Show us those calories!!

I love this. I am a little obsessed with the obesity epidemic, mostly because I'm worried about what my kids and grandkids will encounter for food when they enter this world. By posting calories everywhere, it might help just a little with food awareness. I will be so happy if just one person's eyes are opened by seeing how many calories they are consuming. I think we all know that we are only supposed to eat around 2,000 calories per day, right? But do you every stop to consider how many you are ACTUALLY consuming? If you are trying to lose or gain weight, it's a simple equation. Eat more or less than you burn.

So for me, I burn approximately 1650 calories if I just sit around all day (click here to check your own digits) and do not really move. Unfortunately, that's many-a-day at my job in cube-land. I try to lose 1 pound per week. So, to make sure I burn enough to lose one pound, I need to work out 3,500 calories more than I eat and burn by doing nothing. (This is another calorie calculator). My personal trainer estimated that I should only eat 1495 calories per day to accomplish that with the amount of exercise I'm already doing.


housework = work out?

Do you think doing housework counts as a work out? I don't really think that my brand of housework really counts as workout, but yesterday I cleaned and worked on a bathroom remodel the ENTIRE time I was awake, so I felt like that meant I did not need to work out.

Maybe I'm wrong, and I could have burned a few more calories by going for a run late last night. However, sometimes my priorities are to sleep more. I did lift some tonight while staining some cabinets in the garage. I did a set, then stained a door, did another set, stained the drawer. It was fun!

And tomorrow my butt WILL get up and go for a run before work. By the way, my absolute favorite thing to listen to while running is Girl Talk. I love it!


Crock o'chicken

I cooked some chicken in a crockpot today. It was so simple and so, so good. This was my first time to cook just meat (or anything other than soup/chili) in the crock. The hubs and I went to lowes today and started on a home improvement project so I knew I wouldn't want to cook this evening. So we are making some Spanish rice, black beans and corn to go with it.

If you want to try it, here's what I did:
Put 1 lb frozen chicken breast, one can 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup, some taco seasoning and about two cups of homemade salsa in the crock for about 6 hours. I switched from high to medium about half way because it was sticking to the bottom.



Of all the photos on facebook, the girl that made our 10-year high school reunion "book" that everyone has, picked THIS photo of us. Keep in mind that I have a bazillion photos on FB of us that are WAY better than this one.

I wish I would have submitted a better one. Now high school people think I don't wear make up and I have a double chin, not to mention it's horribly framed. And you can hardly tell that I've lost almost a whole person since then!!!!

(is it super horrible if I think that the girl that organized it did it on purpose?)


Thoughts spurred by a funeral

Last night the hubs and I went to a funeral for a woman I'd never met. She is the sister of one of the hubs' friends and his parents were good friends with her parents when they were growing up, so he felt like we should go. Plus it's a really sad story.

As I'm waiting in line to shake hands with/hug her parents, this woman got to me. I'm looking at all of the pictures of her kids and family, all smiles. I'm wondering when the next time these kids will smile, knowing their mom is not ever coming home.

When I finally get to the front of the line, I shake hands and say I'm sorry. As we are walking away, I realize that I'm one lucky girl because I've never had to be that person. I've never stood next to the casket waiting for everyone to come to me.

And for that I'm thankful. I'm SO thankful. I am healthy. The hubs is healthy. Both of my parents and my sister are still living and healthy. I still have one grandparent left and she seems healthy.

So often, I try to improve myself, to work with my body and my lifestyle to make things better. But sometimes it might be better to just be happy with what I already have.


Homemade Sherbet

The weekends are usually when my sweet tooth comes out in full force. During the week, I can satisfy myself with a vitatop or even fruit and yogurt. The weekends are a whole different story. I try my best to indulge my sweet tooth, but not go overboard. If I deprive it completely, it will come back with a vengeance the next time!

Last night the hubs and I broke out the borrowed ice cream maker that we borrowed from my parents. It might be from when they got married - that's how old this baby is. But it works, and it was free.

So we made orange sherbet. One two-liter of orange soda + one can + one can of sweet condensed milk. That's it. Dump it in and let the ice cream maker go to work.

This is the result:

It's really good as it is, but I'd like to try it again with diet soda and see if it's just as good as the diesel. My teeth can tell how much sugar is in this stuff by the coating that remains after I eat it. We also want to try other flavors - maybe with cream soda or strawberry.


Eggplant: my first adventure

At work, we have a weekly farmers market for local vendors to sell their ripest of the ripe. Today I wanted to get some sweet corn because the hubs and I seem to be eating it all the time, but then I also stumbled upon a cute little eggplant. I decided that since I like most veggies grilled, I could at least do that with it.

I requested help from my FB friends and ended up attempting Eggplant Pomodoro. It turned out to be pretty darn good! I burned the garlic (I suck at cooking most of the time) so that flavor was unappealing, but the rest of it was very good (I left out the olives and capers since we don't have those in the house and I used my own tomatoes). The eggplant itself seemed to soak up the other flavors, but I didn't like the skin. It was a little chewy and bitter, so if I make this again I would cut off the skin first.

Edit: the pasta is much better immediately than reheated the next day.


A sweat-fest in my living room

I had a sweaty-good time with my personal trainer tonight. She made me work it for 50 minutes straight, which I actually thought was a really good work out. Imagine Jillian's 30 day shred for 50 minutes instead of 20, and use some arm bands and ball tosses in there.

Side note: There is no such thing as "arm bands for tall people." Does that explain to you how hard it was for me to do the exercise where you stand on the band and lift up with both arms? We had to modify with one at a time for the second set.

But for me, the best part of the one hour session was talking about insecurity and body issues after we were finished working out. It's ironic that she and I would have a similar self-image when she grew up an athlete and I have always had these issues and now seem to be making great strides in that department. At least I feel like I am, and since I'm probably the only one who can gauge these things, what I say goes.

Side note to self: Do not get all crazy and do a bazillion lunges the night before the personal trainer is coming. OMG the pain!!


Chocolate Chip bars

Sometimes you just need a sweet treat on the weekend. Work has been stressing me out all week so I think this is the perfect way to end the week and get ready for the next one. I even used real butter just like my trusty plaid cookbook says to.


The "why" story

Most people that meet me have no idea that I used to be "fat." When I get close enough to someone (online is no big deal, but in person is an emotional step for me) to share the story, they are blown away by the before pictures. After asking how I did it, the next question is usually "why?"

The physical side:
It all started my freshman year of college. I don't really know how much I weighed before I left for school, but I remember I had to weigh-in for a physical education class and that weight is what I claim as my highest - 260lbs.  So that was January 2001. Throughout that spring semester I was forced to work out in gym class. I think I might have lost a few pounds, but nothing significant. When I came home from school for the summer, I joined weight watchers. I went to a few meetings before summer vacation with my parents. This trip was the last time we went to South Carolina as a family. I remember it was so easy to stay within my point range because I was eating shrimp/fish every day. That trip is what really started the weight loss. Again - I didn't really weigh myself after the trip so I'm not sure how much I lost, but my guess is close to 20lbs because people started to notice. After that, I continued doing WW on my own, and worked out once I got back to college.

The emotional side:
In high school, I only dated one guy and I don't consider him a boyfriend. We made out for about three months. That's it. As a college freshman, I didn't really branch out from my high school comfort zone. My roommate was a girl I knew from high school - my best friend at the time actually. It was a struggle for us to live together, so I decided I didn't want to live with her again sophomore year. I found two girls named Jennifer to live with off-campus. Aside from the first roommate, I also hung out with a gay guy that I was friends with in high school, and therefore a lot of his gay friends at college. I dated no one my entire freshman year. No one. When I came home for the summer, I decided things had to change. I would never fall in love at the rate I was going. At the time, I didn't blame guys for not dating me, I didn't love myself. I thought things like "who would want to date such a fatty" and you can probably tell the level of my self-esteem. That summer, I met a guy at work who was three years younger than me, but seemed to like me. We ended up dating for more than a year and I fell pretty hard for him. While he turned out to be a jerk, I learned a lot of things about myself during that year and actually learned to start liking "me." I joined a sorority, made lots of new friends and felt confident in my own body for the first time.

So the short version of "why" for me is that I wanted to find love. I thought the only way to do that is to lose weight. Looking back, I think that was probably the wrong reason, but the process of losing weight helped me find myself, and therefore the love I was searching for.


Apple crumb vitatop: a review

I ordered these babies mostly for the hubs to try. He loves all things apple so I thought he would like the apple crumb better than apple berry.

For those "not in the know" a vitatop is a treat for a dieter, especially a WW person. These things come in a variety of flavors and are about 100 cal, 1 fat, 6 fiber and 3+ protein. And they taste good. I eat them for breakfast sometimes or more likely dessert.

I ate it room temperature - which is how I prefer my non-chocolate vitatops, but I have to admit I was not impressed. I mean, it was good, but not amazing. It was equally as good as the apple-berry vitatop. However, if you want to eat a vitatop for breakfast, my first choice would be banana nut.

Other flavors I will be trying from this shipment: Chocolate mint, raisin bran and blue bran.

I do have to give vitalicious props for the speedy delivery on this shipment though. I ordered a bunch for myself, then two coworkers added their orders on to mine so we could share the shipping cost. They arrived in only 5 days!! I've had it take up to two weeks before, so I'm hoping they've improved their processes.

(sorry for the crappy photo - I took it with my phone.)

Do you have a favorite flavor? Did you even know what a vitatop was before this post?


run? nah.

I am finding it extremely hard to get back into the swing of things after a week of relaxing. I have yet to go for a run, but I did walk a few times and last night I finally lifted a little.

I was supposed to have a personal training session but that fell through. I decided since I was already dressed I could go ahead and lift but I didn't have my heart in it. Maybe it will be cool enought to run when I get home tonight after my Trueblood date.



I ordered $100 of vitatops.

That is all.


Back in the groove

I've been a little MIA lately with vacation and birthday celebrations, but I'm going back to work tomorrow. That means going back to the routine of regular life, including working out on a normal schedule. I have a personal training session planned for Tuesday evening, and I'm planning on being pretty sore for the rest of the week.

I have not had the luxury of working out with a personal trainer - unless you consider my hubs trying to teach me how to lift properly a personal trainer. I don't, so I'm kind of nervous about the one-hour beating I'm about to ask for. Hopefully I will learn some things and be more motivated to lift weights. I can usually motivate myself to go for a run, but lifting just seems like such a chore that I put it off until the last minute of the day (think right before I go to bed) and then I cut it short because I need to go to sleep.


Birthday dinner

After eating out several times on vacation, I opted to stay home and cook for my birthday dinner with the hubs. We splurged on some shrimp and made cheesey grits with shrimp and bacon - probably the closest thing to a "low country" food I've ever made. The grits were amazing, but the shrimp were a little "shrimpy" smelling. That just reminds me of why I only eat shrimp when I'm near water. Shrimp in the midwest is just not the same. But aside from that, it was great dinner!

I had a vitatop with a smidge of peanut butter for dessert :)


Vacation eating

It is SO hard to eat well on vacation. I'm currently writing to you from vacation and let me tell you, it's really difficult. Last night, for example, we ate at a local Italian restaurant. I know to get red sauce, no matter what. But those rolls are so good and the you know the house salad dressing (regardless of flavor) is not low-fat in any way. The hubs and I love trying new restaurants, and refuse to eat at Applebees on vacation. With this new thing called the "Internet" we can read reviews of restaurants we are considering while in the parking lot. Luckily we did. One restaurant we were considering had a bunch of reviews of food poisoning - obviously we did not go there.

On the work out side of things - I have been able to work up a sweat several times, but that was from laying out on the dock - not working out.

And on the personal side of things - tomorrow is my birthday!


All grown up

The hubs and I grew up only two hours apart, but sometime I feel like we grew up in completely different culinary worlds. Before I met him, I'd never had beer-can chicken or bagna-cauda, and those are just two things I can think of right this second. I really didn't even like chicken before we were living together (and cooking together) because I didn't really like fried chicken (I know, many of you will gasp out loud probably) and I love my mom, but her chicken was always overcooked and chewy. I had no idea you could grill chicken in a pan, or on the griddle contraption, without it being chewy and hard to eat!! Now, grilled chicken is pretty much our go-to meal when we don't want to be creative and I love the way the hubs experiments with different flavorings to go on/with it.

The things I make him try seem like standard food to me, but I guess it goes both ways, huh. The other night, I made him try a bite of my plum because he didn't know what one tasted like. I tried to warn him that the skin was sour but the inside was really sweet. He didn't care for the sourness of the skin, but at least he was willing to taste it.