Ending a Year-Long Relationship

So, in the interest of full disclosure, I feel the need to be honest with y’all.

On Friday afternoon, I canceled my WeightWatchers account.

Between boot camp, the new exercises I’m doing, and the meal plans, I just wasn’t using the tools anymore and I finally decided it was time to stop paying for them.

I did not stop using WeightWatchers because it didn’t work. WeightWatchers taught me about portion control, and gave me a huge step in the right direction when I was ready for a change in my life but didn’t know where to start. Now that I have the ball rolling, I don’t feel the need for the monthly service anymore.

So there’s that. WeightWatchers got me to start cooking my own food, and to start caring what was in the food I put in my body, and how it effected my body.

For that, I’ll always recommend WeightWatchers to people who are looking for a place to start their weight loss journey.

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How Did I Get Here?

It’s National Women’s Health Week, so I’ll be posting a couple of articles about my views on health, weight loss and fitness.

First off, I want to give you a brief history of myself and what I’ve been through with my body, because that colors how we view these issues so dramatically. So here it is, the scary truth.

(Yes, this post will contain a lot of photos. Deal with it.)

Disclaimer: I was really lucky to grow up with a group of friends where our weight and body type was not a giant concern for us. At least we didn’t think it was. Looking back, however, it was always there. At least it was for me.

Here I am in my senior year of high school, weighing in at 150 pounds and standing 5 feet, 4 inches tall.

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Not too bad, right? Most people always guessed my weight at around 135 or 140, but that’s because I was strong. I played basketball, ran, went to the gym, all of that. I had broad shoulders (still do) that held a ton of muscle. I could squat around 90 pounds and lift two cases of raw chicken at once. (I used to work at a Boston Market, okay? A case of raw chicken weighed about 10-15 pounds on average.)

Here’s a front shot, taken on the same day, wearing the same clothes. (disregard the ridiculous sunglasses, they were  a gag gift because I was moving to Ohio).

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I was strong. And I hated it. It came from years of playing soccer, basketball, horseback riding, and pretty much any other organized sport you can think of. I was always told that I was built like my father, which in my head translated to: You are built like a boy.

So that is what I looked like when I left for college in the fall of 2006. Desperate for a new physical activity, I joined rowing. And gained 8 pounds of pure muscle.

Honestly? I was horrified. In my mind, I was already a hulking beast of a girl, who could squat more than most of the guys I hung out with. (Church boys and nerd boys, amiright?) And don’t get me started on the girls. I was surrounded by what seemed to me to be the smallest girls who looked just like what the world wanted out of a woman’s body.

This was taken during Thanksgiving break, 2006, after 4 months of being a NCAA Division 1 athlete.

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I was 160 pounds of muscle and 20-30 hours/week of work outs. That’s the life of a D1 athlete, if you didn’t know. Rowing is one of those sports where a 3 hour training session will burn between 1500-3000 calories. So basically I ate whatever, whenever and how ever much I wanted. I didn’t hate my build as much then, mostly because it helped me win races. But I still wasn’t 100% accepting of it.

But then I quit rowing. But I kept eating. And I quickly ballooned (yes, that is the proper term) to around 170 pounds.

By the summer of 2007, I was like this.

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I started hiding behind my clothes. Layers, long shorts and wide straps.

Then I looked back at my pictures from the previous semester. I was appalled. I had gone from a normal sized girl who was strong and happy, to someone who hid under layers, avoided cameras, and untagged any photos that weren’t from exactly the right angle, or showed anything below the waist. Seriously, try and find pictures on my Facebook of the spring of 2007. They’re gone.

I had been 160 pounds of muscle, but in the span of 5 months, my lack of exercise and my horrible diet had turned the majority of that muscle into fat, and landed me in the doctor’s office for high cholesterol. 

I began running, and became frustrated when I wasn’t seeing any difference on the scale. I know now that it was because I kept eating like crap, and would continue to do so through college.

So once I got my cholesterol under control, I became complacent. I figured this was my body and I’ll just have to deal with it.

It got to the point that I didn’t even notice the weight come back until 2012, when I went to the doctors office and weighed in at 185, with high cholesterol and a vitamin D deficiency.

2010, college graduation. I really like that this angle doesn't show my multiple chins.

2010, college graduation. I really like that this angle doesn’t show my multiple chins.

2011, the year I realized I was letting myself go.

2011, the year I realized I was letting myself go.

At first I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to bulk up, but I was so unhappy with my body that it started affecting other parts of my life as well. I was working 2 jobs and freelancing as well as doing some volunteer work at my Church. I stopped working out because I didn’t have the time anymore.

Things didn’t get better. When 2012 came around and it began to sink in that this wouldn’t change unless I did, that’s when I took action and joined WeightWatchers.

The rest is chronicled on this blog for your reading pleasure, but I’ll sum up the changes I’ve made that have taken me from the cusp of wearing a size 16 jean to swimming in my size 10 jeans in just a year.

  • You are what you eat. Seriously, about 80% of your body is what you put in it. The rest is your activity level. You can run all day long, but if you’re fueling your body with crap, you won’t see results.
  • Diet can only take you so far. I lost 10 pounds using just diet in the past year. Unfortunately, since I wasn’t pairing it with adequate exercise, I gained most of it back.
  • Honestly? Throw out the scale. I am convinced it is a deranged torture device used to keep women from focusing on the issues that really matter. Use your measurements as a guide. Use your energy level. Use the number of squats you can do in a row. Anything else, really.
  • You don’t have to eat food you hate to be healthy. Seriously. My meal plan calls for tofu, and mushrooms and other things I will not touch. (ahem, tofu). Talk to your doctor, your trainer, the internet and find an alternative. If not, throw it in the blender with some fruit and milk and drink up. Eating healthy is delicious.
  • Most importantly: you do not need to look like the girls on TV or in magazines to be beautiful. Be strong, be healthy, be who you are. If your body naturally leads you to be small and petite, that’s awesome. If you are naturally muscular and curvy, that’s awesome too. Love your body, love yourself, love your passions.

A big milestone for me was in the past few weeks when I learned that it is good to be strong. It is awesome to be able to squat 90 pounds at the age of 16. I have a new found sense of awe at the power of my body, and I can’t wait to see what else it can do.

I’m not ashamed of being strong anymore.

And that’s the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help me God.

(and just in case you were curious, the biggest change I have seen has been in the past few weeks during boot camp. See below.)

April 1, 2013

April 1, 2013

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May 10, 2013

Recipe Spotlight: Turkey & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

This was the result of two things: my desire to learn how to incorporate quinoa into my recipe book, and an equally strong desire to use up leftovers in my fridge. Sorry I’m not sorry.

Again, if you are a Weight Watchers member, you can find the recipe and point break down here. One pepper is 7 Points Plus, but to be honest, the quinoa is so hearty I only ate half of one.

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Here’s what you’ll need: (feel free to adapt to fit whatever you have in your fridge.

  • 4 large sweet red pepper(s)
  • 1 cup(s) uncooked carrot(s), chopped
  • 1/2 large uncooked, onion(s), chopped
  • 3/4 item(s) canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1/2 pound(s) uncooked 99% fat-free ground turkey breast
  • 1 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), chopped
  • 1/2 cup Ancient Harvest Quinoa, Inca Red, pre-rinsed, cooked according to the instructions on the box.

So here’s what you do:
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  1. Cook the quinoa according to package instructions. (Mine said to boil 1 cup uncooked quinoa in 2 cups water or chicken broth, but follow the directions on the box)
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Cut the tops off of 3 of the peppers, and hollow them out. Set aside.
  4. Chop the final pepper, along with the garlic, chipotles, onion and carrots.
  5. Cook the turkey in a large skillet, then added the chopped veggies. Let simmer, then add 3 generous spoon fulls of cooked quinoa. Mix well.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the hollowed out peppers, and roast the peppers in the oven for 10 minutes.
  7. The fully cooked quinoa will look like this.

    The fully cooked quinoa will look like this.

    Enjoy!

 

Recipe Spotlight: Turkey Chipotle Chili

Absolutely perfect for a cold and damp day. Which lasted all last weekend and most of this past week.

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If you’re a Weight Watchers member, you can find the recipe and Points Plus breakdown here.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 pound(s) uncooked ground turkey breast
  • 2 large uncooked onion(s), chopped.
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce  (If you don’t like spicy food, you can simply substitute fresh chipotles, but remember to remove the seeds, and I would recommend grilling or sautéing them before adding to the chili).
  • 2 Tbsp store-bought adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 cup(s) water
  • 1/2 cup(s) cilantro, chopped.

It’s pretty easy after that.

In a heavy skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil and sauté the meat and onions until the turkey is cooked. I used a large skillet with tall sides.

Add the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, chipotle and adobo sauce and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the water, salt, pepper, and half the cilantro and cook on low for an hour and half, adding water as needed.

In the last 15 minutes of cooking, add the remaining cilantro and adjust the seasoning to taste.

Serves 5. Serve with veggies or brown rice.

Final Points Plus total: 9 per serving, but don’t worry, each serving is pretty filling. You can also add really any vegetable you like, as you can see I added corn, but celery would be tasty as well.

Weekly Weigh In: Biggest Loser Family Style

Only one week left in the Biggest Loser competition! (I’m in 3rd place.)

So after completely, totally, unequivocally recommitting myself to Weight Watchers, I was actually really excited to weigh myself this weekend.

I lost 3.1 pounds!

Hooray for me! But I can’t let myself get too complacent, because Easter is this weekend and we all know I love my holidays. I’ll be contributing a tasty vegetable side dish to my family’s dinner, and will be sure to post the recipe when I decide what I am going to make.

I feel great though, and I’m excited to keep going. I really needed a fresh start and I’m glad I got that this week. I’m going to spend this week keeping focused on tracking, and hopefully I’ll get back out for a run at least once before my family comes into town on Saturday.

(I’ll also be attending the Sweet Sixteen games at Cowboys Stadium on Friday night, so I’m really excited about that too.)

My big challenge will be the Gaylord Texan Easter Brunch Buffet that waits for me on Sunday.  Because I’m still working on that little thing called self control.

Update:

So I’ve been officially committed back to the Weight Watchers program for five days now, and I already feel so much better.

I haven’t even incorporated any exercise in. It’s really amazing the difference that just tracking what you eat can make. I even splurged this week during my dear friend Pamela’s birthday dinner. (Potato skins, chicken curry, alcoholic drinks and cake!)

I was just really excited about this and I thought everyone should know.

Happy Friday!

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How to Get Back on the Wagon

(Note: Other titles I bounced around before deciding on one: Could we Start Again Please, Again? or That Morning I Went Crazy or Starting Over Again. Part 2.)

Sometimes we fall down. Sometimes we lose track of our goals, and sometimes we just, stop. We stop doing what we know is good for us, we stop keeping track of what we eat and we stop taking those extra steps to be healthy.

And that’s exactly what happened to me.

But, the more important thing is, I am getting back on my feet in a big way.

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I start April 15. Thank you, Groupon.

I have officially gone insane. Wait. I mean,  I’m really excited to get my behind handed to me three times a week by a woman half my size. Yay for spontaneous Groupon purchases that I feel obligated to use!

Additionally, I’m getting back to basics with WeightWatchers. Lots of fruit, vegetables and water. Making sure I eat slowly and actually think long and hard about what I eat and when I eat. Cooking at home more often. I don’t think I can get back into salads, but I do have a good stock of low sodium, light soups in my pantry that I plan on making use of. (Also, did you know that half a can of Wolf Brand Turkey Chili (with beans) is only 5 points?) So that’s my current go-to dinner on nights that I don’t want to cook. Which are a lot of nights.

So here’s to getting back on track and hopefully being ready in time for summer!

 

Biggest Loser: Family Style Week 3!

Okay, I have finally recovered from birthday week, alumni game watches and one very unexpected and exhausting Super Bowl Party.

I gained .4 pounds.

I’m really not surprised, considering all the events, craziness and overeating/drinking that occurred over the course of the week. Luckily I did get another 2 mile run in over the weekend, as well as some stability ball/free weight action. Baby steps.

Did you hear that? 2 miles. 30 minutes. 

And I wasn’t even sore the next day. Granted, most of my “runs” right now consist of walking for five minutes and then running for two. Lather, rinse, repeat. Though I did get my work out on Sunday by way of frantically cleaning my apartment in preparation for the above stated last minute Super Bowl Party. Which was still fun.

5k course

So that’s it for me. In case anyone is interested, this is the 5k I’m planning on doing in March. If you live in the area and will be in town on March 9, you should join us! (My cousin and me, that is…)Have a great week everyone!

Recipe Spotlight: Greek Yogurt Italian Baked Chicken

So I found this recipe for parmesan crusted chicken and decided to adapt it to make it low fat and (of course) put my own spin on it. What transpired was a super easy and quick recipe for flavorful and moist chicken, without all the guilt.

You can check out the original recipe in the link above.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • 1/2 cup plain, non-fat greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (the original recipe calls for 1/4 cup, but I really like cheese)
  • roughly 2/3 cup of italian style bread crumbs
  • Roughly 1 lbs chicken breasts, boneless, skinless.
  • basil
  • oregano
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder

 

 

  1. First, mix together the herbs, greek yogurt and parmesan cheese in a separate bowl. It should create an almost 20130119_172734paste-like consistency.
  2. Line a casserole dish with parchment paper (optional) for easy clean up. Place the chicken breasts in the dish and slather on the mixture. Don’t be afraid to be generous!
  3. Sprinkly the bread crumbs on top.
  4. I was cooking for two, so i only did two breasts, but used the same amount of mixture. Technically this is enough for up to 4 chicken breasts.
  5. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until there is no pink in the middle and the juices run clear. Set to broil at the very end to crisp up the bread crumbs, but make sure to keep an eye on it!
  6. Serve with your favorite green veggie. 🙂

 

Enjoy!

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– Biggest Loser Family Style – Weekly Weigh In: Week 2

Welcome to week two of my family’s Biggest Loser competition. My parents are actually heading into Dallas this weekend to celebrate two birthdays (My older sister and I are four years and three days apart.) but I thought I’d give y’all a quick update on my weigh in.

I lost 2.9 pounds last week!

Woohoo! It seems like I’m finally back on track after the past few months. Which is quite a relief, considering how badly I let myself get off.

Also, I’m really glad I actually weighed myself this morning instead of waiting until Sunday, we are all going  to a birthday dinner tomorrow night at a Brazilian steakhouse. And yes, I am going to eat my weight in delicious food.

This is why I fully plan on going running tomorrow morning before everyone gets here.

loading weekend

It’s Friday y’all. Time to get weird.

Prior out.