact I'm not even on medication any more.

In High School the symptoms of depression started to manifest themselves, but I didn't know what it was and neither did my parents. At the time the social trend seemed to be that everyone was going to therapy and everyone was uncovering repressed memories of child molestation. I was so scared of someone trying to convince me that something like that had happened to me that I didn't tell anyone what I was feeling. I didn't want to go to therapy because I absolutely knew beyond any doubt that I had not been abused.

Anyhow, the way my depression affected me was that I turn things around in my head that people say. For example: someone would compliment me on the dress I was wearing but I would hear sarcasm in their voice even when they were being sincere. So I had a very difficult time determining what people really meant. I honestly thought most of the kids around me were making fun of me in some way. Now, to be fair there were some who did make fun of me, and it was so obvious that I could not misunderstand it. But looking back I think the majority of what I thought was going on was really just my brain misinterpreting those messages.

Because of this misunderstanding in my brain my self confidence started to drop. I had good grades, I was a good kid but I often felt like no one really liked me. I know a lot of kids go through that in High School so this is no excuse for the way I handled it. My body went into self defense mode. I started adding on the pounds, just a little at a time. Between Jr and Sr year I went up 2 sizes, not so bad...I wasn't overweight. I had started a habbit though of adding that buffer which would keep people away, especially boys. As I got older and had more experiences that I misinterpreted and as my self esteem fell a little more, I made that buffer zone bigger by adding more weight. I desperately wanted someone to break through that buffer though.

As I have let the weight go I've had to face those insecurities. I'm amazed at how much there is to face! Luckily for me I have a wonderful husband who works hard to make me feel good about myself and to reinforce the safety and security I need to be able to let those emotional ties go, and let that buffer zone shrink.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

#1 question asked

as i've traveled down this road i've been asked several times what my secret is, or what is my best advice....well here it is:


ok that sounds like it doesn't fit with eating a low fat/high fiber diet or trying to lose weight...but it does! what i mean is that you have to make choices every minute of every day about what you are putting in your body. so make good choices. that doesn't mean that if you are craving a piece of chocolate cake you have to go eat a stick of celery instead! no no no! that doesn't work. all that will do is make you crave that chocolate cake more! so what do i do?

first of all i know that at the end of the day, when the kids are asleep and the house is quiet i am going to be craving something sweet. i'm sure part of that is because before i started this journey it was almost a nightly routine for larry and i to have a bowl of ice cream...or some m&m's....or something like that! since i know i'm going to crave something at the end of the day i save a few points for a treat at night. then i have my cupboard and freezer stocked with yummy treats that are low in points. yes the portion size is smaller and that really annoyed me in the beginning, but now i am used to it. over the months my stomach has shrunk and those portions (which are the correct portion size instead of "super sized") are perfect!

what kind of treats do i stock up on? not surprisingly i've found several Weight Watchers food items that i love. ok maybe it is surprising to some people...but i like them :) here are just a couple:

the snack cakes and the fudge bars help satisfy my chocolate craving...along with Fiber One brownies and Nabisco has these 100 calorie packs "oreo" and "nutterbutter". i love those! i'm having a hard time finding them in my area though :(

there's a little sneak peak into my cupboard...i have other snacks for that salty craving and creamy craving...i'll get to those in a later post. but for now i hope that helps some of you find yummy things to replace those really fattening cravings with! if you have any favorites let me know! maybe you have found something i haven't yet! i always like finding new "treats" :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

back to my story

so about 6 weeks after i started working out i was getting very frustrated because i was losing, but then i was gaining. i felt like i was taking 4 steps forward and then 3 steps backwards! but i was determined not to give up! i did not want to admit larry was right in thinking i wouldn't be able to stick to this. i still had no money to spend on weight loss but i decided to go talk to a friend who was my inspiration. every time i got frustrated i looked to her and said "if Jan can do then so can i!" i don't know how much she had lost by that time but i knew it was significant.

i called Jan and said "help!" she laughed and we scheduled a time for me to go to her house. she has done weight watchers on and off over the years and had success. i knew i needed a better eating plan so she was gracious enough to teach me the weight watchers points program. please note: i did not join weight watchers...but i wish i could have. i just couldn't afford it. i am in no way saying that you shouldn't join though if you are able to!

Jan had some extra "old" books and information that she gladly gave me and she taught me the basic program. my mother in law also had a couple old books that she didn't use any more (i have seen that the old points program books can often be found at Goodwill or 2nd hand book stores too) much to both our surprise Weight Watchers changed their program about 6 months later! but that's beside the point. i called Jan often with points questions...she was a great help to me! if i had the money i would have joined weight watchers online...but i just couldn't afford it. i think that the support you get from joining the program is needed. luckily for me i had support from those around me. i had a great group of people at church who slowly found out i was working to lose weight (often because Jan pointed it out to them. i think she did that to redirect some of the attention off her weight loss....humble Jan!) and that made me feel accountable. i knew they would accept me even if i started to gain the weight back...but it helped me be motivated to keep losing!

i do not know the entire weight watchers program and i have not learned the new program. by the time the new program came out i was feeling successful with the old program and still didn't have the money to invest in the new books or to officially join the program. so i just continue using the old program, and it continues to work for me! i think it's super easy (ok so it takes a little while to get everything figured out, but spend a day calculating the points on the things you normally eat and then it's fast and easy!) and i understand how to make good food choices now better than ever before!

i found this interesting....

i heard Dr. Oz say that children with 1 over weight parent are 50% more likely to be overweight themselves! did you know that? obviously the likeliness increases if both parent's are overweight....this was another big motivation for me to start losing the weight. i know how uncomfortable i was with myself and i did not want my kids to end up in the same boat!

also....did you know that not getting enough sleep and stress can keep you from losing weight? in fact, those two factors can help you GAIN weight! so make sure to get enough sleep!  this was/is hard for me since i have 3 young children who do not value my sleep at all!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

body image

this is a side note....i was surfing channels today while eating lunch (hiding from the whiny sick kids for a few minutes of peace and quiet) and i stumbled upon "say yes to the dress: bridesmaids". i've watched "say yes to the dress" before but i stopped watching it most of the time because it always makes me kind of sad. anyhow, i stopped and watched today because i didn't see anything else remotely interesting on and i only planned on watching for a few minutes anyhow...

so, to the point of my story here, there was a bride who had brought her 2 daughters with her. this was obviously a second wedding and she wanted her daughters to be her bridesmaids. the older daughter was just out of college and had been a college athlete. now that she was no longer an athlete her body had changed a lot and she just wasn't comfortable in her own skin yet! (i understand that feeling soooooo well! i was never an athlete, but any body change can make you feel that way i think!) so she was really struggling with finding a dress that she felt comfortable in, and especially one that made her feel pretty.

it brought back to my mind my own wedding dress shopping...well actually most shopping trips. (this is why i don't watch these shows often) when i was wedding dress shopping i had one day that i could go with my mom and my sisters. i lived 12 hrs away from my mom and i had already asked one of my sisters to make my dress for me. i had an idea of what i wanted and i didn't really see a need to try any on because i did not intend to buy one. my sister, however, wanted me to try some on so she could get a better idea of what looked good on me.

so we went to a store and i tried on a couple of dresses. since i was at that time a size 20-22 there was nothing on the rack that fit me correctly, and that was incredibly embarrassing! especially because my 2 sisters that were sitting there were honestly like a size 0. i did not feel pretty and i knew i would not feel pretty in anything that store had to offer under the circumstances. some other things occurred during that shopping trip which reinforced those feelings and in the interest of not hurting anyone's feelings i will leave out those details. my feelings were hurt and i was even more convinced that the only way i could possibly have a nice dress and not feel like a fat pig was if my sister made the dress for me. (that way i didn't have to try on dresses that were way too small for me and only held on by clips and then try to imagine what it would look like in the correct size) so my sister made my dress and i loved it. i felt beautiful in it and i had no regrets.

a couple of years ago as i started this weight loss journey i was watching one wedding show or another and i was feeling very envious of the girls who were being waited on and who were encouraged to try dress after dress until "the" dress was found. i was envious of the attention and the opportunity to feel like a queen....i decided to try my wedding dress on because i was regretting not spending more time dress shopping and since i don't plan on ever having another wedding that is a lost opportunity in my view. i am happy to say that when i put my dress on i still felt that wonderful love and giddiness that i had when i first got the dress from my sister and when i got married in it. even though the dress is now far too big for me to wear the feeling was still there! i'm grateful for that, but i still wish that i would have taken the steps to be more comfortable in my own skin regardless of my size so that i could have had that experience at a wedding dress store. i'm sure i would have still had my sister make my dress...but i would have the experience anyhow. does that make sense?

i've watched plenty of hefty brides glow on tv as they found the perfect dress....i wish i had banished some of the emotional demons that were still haunting me at that time. i'm still working on banishing some of them even though i'm pretty much at my goal weight now and i feel much better about my body. it's a long process...

find what works for you!

i have always been told that you should only weigh yourself once a week, do it on the same day of the week, at the same time of day every week...but only once a week. the reason is that your weight varies throughout the day and the week. that's just the way your body processes food. well that doesn't work for me. i know it should, but it doesn't. to help illustrate this point i wanted to give you a little insight to how the first few weeks of my work out here is more from my journal, this is dated 4/6/10:

"so a few weeks ago i broke down and bought a wii and wii fit plus. i have been working out 6 days a week and i'm actually pretty happy with my progress...not that there is a "big" difference yet, but i see progress and that is motivating. it's also helping me recognize what i'm eating that i think are ok choices are not as good as i think. does that make sense? anyhow, i thought i should start writing about it in here. i was really frustrated cuz the first 4 days i gained 4 pounds! grrr that was not cool....but then i started losing it again. there have been a few days that i've gained again but overall i've been losing. darn easter dinner and candy though! i gained 2 pounds back over the weekend! those mashed potatoes and gravy and chocolate were just soooooo good! so now i have to work out a week to undue that weekend of eating. oh well. i did try to be good over the weekend. i ate less than i normally would have! lol that's not saying much is it?"

and then again on 4/7/10:

"i worked out hard last night and it paid off. :) when i weighed in at the beg of my workout it said i was down 0.2 lbs....but then after my workout i had lost another pound! now to just be good today and not gain it back! maybe i can actually meet my goal! i have 0.9 lbs to lose in 1 week now. then i'm back on track ;) "

so i was weighing in at the same time essentially...but i found that for me it was a huge motivation to weigh in every day both before my workout and after my workout! I KNOW, I KNOW! that's not good for you. but it is for me. why? because it has made me more conscious of  what i'm eating and i've learned a lot about how my body handles the food i eat. for example ~ i have learned that my body takes 2-3 days to process rice and pasta. that means that even if i just eat 1 cup of rice or pasta i gain about 1pound...and it takes me about 2-3 days to process and use that food. then "magically" that pound drops off! without me working out any more than i normally do! why is that important? because before i knew that i would have some rice with dinner and then i would weigh in when i started my work out....i would see that extra pound and i would be discouraged! now i know that if i have rice i should expect to see an extra pound or so....but not to worry because when my body processes it that pound will disappear and i'm not actually getting fat. does that make sense?

so people would say "this is why you only weigh in once a week!" but for me if i weighed in on say monday morning and i had rice sunday night i would only see that weight gain, and i never would have made the connection with rice! i only made the connection and learned how i process certain foods because when i saw the increase i immediately started going over what i had eaten in the last 24 hours. if i had tried to think back over a week i personally wouldn't have made the connection.

now i'm not saying that everyone should weigh in once or twice a day! DON'T....or DO! it's whatever works best for you! i have also been told that if you weigh in after you exercise you will weigh more. i don't understand the reasoning behind that, but i have found that if i step on the scale immediately after exercise i do weigh more. so how do i do it? i cool down first! wait until my heart rate is back to a resting rate and then i weigh in. i normally see about .4-1.1 loss. it doesn't matter if it's only me that is progress and it helps me feel good about what i'm doing and it helps me move forward even on those days that i'm tired or discouraged. if i can see just a little progress then i know i can keep going!

So this is what i got in the mail sometime in march of 2010....and here is a quick little excerpt from my journal about it:

" i have been working out on my wii fit plus! ;) i'm loving it! not only am i enjoying the break for myself (yes exercise has never felt like a break before but the lack of kids and husband around has been great while i work out) but i actually feel like i'm making progress."

it took me a while to find a routine that i really liked and i have changed routines several times. at first i did the obstacle course a lot. when i say a lot i really mean several times a night. i just wasn't satisfied with my score! lol i would also do sit ups and play many other games just for fun. i actually looked forward to that time of night after the kids were in bed, before larry got home from work because it was my play time on the wii!

Monday, May 21, 2012

so i was 80+ pounds over weight and i felt that i had tried so many diets and exercise programs that had failed that there was little to no hope of me ever being skinny again. in fact, at least 8 years previous to this i had mentioned to a friend of mine that there was no way on earth i could lose the weight. it just would never happen. he assured me i was wrong but i didn't believe him....

in my last post i talked about how a friend had recommended using wii fit plus. the whole reason i talked to that particular friend was because i knew she had previously had a gastric bypass and i was strongly considering it. of course i felt like that was a last resort which is why i was asking her advice...which is why the advice to begin an exercise routine on a wii took me by surprise.

but after thinking about it i decided that i needed to look into getting a wii but i didn't have the money and wasn't sure what to do next. after a lot of thinking and even a lot of praying i looked at our finances again. it occurred to me that we did just barely have the money in savings, however that money was set aside for our children's college education. ok so it didn't amount to much yet, but i was determined that it would some day! so i said no to that option. as those thoughts kept weighing on my mind though i began to think "which would your kids value more? the money for college or you being alive to see them go to college?" 

my oh my is that an eye opening question! i came to the conclusion that we could always earn more money and replace that savings...but if i didn't get control of my weight there was a strong possibility that some day i would have severe health issues that would be irreversible. so i went to my husband and discussed the issue with him. of course he wasn't all that enthusiastic about it at first. i should mention that we had a treadmill we had spent several hundred dollars on about 6 years earlier and it was just sitting in our bedroom. (it was his idea to buy the thing, not mine, but that's besides the point!) was it being used? no, not really. sometimes he would use it. but did i? absolutely not! i didn't want to use it either. so what kind of guarantee was there that if we spent the money on a wii that i would actually use it and lose the weight? i can tell you that defending the decision to use our kids college savings, as little as it was at the time, became a HUGE motivating factor in my weight loss. i did not ever want to look at larry (my husband) and have to admit that spending that money had been a waste!

so i did a bunch more research and finally found a wii console with wii fit plus on ebay at a price i felt ok with paying. i wouldn't say it was a great price, but it was the best i had found for a new system. i took the plunge and bought it....and then questioned my decision every day until it arrived!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Towards the end of 2009 I started looking at my life and I started feeling like I was missing out on things with my kids. At the time my kids were 5, 3 and 18 months. I could already tell that I was going to have a hard time keeping up with them and I wanted to be more actively involved in their play. I also realized that since both my husband I were over weight the probability of our children being very overweight was much higher than I wanted to think about. So I talked to a friend of mine one evening and she told me how her son and daughter in law were using the Wii Fit Plus and they were losing weight. We didn't have much money to spend on "extras" so I didn't really think that was an option for me. I had talked to my doctor and he told me to go on Weight Watchers. But again, I didn't feel good about spending the money. In my past I had tried going to the gym and hadn't been very successful, so the idea of spending money every month on something and not seeing results again was just too much.

I did not have any medical issues that were demanding my attention to weight loss right this minute and dang it I really enjoyed that bowl of ice cream every night! But over the next few months the thoughts of needing and wanting to lose weight just wouldn't leave my head. So I started doing some research and I found that I could get a Wii from ebay for a little less than buying directly from the store. I still didn't have the money for it though...