Weekly Weigh-In: What What!

Oh heck yes. I finally hit 40 lbs lost! Not only that, I hit 41.2 lbs lost this week! I have been waiting for this moment since I started this journey last November. I pretty much feel like this guy right now (click on it for the full effect):

kermie1

Hitting this milestone means a lot to me. My current weight is now lower than it was my senior year of college which is also when the slippery slope in my weight gain began. Now that I know that I can hit such a big milestone, I have no other reason to not believe that I can ultimately reach my goal some day. Life may get in the way at times, there will be more parties, barbecues, greasy food cravings and other temptations of the sort but all along, I’ve managed to chug forward and now I’m happy to say I am almost halfway to a personal weight goal.

I know I have never shared my actual weight on my blog and I’m still not ready to do it tonight but I am ready to say that when I reach the number I have in mind, I will have lost 87 lbs. That’s a huge goal and it will be quite the journey but to say that I am just about halfway there is really exciting and I’m taking a moment to celebrate!!

But like I said, each day has it’s struggles. Last night for dinner, I had a burger and sweet potato fries. Normally, I wouldn’t even mention this since everything else I ate yesterday was healthy and on point and not even my dinner put me over my daily calories (because I ate the calories I burned working out) but it was today that was where I really slipped up. I might see a pound or two creep back up after today’s lunch nachos ( I know, I know). I messed up there so I’ll be fighting back with work outs, veggies and water galore the rest of this week. I am just 2 pounds from winning my Diet Bet and I’m determined to get there! Labor Day will be a challenge but mancakes and I are going to focus on making healthier options for the little cook out we’ll be having this weekend.

Here are a few of our go-to grilling out recipes we have grown to love!

Avocado Crostini

Fresh Herb Potato Salad (Warning: This is Thug Kitchen, there’s a LOT of cursing but it’s worth it!)

We marinate chicken with the piccata marinade in this recipe and grill it

Let me know what you think if you try any of these out!

❤ M.

Advertisement

Suggestion Box: Meal Planning

k234s

On occasion, I get questions from readers and Facebook fans asking what I eat and how I plan my meals. If I had to say what has allowed me to be successful with my weight loss, my number 1 answer has been planning ahead.

Like many others who have battled or continue to battle obesity, I used to have a huge problem with feeling like I was in control. I used to believe that poor eating and inactivity was something that happened to me because I didn’t have much time or I was on the road a lot (which was true about my first full time job), or I didn’t have the money for healthy foods or a gym membership or I didn’t think my partner would want to try healthy foods with me.  Well that was all a load of b.s. and when I began this journey last November, I realized that it was because I had no structure to my eating/cooking and fitness that I was unable to control my weight. I wasn’t making intentional choices about what I consumed therefore, I naturally had no sense of control. But to be on a plan like WW, or Paleo, or calorie counting, etc. you have to plan! Otherwise, it won’t work.

So Casa Unfluff did a massive overhaul of the way we planned meals and did our grocery shopping. At first, I had just joined Weight Watchers and I had access to new recipes, resources and a list of Power Foods. We started picking a few recipes a week to focus on and then filling in with snacks and easy to pack lunch options. This brings me to my first tip:

  • Don’t just plan your grocery list around what you’ll cook at home. Also include the food you will consume outside your home. This includes snacks, lunches and beverages. The idea here is that if you have pre-portioned, ready to go foods that are within your points/calories goals, it is much harder to get derailed by making last minute choices to eat out. Also, healthier snacks that keep you full means less grabbing of the office donuts or running next door for a bagel. Investing in items like travel lunch bags or coolers, water bottles and even plates and utensils you’ll leave at the office should be considered too. Here’s a picture of my drawer at work where I store my food related goodies looks like:

    measuring cups for portion sizes, snacks, tea and coffee, and you can’t see it but there’s even a cheap veggie peeler at the bottom for my bag ‘o carrots in the fridge!
  • When it comes to planning out your meals and snacks, think quality over quantity. aim for high protein, high fiber foods. These will keep you fuller longer! Here are my go-to snacks:
        • Hard-boiled eggs
        • Almonds
        • Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
        • Whole wheat toast with Peanut Butter and Banana slices
        • Oatmeal
        • String Cheese
        • Hummus and veggie sticks

Planning meals doesn’t always come easy, though! It takes a bit of coordination.

  • If you are very busy, have kids, or just need help learning more about cooking healthier recipes, consider trying out a meal planning service. Here are a few I like:

Unfluffers, you know I ADORE The Fresh 20 plan. It is the number one viewed post on this blog! Lately, we’ve been on a F20 hiatus because sometimes the meals take a while to cook and mancakes and I are pooped after work and starving and can’t wait until 7 to eat. But after following a gazillion F20 recipes for close to 5 months straight using wholesome ingredients, little to no fat and added sodium, we have been able to carry that on in our normal, day to day cooking. E-Meals is another great option that also gives you the ability to select meal plans for 1-2 people if you’re single or just live with one other person.

We’ve been using SkinnyTaste for all our meals these days. F20 also taught us to try and coordinate our grocery list so we don’t end up with a ton of extra ingredients we won’t use again that week and that’s what we try to do now with all of our meal planning. ST also has a crockpot recipe section on there which is a lifesaver most days when we are too busy to cook after work. If you want to follow a specific plan based on a certain amount of daily caloric intake, SparkPeople.com lets you choose meal plans too and it’s Free!!! So bottom line:

  • If you don’t know how to plan your meals, invest in a meal plan service that will teach you how.

Finally:

  • Set a grocery budget and stick with it

If you haven’t picked up on it yet, the theme of this post is plan, plan, plan! Plan the amount of money you would like to spend because I’ll tell you now it is reeeeally easy to spend a lot of money on groceries! You don’t have to spend a ton of money to eat healthy, but you do need to set a limit so things don’t get out of control. Here are a few ways to save at the register:

  • Plan meals around what’s in season. In-season produce is less expensive! If you can get to a farmer’s market, you’ll save even more money on locally-grown, fresh produce
  • Save money on meats like chicken by buying whole breasts and learn how to de-bone them.
  • When meat goes on sale, stock up, portion servings out and freeze them!
  • Make your own broths and sauces. You’ll know what’s actually in your sauces and broths with less sugar and sodium than the canned/bottled stuff. If you bought the aforementioned bone-in meat, save the bones and scraps to make chicken broth. You can freeze those parts for up to 9 months or until you have enough to make broth. Also, you’ll get way more volume for your buck! A bag of organic carrots at Trader Joe’s is $0.89, an onion $0.50, celery $1.79. Plus water and saved chicken breast parts? You’ll have a gallon of broth for pennies. Here’s a vegetable broth recipe I love: Homemade Vegetable Broth
  • Make recipes in bulk to cover more than one meal throughout the week. I do this with crockpot recipes. One pot of this Santa Fe Chicken will feed a family of 4 at least twice, if not 3 times. I STILL have some in the freezer.
  • That reminds me: freeze your leftovers! Soups, stews, pastas, lasagnas, casseroles. These are all great dishes to freeze. Do this if you know for a fact that you won’t eat all your leftovers. Take them for lunch as needed and they should thaw out in the fridge enough by the time you need to nuke it.

Well, that about covers it for me! What tricks work for you when it comes to meal planning?

Weekly Weigh-In Post: Things Have Stalled

This morning, as I was putting together my lunch I remembered something Dani from Weight Off My Shoulders said earlier this week on her Facebook Page (which you should check out and like!):

Untitled

And that’s when it finally clicked in my brain: you, miss lady, have not been measuring and/or watching your portion sizes! I’ve been off of Weight Watchers since early July and apparently I went ahead and threw some very effective habits away along with my membership. This last month or so has been a whirlwind of road trips and stay-cations and visits from friends and bbq’s and outings. And all of that was also happening when I was doing WW but back then, my progress did not stall the way it has these last few weeks. Sure, summer can take its toll on a weight loss routine but I know better than to blame summer fun for weight gain. My portion sizes lately have been out of control. Even though I’m still exercising the same amount, I have somehow shifted back to eating until the walls of my stomach ache as opposed to sticking to correct portion sizes and giving myself time to feel full.

So I pulled out my measuring cups and spoons this morning and got right back to work. I felt really silly that I have been trying to convince myself lately that my body has just stalled, that I might be hitting a plateau. That would only be true if everything that helped me lose 37 lbs in the first place was exactly the same today. And it’s not, I’ve been slacka-lackin’ and part of me wants to blame being away from WW but the other part knows that WW, MyFitnessPal, SparkPeople, etc. all make you track portion sizes and I think I have been under tracking and not really owning up to the actual amount of calories I’ve been taking in.

It’s not easy being on top of every bite you take. After a while all that tracking can get exhausting. And much like the summer mindset, I’ve just been wanting to be more laid back but in all honesty, I still want to lose another 40 pounds and I’m not going to get there with the same habits that made me obese in the first place. Sure, it’s normal to experience a period of no progress but I need to be real with myself (and with you, my readers) right now:

1. I really have no excuse because I’m not particularly busy right now so I need to take advantage of this time.

2. Casa Unfluff would like add another little babycakes to our family in the near future and in preparation for that and for the time it will take to lose weight after another pregnancy in the future, I want to get down in weight as much as possible now. I don’t want to have as much work to do to lose the baby weight next time around! (side note: I’m weirdly excited about really reaping the benefits of the calorie burn from nursing next time around! That was an underutilized weight loss gold mine did not take full advantage of in the 10 months I nursed my daughter.)

3. It will only get harder to lose weight and keep it off as I get older so while I still have 2 years of my 20’s left, I might as well kick major ass now so I can work on maintaining a healthier weight instead of struggling more and more to get there.

So I’m hoping that this is the last of my teeter-totter dance with the scale. I know it will happen here and there but I’m ready for the scale to start going down again and stay down!

MemeCenter_1376597741603_8

Some great things about this past week? How about the fact that my Diet Betters are doing awesome!? As a group of 9, 2 weeks in, we’ve lost a total of 20 lbs and counting! That’s pretty flippin’ awesome. I can’t wait to see how far this little group goes. Also, check out my progress pic:

1174533_10102915600664713_1737515423_n

I really dig that I have less face fluff. Going back to having only one chin and also having a smaller chest (TMI but I don’t care!) are two huge aesthetic goals that I have. I’m glad I posted this picture today because it keeps me focused and affirms that what I’m doing is noticeable and I’m transforming even if the scale tells me otherwise. The new haircut doesn’t hurt either… 😉

And finally, shout out to mancakes! He’s one of the betters that has lost weight AND he has done a fantastic job with meal planning and cooking this week! Here are the things we’ve had this week:

Monday Dinner: Skillet Mexican Zucchini

Tuesday Dinner: Pizza Night (we had a sitter and got to go to the movies!)

Wednesday Breakfast: Homemade fresh peach compote for pancakes

Wednesday Dinner: Baked Eggplant Boats with Sausage

Tonight’s Dinner: Naked Turkey Bruschetta Burgers 

All of those have been nothing short of amazing! Nice job, mancakes!

That’s all for this week’s weigh-in! I got a new Suggestion Box coming soon that will be all about Meal Planning!

❤ M.

Weekly Weigh-In: Up, Up and Away!

meme

I don’t have much to say except woo! I’m still losing so I’m going to keep up the C25K action since it is quite apparent that it is just melting the fluff right off! My focus right now is to get my eating back on track so I can keep on losing, losing, losing! I have really started to enjoy adding running into my routine even though I’m not very fast and I have yet to run past 3 minutes straight. But I’ve only been trying it out for a little over 2 weeks and my pace and stamina have already improved so I naturally want to keep going! I look forward to the days when I get outside to run/walk now so this might be a keeper in my life. Additionally, I met someone at my last WW meeting who is also training for her summer 5K’s and she wants to meet up for a run. My first fitness friend? Mayhaps!

Speaking of food, I made some really amahzing banana muffins last night! I was inspired by this recipe from Allrecipes.com but I made quite a few alterations after reading through many of the reviews. Here is my version of the recipe which turned out deeelish!

Project Unfluff’s Super Awesome Banana Nut Muffins!

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • A little under 2 cups whole wheat white flour (I like Trader Joe’s)
  • 2-3 Tbsp ground flax-seed meal
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar + tsp to sprinkle on top
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts + a pinch to sprinkle on top
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease or line 12 muffin cups.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, almond milk and bananas. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, ground flax, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar and baking soda. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture. Fold in nuts if desired. Pour batter into prepared muffin cups. (I filled them almost to the top). Sprinkle muffins with brown sugar and a few pieces of nuts each.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.
photo (37)
i swear they’re tastier than they look

These are good and a little more moist with the addition of the almond milk. After entering this recipe into my recipe builder, one big ‘ol fluffy muffin came out to 4 points +! Perfect for pre-workout fuel or for dessert, especially if you warm it up a little first.

Last but not least, I am super excited about my feature on Gwynspiration for Weight Loss‘ blog this week! Check out her post about my winning her 5 Week Healthy Habits Challenge and share in my 15 minutes of interweb fame!

Oh one more thing! This:

dinosaur

❤ M.

Living A Healthier Life: Shopping and Cooking

Here’s how you know you’re living a healthier life: when you chase someone down in the grocery store because they accidentally took your shopping cart instead of their own and when they finally look in the cart, the amount of vegetation is jaw-dropping. Seriously folks, this happened today on my weekly trip to the grocery store for our Fresh20 and SkinnyTaste ingredients. One minute, I’m picking out hamburger buns in the bakery section and the next the only shopping cart in my vicinity is one that has nothing but two pies, cookies and ground turkey. Luckily, I brought my own bags and the only way I was able to locate my cart was when I saw a woman pushing one with my bright red grocery bag at the bottom. I flagged her down and told her she had my cart and she looked shocked and said, “You’re right! This cart is too healthy, it CAN’T be mine!”

Image
My gorgeous, slightly kidnapped shopping cart

4 months ago, my cart would have resembled that woman’s cart more so than the one I had to hunt down today. Now granted, I wasn’t in the habit of bringing home whole pies but cookies? Yes. Only a few fresh ingredients?  Sure. More stuff from the middle aisles (packaged, processed foods) than the outer sections (fresh foods)? More than likely. Today’s little incident was a great reminder that we (my partner and I) really have come a long way when it comes to what we bring home, what we cook and how much time we spend in the kitchen making fresh, healthy food. The amount of dishes we do everyday is another story BUT I’m grateful I have a kitchen full of food to cook everyday so I really can’t complain.

Today, I really had a hankering for a savory, indulgent-esque American meal. I went traveling along the interwebz and came across a couple of new yummies I just had to try. Tonight I made the Buffalo Turkey Burgers from Skinnytaste for dinner. Oh Em Gee. When the hubs loves a dish chock of vegetables, you KNOW you have a winner! There were so many good things about this dish: the turkey patty with shredded carrots and buffalo sauce, the topping made of broccoli slaw mixed with the Skinny Bleu Cheese Dressing (<— so good, I’d put it in my morning coffee.), the Sargento deli thin cheddar slice that was just enough cheese, and  the fluffy, toasted bolillo roll it all sat within. Perfection!

Image
YERMMEEE

For dessert, (which I just now remembered I needed to make) I made 2 ingredient oatmeal cookies! What a great way to use old bananas! I used Quaker Oat Perfect Portions oatmeal which is my new love because it’s a sack of instant oatmeal that is NOT sweetened. You can make as much or as little as you want and add your own sweetener. I love the Cinnamon flavor and it worked really well with these cookies. What’s great about this recipe is that it’s super fast and you can add whatever mix-ins you want! I added some left over walnuts we had in a weird amount unfit for a formal recipe and mini chocolate chips. So easy and very tasty! Not to mention, it’s clean (sans the chocolate chips) and pure eating.

Image

How did you celebrate your Sunday, Unfluffers?

Nighty night! ❤ M.