The Sweetest Thing.

" I feel there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people" ~Van Gogh

One Month In. January 31, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 11:57 pm

  Today marks four whole weeks I have been on the Weight Watchers plan. I have lost a total of 8lbs but unfortunately gained a little back so my actual weight loss at this point is 7.4lbs. That is pretty average for any weight loss program. Honestly, I haven’t really tried all that hard. While being more conscious of what I am eating has obviously helped, I haven’t done much else beyond a halfhearted attempt at exercise. After allowing myself a couple of cocktails and some appetizers last Friday, I have struggled to get back on track. Most days start off well but end with lots of snacking. There are a couple things I could blame this on- stress, family issues & the desperate need for a good grocery shop, but really my head just isn’t in it.  I am ready to get back on track because I can already feel the difference in my energy levels etc.

   Anyways, the point of this post was to share my thoughts on the Weight Watchers program and the changes I have noticed in the past month.  I really  believe in the program and I know it works. I used it years ago and found it very effective but a little pricey at the time. With different financial circumstances, I was excited to return. The program allows you to choose what you eat as long as you stay in your given points plus allowance (based on age/sex/height/weight). Eating healthier foods allows you to eat more because they are lower in points plus values. All fruits and most veggies have 0 points+, so you are encouraged to eat as much of those as you want (within reason). This has made it easy to fulfill my sweet tooth with clementines or bananas. You are also given a weekly points plus allowance that you can use or not. These points are in addition to your daily points and can be used for whatever you wish. For me, it seems best not to use those points but everyone is different. You can also earn more points by exercising but you do not have to use those points either. Weight Watchers does want you to eat all of your daily points (which are recalculated as you lose weight)  In addition to the 0 points+ fruits & veggies, the program also encourages healthy habits with their daily   “good health guidelines”  (post on those coming next week). While the program does require calculation g & tracking points, it seems far less tedious than doing so with calories.

   So, if all of that wasn’t convincing enough let’s talk about how I feel. Within 2 days, I felt so much better! I didn’t even realize how not good I had been feeling until I didn’t feel that way anymore. My “foggy head” cleared, I was sleeping better and therefore less exhausted & more energetic- all within a couple of days!  The headaches I was getting 2-3 times a week have disappeared. My confidence & sex drive came back too! I just feel alive again. It is possible to use the WW program and eat junk/convenience foods and the results surely would not be the same but my diet is built around whole, real foods.

   The only real gripes I have with the program is that it’s kind of annoying to figure out the portions/points when creating your own recipe. The other “trouble” I’ve had is eating all my points some days-  which isn’t really a thing to complain about.

   Overall, I am happy with the program and I plan to continue with it. I just need to get focused (and get groceries). I can and will do this! Not because losing weight is important, but because being my healthiest most alive self is. Because I am.

image

 

Weekly Weigh In. January 29, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 9:01 pm
Tags: , , , ,

   Today has not been my favorite day. An early morning arguement, an hour on the phone after work without getting anything resolved, the internet repair guys not showing up to fix the internet and a .6lb gain have all led to some crankiness this evening. I’m now wearing my comfiest sweatpants & watching movies while cozy on the couch with the pups…. and looking forward to a brand new day tomorrow.

   So, .6lbs is not really that much but I was still dissapointed, even if  not shocked by a gain. Things were a little tough at the beginning of the last week because we needed some groceries. We bought some groceries & then the weekend happened. There were several splurges on Friday & I never really got it back together after that. I stayed within my points plus target the other days but I was making poor food choices. Too many carbs, not enough produce.  My goal for the week was to exercise 5 times & that didn’t happen. Late night snacking did. Another issue may have been that my daily points plus allowance may need to be lowered a bit. When I joined they said they would reevaluate when I lost 8-10lbs & I reached an 8lb loss last week. There really is no point in beating myself up about it. I know the things I did wrong, I just need to get back on track this week.

Here’s the “get back on track” plan-
1) Lower my daily points allowance by 2
2) Stay within my points allowance every day
3) Do not use any weekly points
4) Exercise 5 days
5) Meet the good health guidelines everyday.
6) Preplan & stick to all planned meals
7) Only fruits & veggies for snacks
8) Stop all the “bites “- they do add up!
9) No alcohol
10) Eat lighter dinners & bigger breakfasts/lunches

The list above is completely reasonable & I’m motivated for a better week ahead.

image

 

Meal Plan Monday & Some Inspiration To Start Your Week. January 28, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 7:00 am
Tags: , ,

   Happy Monday folks! Hope you had a great weekend. Mine was a great balance of relaxing & productivity.  Friday involved errands, picking up a few groceries & happy hour with a good friend. Saturday we spent about 4 hours working on some projects at the library in the afternoon & watched movies in the evening. I even learned how to get library books on my tablet/kindle. Sunday, I cleaned, made marinara sauce & read a whole book!

   This weeks menu plan really isn’t too exciting but it’s a good example of taking my schedule into account & using what I have on hand when doing the weekly meal plan.  There are several evenings this week that I will be eating out of the house or getting home later than usual. There are  quite a few leftovers to eat up too. We could also use a real grocery shopping trip, which I am hoping to accomplish this coming weekend.

Monday– snacks at a networking event ( will supplement at home to get a complete meal if I need to)
Tuesday- leftover stuffed pasta with homemade marinara
Wednesday- 93% lean taco meat & reduced fat cheese quesadillas with salsa, lettuce, tomatoes
Thursday- sesame ginger chicken with brocolli & brown rice
Friday- honey dijon pork chops, baked sweet potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts
Saturday- snacks at art opening/lecture we are attending (they always have a great spread)
Sunday- make your own burrito bar  (beans, veggies, toppings etc). I am having a couple friends over this night 🙂

image

image

I have this posted in my house as a reminder to just keep pushing myself in anything I may be struggling with. So simple but a great reminder of what each of us is capable of.

 

Protein Pancakes – A Healthy Sunday Brunch. January 27, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 7:00 am

  Let’s talk about brunch. Specifically, Sunday brunch. I LOVE it. The joys of a proper Sunday brunch were not celebrated in my childhood but something I discovered as an adult. Some people go to church on Sunday mornings & I have at times tried to be one of them but for me, all things sacred lie in the everyday. Sleeping in a bit, waking up to a clean quiet house, sipping that perfect cup of coffee, reading a favorite book, doing crossword puzzles, snuggling with the honey, laughing at my dogs and taking the time to prepare a meal to nourish us mind, body, soul…. I really can’t think of  many things that make me feel more in tune with a higher power than these.

   Sunday brunch isn’t always healthy and I don’t necessarily think it needs to be. My weekly “splurge” meal often takes place late Sunday morning but for weekends that start out with cocktails & spinach dip, it is nice to have a healthy brunch recipe or two tucked away somewhere.

   These pancakes fit the bill. This is a recipe slightly adapted from The Biggest Loser (original recipe is widely available online). I was a bit skeptical of the ingredient list at first but had everything in the house (& usually do), so I decided to try it. While the pancakes aren’t as fluffy as traditional ones, they definitely taste like “real” pancakes. Paired with some turkey sausage and served with maple syrup on the side for dipping they make a great healthy brunch.

Protein Pancakes
2 servings (3 medium pancakes each)

6 egg whites
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup low fat cottage cheese
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup fresh or frozen berries

1. Add first 7 ingredients to blender. Process until you have a smooth batter.
2. Fold in berries
3. Spray griddle or pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour batter onto hot griddle and cook until golden brown (about 3 minutes on  my griddle). Flip & cook other side.
4. Enjoy!

image

What is on your favorite brunch menu?

 

33 While 33. January 26, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 1:51 pm
Tags: , , ,

  This is kind of my version of New Year’s resolutions…. except way more fun.  A few birthday’s ago, I decided to start a new tradition. However old I was turning that year, I would make a list of that many fun adventures to have in the year before my next birthday. Nothing like exercise more or be better with money gets to go on the list. That stuff is important and I am always working on being better in all those grown up ways but it is just as important to remember to have some fun in there too. Since I turned 33 a couple of weeks ago, I made a list of 33 adventures to have this year.

1. Buy a Kitchenaid Mixer-This has been on my list of  wants for years. It’s honestly ridiculous I don’t yet have one. Love this color.

image

2. Redevelop a regular yoga practice – I just need this in my life again & I feel I am finally ready to do it.

3. Participate in 2 charity 5ks– walking or running

4. Relearn Spanish – Hoping it comes back quickly since I took 12 years of Spanish classes

5. Learn to play poker – just for fun

6. Fly a kite

image

7. Find a regular source for local meat – It is easy to find local fruits in veggies ( that I can’t grow on my own) but meat proves a little harder

8. Make jewelry

9. Sew something

10.  Ride my bike to the farmer’s market

11. Have a spa day with my sister

12. Family wine tour

image

13. Take a Trip- anywhere would be fine, I just need some more travel in my life

14. Read 52 Books – getting a good start on this already

15. Get my driver’s license– it’s really about time

16. Go camping – another thing I love but haven’t done enough of the past few years

17. Watch a sunrise over a breakfast picnic

image

18. Keep a running list of all the little everyday things that bring me joy

19.  Look thru old photos with my mom & siblings

20.  Make a comfy “nest” in the back of the truck for a drive in movie date

21.  Study an artist in depth – haven’t picked one yet…. any suggestions?

22. Make blueberry pie from scratch with blueberries I picked that morning

image

23. Spin myself dizzy with my nieces & nephews

24. Have a sit down dinner party for friends

25. Write my grandmothers letters to let them know all I learned from them

26.  Make macaroons

image

27.  Go to a comedy club

28. Go out to eat & order dessert first – just because

29. Discover new music – suggestions?

30. Have a big cookout for friends, family & neighbors

31. Have a garage sale & get rid of the stuff I don’t need

32.  Cook 52 new recipes

33. Write (in some form) every single day.

image

What would be on your list?

 

Why? January 24, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 12:03 pm
Tags: ,

image

  When starting any new path in life, I think it is important to ask yourself why? This question applies to weight loss & healthy living as much as anything else. Reasons for deciding to make changes will vary greatly from person to person. As long as the reason is something you are doing for yourself, it’s a good one.

  So why do I want to lose weight?

  First, I will tell you what aren’t reasons for me. It’s not to “look better”. Sure, I will enjoy that part but quite honestly, I think I look pretty nice now. Finding clothes in “regular” or thrift stores is never an issue for me. There has been no shortage of interested suitors over the years. My weight has never held me back socially.
  It is not because I hate my body. Seeing myself naked in the mirror does not make me cringe or cry. I appreciate my body because I know it is strong & healthy despite my weight issues. My body has danced with my best friends, rolled down hills with my nieces & nephews, held my siblings while we cried after my dad died, hiked with my dogs, hugged with abandon & laughed till it aches. How could I not love & appreciate all my body does for me?

  So, what are my reasons? Simply, I can do better. I want to do better. My body can be healthier & stronger and I want it to be. My health is more & more of a priority as I get older. Eating healthier & exercising are good for me. They make me feel good. They give me the energy I need for all the other awesome things I do in my life.  Living, really living & not just getting thru life, is so important to me and I need the energy to wake up & do that everyday. Losing weight is just a bonus for me.

  As I said before, reasons will vary from person to person but as long as the changes you are making are *for you*, they are good reasons. Only you know what will ultimately motivate you & keep you going. Identifying the “why” in any change you want to make is important because it gives you something to focus on when things get rough. So write your reasons down. Post them someplace you will see them regularly- maybe even several places. Share your reasons. Write about your reasons. Whatever you do, just remember why you are making the changes & use it to push thru & keep moving forward.

  What changes are you currently making & why?

 

What I Ate Wednesday & Weekly Weigh In. January 23, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 7:58 pm
Tags: , ,

  Around the healthy living blog world, there is a thing called “What I ate Wednesday?” Can you guess what it’s all about?

  Sharing a day of meals once a week is a good way to show what a relatively healthy, normal day of eating looks like for me. New meals ideas often come to me while reading what others have eaten as well.

Breakfast was a sandwich thin with laughing cow cheese and a farm fresh egg, an orange & some unpictured Earl grey tea.

image

Lunch was a Hugh Jass salad with organic spring mix, feta cheese, olives, chopped walnuts, olive oil, honey, balsamic vinegar & fresh ground black pepper. I added a half cup of organic garbanzo beans after this picture was taken. This salad was a seriously delicious combo of tastes & textures. Can’t wait to recreate it tomorrow.

image

That salad kept me full so I didn’t really need an afternoon snack. I did however, need an afternoon boost, so I made a pot of coffee. I enjoyed 2 cups with hazelnut creamer.

image

Since the weather prevented us from going to our Weight Watchers meeting last night, we went to weigh in today. Our Weight Watchers center is conveniently located right next to Subway. Chicken & Rice soup was on the menu plan but I never got out for carrots & onions earlier so Subway was a nice  treat.  I ordered the 6inch sweet onion chicken teriyaki on 9grain wheat with ALL the veggies & no cheese. I even had enough points left for the day to get a bag on cheesy Sunchips. So yummy!

image

I used all of my daily points but no weekly points. I also earned 3 activity points today & did not use those.

Weekly Weigh In results- I am down 2.4 lbs from last week for, a total of 8lbs since January 2nd! Hoping to reach 10lbs next week.
My goal for the week was to exercise more. Technically I did accomplish this since I wasn’t exercising at all before & I did twice last week. I am keeping the same goal for this week (& likely a few more until exercise becomes a habit again).

Other highlights of the day –

– I ordered my Seed Savers catalog

– My basement is officially, completely organized. We’re talking some boxes that had not been unpacked the last 3 places I lived- over 12 years!

– I have stopped feeling ridiculous when I’m home alone having a dance/exercise party. For some reason, I felt more ridiculous dancing alone than I do dancing in front of others…. what’s that even about?

-Emma & I had an awesome doggie photo shoot. For no actual reason. Bella was too busy being a spaz to be photographed.

image

image

image

image

Here I am drinking the previously unpictured breakfast tea-

image

Hope you are having a lovely week so far 🙂