Friday, May 13, 2011

How creative can you get?

How many times have you tried to lose weight and think to yourself; “ok today I’m going to be good?”  Only to find that you eat like there is going to be a shortage of food in the world and you must store what is left on earth in your stomach?  What about using the word “treat”?  Have you found yourself saying ok I ate well today so I can “treat” myself?  How about restricting yourself?  Have you limited what you can eat and placed many food items on a top shelf to collect dust because they are not diet friendly?  Only to find months later you dust them off and eat them feeling guilty you have blown months of hard work?

The problem is when you treat food this way you immediately set yourself up for failure.  Sometimes there are foods that trigger us to over eat, and until we manage our eating habits its probably best to stay away from it.  But there is a whole big world out there and lots of ingredients to explore.  When I began weight watchers the word lifestyle was thrown around a lot.  I questioned what that meant.  What I discovered was it meant a way of life.  When you really think about that statement and then think about your way of life with food, how exactly do you want your life to be with food?  Do you want to feel like a puppy that gets treats for good behavior?  Do you really want to feel like your moral compass is in question swinging from bad to good with everything you take a bite of?  Can you really see yourself living on bland boring broiled food for the rest of your life?  I know I couldn’t.

If you are like me then you want your life with food to be satisfying, exciting at times and comforting at others.  You want it to taste well, and not feel like if you ate a Twinkie today that you have now swung the moral food compass to bad.  This is personally why I love weight watchers.  Everything is made easy by using the points system.  I have a certain amount of points a day and extra for the week.  I balance out what I am eating and strive to make healthy choices.  Occasionally I don’t want just the “healthy”, I assess what I have in points and then decide what I want to use my points on.  Even if you are losing weight in other ways you can still do this too.  The trick I find is to make no food the forbidden fruit.  Less temptation and less feeling deprived. 

In thinking about a lifestyle change I began to experiment with food.  I love going to restaurants finding new things on menu and coming home to see how I can make them healthier.  Thanks to one of my favorite burger places I have reinvented the turkey burger in numerous ways.  I make a buffalo turkey burger with fresh blue cheese on top it saves me many calories instead of using dressing and the taste is fresher.  I simply cook the turkey burger then take a tablespoon of buffalo sauce drizzle it over the turkey burger and then add a tablespoon of blue cheese over it.  If I choose to use a bun I make sure to choose the healthiest option at the store by reading labels.  Other times for just some more fresh and crispness I serve it over lettuce for my own turkey burger lettuce wrap.  I have also made my own cowboy turkey burger.  Using a just under a tablespoon of bbq sauce 2 slices of crisped turkey bacon and 2 baked onion rings.   I keep a bag of frozen onion rings in my freezer and I use about 2 onion rings at a time so the bag last me forever.  If I’m in the mood I add a slice of reduced fat cheddar cheese and I’m on my way to cowgirl city.   I don’t eat red meat but you can do many of this with lean hamburger.   When you learn on how to make many of your favorite foods but in a much healthier way you don’t feel deprived or like you need to treat yourself.  If you think about it this way, Of course you will lose weight eating broiled chicken steamed plain veggies and a plain baked potato but can you really see yourself eating that way for the rest of your life?  Remember losing is one thing, maintaining is another.  If you take the time to learn healthy habits and recipes explore different options and reinvent some old favorites while losing weight you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of success not just a moment in time of weight loss.

One site I absolutely love to get recipes from is  Gina has a recipe for pasta fagioli which is my personal favorite.  Then again it could just be the Italian in me being partial.  I also learned from this site that adding a can of diet soda to cake batter instead of all the other ingredients it calls for, saves an amazing amount of calories and still taste great.  I made red velvet cupcakes this way and they were great!  Take the time search the web for more recipes too!  I take many of the recipes and play with them a bit to adjust to my liking. 

Remember starting a weight loss journey doesn’t have to mean you are giving up the foods you love it means you learn portion control ways to reinvent favorite foods.  For me it also meant I got to learn my kitchen and buy little kitchen gadgets I always wanted.  It can be as exciting as you make it and the discoveries you can make are countless!  For those of us maintaining the weight loss, is it time to get out of a rut?  Is it time to reinvent the cheesecake?  Don’t stop exploring!  I would like to challenge you all to take a favorite recipe you have and try to make it healthier.  See what you can come up with.  Share any ideas you have or recipes you use here I would love to read them!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


One night while flipping through the channels I came across one of those Joel Osteen 30 minute sermons.  I paused on it for a minute and heard him say “let nothing steal your joy”.  Those words radiated in my heart.  They stuck with me and got me thinking about how much food at one time in my life stole so much joy from me.  When I sat down to write my blog this week I initially started with a whole other topic.  As I wrote I found myself thinking again about food and how overeating can steal so much joy so here I am writing about that now.

When I was overweight I hated how I looked.  I hated going places.  I felt uncomfortable around people.  I think the worst time for me was after having my son.  It was the heaviest I had been.  I hated going out with my husband.  I thought people would look at us like oh my God that girl is huge what is he doing with her.  To make matters worse for extra money he was bouncing at a bar.  Thin women were everywhere.  I knew to him it didn’t matter but to me it did.  It just made me feel worse.  I really couldn’t even enjoy being a mother I felt it difficult to move and hard to keep up with my baby.  It wasn’t just my weight though that stole my joy.  My mind was on food most of the time too.  I didn’t enjoy things I did unless there was food involved, it occurred to me how a plate of pasta prepared with sauce and lots of cheese would bring a smile to my face more than being told a compliment.

When I really let myself believe I’m worth it and rejoined weight watchers ,  I realize now I was on my first step to stopping food from stealing my joy.    Getting determined to change my exercise ways was the next step to stopping food from stealing from me.  After becoming determined, I became accountable.  Accountability for me meant I couldn’t hide from what I was eating.  At weight watchers you learn to track your food.  Basically the saying is, you bite it you write it (and trust me I do). 

I had a close friend recently tell me she finds it difficult to write down what she is eating.  I honestly could relate.  For me as well it felt at first as if I was entering my food confessional booth, confessing all my food sins.  It took a bit but I did realize this is my way of becoming aware.  Aware of what I’m eating, aware of how I’m eating.  I began to see writing my food down as an opportunity to learn about myself and my relationship with food.  Now I see it as my security system if I’m in danger of eating unhealthy it will alert me and I can make changes before I lose my joy to that pesky thief.  It has most importantly become my way of holding myself accountable for the food choices I make. 

If you are experiencing what I did with food stealing your joy, I want to tell you that there is hope.  That food is not in the position of power, you are.  That as hard as it may be to confront your eating habits you can in fact do it.  Be accountable for your decisions with food.  Use your determination and always remember you are worth it!