Tag Archives: dieting

I’m not saying I’m lazy, but….

I’ve been a little more motivated this time to lose weight.  I’ve been a member of SparkPeople for quite a few years now but I’ve never really been all that motivated to make a change.  This time, I’ve been working on it for about a month or so.  I know that if I had to change my eating habits too drastically I’d never stick with it, so I’ve changed enough so that I lose 1-2 lbs a week.  Closer to the 1 lb than the 2.  It’s slow going this way but I’m making healthy changes in a way that I can continue.

Before I go any farther, SparkPeople is a weight loss site that is FREE.  There you can find support groups, diet and exercise help, and the online tools you need to track it all.  Did I mention FREE?   There are extras that they do sell — cookbooks, exercise videos, etc. — but it’s all extra.  You don’t need any of it to feel like a part of the community.

Anyway, since I’ve been logging into SparkPeople every day and diligently entering all the food I eat and my exercise, I decided to take this one step further.  I purchased the Spark Activity Tracker.  It’s a pedometer type device that automatically uploads the information to SparkPeople.

In the past on the days I didn’t actually feel like doing exercise, if I had a good number of steps recorded on my pedometer app on my phone over the course of the day, I would count them as my workout.  That’s really cheating since 30 minutes of walking 2.7 mph is way different when you do it in one chunk or if you do it over the course of 8 hours.  *sheepish grin*

Now with the Spark Activity Tracker (SAT) I’m screwed.  It keeps track of my steps so that they get automatically uploaded to SparkPeople via wifi BUT it also knows that I didn’t do my steps in a work out of 10 minutes or more.  So now I actually have to do a workout to be able to count activity as a workout.  *sigh*  It’ll keep me honest but it undermines my inner sloth.

I received my SAT yesterday.  So today was my first full day with it.  I reached my goal of 6000 steps but I wanted all the lights on the SAT to light up so I knew I had to do at least 10 minutes of the Death Machine or Recumbent Bike.  So I did.  I was rewarded with this:  150322Spark

WOOHOO.  As crazy as it sounds, I’m motivated to work out so I can see all the lights lit.  That can’t be a bad thing.


Cooking Light Diet Continues

I’ve had pretty good luck with the Cooking Light Diet.  For the most part, the recipes are easy to make and actually quite tasty.  Tonight was no exception.  I made Weeknight Lemon Chicken Skillet Supper.  What could be easier than an almost one skillet meal?  I say almost because you do have to boil some red potatoes prior to putting them in the skillet.  Other than that it’s only the one skillet.  Reading the reviews on the website, most of the reviews were about the sauce being thin, which it was, and the sauce being a bit bland.  I can’t really argue with either one of those points but both are very easy to rectify.

One thing I did differently from the very start was that I chose to use broccoli instead of green beans.  As many of you know, I hate green beans with such a passion that I swear they are Satan’s second favorite vegetable — the first being Brussels sprouts.

Here is my mise en place:


While the potatoes boiled, I browned the chicken on the stove top and then moved to the skillet to the oven to continue cooking.  (As you may be able to tell I used chicken breasts instead of the boneless skinless chicken thighs the recipe called for.  As a result, the chicken did over cook a bit and next time I would definitely use the chicken thighs.)


Next up I sautéed the mushrooms and potatoes together to get a nice browning on both.


Finally, it was time to marry everything in the skillet on the stove top.  Lemons, potatoes, mushrooms, chicken, chicken broth, and a slurry of milk and flour simmered for about 10 minutes and then it was time to eat.


If you don’t like a lot of lemon, you may want to cut back on the amount of lemon they tell you to put in the sauce.  We actually like a good tart lemon flavor.  Similarly if you prefer a spicy sauce, I bet this recipe would take well to an addition of red pepper flakes.  I will probably do that next time since we do tend to like our foods spicy.

All in all, it was a very good start.  I do think I would prefer a thicker sauce and I would probably add the red pepper flakes.

I definitely would rate this recipe as Good and with a couple of tweaks I think it could get a rating of Excellent.

So… Portion sizes are catching on…

I love my pasta.  And it has never slowed me down when I go to a restaurant and I get a big plate of pasta — I eat it all.  Then when I get home and I look at the calories I consumed I find out that that one bowl of pasta was actually two servings.  The problem is I got used to eating that much.  But now after three weeks of watching my portion sizes I’m starting to see a difference.  Not a huge difference on the scales yet, but that’s coming.  What I saw today, what really surprised me, was that we went out to dinner and I got a big old plate of pasta and I brought half of it home.  Better yet, I didn’t eat it after I got home.  It’s going to be tomorrow’s lunch.

I know that is a small victory, but it’s a victory I’ve been waiting for.

In other news, I finally received the camera I ordered via Groupon two weeks ago.  I’ve never had a problem with slow shipping when I ordered stuff from Groupon before but this particular seller was horrible.  The problem is that I can’t even tell you who it was because I don’t know.  None of the paperwork that was shipped with the camera had their return address on it, just the return address for Groupon.  The only thing I know about this company is that (1) they are in New Jersey and (2) they actually did finally send me my camera after two weeks.  And I love it!  I spent the evening playing with it.  Ok, so I spent the entire day playing with it.  I’ve driven the peeps on FB crazy with my talking about it.  I’ll spare you.  For today.  But your day is coming soon.

150314Di_retouched_smWell, let me leave you with the photo I took of Dinah this afternoon with the camera.

Walnut Crusted Oven-Fried Chicken

I went way outside my comfort zone today for supper.  I made Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken for supper.   It’s a recipe from the November 2010 issue of Cooking Light Magazine and it just happened to come up as the choice for tonight’s supper on the Cooking Light Diet.

I’m not a nut lover and I was really quite sure that I would end up having to scrape all the walnuts off the chicken in order to eat it.  I didn’t have to do that.  It was really quite tasty.

I did put the walnuts that I bought already chopped, into my spice grinder (aka coffee grinder that I use solely for spices and the like) and chopped them up pretty finely.

I served the chicken with Buttered Carrots and Sauteed Broccoli Rabe.  I’m NOT a fan of broccoli rabe I found out today.  I’d never tried it so in the spirit of opening up to new things, I made the chicken with walnuts and the broccoli rabe.


Two Weeks of Nutrisystem….

As I mentioned in my last post, I need to lose weight and I wanted to give Nutrisystem a try.  Since Walmart sells 5 day kits, I bought two of them….one was “regular” and the other was categorized “diabetic.”   After I bought them, I then decided to google them and see what the consensus was.  Not being able to find any recent reviews, I embarked on this taste test.

I was going to try each one and give you a run down on each meal, but that seemed a bit presumptuous.  Not even my husband cares about my opinion that much.

So overall the food wasn’t bad.  I wouldn’t consider it good, but if I didn’t enjoy cooking or I were a bad cook, I wouldn’t think twice about staying on the Nutrisystem diet.  But the truth is that I think I”m a pretty good cook and so does my husband and I felt pretty bad feeding him microwave meals just because I was doing a diet with prepared meals.

On the two weeks  I was on the diet, I lost about 5 pounds.  For the most part I didn’t feel hungry, but honestly, if I never see another clementine or another string cheese stick it will be too soon.

I don’t tend to eat breakfast or dessert so my husband was the recipient of those items.  He wasn’t fond of the Oreo-type cookies, but everything else he seemed to like.  I LOVED the chicken pot pie and the home-style chicken.  Most everything else was ok.  The cheese tortellini met an early death.  That was NOT good.

I’m glad I tried it and if you’re considering Nutrisystem it may be in your best interest to go to Walmart and get a 5 day kit and give it a try.  Some of the meals are good; some not so much.

Now that I’ve proven to myself that I can live off of “normal” portion sizes, I’m eager to continue on my weight loss journey.  I know I need something less restrictive than Nutrisystem but I also know that figuring the points for Weight Watchers isn’t quite for me.

I’m a fan of Cooking Light Magazine and have tried many of their meals and haven’t gotten a bad one yet.  They just happen to have a new Cooking Light Diet.  They come up with 7 days of meals (breakfast, lunch, supper and a snack) and you do the shopping and cooking.

I did the first supper of that diet tonight.  It was a Southwestern Salsa Burger.  It consisted of 90% lean ground beef, ground chipotle pepper, pepper jack cheese, and salsa.  It was really yummy.  It didn’t taste like “diet” food but the entire burger — including the bun — was only 328 calories.  What gave it away as diet food was that it was served with a salad instead of french fries.  Still at the end of the meal I was full and satisfied.  I felt naughty.

On the Road to Weight Loss

A couple years ago Jody and I bought an elliptical trainer used from one of his coworkers. It worked well enough, but my pet name for elliptical trainers has always been “death machine.” As you may guess, I’m not a fan. But Jody liked it and used it every other day and I was just more comfortable doing work-outs from OnDemand.

Sooner or later, though, the Death Machine started to sound like it was on death’s door itself. HORRIBLE squeaking. Finally it got so bad that even Jody wouldn’t use it — for which I was thankful because I sleep in the room next door and that screeching was hard to sleep through. The Death Machine became a place to, literally, hang your hat.

So a couple weeks ago, Groupon had a pretty good deal on a Hybrid Trainer. It was half recumbent bike and half Death Machine. It was a price we just couldn’t turn down — and it helped that I got 6% back through Ebates.  Man, I love Ebates! My plan, which so far I’ve followed, is to use the machine 3-4 times a week and to do some sort of weight training, probably kettle bells twice a week.

I grew up on the upper side of a “healthy” weight. I was never overweight as a child but I also wasn’t skinny. Then I got married, got divorced, and lost about 30 pounds in 30 days (not something I would recommend) when I was about 23 then I gained a bit of weight and I stayed about 108 pounds from about age 23 until about 43. Then I quit smoking. Need I say more? I quit smoking on August 1, 2007 – using the book The Easy Way to Quit Smoking by Alan Carr — and I gained weight. Then I gained a little bit more weight. Then a little more. And some more. Etc., etc., etc.

So here I am in February 2015 and I’m knocking on the door of 190 pounds after spending my entire adult life underweight. So I’m faced with the prospect of having to diet. Despite the fact that I quit smoking cold turkey using Alan Carr’s book, I have no willpower. How I made it through quitting smoking I have no clue. I guess I was just ready.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve half-heartedly attempted to watch what I eat, count calories, and lose weight with absolutely no success. My husband and I decided that, while we aren’t the best at “eating right” we generally do eat healthily. I cook just about everything from scratch. More than anything else our problem comes in when we consider portion size.

I can’t blame McDonald’s. I don’t want to blame fast food restaurants. Eating at them certainly didn’t help my waistline, but no one had a gun to my head. My love for McDonald’s and my overly generous portions at home of pasta, especially with cream sauces, helped me along.

I’ve tried Weight Watchers and I love that. But I didn’t exactly stay within the proper portion sizes so it didn’t really work for me.

So starting Monday I’m going on a test run of Nutrisystem. I bought two 5-day boxes of Nutrisystem meals at Walmart. So for five days I’m going to eat as Nutrisystem says I should. Then I’ll have the weekend during which I hope I will make good food choices and then another five days of Nutrisystem meals. This is my way trying it out. I’ve read a lot of reviews and I honestly don’t know who to believe. Some people raved that the food is great and others that it was horrible. You and I will find out together. Most of all I’m hoping to get a better grasp on the proper portion sizes. I know philosophically what they should look like but I want to live them.

If the food is good, or even not horrible, I’ll probably sign up for a couple months of the real thing. If it’s not good, I’m going to take away what I learned about portion sizes and about the composition of meals and try to do my own version of Nutrisystem with frozen meals by SmartOnes, Lean Cuisine, and Healthy Choice to reinforce the proper portion sizes while eating something that palatable.

So for the next two weeks you’ll probably hear a lot more about Nutrisystem that you really care to. I’m hoping that I can add to the information that’s out there about the quality of the food. I did a lot of googling and there were pages that claimed to be neutral but were obviously advertisements for Nutrisystem and there were those that claimed to be neutral but were obviously advertisements for Nutrisystem’s competitors. There are also some websites that seemed really honest but the data was from eight years ago or more.

I’m falling on the sword for all of us so please wish me luck.