Wednesday, February 06, 2013
So true. Both of them.
Setting goals and trying to reach them. Challenging ourselves and trying to succeed. Creating healthy competition between ourselves and…us. Key attitudes to success.
So, here I am, ready for a new challenge. Butterflies, daisies, teddy bears – or was it just bears? – are just a few of the team names I’ve come across at Sparkfriends’ feeds and blogs. At first, I thought they were private teams that you had to be invited over to join. And then it was the virtual trips! And all this team work that really helps with motivation and commitment. And Sparkers reporting results through those challenges. I had to find out what it’s all about.
And I found myself joining the 2013 Winter 5% challenge. And being really excited about it!
There are many things I haven’t quite understood yet – like the term “Living the Good life points” that I’ve come across (?) – but I bet I’ll figure it all out once the challenge begins.
Now, why did I join this challenge?
- First, for the reasons I mentioned above. I just like setting new goals.
- During December I gained 1.5 kilos and I just can’t seem to get myself together and lose it. I know it’s nothing compared to what I used to gain over the holidays in the past. But I just hate the number 7 on my scale!
- 5% of my weight is 3.5 kilos. Which would bring me exactly where I want to be.
- I’ve had cases of emotional eating since the beginning of the new year. I believe a challenge can help me fight this demon again.
So, my goals for those 8 weeks are:
- Healthy eating. For me, this means wise food choices, portion control, no bingeing and emotional eating control.
- At least 20 minutes of daily exercise. That includes three times a week cardio and three strength training sessions.
- Lose 3.5 kilograms. That’s my 5%!
- Get my body fat percentage below 20%. Currently, it’s 22.3.
- Support my Sparkfriends and my teammates any way I can.
I had updated my Sparkpage a few days ago and I just included my new 5% challenge commitment goals. So, I guess I’m ready to meet my team!
Are you ready? Have you written down your goals and planned your actions? It is said that goals without a plan are just wishes. So, will you let your goals remain wishes?
Or will you turn them into achievements?
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Let’s admit it.
We all love food.
Because if we didn’t, we would have never searched for ways to lose weight and we wouldn’t have ended up here on SP. The reasons for making food a close friend are different for each one of us. So are our preferences. When we think “comfort food”, some of us picture chocolate and cookies, others crave chips and fries. Our taste buds decide what kind of food is enjoyable, indifferent or not to our liking. And whether we like it or not, our taste buds can define the outcome of our weight loss attempts and our health journey.
One of the most important things I realized through my journey with SP - and something that I wish I had realized much earlier in my life – is that not every meal plan is suitable for everyone. I’m sure most of you have heard of Atkins diet. The early approach of this diet was called by some people the “all-the-steak-you-can-eat” diet! Meat has never been in my list of favorite foods. I’m the kind of person who, presented with a choice between a just-broiled, juicy steak and a freshly-cut, crispy vegetable salad, will definitely choose the latter. Can you imagine my chances of losing weight if I ever tried the Atkins diet? My taste buds would start a revolution at the end of week one – if I could make it that far!
Those little things inside our mouth are the ones that tell our brain what we’re eating. Salty, sweet, bitter or spicy. And our brain knows what we like and responds accordingly. So, after a meal we can feel satisfied and content or we can feel deprived and… still hungry! That’s why we have to respect our taste buds. We have to make them our good buddies in our weight loss efforts.
My point is simple. You’re overweight or obese because you love food. If you want to lose weight and keep it lost forever, you have to keep on loving food! Yes, you read that right! Don’t expect to lose weight by eating things you don’t like. Even if this works for some time, sooner or later your taste buds will start screaming for something tasty. And you’ll go back to your old habits and… you know what happens next. If you don’t like leafy, green vegetables for example and you push yourself to eat them in your salad every day at lunchtime just because the diet says so, you’re bound to hate your lunch in the end. So you eventually go back to pizza. Aren’t these too extreme to be your only choices? There must be something good in between!
Search, experiment, explore. Try new tastes, add variety, start enjoying cooking. Discover new, lighter versions of the foods you like. Substitute things you don’t like with your favorite healthy ingredients. Believe me, the word food will find a new meaning in your mind and this, alone, is a big step towards changing your diet mentality and your whole attitude towards losing weight.
Rejoice! You can keep on loving food and still lose weight! There are many of us at the At Goal and Maintaining team who can reassure you it works. “Eating” is how we lost the weight. We just put the word “right” after it. And that’s how we continue our healthy life journeys. Join us!
Make this promise to yourself. Today.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Don’t you just love cooking? I do! Experimenting in the world of fresh ingredients, savory spices and overwhelming scents and flavors is just wonderful. And if you add your own two unique ingredients, pure love and imagination, the results can amaze you.
I have many cookbooks at home but, to be honest, I seldom search the internet for recipes. There’s no specific reason for this but I guess my online time is usually limited and I spend it otherwise. The “What’s cookin’ Good-lookin’” challenge introduced me to a whole new world of online discoveries. And the first recipe site I started exploring was skinnytaste.com. I loved it!
For this week I had to change my plans because my children were sick with stomach flu and chances were I wouldn’t take part in Week 2. But yesterday I had to make something quick for me and my husband to have for dinner. And I wanted comfort food. “Skinny Texas Cheese Fries” sounded like a great idea. Fries was a perfect source of comforting carbs, texas was translated into “spicy”, cheese was the perfect addition and skinny just took all the guilt away from a comfort food!
You can have a look at the recipe here:
I followed the recipe exactly as it is and I only took out the onion powder because I don’t use it and I simply didn’t have any. The potatoes tasted like fries – even better if you’re like me and you don’t really like all this greasy feeling the real fries give you. The spices made a good combination and really made a difference. I have to admit I used a little more cheese but it was extra light cheddar with only 14% fat – that’s light for a cheddar, isn’t it?
All in all, the recipe is here to stay. Although my husband made lots of complaints… He found the serving too small!
I also made the Low-fat Buttermilk Ranch dressing that was suggested at the end of the recipe.
I wanted to make a smaller quantity so I halved the ingredients. I may have made a mistake in my calculations – although I double-checked – but the dressing came out too thin. Maybe that’s the way it should be but I would prefer it a bit thicker and creamier. So, next time I’ll probably use more yogurt. Apart from that it was really tasty and made a great addition to the skinny fries.
Oops! I almost forgot the pictures!
I have more recipes in mind that I want to try so I might be back before Round 2 is over.
Until then… enjoy your kitchen adventures!
Sunday, January 20, 2013
I’m really, really enjoying this challenge! So, before I give you the results of my own recipe experiment, just a quick note to Tina and Amanda who started this whole challenge. Well, ladies, if your purpose of this was fun, fun, fun and a growing interest for new, healthy recipes, you can be sure it worked with me!
The recipe I had chosen to make was one from skinnytaste.com.
“Chicken Rollatini with Spinach alla Parmigiana”. You can find the recipe here:
The reason I chose it, as I had explained in the team forum was just another attempt to fight my children’s aversion to anything green. This one was loaded with cheese – we’re a family of cheese-lovers – and I thought it would work. Well, did it?
Absolutely! I am proud to report that spinach entered my big girl’s body for the first time! She may not have eaten the whole serving but she ate most of it. My little one had tried spinach recipes before and her "green-things-disgust-me" attitude is more manageable. She ate most of it, too. My husband absolutely loved it. Success!
Generally, it was a great recipe. I followed Tina’s advice who had warned me that the filling was kind of bland, so I added a little salt. I also added two more tablespoons of egg beaters to the mixture because it looked sort of dry and difficult to spread. Next time I make it, I think I'll try replacing ricotta cheese with a low-fat, salted, Greek cheese called "katiki".
And now the pictures:
I served it with a big salad made with arugula, walnuts, balsamic vinegar cream and parmesan flakes.
I’m already on the lookout for a new recipe. Ok, when does round 2 begin?
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