The Weekend Cook

I like to cook up most of our meals on the weekend.  We moved into a new home in August, so I am still getting use to the kitchen.  I’ve felt a little out of sync.  This is how things look in my frig when I’m on it.  Also, studies show that the best way to stay on a diet is if you plan ahead.

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Tip of the day

Apparently grape juice prevents stomach flu.  Drinking a few sips a day between January and March is suppose to do it.  I’ll let you know if it works for us.  Half of the city I live in is sick with colds and flu currently.  The YMCA canceled a health expo because of such. 😦

Food Portioning

Smaller portions of food are easier for my husband Jim, to handle since he is disabled and has trouble holding onto large casserole dishes.  I found he was bypassing my cooked meals in the casseroles for a protein bar or anything handy because of such.

Portioning is also ideal for lunches on the go and dieting in general.

Some of the things I do with the “lunch tray”  container is pan seared chicken breasts with asparagus and sweet potato wedges.  I also sauteed spinach in olive oil with garlic and onion and added that in the last section.

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The sweet potatoes are so easy.  Just put on a greased cookie sheet and spray with oil.  Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

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If you are doing the “Six Meals a Day” plan, low fat cottage cheese with 4 Melba Toast crackers is a good mid morning or afternoon snack.  Yogurt with fruit is too.    So much easier in the morning rush to grab an individual container of such instead of the larger container and then have to portion it out for the day.

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This is a great and quick way to prepare chicken breasts for lunch.  Sear them with a tiny bit of olive oil and your favorite seasonings.  I prepared my salads last night so they are ready along with the boiled eggs.  A standard for daily lunch.

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What is better than spinach to top it off.  I fixed mine quickly with onions, garlic and olive oil.

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Station Break…My Favorite Things

I always crave tacos with Old El Paso “Medium” taco sauce.  They have to have heated crunchy shell, taco flavored ground chuck (Old El Paso taco seasoning).  A few spinach leaves and shredded cheddar.  This isn’t a diet food item, just love them.  Don’t deprive yourself of things you crave.  This is mine.  Had some on Saturday.

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Hope you have a great work week!  See you online!

Salads to Go

One of the best gadgets for creating fresh crisp salads , is the Salad Spinner.  After soaking and rinsing the lettuce, just put the torn leaves into the Spinner basket and with a few hard presses, centrifugal force pulls the water away from the leaves.  I fill it just half way with lettuce and do this twice for each half basket full.

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In the past I would combine the salad for the week in a big bowl minus the dressing.

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Now I have a better way…

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It’s salad in a jar.  Very easy to create.  After cleaning and chopping all of the veggies, fruit, etc., just assemble.  Dressing goes in first then all of the wet produce (tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, berries).  Follow that with lettuce, and other leafy greens.  Make sure it’s stuffed not allowing for air, then seal Mason jar with lid.

I like to have boiled eggs handy to throw into a lunch along with the salad jar and some yogurt.  It’s fast and helps me get my 3 cups of raw veggies in each day.

The jars keep for a good week – sometimes up to 10 days.  These salad jars have Romaine and Butter lettuce with cucumbers, green peppers, tomatoes, olives and a Ranch dressing.

Try it and then circle back and tell me your favorite salad combo.

Have a great day and make it count!

How to Rock 2018

How to Rock 2018

I just came back from a three year exercise/diet  hiatus.  I won’t bore you with the details as to why, but I’m older and heavier which makes it harder to get back into an exercise routine.  I started running because I wanted to run a half marathon before I turned 50.  Since then I’ve finished six half’s and one full marathon.  My last race was in the fall of 2013.

So this is going to be my comeback.

Scenic Road In A Forest

I’ve signed on to Noom to help with a diet to lose the weight and get an exercise plan.  Also pulling up some good recipes and plans from past.

Maybe a little too ambitious but I’m signing up for the Shape Half Marathon in New York’s Central Park on April 14.    #WomenRunTheWorld #BigMotivation

So here’s my plan:

Stay Hydrated…

  • 64 ounces of water each day.

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Diet:

  • 1200 calorie diet – low sugar, salt and fat from all food groups.
  • Enlisted help of Noom.
  • Follow 6 small meals each day.
  • Cook everything on  weekend and prepare lunches for the week.

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Exercise:

  • Start off with 3 mile walks and some core strengthening exercises.
  • Build up to light jogs.
  • Increase strength training and intensity over time.
  • Warm up and cool down.
  • Stretching

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Psychology:

  • Create a video in my  mind of what it will be like to be fit again.
  • Get great music on tap to listen to during such.

There’s more to the plan but this is just to get me started.

 

Would You Run Carrying Websters Dictionary?

With 11 pounds down, I am now past half way point for weight loss goal.  Soon my running will be a lot easier not carrying this around with me…

Granted this is 16 pounds of weight not 20, but I am only 5 pounds away from this.  These weights are heaving.  In fact, if I ran with one in hand I wouldn’t go very far (partly because of the mental negative image of running with them).    Here’s Webster’s Dictionary.  It weighs 14.5 pounds – just 3.5 more pounds than what I’ve already lost.  Who would want to run with that book???

We don’t realize how hard it is on our bodies to carry more weight than what’s considered normal.   My running is improving too.

It’s hard to believe May is almost over – three weeks till official start of marathon training.  I’ll be ready!

Fighting Through To Power Up For Fall Marathon

It’s day 11 and still going strong with new diet and exercise plan.  No picnic though.  Tough schedules, banquet food, stress and long days at the office can easily throw me off track if not prepared with back up plan.  So far – I’m winning that battle but really struggle to stay on top.  The alternative…fall off and settle for what I carry in body weight then try to train for marathon with such.  That isn’t an option for me.  So I sacrifice now for future goals.

Yesterday I checked in with my friend Stephanie at Diet Center and had another body fat test.  Here’s what it showed after 10 days:

Weight Fat Lbs Fat % Lean Lbs Lean Loss RMR TCER
Goal 140 28 20 112 0 1750 2300
16-Apr 165.3 53.5 32.3 111.8 0 1647 2215
26-Apr 163.5 48.8 29.8 114.7 -3 1678 2250

I lost 4.7 pounds from fat.  I gained 2.9 pounds  of lean tissue (muscle hopefully) which shifted my body fat percentage down by 2.5%.  My overall weight loss remains at just shy of 2 pounds.  Resting metabolic rate is up 31 calories and total caloric energy rate up by 35 calories too.

Overall in the 10 days I’ve also lost a total of 8.5 inches from neck to calves.  At the end of my weight loss phase from 1994 I lost a total of 45 inches.  Therefore, in 10 days I trimmed off almost 20% of what could be my total loss of inches in the end.

It’s all good and the momentum is building.  Those who know me also know I’m hell on charting data.  So of course I had to chart these numbers too.  See below.

Power to the She – Weight Loss Game On!

No messing around with this anymore.  Yesterday I re-enlisted with Diet Center to lose the pounds that continue to slow me down – running and in daily life.  I have had some things going on with blood sugar, hormones and a case of fooling myself about what I am eating, so I felt  it was time to jump in and get some help from a professional.

This is the place that helped me shed the weight I gained (35 pounds) after I quit smoking so many years ago and then again after I had Alex.  I kept it off for almost 2 decades.  However, the last 4 years it has slowly started to creep back on even though I felt like my eating hadn’t changed.  I’ve tried several things on my own but now am surrendering to what I consider the ultimate weapon – Diet Center.

I need to relearn how to eat properly…what my body needs and how much as well as how often.

I’m committed to seeing this through.  I’m tired of pounding the pavement and feeling like I can’t run faster or more without injuring myself because of my age and size.  My breathing is impacted too.  Who am I kidding.  I remember that breathless feeling when I was in the last months of pregnancy.  Not that I am feeling that big, but that weight does play a factor in such.

The first thing they do at DC is run a body fat analysis.  Okay, here are the painful stats:

Present Weight:  165   Goal:   140  

Fat Pounds: 53

Present  Fat %: 32    Goal: 20%

Present Lean Wt: 111

In January of 1994, when I paid my very first visit to DC my weight was 169 and my body fat was 34%.  After 4 hard fought months in which I traveled a lot, my weight was 137 and body fat was 18%.  I rarely ate out during that period, had no alcohol 😦 (all for the cause), exercised regularly and followed the plan to the T.  I used such a small amount of oil when I cooked (mainly olive oil) that a bottle lasted me a couple of months back then.  I’ve since been using more with seasonings that were higher in sodium than I realized.

They recheck body composition at least once per month.  To be sure you aren’t losing lean.

They also take measurements and then retake them each month.

My diet consists of:

1200 calories, 2 starches, 5 vegetables, 2 fruits, 8 protein, 3 dairy and 2 fats.  I was fooling myself with how I was eating before and realized it once she re-educated me on portions and the art of reading labels and judging the ratios of how many carbs per fat grams, sugar, proteins, etc.  What causes something to be a dairy and not a protein, etc.  Also, I had forgotten about the hidden sodium in even the smallest things.

Water: I drink a lot of water and never forgot about that essential to good dieting.  One of the many helpful tips my friend and coach Pat offered, is to drink a full glass of water before a meal – it helps to give you a full feeling.  “Thanks Pat!” 🙂

Exercise goes hand in hand with the diet too.  I’ve committed to running/walking 3 miles per day for 5 days per week.  Today, I’m going out at lunch.  All of this goes into the equation and all I have to do is follow it.  Learning along the way so I continue my good habits after each phase of the diet.

There is so much more and I’ll share along the way.  Ultimately, I just want to fit back into my closet full of clothes and be able to run like the wind come June when my training begins for the full marathon that I am running in October.  I have to admit I get scared thinking about that.  I am going to get a stress test too before that to rule out any hidden heart issues that could surface under that kind of stress and strain.  That is one of the reasons you hear of people that collapse and die after or during a race.  They had a condition they weren’t aware of before.

A recent study mentioned in Time Magazine (click here for full article)  found that many of those who had heart attacks during long distance races had thickened heart walls, or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, in which the heart muscle becomes enlarged and less flexible, making it harder to pump blood efficiently. And because marathon runners tend to be older, many also had atherosclerosis, or buildup of plaques within their heart vessel walls, which can also impede blood flow.  Heart issues don’t run in my family – fortunately.  So I will be surprised if anything like that is an issue.  However, I am not chancing it.  Getting checked before training starts and everyone considering a marathon should do the same – especially those over 40 (or 50 like me).

There are other things that put a body at risk  – like conditioning and weight.  I want to cut out all of those risks.  So between my coach Pat and DC friend Stephanie, I will be successful.

My first challenge is a banquet I’m attending Friday night.  I’m going to call and request a special salad plate (lettuce, vegies, no cheese, no dressing and no croutons either – bringing my own dressing).  Also asking for grilled chicken on salad too.

*A little trick Stephanie showed me was to put 2 tablespoons of light dressing in a shaker and add either balsamic vinegar or water and shake it up – makes your dressing go further.

Easing Into a New Way of Life…

Well, I finished reading Jillian Michael’s “Master Your Metabolism.”

Man, she is hell on whole foods and grains  and a chemical free environment.   I have never entertained the idea of going organic and really didn’t care what I cleaned with as long as it did the job…not to mention those chemicals and such used in the yard.

 

 

She says its everything — all of that stuff that has caused a change in our hormones that make up our metabolism.  It’s a complex issue and the solution is not going to be an overnight change.

Organic to me has meant – worms in the produce, expensive options as well as inconvenient and products that don’t  get the job done.

I always have to process things a bit.  Then revisit some of the information.  I also looked some things up online too.  Well, tonight I had my first grass-fed beef – KC Strip.  Wow!  It was delicious.  Also, a lot more tender than the corn-fed beef.  These steaks were from Hy Vee and they were about $6.00 each.  Also, picked up items to follow her diet and some were – organic too.  I’m just wading into this.  Not saying yet that I’m going all the way with it, but I have to say she makes a lot of sense.  Of course all of this goes hand in hand with exercise.

She suggests you go through your pantry, frig, etc. and throw out all the bad stuff.

I’m not going to do that – overwhelming, for sure.  We are just going to do a little here and there and eventually if all goes well, we’ll end up where we need to be.  It’s very exhausting though.  Some things she says are big offenders, are things I’ve been using for my entire life, like Sweet N Low artificial sweetener.  She says your better off using real sugar just not much of it.  Also, real butter not margarine.  The list is extremely long.  Her diet isn’t as complex and it is a combination of whole foods from all food groups.  To get you started she gives you some easy options.

Will keep you posted…I never thought I’d be eating organic food.  I have to say though what I’ve tasted so far is a lot better than I ever expected.

Now back to the NYC Marathon.   See you in the morning @ 7 am