fruits of summer & news

Hey all, how is your Sunday so far? Mine is pretty lax. I’m currently getting my laundry done and surfing the net and watching some movies. Pretty much a do-nothing day.

So I have a few pieces of exciting news. First is that this Saturday, I am participating in my first 5K! Never in my wildest dream have I imagined that I would want to or even have the capability to do it. If you asked me to do a 5K two years ago, I would’ve laughed and told you that you were crazy. It’s amazing how much you can change over a couple of years span. Anyway, in case you’re curious, I really haven’t done any “training” for the race… I’ve just been doing some intervals on the treadmill — running and then walking patterns. I don’t mind doing them all that much, to be honest. I’m really used to them, so the thought of running for a minute on the treadmill doesn’t freak me out that much. The most I’ve ever run without stopping was 10 min. Yeah, it may not seem like all that long, but it’s A LOT better than what I used to be capable of. I’ve also done 30 min on the treadmill, but I stopped plenty to catch my breath and get some water. Running seems really hard right now, but I know that if I keep at it, I will get better at it.

The second piece of news is that I have a job interview on Thursday! I’ve been out of work for about a month now (which has been one of the things behind my stress eating), but I’m really looking forward to it. I hope I get the position! Working part-time right now has helped, but at the same time, it’s not enough. I need to be able to pay rent, bills, groceries, and all that fun stuff. Knowing that you’re financially stable really has an affect on how you feel about yourself, whether or not you know it. I know that my uncertainty has really turned my attitude towards things in a negative way — even the way I eat. I realized that although you’re told to look at the glass half full, it’s easier said than done. My outlet (other than eating) when I get stressed is working out. I now get pumped full of adrenaline that the only thing I want to think about is releasing that adrenaline by moving somehow. I usually do kickboxing or something with strength training.

Food-wise, things have turned around. I’ve been getting more and more into the fruits of summer. I love strawberries, blueberries, and pretty much any other kind of berry. I put them in almost anything! This morning, I made oatmeal with 3/4c of almond milk, 1/4c of water, and 1/2c of oats. I also added 2 packets of stevia, some cinnamon, and at the end added a small scoop of peanut butter. I don’t know what it is, but I love that combination of nut butter and oats. I crave it sometimes! Anyway, breakfast was delicious. I miss making oats because it takes a little while longer on the stove (we don’t have a microwave). But, in the end, it’s still great and satisfying.

I also love making smoothies and shakes with berries. I’ve been making berry parfaits lately, too.

Berry Parfait

1/2 cup of Plain, non-fat Greek Yogurt

1/4 cup of frozen berries

1/4 cup of fresh berries

1-2 packets of stevia

*1/4 cup of almonds (optional, and can also use walnuts)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

blend yogurt vanilla extract, stevia, and berries until smooth. Place in container and freeze for approximately 30 min. Top with nuts.

So delicious and refreshing!

That’s about all that’s going on with me. I can’t wait to hit the gym tomorrow and begin the week on a positive foot.

Have a great rest of the weekend!

HAVE YOU EVER PARTICIPATED IN A 5K BEFORE?

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Quick update

Hello.

I first want to apologize for the lack of updating in these past weeks. I’ve been preoccupied and distracted since I stopped working full-time. You would think that would give me more time to update, but on the contrary, it hasn’t. I’ve spent day after day job searching, updating my resume, and writing cover letters for job prospectors to see.

I know this doesn’t really sound like a foodie update, but in a way it is. When something stressful occurs in my life, it throws some if not all of my weight loss progress off track. It’s formidable at times, but other times I get right back up and get through it. Knowing that I don’t have the financial stability I once had, I have been buying cheaper yet I’ve still been trying to eat healthily. It’s a constant struggle, but I’ve been trying to go to the gym and work out as much as I can to counterbalance my diet. Overall, I’ve been doing okay, but the stress sometimes gets the best of me and really hurts me more than helps me.

I know some of you can relate to this, which is why I bring it up. It’s so frustrating to lose yourself and lose what you’ve worked on when life throws you the unexpected. I am trying harder than ever to get back on track and if you’re in fact going through this, I encourage you to do the same.

I’ll update more later (with a more positive update, I promise!) , but in case you’re reading, this is what has been going on in my life.

A Chocolate Lover’s Post

Hey! Sorry it’s been a while since my last post. My life has been kind of all-over-the-place and I’ve kind of been back & forth with my diet, to be honest. A lot of it had been eating due to stress and PMSing, but I think I am back on track now after a crazy weekend.

On Saturday, I found some canned pumpkin in my cupboard that I wanted to use up, so I made a pumpkin bread. It came out looking like this:

Looks good, right? It tasted just okay. I think I put too much egg and not enough flour. There’s always room for improvement, right? I’ll be working on it this week, in addition to another recipe I’ll mention later on.

Yesterday, my mom’s family got together and we all went out to brunch. The food was pretty good, and I wanted to make sure I enjoyed myself so I had a little bit of everything, knowing I would get back on track today. They had everything from eggs and Eggs Benedict to chocolate covered strawberries and brownies for dessert. I had the scrambled eggs, steamed broccoli and carrots, and a seafood casserole (which was OUT OF THIS WORLD). I will admit, I had a decaf coffee that I barely drank (after thinking about it, I don’t even know why I ordered it), and I also had a small cranberry muffin, which I seriously have not had in at least a year (sorry, I didn’t take the opportunity to take pictures!).

Ontop of it, we all went back to my mom’s house after and had dessert — cookies, brownies, a yellow cake, and cheesecake! My mom made a sugar-free cake for my grandmother, also, which was delicious! It was basically an angel food cake layered with light cool whip mixed with pineapples (canned) and sugar-free vanilla pudding mix. It’s actually based on a recipe that my great aunt gave my mom for a “world famous” cake that she makes, and my mom substituted it and simplified it. Quite honestly, I can’t really even tell the difference between each recipe all that much (which is a great thing!).

So, after all of the things I ate yesterday, I knew today was going to be a gym day. I just got home a little while ago and had an AMAZING workout. I did the treadmill for 30 min + a 5 min cool down fluctuating my incline from 0.5% to 15% MAX and fluctuating my speed from 3.2 to 4.2 MAX. Trust me, doing a 15% incline at 4.2mph makes you SWEAT. Of course, if you can go faster, by all means do it. I’m JUST starting back up after not really going to the gym consistently, and it feels great. My goal in addition to more gym time is to do some strength training. The equipment at my gym is actually awkward looking, and I haven’t had the chance to ask anyone to “train” me on the machines. If worse comes to worse, I can ask my mom (a personal trainer) what I could do instead.

So, I named this post “chocolate lover’s” because I found a recipe on a blog that I follow (www.onefitfoodie.com) and I wanted to add a few things to make it my own. It’s French Toast made healthy.

Here is the mixture prior to putting it in the blender. This is what I used to dredge the bread (I used one slice of light multi-grain bread, but you can use any kind you like or prefer). It contains:

*1/2 C egg whites
*1/2 tsp vanilla extract
*1/2 scoop of chocolate protein powder
*1 TBSP unsweetened chocolate powder
*1 TBSP cinnamon
*2 packets of Stevia

I put the mixture in my blender and it came out like this:

I then dredged the bread in the mixture and the put it in the frying pan, sprayed with nonstick spray and cooked for about 2 min on each side on medium high heat. I didn’t take a picture, but we all know what French toast looks like, right? It looked like that and tasted chocolately and sweet!

The next question that occured to me was what to do with the remainder of the mixture? Make a chocolate protein crepe, of course!

It came out looking like this. It was as delicious and sweet as it looks, too. Next time, I think I’ll try adding some berries and some cottage cheese for the middle.

For the toast and the egg it came to around 300 cal. Not too shabby, huh?

My mom was nice enough to put together a bag for me yesterday when I left. In the bag (along with some pink lady apples) I found this:

I can’t wait to try it! I am probably going to make some chicken marinated in some Newman’s Garlic salsa this week, so maybe I will make that along with it!

Check out the stats.

Pretty good!

Well friends, I am off to get ready for the rest of the day. I have to do my 60 push ups and I am searching for a rice pudding recipe that I am going to experiment with. So excited!

Also, like I mentioned before, my mom is getting her foot in the door with a new personal training job. If you know anyone who needs a personal trainer and is looking in the Newport area, let me know!

Have a great rest of the day 🙂

Curry sweet potato fries!

Hey there! How’s everyone’s weekend going? It’s a beautiful Saturday here in Rhode Island. It’s around 60’F and I couldn’t ask for better temperatures. Unfortunately, I’ve been struggling with a sinus headache all week that just won’t go away. I just took some Aleve so hopefully it will go away soon. I think that’s my least favorite part about spring — allergies and sinus headaches. Yuck!

Despite my goal for May to give up coffee, I gave in today and bought myself a medium iced from Dunkin’. It was definitely a sign that I should’ve stuck to my guns and avoided it. I think it exasperated my headache even more. After I bought the coffee, though, two things went through my head: (1) I missed drinking it so much (2) I felt bad for getting it, to be honest. Then, I thought about how I gave up sugar and realized that if I could give up sugar, I could give up ANYTHING. With that being said, I will definitely NOT be drinking coffee for the rest of the month. I know my will-power is SO MUCH STRONGER than it was today.

So right now, my kitchen is very aromatic. I am baking one of my favorite snacks: sweet potato fries! I like to make mine with curry powder and garlic powder, but lately I’ve been also adding ground cinnamon to them and the flavor fusion is really great! So, I am currently making them now with the cinnamon. Despite the fact that they take a little while to prepare, they are definitely worth eating! I feel extremely satisfied when I’m done and usually don’t want anything else.

Here is a simple chicken stir-fry that I made. It has:

  • chicken boneless breast tenderloins
  • a bit of broccoli slaw (about 1/2 of the bag)
  • mixed veggies (I used frozen veggies with broccoli, red pepper, onion, and yellow zucchini)
  • fresh spinach
  • 1TBSP of Annie’s Green Garlic dressing
  • 1TBSP of  Annie’s Gingerly dressing
  • Gold’s Wasabi sauce

Simple yet delicious AND satisfying! I love stir-fries for that reason. It’s so easy to add veggies, sauce, and meat and cook it up. I even sometimes take it to work with me after making it that morning. Plus, it is so low in calories!

Now, onto the sweet potatoes…

I first sprayed the pan with some nonstick spray. Some people like to use olive oil flavored, but I like the butter flavor (personally). I then added the NuSalt, garlic powder, curry powder, and cinnamon.

Then, upon washing and scrubbing the sweet potato, I took it and it was ready to slice! Just a warning, if you’re making homemade fries, uncooked sweet potatoes are VERY hard to slice. Sometimes I even have to use all of my body strength for the knife to go through the potato! This one was rather large, though.

Tough. To. Cut.

Here is how they look upon slicing. Of course, after I placed each slice of potato on the baking sheet, I re-sprayed the bare potatoes with some more cooking spray and then added some more curry, cinnamon, garlic powder, and NuSalt.

I pre-heated the oven to 275’F and let it bake for an hour and a half. The slow cooking method is very effective in baking these fries. The flavor lasts longer, and it’s so delicious!

& voila!

If you don’t like curry, you can use basically anything to flavor these. Other options are the traditional Salt & pepper, cinnamon & sugar, etc. I prefer mine with the curry, though! And always feel free to be creative with flavors. At least you’ll know by trying it out, and you may even grow to crave it and want it again someday!

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:

What is/ are your favorite spice(s)? Mine are curry, ginger, basil, and cinnamon.

What other dishes do you use curry in? I usually use it in chicken dishes.

Have you ever made a goal that was hard to accomplish due to temptation?

Welcome!

I write to inspire, engage, motivate, and teach others who are trying to find their ground as they lose weight, as well as hold myself accountable for my own diet.

I am a lover of  veggies, chocolate, cookies, pizza, pasta, and peanut butter (but not all together). Basically, you name it, I probably eat it & like it. Welcome to my blog!

WAY BACK WHEN…

We all have stories because we’re all different. Our experiences, perspectives, and lives are not the same. My story begins way back when. Ever since I could remember, I’ve only known myself as a rather larger girl. I was never into sports or was fast (especially in gym class). I was one of those stereotypical kids that was more or less picked last, and one of those kids that WAS last coming back from running a lap. I would get pained while catching my breath, and I knew that it wasn’t right to feel that way.

However, I didn’t do anything about it to make it better and it continued until I was about thirteen. Although I had seen a nutritionist a couple of years prior, whatever weight I lost with her was already gained back plus more; so I finally put my foot down and told my mother that I wanted to join Weight Watchers. With her consent, I took whatever I made babysitting and invested it in an all-new me. I was over 200 lbs when I joined, and lost 6 lbs within the first week! I was so motivated and excited that I continued watching my POINTS and lost an additional 50 lbs with the program. My lowest weight while in the program (and ever) was 170 lbs. I entered high school feeling confident and healthy, but unfortunately it didn’t last too long. With the stress of school and other things, I lost that spark that kept me going, and eventually ended up gaining some of the weight back.

HIGH SCHOOL

I maintained at around 180 lbs for almost three years. Then, I gradually went from 180 lbs to 190 lbs to eventually to over 200 lbs! At that point, I wasn’t really monitoring what I was eating, and I was getting aggravated when my clothes were fitting differently.  I then got some motivation back, and went back to Weight Watchers a second time, while I was a junior in high school. That time around, I only lost 30 lbs. After I plateaued, I basically gained it back again over the three years afterwards.

Looking back, and whether or not I showed it, I really felt self-conscious in high school. My weight really had an impact on the way I viewed myself and even had an impact on how I interacted socially with others. I would be afraid to talk to several boys that I liked at times because I felt too “fat” and “gross” and it became overall obsessive during my teenage years.

COLLEGE

When I was in my second year of community college, I joined a new diet program and lost 30 lbs on that, also. At that point, I was introduced to exercise via a circuit (similar to the ones at Curves). I noticed that I was gaining muscle, and also learned the difference between muscle weight vs. fat weight. This weight loss program opened my eyes and gave me a new insight on the health benefits of soy and water intake.

After I transferred schools and moved to Canada for college, I maintained the weight for the most part. I was introduced to new foods like Nutella, Coffee Crisp bars, and Ketchup Chips (all of which I love and STILL love, by the way). Although I ate these foods, I only gained about 10 – 15 lbs when I was living there. The home stay where I was living also served homemade Chinese food a good portion of when I was there.  The food was great, but my portion sizes were off. Looking back, I know I ate too much, and eventually that was another factor on how I gained the weight I was there.

Unfortunately, when I got back home I got off track again and ended up gaining all that weight back, but over at least a year’s time. Working in a job with food didn’t help either, but it wasn’t until 2009 that I finally started seeing a nutritionist that changed the way I ate, giving me healthy substitutes and teaching me about the importance of good fats, bad fats, carbs, and the different ways to speed up my metabolism throughout the day by eating smaller meals throughout the day.

 

This is me in the summer of 2009. Wow! I cannot believe I became that heavy! But, I did. I won a contest at work, and I was showing off my gift bag-sket!

This is me in 2007, when I wasn't dieting at all. I liked to wear men's sweatshirts and was around maybe 235 lbs

TODAY

So far, I have lost almost 50lbs since November of 2o09. It’s been a tough weight loss journey, but I have maintained and still lost as opposed to gaining it all back. I feel that as of today, I am in a great spot. I have made many changes to my diet including cutting added sugars out and monitoring the amount of water I put into my body (currently, my goal is 96 fl oz/ daily), not to mention one of my newest goals for the month of May: 60 PUSH-UPS/ WEEK! I am very excited to see how my body will change with this new goal added to my other goals.

This is me in 2010 while we were in California.

Summer, 2011 & loving life. Right before my first 5K!

QUESTION OF THE DAY:

What are your goals for May?