Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Recipe: Shrimp Scampi

4 teaspoons olive oil
1.25 pounds medium shrimp; peeled and deveined
6-8 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon minced parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 lemon slices (optional)

1. In a large nonstick pan, heat the oil. Saute the shrimp until just pink, 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. With a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a plate; keep hot.

2. In the skillet, combine the broth, wine, lemon juice, 1/4 cup parsley, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Boil, uncovered, until the sauce is reduced by half. Spoon over the shrimp. Serve, garnished with the lemon slices and sprinkled with the remaining tablespoon of parsley. 

Serves 4.

Per Serving: 184 calories, 6g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 219 mg cholesterol

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Recipe: Cod with Parsley Sauce

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk
1.25 pounds cod fillets, cut into 4 pieces (if you can't find cod, try halibut, grouper or perch)
4 teaspoons reduced-calorie margarine
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. In a medium skillet (over medium heat), heat the milk. Add the cod and poach, covered until fish is just opaque in the center, 4-5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the fish to a platter. Be sure to reserve the milk.

2. In a medium sized saucepan (over low heat), melt the margarine. Add the flour and cook until bubbling (about 2 minutes). Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk and broth. Add the parsley, salt and pepper. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens (about 3 minutes). Pour over the fish.

Serves 4.

181 calories, 4 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 63 mg cholesterol, 456 mg sodium

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Recipe: Shepherd's Pie

1 tablespoon reduced-calorie margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
2 carrots, sliced and blanched
1 cup chopped cleaned spinach leaves
6 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup thawed frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon ground marjoram
3 medium russet potatoes, cooked, peeled and mashed
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon paprika

1. In a medium nonstick saucepan, melt the margarine. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the flour; cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Whisk in the broth, soy sauce and 1/4 cup of water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly until thickened (3-4 minutes). Preheat the oven to 400; spray a 2-quart casserole with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, combine the chicken and remaining tablespoon of flour. Stir in the carrots, spinach, scallions, corn, milk, thyme, marjoram, and the sauce. Transfer to the casserole. Top with the potatoes, spreading to cover the filling completely. Sprinkle with the cheese and paprika. Bake until bubbling and the potatoes are golden brown. (30-35 minutes).

Serves 4.

Per serving: 268 calories, 3g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 51 mg cholesterol, 209 mg sodium

Friday, July 5, 2013

Recipe: Beef Stew

4 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon minced carrot
1 tablespoon minced celery
1 pound beef round, cut into 1.5" cubes
1 cup chopped canned plum tomatoes, with juice
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried leaves
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
8 frozen pearl onions
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1 cup thawed frozen peas
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced mint


1. In a medium nonstick Dutch oven or heavy saucepan, heat the oil. Saute the minced onion, carrot and celery until translucent, 5-6 minutes. Add the beef and saute until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, partially covered, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.

2. Add the pearl onions, carrots, potatoes and 1 cup hot water. Cook, covered, 40 minutes.

3. Stir in the peas; cook 4 minutes, then add parsley and mint and cook 1 minute longer. Discard the bay leave.

Serves 4. Serve with salad, fresh baked bread or biscuits.

Per serving: 356 calories, 8g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 51mg cholesterol, 511mg sodium, 41 g total carbohydrate, 7 g dietary fiber, 25 g protein, 75 mg calcium

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Jim's Week in review ... the post spring break edition

So, today is the final day of spring break. Spring break is ... well, it is fun. It is also my worst nightmare. Let me explain. I am a mindless snacker. If I am home, I will snack, pure and simple. It doesn't have to do with being hungry, it has to do with habit. It is a habit I am trying very hard to break. I can think nothing of watching something on TV and munching on a bag of chips or pretzels. As a matter of fact, I really AM thinking of nothing while I am doing it. So my main defense has been to not have those snack foods in the house.
Spring break, however ... well, it kinda queers things. I had my first family barbecue of the year during spring break this year. My brother and sister and their families came over, we fired up the grill and cooked up a storm. Chicken breasts, dogs and burgers (both beef and turkey). I limited the other items to veggie trays. No creamy potato salads and no pasta salads, both of which are absolute diet killers. My sister makes an awesome salsa, though. However, there is always an abundance of chips and pretzels at a barbecue, and now those are just sitting on my counter.
Add to that, there was Easter dinner yesterday, and I was invited to a Palm Sunday dinner last week. then during the week, I was on the go alot, so there was a lot of eating out. Needless to say, I didn't do so good this week. Have you ever felt like you were losing the same three pounds over and over again? I have looked at my posts since starting to blog here and realized I have been fluctuating between 275 and 272 most of the time. My trip to the scale today found me at 275 again. Over the next few weeks, I am sure I will lose down to 272 again, then end up messing up again. I really need to start thinking thin!
Well, back up on the horse ... time to drink water, stop eating and start exercising again ... and until Friday, I hope that you, gentle readers will do better than I have been. Anyone with a few ideas on how I can break the habit of mindless snacking, please drop a comment. I could use the help.

Monday, January 28, 2013

I am not okay

I am not okay...four of the hardest words to ever come out of my mouth and already I've typed them twice. To say them out loud makes them true and to have them be true makes me vulnerable and I'm really not good at being vulnerable.

For years, maybe a lifetime, I've been the strong one, the one people can turn to and lean on when they're not strong enough. Last night, that changed. I fell apart. Suddenly, it was as if everything that I'd built walls up against, that I had tried to lock behind closed doors came crashing down around my head and all I could do was cry. As I write this, more than 12 hours later, I'm still crying.
The reality is that I am not okay. I haven't been okay, but I put on a really good show and nobody realizes just how broken I am. Sure, I've mentioned individual struggles but nobody, maybe not even myself, have put together the pieces of the puzzle that screams she's breaking apart at the seams.

I am not okay. So long as there was somebody who needed me, somewhere else I could divert my attention, the anger and pain that I held inside could be kept at bay. Nobody needed to know that I wasn't this super human being who could do it all. Everyone told me how strong I was and how they didn't know how I juggled as much as they think I do. Nobody knew the pressure that put upon me or how it made it that much harder to be weak or to be vulnerable.

To be vulnerable is to risk being hurt. I can't stand any more hurt. I am full up. I have years of hurt and pain bottled up inside of me and to add one more tiny bit of rejection to that would be too much. I've held onto my weight as a handy excuse. When someone that I've cared about, loved and have been interested in for years "rejected" me recently, my immediate thought was the weight. The reality is that has nothing to do with it, but it's a safe reasoning. It doesn't hurt so much. The truth is that the cause had nothing to do with me what so ever. It's easy though. I've used my weight as a safety blanket. I wrapped myself in it and used it as an excuse to not have to open myself up to what deep down, I am sure is rejection just waiting to happen.

You see, I've never felt good enough. I was never the pretty one or the popular one. I went through all of high school never being asked out. I was invisible. I married the first man who paid me any amount of attention. In fact, in 36 years, I've never been asked out. That's really kind of sad. Yet, it doesn't surprise me. Over the years, I've turned into everyone's best friend. I'm the girl that guys come to when they need to talk about their girlfriends because I'm a girl..yet, when anyone is available, they forget I'm a girl. I don't even know if that makes sense, but the reality is that it's been a safe place to be while I've shoved the hurt and pain of being invisible into the closet.

I don't want to be invisible, but I'm scared to say hey, look at me. What if I tell the man that I've been interested in for years the real truth of my feelings? That while I love being his friend, I've wanted so much more for years. I got brave once, a long time ago and told him that. He told me he wasn't interested..if memory serves it was due to the distance, but it was enough to make me afraid to ever approach the subject again. Instead, I reject myself for him. I tell myself that he'll only reject me again and that I'll never be good enough for him.

I pour so much of myself into everything that I do, that when someone close to me turns their back on it, I feel as if they're turning their back on me. I run another site..and I have "staff". Most of them are friends of mine and sometimes it hurts me when they make promises and don't follow through or are happy to promote other sites and yet never promote ours. I tried being brave and telling them but they just nod and say they understand but don't change the behavior and I take that as rejection and I lock it in the closet and tell myself that maybe my expectations are too high.

When I was growing up, there were certain people in my life who trained me to believe that everything was my fault and now, as an adult, that's my default mode. I've held friends while they've wept and yet apologized to everyone who tried to talk to me last night (which weren't many) for being the one falling apart.

The reality is that I'm not happy with my life. Six more difficult words to say out loud..or even just four. I'm not happy. I'm not happy and I'm tired of pretending. I'm tired of lying to myself and of lying to those around me because it's not comfortable being the sad girl. Nobody wants to be around the sad girl. Nobody wants to know the real girl behind the mask. It's easier to not look. It's easier to pretend than be real. I'm always real..but I never show the full reality. People see a piece of me.

I know that the only person who can change my life is me. Deep down, somewhere, I know that people care about me and that I'm not this person that when I'm not in front of them or texting them that they magically forget about. I also know that I'm tired and that I'm not okay. I have a lot of things to deal with instead of shoving them back into the closet. I have a lot of decisions and choices to make.

I may take a break from here and from a lot of the internet. The internet is a double edged sword for me. There's something about it that keeps me tied down and yet in some ways, it's my connection with the outside world. Those few people who I do turn to are all there. They're not here. I would love to change that but I can't right now. However, I may need to just step back. Those same people know my phone number and could call me. Yes, it would be more work but if I can fly or drive halfway across the country to see them, maybe they could dial 10 numbers into a phone..or press my name in a contact list. Maybe I need to believe that I'm worth that much effort. Maybe I'm afraid to find out that I'm not. Too often it's me initiating contact and I'm scared to find out what happens if I don't. I may find that I really am completely alone in this world. I don't want to be alone.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Numbers Are In...

So, it's Monday and here I am. I had thought I might write something in between, but it was just one of those weeks. You know the kind..you have all the greatest intentions but somehow the week just gets away from you and before you know it it's Monday again. That was my week. I'm going to be honest here because if I can't be here than how can I be anywhere else?

This last week was not about weight loss or getting healthy. Monday was awesome. I watched my youngest son win his first wrestling match and I was so proud of how strong he was (he was wrestling with a beat up toe) and how healthy he was. Due to his athletics, he's the only one in the family who doesn't struggle with weight issues. 

Tuesday and Wednesday were just days. I got distracted from my water and didn't get in my ounces. Thursday came the news that the same healthy kid now had pink eye and a nasty cold. Somehow that stopped me in my tracks. I have no idea why. Friday came along and I picked up the boys but wasn't feeling 100% myself. Sure enough, by Saturday I had a similar cold and the sinus pressure has had my jaw/tooth aching ever since. Drinking cold liquids just makes it worse. Great excuse, right? Well no. There is such a thing as warm water. 

So, last week just didn't happen. I'm disappointed in myself but refuse to beat myself up for it. Life happens, mistakes happen. You just have to pick yourself back up, dust off your bottom and try to do better. Really that's all you can do. 

This week I've decided to add in a second goal. No, my water intake has been far from perfect but this is one that I think I can do without too much trouble. Sleep. The truth is that I have an odd sleep schedule. Well, most people who know me think it's odd anyway. I tend to stay up until 3am and then sleep until 10 or 11. I know that, in theory, that's 8 hours of sleep a night. The truth is that its not so much working for me anymore. I need to start adjusting that. When I sleep until 11, it doesn't give me time to ease into my day when I have to be out the door around 3:15pm. So, starting this week, I'm moving my bedtime up. I'm not doing it in major leaps because that just leads to me laying in bed staring at the ceiling. So, my goal for this week is to be in bed by 2:30am every night. 

Sleep and water. I can do this. Now to get rid of water retention and all the ick that goes along with being a girl...and this blasted sinus pressure. I can't live off of motrin alone.

Starting Weight: 288 lbs
Weekly Weight:  288 lbs (yes, I actually stepped on the scale this morning!)
Amount Lost/Gained: -----
Workouts: -----
Average Daily Water Intake: 30 oz (Seriously need to get back to this!)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

I Need to Believe

I'm going to start this post out by asking for forgiveness. I know that you might find that strange, but I feel like I have so many things that I want to talk about and my brain is jumping from one to the other and back again so I cannot promise that this posting will be entirely smooth flowing.

Let's start out with the negative. It's always best to clear that out of the head so that you can move on. So, here's my negative...I feel like I'm losing a competition that in all reality doesn't even exist. I am a part of this amazing group of women and I see what they're doing and a part of my brain keeps saying, 'You're so far behind. Look what they're doing. They're meal planning and you're way back on just trying to be hydrated. There's no way you can be as awesome as they are.' Wow, huh? The things that we do to ourselves sometimes are so far worse than what anyone else can do.  None of these amazing women have ever made me feel less because I'm barely at the starting line. This is all entirely in my head and yeesh, it needs to go.

In other negativity news, I've just been a whirling bundle of emotions the latter half of this week. I can't really get into the details but trust me when I say that it's the kind of thing that can just sink a person. I desperately need to talk to a certain someone but as always, finding a time that works for both of us is proving difficult. I'm working hard on taking a deep breath and just continuing to move with life until that can happen. Being so emotional had totally led me to the path of emotional eating which completely and totally sucks. I need to not be sabotaging myself like that. It just turns into a hugely negative cycle and yeah...

Now, let's look at the positives..Did I mention that I'm a part of this amazing group of women? Watching them grow and learning from them is such a blessing in my life. I know that I'm not where they are, but they love me anyway and love, acceptance and support are so important. Who knew when I started my weight loss journey that I would get to know and love such amazing women from all over? Someone must have because we've all come together and it could only be because we're meant to be.

Warning...brain jump ahead...

I don't have a number for this post. I know that I said I would, but I had to reschedule my doctor's appointment because I had a sick kiddo. It's now scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. As much as I hate to weigh myself outside, I think I've decided to put my scale by my front porch and weigh myself on the front deck. It's probably not totally level, but it's also probably going to be more accurate than anywhere in the house. I have an end goal number in mind and I need the accountability of the scale. It won't be a daily weigh in, but a weekly one.

I also haven't quite figured out the whole working out thing yet. Now that the boys are back in school, I won't be going to anymore wrestling practices so that rules out walking the hallways. The bonus is that the new season of Biggest Loser just started. While I don't always agree with how they do it or anything like that, watching people shed the pounds is motivational to me. Two seasons ago, before everything fell apart, I started walking during the show. I think that I'm going to start doing that again. Any physical activity is better than no activity.

Speaking of bits of activity, I've also started bathroom push ups again. I know what you're thinking..what the heck is she talking about? Back when I was very serious about losing weight and was actually dropping pounds, I used to do push ups in my bathroom every time I went in to use it. I would close the door and do as many wall push ups as my arms could stand. I'm happy to say that since I'm drinking more water again, I've done 45 push ups tonight. Yes, they're against the wall but who cares? My arms are feeling it and that means the muscles are working. Working muscles are good muscles.

And...I guess that's my very disjointed check in. I'm struggling but I'm still moving. I just need to tell myself and to believe that I can do this. I can drop the 138 pounds that I want to drop. I have to believe in me and right now, that's my biggest struggle. My head is saying no, you can't..well brain, actions speak louder than words and one tiny step at a time, I will do this. I can do this.

Starting Weight: 288 lbs
Weekly Weight:  -----
Amount Lost/Gained: -----
New Weight: -----
Workouts: Wall Push Ups
Average Daily Water Intake: 60 oz (Yep, I did it!)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thing 1 and Thing 2

Day 1 of the get my butt in gear challenge has begun. Ok, it's not really a challenge and has little to nothing to do with my butt, but it sounded good, right?

Tomorrow is my first official weigh in. I don't know how often those weigh ins will occur because while I have a perfectly good scale, I have a perfectly rotten house for weighing in. It has carpet in every room and the floors aren't level. Since I don't want false yays or boos, I have to figure out how to work around this challenge. The easiest way would be to weigh in at the doctor's office, but since I don't intend on being continually ill, that's not going to work for more than my first weigh in. So, tomorrow I go to the doctor's for my post surgery appointment. It honestly should have happened at least a week ago, but with sick us, I had to reschedule it. I'm fairly certain that he'll give me clearance to start working out again and basically wave his magic doctor's wand and say be gone. I can't really see why he'd need further follow up with me.

Right. So that turned into a small tangent. I am totally in oooh shiney syndrome mode today. Let's see if I can get myself back on target. What I was going to say when I started writing this post is that two things are going to happen today and I want to tell all of you because we all know that putting it on the internet makes it true, right?

Thing 1: Water. I have completely and totally slacked off when it comes to staying hydrated. As someone who is pretty much chronically dehydrated, it's even more important that I jump back on this one. I know that some people can immediately just start drinking 100oz or more a day, but I'm not one of them. However, I do have my pretty pink water bottle and a rubber band. The bottle has notches in it and for each bottle I drink, I'll move the band up one notch (yes, this is my own high tech invention). For the rest of this week and the weekend, my goal is only 3 notches a day. If I babystep my way into these changes, they're far more likely to stick.

Thing 2: Wrestling practice is boring. Seriously. It is the least interesting practice to watch short of tennis, maybe. However, I noticed last night that there are multiple people who go up and run laps in the halls during practice. While I am by no means ready to start running, there's nothing that says I can't start walking right? After all, Tony says that he started with a minute on the treadmill. If he can start at one minute, maybe I can start with one lap. So tonight, I'm wearing my sneakers to practice and I'll do that one lap. Who knows, I might even go for 2!

PS I've made an new healthy journey friend...stop on over and say hi if you get the chance. Support is so key!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013...A Year About Me

So, it's been a while, huh? It's been a while because well ...I haven't really been focused on much more than health survival for the past few months, it seems. First, it was bronchitis at the start of October. That lasted darn near a month. I just got better from that and then it was mental health survival time as I was personally and publicly attacked due to my close friendship with someone. I won't go into more detail than that. No handing power away as they say. Then came Thanksgiving and immediately after, I wasn't feeling good so I drove myself 30 minutes to the ER just to find out that I had gallstones! Fast forward two weeks and the gall bladder was gone! Just when I thought I was on the road to good health, I came down with stomach flu! Seriously! Here's to a healthier 2013!

Now, a few years ago, I gave up on resolutions and decided to go with words or concepts to work towards in the upcoming year. For the past two years, my word was simplicity. This year, it is still going to be simplicity but I'm adding in simplicity in all things. That's right. You guessed it. That includes things such as diet and exercise. Let's face it. Gyms are nice but not all of us live near one or can afford a membership. Let's also face it. I don't need a gym. Treadmills are awesome but I have a perfectly good road right outside my door.

So, other than hoping to snag some pool time, chances are you won't be seeing me at a gym this year. I have all of the tools that I need right here at home. I have half a dozen workout/yoga/walking dvds. I have fantastic workouts that were put together when I was still a part of Mamavation. These work. I know that they work because they were working for me before.

As for diet, I'm getting back into the kitchen. No, my kitchen still isn't perfect and I still don't have a working sink, but look at it this way...carrying dishes to the bathtub and back is extra steps. Twisting to put the clean dishes up on the towel rack to dry is like stretching. It's a mini workout in itself. My pedometer finally has a new battery so hopefully I should be getting that back on and keeping track of those numbers.

Do y'all remember my little thing that used to go on the bottom of my posts? Where I kept track of number of workouts, average amount of water drank and pounds lost (or gained)? It's coming back. It was a good visual reminder of where I needed to go and where I had been.

Now, for the question that I'm sure is on some of your minds...how many pounds in 2013? I'm not setting that number. You see, it's about being healthy and getting healthy. Yes, I have weight to lose. Yes, I have a lot of weight to lose. Do I have an overall goal? Sure I do. Am I going to pressure myself and stress myself about achieving it in a set amount of time? Heck no.

So what am I waiting for? Medical clearance. I have my post surgery follow up on Friday where I'm sure that I'm going to get the all clear. Once I have that, it's back to the lunges, sit ups and squats. The bigger question is...Who will join me on this journey?

I've never done this, but if you need a place to journal about your journey, let me know. I'm going to be opening the site up for those who need a place for support and to write about their healthy lifestyle changes and journeys.

Here's to 2013...the year of healthier and happier people!

PS If you're looking for those numbers, they'll start with the next post after I get an official (fully clothed with shoes)weigh in at the doctor's office on Friday.

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