Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Have you tried these? Special K Flatbread Breakfast Sandwiches

In the past, I've talked about my need to eat a high-protein breakfast. Ever since I was a kid, I've known that high-carb breakfasts do nothing to curb my appetite or leave me satisfied. For me, cereal, pancakes, or a bagel does nothing. I often refer to high-carb breakfasts as the "anti-breakfast" because they leave me feeling hungry, often hungrier than I was before I ate. So, instead, I'm a hearty breakfast kind of girl-- eggs and toast, or my favorite, a breakfast sandwich.

When I first started losing weight, I ate low fat ham, egg beaters, and Weight Watcher's cheese on a light whole grain English muffin almost every morning. Now, I can only dream of having that kind of time in the mornings. I'm not sure I could wake up any sooner to prepare such an elaborate meal-- I mean, does my alarm clock even have the ability to work earlier than 6 AM? Hell, I'm lucky if I get the chance to make a protein shake for my long drive to work. Often, I end up eating some low-sugar oatmeal at the office (yup, all carbs) or woofing down a granola bar before court (again, all carbs). 

Well, the other day, I picked up a box of Special K's new Flatbread Breakfast Sandwiches from the frozen food section. These new breakfast sandwiches are part of Special K "Protein Effect" line. Let's just say, I hope Costco starts carrying them because I would not mind eating one of these sandwiches every morning. They only take just over a minute to heat in the microwave, so they are great for my morning routine. They taste a lot like the Dunkin' Donuts egg white flatbread sandwiches. The box boasts a multigrain flatbread with real eggs (and apparently the egg and cheese variety apparently has real tomatoes... woot?). I love the fluffy scrambled egg and spicy pepper jack cheese. I love that the bread doesn't get hard and chewy in the microwave. I especially love that these sandwiches only range from 4-6 WW Points+.  Special K makes three varieties:  1)   eggs with vegetables and pepper jack cheese; 2) ham, egg, and pepper jack cheese (the one I bought); and 3) sausage, egg, and cheese. I can guarantee you that I will be trying all three varieties. I can have a breakfast sandwich with sausage for only 6 WW points+?! Special K, I think I love you.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Weekly Weigh-in

As it turns out, last week was a mess. I couldn't workout post-op (something about blood pressure increasing bleeding? Gross.). I couldn't cook, so I had to depend on Dan to feed me (read: canned soup or takeout). I finally had to drag myself out of the house on Friday to go to court so of course I treated myself to lunch (French onion soup, barbecue chicken pizza, and a beer) since I finally got to eat my first meal of the day at 4:30 pm. On Saturday, I ate a burrito for breakfast, helped a friend move, got overly hungry, ate a slice of tomato pie as a "snack," then an egg roll and a Cuban sandwich (bad idea for the mouth). I remember sadly thinking to myself, "Have I eaten a fruit or vegetable all day?" Oh yes, and there were Oreos, but they were reduced fat-- because that totally makes it better. By Sunday, my body had grown accustomed to my terrible eating habits once again, and I convinced Dan that I NEEDED that Spicy McChicken sandwich I had been craving-- of course we had to share a small fry. There was Christmas decoration shopping and fried macaroni and cheese balls from the Cheesecake Factory (surprisingly, two of those filled me so much I had to resist the cake I contemplated from the start).  Finally, I topped it all off with a cheap, dry pecan roll topped with cinnamon ice cream. Don't judge me.

Just before I stepped on the scale this morning, I was not-so- surprised by a "visitor." It helps explain the cravings... and the mood swings... and the weight gain. I guess next week we will find out just how much I can blame on PMS. Until then, suffice it to know that I whined myself out of cooking the healthy dinner I planned for tonight and into getting Chinese food instead. I didn't even opt for the boring steamed selection or brown rice. Fortunately, I was still able to stay within my daily points allowance.  

This Week's Weight Loss:       - 0.4 lbs
New Weight Left to Lose:    14 lbs

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Feeling like Miss Piggy

On Tuesday, I had my impacted wisdom teeth removed. The first night after the surgery, I accidentally caught a glimpse in the mirror, and I was amazed at how the swollen side looked so different from my other side. It was as if I was looking at the old me (pre-weight loss) and my current self at the same time. In comparing the sides, I discovered smile lines, creases, and definitions in my jaw that I had never noticed before. My swollen side reminds me a bit of Miss Piggy with the round, puffy cheek. If only I had her style.

I can't wait until I feel like myself again. All this medicine has me feeling dazed yet still limited. I've been flooding my body with non-stop medicines between the antibiotics to fight infection, steroids for swelling, and medicine for the pain on top of my usual medicines. I'm shocked that all these drugs haven't managed to eat a whole in my stomach-- especially since I haven't been putting much into it. So far, I have eaten a lot of soup: chicken and stars, cream of broccoli, and matzo ball. Unfortunately, while I sit home recovering, I crave foods I see on TV:  a Thanksgiving sandwich with all the fixings on a roll, pizza, cake, and the list grows the longer I can't eat solid food. Yesterday, I really wanted a Thanksgiving sandwich. Who am I kidding? I can't even open my mouth more than an inch, let alone eat a sandwich! Dan brought me home a turkey dinner from a local diner with a piece of lemon cream cake. I was grateful for the treat, but after looking up the points, I really wish he hadn't. A single piece of cake packs 15 WW Points. So, I limited myself to only 1/3 of the slice and saved the rest for later. 

Lunch today  seems like a good time to eat the other 2/3 of the cake, right? That's right-- I just ate cake for lunch and feel so guilty. I swear, anyone else would lose weight while on a soft food diet. Not me! I'm sitting here eating creamy soup, mashed potatoes, and cake! To make myself feel better, I followed the cake with a bit of soup and a handful of cherry tomatoes. Still! Looks like my eating habits are starting to fit my new puffy face.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekly Weigh-in

I toyed with the idea of labeling this as my "Week 1" weigh-in because it is the end of my first week on the Weight Watcher's bandwagon again. However, I feel as though that would be deceiving since I'm not a  Weight Watcher's virgin. No matter what you want to call it, I'm pleased with the results. 

Based weigh-ins throughout the week, I was projected to lose around 6 pounds my first week back. That was BEFORE we went out on Saturday. I saved Saturday for my once weekly dining out excursion, and Dan and I explored Princeton for the first time with friends. I drank a daily allowance worth of WW points, ate delicious food at Teresa Caffe, and finished the night with a delightful cupcake from House of Cupcakes (a Cupcake Wars winner!). I tried to minimize the damage by making low-point yet filling decisions before we went out and made wiser choices at dinner. When all was said and done, I consumed approximately 66 WW points. YIKES! I was not going to let my points dictate my fun. I am happy to report that one day of fun did NOT sabotage my week.

This Week's Weight Loss:       4 lbs
New Weight Left to Lose:    13 lbs

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Muffin Top

No, I’m not talking about the tasty the muffin top of the tasty variety. 
 Unfortunately, this entry is  dedicated to the fashion faux pas.
Have you ever gotten dressed and known you were committing a fashion faux pas but said “To hell with it!” and left the house like that anyway?  Well, today was my first really occasion to do this, with the exception of that one time I wore brown leggings with a black outfit because I neglected to shave my legs before court, and they were all that was clean.  That time really doesn’t count because my strategy was to play as if I didn’t realize they weren’t black before I left the house if anyone said something.

Anyway, here is what happened:  For the first time in a week and a half, my firm required the attorneys to come into the office.  Well, I figured there wouldn’t be many people there, we had a Nor’easter hit the night before which dumped about nine inches of snow, many people haven’t had power for days, and the boss told us to dress in layers because we may not have heat or power.  Therefore, I rationalized wearing jeans to the office.  Fine; tons of people wore jeans today-- many even rocked a hooded sweatshirt like myself.

So, what’s the problem and thereby the point of this rambling story you ask? Well, I CAN’T wear jeans—they simply don’t fit.  I didn’t realize over the summer that I had outgrown my jeans because it was always too warm for them.  Now, my drastic weight gain is a depressing reality.  My pairs of everyday skinny jeans do not go over my thighs.  Putting them on resembles the strange jig I do to get into pantyhose.  Just image lots of strange stretching and accidental pinching of skin followed by lots of frustration and whining.  To make matters worse, my fat jeans are VERY, very tight.  We’re talking standard cut jeans two sizes bigger than my usual size.  Why is it that these 18 pounds only landed between my knees and my belly button?!  Like my thighs weren’t large enough!  

Well, what was I going to do?  It was snowy and I needed to wear snow boots.  Last winter, my snow boots barely fit over my thunder calves.  There was no way I was getting much under those now that I’m feeling like Fatty McButter Pants.  Well, knowing all my leggings were dirty-- after all, what else does a couch potato like myself wear when you’ve been stuck at home for the past 11 days?  Of course all my sweatpants, leggings, pajama pants, and all other pants with elastic waists are dirty!—I turned to my skin jeans and I did the stocking jig, laid on the bed, and whined a whole lot followed by even more self-loathing as I continued to get ready for work with my pants unbuttoned and unzipped in hopes that they would stretch.  There was even a point when I seriously contemplated at least making my hour commute with my pants undone. Yes, it was that bad.  Finally, I had to choose a shirt.  I changed my mind numerous times until I concluded that I needed to wear a loose flowing top to camouflage my CLEAR muffin top. All I could think about, well aside from the self-loathing, was  how I KNEW I shouldn’t leave the house looking like that.  I KNEW it looked bad.  Unfortunately, I also knew I didn’t have any other casual options.  In the end, I wore the pants anyway… muffin top and all.

I can’t tolerate it much longer.  Plus, I’m pretty sure that I can’t finagle my way into these pants much longer.  If I don’t want to go out and buy bigger pants, I need to do something.  Well, I’m cheap and disgusted, so I’m making a change.  Have you hit that point yet?  If so, I welcome you to join me in fighting back and saying “NO” to buying bigger pants—“NO” to muffin tops!   … even muffin tops of the tasty variety.  Seriously, those things are deceivingly high in points, even the reduced fat ones.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I've Missed My Kitchen

Ever since Hurricane Sandy hit over a week ago, I've been on a comfort food kick. It all started once we became a make-shift shelter for friends displaced by the natural disaster. I wanted to make them feel a sense of home so I headed to the kitchen to show them my idea of comfort. I made chewy snickerdoodle cookies, homemade strawberry jelly sandwich cookies, a roasted chicken, and chicken pot pie soup with homemade biscuits. Once the guests were gone, I was still craving comfort foods. This week, I've made beef stew, baked ziti, and homemade Wendy's spicy chicken sandwiches. I've been cooking so much that the hubby has been complaining about the quantity of dirty dishes as he gorges himself on all the delicious leftovers.  

What's different? Why have I been in such a mood to cook? I'm sure it is partially emotional. The Jersey Shore area has been devastated by the recent storm. We know so many people who have lost so much in the past few weeks. Plus, the weather got cold suddenly, making it the perfect time for a simmering pot of stew or a bowl of soup. It's also due to that fact that most restaurants are closed due to the mass power outages, so we couldn't dine out. But I'm pretty sure that my sudden increase in cooking is due to my extra time home. The storm left my office without power for the last 10 days. Without my long hours and work commute, I have the time to plan meals, cook, and even track my points.

Let's talk about my weekly WW points allowance for a moment. I get 27 WW Points+ each day ...WAIT! WHAT?! 27 Points?! I've been giving myself 28. Oh, that's depressing. Well, this just emphasizes what I was about to say. I went back to counting points on Monday, and I have been drastically over my daily allowance each day... and that is while trying to make healthy decisions. At first, my daily overages were caused by not having a  kitchen stocked with WW-friendly foods. Other days, it was just a matter of deceivingly points-heavy dinner recipes. Oops! I can completely see where I was going wrong before and thus causing my drastic weight gain. 

Stay tuned, folks! This girl is on a mission. Now, forgive me while I go pout about the fact that my confusion about my daily point allowance now means I can't have that hot cocoa I was looking forward to before bed. Boo.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Have you seen this: Weight Watchers Barcode Scanner?

Did you hear that Weight Watchers recently released a barcode scanner? The mobile app allows Weight Watcher subscribers to use their phone's camera to scan the barcode (or enter the barcode number) on popular food labels. If the product is in their database, you will find an informational screen on the product like the image below. Then, you have the option to track the item. If you don't wish to track the item, the information is saved in your database for later.

Keep in mind, the app is still new so the database is still growing. I've noticed that the more popular diet foods are in the system. This morning, each of my breakfast items scanned in, making tracking so easy (and fun!). I scanned each item, then clicked "Track this item." It was AWESOME! As the Weight Watchers database continues to grow, this is going to make grocery shopping a breeze. No more sitting in the aisle calculating which cookies have lower points. 

It's been forever

I promised that I would keep this brief.

I miss my blog and my pants do too. I've gained 18 pounds since I started full-time at a law firm. That's right, I finally landed a full-time attorney position! With that good news came celebratory meals, lunch meetings, long hours, no time to grocery shop or workout, and no motivation to cook. I eat all the time, and I eat garbage. I cannot lie to myself and pretend I don't know what happened. Now, I want to get back on track. I want to lose these 18 pounds before we go on vacation in February. Hell, I want to lose them sooner, but I want to be practical.

I could really use some advice on living a "convenient" but healthy lifestyle. It needs to be quick and easy. Any tips? 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Weekly Weigh-in!

Result:  After not dining out for more than a week, I am thrilled with my results on the scale. This week, I lost 3.6 lbs. I've seen huge numbers on the scale in the past, but now that I'm getting closer to a "normal" weight for my height, I don't see big numbers anymore so 3 lbs. feels like a big loss now. I've been in a real rut lately, and I'm starting to think it was due to dining out multiple times each week. No matter how many times I say it, I still don't listen to what I preach: The best choices you make while eating out are never as good for you as your own prepared meals. Lesson learned-- stay home for optimal weight loss. I'm really going to try to make dining out an occasional treat rather than a backup plan when I'm too busy. 

Goals:  As for as goals for next week, I will strive to drink eight cups of water a day and exercise a minimum of five times this week. The amount of exercise won't prove as difficult as the water consumption. I've mentioned it a number of times, but I'm rarely thirsty. I'll have to go out and get some lemons or limes to make my water more exciting. I'm hoping to lose at least two pounds next week-- no more of those single pound weight losses! Stay tuned.

Short-term Goal I:    ACHIEVED
Short-term Goal II: 14 lbs. until I've lost 100 pounds!!!
Ultimate Goal:            31 lbs. away 

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Weekend Without Eating Out

Just as I had predicted, sticking to my "no eating out" challenge was very tough this weekend. After much discussion, Dan and I were able to pinpoint why we eat out so often. Here's what we came up with:

  • We're lazy. Despite my love of food and cooking, preparing meals takes a lot of time and effort (planning, shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc.). It's a daily chore that we want a break from. This is usually the case on a weekday when we get off work late, had a rough day, trying to work with the gym schedule, and so on.
  • We're having a craving. I might be fully prepared to cook up a dinner, but Dan decides he has a hankering for seafood alfredo. On other days, the falafel place we love posts delicious photos on Facebook, like the one below, and we aren't satisfied until we have it. 

Falafel, 'shroomus, and pita, and salads from Uncle Jack's Good2Go in Ocean, NJ
  • We're socializing. Our friends like to eat. To make matters worse, it's very unlikely that they want to venture to healthy restaurants. Most times, we are making late night runs to Sonic or a pizza place. 
  • We're on the go. On the weekends, Dan and I are out and about all day. We're driving to the other side of the state to visit friends and family all day or hitting five grocery stores so I can score some sweet deals. When this happens, eating out is unavoidable. We're not home for two meals out of the day. What does one do, pack lunches and dinners? This is the primary culprit of our dining out problem on the weekend, and it seems there is not much we can do about it.
This Saturday, we spent the entire day out of the house. I had to visit ill family in Pennsylvania and Dan had to see a friend in South Jersey. For lunch, we stopped at a Polish market in Trenton where my extended family buys the BEST bread and delicious deli meats.  I purchased bread, smoked ham, and Swiss cheese and made sandwiches in the car between destinations. The sandwiches were tasty, AND we didn't have to fail the challenge. Unfortunately, we didn't get home until 10 pm. As we drove back, we considered stopping at a restaurant for dinner, but I didn't want to lose my challenge AND I only had 7 WW Points+ to spare (I could basically eat lettuce and smell the real food with that pitiful amount of points. Most point-friendly places aren't open very late.). When we got home, Dan ate some leftovers, and I made some Italian eggs on that delicious Polish bread. While I wouldn't recommend waiting that late to eat dinner, we weren't famished since we ate lunch late, and we didn't eat a heavy meal at that late hour.

This week has helped us to recognize our downfalls when it comes to eating out. It's one thing to fight the cravings, laziness, and the social eating but another to cope with being out of the house all day. We should try to make shorter trips (which is tough with rising gas prices since we try to accomplish everything while we are out). If being out of the house all day is unavoidable, we're going to need to plan our meals-- eat lunch before we leave or pack something small so we only need to eat one meal out. Then, be sure that the meal we eat out is healthy (not cheeseteaks, fast food, or pizza). 

I have to say, I am LOVING the results of this challenge on the scale this week. Stay tuned for official weigh-in news tomorrow. This challenge also saved us around $100 this week since we didn't dine out... so I spent some of that on a new pair of running shoes.  ;)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Update on This Week's Goal: No Eating Out Challenge

As you may remember, I set a goal to not dine out all week (until next Tuesday). In all honesty, Dan and I have been struggling to stick to that goal. I've wanted to grab a breakfast sandwich from Wawa as I left for work in the morning, get a quick dinner when we didn't get home from the gym until almost 8pm, or stop for breakfast at a dinner when Dan woke me up early this morning so he could go geocaching. It was the hardest when we wanted to celebrate my first day working on my own cases as an attorney on Wednesday. I wanted to sip wine at our favorite wine bar or sit down to a nice dinner at our favorite little Italian place, but I fought the urge. It was not easy!

Instead of celebrating my big day with a meal out, I cooked up one of our favorite homemade dishes, what we like to call "Sausage Pepper Pasta." The pasta (in this case whole wheat linguine) is drizzled with chipotle olive oil, loaded with crumbled hot Italian chicken sausage and sauteed bell peppers, onion, mushrooms, tomatoes, and garlic. Since I was so busy that day, I didn't have the opportunity to each lunch so I was STARVING. Thankfully, Dan was too. I served myself an "I don't give a !@#$" helping (about 1.5 servings worth) and a large glass (or two) of red wine. Dan took care of dessert. We had tea biscuits topped with Nutella and a homemade strawberry banana bruschetta. So tasty! Sure, I went over my points by almost 10 (tapping into my weekly allowance points), but I'm sure I would have done worse if we went out to a restaurant. The only thing I missed was the fresh bread and caponata.

I just wanted to let you all know that I am sticking to my goal of not dining out this week. Dan is not making it easy for me. He keeps trying to find ways to eat out on a technicality, but I refuse to budge. "What about hot food from the Italian market. That's a store, not a restaurant! AND we are taking it home to eat it!" I said if it didn't come packaged with nutritional information OR would classify as a prepared food, I'm not eating it. However, the weekend still lies ahead, and that tends to be when we fall victim to dining out. Wish me luck! 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hosting a Weight Watchers-Friendly Party Everyone Can Enjoy

It is no secret that I love to cook. I enjoy hosting parties and preparing food for all to enjoy. Unfortunately, I usually see a party as an inevitable time to use some of my weekly allowance points because I know it is close to impossible for me to attend, let alone host, a party and stay within my daily points. However, I stumbled across a great cookbook, called "I Can't Believe It's Not Fattening," that opened my eyes to some diet-friendly party dishes. The cookbook was written by Devin Alexander, a chef for the Biggest Loser and host of a cooking show on FitTV. Years ago, I bought a cookbook by her where she makes all of your favorite fast food dishes skinnier without compromising flavor. After thumbing through her "I Can't Believe It's Not Fattening" cookbook, I was dying to try so many of the recipes. Lucky for me, Dan bought me the cookbook for my birthday, and I looked for an excuse to host a party so I could try out some of the recipes. So we, the non-football watching house, hosted a Super Bowl party.

For the Super Bowl party, I prepared nothing but Weight Watchers-friendly dishes-- mostly from my new Devin Alexander cookbook. By preparing only points-friendly dishes, I knew there would be plenty of options for me to eat. No one likes being limited to the veggie tray. I hate going to a party, seeing something delicious, and having to convince myself that it's not worth the points. If every dish is Weight Watchers-friendly, nothing is off limits.

I made lots of foods that would fool a typical guy: strombolis, meatballs, buffalo chicken dip, homemade chipwiches, etc. I threw in the foods that were clearly healthy, such as white bean hummus, cucumber roll-ups, and the standard veggie tray. Everything went over well! I was shocked by how much everyone loved the Mexican Cocktail Meatballs from Devin's cookbook. The meatballs were so simple to make, and everyone devoured them. I didn't bother to tell the men that they were made with lean ground turkey rather than beef. Gina's recipe for Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip is always a hit. One of the guys even asked me to bring it to his next party! That recipe is so simple-- add ingredients, stir, and bake. I always substitute cheddar cheese for blue cheese in the recipe, but that's just our personal preference. I serve the dip warm with baked tortilla chips (the scoops work best). The leftover dip makes a great addition to a salad or wrap the next day. 

I think that the key to hosting a successful figure-friendly party is to provide food that can fool your non-calorie-counting guests. In all honesty, I get excited when people enjoy my food without knowing that it's "healthy." I used quotes there because although these party dishes are made skinnier than their original, it doesn't mean the dish is good for you or something you should enjoy regularly. Maybe I'll let them in on my secret that it's a diet recipe, maybe I won't ;) If I'm the only one who cares if the recipes are Weight Watchers-friendly, all the guests care about is that it tastes good. That's mission accomplished in my book.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Weekly Weigh-in!

I reached my short term weight goal today... for the third time. I know I've been in a rut lately, and I need change. I think I've been building muscle mass, which is balancing out my weight loss. I shouldn't be too disappointed; that is precisely what my personal trainer was aiming for. However, I'm not confident that new muscle mass is the cause. I need to have my BMI reevaluated soon.

Result: This week, I lost 1.6 lbs. While I'm proud that the scale went in the right direction and that I'm back in my lowest tens bracket, I'm a bit disappointed with the small loss. Periodically during the week, I step on the scale to check my progress. I keep in mind that that number will fluctuate each day. Earlier in the week, when I was counting my points and exercising daily, I was seeing great results on the scale. This weigh-in, I am disappointed because I feel as though my terrible eating over the weekend sabotaged my earlier efforts. I need to figure out the cause of my self-sabotage on the weekends and correct it. It has been an ongoing problem for me.

Goals: My goal for this week is to avoid dining out all week-- from today until next Tuesday. Not only will it help my weight loss, but it will also help my wallet. Now, I just need to get my husband on board. It's going to be tough this week since I'm working more than usual, but I won't give myself an excuse. This is a great opportunity to prove to myself that I can be busy and still prepare my own meals. Since I've reached my short-term goal weight again, I want to set a second short-term weight goal before hitting my ultimate goal (UG). For Short-Term Goal II-- I want to lose 100 lbs. I've got to get back into the mindset where that goal is what matters to me.

Short-term Goal I:   ACHIEVED
Short-term Goal II: 18 lbs. away
Ultimate Goal:         35 lbs. away 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Light Treat of the Week: Multi Grain Cheerios Peanut Butter

Have you tried this?! Did you know that Cheerios now come in peanut butter? I saw the commercials on television, and I knew I had to try them. After all, I love everything peanut butter. I did not let myself get too excited because it seemed too good to be true. If Cheerios is trying to label them as healthy, they can't be as delicious as I would hope. I'm happy to report that this cereal proved me wrong. 

The first grocery store I checked was sold out of the peanut butter Multi Grain Cheerios, but I was determined to find them. We found them at the second store we checked. The peanut butter variety only comes in the smaller of the boxes. Dan and I were so eager to try it that we had a bowl for dessert. The Cheerios have the right amount of peanut butter flavor-- not too much that it's overpowering and fake but enough that you notice it. It really hit the spot.

I'm usually not a cereal person. I joke that for me, cereal is the anti-breakfast. Rather than satisfy my appetite, cereal just makes me hungry in an hour. So, instead of eating the peanut butter Multi Grain Cheerios for breakfast, I've been munching on it dry as a snack, as a topping on fat free chocolate pudding, or as a dessert with milk and a sliced banana. Dan and I enjoyed it so much, we have already bought our second box. I will be terribly disappointed if Cheerios discontinues this flavor. They really did it right with the peanut butter Cheerios!

If you're as big of a peanut butter fan as I am, I highly recommend you try the new peanut butter Cheerios. Multi Grain Cheerios Peanut Butter has only 3 WW Points+ for 3/4 of a cup (without milk). That's the same point value as my low calorie Fiber One cereal! You can find more detailed nutritional information here. I recommend eating it with sliced banana :)  Try it. Let me know what you think.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Minor Setback

Just a quick update-- I've been hitting the gym hard lately, whether it has been yogilates, Zumba, or standard cardio. The other day, I returned to the C25K program and ran over three miles (in intervals) after dinner. The next morning, I was back at the gym dancing my butt off at Zumba to the point I was saturated and dripping with sweat (it was gross!). Today, I'm paying for it. My legs and hips are so sore that I couldn't sleep. It hurts to put weight on my legs so standing and walking are out of the question. I know I need to get back to the gym, but my body is protesting. To make matters worse, I ate about 56 WW Points+ yesterday after going hog-wild at a Japanese steakhouse (which was fantastic by the way) followed by frozen yogurt for dessert. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Go-To Breakfast: Yogurt Parfait

I know many people are not big fans of breakfast, but I can't be a bigger proponent of the morning meal. I think eating breakfast daily has helped me greatly along my weight loss journey. Studies show that eating within the first hour of waking up does wonders to jump start your metabolism. I have noticed that eating breakfast prevents me from overeating throughout the day because I don't let myself get to the point that I am famished. Then, I have less cravings, thus making staying on track much easier. 

I've learned that my body needs a protein-heavy breakfast, and I have since adjusted accordingly. Instead of a carbohydrate based breakfast such as a bowl of cereal or a bagel, I now eat toast with low fat peanut butter and a banana, Greek yogurt with fruit and cereal, or Egg Beaters and ham on toast.

My yogurt parfait consists of:
  • 6 ounces of non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt (I used to be a loyal Chobani customer, but I recently discovered that Oikos Vanilla is fabulous) 
  • 1/2 cup of canned, crushed pineapple (canned with Splenda to avoid added sugar) drained of juice
  • 1/2 cup Fiber One Honey Squares

I simply add the three ingredients in a bowl and gently it together. I find it to be a simple, delicious, and filling 5 Point+ breakfast.  Plus, I check a fruit and a dairy off my daily WW checklist. I use Greek yogurt because it's higher in protein than regular yogurt, and I prefer it's thicker texture. You can use other fruits-- I've tried grapes and chopped apples, but canned pineapple is a lot less work.

What's your go-to breakfast?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

10 Food-Related Things You Probably Didn't Know About Me

Between my wedding dress blog and this one, I've been blogging for about two years now. I put together a list of 10 food-related things you probably didn't know about me, however random or crazy they may be.
    1. I love garlic. The more garlic the better! I like when a dish has so much garlic that it becomes spicy. So what, I may smell-- at least I know I'm safe from vampires.
    2. I "save" what I want for last. I swear that I have tried to get better with this, but I eat the best last. For instance, I eat the broken potato chips before the intact ones. I also eat the top of the bagel or the diagonal half of the sandwich with the top, round edge of the bread first. I noticed I did this when my husband would always wait until I was almost finished to eat some of my food, thus always eating the best part.
    3. I can be a tomato sauce snob. I tend to judge restaurants based on the quality of their sauce. We all may not have time to always make our own tomato sauce, but know that a jar of sauce will never compare. Restaurants don't have an excuse not to make their own sauce. Nothing bums me out more than a canned sauce that tastes like tomato paste. Also, the smell of burnt tomato sauce instantly turns my stomach. 
    4. I have to have a little bit of everything in each bite. No matter if it's a salad, bowl of pasta, or a standard dinner-- I need to have a taste of everything in each bite. I get disappointed when I get to the end of a salad, and I'm left with nothing but toppings or a bunch of plain lettuce. 
    5. I do a dance when I eat Nutella. I think that it is sad that I did not discover Nutella sooner in my life. How did I live 24 years of my life without its delicious goodness?! Whether I smear Nutella on toast or just dip a spoon in the jar, I wiggle and hum a song consisting of "mmm"s each time I eat it. It's glorious.
    6. I dread drinking water. In all honesty, I don't like to drink in general, but I really find water to be the most boring beverage. To me, water is a base for other flavors. I rarely find myself thirsty. Instead, I'm often forcing myself to drink something because I know I should. Strange, I know. 
    7. I  could try anything so long as you don't tell me what it is... and it doesn't smell funny. I'm open to trying new foods, even seafood, which scares me, so long as I cannot identify the food. "Mmm! That's the most flavorful, tender chicken ever... Oh? Catfish, you say?" I didn't say I would continue to eat it, but I will at least try it. It bothers me when people don't have the courage to try something out of their comfort zone. Plus, I find it rude not to at least try a "no thank you" helping.
    8. I prefer to know what I'm going to eat before we step foot in a restaurant. I rarely go to a restaurant that doesn't have access to their menu online. Maybe it is because I have had the awkward moment when I had to leave a restaurant after being seated once I realized I did not eat anything on their very limited menu? Maybe it is because I know I can take forever looking over a menu at the table or that I want to make sure I get into the mindset where I am looking forward to that dish once we get there?  
    9. My sandwiches must be assembled in the preferred order. Dan has learned not to judge me aloud while I disassemble my burger so the meat touches the pickles and the lettuce is on the mayo or to ask me when he assembles a sandwich for me. For starters, lettuce should NEVER be on the bottom, and cheese should always touch egg on a sandwich. 
    10. I prefer to dine with people who share a mutual love of food and are willing to share. There is nothing worse than sitting down to a dinner with someone who is unhappy with their food. It ruins my food-buzz. I want to be surrounded by diners who don't look at me strangely when I have a foodgasm or get so excited over a perfectly-made marscapone cheesecake. If you want to make a friend for life, offer me a bite of what you have. 
What food crazy quirks do you have?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Just another Meatless Monday

Happy Meatless Monday!

For those of you who are not familiar with the global Meatless Monday movement, you can check out this brief video for some insight. Seriously, it's less than a minute and a half of your day-- just watch it. In a nutshell, as participants of the Meatless Monday movement, Dan and I give up meat for the entire day each Monday. We're making a difference by simply giving up meat one day a week. Granted, we often eat more than one meat-free meal a week, but on Mondays, we dedicate the entire day. It's good for us, the animals, and the planet. To learn more about the Meatless Monday movement, visit their website at www.meatlessmonday.com.

Dan and I have been participating in Meatless Mondays for almost two months. We enjoy the meals, but sometimes going meatless isn't easy. We usually run into problems at lunchtime when we're in a hurry and we've forgotten it's Monday. We can't just eat our usual lunch of the prior dinner's leftovers. On days like that, I whip up some quick grilled cheese and tomato soup or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich if I'm on the run. We've been disappointed to learn that fast-food is often NOT healthy, vegetarian-friendly-- that's when Subway was our saving grace!

I figured you might be interested in hearing what an average Meatless Monday's meals looks like for us, so here's what I had today:

Breakfast- all mixed up together
  • Instant low sugar oatmeal (3 Points+)
  • 1 large banana (0 Points+)
  • 1 tbl. Better'N Peanut Butter (1 Points+)

  • 4 Chick'n nuggets- Trader Joe's brand (4 Points+)
  • Sweet potato fries (4 Points+)
  • Babybel light cheese wheel  (1 Points+)
  • grape tomatoes, cucumber slices  (0 Points+)
  • homemade garlic dip  (1 Points+)
  • 10 Special K chips  (1 Points+)
  • cheesy zucchini enchilada  (7 Points+)
  • 1/2 cup fat-free refried beans  (2 Points+)
  • 2 tbl. fat-free sour cream  (1 Points+)
  • 12 peanut M&Ms  (5 Points+)
  • apple  (0 Points+)
  • caramel dip  (3 Points+)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Year's Resolution: Lose Weight

Each year, many people make a New Year's resolution to lose weight. It is no surprise that each year, fitness clubs and diet companies profit from the sudden increase in health-conscious customers. On the 1st of the year, the TV floods with commercials for the latest dieting trends and fitness centers are filled to the brim with members working towards their resolution  (often referred to as January Rush). In the end, most of the people who set out to lose the weight, give up within a matter of months, if not weeks.

This year has been the worst January Rush at the gym that I have witnessed. Sure, I'm used to seeing more people at the gym in January and struggling to find parking during peak hours, but this year has been ridiculous. There were about 80 people in my Zumba class on Monday! The room only holds about 40 comfortably. I kid you not; we were packed like sardine! It must have been in violation of the fire code. Dancers couldn't even lift their arms without risk of punching fellow dancers. I'm shocked the gym did not turn people away. I'm dreading the crowd next week.

I haven't made a New Year's resolution in many years. I feel like it is partially setting yourself up for failure. I also feel that weight loss and fitness are lifetime commitments, not a promise you make at the start of the year.

However, I think 2012 is going to be a big year for me. I'm within 20 pounds of losing 100 pounds. I think that's pretty damn obtainable in a year! Here's my line of thinking-- I dream of going to Italy- seeing the natural beauty, strolling through museums, sipping wine on a veranda, snacking on crusty bread and cheese, and being swept up in the romance the country exudes. To ensure I get there before I die, I've been telling Dan that I will plan the trip when I lose 100 pounds. I've also said we will go and share the experience on our second wedding anniversary. This year will be our second wedding anniversary and also our tenth year together! I think I can lose the approximately 20 pounds that stand in my way. I could be living my dream of going to Italy. I can do anything I set my mind to... and I think I just made up my mind. Project Italy 2012. Should I call that a resolution? I don't think so...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Still Fighting Those Holiday Pounds

What is it about the holidays that makes my body feel the need to resemble Santa Claus? 

This year, I was fortunate enough to spend Christmas with my parents and my sisters in their home in southwest Virginia for the first time since they moved down there five years ago. There's nothing like mom's cooking. Then, my mom and sisters came back to NJ for a visit for a few days. Let's just say those days involved lots of eating and visiting relatives. Weeks later, I'm still fighting to lose the nine pounds I gained over the holidays. 

I'm on a six-day workout streak: personal training, rock climbing, yogilates, and Zumba. I've been keeping busy! Tuesday was my weekly weigh-in, and I am very pleased to inform you all that I lost SEVEN (7) pounds this week!!! How did that happen?! Was it all the water I drank? Is working out having that much of an impact? I'm still two pounds heavier than before Christmas. I can't wait until I'm back to losing "new" weight, not weight I've already lost before. 

Did you gain weight over the holidays? Is it still hanging around? What are you doing to slim back down?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Oh, Waffles!

Last month, I started seeing a trainer at the gym. The gym matched me with Waffa because she has experience with individuals like me who have lost a lot of weight. At this stage, she wants me to stop losing weight. Wait, what?! That's right. I need to stop losing weight so my body, specifically my skin, can catch up. She's helping me tone my body by building muscle. I had a very high BMI for someone size. As it turns out, I don't have much muscle... depressing, I know, but that's why I'm working on it.

About 48 hours after each training session with Waffa, or as Dan labeled her "Waffles," my back, hip, and muscles ache. With each movement, I groan "Oh, Waffles!" and think about how the pain means I'm building muscles, right?

This upcoming week will be my first week without training. Waffa is leaving me on my own to shed some of my holiday weight. In case you were curious, after finally losing the Halloween and Thanksgiving weight, I packed out about NINE (9) pounds of Christmas cookies and Mom's home cooking. I had to vow to hit the gym at least 5 days this week. This morning, I went to Yogilates AND did cardio afterwards. I'm a beast. lol. It's only Saturday, but I'm determined to start my week without Waffa off right. The following week, she is measuring my BMI again. I'm excited to see if I've made any progress :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Indoor Rock Climbing at Elite Climbing

Since New Year's Day fell on a Sunday, Dan and I had Monday off to observe the holiday. With all the craziness from the holidays, it was nice for the two of us to take time out to just spend some fun  time together and a belated date to celebrate the nine years we've been together. So, we made a date for rock climbing and dinner in South Jersey. 

We went to Elite Climbing in Maple Shade, NJ. On Mondays, the run a BOGO deal on Beginner Packages, so we lucked out. Dan and I learned how to belay one another and then we just jumped into the climbing thing. I did it! I climbed to the tops of quite a few walls before my arms got too tired. We had a blast. Before we left, the owner offered to give us both complimentary one month memberships! We took him up on his offer, and we're going again this weekend and hope to go each weekend this month.

After climbing, we changed our clothes and went to dinner at Iron Hill Brewery. We started the meal with an amazing hummus platter (we'll get it again, for sure). Then, I decided to stay sensible by having the Mediterranean chicken salad as my entree so I could splurge over some heavenly limoncello cake with blueberry compote. As I savored each bite of cake, Dan helped me put things in perspective-- I just climbed a freaking rock wall! Looking back, 85+ pounds ago, I could have never imagined I'd accomplish such a feat. Now, I can't wait to do it again.