Weight Loss

As of last Wednesday, I am half way through this journey. I’m doing pretty well progressing through Alton’s book. I did 3 episodes just this weekend! I’m a little behind typing up my reviews, but I’m catching up. I’m up to episode 37 out of 80, so I’m basically on track. I have a few easy ones to crank out over the next few weeks, so I should be ahead of the game soon! I’m learning new cooking techniques and venturing into foods I never thought I’d cook. I’m going to try to add more stories and background on my posts and hopefully give better descriptions of the foods I’m cooking.

However, my other goals are not fairing as well. I’d love to give a thousand excuses, but the truth is, I haven’t been doing the work. I haven’t been adapting the recipes like I had planned. I also haven’t been exercising as planned. I was not ready for the triathlon, so I didn’t go. I was very disappointed in myself and frustrated that I had wasted all of that time. I kept saying, “It’s only X number of weeks away, I have plenty of time.”  Laziness won. It’s so much easier to sit on the couch. And the next thing I knew, I wasn’t ready. But I think I had an epiphany the other night.

My husband and I share our home with two cats. The two of them could not be more different. One (The Bits) is a typical kitty that sleeps all day, loves treats, cheese and scratches. But the other one (Narcs), well, she thinks she’s a dog. She plays fetch, follows us from room to room and chases her tail. She loves to play. Well, that’s probably a understatement. She lives to chase strings. She will drag a string to wherever we are and sit behind it, staring us down until we pick it up. She will block the exit to a room with a string hoping we will pick it up on our way out. I probably identify most with The Bits. She enjoys food (she even loves taco meat!) and can get into a good nap. Narcs will play until she is out of breath and will get back into it as soon as she can breathe again! When playing with Narcs the other day, I realized, I need to be more like her and less like Bits. Narcs loves to be active and even at almost 9 years old, still loves to play like a kitten. Isn’t that what we should all strive to be? Young at heart and ready to play at any moment?

So, I have now signed up for the Women’s Half Marathon here in Nashville on September 25th. I have also signed up for a 12 week training group sponsored by a local running store that started today. I’m hoping having others involved and inspiring my training, I’ll do better. I met a few women this morning that I hope will stick with it (and me!). We are all very different, but our goal is the same and we seemed to bond. My biggest issue? The group meets Saturday mornings at 7am. I’ll repeat that, 7 freakin’ A.M. For those of you who don’t know, I am not a morning person. The only other group training program is at the Y and it starts Friday night at 5pm, which is even more ridiculous than 7am. How can working people get to the Y by 5pm, when most people get off work at 5pm or later? There is no way I can leave work early for twelve weeks – especially at my busiest time of the year. So, the Saturday morning group it is! It will be rough, but I’m determined to make it work. So, here I go….

I will be posting more here about the exercise and nutrition plan to keep me more accountable and motivated. Wish me luck.

There are some calorie laden recipes coming up, but I’m hoping the exercise helps. Also, I’m behind on the reviews, so I’m trying to catch up!!

Up Next: Refrigerator pie!

Half a pound down, but I’ve been sick and not eating much….we’ll see!

Well, I weighed yesterday and gained a pound, weighed again this morning and it was back to the same…I guess this is why they tell you not to weigh every day. I know my weight fluctuates, but do I say I stayed the same or do I say I gained a pound? Did I just have too much salt yesterday (or really on Tuesday since  I weigh first thing in the morning)? What do I really weigh? I admit I haven’t been paying as much attention as I should have and I haven’t been exercising as much as I should. SO…I’m recommitting today. It’s fish baked in a salt dome this weekend and I’m planning some lower-fat appetizers for the Superbowl!! Look for a report on that…

Same weight this week! UGH…I know I have not been exercising enough. I have to start making time for it. I’ve been tracking my calories, so I think I’m doing OK, most days. I have to pick one “treat” day and stick to it. At least I haven’t gained. I’ll share more in my post about Alton’s diet later this week.

Well, I’m moving right along. This episode is biscuits and shortcake. Geesh it’s been the fattening episodes here for a while. I’m really looking forward to something that I can adapt to lower fat. Baking is such a science, I’d be afraid to change anything. I think fish is coming up soon! This is killing the weight loss – of course I know I should pick up the exercise and I’m working on that, but that’s another post! First up is Southern Biscuits. The challenge here is that the recipe calls for shortening. I have been attempting to take processed and chemical laden foods from my diet. Well, hydrogenated vegetable oil (shortening) is horrible. After reading one of the asides in the book, I decided to go with lard instead. Yes, you read that right, l.a.r.d. Why? Well, lard and butter are natural ingredients. It took SH on quite an adventure around the supermarket, since I had no idea where they keep the lard. It turns out, it’s in the oil aisle and does not need refrigeration. That scared me, but then I thought about my great grandmother – “Granny”. Granny lived to be 95 and she cooked with lard her whole life – every day. She even cooked hamburgers in lard! Ugh. But because she was very active, she was not as heavy as one might think. We all believe that lard is the reason most of her food was so good. I have been trying for years to re-create her peach cobbler to no avail. I’m pretty sure it’s been my refusal to include lard in my version. Mine just never turns out the same. She also used some technique with boiling water near the end that no one has been able to replicate. I’m going to try again when peaches are back in season. I figure if lard was good enough for Granny and her biscuits, it’s good enough for mine (or Alton’s). Again, with very few ingredients the recipe was fairly easy. I expected the dough to be lighter, but it has lard, so I’m not sure what I was expecting. The biscuits were very good. I put organic honey on one and it was great. I will be using them for the sawmill gravy in Episode 8.

Products: I used organic flour (unbleached), organic butter and kosher salt. I have no idea if they make organic lard, but I wasn’t going to Whole Foods to ask. I found my lard at Publix and moved on. My only “reduction” in calories was low-fat buttermilk.

Overall: Very good. Would be a great addition to any meal, but watch the calories. One isn’t too bad at 150 calories (and 6 grams of fat), but any more than one would add up quickly.

SH: He said he wasn’t sure he wanted to be quoted, but they were tasty. NOTE: He immediately ate two, so I’m guessing he liked them.

Next up was the Shortcake. Basically, it was just the biscuits with sugar added to the dough, which adds calories It’s also baked in a lump without kneading or cutting into circles. Also, the buttermilk is replaced with half and half, so that raised the calories as well. I was faster with this one as I was getting the technique down better. The sugar seemed to help them brown better as well.

I ate them with organic strawberries (thawed from frozen) and a bit of the ice cream from Episode 6. It was very good. If I do it again, I would add less sugar as I feel like the shortcakes were a bit too sweet.

Products: Organic ingredients were the half and half, sugar, flour and butter.

Overall: Very good. Easy. Much better than those store-bought sponge cakes (sorry, Mom). I would make this again for a treat. I would do it when others were coming over so that there wouldn’t be leftovers!

SH: He was working, but will try later. I’ll edit to add his response. EDITED TO ADD: He like it, but would have preferred fresh strawberries. In January. In Tennessee. Yeah.

I stayed the same in weight this week, but I’m working on changing things. I’m logging my food so I can see the calories and I’m stepping up my exercise.

This episode is ice cream and sorbet. I made no effort to reduce the fat in the ice cream. It’s a special treat and I knew any attempt to reduce fat would change the recipe significantly. I believe every “diet” has room for a splurge now and then. You just have to plan for it – extra exercise and/or cleaner eating the rest of the day. It’s just all about consuming less calories than you burn. Or, at the very least come out even. Of course, it’s going to take a lot of will power to not just eat the whole batch in one sitting! After putting both recipes into Fitday, of course the sorbet is considerably less calories and very little fat. However, the ice cream has protein in it, so nutritionally, it is probably the better choice – in moderation. If I had to give up ice cream to be thinner, call me fat.

With just a few ingredients, the Serious Vanilla Ice Cream was easy to put together. A very short cooking time and then overnight refrigeration.  The hardest part was waiting – churning and then another 2 hours in the freezer.

Products: I was able to find organic ingredients for everything except the vanilla bean easily at my local supermarket.

Overall: A little more effort than going to the store to buy ice cream, but worth it. I might experiment with some lower fat ingredients. One good indicator is one of the cats was sniffing around like crazy when we sat down with the bowls.

Note the moderate portion size!

SH: “It’s better than store-bought, but I’m trying to be good.”

I couldn’t find the Key Lime preserves for the Key Lime Sorbet, so mine became Orange Lime Sorbet. I found some Key Lime marmalade online, but at $7.50 per 10 oz jar and $11 shipping, I decided to improvise. The recipe said the pectin was what was needed from the preserves, so I looked at the ingredients in the jelly aisle in the grocery store. I tried to stay in the citrus family. I used Orange marmalade (organic) and still used the lime seltzer and lime juice and zest, substituting the lemon zest and juice with orange.

Products: I was able to find everything organic except the seltzer. I’m not sure if seltzer would ever be organic!

Overall: It was very good. It was less sweet than I thought it would be, but that’s a good thing for me. It had a nice lime and orange flavor.

SH: “It would be good on a hot summer day.”

Biscuits are next. They contain shortening or lard……ugh. Weight loss is gonna be tough. Also, I’ve watched Alton’s episode on his weight loss…post coming on that.

I am a member of a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  A CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation where the growers and consumers share the risks and benefits of food production. CSAs usually consist of a system of weekly delivery or pick-up of vegetables and fruit, sometimes including dairy products and meat. This is the third CSA I have been involved in – one in Florida and two here in Tennessee. This is a “winter” CSA that is all organic. The other two I belonged to were not certified organic, but attempted to limit chemical pesticides. I encourage everyone to find a local CSA. You can search your area at www.localharvest.org . It is amazing how much longer all of my veggies last when they are picked the day before they are delivered to me. In the winter CSA, we get a lot of carrots, winter squash, potatoes and right now, lettuces.

The Box

Today’s box had two types of lettuce, carrots, red potatoes, kohlrabi, swiss chard, cilantro, celery root, sorrel and arugula. The best part is all of these things are healthy and low fat. It’s fun to experiment with them and find interesting recipes on the internet. I will admit sometimes I have no idea what is in the box (sorrel?!?!), but they send an email with a list and recipe ideas for unusual items. Sorrel, by the way is a very tart, lemony green that is good to add to a salad or stir-fry. I’ve also been told it’s good in soups, but I haven’t tried it. The carrots are so sweet and tasty, you’ll never want a supermarket carrot again! I absolutely believe this will help my weight loss journey. I get a delivery every two weeks. Since it is just SH and I, I get the half share.

Because it is shared responsibility, when there is a bad year, you don’t get as many fruits and veggies. However, when it’s a good year, you reap the benefits. One of the CSA’s here in Tennessee does meats and eggs as well. The turkey we got at Thanksgiving from them was fantastic. Look into it in your area!

32 minutes on the bike at a higher intensity than last time – feel the burn.

Well, I weighted in and I lost 1/2 a pound. I am happy with that. While I’m hoping to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week, any loss is a step in the right direction.

Is it bad to be shopping online while watching “Confessions of a Shopaholic”?

I was reading some news online and I saw a link to a story titled, “6 Surprising Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight”. I thought, well, maybe this could help, so I clicked on it. The first “surprising” reason was, get ready….sitting on the couch and watching TV too much. Yep, that was the first “surprise”. I’m pretty sure that comes as a surprise to no one. I have no idea what the next five reasons were because I thought that was the stupidest thing I’d ever read. DUH. Of course I know sitting on the couch too much will prevent me from losing weight. I’m pretty sure if that was the lead “surprise”, I wasn’t going to be helped much by the rest of the article. What was next? Eating potato chips while watching TV is a surprising reason America is not losing weight! A breakthrough! At least it wasn’t trying to sell me a magic pill or 3 week diet.

I’ve been slacking with the exercise even though I know it’s probably the most important part of my weight loss. So, tonight I did 30 minutes on the bike (on the trainer). We’ll see what the weight is tomorrow. I’m gong to be doing the ice cream episode this week, so I’ll need to burn some extra calories. At least one of the recipes is a sorbet, so that should be less calories. I’m going to put the ingredients into the Fitday calculator to see what the approximate calories are for each one and report back.

I’m starting to track my calories in FitDay. When I adapt the recipes, I will get calorie counts per serving (based on the serving suggestion in the recipe) and compare and add that to my recipe posts.

“The Biggest Loser” started a new season tonight. Holy moly they have some big contestants. This show is always good to watch when you are trying to make healthy changes. At the very least, it makes you want to get up off the couch. I’m going to try to do something active at each commercial. Although something is very satisfying about eating ice cream or pie while it’s on! UGH…that’s so bad!

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