Healthier Living Update {Week One}

Healthier Living Update

Photo from www.livestronglivelean.com

 

So I’ve been at this for a week.  Eating healthier.  Exercising.  Trying to make positive changes in my habits for my health.  So here’s my first healthier living update!

Healthier Living Update- Nutrition

As I mentioned when I started over, I knew that food was going to be my challenge, because I love to eat.  I tried to make better choices the first day, and what I found was that beverages were KILLING me.  Even fruit juice has wayyyy too many calories to squeeze in to the 1400 calorie per day diet that My Fitness Pal put me on to lose 2 pounds per week.  And the sugary coffee drinks!  Forget it!!! Even cutting back from my usual cappuchinos to coffee with cream and sugar was not getting it done.  So my “bad habit” that I have been attacking this week is BAD BEVERAGES.  No juices.  No sugary coffee drinks.  And the hardest one = NO Soda.  I haven’t even had diet soda since the second day I started.  That makes 6 days with no Diet Coke.  I even made it through the weekend when my fiance brought a bottle of Dr. Pepper into the house, which is basically like crack for me.  My body is truly addicted to sugar, and I am trying hard to break that addiction.  So I started with black coffee, with a little Splenda, and a little skim milk, and I am down to just black coffee with a splash of skim milk.  And I’ve been drinking a TON of SPARKLING water, which is basically a God send.  No calories, no artificial sweetners, a little flavor, and bubbles!  This is working for me, because I do NOT like water except when I’m exercising.

So here’s a look at my My Fitness Pal Net Calories consumed for the last week:

April 22 Calories

As you can see, I went over a couple days, but overall met my goal!

Healthy Living Update – Exercise

 

I’ve done a wide range of exercise this first week, from my first Zumba class, to swimming, to gardening, walking on the treadmill, and taking a family walk.  I’ve tried to keep active on most days.  I think I’ve done pretty good for the first week, but the exercise has been brutal!  I’m so out of shape and get winded easier, but I know, as the quote above says, that one day what I’m doing now will be easy peasy.   Here’s a snapshot of how many calories I burned each day.

April 22 Exercise

Drumroll, please…….

So what are the results from the first week?  I’m very happy to tell you that this week, I have lost:

5.5 pounds!

Woohoo!  I’m very, very happy with that.  I know that level of loss won’t continue but it’s nice to get an awesome head start.  See you next week for another update!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My First Zumba Class {Healthier Life Day 2}

 

So I went to the gym last night, at 8 pm after work.  Are we proud?  Yes we are….8:00 p.m would usually see me snoring on the couch.  I tried my first Zumba class ever.

Holy crap.

First of all, I was terrified to try it.  I was certain that the class would be full of perfectly coiffed, well-coordinated skinny girls with adorable workout clothes who would want to throw yoga blocks at dumpy, fat me with no coordination and ratty gym clothes (I need to shop.).

Not the case.  There were ALL shapes and sizes in my class. There were perfectly coiffed skinny girls, right up front.  One even had a flower in her hair.  Some of them looked like they could teach the class.  There were other skinny girls too who looked as lost as I did with the choreography.  I’m hoping that it was their first Zumba class too.  If not, I will probably look pretty goofy for a while.  But there were also ladies who were my size.  Some who were bigger.  Some who were well coordinated, and some who weren’t.

So the choreography.  Yeah, umm, it’s kind of hard.  I know a couple of salsa moves but there were plenty of moments where I was completely lost.  I tried to focus on the footwork more than the arms, and there were areas I did better, like moves that had more of a hip-hop action to it.  Did anyone laugh at me?  Nope, everyone seemed too busy worrying about themselves looking silly.  I was far from perfect, but my butt was moving the entire time. When I finished my first Zumba class, I was pretty sure I was dead.  I had downed a bottle and a half of water, and my lower legs literally BURNED.  I couldn’t do the whole class – I only did 45 minutes of the hour class, but I’m pretty proud for my first time.

I’m thinking about picking up a Zumba game for the Wii or checking out the Kinect (we don’t have an Xbox 360 – what a perfect excuse to get one!).  Any of you out there have any suggestions, or experiences that helped you through a few of your first Zumba classes?

 

Starting Over {Healthier Life Day 1}

startwhereyouare

So this weekend was my oldest daughter’s 13th birthday.  I’m not taking it well.  I insisted that she promise that I can call her once a day when she’s in college.  My fiance thinks this is neurotic, but it was only yesterday she was toddling.  I swear.  Yesterday.  Time goes so fast, and I know before long I’ll be obsessively worry that she’s having unprotected drunken sex in some disgusting fraternity house.  I think about these things, people.  I worry about worrying!  It’s true.  I admit it.  It’s a sickness.

So anyway, at my daughter’s 13th’s birthday party, we played laser tag.  It was so freakin’ fun!  Never played laser tag before and absolutely loved it.  Oh yeah, until I practically dropped dead of a heart attack halfway through and had to stop running.

Felt like a total loser.  So I spent the last five days thinking about all the excuses I have made that have prevented me from losing the 100+ pounds I need to lose.  The failed diet fads.  Not as a self-loathing type activity, but a “What Have I Learned” type activity.

So What Have I Learned?

1.  Anything gimmicky or expensive doesn’t work for me.  Diet shakes, diet plans, diet programs, whatever.  I can’t handle the yo-yo that these short term solutions bring.  This is going to have to be a lifestyle change.  Meaning I cannot eat a shake for breakfast.  Because I like eggs.  Sometimes I like eggs with hollandaise sauce.  That is not going to change.  I have to work within those parameters.

2.  I have to write down every piece of food that goes into my mouth.  At least for now.  Because I forget how many calories are in things like 8 oz of orange juice.  Which I have been drinking every morning.  Not that there’s anything wrong with orange juice – but I have to keep better tabs on the number and quantity of things I put in my body.

3.  I can’t lose without exercise.  I have proved this to myself over and over.  It’s simply insanity that I haven’t learned the lesson yet.

So What Am I Going to Do?

This is my plan.  I have a really expensive gym membership that I haven’t been using.  On weeks when I don’t have my girls, I’m going to use the hell out of it.  At least once a day.  Maybe 2.  My plan is to attend as many CLASSES as I can.  I know I work harder and longer when someone is pushing my ass to do it.  I managed to get to law school classes when I was sick, tired, had my period, pissed off, stressed out, etc.  I can make these classes.  I need to make these classes.  For my body.  For my mind. For my health.  For weeks when I do have the girls and I want to rush home as quickly as possible, I’m going to try and work physical activity into our time together.  Whether it’s going for a walk or a bike ride or playing Wii, I want to do something with them.

I’m going to reward myself for success (more on this later) and forgive myself for the mistakes I know I will make.  But I will NOT stop.  Each meal – each hour I choose to exercise (or not exercise) is a new change to live a healthier life.

Acknowledging the Challenges Lurking in the Corner

Part of my thinking was about my weakness.  Where I will fall down.  Where the bumps will be.  How I can fix the bumps.  Here are my thoughts.

1.  Energy.  I’m feckin’ tired.  I’m working anywhere between 40-60 hours per week as an in-house corporate attorney.  With my schedule and hour long commute each way, going to gym will mean getting up at 4 or working out until 7 or 8.

  •  How I’m hoping to cope:  I’m hoping that after pushing through the initial few weeks my body will adjust and I’ll have more energy.  I’m also hoping that  kicking my own ass will help me sleep better so the sleep I do get is more restful.  This will be the hardest thing for me.

2.  Dessert.  I really, really like dessert.  I would make out with dessert.  I would marry dessert (sorry, honey).  And my body is not tricked into thinking that fruit and yogurt is the same damn thing as creme brulee.  It knows better, and it does not want fruit and yogurt.  It wants creme brulee.

  • How I’m hoping to cope:  I really, really like dessert.  I can’t give it up entirely.  This will end in me eating an entire box of oreos.  I know this.  So as a semi-foodie, this is what I have decided.  I will save myself, like a dessert virgin, for only the highest quality of dessert.  Like the Almond Lace Cookie Cup from Hutch’s in Buffalo.  Dessert that makes me want to stab someone with a steak knife if they move in for a bite.  I’m hoping that the thought of eating high quality dessert guilt-free will help me turn down Frosty Treat sundaes, which, although tasty in the moment, are simply not worth it.

3.  Stress.  I have a stressful life (see number 1).  I have a stressful job.  Scientifically found to be one of the most stressful – lawyers have the highest rate of suicide, highest rate of depression, and almost 20% of us are addicted to drugs or alcohol.  I am addicted to food.  Stress makes me want to sleep.  Restless, angry sleep where I argue with people, even in my dreams.  But sleep nonetheless.  Possibly fueled by a sugar induced coma.  I get upset stomachs and migraines.  In MY SLEEP.  Stress is an issue for me, and I know stress will only hurt my quest to lead a healthier life and lose weight in the process.

  • How I’m hoping to cope:  I found a really great yoga studio near my job.  I’m going there to check it out today (and get a massage, because they do that too).  They have Saturday morning meditation, and yoga, and preteen yoga.  See above regarding involving my kids.  It’s expensive, but I’m thinking of trying it if the stress levels don’t get better with exercising at the gym.

So How Am I Starting?

One choice at a time.  With What I Have.  With What I Can Do.  Today.

IMG_1538

 

Yup.  That’s a salad.  That was my lunch.  Ate it with fat free raspberry vinagrette.  Notice the lack of cheese and croutons?  Sort of hard choice.  I really like cheese.  Almost as much as dessert.  We won’t discuss desserts with cheese.  It was good.  I don’t feel deprived.  I feel proud of my choice.  There will be those who laugh at me for being proud of my salad.  That’s okay too.  I’m sure there will people who laugh (hopefully on the inside, but maybe on the outside) when I step into my FIRST EVER Zumba class today.  If they laugh, that’s okay too.  I will still keep going.  Because it’s about me.  Not them.

I also activated a MyFitnessPal account.  Free!  Woohoo!  Love free food tracking!

And for that I am proud.

 

Spicy Asian Noodles with Chicken and Peppers {Recipe Rehab}

 

Anyone who knows me knows that I love P.F. Chang’s…I sometimes dream of their lettuce wraps.  Yum!  As tasty as P.F. Chang’s is, their menu isn’t always waistline friendly.  For example, their chicken lo mein clocks in at over 700 calories!  This edition of Recipe Rehab is meant to duplicate the yummy, spicy, and salty flavors of your favorite Chinese foods while being a little more waistline friendly!  This Spicy Asian Noodles recipe features chicken and fresh red peppers with as much or as little zing to it as you want!  Caveat:  This recipe is not low sodium, so if that is a dietary concern for you you may want to avoid.  It also isn’t the prettiest dish ever, but it packs a flavor punch and is super easy, so it’s great for weekday meals!

 

IMG_1497

 

The secret to this recipe is two fold – it uses a combination of flavorful sesame oil as well as olive oil – both of which are good for you!  Sesame oil is slightly higher in fat and calories than olive oil, but both are pretty good for you.  The dual use in this recipe is because I find cooking entirely in sesame oil can be overwhelming in flavor, but if you’re a huge fan, go ahead and sub the olive oil for extra peanut oil in your Spicy Asian Noodles.  The other secret gives this recipe some serious kick – hot chili sesame oil.  Feel free to adjust the amount of this you use to spice it up, or tone it down for the kids!

IMG_1495-Edit

 

If you haven’t worked with cellophane noodles before, they are pretty fun!  A few caveats – they cook quickly!  Don’t overdo it or your Spicy Asian Noodles will resemble oatmeal…The other trick is to really season your water.  I don’t measure soy sauce into the water – I basically add it until it turns a yummy golden brown.  Also, don’t salt your water on top of the soy sauce – you will end up with SUPER salty noodles.  Here is a glimpse of what they look like during cooking and after:

 

So there you have it!  I almost forgot the best part – My Fitness Pal calculates this recipe as having approximately 420 calories per serving, making Spicy Asian Noodles a serious recipe rehab over lots of take out Chinese food!  Enjoy!

 

Spicy Asian Noodles with Chicken and Peppers

Ingredients

  • 4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into cubes and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 8 oz Cellophane Noodles
  • Sesame Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Soy Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Turmeric
  • 4 tablespoons fresh Ginger, minced
  • 2 Onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers, seeds and veins removed, sliced thinly
  • Hot Chili Sesame Oil
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions

  1. 1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  2. 2. Heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil and 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium high heat. Once hot, cook the chicken 5-6 minutes, or until brown and cooked through. Don't overcook, or it will get dry.
  3. 3. When the water is boiling, add enough soy sauce so that the water is a golden brown. Add a drop or two of hot sesame chili oil. Turn the heat off, and add the cellophane noodles. Let them soak between 4-7 minutes or until they are soft. Don't oversoak them them or they will be mushy! Drain them and toss them with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and another drop of hot chili sesame oil.
  4. 4. Heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan you used to cook the chicken. Stir fry the red peppers and onions until softened, about 6-7 minutes. Add the ginger, a drop or two of hot chili sesame oil if you like it spicy, the cumin, and the turmeric, and 1/4 cup water.
  5. 5. Toss the noodles into the pan and taste. Season with extra soy sauce or hot chili sesame oil as you desire. Add the chicken back in and keep cooking the noodles until they get somewhat dry and brown.
http://www.themamagames.com/2014/04/09/spicyasiannoodles/

Weight Discrimination: Why It’s Not OK to Call Me a Fat Girl

 

weight discrimination

Image courtesy of  News 10

This is a bit of a controversial post for me.  I don’t usually put my political or somewhat contentious opinions in writing, but I felt so strongly about this story,  I just can’t help myself.  Weight discrimination has not yet become a huge political or legal issue, but it is certainly an important social one.

 If you haven’t seen the above image yet, head over to News 10 to watch their coverage.  For those of you who haven’t heard, three young women dining at Chilly D’s Sports Lounge (part of the Cameo Club Casino) in Stockton, California, got more than they expected when they received their receipt from dinner on December 6.

At the top of the receipt, a restaurant staff member had labeled the table as “Fat Girls”.   When speaking with the manager (who was, reportedly, trying not to laugh), the girls were offered a 25% discount, then a 50% discount, and finally, got their meal comped.

Ensue media frenzy.

The good news is is that Maggie Lewis, one of the owners of the casino says that “joking/insulting” customers is intolerable.  I’m pretty sure these girls didn’t think it was very funny.

This is such a sad situation for many reasons.  What struck me as even sadder that what happened was some of the comments people wrote on new articles covering the story, defending the actions of the restaurant.  Some of my favorites include commentary that the manager should have offered them a gym membership instead, that they should stop eating so much, that overweight people should stop eating and sitting on the couch, etc., etc.  One gem of a comment stated that the author would have written “STOP EATING FAT GIRLS” at the top of the receipt.  Others advocating calling the girls ugly instead.  Another said that the young ladies were disabled because they had “fork to mouth disease.”

First of all, let me say that I understand working in a bar. I’ve spent my time as a hostess, a waitress, and slinging drinks myself.  It is not uncommon for a bartender to label a table with a running tab with identifying information, like “Rangers jerseys” or ” bachelorette party” or whatever else can identify the party.

And yes, I am certainly overweight.   Not to the point of obesity, but I need to lose some pounds.  So maybe a I am programmed to be sympathetic to these young ladies.

That being, said, there is no excuse for this type of behavior.  Imagine if this was written at the top of YOUR receipt:

“Dumb blondes”

“Woman w/ brats”

“Anorexics”

“Bald guy”

“Gay guys”

“Nice racks”

We won’t even go into the number of racial slurs you could use, and the number of ill conceived monikers for handicapped individuals. Respectful?  Ethical?  Kind?    I think not.

Yet, there are people out there to think that it’s okay to put down “fat” people, because clearly, it is all in the hands of the overweight person to solve that problem.  Forget that there are a HOST of medical problems that can make losing weight difficult, impossible, or down right dangerous.   For myself, I have a hormonal condition that makes loosing weight difficult, although not impossible.  I dropped forty pounds over the course of 8 months when the condition was treated with birth control pills.  Unfortunately, I had to go off of those because of a heart defect.  But of course, I’m sure there are plenty out there who would just accuse me of having “fork to mouth disease”.   Now, I can consistently lose weight if I maintain a 1,000 calorie diet and workout about an hour a day.  That doesn’t always fit into my life, so yes, I am overweight.

My point – So what?   Being overweight does not take away my humanity or my right to be respected and treated equally.   It doesn’t make me a good person, or a bad person.  Judging someone and treating them badly for being overweight is equally as wrong as treating someone differently for being black, gay, or in a wheelchair.   And in some places, it is illegal.  In Michigan, it is illegal to discriminate in employment based on someone’s weight, and San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Santa Cruz, California, weight discrimination is also illegal.

So to all involved, and to all who post nasty comments – these are real women, with real feelings.   Shame on you.  Prejudice and bigotry is just that, no matter what form they come in.  No one is asking you to find overweight people attractive, date them, screw them, marry them, or otherwise associate with them in any way.  But it should be too hard to follow the rule that even my 6 year old has a firm grasp on – if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

I had someone that I cared about call me fat many times over the course of the years – to hurt, I think, and to lower my self-esteem.  But I say to that waiter, and to all the people who had nasty things to say about these girls the same thing I said to him – “I can lose weight, and you’ll still be a jerk.”

End rant.  Happy Monday, everyone :-)