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Monday, March 31, 2014

Learning with the George Foreman Weight Loss Plan

I have learned to love ground turkey again. My husband and I used to eat it all the time in place of ground beef, and I don't even know why we stopped. Tonight I made "Turkey Meatloaf Burgers." It was simply ground turkey, ketchup, mustard, and oats.  I made them into patties and cooked them on the George Foreman Grill. I served them with green beans and potatoes, and tomato wedges. Only my teenager wouldn't eat (he said he wasn't hungry).  My younger son gobbled it up!
I have to say, I am loving this plan. Usually by the beginning of week two, I am becoming bored, I am craving the unhealthy stuff, and I'm ready to throw in the towel. Well today, I realized that one of the reasons I love this plan is that I am NOT bored, and the food is great! It's kid friendly too, and I don't have to go out and buy a bunch of ingredients that we would never eat.  Each week there's a new shopping list and recipes, not just for one meal but for three meals a day. I print out a week's worth of meals and mix and match them. The recipes keep me interested and satisfied, and it is "training" me how to eat. It's all about staying in it for the long haul. If I have to eat out, I just choose something like I would eat on the plan. I have also been trying to walk most days of the week. I didn't weigh the first day, so I dont' know exactly how many pounds I have lost, but I do know that I have lost at least 6 pounds in the first week....and I don't feel like it has been that difficult! It has been kind of fun! I've only made one recipe I didn't like. That's not too bad!
I noticed something significant over the weekend. My mom is in the hospital, and I drove the three hours to spend some time with her. On the way back, I drank my first diet soda in a week. That evening, I was so much more hungry....actually craving sweets! So I am going to leave off the diet sodas and artificial sweeteners, except my Stevia. Can't hurt, for sure! I am hoping that I don't cave to my stress. I am a big time stress eater. My mom is very sick, and her outlook is bleak, to say the least. I worry about her, I feel guilty that I can't be there for her more, and well...I just stress! Trying to just take it to God in prayer, rather than to my mouth on a spoon. ;) Pressing on.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Personal Victories

Well, it is day 6, and I'm still doing well with my healthier lifestyle. It's easier when I don't have to cook something different for the rest of the family. I am loosely following the George Foreman Weight Loss Challenge meal plans. Basically, I am trying to eat more healthy. I am eating whole grain bread instead of white bread, brown rice, lean meats, and lots more fruits and veggies. I have mostly cut out processed foods. I have allowed myself one day to eat whatever I have a craving for. So far I haven't needed it! This morning my husband got up and made biscuits for himself and the boys. Yesterday, I had grilled some extra chicken on the grill. They put some chicken in their biscuits, and I put mine in a whole wheat English muffin. I'd say that is a win! I also got some exercise in today! Two wins!
My mom is in the hospital. I may be driving to see her tomorrow. She and my dad live three hours from me. So, it will be a long day, and I will have to be careful about what I eat. Praying that my mom responds to treatment and gets to go home soon. If you pray, we would appreciate your prayers for her as well.
By now, some of you may be getting tired of hearing about my every meal, so I will probably not post about this every day. I promise though to keep you up to date on my progress!  Pressing on!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Good Food and Exercise

Before I lay out everything I ate today, you must realize that I am using this blog as sort of a journal, and I am hoping that by sharing it publicly, it will help me on this journey to a healthier me. Feel free to give me suggestions, ask questions, and by all means encourage me.
I ate healthy foods today, and I even added some exercise! Breakfast was a fruit parfait. I made it with nonfat Greek yogurt, blueberries, strawberries and Bear Naked Free granola. It was delish!
I didn't snack this morning, so at lunch I was pretty hungry. But I chose wisely. I had a sandwich made with 2 slices of whole wheat bread, and I smeared some Laughing Cow cheese (chive and onion flavor) on each piece. Then I added 2 oz. of lean deli turkey, lettuce, tomato, and red onion. My sides were a handful of black seedless grapes (um....so sweet) and Roma tomato wedges.
Very satisfying! For dinner, I made turkey burgers with a slice of 2% cheddar cheese. I cooked them on the George Foreman grill. I used whole wheat buns, a tiny smear of light mayo, lettuce, tomato, and onion. I wasn't sure how my kids would react to the "turkey" burgers, but they inhaled them! The best part of the meal was the fries on the side. I cut a potato into wedges, tossed them with a little canola oil, salt and pepper, then cooked them on my George Foreman grill. They were AMAZING!  The kids loved them too. Oh...and I did get a little hungry this afternoon, so I had 6 Triscuit crackers with a wedge of LC cheese (if you're not familiar with that...it's only 35 calories and sooo creamy good). After dinner, my neighbor invited me to walk. I did just over thirty minutes. YES! I am proud of myself. I am determined to get healthy, and I refuse to obsess about the scale. If I am serious about living a healthy lifestyle, the weight will come off. In fact, my asthma doctor told me a couple of weeks ago to just start walking 30 minutes a day. Exercising is healthy. The rest will come. Pressing on!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pressing On

This was my breakfast today. I had a breakfast sandwich (whole wheat English muffin with one Laughing Cow cheese wedge and one egg) and a bowl of fruit drizzled with a little local honey, which is supposed to help with allergies, or so I've heard.
Today was another day on the go, so I tried a grilled chicken salad from Zaxby's. It's the House Zalad. I'm not sure about the stats on it, but I know it had those french-fried onion things in it. Still...a lot healthier than a fried chicken sandwich or a burger.
I had a mandarin orange for a snack when I got home. For dinner, we had pork tenderloin. I didn't intend to do pork two days in a row, but it was thawed in the fridge, and I needed to use it. We also had steamed broccoli and a brown rice/quinoa mixture (which I love if I can get past how it looks). I tend to beat myself up when something isn't perfect (like the French-fried onions on my salad), but I have to remind myself that this is going to be a lifestyle change, and this salad, though not perfect, is much better than what I used to eat on the fly! I haven't mentioned much about what I drink with my meals. At breakfast, I have coffee sweetened with Stevia. For lunch, I have either water, tea or lemonade, both sweetened with Stevia. I am trying really hard to pass on the diet sodas. I've heard they can actually stimulate your appetite, and I have enough appetite without them as it is! I wish I could be like my teenager. He drinks only water and occasionally a glass of organic skim milk.
Tomorrow is a new day....and I'm excited because my husband is looking into getting me a better, bigger George Foreman grill. He looked at the Cuisinart ones too. They have the variable temp controls and the removable plates for cleaning. I mainly want something that will cook more than three hamburger patties at a time. Speaking of burgers, I'm gonna make turkey burgers and grilled fries tomorrow. Yep...grilled French fries!
So you may be wondering if I can tell any difference after 3 days of healthier eating. Of course not much...but I'm sure I have had more energy. And BOY have I needed it!
Pressing on!
.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

One day at a time...

So...I made it through day one of my new healthier eating,without much of an issue. I was busy today, but I still managed to eat pretty well, I think. Here's what I had for breakfast. I scrambled one egg with half a slice of 2% cheddar cheese, and I had 1 slice of turkey bacon and a Halo (mandarin orange). It kept me satisfied most of the morning. I had some shopping and errands to do, so I had lunch out.  Normally, I would grab a burger or chicken strips, or whatever fast food is close by. Today, I tried the new Wendy's Asian Cashew Chicken salad. It was pretty good....and only380 calories. That and a water was fine until I got home.
I did my grocery shopping today. I tried to shop mostly the perimeter of the store, and I did pretty well. When I got home, I got busy! I chopped bell pepper, broccoli, zucchini, washed grapes, and cleaned out my refrigerator. I figured if I got some veggies prepared, I wouldn't reach for something I would later regret. For dinner, I had marinated some thin-sliced boneless pork cutlets in a mixture of fresh garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. I let it marinate over night. Today I grilled it on my George Foreman grill. Let me tell you...it was delicious! I also roasted asparagus (with a few sprays of olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper). Finally, I baked some small potatoes in the microwave. The wonderful thing about it is I didn't have to cook something different for the rest of my crew. They ate it and enjoyed it (well...except for maybe the asparagus)! For dessert, (yes...I said dessert) we had Gina Neely's Grilled Pineapple Sundae. The recipe called for fat free frozen vanilla yogurt. Well, if there is such a thing...someone please tell me what kind and where to buy it. Kroger didn't have it, so I read the labels of ALL of the vanilla frozen yogurts in the store, and I chose the one with the least amount of fat (1.5 grams). 
So, I will pat myself on the back for how well I ate today. I feel good about all the fruits and veggies I had. The biggest hurdle for me to get over will be portion control. I can even over do the healthy stuff!
Thank you Lord for helping me today! And thank you for all of the kind words of encouragement I've been getting here and on Facebook. It means a lot!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Healthier Lifestyle Wanted

Part of being a southern girl is loving food. Every event and celebration that I can remember growing up was around food. I've been wanting to lose weight for a long time. Most overweight people do truly want to lose weight. I mean, who WANTS to be fat? Well, I have tried everything from Weight Watchers to Nutri system. They all work for a while. I have lost and gained, and lost and gained my whole life. Here's a picture of me as a baby. I started out chubby! My Granny used to joke that before I had swallowed a mouthful of baby food, my mom was already shoveling another bite in. Hee Hee!
Well, it's no joke that I will soon be 50 years old. I have arthritis, asthma, and high blood pressure. Along with those health risks, I just do not like the way I look! My son graduates from high school next spring, and I would love to be down to a dress size that is not totally embarrassing. I bought a dress this weekend for Easter. I am actually between the biggest regular size and the plus sizes....so not easy to fit!
Last week, I saw Gina Neely (star from the Food Network) on the Rachael Ray show. Let me tell you, I was inspired! She lost 20 lbs in 12 weeks. She lost down to a size zero. She looks amazing! So I searched online to find out more about how she lost the weight, and I discovered the George Foreman Weight Loss Challenge.  I love how easy it is to cook with the George Foreman grill, and when you add healthy foods to that mix and a little exercise, you can't lose...well, nothing but weight anyway! I am kind of excited about starting this. The latest GFWL challenge started back in late January, but if you go to their web site, there is lots of good info to get you started NOW!  You get information on how to figure out how many calories you need to maintain your weight and how many to lose pounds. You get meal plans, recipes, and shopping lists!
I won't lie and say that I am not nervous. I made a New Year's resolution to lose weight back in January, and that lasted two weeks. I lost six pounds, and then I gained it all back. Am I worried that will happen again? Absolutely! But I have to try! And I think this blog will help keep me accountable.
I want to use the meal plans as a guide only. Let's face it. There will be times when you have to eat out. There will be days when you are short on time. But I do plan to give it all I've got!
Tomorrow I plan to shop and then pre-cook some brown rice, some chicken, and have some veggies prepared so that I can throw some things together quickly. The tough part will be doing this while feeding my family the same thing.  I have one son who is picky, but hopefully he'll begin to eat healthier too. Yall feel free to comment and give me your tips, suggestions, and by all means your encouragement! By the way, here's a more recent picture of me, taken back in January right before I fell off the diet wagon then. Since I don't like taking pictures of myself, I don't have a more recent full body shot, but maybe I'll be brave enough to do that later. That's my son...the not so picky eater!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What's for Dinner?

One of the things I dislike most about being a housewife is deciding what 's for dinner. Maybe that's you too? Here's what we're having tonight. If I know the source of the recipe, it is included.

First, we are having Parmesan Chicken. It's simple, really. I take a two pound pack of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut them into "chicken strips." Then I coat each piece with sour cream (I usually use fat free or reduced fat). Then I dredge eat piece in grated Parmesan cheese. I lay the strips out on a shallow baking sheet covered with non stick foil (or parchment paper...whatever is handy). Then I bake them at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked thoroughly and juices run clear. If you wish, you can season each piece with salt and pepper as well.

Next, we are having Asparagus Bundles. I got this recipe from the Food Network's website. This is a recipe from the show "Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood."

Ingredients:
2 lbs fresh asparagus, ends trimmed (Got this on sale at Walmart last week)
12 slices bacon
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Divide the asparagus spears into 12 bundles. Carefully wrap 1 piece of bacon around each bundle, starting about 1/2 inch from the bottom of the tips. Secure the bacon-wrapped spears with a toothpick. Lay the bundles in a shallow casserole dish.
In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, soy sauce, garlic salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Pour the hot mixture over the asparagus bundles. Transfer the dish to the oven and roast until the spears have begun to wilt and the bacon looks fulled cooked, about 25 minutes. Remove the toothpicks before serving.

Next, we are having Ranch Potatoes. I simply wash a few red potatoes, half then slice into bite-sized pieces. I put them into a Ziploc bag with an envelope of Ranch dressing mix. Shake to coat. Then I put on a non-stick foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until tender and browned.

Finally, we are having Crock Pot Peach Cobbler for dessert. Peach Cobbler has always been one of my most loved desserts, especially topped with vanilla ice cream. This recipe comes from Chef in Training, one of my FAVORITE blogs for meal ideas and recipes.

Ingredients: (ONLY 3!)
2 (21 oz) cans peach pie filling
1 box yellow cake mix (dry)
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter (cold)

Directions:
Spray crock pot with cooking spray. Dump pie filling into the bottom of crock pot. Spread evenly. Pour cake mix on top of peach filling, evenly distributing. Slice the butter into thin squares and lay them on top of the cake mix. Cover and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours or until top is golden brown.
I always serve with vanilla ice cream.

Hopefully this gives you an idea for something new to cook for dinner!

FYI:  We had the Crock Pot Peach Cobbler. It was okay, at best. I thought it was a little too sweet. It may have been the pie filling I used. Also, the top was supposed to be brownish after 3-4 hours. It was not....except for around the edges. If you try this, let me know how yours turns out, and I might try it again.