Category Archives: Ramblings

Heart, Soul, Body, and Mind

I had so many blog-worthy things go on this weekend, but my camera batteries died at the most inopportune time.

This weekend was the Academy Awards and Spring Dance with Wayland. My last one to ever attend, and I wore the dress I bought for my very FIRST Academy Awards back in 2007. When I bought it, it fit mostly. It was loose in the chest but the belly area was just snug enough to expose the bit of a pooch I had chillin’ down there. Not the most flattering, but inexpensive it was.

I woke up yesterday morning unsure of what to wear. I was going to wear a cocktail dress I bought last summer but decided to go a bit more formal. After trying on several dresses, I concluded that EVERYTHING was too big and no matter what I wore, the work of safety pins would be required.

So I put on the black dress (now ENORMOUS in the chest and about 2-3 inches too loose in the belly), cinched it up in the back and called it a day.

The evening was pretty good. The videos were better than in years past (except last year. Those were the best!), but as I sat in my chair at the Fair Theatre, I had this feeling unlike any I’ve ever felt at the Academy Awards. I realized that I was going alone. Sure, Edgar was there, which is more than I can say for the previous year, but in all previous instances, there was the presence of a comfortable company of friends with whom to mingle. Now, my friends have graduated or moved on. And this became ever more apparent at the dance.

This is something Edgar and I have been realizing more and more. We are seeing how are lives are moving farther and farther away from college life, which is in a way painful, but not so much because of the actual college life. We are realizing that our tastes and perspectives are changing from what they were just several years prior. We are noticing how we don’t have much in common with our peers. I graduated a year and a half ago! I REALLY don’t fit in! But what I think I miss the most is my friends. Those I have been closest to have come and gone and I find myself wanting to physically move forward with my life and start the next chapter in another town.

I think the best way I can describe it is that we feel like we’re becoming too big for our shoes. I guess this is normal for a newlywed couple? I chatted with a dear friend of mine a little while ago, and she, like me, is a newlywed. I’ve watched as her outlook on life take a full 180* since being married. It’s been a long time since I’d been able to talk to her, and being able to do so this evening brought back so much that I’d been missing.

Companionship. Mutual Respect. Godly, loving support. I’ve always loved her because even though we disagree about so much (at least we did in the past?), we always keep an open mind with each other, and we love each other anyway. And now that we’re roughly on the same page in life (she’s married and her husband is currently in the Navy, while mine is still in the application process of the Navy), I feel like we have so many new topics to explore in our conversations.

I talk so much about bodily health in this blog, but health does not end with the body. Spiritual, emotional, and mental health are equally important, and that’s the message I truly want to convey here. To be everything God wants you to be and to truly do everything (“whether you eat or drink or whatever you do…” 1 Cor. 10:31) for the glory of God, you MUST look at the big picture. Where is your heart? Your mind? Your Soul? Your Body? Are you giving everything you’ve got? Are you giving yourself the respect you need as a part of God’s creation and an instrument to His purpose?

It’s not really about the scale. It’s not about trying to fit in skinny jeans. It’s not about going from “ugly” to “beautiful” in an exterior sense. It’s about honoring God with the life (heart, soul, body, and mind..) He gave you.

I think I’ve found my mission statement…

Pounds Off Plainview

Yesterday was the first weigh-in for Pounds Off Plainview. It’s an 8-week competition in which teams of 4-6 people compete against each other to have the greatest percentage of weight loss each week and also overall. There are prizes after every week and another at the very end. I decided to get involved with it, as I expect that this 8 weeks will be enough to get me to the very end of my weight loss efforts.

Included in this first weigh-in was a body fat analysis. I’ve been painfully curious to see what my percentage was and how it has changed since I began losing weight. The nurse place four adhesives on various parts of my body and attached little jumper cable-looking things to the adhesives which enabled electrical currents to be sent through my body and the findings to be registered on the plastic box connected to the other end of the cables.

The results were actually stunning.

According to this, I am 22.7% body fat, and am only 2 lbs away from the “ideal” 20% for my age and sex. The more I pondered this the more I realized that maybe I just don’t understand what 20% body fat looks like, because I feel like I’m closer to 25%. However, if I assume that my last body fat analysis was correct and I consider that 20% of weight loss is typically from muscle, the idea that I’ve lost 35 lbs, 8 of which from muscle, and 5% body fat actually does make some sense. Perhaps, unlike many other women who are in the range of 20-23% body fat, mine just like to hang out in one area of my body. Perhaps it’s all just sitting on top of my organs and muscles instead of being tucked under, in between, and throughout all the goods. Maybe I’m just not that marbled?! Haha!

Anyway. I’ve accepted that my body weight and body fat percentage are healthy, but that doesn’t mean I’m done. Several people in my group wonder why I’m trying to lose weight. The issue isn’t because I think I’m fat or overweight or that I have low self esteem and think I could “afford to lose 5 lbs.” No. I started out at 180. I’ve lost 35 lbs so far, and I’m just not done. I’ve brought my weight to a healthy range, my body fat percentage to a healthy range, and the last order of business is getting my waist-to-hip ratio into a healthy range. You see, having a ratio of .8 or more puts one at risk for serious diseases such as heart disease later in life, since too much fat is basically surrounding all my vital organs. Since heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States, and I come from a sick (diabetes, hypertension, cancer, etc.) family, I don’t want to take any chances. If I was “pear-shaped,” I’d be just fine. But unfortunately I’m “apple-shaped” and my excess fat likes to distribute all around my midsection and sit happily atop my comparatively slimmer hips (US size charts say my hips are a size 6, but my waist is a size 14. I wear 10’s). For this reason, it would be in my better interest to reach a bit lower in my healthy BMI range and dip into what’s considered “athletic” body fat %. Yes, I’d like to be fit, but my overall health is still what drives me, and it’s the reason I’m part of this group.

And according to my calculations, considering possible muscle loss during these next 15 lbs (or not. it really doesn’t make a difference), changes in body fat, and the rate at which I’ve been losing inches around my waist, my target weight seems about right as far as body fat % and waist-to-hip ratio goes. Even though my weight watchers goal is 138, my personal goal is the 130-135 range (the WW goal would act as a wall letting me know that if I creep up that far, I need to make some changes).

Having a healthy hip-to-waist ratio. Wow. That will be a first in my ENTIRE LIFE.

The Last Two Weekends, in Pictures.

Freebirds World Burrito, Lubbock, TX.

"WE ACTUALLY COOK REAL FOOD"

The hubs.

LOVE the decor

Chicken, spanish rice, corn salsa, guacamole, fajita veggies, black beans, and cheese in whole wheat

Greg, Ana, and Edgar

Market Street, Lubbock, TX

Salad with greens, spinach, green beans, turkey, red pepper, tofu, hummus, parmesan, fruit, tabbouleh, a dolma, and a few Dr Krackers. With a Moroccan Mint Green Tea by Honest Tea

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Watauga, TX

Barbacoa, fajita veggies, guacamole, cilantro-lime rice, green chili-tomatillo salsa, and cheese

My parents’ house!

It's probably a good thing I forget how PHENOMENAL this tastes! A giant sugar cookie with whipped cream and fruit on top!

Mi Cocina, Southlake, TX

Swank factor: 7, on a scale from 1-10

We ate in the loft. Because we're cool like that (but not cool enough for a table on the patio)

My chicken and rice soup was nothing to write home about, but I wasn't planning lunch to be grand anyway.

Chef Point Cafe, Watauga, TX

Half order of the signature dish: Duck a l'Orange! Very good!

Bread Pudding made famous on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. OH. MY. GOSH. The hot congac sauce MADE IT.

Starbucks, Watauga, TX

Greek Yogurt and Honey Parfait! Yum!

Fruit and Cheese plate for the table! Tried brie for the first time! Am a fan!

Me drinking my short nonfat vanilla rooibos tea latte. Yummy! Glad that I'm weaning myself off of adding sugar to my tea!

The damage done at Central Market (Southlake, TX) and SuperTarget (Watauga, TX)

Bodum French press travel mug for Ed, 2 Stonyfield organic yogurts (Maple+Vanilla & Superfruits on the Bottom), Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter (tastes like Reese's!!), organic chicken broth (for the crazy-low sodium stats!), La Croix sparkling water, Siggi's Icelandic-style yogurt (Orange+Ginger & Pomegranate+Passion fruit. A fan so far!), Scharffen Berger dark chocolate, and an oil mister (FINALLY!)

Brief Overview

It’s been a little longer than I want to wait before posting something new, but I’ve been “busy” (read: lazy?) and haven’t uploaded pictures. Anyway. It’s been two incredible weekends since I last posted, and even though I’ve only lost a grand total of .6 lbs, all the extra eating was worth it. Two weekends ago I took a trip with Edgar and our friends Greg and Ana to Lubbock. Ed and I had wedding gift cards to use and groceries to procure from Market Street. Ana had not been to Market Street yet, and Greg was only going to be in the lower 48 for a few more days, so we brought them along. I won’t go into too much detail with the food amazingness, but there were “food with integrity” burritos involved, and Edgar, Ana, and I did some considerable damage at the Market Street salad bar, and I made sure to try a few new things (dolmas: not much of a fan.).

Last weekend Edgar and I went to Fort Worth to visit my family for the Easter Holiday. There was much eating out and most of it was pretty incredible.  More “food with integrity” burrito action, but from a different burrito chain, a foodie visit at a quirky restaurant of Food Network fame, and more grocery shopping (Central Market and SuperTarget, how I love thee…). I swear, I can’t stay away. There was also a bison burger and cheese sampling involved.

Really, there will be pictures, and it will explain EVERYTHING.

Now that I’ve dropped a line, I should really get planning on my meals tomorrow and get in bed. It’s 11:15 and past my bedtime!

Realizations:

* Even though I used to hate it, I’ve realized I far prefer Greek yogurt over standard. I think it’s the artificial sweeteners and flavors that just don’t sit with me for very long. I’m also finding much of the flavored yogurts too sweet! I still haven’t developed a taste for plain yogurt, though. In time, though!

* Tofu is not bad. May need to experiment with it.

* I have little tolerance for burger patties that are in the perfect shape of an air hockey puck. PLEASE give me a REAL burger. Rustic, thick, slightly misshapen, and cracked edges!

* Goat cheese and brie for the win!!

* I need to settle down close to a SuperTarget.

* Apparently I could put away a LOT of calories without gaining. They just need to be smart calories! But really, the smart calories are more fun anyway!

New Goals

I’ll admit, I’ve been sort of avoiding this thing. My camera has be minimally recharged and my  USB port is in my possession. I haven’t been taking pictures of my food, so really I’ve been using that as a reason not to post, but enough of lousy excuses.

After several weeks of thinking, I’ve concluded that my goals need to be revamped. I clocked in at about 152 on Valentine’s Day—2 lbs above my goal for that day, which was in part due to several consecutive weeks of <1lb losses. I’ve been consistently losing, but the rate has slowed down. From my observations it seems to be a combination of fluid retention (been eating a lot of sodium lately) and the fact that as I get closer to goal, my body just wants to cling on to the weight. Rather than stress out about not meeting my calendar goal, I’ve decided it’s much healthier to allow my body to lose at the rate it desires, rather than fight it. After all, this is all about my health, right?

As for the Weight Watchers Lifetime membership, I’ve resolved that I am fully capable of losing this weight and keeping it off without the “Lifetime member” title. I think I really needed to find confidence in what I am doing and my ability to do it without the weekly accountability, and I feel pretty darn secure in it now.

Additionally, Edgar and I have decided to run our first 5K in September or October instead of April. Right now I’m a bit bogged down by other tasks and exercise regimens, and my knees have been hurting for about two months now. Plus we can’t quite afford the fee, the running shoes, and the extra trip to Fort Worth right now. We plan to complete that 5K in the fall when we should be more financially secure and I should have more time to devote to training. Meanwhile I’m going to focus on Zumba.

My ”personal” goal has become more clarified as well. My weight goal with Weight Watchers is 138, yes, and I would be perfectly fine seeing that number on my scale for the rest of my life. But my personal fitness goal is not necessarily the number that appears on the scale. My personal goal is a single-digit size. I’m primarily focusing on a size 8, but if I can comfortably and realistically sustain a size 6, I want to. I have never in my life been a size 6. I immediately jumped from a girls’ size 16 to a misses size 8, and I didn’t stay at a size 8 for very long. But I can’t imagine that maintaining below 130 would be any fun, so I’ve concluded it’s just not worth it if I have to go below 130lbs. Of course, my mind’s subject to change.

More is coming, I promise…

I wrote a blog post on another computer in Word, but I forgot to add it to my thumb drive. It’s long, so I’ll wait until I can get it added to disclose the information within. 😉 It’s all important stuff, though…

I’ve been eating a lot of healthy fruits and veggies lately–more than usual, I mean– (and several days have found myself inadvertently eating totally vegetarian), and getting most my recipes out of the Weight Watchers cookbook. Most these recipes are also French-ish or Italian-ish. I’m a bit tired of it. I want barbecue and something country fried. I’m appeasing myself (and the hubs) with chili this weekend and buffalo burgers sometime in the near future. I swear, I never make chili the same way twice. This time I’m experimenting with green chilies, chipotle peppers in adobo, pinto beans, and a little ground turkey mixed with ground beef, to stretch my dollar a bit (but don’t tell Edgar!!).

WW UPDATES!

Starting Weight: 176.8
Current Weight: 150.8

Total Lost!: 26 lbs! (not including the four I lost on my own before Weight Watchers!)

Left Until Goal: 12 lbs!!!

I should update this more. Being lazy with my camera is not an excuse I can update without pictures for now. It won’t kill me, or my silent reader. 😛 Enough with the all or nothing attitudes!

Exercise Goals

Sorry for the wordy posts. My computer recently had an overhaul and I don’t have photoshop back on it yet, so that paired with the fact that my USB cord is at work, no photos for the time being.

I’ve decided that as far as exercise goals, I need to make weekly goals, one week at a time. That may be the best way for me to stick to them. Here are my goals for this week:

Monday: Zumba Gold/Toning
Tuesday: Zumba Basic; CrossRamp and Treadmill for 1 hr each (during Biggest Loser!); yoga (for legs) with a friend after that.
Wednesday: Zumba Gold/Toning
Thursday: Zumba Basic; yoga (core and arms) with a friend after photography class
Friday: Off (or running around grocery stores!!)

So there you have it! I’ve posted it, so it must be official. 😉

A Healthy Balance

Yesterday I made the most amazing pizza. Upon the announcement of my victory in making said incredible pizza about 80% from scratch, I was asked, “healthy? or splurge?”

Why does it have to be one or the other?

I can tell you the number one reason I am successful at my weight loss is that I never, ever feel deprived. I do not eat food I don’t like. I do eat food I love! I have just learned to balance it in the healthiest way. Some days I will make something that I enjoy and will make swaps to limit the calories. Every once and a while I’ll get the full-calorie original. I have just learned how to “read” my cravings and balance my budget of calories at the same time. Sometimes only the “real thing” will do, and I’ll have it and budget wisely for it. But most of the time I’m completely satisfied with a lower calorie alternative.

I think the biggest misconception is that because I am on a “weight loss plan” that I “can’t” have something, or I won’t “let” myself have “REAL” food. I find that entirely backwards. I LOVE food, and so much of my success comes from it. I love trying new foods, new dishes, and cooking for myself. I have a healthy appreciation for gooey, greasy cheese and I’m not afraid to show it. I have a once-unhealthy love affair with carbs and I will never actively limit my intake of good bread. I have a sweet tooth and I eat some kind of dessert every day. I’m a good Southern, Texas girl and I love beef and bacon way too much to ever become a vegetarian, and I’ll certainly never turn down good barbecue. You’ll also never see me pull the skin off fried chicken, because I eat it so rarely anyway that pulling the skin off really takes all the enjoyment out of it. But I don’t have to “prove” my appreciation for incredible, normally-“unhealthy” food by eating it in spades. If I ate it all the time, it wouldn’t be special anymore.

At the same time, “healthy” food can be “indulgent” as well. Healthy food doesn’t have to taste bad. I hate raw vegetables, so I don’t eat them. Simple as that. But I have found many foods that I love that happen to be very nutrient-dense and low in calories. I eat dates and pomegranate like candy, and sweet potatoes and avocadoes are some of my very favorite foods. I love the complex flavor of buffalo meat, and it happens to be lower in fat and cholesterol than chicken!

I designed my homemade pizza so that I get this wonderfully chewy, nutty, New-York style crust, limited but flavorful tomato sauce, a varied array of gooey, but not greasy, white cheeses, delicately seared Italian sausage, peppery, aromatic toppings, flavored up with Italian herbs and spices and a hint of extra-virgin olive oil. I look at my pizza and see culinary art, and I find pleasure in eating it. The fact that my waistline will continue to shrink while eating it is just the figurative cherry on top.

What Makes Success?

Today comes with some difficult decisions.

1. Is Lifetime really worth it?
2. Should I eat all my activity points?

Okay, so the second one isn’t too difficult, so I’ll explain that one first.

I weighed in at 157.8. I only lost .6, and this was a fantastic week of control. I didn’t even eat 8 of my activity points, and I was able to manage one one point less per day (as instructed by Weight Watchers since my weight dropped to the 150s). But I didn’t lose much! I know I worked out a tad more than usual, but I don’t give much stock into muscle gain. The most any one person can gain in muscle in one day is one ounce, and I am not the kind of person that works out so much that I would gain close to that. I might be able to credit “muscle gain” to about .2 or .4 “not lost,” but when I typically lose about 2 lbs, that’s not an issue of muscle.

I know the body does weird stuff when it wants. I know some days it will retain more water, and I did eat rather salty stuff yesterday, but I weighed less this morning than I did yesterday morning, so I don’t blame that.

I think what’s the biggest cause is that I wasn’t eating enough. This was my first week on 22 points, which adds up to 7 points less during the week. I also did not eat 8 of my activity points. That adds up to about 1150 calories over and above my natural loss. In my observations over past weeks, I lose more the weeks I eat more. Maybe I’m one of the lucky few. This next week I’ll make a point of eating ALL my activity points (in addition to my dailies and weeklies, of course).

The next issue: Weight Watchers beyond January. We only have two more weeks of free At Work meetings. Anything beyond that I’d have to pay for. I’ve been looking at my options and I considered 2 alternatives: Weight Watchers online (I’d be able to use my own scale and eTools is naturally included. It’s also the cheapest at around $18/mo, but the downside is no one-on-on accountability and no Lifetime awardship) and going to meetings very infrequently and pay the weekly price. Unfortunately my leader informed me today that there is a $5 penalty for every week missed. This would translate to $40/month! For that price I’m better off actually getting a monthly pass. But it’s still too expensive.

Right now my options are: 1) do WW online the whole rest of the way through and never receive Lifetime, or 2) do WW online until I’m 5 lbs away from goal and switch my membership to meetings for 6-8 weeks so I can receive Lifetime.

The questions I have to ask myself are: is Lifetime really worth it? What will I gain from it? What will I lose by not having it?

I feel like I want something tangible, something I can hold on to to assure me that I legitimately succeeded. Maybe I need to rethink my definition of success?

Decisions

This morning began with a breakfast I’m not accustomed to: oatmeal. I was wanting something else for a change and Edgar was agreeable about it, so last night I mixed up a few things in a crock pot, set it on low, and this morning Edgar portioned it out for me and I came down to this for breakfast:

Cranberry Spice Oatmeal

I call it Cranberry Spice Oatmeal

  • 1 cup steel cut oats (don’t skimp on this. use any other oats and you’ll get a mushy, disgusting gloop. I know this from experience)
  • 3 oz (by weight) of dried cranberries
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 1/4 cup packed Splenda Brown Sugar Blend (or half-and-half Splenda and regular brown sugar)
  • 3/4 cup fat free Half and Half
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon (I grind mine fresh in Ed’s hand-me-down coffee grinder)
  • 1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • a dash of ground ginger
  • a dash of ground cloves

Serves: 6
Points: 4

—-

Lunch was a sandwich made with Albacore tuna, a little Miracle Whip Light, a little celery, and a little onion. Stuffed between two slices of wheat bread, of course. On the side I threw 4 baked Tostitos stuffed with avocado.

Albacore Tuna Salad on Wheat; Fresh Avocado Scoops

A winner lunch. I didn’t get hungry at all this afternoon! I think there’s a thing about tuna. When I was in college I’d eat tuna sandwiches from the caf at lunch because I knew it would satisfy me longer than anything else that was offered. Guess I need to make this a weekly rotation. 😉

I did eat a Fiber One bar around 4:20 since I didn’t want to go to my 5:00 Zumba Gold/Toning class on an empty stomach. That class, by the way, is great. I’ve been missing Zumba something fierce. The Aqua Zumba class is on the same days at 6:00 but I wasn’t nearly as impressed with it as I had hoped. Plus, the time was awkward for me, so I decided to finally try out the Zumba Gold class because this round includes toning. And let me tell you, I’m gonna be trim and toned come May. Monday I did the class; felt sore the next day. Did Wii boxing on Tuesday night; even more sore today. Did the Zumba class again today, and now I’m not sure I’ll be able to lift my arms or bend over tomorrow without crying out in pain. A beautiful pain though… 😉

Came home and made a variation on a meal my college roommate and I came up with a while back:

Turkey and Creamy Rice

  • 1 box of Rice-A-Roni Parmesan & Romano rice blend, prepared with 1% milk
  • 1/2 lb of extra lean (93/7) ground turkey, cooked without oil
  • a sprinkle of Italian seasoning or basil
  • a 12 oz bag of steamed broccoli, prepared

Add it all together and Edgar moans in delight. It’s a keeper.

Serves: 3
Points:
6

————–

I must confess: last night I was really stressing out. We had our monthly office party yesterday and I still must reiterate that a few little things will magically rack up enough calories to where I could have gone to Chili’s or Pizza Hut and eaten a reasonably sized meal for fewer calories. I happened to make this point during a conversation where my comment was merited and another coworker said, “while this may have more calories, think of it this way: it’s FREE!”  I didn’t say much in response, simply because it would not be understood and it’s pointless to argue about it anyway. My thoughts on that are:

1. It was not free. It was my turn to bring food so I had to buy the cookie dough at some point.
2. While the food is understandably good, it’s not good enough to deserve the calories it possesses.
3. I’d rather have spent those calories on a good date or at my friend’s birthday party this weekend.
4. We have parties every month. It’s not special anymore.
5. I’d rather spend a little more money on good, satisfying food than a few small pieces of run-of-the-mill finger food.

It’s not to dis the food that was generously provided, or the people who provided it, but right now it’s not a leisure I can take. Yesterday I was technically supposed to reduce my daily points by 1 point. I started planning and the stress began. I couldn’t recover from the 20-point loss on the very first day of my WW week without killing myself at the gym. From the very beginning I’ve eaten all my weekly points and most, if not all, of my activity points. Since my calories have gotten reduced, I RELY on those “extra” 35 points every day throughout the week so I don’t STARVE. And yes, I do eat “filling foods.” In fact, they contribute to about 80% of my calories.

My point is… well I have a few points. 1) A 20 point loss in my weekly points was a BIG DEAL, especially when I am supposed to have a 22-daily-points target, and especially when I have two other social events this week that involve a meal! 2) I’m beginning to realize that maybe I’m eating too little. On weeks where I feel very in control and don’t have any events that consume a large portion of my weekly points (in other words, weeks where I ration out my weekly points throughout the week), I typically lose about 2.4 lbs. It’s a little more if I eat a few (FEW!) beyond my weeklies and activity points. I don’t want to starve myself, and I don’t want to train my body to NEED LESS food to maintain than what I can comfortably handle. So I made the decision to keep that one extra point per day until I feel like I need to reduce some more. I feel a lot less stressed out about yesterday’s needless splurge and about planning this week’s meals and still being able to get the nutrients I need without going over. It’s amazing what one point extra per week can do.

——-

Now I’m off to shower before our weekly Sunday school class social at McDonalds. There will be an ice cream cone consumed!!!

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