Monday, January 31, 2011

One Month Milestone

Today is the last day of January and my weight is down 7 pounds! I weighed myself this morning and it was the lowest weight my scale displayed all month. I've been a little discouraged lately. I really thought that maybe I had hit a plateau. But low and behold on the last day of the month: a miraculous new low weight.

I got the tape measure out today too. My stomach measures an inch less too.

Next month will be a real test. I know that staying on track for one month is an achievement. However, staying focussed for two months in a row is going to take real willpower. I get bored easily. I am going to have to seek out lots of new recipes and food ideas in order to avoid the temptation to return to my old favorite foods.

I'm also going to try to get in some serious cardio workouts at least twice a week.

Send me your ideas and motivations- Please!!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Look Ahead!

Tomorrow will be better than today. This is the basic belief that keeps each of us moving towards our goals with expectation.

Today at church, there was a message about joy. I’m sure different people gained different insights from the message. I came away knowing that my joy comes from believing that tomorrow offers more happiness than today.

My perspective on the world has always been that the cup is half full. I’ve always looked ahead with dreams and visions of what the future might bring. Each of us who seeks to eat healthier and more sensibly does so in the hopes that we will ultimately feel and look better. We have to believe that our efforts will lead to success.

This is my shout out to all travelers on the road to Thinville:

Your joy and happiness will be even greater tomorrow and the next day and the day after. Believe in your future dreams and look ahead with anticipation!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Spending Calories Wisely

Choosing the calories I eat is a lot like choosing the clothing that I buy.

When I try on different fashions, I ultimately choose the clothing I like the most that costs the least. Choosing the calories I consume is much the same. When I am hungry, do I want to waste my calories on something I know isn’t worth eating or am I spending my calories wisely?

This journey truly is about making choices. I have to choose what I to eat, how much to eat, and how often I eat. Having the right food items in my kitchen makes a big difference. I am learning to spend my calories wisely. When I want something to eat, I choose only the most valuable and worthwhile calories.

When it comes to what we eat, we can all benefit from being wise shoppers. Everybody wants a bargain!

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Willpower Win

Today I successfully dodged multiple food temptations. I am a school teacher and this morning we celebrated a birthday in our classroom. Birthday treats almost always consist of sugar filled cookies or cakes. Today it was chocolate and vanilla cupcakes.

The birthday boy passed out his tempting treats and I contemplated my next move. Would I succumb to the offer of a sugary sweet energy high? Could I watch all my students chomp into blue and pink icing covered cupcakes and sit idly by? To my delight, I successfully resisted the allure of the colorful little cakes.

Not long after lunch, the school office buzzed my classroom to remind me that today was our class pizza party. Our class was going to be rewarded for donating the most items during the Christmas food drive. I watched as each student walked up to the pizza table and chose from cheese or pepperoni. Again, I pondered my commitment to a smaller waistline. Once again, I managed to stand firm in my resolve.

I laughed when I joined the other 3rd grade teachers at recess afterwards and they immediately asked if I had survived the pepperoni’s appeal. As I shared my ‘willpower win’ with them, I realized that I truly am serious about this journey to Thinville.

I don’t know if I can keep up this momentum, but today I realized how much I want to make this dream a reality.
Thinville or Bust!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Stir Fry Queen

I’ve never before spent so much time looking at fresh fruits and vegetables. The produce section keeps calling my name. I can’t find enough items to cook up into a stir fry.

My enjoyment of stir fry recipes has been somewhat surprising. I am a true carnivore and have always planned every meal around a meat entrĂ©e. I did not anticipate being so satisfied by the change in my meals and menus. There are even some days when I don’t eat meat at all.

I have also learned that cutting up vegetables does not take much more time than some of my previous menus did. Some of my favorite stir fry veggies are peppers, green beans, mushrooms, eggplant, squash and broccoli. I include onions or scallions in almost every dish since the caramelized final product is delicious. I've even discovered that most stir fry veggies are already cut and packaged in the frozen section of the grocery. Adding some lean cuts of red meat, chicken, shrimp or scallops just adds to the delight of my taste buds.

I am getting equally creative with the flavors I am adding to my recipes. Garlic always adds the right amount of kick. Soy sauce or teriyaki (low sodium is best) and red wine vinegar also add some variety. When I am in the mood for something spicy, I can even add hot sauce.
I discover new vegetables and flavors to add all the time. If this keeps up, I might even invest in a true stir fry skillet. New habits leads to new weight loss!
I am fast becoming the 'Stir Fry Queen'.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

100 Calorie Club

I have become obsessed with checking the calorie count on nearly everything I eat now. Along the way, I have discovered that there are lots of 'calorie bargains' out there. I get very excited when I find a tasty treat that is 100 calories or less. It is like finding a designer purse on the sale rack!

A friend, who is on Weight Watchers, recommended some sweet treats to me. Every time she told me about another item, I asked her about the calories. What I am slowly realizing is that I am becoming a devoted member of the 100 Calorie Club.

There are actually quite a few food items, both sweet and snackable, that have 100 calories or less. You can find many prepackaged 100 calorie snack packs in the cookie and cracker aisles at the grocery. Jell-O Pudding has some yummy flavors that are only 60 calories per cup. I try to keep them in my fridge at all times.

Today, I took my friend's advice and went hunting for some of the items she told me about.
Here are a few of the items that I found:

• Progresso Light Soups – 100 calories PER portion (1 can is 2 portions)
• Vita Tops (in the freezer section)- 100 calories for each muffin top/ great flavors too
• Multi Grain Sandwich Thins- 100 calories each -great for sandwiches and high fiber too

Now that I am a confirmed member of the 100 Calorie Club, I plan to seek out more bargains along the way. I hope others will share their 100 Calorie discoveries as well!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I have decide to add vitamins to my daily regimen. From what I understand, it is wise to include:

1. A multi-vitamin
2. Fish Oil
3. Extra calcium

I've noticed in the past that when I take vitamins regularly, I seem to have more energy. The extra vitamins have to be good for me too.

Note: If you choose to take vitamins too, be careful about taking other medications. I have also learned that some vitamins will interfere with the absorption of other medicines.

Healthy is the goal!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Rotisserie Chicken is my friend...

I confess: I LOVE the rostisserie chicken that they make at my local grocery.

I like to buy the 'savory' flavor and it is very true to its name. I always get comments on how delicious the chicken smells when I am in the checkout line too. Once I arrive home, even my dog is begging me to pour chicken drippings over her food bowl (well, I guess I am to blame for that part). I usually can't resist a little chunk of warm chicken when I arrive home after grocery shopping.

Some temptations are bad- others can work. The good thing about my passion for poultry is that it is a lowfat protein. It works in a stir fry with veggies, with whole grain pasta or cut up into chicken salad. Heck, I eat it as a snack all by itself!

Now chicken skin is another story. The fatty, but flavorful, outer covering of the chicken is off limits. Pretty much all the rest of that delicious little bird is up for grabs. Grabbing and gobbling it up are my specialties.

My only chicken vice is my preference for dark meat. I have always found the taste of a thigh or leg to be much more flavorful than a breast. Recently, I researched the white vs. dark controversy. To my delight, I discovered that my dark meat desires may not be such a big problem after all.

Yes, White meat is the leanest part of the chicken- BUT

 Dark meat contains more zinc, niacin, thiamin, amino acids and iron
than white meat
 Dark meat is richer in riboflavin and contains vitamins A, K, B6, B12
 Even the fats in most dark meats contain Omega-3, Omega-6 and
other ‘healthy fats’
 Most of the saturated fat is found in the SKIN of the chicken anyway

I even found a breakdown of the calorie comparisons between white meat and dark meat at

Chicken Thigh- 3 ounces, Calories 133, Fat grams 4.1
Chicken Breast- 3 ounces, Calories 142, Fat grams 3.1
Chicken Drumstick- 3 ounces, Calories 151, Fat grams 5.0

In my opinion, the comparisons between white meat and dark meat aren't all that significant. So now I can enjoy a breast or a thigh without any guilt.
Cock a doodle doo!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Food log lesson

In one more week, I will have completed one month on this journey.

I must confess that one of the biggest challenges has been keeping a food log. It is not always easy to stop and write down my menu or log on to the computer to list everything I have eaten each day. I am thrilled to have been successful for over 3 weeks now. Keeping track of what I eat is critical to my journey and I know it.

Two things have been helped me stay on track:

One is using an online log to list my foods. Somehow knowing that my log is online keeps me more accountable. If I don't have all my meals listed for each day, I feel very guilty. At the end of each day, it is good to actually see how many calories I have consumed as well. I use a progress log to list my successes and weight loss too. These logs, along with my exercise log are all available to me at no cost, care of

The second thing that has helped me along the trail to Thinville has been this blog. I feel like I am always looking for new ways to make my trip more interesting and fun. Writing down my feelings, temptations and discoveries has helped make the trip more interesting.

I haven't had the courage to post a 'before' picture yet. I feel like that must wait until I have an 'after' picture worth posting as well.

Until that time, I remain determined to keep up with my food log and make good food choices. I am hoping to average 6 pounds a month and so far this month I have lost 5 pounds. I hope to lose 1 or even 2 more pounds next week.
Thinville or Bust!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Have your Cake and Eat it too!

Today I discovered guilt free cake recipes! That HungryGirl on the Cooking Channel is quickly becoming my new BFF! She keeps me going these days.

Today she told me about the most wonderful chocolate cupcake (or cake) recipe ever. I suppose she may have been speaking to other people, but it seemed like she was just talking to me. I was hooked as soon as I flipped to the Cooking Channel and saw her dump a box of devils food cake mix into a bowl. After that she simply added a 15 oz. can of pure pumpkin and stirred. Only two, yes two ingredients! And once baked, the calorie count for one cupcake (without icing) is only 180!!! I haven't tried these yet, but they looked extra fudgy and chocolately good when she was taking a bite.The Hungry Girl website has lots of good healthy food recipes.

Some coworkers also told me about a Weight Watcher tip for guilt free cakes that is similar and easier. Their tip is to mix a boxed cake with a can of ANY diet soda (Coke, 7up, etc.) Same deal: Don't add anything else. I did try a version of this cake and it was yummy. You can try flavored carbonated sodas for added variety. has lots of good input from others who have tried variations with mixed results.
Here's some suggested variations I found on
Suggested Combinations: yellow cake mix and diet lemon-lime soda (with a dollop of Cool Whip -- tastes like a "Twinkie"); orange cake with diet Mountain Dew; diet lemon-lime soda with lemon cake; chocolate cake with Diet cola; devils food or chocolate with diet vanilla coke or diet cherry coke. I would recommend experimenting with different ideas. Many of the blogs I looked through had varying results- both good and bad.

Fat Free Cool Whip can be added for icing and 2T only have 15 calories. If you want more flavor, you can add a small box of fat free/sugar free pudding mix to the Cool Whip also. We all want a sweet treat along the way and I am all for the unguilty pleasures!
Bake, eat and enjoy!

Color me happy!! :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Calorie Counting, Portion Control, blah, blah, blah...

Tonight was about calories and portion awareness- yuck! We had a family
dinner out at a fun Hibachi restaurant and then came home to celebrate my son's birthday with cake and ice cream. It just isn't a lot of fun to limit portions when I am faced with so many delicious food choices.

I miss the days of my youth when I could polish off half a bag of oreos with milk an hour before dinner without thinking twice. I never thought about my activity level then, but the comparisons to life now are obvious.

As a child, I spent hours outside walking, biking and climbing through the neighborhood. We walked to school daily and watched T.V. about an hour a day. There were no computers and we hardly spent any time inside. Even up until my late 20's, weight was never an issue.

As an adult now, I spend nearly all of my day indoors working and come home after work exhausted. I am lucky to have enough energy to cook dinner, let alone exercise. Gone are the days when physical activity was built into my day. I try to walk the dog and get to the gym a few times a week, but what a drag. It just doesn't seem right to have to schedule time to get my heart rate up. I wish I could limit my portions to fist size, but I just like food too much. I know my life is now about choices and I have to pick my poison: food or fat?

I didn't overindulge tonight, but I could have been more disciplined about the amounts of food I ate. I know that my trip to Thinville could go a lot faster if I had just a little more willpower.

I am still as determined as ever. Truthfully, tonight was the first night I had a treat like cake since beginning this journey 3 weeks ago. Tomorrow is another day.

The scale is still going down,and my motivation keeps going up.

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.
- Confucius

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Beware the Birthday Cake!

I knew it was coming. My comfortable 'no sugar bubble' finally popped.  My 3 weeks of avoiding all sugar encounters and difficult temptations has ended.

Today things changed when my son asked me to bake him a birthday cake for his 17th birthday. He wants his favorite yellow cake with chocolate icing. We won't be cutting the cake until tomorrow, but my anxiety is already on the rise. How am I going to handle this?

I have to confess that there is no way I am not having a taste of that cake. The question is: Will I stop at a taste or will I go for the usual portion? I can't tell you what the outcome will be,  but the cake isn't the worst of it.

Before we celebrate with cake, we are going out for dinner! The restaurant we are going to is a Japanese Hibachi setup. I know from experience that there will be lots of yummy food cooking and flying around while we are dining. The ongoing question remains: Will I stop at small portions or will I be tempted to eat all that is in front of me?
Reality has arrived and I have hit the first true fork in the road on my journey to Thinville. Will I take the road less traveled or will I follow the bread crumb path? Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Happy Trails

Trail Mix is everywhere. I see it in grocery stores and department stores. The varieties are endless. The prbolem is that I don't always like everything that is prepackaged AND sometimes I find that the store bought trail mixes are expensive.

Solution: I now package (or should I say 'baggie') my own trail mix snacks. In so doing, I can choose foods I like and limit the salt or sugar that I include.

The simplest version of my personal trail mix is walnuts, almonds and raisins. I manage to avoid salt and contribute to omega 3 good cholesterol at the same time. My heart might even get healthy.

You can even add M&M's to your personal trail mix when you need a sweet fix or you can add some of your favorite items like sunflower seeds and other nuts. Not sure what to include? Just go to the store and buy a sample of a trail mix that looks good.

Trail mix is great when you want a crunchy snack, but don't want to go to the chip bags. I keep a bag of mix in my purse and one in my desk at work. There is a container on the kitchen counter now too. A quick handful satisfies my snacking urges day or night.

We can all keep finding new ways to enjoy the trail to Thinville. After all,
trail mix got its name because it is a perfect snack to take along the trail!
Happy Trails.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Keep that Vision in your Sights!

I recently watched a health guru on TV. He gave motivational tips to people who want to get healthy, thin and fit. His number one tip was that people should have a true vision. It is important to picture yourself the way you want to be. With every successful day I have, I become more committed to arriving at Thinville wearing my dream body.

 I've decided to overcome the barriers that have been holding me back. I am not talking about the excuses. I am talking about the things that have stopped me from truly achieving my goals. Is it my self esteem? Perhaps I  am using food to cope with difficult situations in my life. Or it could be that I haven't  been willing to give anything up in order to become more fit and thin.

Everybody needs to give up something in order to achieve a goal. Read it again:
Everybody needs to give up something in order to achieve a goal.  You may need to give up time. It might be that you need to give up sleep by getting up earlier in order to find extra time. Maybe it means giving up certain foods you are used to eating. Or perhaps you need to give up a bad habit and replace it with a good habit.

Whatever you have to give up, you need to be willing to make the trade for the goal you really want!

"For where your treasure lies, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21.
What is your treasure?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Milestone Markers

Today I decided to set my first short term weight loss goal. When I reach mile marker 165 (as in 165 pounds), I will have arrived at a milestone I haven’t seen in years.
My beginning weight as I set out for Thinville was 178 pounds. I have managed to fluctuate in the 170’s for quite a while.  However, I haven’t gone beyond 170 to the stretch of road beginnng at 169 in a long time.  I want to enjoy the sights and sounds along that route.  It will take a little extra to push me beyond mile marker 170, but I know I can make the effort and do it.
So the next question is, “How will I celebrate my first milestone achievement?” I’ve already decided on an oatmeal cookie party for myself. I plan to treat myself to 3 Archway Oatmeal cookies. They are 110 calories each and one of my favorite treats.
How and when I decide to eat them is part of the fun of planning my party. I may eat all 3 in one sitting or I may divide them up throughout the day. I may dunk them in a cold glass of milk or I might enjoy them with a cup of tea. I may even make a triple decker oatmeal tower and stick a birthday candle in the top. The possibilities are endless and the celebration makes the goal all the more worthwhile!
This journey IS a celebration and we all need to build in milestone markers along the way.  Who knows what my next goal will be or when I will reach it. For now, I have this attainable goal in front of me and cookies waiting on the other side.
Save up some pleasurable moments on your way to Thinville.  :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Easy Menu add ons!

I am intrigued by The Hungry Girl's show on the Cooking Channel: Her tips are easy and delicious, and a great help to me on my current journey to Thinville!

I am particularly excited about her ideas for adding foods to frozen entrees so that they aren't such teensy portions. I plan to use her ideas for adding to the likes of Lean Cuisines and Healthy Choice meals with broccoli, scallions, mushrooms and sugar snap peas. The best part is that all those foods add bulk without all the extra calories. This is a pattern I want to learn to put into practice in all my cooking now.

It is so easy to add delicious vegetables to entrees and casseroles. There are so many delicious vegetables to choose from and everyone can find something they like. Again, it means planning and shopping- so add produce to your list and make it fun!

Stay determined friends. Thinville is almost within sight.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Smoothie Day

It's Smoothie Saturday!
Today I gathered up my favorite fruits and prepared some homemade smoothies.

It doesn't take much to make a  low calorie, yummy smoothie. It sure helps to be able to open the fridge and have my own ready made flavors on hand too. When I  make  my own, I know there is no added sugar too.

Today I made my two favorite smoothie flaovrs:
Strawberry /Banana
Strawberry/ Blueberry
Note: There are also lots of yummy smoothies made with carrots and other veggies!

A good smoothie always needs something to thicken it up. The two best options are yogurt or tofu. Yogurt is, in my opinion, easier to store. However,  tofu adds protein and that is always a bonus.

So with blender in hand I mixed together bananas, strawberries, vanilla yogurt, ice and a little milk (although water works too). The bluberry version is simply substituted in place of bananas- but it isn't quite as sweet.

I always drink one immediately and then store the rest for my next craving. If I am lucky, my teenage son doesn't drink them all up first.

Variety helps and smoothies are somehow fun! Stick a straw in your glass and Happy Slurping!

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.
Live the life you have imagined.
Henry David Thoreau

Friday, January 14, 2011

The New Man in My Life

The new man in my life is not my usual type.
He is a little old fashioned and definitely has no sense of style. A year ago I wouldn’t have given him the time of day. But things have changed and this new man has given me a fresh perspective on life. He encourages me to make healthy decisions for myself and I am taking his advice. When I start off my morning with him, the whole day seems to go better. On a cold winter day, he makes me feel all warm inside. The truth is that I really enjoy him.
Yes, that man is Mr. Quaker Oats and he is my new breakfast date. We met again this morning and it was pure bliss. We invited honey, walnuts and raisins to join us and our tasty time together was delightful.

Substituting healthier, high fiber foods for what I used to eat is actually easier than I thought. I am really not hungry and I don’t feel like I am giving up much at all.
I admit that it took time and planning to find foods I liked that were also good choices. However in one shopping trip, I was able to get started. I’ve tried some new foods and to be honest, some work for me and some don’t.  Every day I am trying to find the next healthy food that will keep my taste buds happy.
Today was one of those days when I realized that oatmeal works.  Mr. Quaker is definitely a match for me. Tomorrow, he and I plan to invite banana to join us for breakfast. Color me happy!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Healthy Shelf

I am trying to keep up with all the good tips for staying on course to Thinville. Today, I began the healthy shelf plan. Since we are much more likely to eat what we see in front of us, I decided to designate my own healthy shelf in the fridge.
Today I released my veggies from captivity. Most of us keep fruits and vegetables tucked away in the drawers of our refrigerators where we don’t see them very often. Mine are now prominently featured on their own shelf. I cut my celery and bagged my carrots. I even spread some Laughing Cow cheese on some celery sticks so they are ready to grab in a pinch. My hard boiled eggs and olives are now in bowls.  In fact, I have moved ALL my favorite snacks to one shelf and I am committed to keeping that shelf stocked with the good stuff.
I also decided to put my nonperishable snacks in view on my kitchen counters. From now on the bananas and trail mix are always in view and the cookies and candy are hidden away in the pantry.
I know I will still see those other foods lurking nearby inviting me to join them, but for now I plan to keep my sights on the good stuff. This is my own version of the seafood diet: See foods and eat them (if they're on the good shelf).
If you can make the trip easier, do it!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fluffy Food Theory

Today I discovered the Fluffy Food Theory. While snacking on some PopOChips, I thought about how airy they are compared to regular potato chips.  Last night, I delighted in a whipped chocolate mousse yogurt: 1/2 air- 1/2 yogurt.  The day before, popcorn satisfied my snack cravings.

Then the revelation: 
            If it’s whipped, popped or fluffed, I won’t be stuffed.
 It seems so simple and yet the challenges remain:
·         Make sure I have fluffy foods on hand at all times
·         Marshmallow Fluff does not count
·         Eating multiple portions of fluffy foods will cancel out the benefits
·         Whipping chocolate cake into a frenzy also does not count

Still, I can’t help wondering if it is possible to pump air into a cheeseburger?
Success is the sum of small efforts,
repeated day in and day out.
Robert Collier

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Step One

I am turning over a new leaf. The days of denying that I am gaining 5 pounds every year are over. It is time to admit that my body just isn’t burning off calories the way it used to.
Step One. Map out a course to Thinville. Yes, I have to choose the food I will take along the way and my method of travel. I will have to keep a daily log of everything I eat and do along the way, but it has to be done if I am going to eventually make Thinville my hometown.
I considered paying for a tour guide, but decided to try to map out the trails myself for a while. Luckily, I found a free online guide to help direct me along the way and keep me accountable. I found Self magazine’s website: Jillian from ‘The Biggest Loser’ has a Jump Start Diet link that provides all the things some weight loss programs charge for. I found food ideas, food and exercise logs, and daily tips to keep me going.  Best of all, I was able to enter all my beginning weights and measurements so that I can track my progress.  I like having calories counted for me and I feel guilty if my logs aren’t up to date. So, I am on my way to Thinville with determination.

The future depends on what we do in the present. - Mahatma Gandhi