Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Weight Loss and the Green Eyed Monster

As Halloween approaches and children search for the perfect costume the only monsters and goblins in sight should be the ones preparing for trick-or-treating night.  Unfortunately, this weekend while visiting with my family my weight loss was met head on by a monster... a green eyed monster! And you can call her Jealousy.

 My weight loss struggles have been very public and private battles that have left me at times feeling unpretty, unworthy, and invisible.  The inches and pounds almost mirror the pain and disappointment I've experienced over the past 20 or more years.  The ability of this family member to make my success and obvious happiness a competition about herself, suggesting I am somehow leaving her to hold the "fat crown" is one of the most jealous and insecure things I've seen her do thus far.  And boy have I seen her do plenty!

After surfing the net I realized that I'm not the only person with this very real and hurtful problem.  These same sentiments are echoed regarding co-workers and good friends.  When the perpetrator is a relative or a sister it takes on another meaning.  

Here is the skinny on what happened:

My sister hadn't seen me since I lost 46 pounds and we shared an awkward exchange at my niece's birthday party in which we got caught up on current events.  As other relatives poured into the building, one aunt in particular could barely speak before she gave me many accolades and acknowledged my weight loss.  My sister quickly jumped on the band wagon and said she knew something was different but didn't want to mention sister...didn't want to mention it? I was approximately 240lbs the last time she saw me and that day I was 205lbs!
Later at my parents house my sister told me that she didn't like how my face looks now and that it looks better the other way.  I didn't understand her or maybe I didn't want to believe what she was saying so I sought clarification. "So you want to see me with chubby need me to be chubby?"  She replied yes.

The next day she told me that my neck looked too skinny and that I "look like one of those people".  Growing short on patience I didn't indulge..
She informed me that the game was on now and that I won't be the only one losing weight.  She badgered my nine year old until she told her my workout routine and later I heard of a troubling conversation she had with my teenager at the party.  She told my daughter that I think that I'm jazzy but she is the cute one.

All these comments initially seemed mean and cruel but for where I am in my life now they are benign and I am unaffected. Unfortunately, most people on their weight loss journey are still somewhat fragile.  As I make my journey to become Happy Beyond Fit and discover more about myself I realize even more about the world and the people around me.  My sister's jealousy has nothing to do with me.  She feels as though she should be in front or ahead of me because of her own insecurities. My shortcomings have always been on display which made my shoulders easy to stand on to feel tall...especially when I felt unworthy myself and laid out a welcome mat.

Things I know are true:
  1. My sister loves me
  2. No one is perfect
  3. If we are good students of life, we evolve to increasing levels of self awareness as we mature
  4. Jealousy is always about the jealous person...not the target
  5. I love my sister
  6. My sister wants to see me healthy and alive and around to raise my children
  7. My sister has my full support if she chooses to embark on her own journey to become Happy Beyond Fit
  8. We don't choose our family but we can choose how we love them
  9. Forgiveness is an honest but selfish act, if you are wise
  10. I looked back over the pictures from the weekend and my sister is right...I am looking pretty jazzy these days!

Have you given the Green Eyed Monster in your life a hug today?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Breaking Traditions

I have not been blogging over the past few days because the family and I took a trek up north to my hometown for my niece's 13th birthday party. In the course of my travels for work, education, and pleasure I've had the distinct opportunity of being inside many buildings and many walls.  I've witnessed how others live, eat, celebrate, and love. I've observed their traditions!

I come from a large family with many traditions. 

Some are wonderful like...
My parents home on a crisp fall evening!

My mother's china cabinet!

Childhood cozy wood burning fireplace.

Church on Sunday morning.

Praying at the alter...beyond a honor.

 Then there are some traditions that are tempting and satisfying but not good for you like:
Mom's apple cobbler!

...macaroni and cheese

...fried chicken wings

...fried lake perch

These traditions, good and bad, go hand in hand when I go home.  The trick is to learn how to keep the good things and make the bad  things better. 

This YouTube video is called Soul Food is Killing Black People.  It is set to music and definitely a dramatic telling of the effect that eating soul food can have on your life.  While the video is entertaining it does have some value because it addresses real issues like diabetes and high cholesterol. I disagree with the premise of the video.  I don't believe that eating soul food is killing us instead I believe that our choices are what gets us into trouble. There are ways to eat and enjoy our traditional foods without the high calorie and high sodium content we have accustomed to.

Breaking Traditions...

Here are a few Healthy Alternatives that are from the American Heart Association:
Healthy Soul Food Cook Book

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Serves 12; 3-inch square plus 1 heaping tablespoon topping per serving
Cooking spray
1 20-ounce can pineapple tidbits in their own juice, undrained
12 maraschino cherries
1/2 cup fat-free caramel topping
1 18.25-ounce package yellow cake mix
3/4 cup egg substitute
1 4-ounce jar baby food puréed apricots with pears and apples
1 cup frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed in refrigerator
2 tablespoons fat-free caramel topping
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Drain the pineapple, reserving 3/4 cup juice. Pat the pineapple dry with paper towels. Drain the cherries. Cut in half. Pat dry with paper towels. Drizzle 1/2 cup caramel topping in the pan. Cover the bottom with the pineapple. Evenly arrange the cherries with the cut sides up over the pineapple.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cake mix, egg substitute, baby food, and reserved pineapple juice. Using an electric mixer, beat according to the package directions. Gently spoon the batter over the fruit, lightly smoothing the top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Run a spatula around the edges of the cake to loosen it. Invert onto a large flat platter. Let cool for at least 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the whipped topping and remaining 2 tablespoons caramel topping. Spoon onto the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Nutrients per serving: calories, 275; total fat, 3.0 g; saturated fat, 1.0 g; trans fat, 0.0 g; polyunsaturated fat, 0.0 g; monounsaturated fat, 1.0 g; cholesterol, 0 mg; sodium, 357 mg; carbohydrates, 59 g; fiber, 1 g; sugars, 37 g; protein, 4 g

Curried Pork and Sweet Potato Stew

Serves 4; 1 1/2 cups per serving
Cooking spray
3/4 to 1 pound lean boneless top loin pork roast, all visible fat discarded, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 medium sweet potatoes (10 to 13 ounces each), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 medium carrots, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
1 large parsnip, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 14.5-ounce can fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water
2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro
Lightly spray a Dutch oven with cooking spray. Cook the pork, onion, and garlic over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until the pork is lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnip. Sprinkle with the curry powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Pour in the broth and stir. Increase the heat to high, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
Put the cornstarch in a cup. Add the water, stirring to dissolve. Stir into the stew. Stir in the cilantro. Increase the heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes, or until boiling and slightly thickened, stirring frequently.
Nutrients per Serving: calories, 327; total fat, 5.0 g; saturated fat, 1.5 g; trans fat, 0.0 g; polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 g; monounsaturated fat, 2.5 g; cholesterol, 50 mg; sodium, 258 mg; carbohydrates, 46 g; fiber, 9 g; sugars15 g; protein, 24 g

Chicken with Peach Glaze

Serves 4; 3 ounces chicken and 1/2 cup peach topping per serving
1 15-ounce can sliced peaches in fruit juice
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup all-fruit peach spread
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 4 ounces each), all visible fat discarded
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon snipped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
Drain the peaches, reserving 1/4 cup juice. Set the peaches aside and pour the juice into a small bowl. Add the orange juice and cornstarch to the peach juice, whisking until the cornstarch is dissolved. Whisk in the jam and orange zest. Set aside.
Put a chicken breast half with the smooth side up between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap. Using the smooth side of a meat mallet or a heavy pan, lightly flatten the breast to a thickness of about 1/4 inch, being careful not to tear the meat. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour, parsley, garlic powder, paprika, and salt. Sprinkle over both sides of the chicken. Using your fingertips, gently press the mixture so it adheres to the chicken.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the chicken for 4 minutes on each side, or until no longer pink in the center. Remove the skillet from the heat, reducing the heat to medium low. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Set aside.
Immediately pour the reserved peach juice mixture into the skillet. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until thickened, stirring constantly. Add the reserved peaches, stirring until combined. Return the chicken to the skillet. Spoon the peach sauce and peaches over the chicken. Heat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the chicken and peaches are heated through.
Nutrients per Serving: calories, 320; total fat, 4.0 g; saturated fat, 0.5 g; trans fat, 0.0 g; polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 g; monounsaturated fat,2.0 g; cholesterol, 66 mg; sodium, 164 mg; carbohydrates, 42 g; fiber, 1 g; sugars, 28 g: protein,27 g

Rich and Creamy Mac and Cheese

Serves 4; 1/2 cup per serving
4 ounces dried elbow macaroni
4 slices low-fat American cheese, about 3/4 ounce each
1/3 cup fat-free milk
2 tablespoons light tub margarine
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (lowest sodium available)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon red hot-pepper sauce
In a large saucepan, prepare the macaroni using the package directions, omitting the salt and oil. Drain well in a colander. Return to the pan. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring until the cheese melts. Cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes to continue to thicken.
Nutrients per Serving: calories, 173; total fat, 3.5 g; saturated fat, 0.5 g; polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 g; monounsaturated fat, 1.5 g; cholesterol, 5 mg; sodium, 344 mg; carbohydrates, 24 g; dietary fiber, 1 g; sugars, 3 g; protein, 9 g

Some additional tips for healthier cooking and eating:
  1. Portion control
  2. Substitute smoked turkey for salt pork and neck bones
  3. Use low fat cheese products
  4. Drink plenty of water
  5. Pass on seconds
  6. Pass on desserts
  7. Pass on alcohol beverages
  8. Pass on bread
  9. Eat plenty of lean meat--protein
  10. Eat vegetables

So here is what I did...

I ate all my vegetables....

I watched my portion sizes....

I drank plenty of water....

 I left feeling satisfied after having some of the traditional flavors that I grew up with but I didn't have to unbutton my pants or take a nap afterwards!

Wow traditions can be broken!

Oh and about my niece's birthday party....pretty AWESOME...Justin Bieber even stopped by!

I hope my niece had a Happy Beyond Fit Birthday!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Skinny Sister...

Yes I have a skinny sister...and yes she has a fabulous figure and loves to work out!


We are not the Brady's!!!!!
There is no Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!...only support and encouragement from this sisterly relationship.

My skinny sister has never reminded me that I was fat...even when my mother did...especially when the world did.  She has been my traveling buddy and my confidant...and as I have embarked on this journey to become Happy Beyond Fit...she has been my loudest cheerleader!

 As the weight, now slowly, continues to fall off I wonder if I will ever fit into my sister's skinny jeans?
Figuratively...of course!

When I look at my sister and her physical make-up it makes me wonder if there is a fat gene?  Our father is in his late sixties and has always had an athletic build but he has always been very active.  My sister and her daughter have a similar athletic build but my sister is a runner and works hard at keeping her body fit even through illness.  My other sister is average size but me ..oh boy.  251...that was the fatal number.

You can watch this video and see what you believe but here are a few things that I believe are true:
  1. The is an undeniable genetic link to obesity
  2. Environmental issues impact weight also
  3. You don't have to stay overweight
  4. Exercise and eating right don't always guarantee a healthy weight
  5. Self awareness coupled with healthy food choices and portions along with exercise will lead you on the path to becoming Happy Beyond Fit!
So while I may never be able to fit into my skinny sister's jeans I know that she will be there encouraging me along the way. 

Even when I eat a half box of Dots....
...she reminds me that I am only human!

When I hadn't seen her in about 6 weeks and had lost the first 30lbs she used words like...

So Skinny Sister Thanks for the encouragement and Thanks for going on my journey with me!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Another Manic Monday...

It's just another manic Monday...I wish it was Sunday...'Cause that's my funday...My I don't have to runday...AND THE MUSIC STOPS....
My alarm clock goes off at 5:30 am and the rat race begins.
Do some early morning stretching, get the girls on their way, walk Lewey and off I go to work.
Very productive day at work then the bell rings and the real job begins with the girls: homework, ballet and hip hop.

I couldn't resist the opportunity to insert a picture of my beautiful girl in her recital attire!
Finally made it home and now the big question...What's for dinner?

Well I had taken down some ground beef the night before and in the back of the pantry there was a box of Beef Stroganoff.  Unfortunately, the nutritional facts on the back of the box left something to be desired.  What you gained in convenience the recipe doubled in sodium content, sugar, and carbs per serving.  Let's not even talk MSG!  So I figure there must be a healthy alternative to these convenient meals and flavors that Americans have grown up on and grown to rely on for quick meal choices.

I found the following recipe from a website that copies flavors of popular recipes but puts a healthy spin on them:

Hamburger Helper Beef Stroganoff

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

1 pound of ground beef

1 packet of Lipton beefy onion soup mix

4 1/2 cups of water

1 pound of bow tie pasta 

1 can of mushroom soup (if you want)

1/2 – 3/4 cup sour cream

Brown the ground beef and then drain off fat in a large skillet that has a lid. Add the onion soup mix and water and mushroom soup mix (if you want). Mix well and bring to a boil. Add the Bow Tie pasta and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium high and cover. Cook for 10-12 minutes. Take off heat and gently stir in the sour cream. Enjoy this quick and delicious version and you won’t go back to the box.
If you would like to make more of a meal out of this, add some fresh broccoli or other vegetables. If you want a cheesy dish use a cheese instead of the sour cream. Throw in some diced tomatoes and really enjoy something nice!

The website didn't list the nutritional information but it has to be healthier than boxed Beef Stroganoff!

So the next time you are having Another Manic Monday...stop..breath...and make a healthier food choice.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Did You Walk 5 Miles This Week?

This morning I got up early to hit the trail for my walk/jog/run fitness routine.

I got my favorite pal and best work out buddy Lewey and headed out the door.
Sadly, my baby Lewey wasn't in the mood for working out with me today...
So I headed on my way to the park by myself....

The park where I walk is absolutely beautiful...especially in the fall!

This morning I get to connect with nature without any disturbances...

1.25 miles and counting....

The Autumn foliage is so pretty I had to get a close-up!

I haven't played soccer in years...maybe I'll bring the girls to the park with me the next time...

Or we could pick up a game of Golf Frisbee!

1.50 mile finish but I'm not done... around again!
Now that I've made the choice to be more active I can't believe how many wonderful resources were right around the corner the whole time!

There is even an area to stretch for warm ups and cooling down.

So are you going to walk 5 miles this week?  I already walked 4 miles today...and I will do it tomorrow and the next day all the way until I find my Happy Beyond Fit!

I missed Lewey but I made a new friend along the way?

Until next time....