Sunday, September 08, 2013
This is my 6th year teaching Sunday School to 3 years olds. I love it! They are so cuddly and love to snuggle with my ample...well...chest I think :) Boy, those poor kids are going to be upset when there is not as much of me to snuggle with someday!
My church takes the summers off from Sunday School and starts again right after Labor Day. At the end of the school year, we have a carry in picnic at a local park. Last year was the first year we had a cookout to start the year though. I believe it's the Fellowship Committee who puts it on, including cooking all the food, as a treat for the congregation.
I remembered what the menu was last year and after confirming with a friend who was doing the cooking, it was basically the same: hot dogs, brats, chips and ice cream. As much as I appreciate their effort (and I'm not making light of that), that is a nightmare for someone who wants to make healthier choices :) I don't like hot dogs or brats (unless it's Johnsonville, which really is more of a smoked sausage), and if they had hamburgers, I would have ate them. I would have liked a few chips and this year, I think I seen that they were in portion controlled bags. Ice cream was also in individual cups.
I have 9 days to go before I hit my 6 month Sparkversary and I'd really like to lose 10% of my weight (an old Weight Watchers trick) by then. As of this morning, I have almost 8 pounds to lose in 9 days if I want to hit it. Possible, maybe. Impossible, I'm not subscribing to that thought! Because weight loss constantly varies, but overall, slows down over time, I have chosen for this first year to lose 10% of my weight every 6 months. If I don't quite make it every 6 months, no big deal, I'll just reset the 10%. At some point, I will probably have to stretch the time frame out to 9 months or even 12 in between, but I think taking it 10% at a time is a good pace.
I started training for a 5K this past week. I'd walked one 5 years and 20 pounds less ago. I've hit a slump this summer, gaining and losing the same pounds over and over. I had not done any formal exercising because....I don't really enjoy it :) I also had plenty of gardening and yard work to do, so that was my trade off. I'm still gardening and have some weeds looking at me, but I needed a change. So my girl, BIGREDANGEL kept talking about 5Ks, I found one we could do together early in October. In the meantime, she has had a minor medical setback, but I haven't given up on her and also decided that I needed to go on for me.
Oh, that church cookout? Yeah, so I had some leftover soup in my fridge and some grapes that needed to be eaten. I put that soup in a thermos and it was SCREAMING hot by the time church was done :) I packed two lunchbags, one hot (with hot packs) and one cold (with my drink). I didn't want to go through the whole thing of having to explain to everyone what I was eating and why, so I quickly and quietly ate in my classroom and just went out later to socialize. No one was the wiser, no big deal. This is by far not enough to sustain me for lunch, but it was enough to get me home.
I struggle with Sunday Mornings anyways. We're usually a little hectic at home, but I get a decent breakfast at about 7:30 AM. Any later than that, and it messes up our morning routine and then we're late! Unfortunately, we don't leave church until noon (with a 20 minute drive home), so I pack snacks and water on the typical Sunday during the school year anyway. That way, if we need to stop off at a store on the way home, I'm not about to eat my arm off when I walk into the house :)
Friday, August 16, 2013
WE LOVE TO HOMESCHOOL! And one of the many benefits of homeschooling is field trips, any day and every day (if you want to). Yesterday, my 3rd grader and I got to see two 3D IMAX movies for free. (One was about the artic - poor polar bears - and the other about the Galapagos Islands.) The theater is about an hour away in a town that we don't go to often because there are a couple other towns closer with more shopping. But, it is really a nice town, nonetheless. One other thing this town has going for it ...CiCi's Pizza! There's not another one in the area.
For those who may not be familiar with CiCi's, it's a pizza buffet, reminding me a bit of old Shakey's Pizza, if you grew up in NW Indiana. In general, I'm not a fan of buffets. I grew up on buffets (remember Duff's buffet in Lafayette?). I guess my parents took us to those because you can eat the equivalent of two meals (or more) for the price of one. Especially on vacation, we would hunt out Shoney's all across America. I've been to Las Vegas twice and I can only remember one good buffet, The Mirage, and it was some of the best food I have ever had.
But in general, buffets tend to have LOTS of food, and so-so on quality. It's a nightmare for someone who eats mindlessly, who I used to be. For some reason, I've been able to nip that in the bud this year. I would much rather eat at a slightly higher priced restaurant for a little more money, and eat better food, with maybe some leftovers to go home. I used to just stuff myself at buffets "to get my money's worth". Yeah, how did that work for me? It didn't.
(Back to CiCi's) I love that place and only get to go to one about twice a year. So, it's a special treat! Although it is a buffet, it's good. They serve three styles of pizza: one that reminds me of Pizza Hut Pan Pizza (although it's square in shape), one that reminds me of Pizza King (another Indiana fave) and one that reminds me of frozen pizza :) The breadsticks are good too. But they don't serve the brownies anymore. They had the usual apple pizza pie, plus a Bavarian creme pizza and a chocolate one too. Cinnamon rolls are still there though! Are you hungry yet? :)
Before I left, I checked their website and planned out my meal. Their nutrition information is one of the best I have found online. Very easy to read and compare, although their menu is much smaller than many restaurants. What I found interesting was that almost all of their items are about 150 calories per serving. I thought maybe I would have to stick to just cheese pizza, but the other varieties were just a few calories more. I had a small breakfast that day, nothing at the theater (they were offering free coffee and danishes - it was a 9 AM show), and about 500 calories that I didn't use from the day before. I very rarely "carry" calories over from one day to the next (SP frowns on it), but it is the same math my fat cells use. And I didn't purposely hold back those calories from the day before, I just wasn't as hungry.
Thankfully CiCi's had free wifi, so I took my Kindle in and logged the food as I ate it. That is one way to be reasonable at a buffet :) I could decide if one more piece of this or that was worth it. It also helped slow me down in between trips to the buffet and gave my tummy some time to register the food. If you check my food tracker (go ahead, it's what it's there for), I did eat an insane amount of calories in one sitting. I also went over my daily calorie allowance, but I didn't go over my 500 calorie deficit from the day before. I don't know how long it takes for calories to "post" on the scale (think online banking), but I weighed exactly today what I ate before I left yesterday. Not to say it won't be higher tomorrow, but usually I have trouble with water weight after eating out and I didn't this time. Was it worth it? Absolutely! Will I do it again? Yes, but it'll be months before I do something like this.
After the movies and pizza, we did a marathon shopping trip, which means I got in LOTS of walking, another reason I don't feel so bad about it. Plus, I gardened for 2 hours the day before we went. Gardening burns serious calories. I struggle with non-productive activity. I don't love yard or garden work, but I'd rather do that than go for a walk :) Or take an exercise class = even worse! But work that is productive, sign me up :) Soon, I'm going to have to bite that walking bullet, when my garden slows down.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
As much as I love and appreciate the SP food database, there will be gaps, unfortunately.
We've been eating potatoes from our garden, eating them in various ways. I was having a hard time finding a nutrition entry in the database that I was sure would be close to what I was eating. Raise your hand if you know with certainty what a small, medium or large potato look like.
Yeah, me too. If I knew what portion sizes were, I wouldn't need this site!
I had forgotten about an online source I have used in the past. It's even better than using "The Complete Book of Food Counts" by Corinne T. Netzer. Yep, I have that book too.
I'm sure there is something in my user agreement that I can't promote other websites, so we'll make this a scavenger hunt.
Clue #1 - Google "Nutrition Data". It came up as the first entry when I did it.
Clue #2 - The website is part of a magazine website.
Clue #3 - It ends with ".com"
I'm out of clues, but I bet you're already there!
With information on potatoes from that site, I created a food entry for raw potatoes by the oz. You might be able to fudge measuring cups, but scales don't lie! This site has all sorts of info on the food, like gylcemic index, inflammatory score, alcohol content :) Vodka is made from potatoes, right?
Friday, July 26, 2013
I wouldn't call myself an extreme yard saler. I don't go "saling" every week, or even once a month anymore. I carefully select a couple townwide yard sales (and a few subdivision wide days) and I get a good dent in my daughter's wardrobe.
One thing about being WAY overweight, it's hard enough in a store to buy clothes that look nice, let alone at a good price. It's a million times harder at a yard sale, but I look forward to the day when I can pick up a thing or two for myself.
We moved this Spring back to my family farm, a town over from where we lived previously. Tomorrow's townwide is in our old town and I'm hoping to run into some people we haven't seen for a few months.
Another great thing about tomorrow, my husband is usually off work most of the summer, which is funny, because he is a farmer. Anywho, I sucker him into being chauffeur. He tries to act like it's a bother, but he talks the whole time on his phone, which keeps him occupied.
And guess what? Tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful, maybe a little cold even, which is sooooooo different than this same weekend every July. I posted on FB that I usually dehydrate on this day before my money runs out. The sales run all day, but usually I poop out after lunchtime.
Oh, what does this have to do with my weight loss journey? Yeah, almost forgot to tell you. I can do pretty well at home because I buy very little packaged food and cook almost everything from scratch. But it's tough on the road.
We live in a very rural area, and we have to make medical appointments for my hubs a couple times a month to a more urban area. We usually go to Sam's Club for pizza because we love it (I purposefully set aside the cals) and it's stinking cheap. If we are going to be gone all day shopping/running errands on those same days, I also pack a cooler with at least a few healthy options for snacks, but nothing to make a meal out of. A PB or lunchmeat sandwich normally just doesn't cut it for me. (I like lunchmeat, but the sodium does not like me.)
But tomorrow, the town we are going to has no fast food options (which are offering more and more healthy choices), just sit down family style or the gas station. Oh yeah, my whole family blew their allowances this week and we have to wait until next Friday to get more :( So, a well stocked cooler to the rescue!
I've been playing around tonight with my food tracker to get my whole day just right. I need about 100 grams of protein a day, so I'm having eggs (on a corn tortilla and cheese) and sausage for breakfast. PB wrap and hardboiled egg for lunch. I will also have some carbs, these are just my protein choices. You can check out my tracker on my Sparkpage if you want to be nosy :)
Another trick I do on busy days, is to have a big, somewhat fatty, protein breakfast. The combination keeps me going past noon, in case I'm snatching up so many deals that I can't eat my lunch!
Wish a certain somebody was coming with me tomorrow (insert subliminal message here).
Monday, July 15, 2013
So...that last blog post...a while back...I left you hanging
I did fairly well the first week. My calorie range is way higher than the book and I thought it would be tough or at least time consuming to make adjustments for it (much later now, I am finding that the thought would be correct). So, I didn't worry about the meal plan, just kept what I had been doing on that front.
I did do a few 10 minute DVDs that were a bonus gift for buying the book. I didn't think I would like the videos, but I do. I did not worry about doing X minutes cardio or strengthening in general. I just focused on more movement, and not worrying how I spent it.
One thing I did really well that the book introduced me to was the NEAT sheet. Basically tracking your sitting vs. standing time. I became a black belt in it pretty quick. One day, I only sat for 35.9% of my waking hours. That is a good habit to make or at least try when you hit a plateau.
I also answered the questions on the NEAT sheet about how my day went. That was a nice touch too. It's well known how journaling can be therapeutic, and those questions are a cheater type of journaling :)
The first week, I lost 1.2 pounds. Not bad in my overall picture of weight loss that is going to take me years to accomplish. But the second week...oh my...
I let life happen; sometimes you just have to resist it and other times you have to fight back. I chose to enjoy it. It was a fun week and I don't have those very often, quite honestly. It wasn't the food that made it fun, but I had been on a jag where I was STARVING ALL THE TIME and gaining/losing the same 5 pounds for a couple months! I'm sure in those 2 months, I had overate some days, but I really was following my plan. Fine if the scale wasn't moving the way I wanted, but I become a crazy woman when I am hungry. Apparently my body needed something and I was racking my brain trying to hit it.
So what was so fun? A birthday date with my hubby that ONLY happens once a year, about every other year. A fun day in Chicago with the family, that also only happens about once every other year or third year. Let's say it had been long enough on a Chi-town trip, that I was appalled at how high the tolls went up!
Do I feel bad about it? Not really. I knew what I was doing and didn't even feel guilty because I had been feeling deprived. I gained 4 pounds that week, but the next week (last week), I lost 2 pounds, so the dramatic change in calories may just be what I needed.
In the meantime, I had been reading how so many people liked the Spark Solution recipes. I'll let you in on something: I'm not a big fan of new recipes. I like to think that I'm flexible, but I'm really not when it comes to my cooking. I've tried a few menu mailers in the past, and while they had some winners, in reality, I have been honing my cooking and frugality skills for decades and usually new recipes don't fit my standards, in taste or the pocket book. I don't mind a new recipe here and there, but a whole week of recipes makes me crazy. I can cook so much faster on my own.
So, since my weight loss has stalled a bit, I thought I would change it up. Maybe I'm not spacing my calories right. Or getting enough protein, although I eat about 100 grams a day. I bought all the ingredients for the 1st week of the SS. Lots of members mentioned that it was expensive. I can't say that, but I made MANY adjustments in ingredients for what I had on hand, or what would be cheaper. My family doesn't do seafood, so I completely replaced some of the recipes.
Something that the plan has often is a glass of milk, sometimes 2x a day. I am a 3rd generation no-milk-drinker. Never have. Had a babysitter who made me do it. My brother could drink a cow dry. But...I do like chocolate milk, just haven't had it in, well, probably decades. So I bought the old stand by, Nestle Quick. I tried it in skim and whole and I like whole better. Even with chocolate added, skim is just watery. Once in a great while, I will have skim on cereal, which is funny, because I wouldn't dare try whole on cereal. Anyways, maybe my magic bullet for now is chocolate milk for more calcium and even more protein. That could be what my body was screaming for.
Today, we had the Bacon Swiss Scramble, which was very good. Subbed in grilled onion/mushrooms for the spinach. I would have tried kale instead (and will later this week), but I'm trying to get my family on board because I am no short order cook.
Lunch was to be a basic Turkey lunchmeat sandwich, which I swapped out for shredded beef (economics and high sodium were the issues with the turkey) that I made in the crockpot.
For dinner, the Southwest Chicken and Rice was just ok, but it's not my family's taste. It was very filling (lots of protein, fiber and a dash of fat) though and reasonably cheap to make.
We went to our local fair this morning (it is so stinking hot here right now), so I packed our snacks in a cooler. One really nice treat today was the book suggested a glass of milk with a banana and chocolate syrup in the blender with ice. We have an ice cream maker, so I threw whole milk, Nestle Quick and a banana each in the blender first to incorporate and then into the ice cream maker. It was really good. I love chocolate and I love bananas, but I wasn't sure if I would like them together. I made something similar recently without the banana and it was a bit soupy because of not having cream or half and half in it, but this time, the banana made it more creamy, so the texture was better. I was shocked out much ice cream it made too. Big bowls for not too many calories. That's my kind of ice cream!
As I mentioned at the very top, because I need so many more calories than the SS plan, and I adjusted the recipes for my taste, pantry and pocketbook, it has been VERY time consuming so far. We're in the middle of canning season (having our best garden this year) and my family participates in a local play in a few weeks (READ: late night practices at the school coming soon), so I doubt I will try week 2 until that is over. But, I've got a busy week and I'm doing my best to at least try something new and different to my routine. Remember, I want to be flexible, but I'm really not that flexible :)
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