Month: May 2010

23 lbs

23 lbs of lard. This was all in me! Crazy!

So today I found out that I have lost 23 lbs since I started exercising at the beginning of March.  I am now at 290 lbs- having started at 313. I went to the grocery store and took pictures of what 23 lbs looks like.  It is shocking! Just thought I would share this with all of you. Particularly seeing the lard makes me want to try extra hard to get rid of the rest.   It’s just hard to believe all of it was inside me! Amazing!  Thanks for all the support.

Fast Food Pledge

I have mentioned on this blog about  my recent pledge to stop eating fast food.  What I didn’t explain is that I have made a commitment to myself that I will not eat any fast food for the entire summer.  For fast food I am including anything with a drive-up window and any of the national chains (McDonalds, Burger King, Wendys, In N’ Out and even Subway).  I am trying to change the way my body craves things.  I know that some of these places have healthier options but the problem is I seldom make those good choices.  I am weak and this challenge will hopefully make me strong.  I’m not saying I am never going out to eat but if I do it will be a rare sit down event- a special treat.  The one exception to this rule  is frozen yogurt as it is low in calories and delicious.

As I have told others about the challenge some have expressed interest in joining me!  This is very helpful. In fact, my friends Tiffany and Emilee have both agreed. We decided that as a reward for the entire summer we will do something fun like go to Lagoon (an amusement park in Utah that I’ve actually never been too).  It is a difficult challenge- especially for Tiffany as she is an at-home CNA.  It’s often surprising how much fast food we eat.  At least for me, I had no idea how frequently I ate it. By not eating fast food I am helping reduce my caloric, fat, salt and sugar intake.  Plus, I’m eating food that tastes good, made by hand.

In fact, today is a good example of the benefits of this challenge.  A few of my friends and I worked at our home in Alpine on the yard ( I hate that yard!  Its so labor-intensive, but you should have seen it after we were done.  Amazing!).  Following hours of weeding we were all ready for lunch.  In the past I would have gotten Subway but due to the challenge I had to think ahead and purchased everything for a simple grilled (turkey and regular) hot dog lunch with fresh strawberries, water and rice crispy treats (90 calories a treat.  Even though Tiff ate 5!).  It was a yummier, less expensive and healthier meal than fast food .

There are so many examples in the past month and half like today- moments where I would have gotten fast food but instead came up with another solution.  It has been great!  I would like to encourage all of you to join me in the “No Fast Food Pledge”.  The more support I have the better chance that I’ll succeed.  You will be healthier, save money and feel better.  I already can see a difference (even with my fatigue from exercising I can sense an improvement).   If someone can think of a clever way to do it perhaps we can think of some type of incentive for those that complete the challenge.  If you are in Utah you can join us for Lagoon or some place similar.

Good luck and join the challenge!  No fast food!

No More Fast Food!

Healthy Snacking

So I have another healthy living question.  Now that I am not eating fast food occasionally I will find myself hungry while in the car for long stretches.  For instance, yesterday I had a ton of errands that didn’t finish until around 3 pm.  In my previous life I would have gotten some fast food for lunch, but I can’t do that anymore.  Here’s my question- what snack could I have in my car that would be healthy, affordable, not melt, and not need refrigeration? Any ideas? Beef jerky was the best thing I was able to come up with. Thanks in advance for your help.

The Type of Snacks I would have eaten before

Recital

So the recital has come and gone and luckily I was able to get through it.  In fact, I felt good today so I’m not sure what happened yesterday.  Naturally I was nervous for the recital but I went out there and did my best.  One of the things I seem to excel at is the acting.  Its funny because the rehearsals are usually  mediocre but there is something about being on the stage that brings out my best performance every time.  I think it helped that I had worked hard on my Brooklyn voice and had my hair big and puffy Brooklyn style (plus I had a robe, book and tissues to pull off the complete look!).

My teacher said it was the best I’ve ever sang it, and I agree.  There are some mistakes but still it felt great!  The audience laughed and I got lots of positive feedback.  I’m not sure if this video shows the acting well enough but hopefully you will get an idea.  It was a thrilling moment- one of those times when the 15 year old me is bursting with pride.  I have always wanted to be a singer so these rehearsals are particularly exhilarating for me. It’s hard to explain but it means so much.  Thanks everyone for all your support (and please be kind in your critiques!)!

Sick and Worried about Guys and Dolls

So today I woke up with a sore throat.  It’s  a cold with a cough but still not my favorite thing! Everything is a little cloudy so I won’t write long. I just wanted to write this one question to the crowd.  Lately I’ve been doing so well with the exercising and eating right.  Suppose I get sick for a week.  In the past such an event has ruined my attempt to get in shape.  How do each of you stay committed to your fitness regiment while you are recovering from illness? How do you know when you are ready to push yourself and begin exercising again? I am hoping that by resting today and more tomorrow I will be able to exercise Tuesday even if it is for just a little bit.

Tomorrow is my recital that I’ve been working for.  I’m nervous that I won’t be able to perform.  The only thing that I have to hope for is that the song I am singing is Adelaide’s lament  from Guys and Dolls.  This song is perfect because Adelaide is sick when she is singing it.  The song is about how because her man Nathan Detroit won’t commit Adelaide  is getting sick. It is supposed to be done in a squeaky New York accent.  I’m not great at it but I have come a long way.  Here is a recording of me singing the song.  Please be gentle in your critiques.  A few of the notes aren’t perfect but I’m working on it.  One of the hard things about singing is there is so much to concentrate on- pitch, tone, words, acting, diction, vocal dynamics, correct breathing, posture etc.  At least I can honestly say I am improving particularly in my belty tone.

You won’t get the full effect of the performance by just the vocals.  I plan on wearing my fluffy bathrobe and having a box of tissues in my hands.  Plus I always get lots of praise for my acting ability in recitals.  I wish I could preform in a real play again (haven’t been in one since high school) but it hasn’t worked out yet.  The local plays in Utah are so darn competitive and I get super nervous in auditions (although I haven’t done one since high school so perhaps I am better at them now? Who knows?) Let’s just hope I am feeling well enough to be in the recital.  I will update the blog tomorrow to share with you what happens.

Here’s the original broadway version of the song.  Like I said, I know I have a long way to go but I am improving!

Healthy Recipes

So lately I have been exploring healthy eating and stumbled upon 2 recipes that I love .  The thing I love about both these recipes is that they satisfy my cravings in a healthier way.

Pizza

One of my favorite foods is pizza- especially thin New York style pizza.  The best pizza I’ve ever had was in New York at one of the countless pizza places in Manhattan.  It was a thin crust and had ricotta cheese, fresh mozarella, sliced meatballs and fresh basil. Yum! Here is a picture of me with that pizza;

Now I am not saying this recipe is as good as that pizza but it was in the same ball park.  The recipe is a bit time-intensive but worth the effort.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the top, and let stand for about 10 minutes, until foamy.
  2. Stir the olive oil and salt into the yeast mixture, then mix in the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour until dough starts to come together. Tip dough out onto a surface floured with the remaining all-purpose flour, and knead until all of the flour has been absorbed, and the ball of dough becomes smooth, about 10 minutes. Place dough in an oiled bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover loosely with a towel, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. When the dough is doubled, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 2 pieces for 2 thin crust, or leave whole to make one thick crust. Form into a tight ball. Let rise for about 45 minutes, until doubled.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Roll a ball of dough with a rolling pin until it will not stretch any further. Then, drape it over both of your fists, and gently pull the edges outward, while rotating the crust. When the circle has reached the desired size, place on a well oiled pizza pan. Top pizza with your favorite toppings, such as sauce, cheese, meats, or vegetables.
  5. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes (depending on thickness) in the preheated oven, until the crust is crisp and golden at the edges, and cheese is melted on the top
Indoor Smores
The other recipe I have is a simple one that is great for a “healthier” desert.  There are days when I get the craving for something sweet.  This of course creates 2 problems- First, I usually end up eating something unhealthy and second I eat that unhealthy item multiple days in a row.  Because most deserts are made in batches one nights indulgence can turn into a week-long affair!  That is why I have started making these indoor smores when I feel a need for a treat. I can make just one and be done with it!
You can use any chocolate  but I like the lindt dark chocolate bars.  They aren’t too expensive and have interesting flavors such as “touch of sea salt”, “hot chili” and “intense mint”.  One square of chocolate has 3 grams of fat.  One graham cracker split into 2 has 1.5 grams of fat.  The entire desert has around 100 calories.
All you do is
Heat oven to 400
Layer graham cracker, chocolate, marshmellow, cracker
Then wrap entire thing in tin foil and put in oven.
Heat for 6-8 minutes until gooey and yummy.
Like I said, the great thing about this desert is I can make just one.  It’s also easy, comforting, and satisfying.
Give both the recipes a try and let me know what you think!

Families are Hard Work!

When our relatives are at home, we have to think of all their good points or it would be impossible to endure them.  ~George Bernard Shaw

The family.  We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.  ~Erma Bombeck

Families are like fudge – mostly sweet with a few nuts.  ~Author Unknown

The thing about family disasters is that you never have to wait long before the next one puts the previous one into perspective.  ~Robert Brault

If minutes were kept of a family gathering, they would show that “Members not Present” and “Subjects Discussed” were one and the same.  ~Robert Brault

I’d like to start off this post by saying that I am not offended or annoyed with anybody in my family.  However, today I was reading over my General Conference Ensign and marveling at all of the talks about families.  While each talk was inspired in many ways the speakers often seem to be talking about an alternate reality where all children behave, family quarrels never escalate and feelings are never hurt.  I understand that the brethren have to preach the ideal but still it sometimes amazes me.

Families are hard work.  It is hard to mesh personalities, goals, lifestyles, addictions, habits, interests, etc together.  Maybe some families have members that behave, live and believe exactly the same way but in those cases they probably have been translated by now!  Every family’s challenges are unique, just as every family member is unique. It is easy to judge a family and think their life is perfect but trust me we all have issues and stressful situations.

I honestly think one of the hardest things about families is getting everyone to mesh and enjoy one an-others company.  Growing up I often felt like an odd ball in my family because Megan and Ben shared more common interests than I did.  Then Anna came along and I had a family member who saw the world through a similar viewpoint.  I remember feeling her presence in the family was a comfort and relief.  Since then Megan and I have become super close- talking on the phone most days.  She is my strength.  Ben and I, while still very different, have gained a love and respect for each other over the years.

One of the challenges in my family is unifying a group of siblings that spans 20 years.  My parents have done an amazing job gathering all of us whenever possible and encouraging, even forcing us on occasion, to build our relationships.  I can say with pride that I am close to all of my younger siblings and know our relationships will only grow as they get older.

I’ve often wished that as a young woman I had learned a little bit more about how families really work.  We got a lot about the joy of motherhood, temple marriage, eternal families etc (which is great).  Wouldn’t it be even better to occasionally have a lesson on communicating effectively, resolving conflict, budgeting, stress management, and proper listening?   I think my leaders were sometimes afraid to scare us away from having families and getting married; however, I believe such lessons would do the reverse by providing a context for the stressful situations in a family and giving us tools for making things better.  Once you see that a family can be strengthened  and improved it is empowering!

It is also fascinating to see the weird things that family members have in common.  For instance, Ben and I both love the book Lost in the Cosmos by Walker Percy ( a very weird book but love it).  My entire family thinks Patrick McManus and the movie Better off Dead are funny.  We also love philosophy, reading, Letters from a Nut and the Simpsons (A family in Utah liking the Simpsons-scandal!). My mom and I love debating politics (although she’s come over to my side through the years!). Anna and I love indian, thai food, David Archuleta, and going to concerts/plays.  My Dad and I work together and are both workaholics (bad combination!). Megan and I will call each other when we finish any book and report on how we liked it.  We also both love writing and have always been letter/journal writers. Despite our 2 years age difference we have the unique bond of sharing a room growing up, playing for hours together, going to college at the same time and even going through the temple together.  Sam and Madeline both have my love for games and movies (they honestly see every movie!).  I could go on and on.

I love my family.  As a single person some may think I do not have one but despite living far away my family is involved in my daily life.  I really do talk to Anna, Megan, Mom and Dad almost every day.  They give me guidance, comfort, friendship and most importantly love.  The best thing about my family is that we are open with each other and constantly have intelligent, interesting discourse.  I know I matter to the world because I matter to my family.  Living a single life it can feel like everything is very transient- friendships fade, careers transition, apartments change; but, when I send a card to my nieces or help Sammy with a problem at school I know that I matter and that I am loved.  As crazy as my family can be, I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Exercising My Life Update 1

I promised I would give regular updates on how my exercise quest is going.  So here goes.  I have been doing very well.  For the last few weeks (since the beginning of March) I have been exercising regularly and watching what I eat.  The last month I stepped it up a notch and have been exercising every day.  For a while I tried three times a week but then I found myself making excuses and only doing two sessions.  It has been hard and exhausting.  Every day around 3 pm I am exhausted and need to take a nap (that comes from a normally non-nap taker!).  Luckily I have the support of my employer (my dad) and a job that is flexible enough to allow short naps (20 minutes).  I am hopeful that the longer I keep it up the less tired I will feel.  Hopefully someday I will feel energized from exercising.  Right now my body is fighting it hard!

Each week I have seen consistent improvement until this week when I actually gained a pound 😦  I know there are variations in water weight and that increased muscle mass makes a difference but it was discouraging at first.  Part of the gain might be that I had 2 ear infections last week and only exercised 3 times.  Still, I was proud of myself because usually I use getting sick as an excuse to eat comfort food, which I did not do.

There have been many subtle changes like that.  I have been keeping a food log and here are some of my comments.

04/29/10

” I’m beginning to think I shouldn’t go out in public.  Too much to tempt me!  Everywhere I go there is food and my little brain thinks of every excuse to get some.  Today staying inside and kind of doing a fast to get back on track.  I can do this”

05/02/10

“Today I decided to take a sick day because I still feel exhausted from the last few days.  Between the infections, lack of sleep and hard work I just am tuckered out…At least I tried to not go overboard on the whole being sick comfort food thing.  So I found out that Thai food is super bad for you.  I was shocked because nothing is deep fried and it seems kind of healthy.  Not so much…Learn something new on this quest every day!”

05/03/10

“Lately I’ve been craving steak but its so expensive and not good for me….It is so hard to resist the craving but getting easier with every right decision. Today I did 27 minutes on the bike and my heart rate went up to 151.”

05/04/10

“Today I feel like I could sleep all day.  When will I get more energy? It seems like it will never come.  I think I will exercise tonight while watching Dancing with the Stars.  Determined to eat well today!’

05/05/10

“Today I exercised for a half hour and burned 175 calories.  I’m still super tired especially around 4 pm but am going to get an iron supplement.  Hopefully that will help.  I ate good today.  I made one of my favorite dishes, crepes, but instead of white flour I used buckwheat flour and eliminated the butter. They were surprisingly tasty! … I got a new quote today that inspires me “you have to want to be skinny more than you want the bad foods”.  I put that on my fridge. Hopefully it will motivate me to continue to make good choices.”

05/06/10

‘Last night I got super hungry and had a midnight snack I should not have.  I am feeling the result today.  Next week I will have no food after 9. Moving onward!”

05/09/10

“Today made pancakes with buckwheat flour and eliminated the butter on top and in the recipe.  Still mighty tasty! Tonight at Grandma’s will be an interesting test of my self control…”

05/10/10

“Today I exercised hard (190 calories on the bike and did weights) and was tempted to go to fast food rationalizing that “Subway was the healthy way…”  Resisted and was glad I did.  I’ve got to fight those cravings.  It is 5 and don’t feel as tired.  Maybe getting more used to exercise (hopefully!) and maybe the iron pills are helping?

Yesterday we had Mothers Day meal at grandmas.  Did pretty well….Only had  a small serving of mashed potatoes (they were so good!).  The victory of the night was leaving before the pie was made.   It was my favorite- lemon meringue.  There are some things I know I can’t have just one bite of and lemon meringue pie is one of them!”

As you can see there have been some small set backs, but I am proud that I have not eaten fast food in close to a month.  I have gone out a couple of times but I’ve tried to limit it and to select healthy when I do.  I am exercising nearly every day and trying to keep my spirits up and my motivation high.  Thank you to everyone for all your love and support.  Will update again soon.  Hopefully this time with more weight loss! Any tips you can give on having more energy (not being so tired from exercising) would be appreciated. Keep me in your prayers. I need all the help I can get.

Collages

I love making collages of photos.  I am lucky to have many amazing photographers in my family and therefore have tons of great photographs at my disposal.  Using the free program Picassa I can make collages at my little hearts content.  You can even take the collages and go on snapfish.com and turn them into mugs, mousepads, posters and books.  It’s so cool!  Here are some of my latest works of art.