Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Random Post

This is a random post. It's one of those were I'm wondering if I should do a blog post today or not. Maybe I should wait until later. Maybe there will be more to say. Maybe something exciting will happen!

But what if I don't have time to post later? What if my computer breaks down or I'm too busy! Must...blog...now!

Let's begin with yesterday's food and get that out of the way. I was frustrated and angry yesterday and there was temptation in the form of delicious oreo cookies and starburst! Sugar, sugar, and more sugar!

The last few weeks have been filled with emotional eating! I needed to stop the train now and get off!

And I did. I did eventually eat 1 little tiny oreo, but it was at the end of the day and I didn't go back for more.

Let's check out the food stats!

Mini Muffin single serve package (emailed them for NI but never rec'd an email back. I'm estimating it at 5 pts) - this was a free sample from the other day.
Banana (2 pts)

2 oz. Chicken with Veggie Saute (Green peppers, onions, baby bella mushrooms, garden cherry tomatoes) (2 pts)
Brown Rice (3 pts)
Apple (1 pt)

Afternoon Snacks
Yogurt (2 pts)
1 oreo (1 pt)

Watermelon (1 pt)
Leftover Slaw (1 pt) - this tasted better cold than warm
Sandwich (Arnold thin, 2% Kraft cheese, deli roast beef, mustard) (4 pts)
Extra slice of cheese :p (1 pt)

Evening Snacks
Homemade Hummus with Arnold Thin (2 pts)
More Watermelon! (1 pt)
Misc something (I forgot what but it was 2 pts!) :P

6 mile run! (Estimate 6 activity points earned)

Ok, that run I planned for but really was totally done after about 2.5! But I had no choice to finish! It was hard! Funny how some days you feel like you can run forever and some days it's a struggle from start to finish!

Total Daily Points = 25
Points Used = 28
Points Earned = 6

Pretty satisfied with these stats.

Question: Do you plan snacks throughout the day or do you pretty much try to eat just 3 meals a day? I like to have a midday snack and an evening snack (unless I eat dinner late).

Monday, August 30, 2010


That's right! I said it! I will not! I refuse!

I'm not going to let the stress and anger that is plaguing me today from a few co-workers get the best of me! There is a package of Oreos in the kitchen, I'm not eating them. There are Starburst candies across from my desk, I'm not eating them.

I will not let my emotions get the best of me this time. The last two weeks I struggled with eating due to emotions, first stress, then excitement! This time, I'm not doing it! If I succumb to my emotions, then I let these people win and get the best of me!

And so, by posting it on my blog, that means it is so! :P

And I'm sorry, but I still like my post from yesterday with the big eye staring you down! That eyeball is watching me too and frankly, I'm scared! lol.

Oh! I forgot the best news! I lost 3.4 lbs last Saturday. Now, that was a fluke. In fact, I expected to gain and didn't want to go to the meeting, or at least weigh in. I don't have to weigh in every week since I'm a lifetime member.

But I hate playing those games! And I weighed myself at home prior to the meeting and it looked as though I was going to lose. My body is so weird!

Now I'm 158 lbs. Never in my adult life have I been 158 lbs (or close to it even!). But I think I want to try for a new weight goal. I think I would like to lose a few more pounds. I'm shooting for 150 but I would settle for 155 or 153 if that felt better to me.

I'm not in a hurry. I'm more looking towards toning up a little bit. But if the few extra pounds decide to drop in the meantime, I would welcome it!

Did you guys have a great weekend?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I'm Watching You!

I'm watching you this week! Are you going to be on plan (whatever plan is your plan)? I am! And therefore I started my week with this!

Mmmmm!! It's called a rainbow cone and it's from a place in the South Suburbs of Chicago called Rainbow Cone (I know, original right!). This one is actually a small but they have a large one. They also sell cakes and other things. The ice creams used are (starting from the top) Orange Sherbet, Pistachio, Palmer House, Strawberry and Chocolate. It used to be a tradition to go here for my family every year! I try to stop once a year but missed last year. I wasn't missing it this year! But have no fear! I counted my points!

I also made a slaw recipe. It was just ok. Maybe you know how to make it better? I'll share the recipe with you anyway in case you would like to try it.

Heat 1 TBSP canola oil in a large skillet
Then mix in 1 TBSP + 1 tsp fresh minced ginger, stirring constantly for about 1 min.
Add 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper and stir constantly for 30 seconds (I didn't have any and used chili powder (probably my mistake).
Add 6 cups shredded cabbage. (I used cabbage and carrots)
Cook about 8 mins. until softened.
Add 4 chopped green onions, 1 TBSP rice vinegar, 1/4 tsp sugar

The finished product.

Along side with my masala burger from Trader Joes on a bagel thin with laughing cow cheese. I love these burgers! And that is a plastic Betty Boop plate with kisses all over it. I eat in style.

Now, I will leave you with my little kitties. They are cuddling. So cute!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I've been thinking a lot lately...My dad says not to think, it just makes your head hurt! :P

I've been...

Thinking...that I'm getting obsessed with working out. I don't work out for hours on end every single day or anything. But when I don't work out, I find that I get stressed about it. When someone wants me to do something on an evening that I normally workout, I get stressed and 9 out of 10 times, I go to the gym instead of having fun!

Thinking...My snacking is really pi$$ing me off! I get irritated that I can't seem to control this strange urge I have to binge snack at night. I might have 2 slices of light bread, a piece of fruit, a slice of cheese, and the list can go on and on! I can consume an additional 10 or more points of stupid food in the evening. Mind you, this is not every evening but it happens more frequently than I like.

Thinking...Hm...since I'm already obsessed with working out, maybe it's a good idea to get a personal trainer! Actually, the personal trainers at my gym are very expensive. They quoted me a price that averaged out to $40-$50 per session before! Seriously!?! So I never did it. But at the local fitness center, they have personal training session for $20 per session! That's more like it. So I'm thinking about checking that out. I just want a personal trainer because I need someone to kick my butt with toning/strength training/abs! I got the cardio but I need to firm up!

Thinking...As I made my walk during lunch today (because I'm obsessed with working out), that there is a whole lot of, shall we say, interesting art in Chicago! I may have to take pictures and post in a future blog for you all to admire!

Thinking...Why did I pick up that free energy drink they were passing out in the city during my walk today? I didn't open it. It has 120 calories per 8 oz. serving (2 points). Will I drink it? Should I give it away to the clerk that sits next to me?

Thinking...these clothes that I'm wearing today are way too big and I look way too frumpy! Why do I still have them and why do I still wear them!

Thinking...Woohoo! The franchise owner of my dad's restaurant is paying me $100 for my help yesterday at the TV thing. I would have done it for free! But $100 is always nice. Now, what should I buy?

Yeah, maybe I think too much. I think I'll stop now!

**But wait! There's more! Embracing Balance is having a super giveaway, HoneyBars! Sounds delicious! Click here for details to enter!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Three Twenty Eight

Three Twenty Eight. Ante Meridiem. That's right. That's what time I woke up this morning.

3:28 A.M.

Why 3:28 you ask? Because I felt that 3:30 was too late and 3:25 was too early. At that time of the morning, EVERY MINUTE COUNTS! Do you do that too? Would you have just set the alarm for 3:25 and be done with it? I've always done this. 6:58 A.M. or 7:03 A.M. What can I say? I like sleep!

It was television day! My dad was featured on our local Channel 2 for a show called "Monsters and Money in the Morning." Uh...not sure where the monsters came in?

There was a possibility that I would be on there as well, but they did a different set-up then what my dad was expecting, so it was only him and his ice cream! I helped make those ice cream sundaes and splits though!

Here is the link if you would like to see my dad on TV (not that any of you know him)!

I was meeting my parents at their house and we were leaving by 4:15 A.M. I pulled up at 4:10 and all the lights were still off. Uh oh! That doesn't seem right!

I walk in the house and sure enough, they are all sleeping! What!?! Doesn't my dad know he is going to be on TV today? Here is the conversation:

Me: "Dad? Are you still sleeping? Aren't you getting up?"
Dad: "What are you doing here?"
Me: "Uh, you said we were leaving at 4:15? I think? Right?"
Dad: "Sh&T! It's later than I thought."

lol. My parents are so funny! Thank goodness I was meeting them at home! Can you imagine if he overslept!?!

So due to all the excitement yesterday afternoon and night, I was a munch-a-holic! I totally flipped a lid and ate everything in my site.

This morning has not fared too much better, but I'm planning a run tonight, so maybe I can work some of it off. That run will come after my nap, which will come after I leave work!

I got to work at 7:15 A.M. today instead of the normal 9:00 A.M. I mentioned this to my boss yesterday and asked if I came in early, if I could possibly leave early and he said it wouldn't be a problem. So I'll re-mention that to him later. I really really need a nap!

Here were just a few pictures I snapped while setting up this morning at the TV studio. I didn't snap too many pictures because I didn't want to look like a weirdo!

This is across from the CBS Studios. Unfortunately there was scaffolding outside. I work right across the street from here and there usually isn't scaffolding.

In the hall outside the studio entrance. They were "On Air". lol

My mom and dad setting up! Don't tell my mom, she hates pictures!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Possible Celebrity Status!

This was not going to be my post for today and is definitely "off topic" but I just got some news. You may have a celebrity in your mist!

Ok, so not really but here is the scoop. My parent's own a restaurant and are possibly purchasing another location as well. The local news station (CBS Channel 2 news) is having my dad on for an early morning segment about the restaurant as well as scooping up some ice cream sundaes (that's part of his restaurant...ice cream).

He asked if I wanted to come down with him and he was going to use me as a "helper" for the sundaes...putting the toppings on, etc. We are not entirely sure if I will actually be able to or not, but it's a possibility!

He wasn't sure if I wanted to go because we have to leave super early in the morning...around 4 am. But come on, when am I going to get this chance again! Even if I don't get on the air with him, it will be cool to be there, right?

So for the Chicago Bloggers out here...set your DVR's or TIVO's if you can and record the early morning Channel 2 news!! If there is a link to it online later (not sure if there will be), I will post it for you all.

In other blogger business, Tricia from Endurance Isn't Only Physical is having a giveaway for the Sugoi Bridget Bra (Men, don't leave yet). Click here for more info. If you are a man and you enter the giveaway, you can get a shirt for yourself (or a Bridget Bra for your lady!).

I will fill you all in on my celebrity status tomorrow!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Missing Blogger

What day is it? This blogger has been MIA for days!

It all started on Friday with a little thing called "A Day Off"! Ahhhhh! So nice! I took Friday off because my boss was not going to be there either and we are a little slow right now at work (after months of being crazy busy).

I decided to sleep in (until 10:15 thank you very much!). After I woke up, I ate a little breakfast and headed down to the public pool. It was a gorgeous day, a little hot, but I was at the pool so all the better! Stayed there lounging for about 2.5 hours. Came home, watched some TV, ate dinner and headed for my normal 2 hour Friday night classes at the gym.

Saturday was weigh in day. Not too pretty. I was up 1.4 lbs, but since I was still in the goal weight range, I wasn't too worried. I know what I did right and what I did not so right.

It's time to correct those not so right moments this week. Uh, except for Sunday of course in which I didn't track and ate candy here and there. That's ok, today's a new day.

I also went to The Container Store to buy some things for my pantry to get more organized. It's kind of a trek from where I live. But I was a good girl and I measured my space.

Now only if I would have trusted and listened to my measurements, I wouldn't have bought the wrong size! lol. Why did I do that! So next weekend I'll be off to return the purchased item!

I'm trying to figure out what paint colors to paint my living room (and other rooms). I purchased the house in November. I haven't done a single thing to change anything! I want to purchase new couches but that will probably end up being a neutral color. I really don't want white walls. I'm just an indecisive person! I will have to make a decision and go with it! After all, it's just paint! I can re-paint the walls!

My goals last week went pretty well. I did strength training 3 times last week. I also made another goal (which I didn't share with you all) and that was to bring my lunch every day to work, instead of eating out. I did it! I usually only bring my lunch twice a week or so. I work in a large city (downtown Chicago) and it gets pretty pricey to eat down here all the time. So I'm continuing both goals this week!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Little Things

Can you tell I'm in a blogging rut? For one, I keep changing my template design! I don't like all of the standard ones they have on here but I don't know how to make my own! : /

Anyway, I wasn't going to post today as I'm at a loss for blogging ideas! I want to keep the blog interesting but sometimes, nothing interesting pops in my head!

But I decided to blog, if nothing else, to keep myself accountable as far as the food I ate!

Yesterday, I decided to mow the forest I have growing in my backyard! Seriously, it's now a forest! I mowed the front a week ago but had no time for the back. The grass was up past my ankles! There were weeds as tall as me! Not fun :(

Also not fun? The mosquito's! They said on the news the other day that the mosquito population grew 800% in the last week! Yikes! But they did say that this mosquito crop is not the West Nile Virus kind! Phew!

I do not own bug spray! I was going to get some but didn't need it until now. So I could have gone to the store to get some after work last night but didn't want to delay mowing my forest.

So as I sit here itching the 5 mosquito bites on my neck, the 3 on my one arm, 2 on my other arm, 1 on my shoulder and a few on my legs, I am typing this blog post! Note to self, get bug spray.

Alright, here are the eats from yesterday. I got a little "eat" happy a few times yesterday and went over my dailies by a few points, but had some workout points that I was able to use from the last few days. I'm not worried. Still on track.

Breakfast (3 pts)
Bagel Thin & homemade raspberry fennel jam

Mid-Morning Snack (2 pts)
1/3 Ice Cream Bar (Nice healthy option!)

Lunch (5 pts)
Cucumber Slices
Trader Joe's 98% FF Bean Burrito
Grilled Corn on the Cob

Mid-Afternoon Snack (I'm so hungry today!) - 3 pts
Quaker Granola Bar (Fiber & Omega 3)

Dinner (7 pts)
Buffalo Burger on Arnold Thin with Laughing Cow Cheese
Frozen Green Beans
Grilled Corn on the Cob (trying to get rid of this!)
Slice Cheese

Evening Binge! (6 pts)
2 Rice Cakes
Slice Cheese
Light English Muffin with homemade Strawberry Jam

Exercise (3 pts Earned)
Walk (to and from train)
Mow back lawn

Total Points Used: 26 pts (4 over daily)
Total Points Earned: (3 pts earned)

I count any extra movement as activity. I think all the little things add up! So I wore my heart rate monitor while mowing my forest. I burned 150 calories! I count the walking to and from the train because it's over a mile each way! If I were doing some deep cleaning at home (ex. washing floors, windows, etc.), I would count that as activity too.

I think all the little things you might do, even if only for an additional minute or two, really do add up. Sometimes, I will take the stairs instead of the escalator. Or walk a few blocks away to read my book during lunch instead of sitting just across the street.

Are there "little things" that you might do to boost your activity for the day? Do you take the stairs or park farther away?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Chow Domain

First of all, can I just say that I love getting new friends on my blog or meeting new bloggers through theirs? For anyone new, thanks for reading! And for those that are not new to my blog, thanks for continuing to read!

I'll make this post short and sweet. My chow yesterday and today has been great! Maybe a little room for improvement but not too shabby! I'm also doing another "operating clean-out". I didn't go grocery shopping over the weekend, so I'm putting what I do have already to some use. I also have a goal this week to bring my lunch to work every single day instead of eating out. Saves money and calories! Let's get right down to yesterday's chow! P.S. Sorry my chow is not as exciting as some of yours!!

Banana (2 pts)
Strawberries (0 pts)

1.25 cups Leftover Homemade Chili (5 pts)
Basic Salad with Trader Joe's Champagne Pear Vinaigrette (1 pt)

If you have never tried this dressing, you should! It's delicious with regular salad, fruit, or even pasta salad!

Mid-day Snack
1/3 of an ice cream bar-yes, I cut it! (2 pts)
applesauce (2 pts)

2 cups milk - needed to get my dairy in! (4 pts)
Leftover Ratatouille Polenta Bake (2 pts)
Grilled Corn on the Cob (1 pt)
**I grilled the corn on the cob at 9:00 pm and it was dark, I was using a flashlight! The corn was on it's last leg and I wanted to use it!
Cucumber Slices (0 pts)

Evening Snack
Garlic Bread made on Arnold Sandwich Thin with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Butter Spray (1 pt)
1 cup watermelon (1 pt)

Activity (4 pts Earned)
25 mins Elliptical Strider
1 hour Kwando Class (Weights and Abs)

Total Points Used: 21 (1 pt short of my daily)
Activity Points Earned: 4

After reviewing my menu, I can still use some work as far as processed foods go, but I did like that I only ate 1/3 of the ice cream bar. They bought them at work and I wanted a taste (I love ice cream) but didn't want to spend the total 220 calories and 13 fat grams on it. So I saved the rest in a ziploc bag for future consumption! Hey, it's progress for sure!

But there was some fresh foods too: tomatoes in the salad from my garden, cucumbers from my parent's garden, watermelon from the farmer's market, chili that was made without a seasoning packet!

I love eating fresh foods! Do you have a vegetable garden?

Monday, August 16, 2010

No Guilt and Perfection

I saw the movie Eat, Pray, Love this weekend. I read the book and thought it was ok but really liked the story behind it. It's a true story about the author who is unhappy in her current life/marriage and decides to take a year long trip to find herself. She goes to Italy to eat, India to pray and Bali to love.

The only thing I'm going to say about the movie is one part in Italy. Her friend and her are eating pizza and her friend doesn't want to eat it because she has gained 10 lbs. Liz (Julia Roberts) tells her that she is going to eat without guilt. She said that she is going to eat the rest of her pizza, they are going to go watch a soccer game and the next day, they are going shopping...to buy bigger jeans.

Now granted, we, who have struggled with our weight, are not going to just go off, eat whatever, wherever, gain a bunch of weight and buy new bigger jeans! But the message behind it was good. You should eat without guilt! Life is too short to be depriving yourself or feeling guilty of something that you want to eat.

This past weekend was not a great food one. Saturday, I did ok considering I was at a graduation party and they catered Mexican food!

Sunday, was not a good food day because we were going to Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinders for dinner because my brother and his girlfriend were in town. The "pizza" part is not traditional pizza. It's like a pizza pot pie. They use a bowl, put cheese (tons of it) at the bottom, the sauce, veggies, etc. are in the center and the crust is baked on top. Then when they serve it, they flip it upside down so the crust is the "bowl" and the cheese is on the top.

I wouldn't even begin to venture how many calories and fat is in it. Plus the huge Mediterranean bread with it! Calorie disaster. But I might only go there one or two times a year so after watching this movie Saturday night, I decided that I was going to "eat without guilt" on Sunday. I would get right back on plan Monday.

So that's what I did. Kind of. I tried to eat without guilt. But it's ingrained in the back of my skull that it's "bad". That's ok. I'll keep trying to not feel guilty about things. My mom and I walked about 1 mile before the place, 1 mile after eating and then we took the dog for a walk. I tried to not just sit! That's when you get into trouble! So I ate without guilt and I walked.

Today, I'm back on plan. I will try to be as good as possible this week but I'm not perfect!

That was the meeting topic at weight watchers this past week. It was about people trying to be perfect. When you try to be perfect and you slip-up, you feel like a failure and you want to give up. They were trying to stress that no one is perfect. Sometimes you have to fail in order to succeed.

By the way, I gained 1.8 last week (because I'm not perfect!) but I'm still at my goal of 160 so I'm doing good.

So I'll do the best I can for the remainder of the week. I may not be perfect but I'll succeed!

Are you a perfectionist? How do you handle it if things don't go "perfectly"?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Strength Training Goal

The title of my blog is "Get to Goal." Now that I'm at goal, what should I do? Well, maintain, of course! But that's a given and every day I work toward that goal. I want something else, something more!

What I've always been seriously lacking in is strength training. I can work out with cardio like a maniac! Come on, give me a cardio challenge! I dare you! But strength training is another story. I like cardio. I like the sweat, the calorie burn, the shear activity of it all (I know, I'm weird). And with weights/abs, you don't burn as many calories as with cardio.

But I think I need to let that fact go. Because with strength training, even though you aren't immediately burn as many calories as cardio, you actually continue burning more calories after you are done, more so then cardio. And as you sculpt your body, you notice a huge change in your shape, even without losing weight. I WANT THAT!

I've been doing some form of cardio on a regular basis since I was 11 or 12 years old! When I was 11 or 12, my Aunt started teaching aerobics classes in the basement of a church and I used to go with my grandma and my best friend 2 times a week! I did that until I was 16 and my dad signed us all up for the gym, to which I have been a faithful member since! Weird to think I was able to get overweight at all but I digress :/

So I'm making a new goal. My goal is to do 20 minutes of strength training 3 times a week. I don't want to make things too difficult at first. I need to make sure it's doable or I won't stick to it. My strength training can be weights, core moves, abs, lunges, whatever. I just need to do something that will tone and firm up the mess the weight loss left for me to clean up! :)

In other news, my eating yesterday was close to perfect. (Close but not quite perfect. I'm ok with that). Let's run down the list, shall we?

Breakfast (5 pts)
3/4 cup Chobani yogurt w/ 1/2 cup raspberries

Lunch (5 pts)
Salad (lettuce/my garden tomatoes/parent's garden cucumbers)
2 TBSP Trader Joe's Pear Champagne Vinaigrette Dressing
1 cup homemade Chili

Pre-workout Snack (I wasn't prepared!) (2 pts)
Mini Twix
3 strawberries

Workout (Approx. AP's Earned: 7)
36 mins treadmill (Intervals 2 mins running 5.8 mph, 1 min running 7.0, cool down walk)
19 mins Elliptical Strider
2 miles walk (to and from Train)

Dinner (5 pts)
Cornmeal Mush made with 1 cup Skim Milk
1/2 sauteed zucchini mixed with 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce (poured over cornmeal)
Yum! And filling!

Night Snacks
(2 pts)
2 plums
1 white cheddar rice cake

**For my total daily points, I decreased it to my "losing" mode since I had been doing so crappy, in which case I had 22 pts to use for the day.

Total Pts Used: 19 (What!?! It's fine, I ate when I was hungry and didn't eat when I wasn't)
Total Pts Earned: 7

In other good news, I'm skipping the pizza the work is having. I had pizza last Tuesday and I'm having a delicious pizza bowl thing from Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinders on Sunday, so there is NO NEED for pizza today!

**Do you do strength training? What kind do you do?

Chobani Convert, Eggplant and More

I did it. I finally bought Chobani. Actually, I've bought Chobani before but it was the flavored kind, which is usually higher in points and still expensive. This time I bought a bigger tub of the plain Chobani.

Chobani, for those that are not familiar, is a greek yogurt. You can go directly to the Chobani website to find out more info, but it has 18g of Protein in 6 oz., 100 calories and 0g of fat.

I've been trying to like Greek yogurt but really haven't been able to get into it. It's usually twice as expensive and depending on the brand, has a slightly weird taste to me. I'm pretty frugal with my money and so spending twice the amount (or more) of money on greek yogurt, well, it's hard!

But I did it. I bought the plain kind. I was a little scared to go plain. I don't really like plain yogurt, even mixed with splenda, berries, vanilla extract.

But as I mixed my yogurt with 1/2 cup of raspberries, 1 packet of splenda and a little vanilla extract this morning (can you tell I was scared!), I licked the spoon and it was so good! I can't wait to eat my breakfast portion this morning! I've never been this excited to eat yogurt!

So I may just have to splurge a little on my yogurt. Some things are worth a few extra dollars!

Now for my "Kick Amanda in the Butt" Post! I've found myself slacking. Horribly, horribly slacking in the food department. I've been a little depressed lately and I'm letting it impact my eating, which makes me feel worse. I have to remember that eating will not solve the problem! I need to deal with the problem separate from my food.

However, my wonderful cousin Jessie, made me dinner (again) for our weekly walk. She made a stuffed eggplant. It was stuffed with all kinds of wonderful things, brown rice, tons of veggies, feta cheese! Yum! Washed it down with 2 1/2 oz. glasses of vino and called it a night.

Fresh out of the oven! The eggplant were HUGE! One half is a serving and was 5 points.

My portion!

My portion with a little vino, of course!

Vino made the night a little better! I think it always does! Thanks Jessie!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ratatouille Polenta Bake

I really love this recipe. And if you can find cheap polenta (it's the cheapest for me at Trader Joe's), then it's even better! My cousin made this dish for her family and all of her 5 kids ate it and loved it. The topping takes like a pizza topping. My cousin suggested adding sausage to the top mixture as well.

This recipe comes from Eat Better America website.

Ratatouille Polenta Bake

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (1/2 cup)
1 medium bell pepper, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
1 small unpeeled eggplant, (1 pound), diced (2 cups)
1 medium zucchini, diced (1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) Italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 tube (16 ounces) refrigerated plain polenta (or any flavor)
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese (3 ounces)

1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

1. Heat oven to 375*F. Spray 12-inch nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Cook onion and bell pepper in skillet 2 mins, stirring occasionally. Stir in eggplant, zucchini, salt and pepper. Cook 3-4 mins, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender. Stir in tomatoes, breaking them up with spoon; reduce heat to low. Cook 3 mins, stirring occasionally.

2. Spray rectangular baking dish (11 x 7 x 1 1/2 inches), with cooking spray. Cut polenta into 1/4 in. slices. Arrange slices on bottom of baking dish, overlapping and cutting to fit where necessary. Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese. Spoon vegetable mixture evenly over top.

3. Cover and bake 30 mins. Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese and parsley. Bake uncovered about 15 more mins. or until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly. Let stand 5 mins before serving.

Nutritional Information

1 Serving: Calories 260 (Calories from Fat 65 ); Total Fat 7 g (Saturated Fat 3 g); Cholesterol 10 mg; Sodium 830 mg; Total Carbohydrate 45 g (Dietary Fiber 6 g); Protein 10 g Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 18 %; Vitamin C 26 %; Calcium 24 %; Iron 16 % Exchanges: 2 Starch; 3 Vegetable; 1/2 Fat
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

**Kathleen at A Journey to Becoming Healthier Inside and Out is having her very first giveaway! Check out her blog post here for a chance to win a $40 promotional gift card from www.csnstores.com. Thanks Kathleen!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Weight Loss Diets/Surgeries

Wow! I haven't posted since Thursday! I was MIA for a few days. My deepest apologies!

I had my weigh in on Saturday. I'm supposed to be maintaining. Due to the endless amount of sugar I ate last week, I was afraid to go. But I weighed myself at home and it looked like I was going to be ok.

Low and behold, a 2.6 lb loss! How in the world does that happen? Well, I better be careful and not get too lax, because even though the weigh in was good last week, doesn't mean it will be good this week. And I actually haven't done the greatest the last couple of days. I better watch it!

On Saturday, I visited a friend that lives in Indiana. We were going to go to the beach. I've been friends with her since 7th grade. She is extremely overweight. She was very active in high school and that kept her weight down but since then, it's been down hill. She has gained a lot!

We've talked about her weight before and she knows I've done weight watchers. She insists she eats healthy. I know the truth. She really doesn't. For example, the only vegetables we ate on Saturday was guacamole and veggies for hot dog toppings.

I don't say anything about it to her anymore, because I've said it before. I also only tell her what has worked for me as far as "diets" go, but it just appears she is in denial.

Her doctor told her she needs to lose weight. She needs to lost about 120 lbs. The doctor then suggested the Lap Band procedure.

Without going into too much detail, I know that the lap band is when the doctor inserts a band around the upper part of your stomach. This allows the passage to the stomach to be smaller and doesn't allow as much food to pass through. If you eat too much, the food will get jammed trying to go into the smaller passage and you will get sick. It's a similar idea to gastric bypass surgery, but it's less invasive.

It's difficult to listen to a friend complain about things that you can help her with but she doesn't want your help! She is in denial. I have to let her figure it out for herself.

What diets have you been on in your weight loss journey?

I've done the cabbage soup diet. It lasted about 3 days! I did it as a teenager with my dad. He used to try all kinds of diets. I didn't even like cabbage back then!

I also tried a high protein diet. It's not at all the same as Atkins. It was a two week plan and each day it had what you could eat. We had to eat lots of fish, chicken, zucchini, squash. I don't like fish, zucchini or squash! I tended to eat less than I was supposed to because I didn't like the food. I lasted 1 week. My dad got gout on his foot!

Per gout.com..."So, what exactly is gout? We know that it’s a form of arthritis, but there’s a lot more to it. Gout is a painful form of arthritis that is caused by high uric acid levels in your blood (hyperuricemia). Gout attacks occur when excess uric acid forms crystals, causing inflammation in your joints that leads to swelling and pain. As your uric acid level rises, so does the potential for gout and gout flares. Over time, gout attacks can become more severe, last longer, and occur more often."

Anyway, I almost tried nutrisystem, but my cousin tried it and hated the food immediately. I joined weight watchers 3 times starting in 2000 and the last time, joining in 2007.

Of course, weight watchers works for me. It may not be the answer for everyone but I think it's an easy system to follow and you can enjoy foods you like and you don't have to eat foods you don't like (example fish!).

What has worked for you?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Just say NO!

My motto today...JUST SAY NO...TO SUGAR! Whose with me?? :P

Clearly that has been my problem. Sugar, sugar, and more sugar! So when I was offered some delicious round sour cherry balls of sugar today, I declined! Well, I said "maybe later" knowing that they will be all gone later!

So whose with me on the BAS campaign (bloggers against sugar!)?? Let's join hands and sing Kum-ba-ya! How is that spelled anyway? Let me look it up...be right back. Who knew! I spelled it right! I just don't need the hyphens. Kumbaya (also spelled Kumbayah).

Yesterday for my workout, I wanted to go running. It was so humid that I thought I might be in for some trouble. So after reading about intervals (yet again), I decided to try some interval running. I basically would do 2 minutes of jogging followed by 30 seconds of sprinting. I did that for about 30 mins which included 10 sprints. I was sweating like no other when I got done!

But I wanted to work out more than 30 minutes (due to all that sugar), so I decided to ride my stationary bike in my nice air conditioned house for 30 mins of interval training as well. I did the same thing as the running, 2 mins of normal pedaling and 30 seconds of sprinting for a total of 10 sprints.

My whole shirt was soaked! I was sweating more than a normal workout! I know they say you burn more calories when you do intervals like that because your body cools down then works hard again over and over again. I might have to try this more often.

I had decided on the intervals after reading an article yesterday on active.com which gave tips on getting faster while running half marathons (or marathons). It basically said that you don't usually train for a marathon by running fast, your goal when training is just to finish the long run (10 miles, 15 miles, whatever). You don't train for it by how fast you run.

But it said that on race day, people try to race and they aren't prepared for that. So they mentioned that you should train by doing some speed intervals for a shorter distance. This will help you get faster when you run a "race".

It made some sense and I was upset that I didn't "beat" my old time in my half marathon. This might be why. When I train, I just train to finish the run, not race my time. So maybe in order to get faster, I need to incorporate some faster times. It also says to time your splits and yadda yadda yadda. I'm not worried about all that right now. But I definitely liked the interval training.

Do you do intervals when working out?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Simply Frustratingly Simple!

You have to excuse the title of today's post. I don't even know if it makes sense but I think that pretty much sums up the way I feel about things! And it's been raining and gloomy here for the last several days. I'm sure that's not helping.

First of all, my eating! How frustrating that I snack on stupid things! It's so simple to eat the right way! Why do I eat the starburst that are sitting in a bowl across from my desk? Is it because everyone else is munching on them too?

Again, my meals are fine, those aren't my problem. But why did I eat those crackers last night and just keep digging in the bag? I wasn't hungry! I was frustrated! I just realized as I was writing this that I'm eating because I'm stressed and frustrated! Wow, this blog is therapeutic! :)

It's a vicious cycle, you are frustrated about a certain thing in your life, so you eat. Then you are frustrated because you are eating, so you eat! Well, if that isn't the most counter-productive thing I've ever heard!

So what am I stressed or frustrated about? Well, I got slightly depressed about a personal issue on Monday night so I ate. Well, ok, I'll admit to you, my very close blogger friends, the topic of that depression. If I can't bare my soul to you, who can I bare it to? It all started with The Bachelorette and continued on to a comedy movie with a predictable sappy love story ending, along with some other love story sappy something thrown in the middle of all this. I was feeling down about being single and not doing anything about it. So, curse The Bachelorette and her happy ending! lol.

I'm feeling better now. Toying with trying online dating again. I just have such a hard time meeting people to date. You get to a certain age and it become SO MUCH HARDER! Maybe it's just me because I'm very shy and reserved until I know someone. Whatever the reason, that's one frustration.

So while I was watching The Bachelorette, I was snacking on everything and anything with my head against the pillow day-dreaming (evening-dreaming??) of when someone says all those wonderful things to me! lol

Another source of my frustration? My nephew. Again, brief recap. My nephew and I are very close. I was 15 when he was born and did a lot of stuff for him/with him while he was growing up. He would go visit his mom and cry because he wanted to come back home to see me! I lived with him (with my parents) until he was 12. He now lives in Ohio.

He is back for the summer. We had a nice California vacation (with a few minor fights thrown in). Hey, he's 15! 15 is a crazy age for kids! I remember, I used to be 15!

Come to find the night before, he pierced his lip while at his cousin's house. My mom told me, he didn't. I asked my mom where he was and she said she just let him go to his cousin's house. Wait a minute? Back up the train? You what?

Ok, my nephew is a good kid. Gets good grades, doesn't really cause much problems. I really don't care about a lip piercing! What I do care about is that he knows that he is not allowed to get one until he is 18 (per my brother). And he hadn't told me or my brother about it. He only told my parents because that is who he is immediately going to see that day.

So, in my mind, he should NOT be at his cousin's house, the place where this took place! Long story...well, long...I made him go home (back to my parent's). I, of course, discussed it with my mom first and she agreed. She wasn't sure what to do. I think she lost her parenting ability since her kids haven't been 15 in over 15 years!

The source of this frustration is that I feel as though I have to be the parent! I'm not his parent, I really can't make decisions on anything without running it by people, but I've been like a parent his whole life. So it's kind of confusing and the lines are blurred between Aunt relationship and Parent relationship. But I felt I needed to do what I thought was right in this situation. He needs to know there are rules and he can't break those rules! It's not about the piercing, it's about RULES!

I'm sorry about the pity post. Like I said, the blog can be therapeutic and sometimes it's good to just bare your soul on here!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Race Recap

Sunday. The morning I've been waiting for. Half marathon day. I was a little nervous! I guess even though this was the 4th time running this race, I still get butterflies!

I took a picture of my bib the night before as I had to leave the house in the morning at 4:45! A bib is the paper with your number on it. You pin it to the front of your shirt.

As I said, I had to leave at 4:45. I like to eat oatmeal in the morning of a run like this but I was NOT feeling it that early! I got up at 4:15 am and decided I didn't have much to do and laid back down until 4:30! This is just TOO early for a normal person to have to get up! I snapped a picture on my front porch on the way out. It was pitch black out!

Drove in eating my oatmeal in the car. Yes, I know, that's dangerous and should be illegal! I made it downtown in record time since not a sole was on the rode!

I park in lot close to a mile away because I know on the weekends, it's only $2. In the city, you can pay anywhere from $10-$20 to park. I know the tricks though. :)

This picture is of my making my hike to the run. It's getting lighter outside! I actually think this is a good walk to make as it warms you up for the run.

I got to the run area and met up with my charity group. I was running for a group for Down Syndrome. A friend of mine that I took sign language classes with, her son Josh has down syndrome and introduced me to the group. This is the 3rd time I've run with them.

This is part of the running group. I'm the second from the left in the first standing row in the front.

This is a picture before the run of me, my friend Liz and her son Josh.

While waiting to use the potty, I snapped a picture of my shoes with my D-tag timing chip. When my dad used to run about 15 years ago, they didn't have timing chips. It was not good because you don't always start when you are supposed to. The front people start at the start time, but if there are thousands of people, you may not start for 15 mins or more! My dad used to have to guess at what his actual time was.

The timing chips have changed over the years since I've running. Now that have these D-tag chips. You don't have to return them, they are disposable.

Waiting at the start, I snapped a picture of the people. We start in corrals (or waves). The corral is based on the time you listed when you registered of what you thought your finish time would be. This way, the faster people can start first and won't be hindered by us slower people. :p

My corral start number was 18! I ended up crossing the start line a half hour after is started. It started at 6:30 am and I started at 7:00 am! But this way, it's less crowded by using the corrals then if we all started at one time!

I was doing good during the first 5 miles! I was actually running between 9:45 and 10 min miles! That's really good for me. I was trying to run at a good pace but not too fast to start because you have to make sure you have enough in you to finish!

I had to use the potty right from the start! It ALWAYS happens to me at any run. Usually, since the run is pretty short, I can wait until I finish. But during a run that last over 2 hours, it's not possible. By the way, I do go beforehand but I have a weak bladder! lol

So I decided to stop right before mile 7. I thought I can take my potty break and re-energize myself for the rest of the run. I also had my first water station break right after mile 7. But I still hit my wall between mile 8-10! Never fails!

I still did good though and pretty much ran the whole way with a few exceptions: the potty break and 3 water breaks. But I only walked about 1/2 min. each time and then kept on running! I'm pretty proud of that fact.

So, did I beat my previous time of 2:23:02? I missed it by seconds, 43 seconds to be exact, with a time of 2:23:45! Ahhhhhh!!!!!!!!!! Really? lol. I know, I'm still proud of my time but it's so close it almost kills me! lol.

Now I have to wait until next year to do another one! Maybe I'll do the Columbus half marathon in May where my nephew lives.

One thing I like about running this half marathon is that you get a medal! I like getting stuff!

I actually almost started crying when I was in the final stretch of the run when they have all the barricades and people cheering and see the finish line. I was mentally exhausted and was so happy that it was over! I guess even though this is the 4th time, I was still emotional!

I want to do a full marathon and was seriously thinking of signing up for it for next year but when I run the half marathon, it's so challenging for me, that I think there is NO WAY I can do a full one! The end of this one would only be half of the other one! I couldn't imagine! So I'll have to think about that.

The Chicago Marathon fills up so fast though, you have to register so early for it, that I can't think TOO long about it.

After the half, I went home, showered and napped for almost 2 hours! Then it was off to my parent's restaurant with my cousin and her husband and baby for dinner. I had been planning this for a whole week. I was getting gyros! My parents just got them on the menu a few weeks ago and I really wanted one. I figured today would be a perfect day as I just burn probably 1500 calories or more!

It was delish! I ate the whole thing (minus the part I cut off for my mom).

I know some of you are doing half marathons this year. Who is doing a half later this year? Have you already done one this year or prior? How is the training going?