Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Yummy Recipe Share!

Here is the absolutely fabulous side dish we made last night, and ate up every bite.  So easy!  This is a vegan recipe, so I substituted skim milk for the soy milk, and our normal low-fat butter for the Earth Balance.  The texture is smoother than regular mashed potatoes, but the taste was spot on.  I am going to make it next week when my parents are here, so I can have "mashed potatoes" when my mom makes her famous spuds for everyone else.  Recipe can be found at the website below.

You Won't Believe It's Not Mashed Potatoes

1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
1/8 cup unsweetened soymilk
3 tablespoons vegetarian butter spread (like Earth Balance)
Sea salt
Cracked black pepper
Small bunch fresh chives, finely minced

Place cauliflower in a steamer basket above a pot of boiling water. Cook covered until fork tender, about 12 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and lightly oil a 9-inch baking dish. Transfer cauliflower to a food processor or blender. Add soymilk, vegetarian butter spread, salt and pepper to taste, and puree until smooth. Spoon into baking dish and bake uncovered, for about 8 minutes, until bubbly. Fold in chives and serve hot. 

Makes 3-4 servings.

Back From Bama

Back from our visit with the hubby's family.  We had a few great days with James' parents, and his aunt & uncle, at a campground in Alabama.  And the visit did not undo my weight loss efforts.  It could have, easily.  During the days, the guys were off all day long, doing guy stuff.  I had my days to myself, in our comfortable little cabin near the lake.  But, one thing that helped was my access- or lack of- to food.  I had only what we brought in our cooler, and I brought only what I needed for my meals and a few limited snacks.  No soda, no chips, no munchies.  Snacks were fresh fruit and low fat cheese.  Lots of water.

It was hot while we were there, but every day I got out and walked twice.  Plus, to get to my in-laws' RV, we had to walk back and forth.  Before I even got there, my father-in-law drove the entire loop of the campground, to let me know it was 1.9 miles around, so I could keep track of how much I'd walked.  I used to keep track of my walking by the mileage, but now I do it by the length of time and intensity level, since that is how Weight Watchers figures my activity points.  My morning walks were about 30 minutes, and my afternoon walks, almost 20 minutes.  Other than that, I had a relaxing few days cutting coupons, reading cooking magazines, and watching some interesting shows on a channel called Create (like PBS).  The TV only got about 5 channels, so Create was a great find.  I even downloaded a fantastic recipe for mashed cauliflower from one of the shows- we made it last night and it was unbelievably good!  We ate the entire head of cauliflower!

Dinners were great, and my mother-in-law who is a WW's lifetime member, had alternatives where I could eat with everyone and not fret over my points.  She had vegetarian chili, turkey dogs, and even veggie burgers.  I was able to stay within my points every day easily.  The trip home was another story, and as I always do at restaurants, I made horrible choices.  You would think that a grilled chicken sandwich would be okay, but when it's gigantic on a ciabatta roll with cheese and bacon and mayo- well, you get the picture.  My losses at my last two weigh-ins came after trips out of town and eating in restaurants.  And I can report that I did have losses those two weeks, even if they were scant.  I would rather have a tiny fraction of a loss, than a gain.  So my total loss since going back to WW, is now 3 pounds.

I know I can do better than that, and I know I have to start exercising more.  I still struggle with that part of it.  So I bought the new ActiveLink monitor at the meeting yesterday, and started wearing it today.  It will track all my movements for the next week, and come up with my "average" activity level.  After that, it will continue to track my activity and let me know if I am below average, so that I can get motivated to move more.  It will gradually increase my average for a 12-week challenge, so I will have to move more every day to keep up with the minimum. Almost everyone in class has the monitor, and they swear by it. The lady who joined the same day I did, has lost 8 pounds already, and she praises the monitor as her main reason for it.  I guess it can't hurt, and I might as well use all the tools available if I am going to give WW 100% of my dedication this time around.

I have some more challenges coming up this week and the next, but I know that as long as I offset my diet by increasing my exercise, I should be fine.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Week One Not A Weak One!

A successful first week at Weight Watchers, with a 2.6 pound weight loss.  Yes, I know the first week or two we all do great, it's all water loss, etc.  But, I am still stoked with this.  It means that whatever changes I made, even the small ones, made a difference.  I expect to see good results next week as well.  This week has gone well and I am doing more of the right things.  Having the WW material there in the kitchen has really been a game changer.  I can't go anywhere near food without seeing it all sitting right there, and it reminds me to track.  And when I track my points, I make the right decisions.  I do have eTools to track online or on my iPhone, but I am still old school- I prefer to have a pen in my hand and a book I can look at.

Yesterday was a rough day, I had aches and pains all over- a headache, my lower back, and my wrist.  I assumed that once I stopped sitting at a desk all day long, the physical ills would just disappear.  My wrist has been particularly painful this week- the doctor said I would need surgery if it doesn't get better and I really REALLY want to avoid that.  After the hospital stay last month, I am in no hurry to have a needle of any sort stuck back in me again.  Even though I'm not at a computer for 10 hours a day, grasping a mouse, I didn't realize how many other things I do that requires the same motion- opening a lid, vacuuming, putting dishes away, digging in the garden, scooping cat litter, driving.  Even brushing my hair.  Anything where I have to use my thumb to grab and hang onto something, it is extremely painful.

My exercise habits are going up and down, but mostly up.  I have exercised in some form every day since leaving my job.  Some days, like today, I kicked butt and got in 40 minutes on the treadmill right away this morning.  (The doc said 45 minutes every day and I'm working towards that goal.)  Days like yesterday, where it was a struggle with the aches, I only managed 20 minutes of a workout DVD.  But I vowed that I will do something every day.  It's all been in the basement so far, but next week when we are in Alabama, I plan to finally get outside for a walk.  The pros of a treadmill are that I can stop when I need to, when I don't think I can go another minute.  Of course, that's a con too.  Walking outside, you just can't stop.  You've got to at least keep on going to get back to your starting point before you give up.

I need to work on the diet a little bit, I am already finding that the routine of eating the same thing every day is making me antsy.  I try to keep my snacks low points, and whole foods.  I'm off the frozen diet dinners and prepackaged snack foods.  And I'm minding my portions, especially at dinner, which is where I've always overdone it.  I can tell James has lost weight as well too.  In fact, I think there is only a 15 pound difference between us right now.  So, keeping us both healthy is all the more reason to stick with it this time.  After all, losing weight and getting healthy is THE reason I quit my job.  It needs to be a full time focus.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I am always super excited when I first start a new project- who isn't?  It's the anticipation of things to come, the getting organized, all the great ideas in my head.  And so yesterday, after my first Weight Watchers meeting since last year, I came home excited about it.  My meeting location moved to a new venue, and although the store was smaller, it was decorated to the hilt.  And crowded!  My old Saturday meetings were always busy, and I sort of expected a meeting in the middle of the week to be slower.  But it was standing room only.

My new leader was very dynamic, and I could tell she was passionate.  And WW has upgraded- gone were the poster boards with handwritten notes and giant stickers that they've used for years.  Now it's a huge flat screen TV with a Power Point presentation!  And instead of the old sliding charts for exercise, now they have this cool gadget you wear that records your every movement and can be plugged right into your computer to track everything for you.  I didn't buy one of those, but I might, I haven't decided yet.  I confess, it was mostly seniors in my meeting, but it was a lively group.

I bought all the new materials and brought them home, and here they are right on the kitchen counter, so I can't miss them or "forget" them.  I've always kept my WW materials in some sort of notebook or tote, out of sight, something easily portable but not very accessible when I'm at home.  I know I don't have to drag off all my literature to the meetings every week like I've always done.  So why not make them a prominent focus, and in an area where they can't be ignored.

I know I will struggle, I always have.  And I will have ups and downs, like everyone.  But I hope this time, with my new schedule and my energy devoted completely to my health- I predict I will get to One-derland sometime in June!  My goal, and I'm sticking to it!