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Going the wrong way....

Sunday, December 05, 2010

As I enter week 8 of no frozen dinners I do it with a couple of extra pounds. Well, about 3 to be exact. Doesn't seem like a lot, but I'm a little freaked. In my 2 1/2 years of Spark, I gained weight once, about a year ago, and focus and tracking my food got me back on track. Well, this week I gained more. So, maybe I'm not focusing. Maybe it's my cooking. Maybe it's because my exercise got way out of whack. Maybe it's junk food I've been eating more of over these last couple of months. Maybe I'm not drinking enough water. This is what has been running through my head. Along with the realization that my clothes still fit the same, so maybe there is more to the story than me porking back up.

I have taken steps, which have gotten of to a positive start. To begin, I added two goals to my Other Goals here on SP. Normally, I don't care for this goal section, but this is proving to be a good motivator for me. The two goals - cardio 3x/week and yoga 2x/week. I've long had a goal of 8 yoga workouts per month. Since SP doesn't let me do it on a monthly basis, I took it to a weekly basis. For cardio, I created a monthly goal of 12 cardio workouts, of at least 30 minutes, per month. I took this to a weekly goal as well. A couple of other goals may be added - one for strength training at least 2x/week and one for tracking my food at least 4x/week.

The strength training is a bit tricky as I do some workout DVDs that are circuit based or pilates based and to me this is strength training as well. So, I'm still trying to figure out the best way to track these and count the strength (open to suggestions and would love to hear how others handle these types of workouts). I did get a new workout DVD that was reviewed by Coach Nicole - Xtreme Timesaver Training from the Personal Training with Jackie DVDs. This is 30 minutes of strength and cardio. It's a kick-butt workout. It's divided into 10 minute segments or you can do the whole thing at once. I did the whole thing yesterday, but I really feel like this DVD would work great by doing one of the 10 minute segments after a cardio workout. Still working out how to track it though as the heart rate does go up. There is no break really between moves and she does them in combo so you are working arms and legs or legs and core, etc. A little bit of cardio for sure. I can definitely feel it today.

I'm hoping the gain is not my cooking, but I had several months between weigh-ins so I have no way of really knowing. I'm wishing I'd stepped on the scale at the beginning of week 1 of no frozen dinners.

I'm making other changes. I'm now one week in of not hitting the candy jars at work. This was doing me in on so many levels. Also, no more junk food. I don't do it often, but when I get stressed I crave carbs and not the good kind either. But, I do know the more I eat of the junk carbs the more I want them, so the answer to that is now no. I can have a treat on the weekend as I know total denial will backfire on me, but no more mini powdered donuts! I know they have zero nutritional value, but I love them! One of my favorite treats is mini-powdered donuts and diet coke. Strange, but there you go. No more though at least until after the holidays - gotta leave an allowance for the good holiday treats.

It seems like a lot when written down, but for me, cold turkey is usually the way to go, so I'm going to try that again and see what happens. Of course, TOM is here, so that probably accounts for some of today's gain, but I'd really like to send the scale heading in the down direction rather than up. So, I'm really going to focus this week and see what happens.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

XHASTEDMOMOF2 12/10/2010 7:54PM

    Good for you for staying on top of gaining a few pounds. When I get to goal weight, I too plan to stop weight gain before it gets out of hand again. Smart move going cold turkey!!! I'm also staying out of the bad stuff as well!!! Keep up the good work and your successful working out goals!!


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BROUSTEN 12/7/2010 3:07AM

    Here's one theory about how those few extra pounds got there.....Your scale is a sick, twisted and sadistic little monster who wants to ruin your Christmas! Tell it, firmly, you are onto his malicious little game, that you are not going to tolerate it anymore, and then kick the little thing into the closet until after New Year's...and tell him you will think about letting him out then only IF he agrees to be nice from now on. (smile)

Seriously, I admire your resolve to change so many habits all at once, let alone at a time of year when most people give up on trying to do so at all and just wait until the New Year to start, but please cut yourself some slack. Over the last 5 days I've watched my own scale climb and fall by several pounds a couple of times. I suspect I am not regaining and re-losing the same 2 or 3 pounds over and over again (although it feels like it sometimes). Instead, especially when the panic sets in, I've had to remind myself to look at the big my behaviors are changing consistently over time. Besides, the scale (that little tyrant) is NOT the only measure of weight loss progress. As you mentioned, your clothes feel the same on you--that's another measure which is telling you your body IS the same size......So use that and your behavioral goals as ways to measure your progress..... And as reasons to give yourself a pat on the back.

Thank you, though, for the reality check that the "battle" isn't over when we reach our goal weight....Working to maintain the new body we have formed requires continued effort.

Also, I need to check out how to use the goals on SP, now that you've mentioned it....I can't remember doing so yet....and that could be a helpful feature!

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Comment edited on: 12/7/2010 3:12:40 AM

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LEAVNTHEW8BHIND 12/6/2010 4:25PM

    OMG - I'm there with you - I think I'm back on track, then the weekend comes, or meetings or this or that (anything with food).

I think the job stress (whether or not I'll have a job past Jan 31) is getting to me. Of course this all started when my family came down in August and I've stayed out of control since then....

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SASSISPRING 12/6/2010 1:28AM

    Hang in there, sounds like TOM is responsible for that gain and you'll be back at par in no time. :)

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ELISADENK 12/5/2010 9:44PM

    Interesting. Glad you are taking charge of those 3 pounds and not gaining any more. TOMS can do it. Relax. Take a big breath. You ARE on the right track. Monitor things and see how it goes. You ARE doing fine. You KNOW what to do, and have the tools to do it.

BTW, I LOVE oldfashioned, glazed donuts. Been known to eat the entire box worth in one day (before becoming a Sparkie). emoticon

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CTTAGENT 12/5/2010 9:41PM

    Glad to hear that you have set some very good, attainable goals.
I too sometimes get to where I will eat some "junk food" because I taste it, and then seem to crave more. I am working to have some handy protein snacks, such as nuts, on hand to replace the sugar/carbs. I want to try making some homemade granola bars also.
I look forward to hearing about your progress.

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

So, this begins week 5 of no frozen dinners. I believe there is still one in the freezer. Today, I'm doing a batch of black beans. From "scratch." Seems, without really thinking about it, I've also decided to reduce my reliance on canned goods when I can. There is something in the tin they use to can that isn't good for you (BPAs maybe?). So, with the exception of some veggies and some fruit, I'll do my best to not to get canned. I know I can do frozen veggies, but there are some cans that are very close to single serving and they are very reasonably priced.

Anyway, recipes. So, I noticed when you buy dry beans in bulk at Whole Foods, they have cooking directions there as well. Hard to remember, so today I went to their website and hit Beans 101. Nice little blog posting. Included the basics of cooking and some seasonings/uses for a variety of beans. While there I realized they also have recipes. Quite a few of them. Thus, I wound up perusing the ones that included black beans. I was pleasantly surprised. There is a variety and many of them have ingredients I like or are such that I can leave out what I don't like. They also have a Recipe Box you can save recipes to, a way to create shopping lists from the recipes, and allow users to rate them. And, they include nutritional information. I created my account and am looking forward to trying the recipes that appealed to me.

Why not use SP you ask. Honestly, Spark Recipes doesn't really work for me. Many of the recipes that are user created go overboard with the substitutions/Splenda usage, which can actually change a recipe and while I do consume some items with artificial sweeteners, I'm not sure I want to go sticking it in everything. I would also rather use a whole egg than an egg white and many substitute this way. I'm glad they've got Chef Meg on board because I like that she can modify some of them, but on the whole, Spark Recipes hasn't worked for me, though I do love and do use the Recipe calculator.

If you're looking for a new place to get recipes, I suggest checking out Whole Foods.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

XHASTEDMOMOF2 11/15/2010 10:15PM

    You have become quite the cook and I can see why. I also agree about the substitutions. Good for you!!!

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SASSISPRING 11/13/2010 11:47PM

    I will check that out. Thanks for the information.

Here is another site for you. I used to get the magazines. "Cooking For Two." It's a magazine focused on cooking small recipes.

My favourite is this site, Company's Coming. I own over a dozen books. Her recipes are simple, basic and down to earth. She makes from small size recipes to large and her recipes are easy to double if you are batch cooking.


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DRUSHKA26 11/13/2010 9:18PM

    You may also want to try .
It is a link from Cooking Light magazines website and it lists the nutritional info on most (unfortunately not ALL) recipes. I have made some great soups from there lately (it's getting cold near chicago....brrr).

I also got a great cookbook for my birthday from my very supportive boss/friend. It is the Mayo Clinic Cookbook and it lists all the nutritional info too. The black bean burgers are awesome!

Thanks for the link. I've never thought to check out Whole Foods website. I can't wait to browse.

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GRAMME221 11/13/2010 6:27PM

    thanks for the tip.

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Making changes...

Sunday, November 07, 2010

I can't believe it's been a month since I blogged, but I've thought about it. Seems like something always took priority. Such is life.

Since the last entry I decided to make one really big change - I decided to reduce/eliminate frozen dinners. This isn't a whimsical change for me as being a single person, I find frozen dinners really handy. I also love how it easy it is to track the calories for those babies. However, I was having some problems, not the least of which is a lot of fatigue, and started wondering if maybe the preservatives in them (not to mention the sodium and it's possible contribution to bloating) could be a culprit.

This weekend marks week 4 of not buying frozen dinners. I still have one or two left in the freezer and will eat those spaced out with other meals. I also don't plan on eliminating the Morningstar Farms products that I like, but I will eat them maybe once a week.

So, what am I doing. I'm cooking! What a concept. I'm trying to learn how to make my own frozen dinners. So far, I've found that hamburger patties (I make mine like a meatloaf and make "mini" burgers) freeze well. I've discovered that nothing beats fresh potatoes. Yes, I'm frying them up at times, but I use oil sparingly and tonight added a bit of onion. The next time I'm at the store I'll get some fresh mushrooms to add and will consider adding some veggies, such as carrots, right as the potatoes are done. This will warm them, but shouldn't make them soggy. I'm kind of experimenting as I go along. Then, the hamburgers and potatoes actually make a great lunch. I'll also do chicken and freeze it to use in quesadillas or other dishes.

A Fresh Market opened here a few months ago and they do some pre-prepared meats that I've been trying. Basically, they do the prep work and then I cook it. Their panko breaded cod is awesome, plus I can buy stuffed shrimp individually. They also do varieties of chicken, including Chicken Parmesan, Chicken stuffed with mushrooms and mozzarella or spinach and feta, plus more. They're fairly large, so I get two servings out of them, which makes the cost reasonable. This is especially nice because as a single person, I can buy just what I need.

An added bonus is that it's looking like my grocery bill has gone down. And, I've discovered I'd rather cook some things (like the taters) than get them frozen. I do, however, need to work on side dishes and start adding in more veggies. One step at a time.

I'm learning a bit from this as well. It doesn't take that much to cook, esp if I cook enough to freeze or last a couple of days. So, I'm not cooking every night. Clean up really doesn't take that long. Non frozen does taste better. I kind of hate saying that as some of the dinners I do like, but what I've found is the more I cook it myself, the more I'd RATHER cook it myself. Which is kind of odd. I love to bake, but I've never really considered myself a cook.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LEAVNTHEW8BHIND 11/8/2010 12:27PM


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SASSISPRING 11/8/2010 1:19AM

    Good for you. Sounds like you are doing well with it all. :)

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ELISADENK 11/7/2010 8:46PM

    Wonderful! Have you read some of my blogs on my SPpage? I learned to make frozen meals and Blogged about them.

You have more variety than I have. I'm still working on it.

Good for you! I love how easy they are to make and the ease in which to thaw them out and eat them. No mess; no stress.

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XHASTEDMOMOF2 11/7/2010 8:37PM

    Good for you!!! I cut out frozen dinners a while back for much the same reasons. Tho I do love my Morningstar veggie burgers and have no plans to get rid of them!! How awesome that you decided to figure out something that wasn't right and ended up making it a better health decision!!!


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Sunday, October 03, 2010

I had never really thought about this until last night. I've been helping a friend, who's had a lot going on, with her dog. She's been away over one night on the weekend fairly regularly. The way I help is I walk her dog at least once in the evening and then the following morning, I walk her, feed her, then usually, I'll hit the fitness room and then walk the dog again before heading back to my apartment.

Because it's getting dark earlier, I'm heading to her apartment for the evening walk after dark. I am extra careful, but it's still early enough that there is activity going on all around me. It's that night walk that made me think of serenity. I walk through the complex to get to her apartment which is on the opposite side from mine (yes, I consider the walking an added bonus). Last night's walk through the complex was just very serene. I could see buildings lit up, hear the sounds of music across the bay, here people cheering on the game as I walked by or just hear people talking on their patios. All around me were the sounds of life and it was just very peaceful.

I had never really given this much thought, but, to me, there was just something reassuring about all the signs of life all around me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ELISADENK 10/8/2010 9:22PM

    Amen! For me, it is children's laughter.

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SASSISPRING 10/4/2010 12:40PM

    Sounds wonderful, including the night walk. Lovely that you have a dog that you can walk. I miss walking dogs. I hear you on the serenity. The other night I walked at twilight and went to the river. I stood there listening to the geese in the air above, the traffic behind me and a small plane getting ready to land at the local airport. It was so peaceful, almost like being in one's own world. :)

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XHASTEDMOMOF2 10/3/2010 10:51PM

    Sounds like a marvelous walk!!! And you are so kind to help out your friend! Just stay aware of your surroundings as you soak up the serenity and beauty of the world around you!!

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Photos = memories

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I recently had the joy of finding several photo cds which held pictures from a trip to a fitness resort in Utah and trip to Mexico, both about 10 years ago. I thought I'd lost these pictures and was delighted to find I had them on cd along with pictures of my first house in TX and of my cat when I first got her. It literally made my day.

I was much heavier at the time of the trips. I remember not too long ago a blog posting by one of the SP coaches on how to take a good picture. I could post several that back up the need for that. I'm head on in several of them and they are not flattering. I also remember reading several responses by those who didn't want their pictures taken for a variety of reasons and those who thought a blog post on taking good pictures wasn't necessary.

I was horrified by how heavy I was when I got the pictures back from the Mexico trip. It was the impetus that led to my second weight loss round. I did eventually lose 25 lbs and looked much better. I look at those pictures and those from the fitness resort and think, if I'd just turned sideways a bit, it would have been a better picture. Doesn't matter now, but for future photos, I'm ready.

However, now 10 years later and 10 years older/wiser, I look at these pictures and I'm so glad that I have them and that I'm in them, chunky or not, horrible pose be damned. They bring back such wonderful memories of those trips. So, those who hesitate for whatever reason to have their picture taken, pick a pose that works for you and say cheese!

And, on that note, I'm including a picture of me from the Mexico trip.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WITHSPIRIT 9/27/2010 8:23AM

    You've come a long way, baby!!! So glad you found your pictures, especially of your beloved (I am sure) cat! we treasure our baby kitty pictures of our fur child!!!

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XHASTEDMOMOF2 9/25/2010 6:56PM

    Cute picture!!! I love the background!!! Which coach posted that blog?? I think I could use a few tips!!! And congrats on getting rid of the weight!!

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SASSISPRING 9/22/2010 6:08PM

    Awesome that you found photos that you thought you lost. It's such a beautiful gift when that happens. I agree with your thoughts on this. I have only a couple photos of Drue and I as he hated his picture being taken. I made him suffer through it for me and even though he lives forever in my heart, I'm thankful that I have a couple photos of us. They aren't perfect and yet there is beauty in the imperfections. I remember seeing a picture of me holding my niece of the heart and at the time thought "ugh, you can see how bald I am". Later when niece of the heart passed away I was so thankful that I had the photo. I think back to the rigid postures of old when people sat for long periods for a photo and what they went through. We take it all for granted. I like the picture you posted and I bet it has a wonderful story attached to it also.

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CTTAGENT 9/20/2010 12:07AM

    That is nice to find something you thought you lost. Glad you enjoyed seeing them again because of the memories.

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SLUGGER17 9/19/2010 7:37PM

    I agree about the memories. In fact, you have just inspired my blog for the day. Thanks!

Has it ever occurred to others that those memories are important to their loved ones, not just to them? My husband's grandmother scratched her face out of every photo she came across. Now she's gone, and it is rare for a family member to find one with her face in it. So sad.

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WELLNESSME09 9/19/2010 7:24PM

    emoticonthanks for sharing...I agree it's always a good idea to have some pictures to have, even if it's just for memories!!! emoticon

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