Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Recipe: Salsa Chicken

So I heard lots of talk on the WW boards about something called Salsa Chicken and I thought I would give it a try. I love love love anything that goes in the Crock pot and even more than that I love love love Mexican food. So, I decided to try it out and do my first ever recipe blog!! This was so amazingly good and even easier to make! (Also, it is so fun to photograph while cooking!!)

Step 1: Assemble your ingredients! (I doubled the recipe because I always freeze leftovers for later. Cooking in bulk is always easier for me in the long run!) (I made some changes to the actual recipe I got from the boards because as you can see, I only had half a jar of salsa and I used a massive amount of chicken.)
  • 2 lbs of FROZEN chicken breast (4 breasts)
  • Can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Can of green chilies
  • Can of diced tomatoes
  • Jarred salsa
  • Cumin, to taste (not pictured)
  • Frozen corn, half a large bag (not pictured)

Step 2: Throw all the ingredients in the pot! (Yes, the chicken is supposed to be frozen! Trust me on this one!)

Step 3: Turn the pot on 'Low' and go away.

Step 4: Come back 8 - 10 hours later. (I walked into my house and was knocked over by how great my house smelled!!)

Step 5: Shred the hell out of the chicken. This was a little tricky but really you just grab two forks and go to town. The meat is really tender so it shreds really well.

Step 6: Throw it in a tortilla with your choice of fixings and enjoy! (I used RF shredded Mexican cheese and FF sour cream, but if I had any sliced avocado that would have been amazing!)

This recipe made 8 servings of three large tacos. I put a large amount in my freezer which I am super excited about! I put them into packages of two servings each for the man and I to enjoy later. (Speaking of the man, he LOVED this dinner!!)

How awesome is my freezer?? Let me tell you, it is money well spent! I bought it off Craigslist 3 years ago for $50. We keep it in the garage and I go into it daily. I could dedicate an entire blog post about how I organize my freezer and pantry. I have it down to a science, almost to the point of crazy-pants-super-OCD but not quite!

I hope you try this recipe and love it as much as I do!!

I didn't fall off the planet, I swear!!

I know I should post more often but unfortunately life is getting in the way!! I promise to post soon, but for now, here is an update:

1. Got to be there when a beautiful baby girl was born.
2. Scale and I are getting along just fine.
3. eTools isn't free for Lifetimers so I am no longer tracking.
4. Portland to Coast is this Friday!! EEEEEEEEEEEKKKK!! (I haven't trained at all!)
5. I learned how to grill salmon.
6. I have insomnia...which sucks...You would think that being up all night would give me plenty of time to blog but I spend most of the night lying in bed with my eyes closed begging for sleep to come.

I will write a lengthy blog either tonight, or tomorrow, or Sunday depending on my schedule! I promise!!

Love to both of my followers!! xoxoxo

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lifetime: Week 3

Well, this week was much better than the last 3 for sure. Weighed this morning at 146.8 which is down. 3.2 from last week, and just .2 higher than my lowest weight.

I knew doing my weekly shopping was going to make a big difference in my week. I was able to pack both breakfast and lunch with me every day before work.

I had my banana every morning with yogurt. On Wednesday, I was extra hungry (ugh, TOM) so I made my extra filling special breakfast.

That's a cup of strawberries, a whole banana, one container of light yogurt (today was lemon flavored) and 1 1/2 Post Shredded Wheat biscuits. It takes me a while to eat because I like the shredded wheat to get soggy and it keeps me full until late afternoon.

I started counting my baby carrots that I have with lunch every day. As it turns out, the giant Ziploc full of carrots isn't zero points like I have been tracking, but more like 2 or 3 because of the large amount of them that I eat.

I made a recipe I got off of the WW message boards too this week and it was fantastic. Salsa Chicken! I took lots of pictures of the process and will do a blog about it in a few days.

I am filling in shifts at the 'family' restaurant Lupe's Escape until they find a replacement for someone so I earned a little activity, and more importantly, stayed completely ON PLAN!! Avoided the cheese and deep fried goodness that I used to devour with no second thoughts. (to clarify, I used to work at Lupe's on a full time basis, but when I moved it was too far of a drive for me to continue. When they need some extra help they call me because they know they can depend on me to always help out in a pinch. Plus, I really love waitressing/bartending so it is a win/win for us both!) During my shift tonight, I did not eat a single tortilla chip! I don't think I have ever been in that restaurant and not put at least one chip in my mouth! I will be there tomorrow night as well as Friday and Saturday nights and I fully intend to not eat any chips then either!

Portland to Coast is coming up in a few weeks and I am in desperate need of training. On the nights that I am not at the restaurant I will be doing a minimum of 5 miles on the treadmill. I have to. No other choice! (I am looking forward to doing an after relay blog with pictures from previous years, and this year!)

This week is going to be really busy with work, Lupe's, training, and everything else, that I have to make sure to take the time to plan my meals, pack lots of snack, and not let myself get too hungry so I reach for what ever is close by instead of what is the best option.

Here is a great picture I took of myself on Saturday. My mom sent me this shirt completely unexpectedly. It is an XL, but I think it is a child's size. (My mom lives in Ohio and knows I love Alice!) I posted this pic right away on FB and got a few requests to post my 'After' pics as most of my friends live far enough away that they haven't seen the "new me". I got some great resoponses! I have to admit, the attention I get being skinny is amazing!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The story of how I got fat!

I was so excited and motivated by yesterday's blog that while at work today I jotted down 4 topics for the future! I picked today's topic as it seemed most appropriate.

A great friend of mine read this blog and we discussed briefly (via text message) how shockingly fat I used to be. I then remembered a picture I had of myself that I haven't shown anyone because it is just the worst of the worst.

Here it is for the world to see for the first time:

It's like my neck is trying to eat my face! And look at my arms, you can't even see all of them and yet is is obvious that they are bigger than my head! Hell, they are bigger than the head of the guy with a flat top in front! I just recently found that shirt in a ball in the trunk of my car. I should put it on and take a picture in it for a future post! I also have some pictures of myself in that shirt at my mid-point too.

Looking back at that picture and I am shocked that I let myself get that big, and grosses out that I had no idea how big I really was! I didn't always struggle with my weight and I had never been that big before in my life.

In junior high I was very thin. I was a gymnast and never had to worry about what I ate because all the calories that went in, were burned off immediately after school at practice. I used to be teased by the other girls in my school for how thin I was and it really upset me. I was too skinny for jeans to fit properly so I always wore stirrup pants and big baggy shirts. When I quit gymnastics I didn't change my eating habits but I was still a kid and it didn't seem to matter.

In high school, I became more aware of my body and the attention it received. I loved wearing shirts that showed off my belly and I had a large collection of 'belly-chains' that I wore daily. When I was 16 I got a job at McDonald's and discovered my love for greasy fast foods. As a kid, we didn't get McDonald's except special occasions so the ability to have it daily and for free was an extra bonus. I ate constantly when I was at work. Just a guess, but during a 4 hour shift I would probably down maybe a dozen chicken nuggets. (I would wrap them in a half a slice of cheese, a pickle on each side and a squirt of Big Mac sauce. Yum! And the dark meat nuggets only, not the white meat ones!) I would also have my shift meal, as much soda as I could drink and an endless buffet of french fries that I could just shove into my mouth any time I walked by. I never paid any attention to what went into my mouth, I just put it in there and enjoyed it!

I graduated high school in a Junior size 9. (I have the dress I graduated in hanging in my closet.)

My freshman year of college, I kept up with my fast food habit only I added beer to my diet. I can't even fathom to guess how much I weighed at that time, and I don't have any clothes from that time frame let to gauge my size. I have some pictures of me and while I wasn't 'fat' yet, there was a little extra tummy hanging around in the midriff area.

I moved to Portland, where I currently reside, nearly 10 years ago. I weighed 150 at that time. (Well, roughly that weight, because that is what I put on my driver's licence, and no one lies on their license!) I got a job and struggled to make friends. I was living on my own and learning to fend for myself so my shopping and cooking habits were not that great. I would hungry until lunch, hit a drive thru for lunch, then make myself something from a box for dinner. (My favorite meal was a box of Stove Top, with melted cheese and a pile of sour cream on top.) A boy at work that I had a mild crush on commented on my junk food habit and weight gain so I immediately joined a gym. I don't remember getting on the scale at that point, but I know I was in a size 10 at the Gap (where I maxed out my very first credit card). I started taking appetite suppressants and had a weight loss shake for two meals a day. I got pretty thin and fit, but nothing too drastic that I had to buy new clothes. After being caught with my personal trainer in the hot tub after the gym had closed, I stopped working out and didn't pay attention to my eating. I also quit the job I had, decided to go back to school and got a job waiting tables.

So, there I was a broke college student, living off coffee and the free meals I got after my shifts. And that, my friends, is where the real trouble began!

The habit of eating only the free shift meals, and junk food in between lasted me for about 3 years. Then on a whim, I bought a scale and it said I weighed 180 lbs! I immediately went out and bought a book on the Adkins diet and ate all the cheese, bacon and eggs I could get my hands on! In fact, I had McDonald's almost daily! "Hi, I will have a double quarter pounder with extra cheese and pickles, with no bun, and a large diet coke to go please!" I got down to 160 lbs and loved how I looked. Then, I met my future husband and gave up my diet.

Within 4 months, we were engaged, I weighed 175 lbs and didn't care. Bought my wedding dress and it looked great at that size. The lady who sold it to me said, don't lose or gain more than 2 dress sizes or we won't be able to fit this dress to you. I promised I wouldn't gain any weight.

Six months later, and it was time for my first dress fitting. I put on the dress at the alteration shop and it wouldn't zip. I was told to lose at least 20lbs and quickly if I was going to be able to get my dress properly fitted. Lucky for me, I worked at a fitness company and had access to free personal training and fitness equipment. So I put my 199 lb ass in the gym 5 days a week, and sucked down as many TrimSpa pills as I could handle without getting the shakes too badly. And it worked! My dress zipped! In fact, it was too big!! I kept up with the exercise routine and pill popping to make sure my dress fit perfectly. I also gave up McDonald's until after the wedding to keep myself even more focused. On some days, I think I was more looking forward to that first bite of a Double Cheeseburger than I was about the actual wedding! In fact, while decorating the reception hall, I was getting irritated with my Step-mother and yelled at the top of my lungs, "I don't give a f*** how the tables are arranged, I am f***ing hungry and want a f***ing cheeseburger!" The day after the wedding on our way to our honeymoon we stopped at McDonald's, I ordered two Double Cheeseburgers, a large fry, and a side of tartar sauce for dipping, and I almost cried because of how delicious it was!

One and a half years later and it is June of 2008, I am 210 lbs and I have pre-diabetes. It was time to take control of my life and that is exactly what I did!

Now here I am, the thinnest I have been in 10 years, and at the weight I plan on staying for the next 80!

In my next blog I plan to explore what my eating habits were that got me to that weight (in more detail), and what steps I plan to take to make sure that it doesn't happen again! So a deep dive into my un-healthy eating habits vs. healthy eating habits. Being a Lifetime member of Weight Watchers is about keeping the healthy habits I learned while losing the weight, and using them daily to keep the weight off for good! But as I have learned the last two weeks, that is easier said than done!

Until is another picture of me now!

**Please take note of the fact that I am in shorts in this PUBLIC...for the second time in at least 6 years! (The first time was 3 days prior at an outdoor concert, and the reason I bought shorts.) There are about 4 different hilariously perverted things going on in this picture. Please feel free to comment with your favorite!

Monday, August 2, 2010

I found my Blog-Calling at last!

Well, it took lots of thinking and quite a bit of research, but I think I have finally figured out what I will be blogging about from now on!

One big part of my life the last two years has been my weight loss. It was a long struggle but it had to be done.
In June of 2008 I got test results from my yearly check up and found out that I had Insulin Resistant Pre-type 2 Diabetes. That was a scary diagnosis for me. I knew something wasn't right because I had passed out a few times when I went too long without eating. (The most recent one at the time had me seizing with my head on my friends lap, and I threw up orange juice all over her favorite pair of white capris. Not a good day!)

I was totally shocked! I don't know how it happened, but I had gotten FAT!! And getting fat had increased my likely hood of getting full on Diabetes. While my doctor was filling out my prescription of some pill that would help regulate my insulin production and calm my overactive pancreas (or something like that, I don't really understand the medical jargon), I asked her what she recommended for someone like me to do to lose weight and beat diabetes. She said "Easy, join Weight Watchers. It works."

I thought about it for a day or two. Did some research on the Weight Watchers website, and figured I would give it a try. I found a meeting near my house, picked a day and went to a meeting.

When I walked in that door for the first time, I looked like this:

(Okay, not EXACTLY like that, as that was taken at a party the month before! But you get the idea! Those capris were a size 16 and not buttoned or zipped cause they didn't ft.)

And I weighed 210 pounds!!! I cried. Then I read all the materials they gave me, went to the grocery store, cleaned out my pantry and gave my weight loss journey my full attention.
I was lucky and the weight came off really easily and quickly at first. The medicine I was taking helped that a lot as a main side affect was weight loss. I had set a goal for myself to be at my 10% loss goal by my Mexican vacation in December. I worked so hard, counting ever point I put into my mouth and trying to exercise that I achieved my goal a month early! I was very excited! In fact, I was so happy that I decided to take a 'break' from WW (Weight Watchers) and go back to my old ways.
Here I am at 175 lbs:

Flash forward a year and I put back on almost half of what I lost. The pants I bought to fit the smaller me (size 12), were now tight and I was getting grossed out with myself. So, once again, I picked a date and focused myself. I picked a goal of having ALL the weight off by my birthday. I made a spreadsheet and realized that if I lost 1.2 lbs a week I would achieve my goal on time. I wanted to be the weight on my drivers licence which is 150 pounds.

At this point I was doing WW online only since I could not afford to go to meeting due to a pay cut. (Plus I was embarrassed that I had fallen off the wagon.)

I bought a treadmill off of a friend that wasn't using it and she let me make payments. I decided to start following the Couch to 5k program with the intention of doing the Shamrock Run in March of 2010. I ran 3 days a week, tracked every point, participated in the WW message boards for motivation and accountability and I did great!

I was not able to do the 5k as planned due to a death in the family, and to be honest, I wasn't completely ready. We lost my father-in-law Tom on March 12th, and I ate for comfort and stress relief while I helped my family plan and mourn. After my week off plan, I got back on the wagon, and refocused. (On the day of the Memorial Service I was in a size 12 dress, with Spanx to smooth me out.)

I continued to focus on my weightloss and by mid-May I was close to my goal but not going to make the deadline of my birthday. (This is a BIG lesson, for those readers who are still losing weight; Don't pick a date! Just let it happen!) I got a little discouraged, but with support from my online friends on the WW 20's board, I remained focused. (You will notice that I say "focus" a lot. It is a big thing for me. If I am not paying attention to what I am doing at all times, I get distracted and end up off course. Especially while driving!)

When I was about 10 lbs away from my goal weight I decided to go back to meetings for two reasons. #1 being I had heard the last ten were the hardest and I knew I would need lots of support, and #2 (the big one) WW only offers the benefits of Lifetime membership to members that attend meetings. I figured, with the amount of work I put into the program, AND the fact that I would be on WW for the rest of my life, it would be great incentive to keep the weight off, if the program was free! (If you gain 2 lbs above goal it is no longer free though.)

Here I am at 162 lbs just before I went back to meetings (in a size 10):

My birthday came and went, and I didn't make my goal of 150 lbs. I kept doing what I was doing, and didn't get upset. I knew it would happen eventually. The first week of June I ran my first 5k the Starlight Run. It took me 46 minutes and I didn't run all of it, but I went and I did it. And to be honest, I haven't run since. I tried the running thing, and I learned it wasn't for me. I just don't enjoy it. I physically CAN run, I just don't like doing it. I still struggle to find some sort of activity/exercise that I enjoy. (I plan to blog A LOT about that in the future, as I look for something that makes me happy and I actually look forward to doing!)

Mid-June when discussing my goal with my Leader Rene, she realized that for my height the highest weight I could be and still be at 'goal' was 155, which was just a few ounces from where I was at!! I decided to adjust my goal weight to 155 in order to speed along the process toward Free. On June 21st, 2010 I earned my star for goal and I cried through the meeting out of pure joy. Six weeks later on July 19th I achieved Lifetime and was 4lbs under my original goal at 146.6 lbs!!! I sobbed hysterically before I set foot on the scale and Rene had to give me a big hug to calm me down. My wonderful husband came to the meeting and we talked about how my journey affected him and our relationship and it was great to have him there to celebrate with me! When we got home we took these pictures:

Remember this shirt?

Wow, I still can't believe that is actually me!!

So, two weeks have gone by since I earned Lifetime, and it has been a dismal failure! I have gained around 4 lbs putting my at my original goal of 150 lbs (the highest weight I can be at is 157 if I want to still be a Lifetime member). It took some thinking but I have figured out what the problem is and have come up with a solution to fix it.

Problem #1: I stopped going to the grocery store every week. I used to go to the store every Monday before my meeting and pick up what I needed for the week to make fresh healthy lunches and dinners. (I HAVE to eat a banana every morning with my coffee or I just can't get into a good mood!)

Solution: Go to the grocery store every Monday, even though I am not going to a meeting after. Easy to do, and it is an important habit to keep.

Problem #2: I stopped frequenting the WW message board. On the day I posted my Lifetime status, I got a comment from someone warning me to "not start slacking" now that I am "healed". I know she was just trying to be supportive, but it hurt just the same. (It isn't her fault, she doesn't know how terrified I am of gaining every pound plus some back and being a fat, blind, footless diabetic.) I have had difficulty posting on the boards since I achieved Lifetime because I feel like I don't have anything in common with them anymore. I know that I can provide advice and support for those who are just learning the Plan, but what about when I hit a bump in the road? I just didn't feel like they could relate to me any more. I looked for another message board for Lifetime members, but I didn't find one. Then I started looking at my Twitter friends, and some other blogs I follow and they are all people struggling with their weight loss. It got me thinking, what about the rest of us? Who is out there helping and supporting those who have lost the weight and have to work hard, every day forever to keep it off? I only know 3 people who have reached their goals with WW, and I am so proud of them and look forward to hearing how the next steps of their journey go. (I am talking about you h0neyb, Trixie and BitchCakes!)

Solution: This blog!! If there isn't anyone out there talking about what happens after you lose the weight, why can't it be me?

I have a lot of big things coming up in my life that I am really excited about and I look forward to sharing them with everyone.

My next plan for keeping the weight off (besides Tracking, and monthly check-ins at my WW meeting) I am going to be joining a gym to find an exercise routine that works for me. (I was lucky and able to lose the weight with minimum exercise, but that is not recommended and highly unusual.) I want to find a class I can take a few times a week, like yoga or Pilate's or spinning. And in January, I plan on going back to school! (Yes, I will be blogging about non-WW things too!)

I look forward to supporting, and hearing feedback from any readers I find along the way!!

I hope this blog turns into something helpful for me, but others out there who don't know what to do with themselves after the weight comes off!!

**Oh, I almost forgot! I am currently off medication and am diabetes free! Also, I am a size 6!
***Please follow me on Twitter too! @SuperErizzle