Yes, You Can Still Eat!

I have received several FB messages asking about what I am eating while transforming to this healthy lifestyle. Remember this is NOT a diet;) I am blessed to be married to a great cook who is also on this journey! Football season is just around the corner, so I'm about to be the full time chef again. Easy food preparation is currently at the front of my mind. Just like a friend of mine recently posted: If you are failing to plan, you are planning to fail.

Mike and I have hit up several websites, books, and experimented! We have been making small changes gradually since January, but actually just recently decided to step it up a notch. Small changes helped weaken the blow of major changes! For today's post I thought it would be great to share some of our resources and then give a sample day's menu with all recipes included, or course;)

Online Recipes
Spark Recipes
On this free site you can even create your own cookbook of healthy recipes by adding your own or searching and adding from their database! Spark Recipes even has an app;)

Beachbody ClubThis is a paid service, but include a weekly meal plan! You answer a few questions and then it creates a plan for you. You then skim through the plan and switch recipes you don't want for others in the database. It is totally printable! It cost $40 per 3 months. They really need an app;)

Betty Crocker the 300 Calorie Cookbook
Tony Horton's Power 90 Fat Burner Food Plan
Thin Kitchen Recipe Book


The Daily Spark
Mom's Cooking Club
Cheap Healthy Good
Healthy Indulgences

Great Food Finding
Marketside Produce from Walmart
It has already been washed, so you can poke a few holes in the bag and steam it in your microwave. 100% Natural and what we have purchased so far comes from Arkansas. This is GREAT tasting vegetables!!!

Bragg Amino Acid
If you have cut out any form of soy sauce due to sodium, this is the product for you! Typical soy sauce has 600mg or more per tbsp. Braggs Amino Acid has 120mg and it is strong, so you don't use much! This helps make the best stir fry (recipe coming later this week).

--------Sample Daily Menu--------

Mixed Berry Smoothie
1/2 package of Yoplait Triple Berry Smoothie mix (in the frozen section)
1 - 1 1/2 cups of 1% milk
1/2 scoop Jullians Vanilla Whey Protein Powder

Mid Morning Snack
2 Wheat Thin Crackers Flatbread
1 slice of Deli Turkey Meat
1 ounce Sharp Cheddar Reduced Fat

Toasted Wheat Turkey Sandwich (no dressing)
Baked Lays

Mid Day Snack
Repeat of Mid Morning Snack
Depending on hunger level, I might double it.

Teriyaki Chicken Spinach Wrap
Steamed Snow Peas

Teriyaki Chicken Spinach Wrap
300 calories and feeds around six

1 package of thin sliced chicken breast (16 oz)
3 tbsp Kikkoman Teriyaki
2 tbsp extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped white onion
3 small fresh mushrooms
1 cup organic baby spinach
6 ounces Cabot - 75% Reduced Fat Sharp Cheese
6 Tia Rosa - 100% Whole Wheat Tortillas - Soft Taco Size

chicken into strips. Cover w/teriyaki. Mix to cover chicken. Saute olive oil, garlic, and onion. Add mushrooms and half of spinach. Continue to saute. Add chicken. Use
one tbsp of marinade to sprinkle on mixture add remaining spinach. Cook 10
min, or until chicken is done. Place mixture in tortilla and top w/ 1 oz of cheese.

Optional: You can add a few fresh spinach leaves to the tortilla mixture.

OK, now it is your turn! What favorite recipes or resources have you found?

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Are You Hitting a Plateau?

For me, taking control of my life by living healthy involves a total transformation of nutrition and fitness. This is much different than teenage dieting. As a teenager, I would typically gain a few pounds starve for a week and be "good to go." As I got older, I followed a similar pattern except I wouldn't starve. Instead I would count calories and keep mine real low until I reached the "perfect size." My how that "perfect size" has changed over the years:)

Shortly after starting to change my lifestyle, the pounds did pretty good at coming off. When exercise was added to the mix, it was great! Then all of a sudden dropping pounds "slammed on the breaks"! What!?! I'm watching calories AND exercising but not dropping a pound! By not dropping a pound, I mean a solid month passing by and not losing any weight. What made matters worse was the fact I was loving going to the gym. Burning calories was NOT the issue. I posted a message on Spark People and soon learned that I wasn't eating enough. What? That was a new concept! Eat more? On the days I was exercising, I added calories and the weight started coming off.

Here are a few other things to look at if you stop losing weight while living healthy:

1) 30-40-30
Your fat grams should be 30% of your calorie intake, carbs 40%, and protein 30%. (Thanks @ Killer_Joe)
2) Take weekly averages
If you fluctuate daily "close" to where you want to be in calories, fat, protein, etc., take a weekly average. Sometimes you would be surprised how far off you are in a particular area once you take a weekly or monthly average.
3) Watch your sodium intake
4) Exercise Program should include cardio and strength
5) Alternate your exercise program to "trick your muscles"
6) Eat 5 times per day (Three main meals and two snacks)
7) Be honest! Are you eating more than you think? Even small snacks add up!

Many times we might actually think we have hit a plateau, but in actuality our weight lose has just slowed down. That is when you must remember the following:
1) Any step in the right direction is a good step!
2) Weight didn't come on overnight, so don't expect it to leave overnight!

My friend Wendy, who is a fabulous role model for looking totally awesome, learned at a Weight Watchers Meeting that you haven't hit a plateau if you are losing an average of .3 pounds per week. Wow! three tenths of a pound? I was shocked. You hear so much about losing 1 - 2 pounds per week, that it seems as if you aren't doing what you are suppose to if you aren't reaching that goal. In actuality, you might be doing exactly what your body needs!

Have you hit a plateau? Do you have any tips for others?

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I Need a Map Out

How did I end up here? I was once very active and in good health. I don't know exactly which wrong turns guided me to where I am today, but I need a map out! It started with health issues during and after my last pregnancy and then spiraled from there. Stress is definitely a factor. Hummm...a love of chocolate or any sweet helped too. December 2009, I began to turn toward a healthy lifestyle, I was over 100 pounds from my goal weight.

You will notice that I am NOT using the "D" word! I decided if I was truly going to lose weight I needed to actually focus on a lifestyle change. I decided to also be satisfied with any steps moving in the right direction. This weight didn't come on over night and if it came off over night it would just return in the morning:)

I am slowly creating a map out! When I started exercising, I basically just went to an aerobic class every week. I can admit that I wasn't sure if I could even make it through a class, but I did! Of course I didn't complete all the exact exercises, but that wasn't the goal. About a month later, they canceled the classes. WHAT?!? I just got started. Luckily a gym was opening in our town, Anytime Fitness.

My husband had been mentioning joining the gym, but I was very reluctant. Of course if he wanted to join that was great. I didn't want to waste money on something I probably wouldn't use more than a month. Probably out of aggravation I picked up a flyer that had been floating around our home for a few weeks. Do you know what the new gym included? Classes! Yes aerobics class and more were offered with membership. Ok, now I wanted to know more!

The gym wasn't actually open yet, but they allowed you to come in a sample classes. I was super excited! They were killer but they helped mark my path out. What else have I found while creating my map out? Here are a few great resources:

1) SparkPeople
2) My Fitness Pal
3) iTreadmill

I guess I should have warned you; I'm a bit of a techie geek. All three of the resources above include apps for the iphone. The first two have numerous resources such as recipes, healthy living tips, message boards, record weight-nutrition-exercise, etc. Don't worry! If you don't have an iPhone, you can still use both of these resources online. While researching healthy living, I found out that you need to walk between 6000-10,000 steps a day to be considered active. iTreadmill is used for that purpose. about once every couple of months, I start it and check my steps throughout the day. If I'm low, a few changes can usually make a big difference such as parking further from the building, walking numerous times to refill water, or just take a stroll.

I've lost 32 pounds since December. I know if you calculate this out, it seems like a very small amount per week. Remember the goal is to make a lifestyle change, NOT to rush into a quick fix. My weight began coming off pretty quick and then I started hitting several plateaus. I'll go into that more tomorrow, but I have learned a lot!

Have you started mapping your way out? What are some of your favorite resources?

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