Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Time Capsule

I got this idea from the blog "Escape from Obesity"

That blog is amazing. It chronicles Lynn's weight loss journey. She has already lost 100 pounds and is getting really close to her goal weight! She is using Medifast, which is a program that I disagree with personally (too few calories, not vegan at all, highly processed) but I support her 100% with this. This is what works for her, and I believe that there is a diet/program out there that will work for everyone. Please go check it out, she is very inspiring to me. :-)

Anyway, this entry is inspired by her blog (see link above). Basically, I am writing a letter to my future self about where I want to be in a year, and how I feel about my life right now, creating a sort of time capsule for myself. I will open this up on December 29, 2011 and see what has changed.

Dear future self,

Right now, I'm feeling pretty good about my weight. At my last weigh-in, I was at 156.8. (It may have gone up since Christmas, but I'm pretty confident it won't be up too much. )

I look and feel amazing in size 14 pants. My 16s are all super-loose. I still wear some of them, though, because I don't have many 14s yet. So they are loose, but not "falling off" loose yet.

I'm cooking a couple of times a week, usually a variation of the same meal: rice, beans, vegetables, evoo. I still eat a lot of processed vegan goodies on the weekends, though, and right now I'm okay with that.

I exercise 6 days a week on average. I usually do an hour of cardio, and sometimes will add half an hour at Curves to that.

I would love it if in a year, I was down to my goal weight of 135 (or higher if I end up changing my goal weight).

I would love to be fit and healthy. I want to learn how to increase the intensity of my workouts, since I will have less time to devote to them once school starts.

I also hope to learn to cook several new meals, and to share my experiences with them on this blog, along with the recipes. I want to focus more and more on whole foods and superhero cooking.

I hope that I will wear a bikini this in the summer of 2011 and feel great in it! I rocked one in 2010 at 180 pounds, so I'm sure this won't be a problem.

I want to help and inspire other Weight Watchers and Kind Lifers (and anyone else, too!) to reach for their goals this year, too. If I manage to inspire just one other person to get to goal (or close to it!) in 2011, I'll be so happy!!!

Your Past Self

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas: The Good, the Bad, and the Victorious.

The good: There was very little stress. I decided ahead of time to have a stress-free holiday this year. Just going into it with that attitude really helped me. I enjoyed time with my family, good food (I'll get to exactly how much and what in a minute), and good times. I think that this may be the first Christmas as an adult that I actually genuinely enjoyed from start to finish.

The bad: I ate a lot. A lot of JUNK. A lot of CRAP. And I threw my "good-girl Christmas Plan" from my last blog entry out the window for about 48 hours (Christmas morning through late last night). I have no idea how many PointsPlus I consumed. But I can assume it's somewhere in the 100+ range. Those tiny cookies and bite-sized candies really add up. Especially my vegan peanut butter balls that I made using mostly peanut butter, coconut, corn syrup, and sugar.

The Victorious: I honestly don't care that I ate too much. I have no fear whatsoever of long-term regain. If I gained anything from two days of gluttony, I know that it will be gone within a couple of weeks, and I will be able to continue on my weight loss journey with no problems. Also, I looked amazing in all of the photos (coming soon!) and the compliments from family who hadn't seen me since last Christmas felt great. Next year's Christmas plan: Don't make a Christmas Plan. Just enjoy myself for a couple of days and focus on family fun.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Christmas Weight Watchers Plan!

Okay, it's good to have a plan for things like this. This year, I feel like I have mastered getting through situations that used to cause weight gain unscathed. For example, I actually lost weight while vacationing in NYC, and I actually lost weight my birthday week. So, I am wondering if I can actually lose weight over Christmas.

Really, I'm fine maintaining for the week. But since I don't know how to maintain yet, I will go for losing. My week starts over on Saturdays, and Christmas is on a Saturday this year!

This does mean that I will be skipping my weigh-in, because I will be out of town (and away from my scale). This also means that my points will reset on Christmas morning! This is excellent for me. In case I get carried away with treats, I will have all 29 DP plus all 49 WPA to eat in one day, if necessary.

I have already begun my Christmas WW plan: I got up early this morning and did my cardio workout before work. Me, the biggest evening exerciser out there, got out of bed early just to exercise.

And guess what? Not only is it possible for me to do this once seemingly impossible task, I REALLY ENJOYED IT. I officially know how I am going to keep exercising through the school year: I will do it before work. I am still energized from this morning's workout, and it's after 3.

Joel is coming to town today, so I knew that if I didn't get up and do it this morning, it wouldn't get done. So, first item: check!

The next part of my Christmas WW Plan is to cook a healthy dinner tonight, even if/when my family orders pizza or gets fast food. I simply can't afford to eat like crap just because my brother is in town, even though I always have in the past. I need to save my fun points for truly special food, like cookies and bon-bons.

Which brings me to item number 3: Calculate PointsPlus for all of my holiday baking (for me that is sugar cookies and bon-bons, both vegan-ized, plus some special vegan chocolates that my mom ordered for me) and plan to eat some of each holiday day. For my family, this is Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and The Day After Christmas.

Number 4: Get in some exercise tomorrow, preferably an hour. Then, give myself permission to take three days of rest in a row. Otherwise I will stress about exercise while out of town, and I really don't want that stress. It's been a long time since I had that many days of rest in a row, but I think that I can manage to do this once a year.

Number 5: Bring plenty of healthy snacks and foods to Grandma's house. I don't think that I will be the only person who would appreciate some healthy options! I'm thinking lots of cut-up fruits and veggies, plus a bag of brown rice and some beans. Oh, and some peanut butter and sandwich thins. No one else in my family is even kind of vegan, so I never go to family gatherings expecting there to be something for me to eat. Always go prepared with my own food! (which, of course, I will share if anyone wants some)

Number 6: TRACK every day. Every bite, lick, and taste. That way, if I do end up going "overboard" with anything, I will know exactly why I gained weight this week. But I don't intend on going overboard. Really, there's no need to: I have a great plan in place, and LOTS of points to work with.

Number 7: Pictures!!!*** I have avoided the camera for so long, that it looks as if I didn't exist for the last three Christmases or so. And that is so sad to me. Now that I like the way that I look, I no longer want to avoid the cameras. I'm ready to shine! And I will be posting pictures on here, no worries. :-)

Finally: Enjoy my family. Christmas is not just about food, or even mostly about food. I'm not religious, but I do believe in peace on earth and goodwill to all. And I believe in my family. I love every single one of them so much. I cannot wait to see them! I need to remember to not obsess about food, just enjoy the company.

***Please don't avoid being in pictures! Even if you don't like the way your body looks right now, some day you will regret not being in the photo album. I know that I do.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What I eat Part #3- Weekends!

I eat a lot more on the weekends, usually. I also tend to eat more salty things, more processed things, and more "junk" food in general. Most of the time, I will ignore the GHGs completely on Saturday, and only half-ass it on Sunday.

This is not what is recommended on either Weight Watchers OR The Kind Diet, but I want to be perfectly honest on this blog. I eat more and poorly on the weekends.

However, I don't throw it all away and binge anymore. Now, it's controlled chaos. :-)

Typically, my weekend will begin with a weigh-in on Saturday morning (or afternoon, whenever I wake up). After that, I will eat a banana or another piece of fruit before heading to the gym with my boyfriend. After an hour of working out, we return home and I will usually eat an entire Amy's pizza and some Ore-Ida steak fries. This meal is usually 30 PointsPlus.

Very delicious. Very filling. I am usually full/satisfied until 8 or 9 pm after this 2-3pm mega-meal.

At that point, I will usually eat some vegetables and some fruit. And sometimes leftovers from Friday's dinner (rice, beans, veggies, evoo). Otherwise, I will eat some air-popped popcorn with EVOO.

My typical Saturday ends with about 40 PointsPlus eaten. I get 29DP and 49WPA, so it's all good. Eating this "mega-meal" of pizza and fries after my weigh-in just feels so right to me. I love it, and I look forward to this meal all week.

On Sunday, I will usually stick closer to my DP than on Saturday, but sometimes I don't. My favorite Sunday junk foods are:

-light lays (14 PointsPlus for entire bag)
- double-stuff oreos (4 PointsPlus for 2 cookies)
- boca vegan burgers (3 PointsPlus for 2)
- Sweet Chocolate Dream vegan chocolate bar (12 PointsPlus for entire bar)

I will snack throughout the day on Sunday, occassionally eating a good GHG-infused meal for dinner.

It's not the healthiest plan, but it works for me. Eating like this on the weekends has really helped me to lose the weight. I get the best of both worlds, so to speak. I still get to eat my favorite junk foods, but in moderation.
Actually, since PointsPlus started, I will usually have 25-40 WPA left for the work-week. Which I love! I used to burn out most of the 35WPA on the weekends. No more! I love PointsPlus.

What I eat: Part #2- Dinner and Snacks

My favorite week day dinner is home-made (mostly. I used some canned things in my meal). I cook some brown rice, usually the "boil-in-a-bag" kind. This really helps with portions, because one baggie makes 2 cups of cooked rice.

While that is boiling, I will start cooking the rest of the meal. I usually will start with red wine vinegar and lime juice, but sometimes I use balsalmic and lemon juice. I will add some minced garlic, some chopped red onion. Once the onion starts to carmelize, I add a chopped tomato, a can of rotel (usually original diced tomatoes and green chilles), a chopped bell pepper, and finally, a chopped heart of romaine lettuce.

Salt and pepper to taste. This whole process takes about 10 minutes. Then the rice is done.

Add the entire two cups of cooked rice to the mix. Stir in one cup of beans (I usually will use canned beans, rinsed off, in either black or kidney). Eat half of this entire pot for 7 PointsPlus, but it's a good idea to also add a teaspoon of healthy oil (I use EVOO) for another Point.

Save the other half for the next night, or share with someone.

A simpler version of this meal will suffice for days that you don't want to cook. The convenience foods are more costly, but some days I need a break from cooking! All you need for the simple version:

- Uncle Ben's "ready rice" in whole grain brown
-a bag of Bird's Eye "steamfresh" in your choice of 0-points veggies (I love broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots)
-some canned beans
Microwave steamfresh bag for 5 minutes. Microwave rice for 90 seconds. Add a half cup of beans. For more flavor (and to meet the GHGs) add a teaspoon of EVOO. Salt and pepper to taste. Filling, delicious, easy.

Snacks. I love them! I crave them. I need them! :-) There are some things that have remained the same for me since starting WW, and one of them is my need for snacks. Usually I will eat something between lunch and dinner, and then something else late at night after my workout. Here are some of my staples.

Blue Diamond almonds in BOLD- Wasabi & Soy Sauce. I love these! One serving is 28 almonds, and I get all 28 for a PointsPlus value of 5. It's definately a point-y snack, but it's so filling that I never need more than that. Of course, if you want just 1 PointsPlus, you can eat 7. 14 almonds come out to 2 PointsPlus. But I almost always eat the whole serving. I get so many daily PointsPlus that it works for me.

Fruit. Now that fruit is zero PointsPlus, I eat it like candy. No, I don't "abuse" the zero-point fruit, I just eat it when I really want something sweet, instead of going for cookies. My favorite snack fruits: apples, bananas, clementines, black seedless grapes, canned pineapple (no sugar added).

Redvines are amazing to me. If you like licorice, you'll love redvines. The only boo-hoo is that they have now doubled in Points, so they are an entire point for one stick. I used to get 2 for 1, but you win some, you lose some! It's still a pretty good deal when I really need some candy. I will usually have 4 vines for 4 PointsPlus.

Finally, I like to eat at least one big bowlful of steamed vegetables a day. This wards off other cravings and usually will help me get another healthy oil in, too. I am in love with these Ziploc "Zip n' Steam" bags. Put in a bunch of veggies (I usually use cut up broccoli, baby carrots, and cauliflower), add a bit of water, and microwave the bag for about three minutes. 0 PointsPlus, unless you add a teaspoon of EVOO for 1 PointsPlus.

My next post will be all about what I eat on the weekends!

Monday, December 20, 2010

What I eat: Part #1- Breakfast and Lunch

It's been awhile since I have let you guys in on what I eat. The truth is, most of what I eat now through the week is pretty much the same things. breakfast is usually:

a Nature Valley crunchy granola bar in either Peanut Butter or Roasted Almond (5 PointsPlus), plus a banana (0 PointsPlus). This will usually get me through to lunch time, but sometimes I'm hungry again and will eat a second piece of fruit to tide me over.

For lunch I have one of two options: Wasa crisp n' light (6 slices for 3 PointsPlus), fat free refried beans (1/2 cup for 2 PointsPlus), 1 tsp EVOO (1 teaspoon for 1 PointsPlus), salsa (0 PointsPlus). I will mix the beans with the salsa and EVOO and use it as a dip for the crackers.

The second meal I have sometimes, if I'm feeling more sweet than salty, is:
an Arnold sandwich thin (1 sandwich thin for 3 PointsPlus), Peanut Butter & Co. peanut butter in "White Chocolate Wonderful" (1 tablespoon for 3 PointsPlus), and some grapes on the side (0 PointsPlus).

I will come back later and let you know what I eat for snacks, for dinner, and what I eat on the weekends (which varies almost every week!).

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I DID IT!!!!!!!!!

Yes, I'm shouting. But only because I'm so excited about making this goal.

The goal that I'm talking about is "Lose 50 Pounds in 2010" which as of this morning, I have done.

:-) :-) :-)

I started out weighing 207 on January 1, 2010 and as of this morning's weigh-in, I weigh 156.8.

Some people get very de-motivated by calendar goals. I used to be one of them. But in January I decided that I would make my first big calendar goal of losing 50 pounds in one year.

That is losing "only" about a pound a week. I was tagged (on facebook) in a picture from about a year ago, putting up the Christmas tree in December of '09. I decided to attach that picture, along with one that was taken on December 11 of this year.

It's pretty amazing to see how far I've come. And that a pound a week adds up!!! Don't ever let anyone tell you that it's not enough to lose 4 pounds a month.

I have not suffered one bit to lose a pound a week. I just eat a little less, and exercise a little more. (Okay, okay, I exercise a LOT more, since I was pretty inactive before). But my main point here is that you don't need to cut out a food group or eat barely anything to see real results.

And everyone who mocked my slow weight loss a year ago is now asking how I did it. How did I lose so much weight?! I tell them, "Weight Watchers, which is basically just 'eat less, move more' with a support system. Plus I cut out meat and dairy, and exercise a lot. And I never give up."

Friday, December 17, 2010

going through photo albums...

I've been going through old photo albums in an attempt to find some good pictures of me with my Grandma for a painting/collage that I'm making her for Christmas.

It's surreal. I haven't seen these pictures in years, or ever. I don't remember a lot of these moments, even the ones from just a few years ago. It's strange to look at my past, and to know that this was my life, these moments really happened, even if I don't remember the specifics.

The baby pictures and little kid pictures are the most fun to look through. There's me with my brother, Joel, I'm one and he's three. In the next album I'm three and he's five. In less than 20 minutes, I watch Joel and I age from 0-10, and it's really fun.

The photo albums stop at around that age, and then I switch to the big photo boxes. I guess we got less cute or something! No more albums.

I never realized exactly how much my weight has gone up and down since I was 18... until I saw the pictures.

Luckily, I'm now pretty close to being as thin as I've ever been, so there weren't many pictures that made me think, "wow, I wish I were still that thin" like there used to be. So many obese and overweight photos of myself, from ages 18 on. Then there was the year that I was anorexic, and looked almost too thin.

I guess the point of this rambling post is to say that it didn't scare me. Last year, this would have scared me into thinking that I was doomed to have yet another regain. Not anymore!

I guess this is because I'm finally done with hardcore dieting. I'm eating less and moving more, and my body has grown used to both of those things.

And yes, I am following a diet (Weight Watchers) but it's not strict or terrible. It's how I know that I can eat for life.

I just love these little epiphanies.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A couple of things...

First, I just want to update my weight for you: I am down to 158.2, which would usually mean that it's time for an updated progress picture. But this time I'm waiting to get down to 155, since that is the weight that will put me into a "normal" BMI, so I really want to post pictures then, which is now only 3.2 pounds away. YAY!!! At the rate that I'm losing (1 pound a week on average) I will be there in January, so look forward to more progress pictures then.

(This .2 is sticking around, so much so that I'm considering changing my goal weight to 135.2!!)

Secondly, I want to apologize for not re-reading the first part of The Kind Diet as I said that I would. So much is going on in my life right now (mostly that I'm recovering from a cold that won't go away!) that I keep forgetting about it when I'm at home. As soon as I pick it up (hopefully tonight) I will report back the next day with the chapter review, as promised.

Finally, I want to share my happiness with the new Weight Watchers plan, PointsPlus. I'm loving it. I know that I gave it a kind of harsh review initially... but I've come full circle, and I love it now. :-)

I feel as if I get to eat so much more, and still lose my weekly pound! It's crazy science, I'm sure, but it works. The extra weekly allowance points have really helped me.

After a weekend that had TWO holiday office parties, I still have 39 WPA remaining to get me through the week. Last week, I ate all 49 WPA, but I'm not sure if I will have to this week. They are there for me if I'm hungry, or if I suddenly decide that I just have to have an entire Amy's pizza with some french fries for dinner tonight. (yum.)

I'm loving the free fruit, and the increased APs (though I didn't need to use them since I had so many WPAs), and the satisfaction of eating more whole foods than ever before. I think that this transition has been easier for people like me, because I haven't been relying on heavily processed foods as much as a lot of Momentum WW-ers were.

PointsPlus is really about eating more whole foods than Momentum was, which is just another reason that WW and TKD work so well together. Loving it!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Time for me to re-read The Kind Diet

I need to re-read The Kind Diet. I really feel like I've gotten too Weight Watcher-y lately, and less focused on The Kind Diet/Weight Watchers combo: whole foods and on a transition into a more "Superhero" diet/lifestyle. (If you do not know what I mean when I say "Superhero" please read The Kind Diet along with me! It's a great book about transitioning to veganism).

Weight Watchers has been amazing for me. I lose about a pound a week, which is my goal. Slow and steady weight loss is what I'm going for, for the first time in my life. My slow and steady losses are what make me believe that this is the time that I will get thin and stay thin. :-)

Anyway, it's time to re-read the book that inspired this blog. I will update with thoughts about each chapter of the book as I re-read it. If anyone wants to read (or re-read) along with me, I will be starting tonight with the introduction and the first chapter.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My honest thoughts about who should be vegan...

I have done some major soul-searching since going vegan. It was a big decision, and continues to be a big part of my life. I love being vegan!

It really helps me to know that no living being suffers for my food. All that crap that I read in Skinny Bitch about how eating meat and dairy is like eating the pain of the animals... it's finally ringing true to me.

It wasn't until I went vegan that I started to love myself, really love myself. Veganism is another reason to love myself. Even though I don't get a picture of an animal I saved by being vegan every month by mail (which would be awesome! Why doesn't PETA do something like that?) I know that animals are being saved by me. And that makes me feel so good. So warm and fuzzy.

Plus, I don't miss meat and dairy. It's a lot easier to be vegan than I thought it would be! I feel lighter, more beautiful, and more care-free on a vegan diet.

Why am I a vegan? Because it just makes sense for me.

Should you be a vegan? It is a completely personal choice. I don't think that everyone should be vegan. That makes me different from a lot of vegans, I know! :-) I don't like to preach about veganism; It makes me feel funny. Even though I don't eat meat or dairy, I'm not perfect. I still use products that have probably been tested on animals on a regular basis. I wish that weren't the case, but I'm on a tight budget and can't always go cruelty-free. :-(
My stance on who should eat meat:

If you would be willing to kill it yourself, eat it. If you can honestly say that you would be willing to break a chicken's neck, slit a pig's throat, bleed a cow to death... then, you should eat meat. If you hunt or fish, you should eat what you kill, not hunt or fish for sport. I believe that hunting and fishing for food is just fine, and it's how many people around the world survive. Plus, it's been done since the beginning of time.

But if you are just being willfully ignorant about what your food is (yes, that fried chicken used to be an animal, same with your beef patty, your turkey burger, your tuna salad and your bacon), you claim to love animals, you say that you care about animal rights, and would NEVER kill an animal for food, then in my opinion you should be a vegan***.
***Of course, if your doctor has told you that you will die without animal products, then just try to eat them in moderation. Every little bit helps!

Hopefully this clears up some questions that people ask me about why I'm vegan. Of course, this entire blog post is my opinions, not necessarily facts. :-)

I also want to say that I would never judge anyone based on their diet. It's none of my business what anyone eats. This is just my honest opinion about who should and shouldn't be eating meat.

Monday, December 6, 2010

My first weekend on PointsPlus

(Saturday Weigh-In Results: 159.2!!! Down another pound, and out of the 160's!!!)

My first weekend on PointsPlus went very well! Saturday marked the beginning of my first full week on PointsPlus (the new Weight Watchers program).

I have to say, after a weekend on PointsPlus, I have begun to come around on this plan. I ate two of my favorite "junk foods" (Amy's pizza and a bag of light Lays) and used 20 of my Weekly Points (WP). Now, on this plan, we all get 49 WPs to be used every week on top of out Daily Points (DP).

So, I am entering into the work week with 29 WP remaining. Which means that it's entirely possible that I won't use all of my WP... and that will be a first. I always use all of them. And I still may, but it seems like a lot of food.

As promised, I will share a few daily menus as I learn how to live the PointsPlus way. Here is the plan for today (I get 29 DP):

breakfast: banana (0), granola bar (5)

lunch: wasa crackers (3), 1/2 cup ff refried beans (2), 1 tsp EVOO (1), salsa (0)

dinner: 1 cup brown rice (5), 1/2 cup black beans (2), 1 tsp EVOO (1), veggies (0)

snacks: apple (0), peanut butter (1), nilla wafers (3), chocolate soy milk (3), Hi-C (3)

P.S. I'm done with my "no-chips" challenge. I've decided that when I'm really craving chips, as long as I plan for them and track them, no big deal. And I don't crave them often anymore, thank goodness!