“No rest for the wicked”

I’ve been in church for many years now, and never heard this cliche’…but while growing up in an “unchurched” household I heard my step-dad quote this often. I never really knew what it referred to or what it meant until I looked it up today. It has biblical roots!! My step-dad always quoted it when we were BUSY or when LIFE seemed HECTIC. But, I never knew until today that it was in reference to HELL and the torment that we would suffer there! Hmmmmmm….the reason I found this so interesting was because my step-dad was not a church going man or what I would consider to be religious or spiritual in ANY WAY! So what does this have to do with my post today, you might ask?

Well, I guess the only thing it has to do with it – is that I’ve been extremely busy and have not been able to meet my weekly goal of posting to my blog like I promised. Therefore, I was going to say (as my step-dad often said, when busy)…there’s been “no rest for the wicked”…but I don’t like confessing that over myself or claiming to be wicked…since I really consider myself “too blessed to be stressed”…Yeah, I like that one better!

It’s been crazy! I’m having a good month. There’s something to be said for having a little downtime (as I did in December) to plan your goals for the New Year and to figure out how you want to do things differently from the past.

1) First, of course (as with most) it began with some healthy lifestyle goals: Gym 2014 me

I don’t take “selfies” so all you get is a shot of my knees working out! But, it’s been challenging to say the least! I posted about my first week of success on Jan. 10th. You can read about it here: http://dancingthruyears.com/2015/01/10/weight-loss-myths-other-misc-mumbo-jumbo/

My second week didn’t go as well. I maintained, but didn’t lose anything. After some reflection and introspection I realized that although my morning workout routine was consistent and improving, my eating, food planning, low fat cooking, etc needed some tweaking! Probably my biggest challenge is that I enjoy eating out and often don’t make wise choices when I do. I also have a hubby that doesn’t eat healthy and rarely wants to eat chicken or fish, so if I’m going to eat healthy it means I fix two meals (one for him and one for me). So, my third week was better with a loss of 2.8 lbs. I have to stay on top of things or I just gain and lose the same 5 or 10 lbs. over and over again. Ugh!

So in week three I made a big pot of 5 ingredient soup: Simple, fast, and high in protein & fiber….5 ingredeient soup

If you are watching your intake of sodium, it might not be the best recipe (all canned stuff), but could easily be adapted using fresh or frozen ingredients: 1 can of chili beans, 1 can of black beans, (drained & rinsed), 1 can of corn, 1 can fat free chicken broth, 1 can diced tomatoes. It can easily be doubled or tripled if you plan to eat on it all week, like I sometimes do. You can also use fat free refried beans, if you want it to be thicker, or creamed corn if you want it to be a bit sweeter. Regardless, it is about 4 WW points per 1 cup serving and it is very tasty!

2) Then, my daytime activity of taking care of Grandson, Jackson returned January 5th. He’s such a little stinker! Love my little “ginger”!! Jackson standing When he leaves at 5:00 as much as I would love to get in my chair and relax …my evening activities begin.

3) After fixing a bite of something to eat for hubby and I, I retire to my sewing room to fill any orders that may have come in through Etsy or Ebay..

http://my.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?MyEbay&gbh=1&CurrentPage=MyeBayAllSelling&ssPageName=STRK:ME:LNLK:MESX

I don’t know if these links will work. Just in case they don’t, you can find my shop on Etsy as LindasLikes or on eBay as bittygirl51. I got a surge of cord cover orders over the last two weeks. I am running a special: Purchase four cord covers: the fifth is FREE. I already offer FREE SHIPPING, so I’m still the most inexpensive place to get your cord covers. I was about to go bonkers making cord covers (about 35-40) dark brown cc closeup when I got my first two baby pillow quilt orders: They were shipped just yesterday and are still two of my best sellers: Baby Owl PQ w yellow closeup

Hot pink, zebra, eyelet PQ close up

4) In addition to all the household activities, I’ve been busy with church festivities. We have an awesome church family and love our brothers and sisters in Christ so much! What’s been extra special for me is that for 17 years I’ve sat alone in church (hubby was the sound technician), but since the 1st of the year I’ve been able to sit with my hubby. After 32 years of running the sound he has finally retired and passed the baton to a younger man. We still go to church early for choir practice each Sunday morning and afternoon, so Sundays are extremely full and busy, but it’s been nice to be a “couple” for the first time since we got married! In fact, one of our older saints in the church said, “I’m glad to see yall’ finally got married”…the other day! Ha! Ornament exchange 6 We had a Christmas ornament exchange in December that was a lot of fun.

In closing, I’m all caught up on my “paid sewing”…just have a pillow quilt to finish today for a friend at church who is expecting a grandchild in 11 days. Hubby is fishing this morning with the baby son (Jackson’s daddy) but later is taking me out for my birthday dinner at Red Lobster. I will also be having a piece (just one piece) of birthday cake. Yum! Can’t wait! Cake is my cocaine and I’ve been waiting all month for my birthday to arrive just so I could have cake! LOL. Hubby decided we would celebrate early (my birthday is Wednesday) – no complaints from this girl…that just means I get cake four days earlier then expected! LOL

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Weight loss myths & other misc. mumbo jumbo

If you haven’t already read my previous post, you may want to make a trip there before reading this one: http://dancingthruyears.com/2015/01/02/a-combination-of-factors-aka-what-a-lack-of-monitoring-will-do/

Suffice it to say it’s been a good week! My first week back at embracing a healthy (not perfect) lifestyle has rewarded me with a 4.4 lb. weight loss! Yay, Me!! I’ve proven once again that taking care of grandsons, having a work from home job, eating out 2-3 times a week, having a hubby that won’t eat healthy (even though he needs to), having too many sedentary hobbies blah, blah, blah are all EXCUSES! When a person makes up their mind to eat healthy and become more fit – they can! Plain and simple! We want to make dieting so complicated! (I don’t even like using the word “diet” but it’s everywhere go nowadays, so I’ll use it.) That’s why you see so many diet plans out there! Some folks are so convinced that you should go “low carb”. Others think you should go “low fat”. Others say you need to banish all the white from your life, white bread, white rice, white potatoes etc;

As a former Weight Watchers leader I can tell you first hand that the majority of your success will not come from the weight loss plan you are on (I couldn’t really say that when I worked for them); but it will come from your determination to do the work!! How bad do you want it? Let’s just talk about this week: do you want to lose weight bad enough in this next 7 days to make better food choices and to go to the gym and work out each day? Take it one day at a time!! After you have one successful day under your belt (if you are choosing wisely), you will say to yourself, “hmmmm, that wasn’t so bad”. “I think I might be able to do that again tomorrow”. But you have to have a plan! You have to be prepared! Your frig and pantry has to be stocked with good healthy foods. If all you have in the house is cakes, cookies, pies and chips guess what you will eat?

But, I digress…remember the opinions expressed in this post are purely my own – take em or leave em, but I admit I do feel very strongly about them ūüôā

Weight loss myth #1) You can gain weight from diet colas!! I laughed so hard when I first heard some one say “she’s gaining weight because she’s drinking too much diet coke” that I almost wet my pants! Diet coke does not have any calories! If you aren’t consuming calories you aren’t going to gain weight from it! She meant it in the LITERAL SENSE… Let me clarify: Yes, diet colas & the artificial sweeteners in them, can cause you to crave other sweet things, thus you eat those other sweet things and gain weight – that I will agree with. But it’s the other things, not the diet coke per say that is causing the weight gain! That’s why I decided in the new year, to cut back on diet coke and limit myself to one small glass per day. (I really think it helped, because I wasn’t craving refined sugar like I normally do.) Sugar free gum can create the same cravings.

Weight loss myth #2) You won’t lose weight if you are a late night snacker or eat after 7 pm, 8 pm or some other designated time. It has absolutely nothing to do with what time you eat! It has to do with how many calories you are consuming and how many you are burning each day. You’ve got to burn more calories than you consume in order to lose weight – it’s that simple! Thursday night (day seven of my first week) I was eating tortilla chips and Salsa at 9:30 pm. I was hungry for a little snack before bed (I went to bed at 10 pm). The scale still said I’d lost 4.4 at 6:30 am Friday morning. What’s up with that? Oh, and by the way, those were FULL FAT corn chips (not baked, or fat free)…for those of you who think everything needs to be fat free or low fat. (It’s good to watch your fat intake, but your body needs some fat for energy and other body functions).

Weight loss myth #3) Muscle weighs more than fat. Not true! While at the gym this morning I had this conversation with my friend, Maria. We were working out on the weights and she had been told and was worried about “bulking up”. Don’t take it from me, instead hear it from a trainer that works for Weight Watchers: “Muscle does not weigh more than fat, any more than lead weighs more than feathers. A pound is a pound is a pound. Where the misunderstanding often comes in is that muscle is much more dense than fat, so that, by volume, it seems to weigh more. That is, a pound of muscle occupies less space than a pound of fat. In addition, because a pound of muscle burns more fat than a pound of fat, even at rest, by increasing your lean muscle tissue mass, you’re helping your body burn more calories.

If you only have a small amount of weight to lose, then you may feel like the weight training is not helping you move down on the scale. In fact, the number may even go up, but you will look thinner. This is due to an increase in lean body mass (muscle, bone, blood volume) and a decrease in body fat. In other words, even if the scale doesn’t change much, you will probably see a difference in how your clothes fit.

On the other hand, if you have a lot of weight to lose, you will also experience an increase in lean body mass and loss of body fat. But the results on the scale will probably be more dramatic.” William R. Sukala M.S. C.S.

I hope I don’t sound like I’m preaching. That’s not my intention. But, that being said, the best job I ever had that I enjoyed the most was working for Weight Watchers! After losing 55 lbs on their program I was a believer! Don’t misunderstand me! I’m not promoting Weight Watchers in this blog although it is a good program, it’s not for everyone. And their “points system” can be highly misunderstood and misinterpreted! It’s not all about points! It’s about making healthy, wise choices.

Some of the healthy habits that I developed as a result of being a WW leader were to choose 1) whole wheat bread over white bread 2) brown rice over white rice 3) limit my intake of saturated fats 4) drinks 4-5 16 oz bottles of water per day 5) eat sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes 6) hold myself accountable by writing down everything I put in my mouth 7) limit my intake of red meat BLAH, BLAH, BLAH…

There are so many more that come to mind but of those listed when I “backslid” during the holidays the only thing I was still doing faithfully was drinking plenty of water! LOL

So, in closing I’d like to leave you with a healthy meat sauce recipe I made yesterday. I was in the mood for some pasta and garlic toast and so here’s what I made:

Meat Sauce:

Brown one pound of ground turkey or 93% lean ground beef in skillet. Add 1 cup of shredded carrots to meat. IMG_20150109_105006212

Dice about 1/2 an onion and add it to skillet as well, continuing to saute with meat. (I always season my meat, but that’s just personal preference). IMG_20150109_105350499

While pasta is cooking in a separate pot, I add 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes and 1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce to the meat mixture in skillet. I season with some sweet basil, oregano, garlic powder etc; You can use, fresh or dried. Turn heat to low and & cover. Let the sauce simmer for about 30 minutes so all your flavors will blend together. The shredded carrots give you a serving of vegetables and sweetens your sauce without using sugar. IMG_20150109_111259916

I chose whole wheat Ziti for the pasta. Remember, portion control is crucial! Look up the portion size, calories or points you can have prior to serving yourself! I made a nice fresh lettuce salad to go with my pasta & meat sauce and chose fat free Ranch dressing for my salad. If pasta and meat sauce is a RED LIGHT food for you, it’s better not to fix it at all!! Red Light means you can’t exercise portion control!! And, yes – I made garlic toast with REAL white french bread and used 1 T. of Land o Lakes light butter. I season my garlic toast with garlic powder, garlic salt and a pinch of grated Parmesan cheese. I only made myself one slice therefore I wasn’t tempted to eat more. (Hubby had 5 slices made with REAL BUTTER!!)

I have a very healthy appetite and can put away a lot of food especially Italian food! So, I was quite proud of myself for having measured out my pasta and meat sauce and adding the salad and 1 slice of garlic toast. I felt empowered and satisfied! That is key! It’s not about deprivation or starvation and if you are hungry or feeling deprived you are doing something wrong.

I am entering a new week with new hope and determination and trying to stay focused on treating myself as a priority. That’s also why I have to make it to the gym first thing in the morning because the rest of the day I am sitting on the floor playing with this little one IMG_20150106_102504002

or in the evening sitting at the sewing machine working on cord covers, pillow shams and quilts…Baby Zoo animals PQ closeup

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Pinks PQ close up front

Make it a great week, friends!

A combination of factors AKA “what a lack of monitoring will do”..

It’s time to get REAL!! I stepped on the scale this morning and it has given me a NEW FOUND COMMITMENT!! Amazing what an inanimate object can do! I weighed in at 171.6!! OMG!! Just one short month ago I weighed 162!! You see, around Thanksgiving time, I made a conscious (that’s right, I said “CONSCIOUS”, how’s that for ownership?) decision to give up walking, and tracking my food! In other words – I threw my “health lifestyle” out the window! A month to 6 weeks ago I was already 15-20 lbs over my goal weight…but was losing it. Now, I’m back where I started!! Well, not really because back in 2006 I weighed my highest 199.8…but if I keep justifying my 170 by comparing it to that 199 number I WILL be back where I started in no time! My ideal weight is 145. I know it’s not all about the numbers…but is also about how you feel.

Well, I feel like crap! Started taking Zantac and eating TUMS again etc; The cold weather had set in and so I told my walking buddy that I would not be walking thru the holidays and would get back to the gym after the first of the year. I’ve honored that commitment by meeting her there this morning. It’s been a good day, thus far.

So what was it? Well, this 25 lbs from goal weight to where I am today has been a combination of factors:

1) I started eating more red meat (less chicken and fish)
2) I quit weighing and measuring my food
3) I quit exercising
4) I started eating more white food again (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes etc;)
5) I started slathering on the butter again!!
6) I quit writing anything down that I was eating!! (thus no accountability)
7) I quit stepping on the scale (thus no accountability)
8) I stopped focusing on fruits and vegetables and ate whatever was quick and handy!
9) Even though I didn’t do a lot of baking during the holidays I ate far too many sweets! (The more sugar I ate, the more I wanted it)!
10) I started buying larger and stretchier clothing to accommodate my expanding frame (namely my belly!)
11) I stopped reading anything that would convict me of my unhealthy ways!

Do I need to go on? There’s so much more I could say on this subject since I was once a very busy Weight Watcher’s leader! My goal with this blog is to hold myself accountable and to pay it forward. I know there are going to be many “Diet blogs” this month telling you which diet is the best one to go on. All baloney!!
It’s about you, not the diet you choose to embrace! It’s about getting our head in the game!! A healthy lifestyle isn’t something you “quit” for a month or two, like I did! I knew and know better. A healthy lifestyle is just that – a lifestyle!! So, it wasn’t just one thing that created this weight gain. It was a combination of factors AKA what a lack of monitoring will do!

We can only ignore it for so long and if we will listen our body will tell us when enough is enough. So, I’m back on the bandwagon again. Wish me luck. I know it’s not going to be easy but it will be worth it. I’m not going to waste any time beating myself up over my irresponsibility. I’m just going to do what I know I need to do and what I know works. Primarily it will be to put myself at the top of the list again and make myself a priority! How bout you?

Sometimes, we just don’t want to listen!!

As many of you already know, I am a big proponent of healthy eating and living. ¬†That doesn’t mean that I always DO what I support and believe in! ¬†LOL ¬†But, I TRY. ¬†I don’t try to force “my way” on others…knowing that I can only change one person (that being ME)…that others have to find their own way and don’t need to hear me harping on them. ¬†(My hubby would be the first that comes to mind).

Many of you also know that I was once a Weight Watchers leader! ¬†I lead large and small meetings alike throughout E. Texas for five years and LOVED my job!! ¬†One of the things I used to say to my members at my meetings was “Your body talks to you if you will listen”…

See the IF in that sentence? ¬†IF you will listen. ¬†Unfortunately, many of us (including myself sometimes), JUST DON’T WANT TO LISTEN!!!

I often compare our bodies to an automobile. ¬†Our bodies require care and maintenance just like our cars do. ¬†Our cars run more efficiently when we take better care of them. ¬†If you’ve been driving a clunker your entire life, you may not even be aware of how bad it is, until you start driving a newer car. ¬†But once you trade in that clunker for something nicer …OMG!! You realize what you’ve been missing!! Our bodies work much the same!! ¬†When you are unhealthy and overweight, you get used to being unhealthy and overweight…feeling crappy is your “normal”. ¬†But, once you start trying to change your ways and eat differently and exercise regularly (if you stick with it for more than a day or two), you will begin to notice how much more efficiently your body works and how much better you feel.

That’s where the listening comes into play! ¬†Got gas? ¬†That’s your body talking to you! ¬†Got a headache? ¬†Uh huh – that’s your body speaking up! ¬†Indigestion? ¬†Uh oh – you might have eaten something you shouldn’t have! ¬†How about stiff achy joints? ¬†Either you worked out too much, or you slacked off and stiffened up in the process!!

Now, I’m not trying to say there aren’t medical reasons for some of your maladies or that you may have a true medical condition that might need to be addressed. ¬†But, many times our body will speak very loudly and clearly and all we have to do is change up what we are doing to feel better. ¬†We don’t want it to be that simple because then we have no excuse to not do something about it!! ¬†We often want the doctor to say we have a thyroid problem or that our metabolism is out of whack! ¬†It’s easier and takes less work to just pop a pill.

When I first joined Weight Watchers back in 2006 I was 40 lbs. heavier than I am now. I had acid reflux, GERD, high blood pressure…was menopausal and miserable. ¬†All my symptoms went away as I began to live and eat a healthier way. ¬†When I would have a bad day or week (and “fall off the wagon”), my body would speak to me loud and clear! ¬†I would hear, “Linda, I know you love onion rings, but you shouldn’t have eaten them.” ¬†or when I would weigh – the scale would speak to me!! It would say things like, “Linda, I know you love cake & cookies, but you knew when you ate them this week that my number was going to be higher!” ¬†Or, after skipping two of my walks and one trip to the gym my body would ache all over when I would try to get back to it. ¬†It was screaming “See, how I stiffen up when you neglect me?” ¬†Just like our cars – our bodies need some loving attention. ¬†And when they don’t get it they resist moving!!

So, I guess what got me off on this tangent this week, was the fact that as a Lifetime member of WW, I lost 55 lbs. ¬†You’ll recall tho that in the previous paragraph I said I was 40 lbs. heavier in 2006. ¬†That’s because I still have 15 lbs to lose to get to my lifetime goal weight again! ¬†I quit doing what my body needed me to do. ¬†So, I’ve been back at it for about 2 months now and have good and bad days. ¬†But, I’m listening. ¬†It was worse – I’m down 8 lbs since I began. ¬†Key for me is to LISTEN! ¬†But, not just listen – learn from it! ¬†Just knowing that greasy french fries are bad for you, may not be enough! ¬†Go ahead, eat them! ¬†If you’ve been eating healthy and avoiding them, eat them one time – all of them. ¬†I guarantee, your body will speak to you loud and clear!! ¬†I was up all night one night with indigestion after eating an order of greasy french fries!! I learned from it!! I won’t eat them again!!

All that being said – my weigh in this week wasn’t great! ¬†I gained 1 lb. ¬†So, it’s back to tracking consistently, exercising consistently, being accountable for what I’m doing and planning my eating better. ¬†To jump start my new week I made a revised version of WW 0 Point soup. This makes a large soup kettle full for all week. ¬†I call it:

PIG OUT SOUP

2 cups sliced carrots

1 cup diced onions

8 sm. cloves of garlic

3 quarts of chicken broth

8 cups chopped cabbage

4 cups fresh spinach

1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce

1 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes

2 t. dried basil

1 t. dried oregano

1 t. salt

DIRECTIONS:

Spray a large soup kettle with non-stick cooking spray. ¬†Heat. Saute’ the carrot, onion and garlic over low heat until softened, about 5 min. ¬†Add broth, cabbage, spinach, tomato sauce, tomatoes, seasonings and bring to boil. ¬†Reduce heat, simmer covered until carrots & cabbage is tender.

There are no WW points in all these fresh vegetables.  Just remember, if you add meat, potatoes, corn, peas etc; it is no longer a PIG OUT soup!  Now, you have to count and track every BLT (bite, lick or taste), but if you eat it like this Рyou can pig out and lose weight!!

Ah, the joy of victory!

 

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