What’s up, Shipmates! I’m Yerttle from over at BloggingMolly. Dacia asked me to write a guest post for her and since I love her and her blog, I agreed wholeheartedly.
And now this guest blog entry is late…because life happens.
I’m an Army Wife, FRG Leader, a Girls on the Run coach, a Religious Education teacher, have three kids, classes, a dog, a couple of blogs and a camera. …I’m busy.
During the Spring of 2011, I was just as busy as I am now, only I was carrying an extra 25 pounds. I was grumpy, hated looking in the mirror, and complained about the effort it took to convert oxygen to carbon dioxide. I’d been Blog Stalking (don’t act like you don’t do that, too…) over at Ginger Couturier and saw a comment by “Dacia”. Being an effective Blog Stalker, I clicked on over to her blog and quickly fell into cyber love with the positive tone. I found recipes, information about Weight Watchers, and other bloggers who were looking to improve themselves, as well.
Dacia was generous enough to chat with me on the phone about Weight Watchers and I felt instantly at peace. Dacia is just as nice on the phone as she is in her blog.
Anyway, I joined WW as Monthly Pass member and I’ve never regretted a day of it. I’ve lost weight and dress sizes, to be sure, but I’ve gained so much more than that…
I’ve gained my Muchness back.
I remembered that I am strong, physically and emotionally. (three natural deliveries, deployments, a marathon, a happy marriage…) I forgot all that, you see. I forgot that I am worth taking care of. My husband is loving and supportive and wonderful, but I never believed anything nice he told me. I thought he was telling me those things because he had to. I forgot that I can run fast when I really want to, that I am good at helping my kids with their homework, that I have things to offer the world. Those 25 pounds weren’t just hiding my quads…I was allowing them to hide me.
Me and my Muchness.
So I’ve been wittling away the extra fat, slowly but surely. I now buy only food that is really Good for us: organic and/or sustainably grown produce, whole foods with ingredients that I can actually pronounce and NOTHING from outside the United States. I got back to running and those happy endorphins it brings. I go to Zumba twice a week and play it at home on the Wii. I drop and do push ups in the kitchen while I wait for dinner to cook. …the change has been slow and sometimes challenging, but I remembered…
I remembered finally that I’m worth a challenge.
I dropped from a size 16 to a size 10 (loose fitting now…). I dropped 10 inches off each thigh, two inches off each arm, and 8 inches off my waist. Sadly, my bra size has decreased, too…
…the fun stuff always goes first…
Dacia and WW helped me see light at the end of the tunnel, even gave me a leg up when I needed it. The thing is, though…my hard work belongs to me. Just me. I sweat. I run. I lift.
This year, I’ve signed up for the Bataan Memorial Death March 26.2, the Flying Pirate Half-Marathon, and will, on March 7, sign up for the Marine Corps Marathon. I’d have never had the guts to dream so big if I hadn’t been inspired to sweat my ass off. I’d have never thought I even deserved a chance at such great things. Now, though…with a little help from my friends, I have discovered the old me, the strong me, the me who really does deserve all the Sweet Nothings from my husband.
I found my Muchness again…hear me roar
Did this story make you cry? It did for me. Thank you Yerttle for sharing with us! Please stop by Blogging Molly and check out her amazing blog! Thanks for reading!
It’s week 7….let’s kick it up a notch!
It’s time to bump up the intensity level. It’s time to push ourselves a little more.
I don’t mean go crazy. Going from walking a mile to running a marathon is not what I mean by increasing the intensity. That’s too much. That’s like jumping from level 3 to level 400. What I mean is if you are currently walking a mile in 18 minutes, this week let’s work towards doing it in 17 minutes.
Or maybe you are looking to increase stamina. Maybe this week bump up your workout lengths by 25-50%. If you are putting in 30 minutes a session now aim for 40-45 minutes this week.
Maybe you are looking to increase both stamina and endurance. If so, then alternate. One day go for the longer sustainable workout and the next time go for a shorter time at a faster pace. This is where I am at right now in my journey; trying to increase both strength and stamina.
Don’t forget to keep switching it up. Try new things. Have fun with it. Seriously! HAVE FUN! That is key to making these changes stick. This is a lifestyle change people, make changes you want to keep forever. This is permanent. This is your health. Make the most of it!
Ok, so to recap the challenge for this week is to push ourselves a little bit harder on the fitness front. Personalize this challenge to make it fit your existing routine and decide how you want to change it up. The only focus questions for this week are; did it feel good (don’t push to the point of pain- no injuries please) and was it fun?
Don’t forget to keep drinking that agua, keep practicing mindful eating, get your butt moving and have some fun!
I hope you are enjoying this challenge. Week 8, next week, is the last week and hopefully you have found some new habits or ideas that work for you. Once the New You challenge is over I am going to start up another challenge but this one is a competition. I haven’t decided on all the details yet but the premise is to help reinforce the healthy habits we created over the past two months and keep us focused and motivated on our path to a healthy lifestyle. I’m pretty excited for this one and I hope you are too!
Thanks for reading!
Hey Everyone! Angela here (aka. The Reluctant Weight Watcher Foodie). When Dacia asked if there was anyone interested in guest blogging for her, I immediately jumped at the opportunity! She did that for me and it was about time I returned the favor. I just had to figure out what to write about.
Let me start by telling you a little bit about myself. I’ve been overweight my whole life, but it never really held me back. I was content. I didn’t have problems with socializing or dating or traveling… just minor concerns about how I looked (like any person does when they are getting ready to go somewhere) and I just pushed them aside. I was a strong, confident BBW (still am)! Then I met the love of my life and realized that if I wanted to have a family, I needed to lose weight. Pregnancy (and parenthood) is EXPENSIVE and beautifully chaotic, so getting in shape became more important than ever.
I’ve been on (and off) Weight Watchers since November 2010. My journey has been a bit different from Dacia’s. She’s a machine! I’m… an A/C set on auto. Sometimes I’m on, sometimes I’m off. Depends on the weather. That’s my personality, though. I get focused on one thing for a while, let most other things fall to the side and then I have to take a step back and re-gather my senses before moving forward again. Right now, I’m back on! In the past 14 months I’ve lost almost 45 lbs, but I still have about 110 lbs to go. But hey! It’s almost 1/3 of the way there.
Enough about my story, though. Time to talk about my passion. FOOOOOOOOOOOD. Why do you think I got to over 300 lbs in the first place? I love food. I love new tastes and textures and flavor combinations and kitchen appliances. I used to cook amazing full fat alfredo and Thai curries and brownies. Now, I cook amazing LOW-fat alfredo, curry and brownies…. plus a lot of other stuff! In fact, I’ve learned so much about how to create amazing healthy dishes that I think I finally figured out which career path I’m meant to pursue: Culinary Arts Extraordinaire! This girl is going to culinary school! Not sure when, but I’m hoping to be attending Le Cordon Bleu sometime within the next couple years. Then I’ll know all the right techniques to really bring delicious, healthy food to the next level.
Right now, I enjoy combing through cookbooks and trying out new recipes to inspire my taste buds. Then I share them with all my readers! Now, I know that Dacia is happy vegan these days (so happy for her!), but I like meat. And I’m sure that at least SOME of you readers out there like meat too, right? I’ve decided to share a recipe with you since that’s what I do best
This recipe was inspired by one of my favorite cookbooks, the Best Ever Indian Cookbook. I’ve really been into Indian cuisine lately. The depth of the flavor is incredible and there are actually quite a lot of dishes that come out to be really low in WW PointsPlus. Many of the dishes are also SUPER fast to cook from start to finish, so as long as you have all your ingredients (and cooked rice in the fridge), you can make a delicious, different meal for yourself or your family in hardly any time.
Chopped Lamb with Curry Leaves and Chile
PointsPlus Per Serving: 3
- 1 tsp oil, 1PP
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 5 curry leaves
- 3 green chiles (I used Thai chiles)
- 4 oz trimmed leg of lamb, 3PP (I bought a big lamb leg cut it up into 4 oz portions and froze them. It ended up being about $2 per portion which isn’t too bad! Plus, the meat is so tender!)
- 1/2 tsp crushed or minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger root (I peel mine, freeze it and grate it on demand. Faster, less mess, same intensity as if it was fresh!)
- 1/8 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced into half moons
- 3 mini sweet peppers, diced
1. Take your lamb and chop it up into really small pieces, almost as if it was ground. If you are comfortable using a food processor to do this, go ahead.
2. Heat the oil in a wok or saute pan and fry up the onion, curry leaves and chiles.
3. Put the lamb into a bowl and mix in the garlic, ginger and spices.
4. Add the lamb mixture and salt to the onions and stir-fry for about 5-7 minutes.
5. Add the peppers and zucchini and stir-fry for another few minutes. Serve hot and enjoy!
This dish is best served with either brown rice or even with eggs! And if you DID want to make it vegan, all you’d need to do is switch out the lamb for either chopped mushrooms or maybe tempeh or seitan. You can also put in as much of the veggies as you’d like, just adjust the spices to match the amount. And as for any of the ingredients that you wouldn’t normally have in your house, just find a local asian grocer and you should be able to find them for a really good price.
Today I am over at Robin’s Bite as part of her ‘Inside the Fridge’ segment. You know me, I love food! I’ve shared pictures with you before of my fridge and pantry so when I found out there was a whole segment on a website dedicated to this topic I asked if I could be a part of it. I’m so happy to be able to share more with you, as well as Robin’s readers, in regards to what I eat, buy and covet when it comes to food.
Please stop by Robin’s Biteand check out Inside the Fridge. Make sure to take a look around while you are there. It is an uber informative website all about food and nutrition put together by Robin who is an expert in her field. What’s not to love!
What’s in your fridge?
Thanks for reading!
A few pictures from the very wet, very rainy Fuego 5K this past Saturday. Paul finished in 21:12 and I finished in 39:40. We were both super excited with the results especially given the circumstances!
Thanks for reading!
Paul and I have lived in six states in the seven years we have been married for. Most of our ‘vacations’ are really just traveling back home to see family. It is a rare occasion we go anywhere that doesn’t involve a family event of some sorts. Las Vegas trip was for our family reunion, New Orleans trip was Easter holiday with my parents. Not that this is a bad thing and this trip is no different. Tomorrow we are heading back to the Philly area for my cousin’s wedding. This time Paul and I decided to make the most of it and turn it into a vacation filled with things we want to do. Since I am from the area and Paul and I lived there together for a few years we have both seen all the touristy stuff so this trip we are going to hit up some really awesome places we have never been before. This is what we have planned:
Wednesday: travel day. Nothing exciting here. Once we land in Philly, get the rental car, and make our way to my parents house I am pretty sure we will be ready for bed not too long after we get there.
Thursday: driving 1.5 hours north of Philly to Bethlehem, PA; home of Paul’s favorite cigar distributor. They have a super store up there so we decided to make the trek up there so he can buy some cigars for the wedding and of course to restock his humidor at home. Luckily for me there is a vegan bakery in Bethlehem so after Paul is finished in cigar heaven I get to go to vegan baked goods heaven. Seems like a fair trade-off right?
After Bethlehem we will be driving down to Atlantic City, NJ; where the wedding will be held. Once we get to AC I am hoping to meet up with @mendingjen (Listen.Learn.Love.Mend) for some coffee, check into the hotel, hit the gym, grab some dinner, and gamble. Most of my family will be arriving Thursday night so it will be great to see them.
Friday: I’m hoping to get an early morning workout in and then schedule a couple’s massage for the two of us at the hotel spa. We are meeting @THINspired (Skinny Jean Dreams) for lunch and then we have the wedding at 4P so I am trying not to make too many plans as I want to relax and enjoy myself as much as possible.
Saturday: You know I’m going to hit the gym bright and early (these will be the only days we have gym access while we are gone) before leaving AC and heading to pick up our friends Jaime and Ian. The four of us are heading to Milton, DE to go visit the Dogfish Head Brewery. Dogfish is mine and Paul’s favorite beer and we are beyond thrilled to finally have a chance to go check out the brewery. From Milton we will head over to Rehoboth Beach, DE where the Dogfish Head Brew Pub is. More beer! More brewing! So excited!
Sunday: Starting the day off with Jaime’s mom, BH, who has invited me to join her at her Weight Watchers meeting. I am so excited to attend a new meeting, spend some time with BH and get to hear more about her success on Weight Watchers.
The rest of the day is going to be spent with my parents. The four of us will be going to see “One for the Money”. Mom and I are excited to see it since we both read the Janet Evanovich series. There has also been talk about going to a vegan friendly Chinese food restaurant for dinner. I’m excited to try this place with my parents since they both love Chinese food and are trying to eat more plant based meals.
*On a side note, both parents are now on medical restrictions that have taken greens out of their diet. Mom is on blood thinners due to blood clots and apparently is not allowed to have dark greens. Dad, who has been battling with complications from his surgery/hospitalization in August, was just diagnosed with gastro paresis and cannot eat roughage. So they left Texas addicted to Kale salad and now neither one of them can eat it. Weird.
Monday: Galentine’s day! Paul and I will be picking up Jaime and heading into the city (Philly) for the day. Paul will be joining us while we go to IKEA to grab something for Jax and Modell’s to stock up on some new Philly sports gear (as we both need smaller sizes) and lunch but then after that he is on his own to wander the city while Jaime and I have some girl time. I am really looking forward to this day. I miss being able to spend time with my best friend who I have only seen twice since leaving Philly in 2009. Sad
Then home to NJ to my parents and we will spend our final evening with them. Not sure what we’ll do but that doesn’t really matter. It will be nice to just sit and talk and be around them a little more.
Tuesday: we travel home to Texas. We’ll have to leave around 9a for the airport; our vacation is over We’ll be back in SA by dinner time and I will be back to work the next day. Paul. The lucky bastard has another week off once we get back so his vacation will only be half over. Damn him! JK
I have some awesome guest posts scheduled for when I am out of town and will be sure to post Week 7 of the New You Challenge by Sunday. I’m so excited for this vacation! I can’t wait! I also can’t wait to share it all with you once I am back and settled. I have some cool things brewing for when I’m back like another giveaway and new challenge that will be starting after the New You challenge finishes in a few weeks so stay tuned!
Thanks for reading!
Welcome back New You challengers! I hope you are still here, practicing some of the ideas laid out over the past few weeks. This week’s challenge seems easy at first glance but may be the most challenging to date. For me, this is currently what I am struggling with and have discussed it on this blog before- finding balance. This week is all about focusing on the other aspects of our life not just our diet and exercise. I know this is where I am challenged. I know what I need to eat and how I should be working out but I am just now learning how to find the balance in my life between being a machine who’s only focus is getting healthy and a mindlessly eating couch potato. Trying to find that happy medium between the old Dacia and the new Dacia. This is a lifestyle change, right? So it is just as important that we still make time for hobbies, friends, relaxing, goofing off, as it is eating good foods and incorporating fitness into our routine.
Another key to finding our balance is making sure we are getting enough sleep. For me, that means 8 hours. To others maybe a little more or a little less. It’s whatever your body dictates. I know there are a few of you reading this right now thinking I am crazy to think anyone can get 8 hours of sleep regularly. We just don’t have the time, do we? I know, I know. I have it easy. I don’t have kids. I know that for my moms reading now you are thinking this will never happen and yes, it might be awhile before you can get a solid 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep so for you I can only say do your best. Set yourself up to be successful (i.e. go to bed at a time where you could get a good night’s sleep) and if the kiddo does happen to sleep through the night then you can too.
I do realize that this may seem I am asking too much of you. That you just don’t have enough hours in the day to do it all. That’s why it’s important to journal. Write down what you do every day so you can find wasted hours. For me there are things on my schedule that I need to spend time doing; work, exercise, showering, etc. but there are also things I do that are not necessities; watching TV and Twitter (sorry, it’s not) are two that come to mind. If I want 8 hours of sleep then I need to turn off the TV, put the phone away, and go to bed. If I want to read a book then I should do the same. But if I want to relax and watch the Biggest Loser (even though that show is annoying me to no end and is totally not relaxing to watch anymore) then that’s what I should plan to do.
The key here is to plan for it. Don’t come home from work and waste those precious hours doing anything mindlessly; make a conscious decision to spend those hours doing activities you want to do. Dinner with a loved one filled with laughter and conversation, having family night with your kids, take your dogs out for a nice long walk, and if you are in a relationship make sure you schedule some bedroom time. I know for me that was probably the most neglected hobby of mine (yes, I just called sex a hobby) and that’s not a good thing to neglect. Yes, you need to put yourself first but not at the expense of your other relationships. Make sure you find that balance so that all of your loved ones don’t ever feel neglected.
To recap, this week’s challenge is about finding balance. Focus on adding hobbies and other activities you enjoy, but may have been neglecting, back into your routine and make sure to get a good night’s sleep daily.
Questions for journaling
How did I spend my time?
What unnecessary activities did I participate in that kept me from doing something different?
Did I get enough sleep? Why or why not? (note the why’s because it is important to develop a repeatable routine)
What am I missing out on/what else do I want to be doing?
Think about these questions, reflect on your answers and try to make some changes in your life that allow you to find balance. No, you will not be able to do everything you want every day of the week but if you prioritize, eliminate/reduce time-wasting activities, and focus on what matters to you most you will be able to find balance. You will end up with the life that you want
Don’t forget though that while you are focusing on finding balance don’t neglect the other parts of this challenge; staying hydrated (week one), mindful eating (week two and week three)and fitness (week four and week five) as these are key players in the lifestyle you are balancing.
Do you struggle with balance? What do you think will be the hardest part of this week’s challenge? Are there any activities you have been neglected you are excited to start incorporating back into your life?
Good luck this week! Thanks for reading!
This week I tried a few new recipes from the Whole Foods website. If you are ever looking for recipes or new ideas check out their website; it’s awesome. I love it because I can search for recipes tagged vegan instead of searching through all of them trying to find some that might work for me. They of course have a ton of non-vegan recipes and from what I’ve seen they look fantastic.
My favorite recipe I tried this week was Pasta Bake with Tofu Cheese. Oh my word it was amazeballs. It’s like having baked ziti or lasagna without the layers. It was very reminiscent of the heavy, cheesy, ooey gooey yummy pasta dishes I grew up eating. However, it was cheese less. It wasn’t heavy at all. It was filling but not in a ‘I have to unbutton my pants’ way and just as tasty (tastier in my opinion) than the original it’s based off of. Since you are using tofu instead of cheese you totally up the protein content making it a dish that keeps you feeling full long after you’ve eaten. It rocks.
Go make this
It has only nine ingredients and you probably have at least three (olive oil, salt and pepper) in your pantry already.
8 ounces small whole wheat pasta shells
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cups pasta sauce, divided
1 (14-ounce) package soft tofu, drained
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup soy or rice Parmesan-style cheese, divided
Salt and black pepper
Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook pasta in boiling salted water according to package instructions. Drain well and transfer to a 7-x-11-inch baking dish. Stir in olive oil and a cup of the pasta sauce. Set aside.
Put tofu, basil, garlic, half the cheese, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture reaches the consistency of ricotta cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings. Spread tofu mixture over the cooked pasta and top with remaining pasta sauce. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Serve immediately.
*I had some Daiya mozzarella vegan cheese on hand so I topped the pasta with that instead of the remaining ¼ cup of parmesan. It was so good. This would be the perfect addition to your Meatless Monday repertoire. Two thumbs up!
Speaking of food, what do you have planned for the big game Sunday? I checked out a bunch of vegan-friendly party food/snack recipes posted on different websites but I haven’t really decided on anything yet. To be honest, I am more concerned with packing for my vacation next week than I am with the Super Bowl. Can you blame me- I’m an Eagles/Bills fan so I have a strong dislike for the Giants and the Pats. Oh, well. I will still watch. I love the commercials
Thanks for reading!
I’m trying to find balance in my life. Searching for that happy median where I am dedicated fully to my WLJ and getting healthy but not to where it controls me. Does that make sense? Maybe I should explain.
Until last December I was fully engulfed in my routine and the activities and diet that kept me losing weight. This routine was evening workouts during the week coupled with a few hours during the day on the weekends. I chose to not eat out or eat anything not on my planned meals before weigh ins. I skipped/avoided making plans with Paul and friends that didn’t fit around my schedule. My life, day in and day out, was ruled by my quest to lose weight.
Then December rolled around and I had to completely rearrange my schedule to fit with working long hours, taking the Nia White Belt Intensive, and having family in town for the holidays. I switched from evening workouts to morning workouts and because I wanted to have more free time I switched from a couple hours of activity at a moderate level to an hour a day at a higher intensity. December, although it was chaotic, was a great month. I was able to spend more time with Paul, friends and family and started to feel like a normal human being again. It was great.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have an easy time in January when I tried to transition back into my routine from November. I had grown so accustomed to spending time with Paul and being able to do stuff in the evening s that it was really difficult to give that up in order to go back to evening workouts. Getting the flu didn’t help me stick to my routine either and then last week, once I finally had my head back in the game, I decided I really needed to go back to morning workouts.
So, that’s the new plan; morning workouts with the exception of Mondays when I go to boxing classes in the evening. Meal plans that include fast and healthy dinners so I am eating at a reasonable time, at least a few hours before I go to bed. To help keep me honest- and by honest I mean keeping me from spending the evenings zonked out in front of the TV- I will spend an hour or so after dinner helping with dishes, making lunches, cooking future meals, whatever needs to be done for the next day. These are tasks that Paul has been pretty much doing on his own for the past 11 months. After the kitchen stuff is finished I will do my evening ab/core workout and then, when all of that is done, I will watch some TV or read a book (something relaxing) before bed.
I’m excited for this new schedule because it will allow me to be at home more, spend time with Paul, help out around the house, get in my workouts, plan and eat healthy meals, and still manage some relaxation time. I think it will bring me the focus I need and the balance I crave. Wish me luck!
Thanks for reading!