Food! And Holidays

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Growing up I had an Italian-American Grandfather, and two Polish-American Grandparents on my dad’s side.  Holiday’s were about church and FOOD.  Christmas may have belonged to my Italian Grandfather, but Easter, that belonged to my Polish Grandmother.

Kielbasa, Pierogis, Ham, Golabki, and on and on until you are really full.  Oh, and then candy, you cannot forget the candy.

My grandparents are all gone now, and if you have read any of my earlier posts, you know I am not exactly a chef.  I do try to carry on some traditions.  Right now my girls are grown and on their own, and I do not have any Grandchildren yet, so Easter is a quiet holiday for us.  I decided this year to make Easter dinner.  This is not the first time I have made Easter dinner, but today I am thinking about the foods of my childhood.  I am on a diet, so any excuse to think about food seems reasonable.

I cannot make the labor intensive foods like pierogis and golabki, but I can make a ham, and grill up some kielbasa.  Also, deviled eggs were always around on this holiday, guess they needed to do something with all of those dyed eggs, and they are easy enough to make.

I see a Monday morning workout in my future.  I intend to enjoy every nostalgic bite.  Maybe even a peanut butter egg for dessert.

Happy Easter!

Wine

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On this journey, I have enlisted the help of Weight Watchers.  It seems like a reasonable way to get help.  All it asks you to do is pay attention to what you eat and exercise.  Since this is what I am trying to do, and the online price has come down considerably, I am giving it a try.  (PS – I am not paid by them, although maybe I could be?).

Anyway, wine is four points for five ounces; you get about 30-points a day.  Who only drinks five ounces of wine? No, that is not okay.  In addition to the points per day, you get weekly points.  Having points for wine helps you realize that drinking wine every day is probably bad.  So, you need to figure out how you use those weekly points, just for wine, maybe, four days a week.

I have to do math for this, I do not like math.  Thankfully!  Weight Watchers has a calculator that does math for you!  If I keep my food to the daily points, I can use my weekly to consume wine!  Want to know the truth?  I came up with this as I am writing this, and it is brilliant!  Enough exclamation points, I will calm down now.

This is important, so let’s do the math now to figure out the wine.  Four days a week, and you get 42-weekly points.  This is not a whole number, so let’s use 40 points, four days a week for wine.  That is 10-points per day, and two points left over for like a Hershey Kiss or something.

Five ounces of wine is four points, ten points a day, four days a week is 12.5 ounces of wine, four days a week!   That seems reasonable, right?  Geez.  That actually sounds like a lot.  Guess I am going to survive this weight loss thing after all :).

Down eight pounds so far.  Have a great week everyone!

Feed Me Seymore

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Here I am again, thinking about all of the healthy meals I could prepare and eat to help me lose weight.  However, I HATE cooking.  To lose weight, I need to eat well and exercise.  The exercise, no problem.  Eating well, that is the hard part.  Not because healthy options are not available, but because healthy options require prep.

I know that whining about cooking is ridiculous.  But, I want you to think of the thing that you like doing the least, more than anything else. That is how much I dislike cooking.

There are a lot of prepared low-calorie foods available.  However, these foods do not satiate.  Also, I have Celiac disease, so many of these foods are off limits to me anyway.  This leaves me with whole food, requiring prep option.  This is the best way to eat, right?

Any suggestions for a good ingredients list out there that is healthy and easy to use to prepare meals?  What should I keep in my kitchen that I can throw together for a quick, healthy meal or snack?  You should know for the record that salads make me sad sometimes, so I do not want to eat just salads.  Whine over.

 

Commitment

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Back at the fitness and weight loss thing again.  I have put on weight that I lost a few years ago.  This irritates me, but of course, I have no one to blame but myself.

I am finding it is not enough to know how to lose weight; you have to want to make the commitment.  Then, once you make it, you have to want to stick to it.  I shared the other day that I am now thinking about weight loss as I thought about giving up smoking.  I have to want to do, for the right reasons.

Beyond wanting to do something, I have to work on wanting to maintain it.  I have not smoked for five years; this does not mean that I do not ever want a cigarette.  I just work through the feeling when I do want to smoke, and it passes, until it comes again, then I do the same.  I repeated this time and time again for the past five years.  I have stayed smoke-free.

I am now in weight loss mode now.  Like before, when I lost 50-pounds, I know how to lose the weight.  If I eat right and exercise, the weight will come off, steadily.  The problem the last time is that unlike with smoking, I did not fight through my cravings every time they happened.  I slowly started giving in to them until they just became a habit again.  So, here I am all of the weight gained back.

I am in my second week; I started with Weight Watchers again.  The first week, I did not lose any weight, I simply started tracking and did not change anything.  This week, I have done better; I walked several days this week, and I ate better.  I do know that I am down at least a few pounds.

Here is the tricky part.  Unlike smoking, I cannot just stop eating cold turkey; I still have to eat, I just have to eat better.  There are ways to stop eating certain foods cold turkey.  Some say that this is a good way to diet, detox your body and all of that.  I am considering that just not there quite yet.

Let’s just say, so far, so good.  But taking it in steps.  Step one, lose the weight, step two keep it off by working through each desire to slide back to old habits.

Alfred Loves Mashed Potatoes

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This is Alfred.  Alfred LOVES mashed potatoes.  I also love mashed potatoes.  If I give Alfred potatoes on a small plate and make it easy for him to eat the potatoes, he gobbles them and will eat them all.  (Do not worry, I do not do this often or give him too much).

Last night I gave him a small container, with just a little bit of mashed potatoes in the bottom.  He did not want to stick his head in and eat them, so he stuck his paw in the small bowl and scooped them out a little at a time.  As he was doing this, the bowl kept moving.  After just a few dips of his paw, he gave up and walked away.

I am thinking that my new diet strategy might be to serve my food in ways that are challenging. For example, if I want ice cream, I have to eat it with a fork standing up on one foot.

 

I Have Been Here Before

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Five years ago yesterday I quit smoking; this was a significant life event for me.  I started smoking when I was seventeen; I was forty-eight when I quit.  I had stopped a few other times in my life but always went back to smoking within a year.  Hitting my five-year quit anniversary is exciting!  Quitting is not easy and maintaining it is hard work; it does get easier over time but is still difficult.

Right around the time I quit smoking I also started eating better and exercising; starting this healthier lifestyle, I lost nearly 50-pounds.  It is the first time in my life I lost that much weight without the assistance of weight loss medications or a frozen food plan program.  I simply changed my eating habits and started to exercise.  Like anyone who has been on this journey I was excited and convinced that this was it, I would never gain the weight back.  Looking back on my five-year quit smoking anniversary, I realize that I was very wrong.

I did lose a lot of weight, and I did it the correct way, using food and exercise.  I maintained the weight for maybe a year, and then it slowly started to creep up again.  I am now at the same weight I was before my first journey.  This is disheartening and hard to accept.  I mean I can take it because the scale tells me that I have to accept, but it makes me sad.  Today I was reflecting on being a non-smoker and how happy that makes me.  That is when it clicked, weight loss, like smoking cessation may not be a one-time journey.  I have to try again.  I have to look back on what I did right and where I failed and begin again.

Also, I have to be ready.  I was ready to quit smoking.  I was not just stopping because it was expensive, or because of my health.  I wanted to stop because it was annoying to me, it was getting in the way of what I wanted to do.  I wanted to stop smelling; I wanted to exercise more, I wanted to feel better, I wanted to have more time in my day, and so many other things.

Now, I am ready to lose weight.  Just because I failed once, it does not mean that I will fail this time.  If I do fail this time, it does not mean that I will fail the next.  We have to continue to try; we have to find THAT time, the time that is right for us.   I believe that this time exists and that this is the time for me.

When cooking is not your thing

 

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Cooking is not my thing, I mean I really dislike doing it.  When I was not watching my weight it was easy, just eat whatever is handy, or order delivery, anything to not have to think about what to eat.  Now that I am trying to eat better and feel better, I have to think about what I eat, I have to put ingredients together in my head that will be healthy and filling.

I am going to share some of the things that I keep in my house, that keep me happy and out of the kitchen, well at least I am not in the kitchen for very long.  By no means is this list meant for everyone, but maybe it will spur you to find a few of your favorite things for your kitchen.  I would also like to state that not all of these things are healthy and natural, but they are not awful either and fit into my eating plan.

So, here goes –

  • White Corn tortillas – these are tasty, not a lot of calories, and keep for a very long time.  You can have them with breakfast, lunch or dinner
  • Jennie-O Turkey sticks – White breast turkey, 25 calories, cut them up in a salad.  Yummy!
  • Reduced fat string cheese – grab and go
  • Spring Mix and baby spinach – hundreds of things you can throw in it for a quick meal
  • A mix of Chard, Kale, and spinach or other greens for smoothies.  (Invest in a smoothie blender, I have a Ninja, totally worth it!)
  • Oscar Mayer Natural Turkey Breast – Tasty, low cal, and easy with just about anything
  • Pico de Gallo – everything already cut up and ready for you!  I do not have to cut onions, or peppers, or tomatoes.  Heaven!
  • Grated Romano Cheese – or Parmesan – whatever you like.  Delicious on salads, over meats, obviously with pasta.
  • Pasta – good go to in a pinch and just about everything I listed here can be added to pasta to make it better!
  • Bananas –  I love bananas 🙂  Pick another fruit if you do not like these, keeping any fruit on hand is good for a quick snack.
  • Rice Cakes
  • PB2 – for my rice cakes.  If you have not tried this powdered PB I recommend that you do.
  • Coffee –  I love coffee, more than I love bananas, it is a necessity.
  • Tuna – I always have a few pouches of tuna on hand.
  • Frozen Berries – they do not go bad and are great for smoothies

I keep a lot of other things also, spices, etc to use when making these, but looking at this list, I could make a weeks worth of meals and spend very little time in the kitchen.  Also, only using my stove top, never having to turn on my oven!

That is it.  Nothing new, or earth shattering here, but if, like me, you are cooking adverse, maybe you could think of some things to do with these ingredients.  I promise, just a few minutes from the kitchen to hiking, or shopping, or watching TV; anything other than cooking.

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