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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fall is in the Air

Fall is in the Air. I love fall. With the exception of the ragweed pollen, fall is my favorite time of year. I love the cooler temperatures; I adore the fall colors; and I crave the fall food. That worries me a little. I LOVE all of these seasonal treats. Just today, I heard someone talking about a carrot cake Krispy Kreme doughnut! HELLO! It is calling my name. I'll just have to use my cheat days for these treats, and hope I don't make many blunders. I now sit at 38 lbs lost. I was hoping to be down by 40 by my doctor's appointment next week. Maybe if I get some more exercise in...I must find the time! Honestly, my job is something pretty new to me. Pish...I haven't worked outside my home in over 15 this is an adjustment. I am hoping that eventually I will manage my time better. It is hard to plan interesting lessons and interesting, tasty meals for my family. I'll get the hang of  it though.
I have to admit that even though I have said I'm okay losing weight at this slower pace, I do get a little jealous when I see people say things like, "I've been at this for 3 months, and I've lost 30 lbs!" Geez! I have been at this since the end of February! I guess I need some encouragement. :)
Pressing on!

Monday, August 18, 2014

I'm Still Here

I'm still here! And I haven't fallen off the wagon! :) A lot has happened since I posted last. I started a new job this month. I am the new K4 teacher at Aldersgate UM Church Preschool. It is so different from what I've done before, but I think I will like it. The kids don't start there until the 25th. Speaking of starting school, my two boys started today. My younger son is a seventh grader! My older son is a SENIOR! Hope this year doesn't go by too fast. :(

I turned 50...yep, the BIG 5...0! I had an awesome birthday! My hubby took me out to eat at a wonderful Italian Restaurant, called Travinia. Then the following weekend, he threw me a 50th birthday cook-out, complete with burgers, hot dogs, birthday cake and ice cream! Oh, and don't forget the swimming and the wonderful friends who showed up to celebrate with me! In case you are wondering...YES, I did eat the birthday cake, the hamburgers, the hot dogs, and the ice cream. I gained less than 2 pounds over the weekend, but I got it right back off! So happy about that!

 I even ate well on vacation. In July, we went to Busch Gardens and Adventure Island, Tampa, Florida. We stayed in St. Petersburg where we enjoyed St. Pete's Beach too. We all had a great time and enjoyed different aspects of the trip. I enjoyed the beautiful beach and not having to cook! The boys enjoyed all the roller coasters, and my hubby, well...he enjoyed just being away from work with the family! 

I have been eating well lately. I LOVE veggies in season. I have consumed many tomatoes, peaches, and watermelon! :) And ya know what? I've lost 36 pounds!  So happy about that!

Oh....before I sign off, I just have to share my son's amazing senior pictures...or at least a couple of them. What a bittersweet time of life! I am so proud of him, yet so sad that he will only be with us a little while longer! :(

Pressing on!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

What Are You Doing?

This is the burning question. Whenever I post my weight loss progress on Facebook or other places, I am always asked at least a couple of times, "What are you doing to lose the weight?" Well, here it weight loss process!
Back in February of this year, I don't even remember why now, but something clicked in my head. I somehow found the desire to just get started. I really wasn't that concerned with the pounds or how fast or slow it would come off. I just wanted to eat healthier, hoping I would feel better and perhaps some time in the future...look better. I was really inspired by Gina Neely's (Food Network star) weight loss success while doing the George Foreman Weight Loss Challenge. I started incorporating that plan, and my diet has evolved from there. I have read just about every healthy eating and weight loss article I could get my hands on. I have tried to pull together the common denominators. With all the research out there, it's hard to know what to do. Is it low fat, low carb, Paleo, vegetarian, vegan, or something in between? Do I count calories, fat grams, sugar and carb grams? There's so much conflicting information out there. So I have just tried what works for me. And when I say, "works for me," I am not saying I have it down to a science, or that I have seen super quick success, but I have seen changes in me that make it all worth it.
At breakfast, I always have some protein, some fruit, and maybe a vegetable. If I have bread, like an English muffin, it is whole grain. I do try to limit my bread, mainly because it's a weakness. Cereal doesn't do it for me. My favorite breakfast is one scrambled egg with scallions and sometimes some sauteed spinach inside a whole wheat English muffin smeared with Laughing Cow onion and chive spreadable cheese. On the side, I will always have fruit. The protein and the fiber keep me full, and I never snack before lunch. I don't need to.
For lunch, I will do a whole wheat tortilla smeared with a dab of fat free sour cream, with salsa, grilled chicken, and about a tablespoon of shredded cheese (2% cheddar). I will have a peach or grapes on the side. I drink lots of homemade lemonade sweetened with Stevia. Finally, for dinner, I will grill chicken or fish, served with steamed veggies. Sometimes, I will make a salad with ground turkey, black beans, corn, salsa, and fat free sour cream on top of Romaine. Sometimes, I'll eat whatever I've cooked for my family, but I will adapt it for me...for example, I will have brown rice instead of mac n cheese.
One thing is for sure, we buy a lot more fruit. At Costco this weekend, I bought 8 lbs of grapes. read that right! Eight lbs of grapes. We froze half and put the other half in the fridge. They are terrific snacks or a side with lunch, instead of chips, etc...I have bought peaches, mandarin oranges, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries....and I've enjoyed it all!

 I have learned during this last few months that I definitely have trigger foods....foods that can cause me to eat out of control. For me, it's definitely the carbs like garlic bread,  biscuits, and pancakes; sweets like creamy icing on sugar cookies, and also pasta salads. Just writing those words makes me drool. Seriously!
NOT a cake! This is watermelon "iced" in FF Cool Whip!
I have not totally said no to any food. I think moderation is the most doable for long term success. I define success as healthier, not just skinnier. So every Friday night (sometimes Saturday instead), I have a cheat meal, as I call it. Usually it is something I have been craving. My latest one was a burger, fries and shake from Steak N Shake. My granny asked me, "Can you lose weight eating stuff like that?" I said, "As long as it's just once per week...not every day." This coming weekend, I have a friend coming over to swim and scrapbook. We are having pizza and a couple of cupcakes. This method keeps me on target because I have a treat to look forward to, and I am told it also shocks my metabolism into gear again.
And exercise?'s so important. In fact, my asthma doctor told me that even if I didn't diet, that I should get about a half hour of exercise in each day. Well.....I have surely fallen short of that. Some days I just can't make myself do that walking or get on that bike, but I have noticed that as the weight has come off,  29 lbs to date, I am generally more active. I am trying new things! For example, I actually went kayaking with the family yesterday. It was so much fun! Talk about an arm/shoulder workout!  We have been searching out places to walk and bike as a family too.

I'm excited for the future. I know there will be challenges ahead, but I have more confidence....and I will need it. In August, I start a new job (Yikes)!  I am a little nervous, but I am excited at that same time. Looking forward to what lies ahead. Pressing on!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

I Think I Can....I Think I Can....

Simply stated, it has been a rough day. First of all, I had a yard sale, most of which was trying to sell my mom's wardrobe....clothes, shoes, purses, the whole shabang!! Well, guess how much money we made? A whopping thirty dollars! Yep...that's right, a pitiful 30 dollars. Before anyone tells me I should be thankful for the thirty dollars I didn't have before, believe me when I say that I am thankful!  It was just rather disappointing after all of the preparation and work I had put into it. The day just continued to go down hill. It consisted of bickering between the boys, between me and my husband, a friend hurting my feelings....and I could go on and on. Do you know what I wanted to do? I wanted to eat! I wanted to eat carbs! But the difference this time is that I realized that was not the fuel I needed in my body. Yes, I was tempted to scrape the remaining noodles off my son's plate and finish them, but after one bite, I threw it in the trash. It's the small victories, I suppose, that have gotten me slowly and steadily to a 25 pound weight loss! I am proud of that, but I have many lessons yet to learn.
By the way, I will have another yard sale. There were two reasons why it was a flop. One, I didn't advertise, except by signs at the road. Second, it was just too dog-gone hot today! But I digress. Since I was pretty good today, I am going to go make myself Dr. Ian's Chocolate Razzy Smoothie. 

I got this from Rachael Ray's website.

1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
4 tbsp fat free vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup of skim milk
3 ice cubes
Blend until smooth!  

Sounds yummy, huh? Pressing on!

Dinner last night...Hungry Girl Taco Salad!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Through the Struggle

Obviously I haven't blogged in about a month....and what a difficult month it has been. As far as my weight goes, I am exactly where I was a month ago. I have maintained, but not lost. Part of this is because of my struggle with emotional eating. My mom passed away on the 23rd of May. Even though she had been sick for a couple of years, and I'm glad that she is no longer suffering, nothing could have prepared me for the pain. She is in heaven with Jesus, and I know I will see her again one day.
But I tell you, despite having been on a healthy eating journey since February, I have not gotten a handle on the "grab something to eat" feeling whenever I get stressed or upset. Granted, the things I have been eating are generally healthier, but I have eaten too much of it. Oh, and for the sake of being honest and transparent, I have eaten off plan. Let's see, there was that cheesecake at the Beta Club induction, the bread from the table at Outback, the cake that all the nice ladies from my dad's church brought after the funeral, and I could go on. It's sad that I remember all those things so vividly! I really don't want to obsess about food. I just want to get healthier!
One step I have taken is to become more active. I have even gotten my family involved. Within the last week, we have taken our bikes to North Augusta's Greenway, on two different days, and we have had so much fun! Here are some photo highlights from today, when we also took Subway subs on a picnic.
This place is so beautiful!
Notice the red face! This happens every time I exert myself and get hot!

I have also been riding my bike and walking around my neighbor hood. We have a really good place to exercise. It just gets boring doing it alone sometimes. Thankfully, my family has been joining me more and more.

I have also been trying to make our meals more healthy. This is a salad I enjoyed this past week. I used Romaine and spinach, red onion, corn and edamame, Tyson's Grill ready Southwestern flavored chicken, and a sprinkle of 2% Mexican cheese. With a couple of tablespoons of lite ranch dressing, it was fabulous!

Oh, and my husband has helped me plant a potted herb garden on my back porch. I love that when I need parsley or cilantro, I can just got get some right outside my door. :)

So I guess I will keep trying, and eventually it will become second nature, right? I keep telling myself this food I'm eating is fuel, and I want to put the best stuff in so that my family gets the best out of me! Pressing on!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Staying on a Healthy Path

What a busy and stressful two weeks (this week and next). I have so many things going on and so many people depending on me. I think the schools are trying to cram everything in these two weeks of May. lol
I did have a wonderful Mother's Day. My two boys painted terra-cotta pots and put beautiful flowers in them. Ed cooked breakfast (of heart healthy pancakes with sugar free syrup). I must admit, since paying more attention to what I am eating, I am discovering what things I may have to give up eating. My trigger foods are definitely biscuits and pancakes (those carb laden type things). Once I start, I have a hard time stopping. He then got us KFC roasted chicken for lunch with green beans and potato wedges. Well, I made corn instead of eating the potato wedges, but I did eat one biscuit (VERY hard to eat just one)!
Then supper was leftovers. I was worried about gaining, because I haven't gotten a lot of exercise in due to the business lately. I didn't though. As of mid morning today, I have lost 21 pounds! :) Really happy. I am enjoying eating healthy because not only do I have more energy and feel better, I like finding healthy dishes to try in the kitchen. This morning, I had one egg scrambled with spinach and green onion (YUM), along with a chicken sausage patty (about 60 calories) on a whole wheat English muffin. So what if I have been doing this since March and have only lost 21 lbs.
Photos taken by Wes Hennings at Stevens Creek Church
Mother's Day 2014
If I am in it for the long haul, I have to stop focusing on the number. I genuinely want to be healthier. One of the things I don't mention much is that I have asthma. Less than a year ago, my allergist sent me to a pulmonologist because she suspected that I may have COPD. Well, that scared me, especially considering I'll be the big 50 in August. He said, though, that my breathing AND snoring would improve if I would just lose some weight. He was right, of course. I hope to improve my asthma symptoms as well as lower my blood pressure meds.
Oh...I took prom pictures of these two gorgeous people this weekend. I was pretty happy with the way they turned out. Not bad for an amateur! 

Pressing on!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Second Goal Met

Things are crazy busy here with prom tonight, band stuff going on, etc... Just got back from visiting with my mom for Mother's Day. But I wanted to take a minute and let you know that I did in fact, hit my second goal of 20 pounds lost! SOOO happy! I plan to keep pressing on!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Food, Exercise and Trying New Things

Sorry that it has been over a week since I've posted. It has been busy, and it has been stressful. I don't see that changing much over the next little while, but I will try to do better. I guess part of the reason I haven't posted is because my weight has been coming off at such a crawl...well, at least it feels that way. I weighed this morning, and I am down 18 pounds. I am happy about that, especially since I can feel it in my pants now. My behind seems to be the first thing to go, but I sure wish I could get it off my stomach faster! I have been trying to get some type of exercise in every day, whether it be walking our neighborhood or doing yard work/gardening. On days I don't get outside, I have been doing this routine:
1. Side Lying Leg Lifts (15 on each side)
2. Body Weight Squat (15 reps...hard on my knees though)
3. Wall Push ups (15 reps)
4. Crunches (30 reps)
5. Wall Leg Raises (Hold for 15 counts)
Here's the flower bed my hubby and I worked on this weekend. Can't wait until the yellow flowers spread.

Exercising makes me feel good about myself, like I'm really doing something good for my health. I'll admit it is hard sometimes to pass up the dessert or the smell of a double cheeseburger. One thing I'm learning this time around though is the give and take of it all. If I over do it at one meal, I can usually keep my calories in check by leaving off my afternoon snack or after dinner dessert (which, by the way, has been 5 or 6 strawberries and a 1 oz. piece of 70% cocoa chocolate). Here are a couple of the things I've been eating. I enjoy my chicken wrap lunch (roasted chicken, whole wheat tortilla, salsa and FF sour cream), and I LOVE my sauteed squash, zucchini, peppers and onions.
Along with losing weight seems to come an increase in confidence. Here's an example of something I would never had tried in the past. It's not perfect, but I LOVE it because I DID it! I went to one of those painting with acrylics parties. It wasn't easy to do, but I'm glad I went. Gonna keep trying new things. Gotta step out of this box I've kept myself in for so long.
I also have to brag on my boy. My older son was named a USC Aiken Scholar! They were honored at a reception at the university a couple of nights ago. He's so smart, and I'm so proud of him!
Until next time...pressing on!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Halfway to My Second Goal

I began this journey of a healthier lifestyle back in early March. I am now down 15 pounds, and I feel so much better! I can breathe better, I have more energy, and I am excited about what's to come. I have enjoyed trying new recipes. That's one of the things that keeps me going. I don't get bored, and I'm learning more about how to feed my body. Love it! 
I wanted to share with you one of my favorite dinners that I've tried lately. Here it is...feel free to drool!
This is the turkey taco salad, another one I got from The Hungry Girl. It's only 354 calories and so much food! It's delish!
Finally, I mentioned in my last post that I would share a couple of my Easter photos. So proud of my little family. As you can see in the photos, I have a long way to go in getting to a healthier me,  but I CAN do this! Slow and steady wins the race, right?  Pressing on.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter! He is Risen!

I did not decorate for Easter as I normally do, except for my cute flags outside. I didn't do Easter baskets (just a little candy for the boys), but I have really enjoyed this weekend. The focus has been Jesus...just as it is supposed to be! Yesterday, we went to see the movie God's Not Dead and then out to eat, then straight to church, where we took part in communion. It was an awesome night, and we were reminded of the real reason for this holiday...Jesus paid the price for our sins as he died on a horrible cross in our place! Hallelujah! Tomorrow we top it off by attending my son's girl friend's church, wearing our traditional Easter attire. I'll post photos tomorrow, hopefully, if the wind and rain don't mess with our tresses! 

Switching gears...just another quick update on the weight loss progress. I am hanging in there! I have lost 14 pounds so far! Weekends are harder. We've always had Friday night pizza nights, and I always have at least one slice. Saturday, Ed brought home Chinese food for lunch. The entree from the "Weight Watchers" menu was, well...let's just say it was spit into a napkin. My pit bull mix, Faye, seemed to enjoy it. So I ate the broccoli that came with it, and then had some of Ed's sesame chicken. Nope...not on the plan, but I was not going to fix something else. I was still proud of myself. Normally I could have eaten three times the amount I had for lunch. Just keeping it real for y'all!
Tonight, we made chicken quesadillias on the George Foreman grill. Good stuff! Sunday, I am heating a precooked ham, making deviled eggs with light mayo (my younger son LOVES these), green beans, and potatoes. Hope wherever you are that you can take time out Sunday to reflect on Christ's resurrection! Pressing on!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Weigh-ins, Chocolate Chips and Strawberries!

This morning, I weighed myself again. I know...some folks say don't get obsessed with the scale; don't weigh so often. I've also read that more people have success with maintenance if they put some of those principles into practice from the start. One of those principles is weighing frequently. It's important to know where your weight is, since it is so easy to let things slide, especially for an "avoider" like me!
Anyway....I am happy to say that I have now lost 12 pounds! So happy! Just 4 more, and I'll be in a new "decade" if you know what I mean. Ha Ha! One thing I have noticed about this weight loss is that even though 12 pounds doesn't seem like much, it has drastically increased my energy! 
I am really excited after looking at some of the recipes from week four of the George Foreman Weight Loss Challenge. They sound amazing, and I can't wait to change it up a bit and try new recipes. Today, I wanted to share with you my favorite treat so far! It is a recipe I got from "The Hungry Girl." She made these on Good Morning America last week, and I had to get the recipe. If you like strawberries, and if you like chocolate, you'll LOVE this one!

Chocolate Chip Stuffed Strawberries
5 large strawberries
2 tbsp light/low-fat ricotta cheese
1 no calorie sweetener pack
1 drop of vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Slice the stem ends off strawberries. Use a narrow spoon or knife to remove the whitish flesh inside. (This should leave a significant opening to allow room for filling.)
In a small bowl, mix ricotta, sweetener, and vanilla extract until uniform.
Spoon ricotta mixture into a bottom corner of a plastic bag. Snip off the tip of that corner to create a small hole, and pipe the mixture through into the strawberries. Top with chocolate chips!

This lovely snack/dessert rings in at only 96 calories! Yes....under 100, and oh so yummy!

If you try it, come back here to let me know what you think! Pressing on!

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Quick Update

Had a busy weekend, and an even busier Monday, so this will be a quick post. Even though I am STILL at the 10 lb loss mark, I can't tell you how proud I am of myself for eating so much more healthily. I am trying new foods and finding healthy recipes. This was our dinner tonight. We grilled pork cutlets that I had marinated in a lemon pepper sauce, baked sweet potatoes, lima beans, and sliced tomatoes and cucumbers. It was yummy....and more than I could eat.
I made a run to Costco and Publix  today. As you can see, my fridge is stuffed! I even bought some dates today. I've heard them called "nature's candy," and let me tell you, they are! They taste almost like biting into caramel. :)
One thing I definitely need to improve on is getting exercise in. I have a treadmill in the garage that I am dusting off. My sweet husband has connected Roku to the TV out there so I won't get bored as I walk. I'll keep you updated on my progress. Pressing on!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

First Goal Met During Spring Break!

This has become my favorite breakfast. It's a whole wheat English muffin, with chive and onion light Laughing Cow Cheese smeared on each side, and filled with an egg, which I have scrambled with salt, pepper, and green onions. As a side, I have a bowl of mixed fruit. This is not only filling and tasty, it has helped me lose my first TEN pounds! Yep...I have hit my first goal of ten pounds. I decided that if I concentrated on the grand total of pounds I need to lose, the task would be too daunting, but ten pounds at a time, I think I can handle! You better believe I am happy! I am branching out a little from the George Foreman diet, not ditching it all together, but adding other healthy recipes I come across, some of which are my own. You know those yogurt parfaits I've made for breakfast in the past? Well, this morning, I switched it up a bit to make my own pina colada parfait! I layered Bare Naked Vanilla fit and free granola with nonfat Greek vanilla yogurt in a parfait glass, alternating granola, fruit, yogurt, and so on. I used strawberries, fresh pineapple, and sprinkled a pinch or two of unsweetened coconut on top of each fruit layer. It was the bomb (in a good way)!

This has been a good week, not just because of my weight loss accomplishment. The weather has been simply amazing, with temps in the seventies and sunshine,  and since it is spring break, I wanted to be sure and take my younger son out to do things together. Yesterday, we decided to go for a picnic and walk around the Brick Pond. If you aren't familiar with it, it is a beautiful park nestled behind the municipal building in North Augusta, SC not too far from the Savannah River. There is lots of wildlife there, picnic tables, and walking trails. We got Chick-fil-a (Matthew had a sandwich, and I got a salad) and ate by the water. We walked around taking pictures of some of the sites.We saw 2 alligators, various birds, fish, and turtles. My favorite discovery was a momma duck with 7 or 8 ducklings in the water. They let me get so close, and I got some pretty good photos. It was great getting out in the sunshine and getting a little exercise to boot!

Got any healthy recipes you are particularly fond of? Do share!
Do anything fun during Master's Week or your spring break? Tell me about it.
Pressing on!