Talk about being MIA…

Jeebus. I went MIA for way too long. No excuses, honestly, except maybe that I was just too busy enjoying the holidays? I don’t really know, but I can’t really guarantee that I won’t go MIA again, but at least I have a pretty good reason for why I won’t be around… We’re leaving for Disney World in 2 weeks. Seems like yesterday I was talking about how we’d just booked our trip… Weird, huh? Last night I made an awesome countdown for our final days; here’s a few photos of it/us taking down day 15 this morning:

So yeah, 14 days. I’m thinking what I might end up doing is this epic trip report once we’re back, of all our days in Disney World, so people can see what our trip was like. It might be fun to do anyway, and would be a great excuse to update my blog on a daily basis. :)

Outside of getting ready for our trip, Christmas was excellent. We’ve been doing a lot of playing with our gifts! I got one of those ice cream maker attachments for my KitchenAid stand mixer and so Matt and I worked together on making our first ice cream together! We decided to do a white chocolate Oreo ice cream. It was AMAZING.

We followed a custard recipe from a booked called The Perfect Scoop (and also after seeing Kim’s custard recipes turn out AMAZING over on her blog Domestocrat) and I can’t see us making it any other way! It’s a little bit of a process (you have to temper the egg yolks and basically not scramble them), but it’s REALLY cool to make your own ice cream and then enjoy the crap out of it. We’re thinking about making another one for this weekend… Maple walnut is sounding kind of tasty!

Outside of that, we’ve also been watching Cheers (season 1), which has actually been wonderful. I grew up watching re-runs here and there, but never really got into it since I was all of like.. 2 when the show started. But I love it. It brings me back to Boston and makes me smile in every episode.

While Matt’s been enjoying Skyrim and Zelda for the Wii, I’ve been playing a TON of Super Mario 3Dland. It’s seriously so addicting and has become one of my more favorite Mario games in recent years. I don’t think it beats out Super Mario World from the SNES, but it’s most certainly a really fun game to play through and I can see myself playing it again. I’ve also enjoyed playing Mario Kart 7… Honestly, both of those games have reminded me why I’m really happy to have a 3DS.

On the weight loss front, well, I’ve gotta be honest. I haven’t weighed myself in a month or more. Why? Because we took a little break from counting calories around the holidays… aaaand I’m not regretting it. However, what IS awesome is come yesterday, we were both ready to get back to eating healthy and it was actually really refreshing to have a salad for lunch and turkey tacos for dinner. Also, I worked up a sweat playing Kinect Sports Season 2, and today is a day at the gym, so I’m pretty happy with how we are adjusting to getting back to eating healthy again. Of course, this is only going to last for 2 more weeks because then we’re on vacation (and we get to enjoy lots of restaurants and delicious food, while managing to walk a TON of miles around the parks), but it’s been nice to be back to healthy eating again.

Do I think I gained weight over the holidays? Without a doubt. But I’m not upset by it because I know I’ve still got this, I’m living my life in a different way now. My normal eating habits are 10 times healthier than they’ve ever been, and outside of holidays and vacation, I’m going to continue to lose this weight. I’m in a really great place right now with this, and even with the knowledge that I probably gained weight, I’m okay with that. It’s a great feeling, honestly.

Uhh, aside from all of THAT, I finished my 365 day photo project! I’m so proud of myself for that, too. I have a really awesome plan for all of the photos I took, so be on the lookout for when I make a blog post about the whole thing. I’ll save my discussions of the photos for that post, because I think it’ll be REALLY awesome to look back. Also, it became such a part of my life that I decided to start a new project, 366 (it’s a leap year!) days, 366 photos. I just couldn’t say no. :)

That’s about it on my front for now. It’s definitely in my NY resolutions to make more of an effort to blog, I swear. It’s just sometimes hard to find the time, honestly, but it’s not much of an excuse. I’ll definitely update you guys the closer I get to our trip, which is what I’ve spent a LOT of my time writing about as of late, but I figure unless you love Disney as much as I do, this blog would probably become boring to most of you quite quickly. Buuuut if you enjoy hearing about Disney trips, well, my blog posts after our trip should be pretty entertaining.

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When you “cheat” more than normal…

So, I’ve been sitting here thinking about how I should write an update on things on the weight loss/healthy changes front. It’s been a bit of time since I last updated about it, so here I am, writing about it. Amongst the craziness of those 5 days that I wrote about in my last post, I also didn’t eat very well. Now, I’m not saying I had a blow out every single day and ate terrible foods, but I’m also not saying that I didn’t eat a gyro and Greek fries, Thanksgiving dinner (and leftovers), breakfast from Wild Wheat, red velvet cake, and lots of not-so-good-for-you goodies. Hm, now looking back, yeah, I’d say Wednesday-Monday was pretty much a whole lot of cheating… Okay, so maybe it was a blow out after all.

Am I mad at myself? Honestly? Not really. Well, I think a little bit, but at the same time, with it being Thanksgiving and my birthday, I just wanted to let loose for a little bit. And I think I’m actually okay with it. The only part I think I’m mad at myself for is just straight-up portion control. It’s kind of amazing how you can step back into former bad habits really quickly without realizing it. I think that’s the only part I’m disappointed about, is not stopping when I know I should’ve stopped. But ya know what? I ate my damn red velvet cake and I ENJOYED it. So really, while there is definitely a hint of disappointment, I’m fairly certain that I’m 98% okay with it.

Now the big question… Did I gain weight from it? Welp, I don’t know. I haven’t weighed myself now in awhile. It’s pretty nice not obsessing about the constant “DID I LOSE WEIGHT?” thing. Plus, I’m fairly certain I did gain weight from my days of fun, but what’s the point in stepping on the scale? I know myself too well; I’ll tell myself that I’m fine with gaining a pound or two, but the second that becomes real, on the scale, I’ll get really down on myself and it won’t be a good situation. So with that, I might weigh myself in a few weeks before Christmas, but I’m not sure. I’m also considering just waiting until after Christmas, but before our trip to Disney World. Disney is going to be an all-out eat-whatever-we-want trip, since we made a deal that if we ware on vacation, we’re also on vacation from counting calories. So my thought is to weigh myself before we leave, just to check in on how I’m doing, and go from there. Sure, it’s a long way away to not weigh myself, but I’m also finally feeling comfortable with my current progress and not obsessing with my scale that it’s a very necessary break. So we will see, but last time I stepped on the scale, I was flirting with nearing the 60 pound mark.

On the exercise front, I had taken a break for a few weeks from going to the gym. I was getting burnt out and frustrated with my lack of weight loss, so I stepped back from going. Problem is, as soon as you start to do that, you’re breaking a good habit you had going. The good thing is, because Matt and I take the same train home at 5:40, but I get out at 4:30, I have around 40 minutes to do whatever I want until I have to meet Matt at the train. It gets boring sitting in your office for 40 minutes, which I’ve been doing recently on my hiatus from the gym… but this week I got kind of tired of it. So what did I do? Went back to the gym! I’m proud that I’m back to going whenever I can. I thought I would be dying on the elliptical, and while I definitely am not where I was before in terms of my strides per minute, I’m not in as terrible shape as I thought I would be.

I’m thinking about walking today, and kind of switching between that and the elliptical. I hear how awesome walking is for you, so I really think it’ll be good for me. Plus, we’re going to Disney World where I expect to walk miles upon miles every day (and this time I’m bringing actual GOOD sneakers, to avoid a repeat of our honeymoon where I had the most horrible blisters EVER.), so I think it’s probably a good idea that I walk a few miles every day to get my body ready for that. I’m sticking to walking for now, as I thought my body was ready to do a little jogging and I managed to hurt my knee in that process. That’s actually part of the reason I took a break from the gym; my knee was bothering me and I really didn’t want to make it any worse.

While yes I’ve made strides and have lost a lot of weight, I still need to lose more before I feel like I can safely do things like jog, or any sort of higher-impact exercise. My knees just aren’t ready for it, and with my ankles being so terrible from all the sprains in high school, I just don’t want to risk really injuring myself. So for now, walking and elliptical is what I need to focus on and not push myself so hard that I legitimately hurt myself.

Actually, that just reminded me… While I appreciate people wanting to help out and give advice, I think some people think that because I’ve lost almost 60 pounds, I’m now at a weight where I can run and stuff without any concern for hurting myself. I’m not sure people realize that I’ve got another like.. 150 pounds to lose! I think I look like I weigh less than I actually do. One day, when I’m finally at a weight that I’m a bit more comfortable with, I’ll let you know where I started. In the meantime, I’m obviously not about to divulge where I’m at right now with anyone but myself and Matt. That being said, just uh, remember that not everyone can just start running when they have a ton of weight to lose, even if I’ve lost 60 pounds already.

That’s about it on that front! I’m feeling a lot more relaxed about things, proud that even after around 5-6 days of unhealthier eating, I’m back on track, eating the things I should be eating during my work week and back at the gym! It’s a good feeling and I’m glad I have control over my eating. Honestly, any other time I’ve lost weight in the past, I’d have continued to eat like crap and then gained all of my weight back. But this time? Nope, not happening. I might have gained a few pounds from last week/weekend, but that’s no excuse to just go back to eating crappy every day of the week and to stop exercising. Life is all about balance and making sure you don’t go overboard either way. Sometimes we have times where we might “cheat” more than normal, but that’s LIFE. I’m not going to worry about it, instead I’m going to continue what I’ve been doing while enjoying life.

That’s what this entire thing has been about! Getting healthier but also living my life and enjoying it. So that’s what I’m going to keep doing…

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Muppets, Thanksgiving and Birthday Time!

So yes, today is my birthday. I figured that in itself maybe deserves a post around here, no? Okay well I can at least catch you up on what’s been going on in my life the past 4-5 days, as it kind of feels like a blur at this point.

Wednesday Matt and I got out of work early, got ourselves some holiday coffee beverages at Starbucks, and listened to Christmas music on our drive home. After hanging out with the puppers for a bit, we headed out to our favorite Greek restaurant, Spiro’s, and met with Amy, Bruce and Amy’s brother Eric. We then made our way over to Kent Station to see… THE MUPPETS!

Now you guys need to understand how excited I’d been for this movie. After seeing “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and finding out that Jason Segel (who is definitely on my top 5 list, haha) was going to be working on a new Muppets movie, I think I screamed for joy and anxiously have been waiting for this movie since I first heard about it.

Needless to say, the movie did NOT disappoint. It was probably the first movie I’ve seen in a very long time (or ever) that I literally did not stop smiling at. It was that wonderful. It was sweet but hilarious and just brought I think everyone back to a really happy time. I think I liked it best where someone said it was a love letter to the Muppets. I can’t wait to buy it on blu-ray and watch it over and over again. They did a wonderful job with it and it’s a great movie for every age. I can’t recommend it enough. :)

After the movie, we headed home and relaxed with our doggies, and got up early the next day to watch the Macy’s day parade on TV. We had a delicious breakfast and watched our favorite floats and balloons, all the way until Santa came along (which has been disappointing since every year I swear I can see Santa’s NON-WHITE hair underneath his hat), and then I worked on trying to re-install Windows or something on my iMac for a video game that will only run on Windows. I love Apple products but trying to work with Windows on a Mac can sometimes be a pain in the ass process.

Thanksgiving was spent at my in-laws house, where we played Bohnanza and Ticket to Ride, ate an amazing Thanksgiving dinner, and I opened lots of fun presents. My sister-in-law bought me a really awesome wax warmer that I’m definitely looking forward to using, and my in-laws got me The Big Ass Book of Crafts 2, a Hungry Girl grocery store book, and the iPhone cover I’ve been wanting since I first spotted it. It’s so beautiful!

If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s from “Tangled” and I just loved how this case was designed. I found it on Society6, which is a great place to find really unique pieces of artwork and iPhone cases. It’s very Disney-esque, but not super over the top cheesy.

Anyway, we headed home to our dogs after Thanksgiving dinner and pies, where we relaxed until I headed out at 11:30 with my friend Amy for Black Friday shopping. I caught a quick 30 minute nap before she picked me up, and thank God I did because it ended up being a much longer night than I first anticipated!

We pulled into Walmart at around 11:45 and it was so busy there wasn’t any parking in the actual Walmart parking lot. We ended up parking in some USPS lot I think, and walked over in the cold to the store. It was pretty much what I expected it to be; a complete and utter madhouse. People were huddling around items that weren’t going on sale until midnight, so it was a pain in the ass to get through any area near the electronics section and/or any area they had doorbuster items sitting out in plastic wrap. Amy was gunning for a $19 printer, but the crowd swarmed those like locusts. I pointed out the $39 printer that was wireless, and she ended up grabbing that instead. I’m thinking that was probably a better deal anyway due to it being wireless. I was tempted to grab one but didn’t.

I ended up with a few t-shirts, some slippers for Matt, the movie Super 8, a $3 coffeemaker (it won’t be bad for this Christmas swap at work) aaaaand the wrong DVD of the movie X-Men: First Class (which reminds me, I still need to return it!). We hopped in line and holy frijole it was long. Fortunately it moved extremely fast and we were out of Walmart in just over an hour. Kohl’s was next on our list, and I figure at this point we’d be in and out of there and I’d ended up getting more than just 3 hours of sleep.

WRONG. We walked into what I’d call a deceptively quiet Kohl’s. I was pretty happy about this, and we made our way upstairs to look for a few things. I didn’t need much at Kohl’s, but ended up getting a cute coffee cup thing for the swap, and a few Christmas decorations. After Amy picked up her stuff, we made our way to the end of the line… which took us 5 minutes to find. It literally wrapped around the store TWICE. We stood for an hour and a half and this is where I learned that standing is ten times worse/pain than walking for an hour and a half. At least walking you’re moving and your legs/feet aren’t getting super stiff. It was pretty miserable, and without Amy I don’t think I’d have survived.

I didn’t get home until around 3:30, and into bed sleeping until 4. I had to be up at 7 for work. Ill-planned? Yup. But it’s a fun tradition that I do with Amy, as half the fun is people-watching. It’s unreal what people will do for a good deal.

3 hours later, I woke up to my alarm going off and I couldn’t move my legs. I was pretty tempted to go into work in my Kermit pajama pants but decided against it. After working for 4 hours, I headed out for home, making stops at Bath and Body Works, Gamestop and Target. I couldn’t help it; I totally got sucked in!

At Bath and Body Works, I managed to get 6 candles, 4 soaps and a VIP bag for $70. This normally would cost $250. Yes, I saved that much. I was a proud lady.

At Gamestop, I was excited to get Sonic Generations for $20 off, and it was a darn good buy. That game is like old school Sonic but taken to even better levels.

At Target, I picked up a bunch of crap we needed for decorating, a Dirt Devil vac for $9 (best $9 I’ve spent; I never have to sweep again and it works like a charm!), and a new coat for Matt. He’s been in need of a nicer new one, and I knew how much he liked this one, so I got it for him. He looks quite dapper in it and it fits him really nicely. :)

After all that, I finally made my way home, had a mini-meltdown, ate food and felt a lot better. We then got started on decorating the outside of the house. Holy. Crap. This ended up taking us around 4 hours, because everything that could’ve went wrong, went wrong. We got it all done, and I was so proud of us because our house looks AWESOME. Much better than last year and much more polished. We ditched the net lights since I found them ugly, and also did white icicles instead of multi-colored, so help things not look overly-colorful. This gives you an idea of what it looks like, though I’m hoping I can take some nicer photos like I did last year of the house sometime this week.

Anyway, after hours outside (with a mini-break to eat dinner), we started decorating the trees. Matt had already put up the trees and put the garland on the mantles while I was at work (he basically did a LOT of work on decorating for like 14 hours that day), so we started with our first tree in the family room. I’m really happy we did a white tree this year, as it looks really pretty.

We moved into the great room and worked on the big tree, which took a bit longer since we have the train that runs around the tree midway through, plus many more ornaments. Of course, we put Bumble on top like we do every year, because he’s the best topper EVER. It looks beautiful and I swear if we ever entered an ornament contest, I think we’d win with the best collection. I’m going to toot our horn on that one for sure.

We ended the night finishing up The Polar Express, and conked out early as I was super exhausted.

Saturday we got up at around 8:30-9ish, and went out to breakfast at Wild Wheat. We then ran a bunch of errands and came home to clean the house for my little birthday deal we were having. After cleaning for a bit, I opened presents I got from Matt. He gave me the Pawnee book (yay!), Professor Layton and the Last Specter, Lost Cities (which he later DESTROYED me at! hahaha), and a Revoltech Professor Layton action figure!

He also got me the cutest card ever (on the inside it says “Happy Birthday, sweetheart”):

That night we played some board games, ate cake, and I opened more presents. I got some great board games from Bruce and Amy, along with some funny social network magnets, some beautiful mums, and a balloon!

Sunday was our lazy day, and boy did I need it. Problem is, I was so exhausted from the past few days that I still could’ve used just one more day at home, but alas, Monday is here and I’m at work.

I was feeling a bit sad about being at work on my birthday (not sure why, as I’ve worked on my birthday many times), but Matt remedied that quickly by giving me fun gifts to start off the morning, and another awesome card. I came into work to a present on my desk from my manager. She got me the two best stamps ever, a “Dislike” and “Like” stamp. I totally plan on using this whenever I can in my office. I had plenty of fun things to play with at my desk today, so it’s kept me a pretty happy lady!

Matt surprised me at work around 10:30 with a box of cookies from Specialty’s, which makes amaaaazing cookies. He’s gone above and beyond in making this the best birthday ever. Definitely one of those days where I’m just reminded of how lucky I am to be married to such a loving and kind person. He makes me so happy and I am so glad we’re fortunate to have found one another. :)

Okay so looking back on this post (which God save your soul if you’re still reading at this point!), I can’t believe I did ALL of these things in this amount of time. Just reading it is making me tired. I’m definitely looking forward to things slowing down a bit, though my Mom is coming to visit this Friday-Tuesday, which is exciting! Hopefully aside from dinner, breakfast and Zoolights, she’ll be up for watching lots of Christmas movies and relaxing at the house. I need a weekend of that!

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Crafty Corner: Wedding Invitation Ornament

So I’ve had a major obsession with Pinterest as of late, and it’s given me some great gift ideas to stick on my Christmas wishlist, but I also came across a REALLY adorable idea for a Christmas ornament. We have a ton of leftover wedding invitations (especially after the printing company screwed up the first batch), so I knew I just had to partake in this project. After realizing how simple it is to make this, and how beautiful the ornament came out, I thought it might be fun to post it on here, in case anyone else wants to try it out (seriously, it’s so easy and takes no time!)

Okay, so in terms of things you’ll need:

One medium-size clear plastic/glass ornament. I want to comment on this because I think it’s really important… While yes, you can find the clear ones that literally are 2 pieces that fit together, this ornament looks WAY better if you can find the one that I used. It’s not two pieces, and the way you get the strips of paper in is through the top of the ornament by just popping off the hanger thing (so eloquent, I know). So that being said, I found mine at Michael’s and got it for .79 since it was on super sale or something. They don’t have this specific kind at JoAnn’s I don’t think, and be aware that Michael’s has both the kind that I bought and also the 2-piece ones. Make sure to hunt down the right one, as otherwise it’ll be way more difficult to do this project.

A wedding invitation (or two)… You can also do this with pretty much any invitation to anything! I ended up needing to use a second invitation because I didn’t have enough strips of paper to fill up the ornament. No big deal!

Some colored ribbon – I bought two 50 cent spools of thin ribbon at Michael’s in our wedding colors, light blue and yellow.

A charm or two – Okay, you don’t HAVE to do this but I really think this just makes the ornament super adorable. I wanted to have some element of our wedding in the charm, so I went with a Converse sneaker. I found mine on etsy for I think like $1.50. It’s so perfect, so I highly suggest grabbing a charm or two for your own ornament to snazz it up!

Scissors – To cut the invitation into strips, and also your ribbon of course!

A pen – You need this to twirl the strips of paper around. It gives the strips a perfect curl and works perfect.

_____________________________

Step 1: Start cutting up your invitation into strips. Obviously do this per line, so when it’s all twirled you can look at the ornament and see the text. I ended up having really long strips in certain spots since our invitations were much longer horizontally vs. vertically.

Step 2: Once you have your invitation in strips, started creating the curls by taking each strip and curling it around your pen. The end result is a tight curl.

Step 3: Once you have all of your curled strips, start putting them into the ornament through the top hole. Again, you might end up needing another invitation, or if you end up buying a smaller ornament, one might be totally fine! I think some people have added confetti or whatever to their ornament, so feel free to get creative. I ended up just doing the invitation as I wanted it to be simple.

Step 4: Once your ornament is completely filled up to your satisfaction, put the top hanger thing back into place. YAY! Pretty ornament.

Step 5: Snazz things up by making a hanger with your ribbon, and also feel free to tie ribbon in a little bow on the hanger thing. Make it look as pretty as you want!

Step 6: I used ribbon to tie the charm onto it, really simple. You could use string or whatever, depending on how big the hole is on your charm.

VOILA! Your ornament is done and it’s looking pretty! Super easy to make, right? And also really really beautiful. I love this because we now have a way to remember our wedding and display it in a beautiful way at Christmas time. This makes an awesome gift for friends who have recently been married, as well! So feel free to make it for yourself or for a friend. :)

 

 

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Recipe Corner: Three-Bean Turkey Chili

Hi guys! I know it’s been awhile, and I know I said I hoped to write more around here but I’ve gotta say, NOT focusing on every little thing about my weight has been so liberating lately. No, I don’t mean that I’m eating crap food again… in fact, I’ve been doing really well just eating healthier in general. But I mean not writing about it, not thinking about it 24/7, not having to weigh myself every week. I swear the stress of that alone was actually starting to take a toll on my weight loss. Who knows, I might be totally wrong and will weigh myself (doing it the day before Thanksgiving, which is around a month from the last time I weighed myself) and have gained weight, but I have faith. I know I’ve at least lost some inches because certain clothing items are fitting even better than before, so that’s good! It’s just been nice to not constantly be thinking about it. Other things have taken up my time, namely planning out people’s Christmas gifts and also planning for our trip to Disney World. We’re almost a few days away from being 2 months out from our trip. It’s weird because over 2 months ago, we called to book our resort. Can’t believe how time flies, seriously!

Anyway, the main point of today’s post is a new RECIPE! Yup, hell has frozen over, I’ve actually got a new recipe for you guys! Being that it is totally the season for crock pot recipes, it only makes sense to kick things off with a super hearty turkey chili recipe. It’s really easy to make, like, beyond easy, and tastes AMAZING. Probably one of my favorite recipes to date. I should start by saying I found this recipe on my new favorite website for recipes, skinnytaste.com. I love this site because it’s got real recipes with real ingredients and doesn’t contain tons of really weird/fake products in the recipes. It’s amazing and I highly suggest you check it out if you’re ever looking for a great recipe for, well, anything!

Now, while I enjoy following a recipe, I also enjoy sometimes spicing things up and adding in my own ingredients. This recipe was no different, as I ended up adding different things to make it taste how Matt and I would both want it to. Thing is, I couldn’t tell you EXACT measurements on the extras that we added, as we kept adding more until we felt it tasted perfect. Just a little warning before I give you this super easy and delicious recipe that will last you for days!

Ingredients

(From skinnytaste.com’s recipe, I used all of these ingredients):

  • 1.3 lb (20 oz) fat free ground turkey breast
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (4.5 oz) can chopped chilies, drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, undrained
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, undrained
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can small red beans, undrained
  • 2 tbsp chili powder (I actually put in a lot more than this amount, as I felt like 2tbsp was not nearly enough chili flavoring)

These are for garnish from skinnytaste. I didn’t use these, but I garnished it will FF shredded cheddar cheese and a tbsp of light sour cream. Feel free to do whatever you want!

  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro for topping
  • shredded cheddar to top

My own additional ingredients:

  • Onion powder
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt

Steps to makin’ a crazy awesome chili!

1. Brown turkey and onion in a medium skillet over medium high heat until cooked through. – You brown the turkey so it’s obviously broken up into tiny little bits and pieces vs. one huge hung of turkey, haha.


2. Drain any fat remaining and transfer to crock pot. Add the beans, chilies, chickpeas tomatoes, tomato sauce and chili powder mixing well.


3. Cook on high 6-8 hours. - The site says high for that long, but I did high and then low for the last 2 hours.

Voila, you have amazing chili. Seriously, it IS that easy. What I did was after a bit of cooking, I tasted it to see how the flavors were. At that point, I felt it needed more kick and flavor, so I just added my “extra” ingredients and kept tasting it until I felt like it was perfect.

My other favorite part of this recipe? The ingredients are crazy cheap! The expensive part is the 99% FF turkey, which I’ve been grabbing at Target for like $4.50 (it’s normally 7.50-$8 at QFC! UGH!).. But even then, you’re managing to make enough food for multiple nights of eating, so you are saving some serious cash and are getting to eat well! AND the flavor only gets better the next day.

If you couldn’t already tell, I’m pretty excited for leftover chili for dinner tonight!

This recipe, WITHOUT THE GARNISH, yields 12 ten-ounce servings (around 1 1/2 cups of chili), and here are the following nutrition facts, via skinnytaste:

Servings: 12 • Serving Size: 10.8 oz • Calories: 206.3 • Fat: 1.4 g • Protein: 16.8 g • Carb: 31.8 g • Fiber: 9.0 g  

Enjoy this recipe, and let me know if you decide to add anything crazy or fun to it. :)

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Danielle’s Featured Meal o’ the Day!

YAY for blogging 2 days in a row! I’m pretty proud of myself for this, considering I was on such a long hiatus. I’m feeling much better about myself and things in general after yesterday’s post. Sometimes just being honest in the general public where ANYONE can read it is kind of a liberating feeling. Like, there’s no denying that everything ISN’T perfect in my life. That I am facing challenges with my choice to live a healthier lifestyle. I like being honest and putting my feelings out there, because it makes it seem more real and legitimate and I don’t hold these feelings in! It’s pretty therapeutic; maybe that’s what this blog is all about. My own little therapy at times. I am kind of happy about that though, because I got some amazing responses about yesterday’s post that truly made me feel like I am not alone in this. I’m not alone in being hard on myself. To have that support and to have others’ dealing with the same problems is something that is just comforting. It’s hard to see other strong females being so hard on themselves, especially people you know are wonderful. I guess I should remind myself that I myself am one of those females, so turning things around and really beginning to appreciate myself and my body is a great great thing. So thank you to a few of you that reached out; I found your words beyond comforting, even though it’s not necessarily a great place to be, maybe we can help each other start to appreciate ourselves and our bodies.

Okay, onto my actual topic for today. I thought it might be kind of fun to every once in awhile have a featured meal of the day. Now, some of these meals will be homemade, and with that I hope I can offer photos/recipes again. I’ve found a great turkey burger recipe that’s easy as heck and tastes more like a real burger. Some of these meals are totally not homemade, but include some of my favorite lower-calorie items that can make for a pretty decent lunch.

Today’s meal o’ the day is my grilled ham and cheese sandwich, Progresso Light Chicken Noodle Soup, and a little Nestle crunch bar for dessert! Grand total of everything? 425 calories. It’s such a filling lunch!

Progresso Light Chicken Noodle Soup is the bombdotcom. The only down side to it is of course the sodium, as it seems to be the same problem for most soups. On the plus side, an entire can of this is 140 calories, and it is a huge bowl of soup! They give you lots of noodles and chicken and veggies, and I always seem to be quite full after eating it with my sandwich. I scored a bunch of cans of soup on sale 8/$10, so I tend to bring this in to work when I’m trying save some money instead of spending it on something downstairs.

My ham and cheese sandwich is delightful. I use the Sara Lee Delightful Multigrain bread. It has 45 calories per slice and is really tasty. 90 calories and 5g of fiber for 2 slices, 60 calories of black forest ham from the deli, 45 calories for a slice of 2% sharp cheddar cheese, and around 30 calories for the light Olive Oil Mayo that I enjoy and put just under a tbsp on my sandwich. The sandwich is filling but not huge, and ends up being 225 calories. We have a panini maker at work so I always heat it up on there because most sandwiches seem to taste amazing when they’re all toasted up!

Of course, my delightful Nestle Crunch by is 60 calories and is the perfect little dessert for when I’m in need of chocolate. It takes some serious willpower not to grab more but I just keep them out of sight and out of mind, even though I SWEAR I sometimes can hear the chocolates yelling at me from our work kitchen, “DANIELLE! COME EAT ME!”

When all said and done, it’s 425 calories and quite filling, it’s one of my favorite lunches. Sometimes I’ll switch out the soup for a steamed veggie bag, which are pretty delightful. I realize I could go for some more natural stuff, but sometimes that isn’t necessarily easy when you are in a rush and need something quick for work. It’s just an easier meal to throw together when I’m on the run and don’t have much time the night before to make anything. I’m trying to get better about making large amounts of soups or chili on the weekend to eat for lunch throughout the week, but that kind of fell apart in the summer when I didn’t want to make ANYTHING in the heat. Now I have nothing holding me back, so my crockpot will start to get way more use!

Keep your eyes peeled for more meals o’ the day. It’s always fun to have a mix of things you can make at home and also things for on the go! Oh, and to make up for my lack of veggies at lunch, tonight’s dinner will be accompanied by steamed cauliflower (MY FAVORITE!). I also had a banana with breakfast, as I always try to make an effort to get my fruits and veggies all throughout the day!

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Dealing with the Emotions of Losing Weight…

While I’ve been on hiatus from my blog, I grew a mustache. I thought it complimented my face pretty well, and I’m hoping it sticks around…

Okay, beautiful mustache aside, this has been the longest hiatus from my blog ever. I just haven’t wanted to write in here. What prompted me to finally make a little comeback was a conversation I had with Matt last night about losing weight and people’s reactions to it. While most of it I don’t really want to talk about on here, because it’d probably make me look like a raging ungrateful asshole, I don’t mind talking about some other things I’ve noticed… Plus, I’m having one of those days where I started nagging Matt while he was driving about dealing with traffic, and in turn I just made myself feel like a huge jerkface, when combined with my current issues I’m dealing with… It resulted in a not-so-fun start to my morning of basically feeling like the worst human being/wife ever. I’m fine now, or well, at least a lot better than I was before, but I still want to talk about the emotions I’ve been feeling lately. I’m not sure anyone will be able to understand this, and I’m a little concerned I’ll either come off as a wackadoo or being jerk, but MAYBE, just maybe, there’s someone else out there going through weight loss and will understand where this is all coming from.

I’m way too hard on myself. I always knew that losing weight would result in some emotions coming up and me having to deal with them head-to-head. I knew this day would come. I would have a serious battle with myself, and I think that’s been happening and festering inside of me for awhile now. I’ve lost close to 60 pounds (57 to be exact), and while everyone around me is really happy for me, cheering me on, telling me what an amazing accomplishment it is, I’m sitting over here not being able to enjoy it. Why? Because I still have so much more to lose to even be considered healthy. It’s gotten better, in terms of being proud of what I have done. I swear to God it has, but it’s definitely not 100% positive on my side of things.

It’s hard to look at myself in the mirror and feel proud of how I look right now. Well actually, that’s only half true. Half the time I look in the mirror when I’m wearing something I really like, I feel really good about myself and feel how I SHOULD be feeling right now. But then, half the time I look at myself in something, or after I’ve gotten out of the shower, and I feel terrible. I’ve still got fat arms, and honestly, I could go on here, but basically, I’m not happy with what I see. So it’s a 50/50 chance right now of me looking in the mirror and either seeing one of the following:

“OH HEY GIRL YOU LOOK SO GOOD! SO MUCH SMALLER THAN BEFORE!” (See in this photo I was feelin’ good!)

OR

“OMG WHYYYY AM I NOT GETTING ANY SMALLER? WHY AM I STILL A FAT BLOB?” (And thus I find myself making this face in the mirror.)

So friends, it’s been a battle. It really has been. Half the time I feel proud of myself, the other half of the time I feel like I need to be losing more weight on a weekly basis and that this whole weight loss thing that my body seems to be resisting against is the most frustrating thing I’ve ever dealt with and that I’m just a failure.

It’s funny because as I’m sitting here writing this, I KNOW that I’m not a failure. I really do! But then something just triggers inside my head, perhaps old demons from my past, I don’t really freakin’ know, but something sets off in my mind and starts telling me that I am a failure and that my numbers should be way bigger than 1-2 pounds (or sometimes a big fat zero). I do think the scale is a big part of it. Which is why I am declaring no weigh-ins until maybe, I don’t know, for a month? I said before I’d do every other week or whatever, but even that was frustrating. This will hopefully help prevent the thing that triggers my mind to basically verbally abuse myself, like some bootcamp instructor, telling me I shouldn’t be proud and I’m always going to be fat.

So it has been difficult to stop and smell the roses, which is honestly quite unfortunate. I SHOULD be stopping to smell the roses, because what I’ve done over the past 7 months is fabulous. I GET THAT. And I get that right now while I’m writing this. But I would be totally lying to you if I said that this is my mindset all the time. Because it’s not. I spend time just being mad that I am not losing weight quicker. I’m working on this, on improving myself and my brain, in telling myself that I am doing well, I’m on an excellent path. I think a lot of this stems from being younger and constantly being teased about being fat (especially by my brother, but most kids tend to torture their siblings and I know I had my fair share of pot shots at him), but that’s MY problem and nobody else’s. I chose to eat what I ate, even after I graduated from high school and after I moved to Seattle (when I put on the most weight). This is nobody’s fault but my own, and so I need to figure out how to get past the self-destructive thoughts.

What I will say though, is through all of these negative thoughts I have had, not once have I wanted to totally binge on shitty food (or at least not BECAUSE I feel upset). It used to be that I would stuff my face when I felt negative emotions. Someone called me fat? Oh, let me eat some cookies or greasy food to make myself better. But now, I don’t do that. If anything I just beat myself up for a little bit and then eat something healthy. Or use that negative emotion to make myself work out when I really don’t want to. This is the part I’m really proud of myself for and I feel like I’m finally taking the negative feelings and turning them into something positive, instead of shutting down and stuffing my emotions.

I think talking about how I feel, talking about how yes, sometimes I feel shitty about myself and my weight loss, and not denying any of that is really really important on this journey, or whatever you want to call it. If I’m not honest with myself, honest in how I sometimes compare myself to Matt and his weight loss (ugh I know, it’s bad and I try to make myself not do that) and can get jealous, honest in how I sometimes get annoyed when I feel like people are telling me I look “skinny” not because they genuinely think that, but just because they’re trying to be nice (this sounds ridiculously harsh and terrible but I can tell when someone is genuinely impressed with my weight loss vs. just being nice)…

Sometimes I need to be honest about these emotions in dealing with my weight loss and just SAY IT OUT LOUD. For the longest time I held in my negative feelings by stuffing them down with bad food. But I refuse to do that anymore and will be honest whenever I can be about how I truly feel.

So no, weight loss is not a 100% positive or glamorous experience. In fact, it’s really fucking difficult. Not so much in trying not stuffing my emotions away with food, but rather dealing with these negative thoughts that come up time and time again. I know it’s only going to continue as I lose more weight, but at least I am ready to deal with this all head on and not pretend that everything is perfect all the time. Because it isn’t, and this is me being honest and open about it.

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Filed under Getting healthy, Reflections, Weight Loss