Sunday, May 31, 2009

How I finally lost weight

I used to dance between 3-5 days a week, anywhere between an hour and a half to five hours each day. So, needless to say, I was burning a ton of calories. I didn't have the greatest eating habits- in between dance classes I was either eating a huge sugary muffin from white hen (with hot chocolate and candy as dessert...) or chowing down white rice and a quart of soup from the next door Chinese stop. Two years ago, I decided to stop dancing... But, I kept eating the same way. I thought nothing of weight back then. But the pounds piled on, and I quickly became extremely self conscious of not only my weight, but my changing figure.
Over the two years, I became somewhat lazy and unmotivated to do basically anything physical. I slacked in gym, but cried just about every day because I hated my body so much. Last summer, I started smoking weed, a lot... and when you've got the munchies, just about ANYTHING sounds delicious. Taco Bell, Mcdonalds, Pop tarts, and the odd craving for homemade double-decker quesidillas... Munchies, mixed with a lot of beer.. Not a good combo. I quickly gained a ton more weight, and at my highest hit 138. That's a lot for me, considering I was 120 while in dance.
It was all funny at first, yeah, I was getting a beer belly, and smoking the ganja made me lazy.. but I felt so uncomfortable in my own body. So the vicious cycle began: Binge, purge, binge purge. I'd stuff my face till I felt like I was going to die, and made myself throw it up. Then do it all over again. Two, three up to four times a day. And you know what? I didn't lose a single pound. I tried to not eat at all, lost a few pounds, gained twice the weight back when I binged on cookie dough and cake. It was a horrible cycle I had gotten myself caught up in.
The summer ended and my horrible eating habits stayed. After two years of crash and yo yo dieting, I decided things needed to change. Well... It didn't happen quite like that. I was finally tired of the vicious cycles... I joined the gym in town, and went once and didn't go back for a month. If you can't tell by now: I'm not big on commitment! I guess I kinda started getting into the groove of it, because I was going at least three times a week. But for some reason, I wasn't losing weight. Hah, the reason must have been all the junk food I thought I could eat because I was 'burning' it all off. So one day, I thought to myself, how can I eat all day (I like to eat. A lot. No really, a LOT.) and still lose weight.

The number of calories I need per day to lose weight, divided by 5. Or however much I wanted to eat.
It sounds so simple... Why the HELL hadn't I thought of it before? I had always stuck to the larger breakfast (you know, power breakfast full all day? More like power breakfast, I'm hungry in an hour.) small lunch, and ended up with a big dinner. I would snack through the day, and never, ever felt full. My 'miracle' diet keeps me full all day, and I don't have the temptation to snack.
And you know what? It worked. I'm down to 125. I haven't been under 130 in 3 years. I honestly feel like i've accomplished the largest feat of my life. It's not like it was 100 pounds. Not 50. Not even 20. But those 13 pounds totally changed my confidence. And my body is already showing improvement. I'm so proud of myself, I accomplished something I thought I never would be able to do. I thought I'd have a roll in my stomach forever. And I thought I'm always have to turn off the lights with my boyfriend so I wouldn't have to look at my stomach. It's not like I've drastically changed my body, but the fact that I'm SEEING improvement, is such a confidence booster in it's self.

So who knows, maybe this will work for you? To figure out how many meals to plan, think of all the times you crave food during the day: First thing in the morning? In between breakfast in lunch? Between lunch and dinner? Late night?
I like to eat 5 times a day, so I take 1500 calories, divided by 5 = 300 calorie meals.
I'll also share a few 300 calorie meals you can try out if you like! Oh yeah, and it's also kinda fun to plan ahead meals, you can get creative! I love to make the base of all of my meals vegetables and fruits. They have so much nutrition, and by filling up on those, will leave less room for temptations with other foods! Remember, carbs turn to sugar when they get into your body, so try to limit your carb intake (especially white carbs!)
By the way, I like to do Breakfast, Lunch, Mid afternoon, Dinner, and Late night. For breakfast, lunch and dinner, I like to make typical meals (eggs for breakfast, maybe a sandwich for lunch, chicken at dinner) but the great thing about this, is that all of the meals are the same amount of calories, so I can mix and match what I want to eat, and when! I think breakfast is the most important meal of the day.. You haven't eaten 8+ hours, so this is the time you replenish your nutrients to fuel your day. Below are some of my favorite breakfasts. Not only are they tasty, but healthy and filling.
Example Breakfasts:

1 Whole wheat waffle (85 calories) with
1 tablespoon pure peanut butter (85 c) (no sugar or's really tasty!!) and topped with
1 tablespoon raisins (32 c)
1 orange (100 c)
Total: 302 calories

1 Whole wheat english muffin (100 c)
1 overhard (0r over medium or easy) egg (70 c)
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts (50 c)
1 apple (80 c)
Total: 300 calories

1/2 cup cooked oatmeal (150 c)
1/2 cup strawberries (25 c)
1 turkey sausage patty (140 c)
Total: 315 calories

Here's a list of low cal foods that you can mix and match for midday mini-meals!
Honey Ham- 1.9 oz (1 serving), (65 calories)

Deli Turkey- 2 oz (1 serving), (50 calories)

1 cup blueberries (80 calories)

1 cup halved strawberries (50 calories)

1 whole wheat tortilla (140 calories)

1 cup brown rice (cooked) (215 calories)

1 small apple (70 calories)

1 banana (118 calories)

1 cup sliced avocado (234 calories)

1 cup whole grain pasta (190 calories)

1 whole wheat bagel (220 calories)

1 hardboiled egg (80 calories)

1 cup spinach (7 calories)

1 cup chopped pineapple (74 calories)

1 mozzarella cheese stick (80 calories)

Those are just a FEW low cal choices you can mix and match with. Think of all the different foods you can eat!

Happy and healthy eating!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Delicious Ciabatta Pepper Sandwich

During a weekend trip to our cabin in Hayward, Wisconsin, I had the opportunity to eat a wonderful Ciabatta Pepper Sandwich at a nearby restaurant. It was absolutely delicious, and, too shy to ask for the recipe, decided to make my own, with my own twist! Ciabatta Pepper Sandwich with avocado spread... It actually turned out better than I had planned (or hoped for) so I'm going to share it with you =]

Ciabatta Pepper Sandwich

One Ciabatta Roll (.99 cents at target in the bakery corner!)
Red Pepper
Green Pepper
Plain Yogurt
Balsamic Vinegar

Line a funnel with two layers of cheese cloth, and place in a container large enough to hold up the funnel. Scoop two tablespoons of plain (not vanilla!!) yogurt into the cheese cloth. Fold the edges over the top of the yogurt, and place a heavy can on top, to drain the liquid. Set aside.

Slice 1/4 of the red pepper, green pepper, tomato, and onion to taste. (Should be 1/4 cup or so each). Chop half of one garlic clove and slice two small mushrooms (baby bellas are great).

Heat a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil, remember: Hot pan/cold oil, food won't stick. Put all of the vegetables into the skillet, and pour in about 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar. Turn down the heat, and cover with the pans lid, leaving slightly ajar.

While the veggies are cooking: Squeeze as much liquid out of the yogurt as possible, and place in a bowl. Cut 1/4 of the avocado, and smash well with the yogurt. Add just enough lemon juice as well as lemon zest to taste. Set aside. You may also add lemon zest to the vegetables now, it adds a wonderful under-taste!

Slice the ciabatta roll. Depending on the size, you can cut it just in half, or in fourths, for two sandwiches. Brush each side with olive oil, and sprinkle dried rosemary on top. Place on the grill for 2-3 minutes, each side, to toast.

The vegetables are done when the balsamic vinegar has reduced and the veggies are tender. Spread on end of the Ciabatta bread with the avocado spread, and spoon your veggies and sauce on to your roll. Enjoy!

Not only is this super filling, and tastes great, but only around 400 calories! Sounds like a fantastic lunch or dinner to me!