Friday, February 28, 2014

What's for lunch at work?

I often get asked what I eat for lunch at work. Normally it's bacon and eggs but today I got tuna and boiled eggs from the salad bar and put some bell pepper in it with some mayo. Yummy and simple! :)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Atkins Bars...

I often get asked if I eat Atkins bars and if so how often... 

I occasionally eat them as a treat or when traveling or sometimes when I have to work late and my other options are not healthy. 

I can't have soy and most of their bars contain soy so I avoid them except for the "Caramel Chocolate Nut Roll" flavor that only has soy in the chocolate. I still use them sparingly and not as a staple. 

Now..... when I have Girl Scout Cookies sitting in my office, yeah... I'll eat the Atkins bar if I was craving something. But I'm actually not hungry so I'm fine.

I don't recommend eating the Atkins bar's if you can't eat just one. If they will trigger you to eat the whole box then leave them alone. If they stall you, then save them for maintenance. A BIG part of long term success on ANY kind of healthy eating plan is that you learn self control. For me, it's easier to stick to my bacon and eggs and not worry about other foods. If I don't have many carbs then I don't crave carb loaded foods. But once I eat something with carbs then I want EVERYTHING! A side effect of PCOS is actually that you crave carbs. So if you have PCOS, I highly recommend that you don't have "off days" very often because it's like an alcoholic trying to give up booze when you go back to low carb after being off plan. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Long Term Sucess/Life Time Maintenance and Rewarding Yourself!

This topic came up in my reply to Melody who's lost 45 lbs in her first 5 weeks on Low Carb and I decided it might be helpful to others as well so I'm going to share it. Congrats Melody! You're off to a great start!!!

As we all know this is a long process and a life time change to improve your health and way of life. To change the way you think about food and not to comfort or reward yourself with food. But it's also important to make sure to reward yourself along the way when you can.

Try get a new pair of workout pants, or a new flattering wrap top that helps you start to see your progress more. Maybe a new yoga mat for doing Palates if you need something low impact and you aren't up for the gym yet. Even go see a movie, but skip the snack counter... eat lunch or dinner before the movie. Get a mani/pedi, have a spa day at home with a friend. Maybe get some new pj's or new undies. Make sure that you at least have one properly fitting outfit so you feel good going places.

I went from a size 56 dress, 8x/9x men's shirt with a 91" waist to a size 18/20 dress, 1x/2x tops so I've had to replace my entire wardrobe several times along the way. It sucked spending the money on clothes, but it felt so good to wear an outfit that fit me correctly. It's also important to get rid of your clothes when they become way too big, or get out the sewing machine and alter them. Because if you keep the bigger baggy clothes around and you start gaining weight you won't realize it in your clothes if everything you have is baggy or stretchy.

I've been wearing nothing but dresses with leggings and boots to work all winter (stretchy clothes). My office was passing around germs and I was busy, never home, not sleeping enough, not drinking enough water and I got a sinus infection that was upsetting my tummy for 3 weeks and then I had the flu that lingered for 4 weeks and lots of extra stress from work. I've still been doing low carb, but not as low as I normally do and I started drinking more Sprite Zero and Fresca trying to settle my tummy and I think it made me feel worse and upset my tummy more from the added sweeteners in the long run.

The scale gradually went up a bit... but I wasn't too worried because I still looked the same and my clothes still fit me.  Then Friday night I went to go put on my "Skinny" jeans that used to fit comfortably and they wouldn't button out of the dryer. I realized that I had not worn them in two months. I sighed and put on my relaxed fit jeans and they fit me snugly... That's my sign that I have to go back to induction level carbs (20 or less per day) instead of having off days of 30-40 carbs per day like I have been doing a lot the past couple of months.

The gradual increases can sure add up in time if you gain 10 lbs one month and 10 lbs another month, you have to catch it before it gets out of hand. I know it's not added muscle weight because I haven't been training hard lately, it's from eating too many carbs for my system. With my PCOS I have to stay at 20 or less per day to maintain my weight and to feel my best. I haven't been working out because the numbness has gotten worse due to excess skin cutting off circulation and pinching my nerve. I'll post more about that later though.

I had increased portions because I was working over time and I would often be at work until 6:30 or 7pm so I started getting bigger salads for lunch to compensate for a later dinner. My salads had a lot of turkey, ham or chicken on them from the work salad bar so I know there was hidden carbs there even though I brought my own dressing. I'd eat half the salad at 1pm, the other half at 4/5pm and then dinner around 8/9pm. But it ended up adding an extra meal to my day instead of it just being a snack. Then some days I'd say screw it, my tummy was already upset so I'd grab a piece of pizza with my salad too. I normally avoided the carbs because they upset my tummy, but it was easier to give in to them when my tummy was already upset.

I'm sharing this with you guys to let you know that even someone like me who's maintained the loss for over 2 years still has to watch it and that we can all have little setbacks, we all have to be careful. We just have to get back on it and watch the carbs and portion sizes to keep yourself in check. Also make sure to drink enough water too and try to get enough sleep... I struggle with the sleep part because I'm always busy with something or my mind is wanting to go go go instead of resting.

Remember the important part is to never give up on yourself, ever! You can do it, because you are worth it!

-CJ

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Homemade Broccoli, Bacon and Cheese Soup with a BLT Wrap

It's cold and rainy and nothing sounded good the other night except for Broccoli Cheese Soup and I decided to add some Bacon!

I just used my standard go to combination for a sauce base.
1 stick of butter
16 ounces of Heavy Whipping Cream
2 cups of shredded cheese (I used Cheddar here)

For an Alfredo I use an Italian Blend of whatever I have on hand.
Just melt the butter, melt the cheese, add the cream and stir while bringing it to a boil. Keep stirring and let it simmer until it thickens.
Once the sauce is done cooking then I added the steamed broccoli and crumbled the bacon.

You could also pair this with a BLT made on a low carb tortilla or a lettuce wrap or a BLT salad. 
I decided that it was too much food for me for one meal so I just went with the soup and then ate the wrap later.

 I don't eat soy because of my PCOS so I will only use one brand of low carb Tortilla. All of the other ones that I have found are made with soy flour. I use the Mission Carb Balance tortillas, they do have a small amount of soybean oil but that doesn't bother me like the soy flour, soy lecithin or soy protein does.

Soy basically mimics estrogen and was causing problems for me so I stopped eating it altogether last summer. Most ladies with PCOS already have high estrogen levels and should not eat soy and should try to eat more broccoli because broccoli naturally helps to rid your body of excess estrogen.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dreamfields Low Carb Rotini

 Dreamfields Rotini pasta with bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, garlic and ground beef.
 Once again I want to stress the importance of following the cooking instructions exactly! I boil the water, set the timer (but don't hit start yet), measure out the portion size of pasta that I want to cook. Hit the start button and drop the pasta in the boiling water. As soon as the 8 minutes is up I immediately remove the pasta from the stove and drain it in the sink while rinsing with cold water to stop the cooking process. I always measure out the portions and don't over cook the pasta and I haven't had any problems with this pasta. It might not work for everyone and if you notice that it stalls you when you haven't had any other carbs then I would suggest not eating it until you're on maintenance.
 

I separated the dry pasta in to 6 servings and cooked 2 servings, 1 of those servings is in this bowl for dinner and the other one is in the fridge for tomorrow.  I store the sauce separate from the noodles so that I can reheat the sauce without reheating the noodles. I don't want the noodles to over cook because then your body will absorb more of the carbs that should not be digested and would increase the carb count. When cooked properly, one serving is 5 carbs plus whatever is in the sauce and veggies that you add.

I made a simple sauce with bell pepper, onions, garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, black pepper, Italian seasoning and a little parmesan cheese. You could easily use frozen onions and peppers like shown above or fresh ones if you have them available. You can use canned or fresh tomatoes depending on their availability as well. Garlic powder can also be used instead of fresh garlic. You can also cook up the ground beef ahead of time and used it the next day. This is also great which grilled chicken or even an Italian sausage that's lower in carbs. You can also skip the low carb pasta and just layer meat, sauce cheese in a pan and bake it like a lasagna. I have pictures of that in other posts. If you have high carb eaters in your house you can easily cook them some normal pasta and serve them the same sauce.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mac 'n Cheese with Bacon, Broccoli and Grilled Chicken

Hello Everyone, 
It's been a while since I last posted so I thought that I would share what I cooked for dinner yesterday. I cooked homemade Mac 'n Cheese with Bacon, Broccoli and Grilled Chicken. And yes, it's Low Carb! :)
I've posted about Dreamfields pasta before and as always it's very important to follow the cooking directions and only boil it for 8 minutes and then immediately drain it and rinse it with cold water so that it stops cooking. I separate it into  portion sizes and keep the sauce separate from the pasta. I will reheat the sauce and meat but I won't reheat the pasta.
Now for the sauce! I just melted 1 stick of butter and melted 2 cups of shredded cheddar and then added 16 ounces of heavy whipping cream and stirred it while cooking until it came to a boil and then reduced the heat to simmer until it thickened and kept stirring. Then added the cooked chopped broccoli and some crumbled pieces of bacon.

I portioned the pasta into 6 servings and saved the other 5 servings for later. 
 This is 1 serving of pasta, 1 serving of broccoli and 4 ounces of grilled chicken. I should have added more bacon though.... LOL
I hope everyone is doing well!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

5k for Cancer Research

I really enjoy having my life back again and one of those activities I was unable to participate in before losing weight was 5k's for cancer research. Please join me in raising funds to help Dana-Farber Cancer Institute conquer all forms of cancer. I'm walking in honor of 21 people (16 of them family and 5 of them friends) sadly only 7 of them are still with us today.

Any donations are appreciated and also tax deductible, all amounts are welcome even $5 can help out.
http://www.jimmyfundwalk.org/2011/cj

When I signed up to participate they have a minimum requirement that I have to raise $250 in donations. I had to agree that if I didn't raise enough funds that the remainder would come out of my own pocket. I'm not rich but I agreed to do so because this is a worth while cause and one out of every three people will have to face cancer in their lifetime. If I was the one fighting I'd sure hope that people were willing to help me out too.


I've lost 249 lbs, lowered my body fat by 36% and lowered my resting heart rate from 110 to 65 beats per minute. I was told that I'd never be able to go to the gym again after an auto accident in 2005. I've been back at the gym since Sept. 2009 and completed my first official 5k on 9/25/10.


One of my favorite qoutes is:
"If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or Fight Like Hell." - Lance Armstrong

Please donate if you can,
Thanks!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I got a Harley, Happy Birthday to Me!

This is my birthday present to myself, from myself. I've always liked bikes and my Dad, Uncle and Brothers ride so I've been around bikes my whole life but had never ridden one myself. I wanted a bike for a few years and took safety classes and got my license in the spring. It was such a nice feeling to be able to ride a bike and not have the tires pop or the frame bend underneath me. I never thought I'd be able to do anything like this before I lost weight, it's such a nice feeling! :)




Thursday, August 18, 2011

Nom Nom Nom....Tri -Tip!!!


Do you have Tri-Tip in your area?

Do you know what Tri-Tip is? 

"The tri-tip is a cut of beef from the bottom sirloin primal cut. It is a small triangular muscle, usually 1.5 to 2.5 lbs. per side of beef. In the United States, this cut was typically used for ground beef or sliced into steaks until the late 1950s, when Otto Schaefer marketed it in Oakland, California. Shortly thereafter, it became a local specialty in Santa Maria, California, rubbed with salt, pepper, garlic salt, and other seasonings, cooked over red oak wood and roasted whole on a rotisserie, smoked in a pit, baked in an oven, grilled, or braised by putting a pot on top of a grill, browning the meat directly on the grill surface before and after the braising. (The tri-tip is still often labeled the "Santa Maria steak".) Most popular in the Central Coast of California and Central Valley regions of California, it has begun to enjoy increasing popularity elsewhere for its full flavor, lower fat content, and comparatively lower cost."

Here's a pic from Wiki too:

I grew up in California and we always had Tri-Tip, my Dad cooked them all the time. It wasn't until I moved to Kansas that I found out it was a regional thing....... I noticed that there wasn't any in the stores so I asked the butcher if he had any and he said, "What's that?". I tried explaining that it was a large roast with a fatty side and it was triangle shaped with 3 tips. None of the stores knew what I was talking about.

I had never cooked one myself but I sat or stood at the kitchen counter watching my Dad season them for years and watching him cook other things too. Since I moved away when I was 19 he hadn't really eaten much of my cooking, but he loved my baking. He'd go BBQ the meat and I'd cook the side dishes, chop stuff, stir stuff, do the inside work. The first time he visited me I BBQ-ed chicken and he said "Man, you're a good cook! This taste better than my chicken, where'd you learn this from?" I smiled and said, "From watching you!" :)


This is a CA Tri-Tip cooking on my Dad's grill, there is two of them there. But notice the shape, that's where it gets it's name from.


I saw Tri-Tip Steaks for sale in MA and I asked the butcher if I could buy the steaks uncut. He said they had a roast and showed it to me.  They are not as big as the ones in CA and they are a lot leaner too. He showed me the fresh cuts and for whatever reason they don't have the big ones here. He said they are not real popular here and no one would buy them if they had more fat on them....... I laughed and said but that's the best part that keeps them juicy and adds flavor while on the grill. He agreed with me. 

They had them labeled as "Oven Roasts" with the label saying Sirloin Tri-Tip Roast. So I'm thinking maybe some people just don't know what to do with them and cook them totally in a oven or put them in a crock pot. Sure they are good that way too but they are much better with crispy outsides!
 


Since these have less fat on them I melted some butter and a little olive oil in the bottom of my grill pan, seasoned the Tri-Tip and seared both sides and the edges to lock in the flavor and moisture.

If you turn them on the sides like this to brown all the edges, just watch out that they don't fall over and splash hot grease on you.

Then when the outsides were all seared, I put them in a baking pan.

Added more seasonings and put some extra butter on the top of them so they wouldn't dry out.

Covered the pan in foil and put them in the oven to finish cooking.
 I really need to get my grill assembled......


They smelled sooo good!

Ready to cut into it.

I had to resist tasting a piece before I was done cutting it. 

 The finished product ready to eat.

It was very good!!! Nom Nom Nom!!!!!!
(and that's a salad plate, not a dinner plate by the way. People often ask me about my portion sizes so I try to include that my meals are always on salad plates unless I state otherwise. I didn't watch portion sizes in the beginning, it just happened over time the closer I got to goal.)

My oldest dog was standing there crying at me hoping to get a bite. He did not get any Tri-Tip but he did get a doggie cookie.... LOL

So..... the final verdict, was it as good as my Dad's???

It's almost as good as my Dad's...... Almost. :)
Since this is my first time cooking a Tri -Tip and I used a grill pan and a oven instead of a BBQ grill...... I'm gonna be so bold as to say that he's a good teacher and if I tried enough I bet I could beat his Tri-Tip..... Look out Dad!!! <3
(Of course I only say that now that I'm grown and he can't ground me anymore). LOL

Monday, August 8, 2011

Yummy Yummy from California!

I went to visit family for a long weekend in CA. I had to stop and get a Double-Double Protein Style from In-N-Out Burgers. I hadn't eaten there in about 10 years. It was very good!


I was stuck on the 405 for 3 hours but I had a ziploc bag full of bacon that I brought on the plane with me so I was quite content. :)


I had an 8 hour flight that was supposed to be non-stop and I got worried about what to take on the plane. You can't exactly bring ice past security and anything liquid has 3 ounce size limit and must be inside 1 single quart size ziploc bag...... I kind of freaked out because I get sick when I don't eat and was also having a medical problem and awaiting surgery to remove a polyp. I need to avoid Soy because I have PCOS and Soy is estrogen mimicing and can cause polyps and since I already had one polyp I didn't want to eat any more Soy....

I was more focused on what to bring to entertain myself for an 8 hour flight and at the last minute realized, wait.... what was I going to eat? Normally I would have brought low carb bars but all of them I could find had Soy in them or was too many carbs for me. I didn't have time to order quest bars before my trip.

I ended up cooking bacon and putting it in a ziploc bag inside of a small soft sided cooler that fit inside my carry on bag. I then put some ice cubes inside of a freezer bag, double bagged it and put it inside the cooler. Right before security I dumped the ice out and saved the bags. Once settled on the plane and they came around for drinks I asked for a cup of ice and put it in the ziploc bag inside the cooler.

I also got plain almonds and measured them out into snack sized bags. I put two servings per bag so each bag was 4 carbs. But I wasn't that hungry and didn't eat one whole bag at a time, so really I could have just done one serving per bag. I could have also put boiled eggs in the cooler but I didn't have time to boil them.

I'll post more about PCOS and Soy later.

One of the fun parts about losing weight and having to pack your clothes is this..... I fit the following items into my carry on bag..... 3 dresses, 3 cardigans, 3 tops, 2 cami tops, 2 denim skirts, 1 pair of denim capris, Red Sox shirt, athletic shorts, bathing suit and coverup, night shirt, socks, undies, bra and two pairs of sandals. Plus I shoved my hair dryer in there too. I never coulda done this before losing weight! :)

Staying on plan was very easy and lots of yummy food to choose from too!

This was my dinner one night:
 
Yummy Veggie and Cheese Omelet with Bacon cooked by my Step-Mom. :)

My Dad BBQ-ed an AWESOME Tri-Tip and he burned some hot dogs for me to snack on and take back on the plane with me on my way home. My Step-Brother also cooked a very good Tri-Tip for dinner the next day and my Sister-Inlaw made a really good salad with bacon, eggs, bell pepper and cheese.

By the way..... you see those shoulders on my Dad??? Well..... he's still strong and he's still protective of his little girl, just sayin....... LOL


 Here's the Tri-Tip on my plate.Yummy!


 Here's my Dad, Step-Mom and I.


I don't care how old I get, he's always my Daddy, I love him and I don't care if the whole world knows it! <3

~CJ
Sent from my Droid 2.