Mighty Mighty Brussels (Sprouts)!

Hey hey, it’s Food Friday.  Growing up, veggies were cooked in fatback or bacon grease, or eaten raw (carrots only, mind you), cooked in stews and rarely, steamed.  As a teenager, fresh vegetables meant having a side-salad!  I don’t think that anymore of course, but my limited exposure to vegetables in my youth has left a bit of a void in my grown-up diet.  So even though I’ve been trying to incorporate more veggies in our diet, it isn’t always easy because I don’t always know what to get or how to cook it.  Enter the Brussels sprout!

When I was in college, one of my roommates loved these things, and would buy the frozen ones in some kind of sauce, and microwave them.  I always thought they smelled terrible!  Like a football team’s worth of sweat socks and jock straps-from all season.  I swore I would never eat anything that smelled that bad.

But, it so happenedRoasted brussels sprouts the hubs and I went to one of the local casinos and stayed overnight.  We ate dinner at the buffet, and there were Brussels sprouts.  I decided to try them.  They actually looked cute, so tiny and bright green!  I put 3 on my plate, and O-M-G!  They were so delicious.  I decided I would have to look up some recipes so we could eat them at home.

For those of you unfamiliar with these delectable little gems, they are from the cabbage family, which is filled with other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, and cabbage.  Research suggests there is strong reason to believe these mighty veggies are cancer-fighters!

I would like to think that most people know vegetables are excellent ways to add fiber, vitamins, and minerals, not to mention they are low in calories, so you can really fill up on them.  Also, there are plenty of studies that show a vegetable rich diet can help prevent many medical maladies, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and some cancers.

But what makes Brussels sprouts a mighty veggie?  Not only are they high in vitamin C, they’re also pretty high in protein!  Although the protein doesn’t have all the amino acids of actual meat, when you add these little morsels to whole grains, you can have a complete meal.

These veggies are in season in fall and winter. If you want them fresh, buy them small, bright green, and in tight little buds.    The trick is not overcooking them, because that’s what makes them smelly and gross tasting.  They should be a little crisp when they are done.  There are a lot of recipes out there, and most will tell you to buy them fresh.   I have so far only bought them frozen because the fresh ones at my market looked a  little sad.  The recipe below is the most basic one I’ve found, but if you want to jazz it up, or are an adventurous cook, there are quite a few good recipes at Eating Well.

Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts 

1 1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts

3 tablespoons good olive oil

3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Fresh Brussels sprouts: cut off the brown ends and pull off yellow leaves. Put in bowl and mix with salt, oil, and pepper. Pour into baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes.  Every 5 minutes or so, take the pan and give it a shake so the sprouts brown evenly.

brussels sprouts This is the second bag I’ve bought.  I’m going to steam them and then add lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.

I can’t wait to eat them! Nom nom nom!  Maybe I should have bought 2 bags.  Then I wouldn’t have to share.  Hmmm.

Well, that’s all for now.  This has been an amazing week.  Thank you to all my new followers, you rock!  Enjoy your Easter weekend and please, step away from the dish of jelly beans!

Advertisements

Chocolate covered morsels from the devil.

I am so proud of myself!  I am half way through my 6 Day Express and even though I’ve struggled a bit, I’ve done it with practically no cheating.  3 days of a strict diet may not seem like a big deal, but to me it’s phenomenal.  This tells me that I can succeed, that I can do this, and I will win!

I say practically didn’t cheat because usually, I’ll get all gung-ho about starting some new meal plan, and then cheat my way through the whole thing.  I’ll still lose weight, and then for some reason (*snarf*), I’ll just go back to eating the way I was eating and eventually gain anything I lost.  Or, even worse, I’ll be so focused on what I can’t eat for a measly few days, I’ll fall of the wagon for one meal, which becomes 2, and then 3… you see my point.

I haven’t done that this time.  In a perfect world, I could live somewhere like the Biggest Loser Ranch for a week, maybe 2, and not have to deal with constant temptation.  But I don’t have that option.  I live with my husband and 2 boys, and not far from “well-meaning” relatives who keep sending home sweets with my husband when he takes his mom back to their place.

Friendly gesture or Sabotage?

Friendly gesture or Sabotage?

Yeah, that cake my SIL sent home the other night that I only had a tiny bite of, that was the only bit I had of it.  In my previous incarnation, I would have been sorely tempted, and maybe would have justified eating half.  Then I would have felt tremendous guilt, which might have translated to justifying continued off-plan eating for the rest of the week.

Yesterday afternoon,  when I went to pick up my mom-in-law, I could see they had the doors to their apartment open.  When mom got in the car, I could totally smell the deep-frying that had been going on.  Apparently SIL was making donuts.  When I got back home, I told my husband that he would most likely be bringing donuts home tonight.  He was all, “Whaaaa???”  And I was all, “I know, right?!”  Yeah, yeah, we’re a coupla budding Shakespeares.

We decided to go for one of our long walks instead of the gym, so we hit the road and we get to the street that their apartment is on.  Guess what we smell?  Yup, deep-fried something or other. Mind you, we’re about 1/4 mile from their place, but apparently downwind.  And guess what he brought home after he took his mom back: chocolate frosted donuts!  Yay! NOT.  Why is everything she makes covered in chocolate?  WTF to that.

At first I was pissed-I felt like this stupid heifer was deliberately trying to sabotage me.  I told the hubs to just throw the shit out.  I don’t know why this woman has to keep sending these little fat pills home.  But he said to keep them, the kids could have them, like they had the cakes.  I don’t want the kids eating them either.  If I’m not going to eat them because they are DEEP FRIED and coated in chocolate, neither should they.  Anyway, I think I was too wiped out from our 5 mi. jaunt that I couldn’t form a coherent argument, so I just let it go.  For now.  *insert evil laugh here*

I was starving later that night.  I desperately wanted to chow down on something, but I didn’t think twice about the donuts.  Hey, don’t get me wrong; I love donuts. But I don’t like chocolate frosted ones.  I know, I’m such a communist.   Anyway, even though it wasn’t on my plan, I had a cheesestick and a piece of lunchmeat, and I had a few bites of DH’s bean soup.  The soup had a little rice in it, but it settled the rumbling in my tummy.  Just making full disclosure!  The thing is, I didn’t feel like I was making a bad choice, or cheating, even if I wasn’t supposed to be eating so late.  I ate a little off plan, but the world didn’t end.  I got up this morning, made my Shakeology, and in another 20 minutes, I’ll be doing my first workout.

I am finally doing it, and I couldn’t be more excited or proud of myself for sticking with it.  Three days may seem like nothing to a lot of people, but it isn’t to me.  I have committed to love myself and respect myself enough to do what I need to do.  It makes me feel strong to say no to foods I know aren’t right for me right now.  I don’t think my fitness and weight loss goals have ever been more clear or obtainable before.  I can’t wait to face the next challenge.

Mirror, Mirror

I’m trying to be a good little blogger and post more regular-like because it helps me stay focused on my own goals of improving my fitness and building my business.  Today is Whiny Wednesday, not necessarily for bitching, but we all have those times when we just need to unload-we can’t all live in a Disney movie!

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection lately.  I didn’t have a particular question in mind, I just wanted to figure out more about the “why” of me.  You know, actions, reactions, processes.  That sort of thing.  I don’t have anything definitive, but I’ve gotten a better sense of myself.  I’m the kind of person that inwardly seeks perfection, yet on the outside, I give off a “I don’t give a shit” vibe.  I think that dichotomy has made me continuously miserable, so I’m trying to change that by trying to make the outside match the inside.

011Part of changing my outlook was to see myself as I really am, not how I want to be, or how I should be, but me.  Just me.  I’ve known for a long time that I have really low self-esteem.  There.  I said it.  I don’t know how it started, or why, but here I am, and I look in the mirror and I don’t like what I see.  I think about my day, and I don’t like what I did.  Not good enough, because inside, I’m striving for this almost unattainable level of perfection that is just not humanly possible.

Back in the day when I lived in Fairytale Land, I used to cut out pictures from Victoria’s Secret catalogs and post them on my mirror so I could “be inspired”.  What a crock of shit!  All it did was make me depressed because I think I knew I could never look like that.  Too skinny.  Too tall.  Too busty.  No matter how much weight I lose, I won’t look like that.  I’m short, and I’m stocky.  I have hips, for crying out loud!

But you know, back in high school, that kind of thing didn’t bother me.  I was comfortable with myself, and I knew I wasn’t Helen of Troy, but I didn’t think I was ugly, either.  But, somewhere along the line, I must have decided I wasn’t worth it, and just gave up on myself.

I think a lot of women-and men, too-can relate to that.  As a woman, who became a wife, and then a mother, I forgot where I fit in the grand scheme of my life.  Work, family, friends, all that took precedence over ME.  ME!  The most important part of MY life!  I forgot to make time for myself, and then when I realized it, thought, “oh, I’ll fix it later.”  And then later became tomorrow, became next week, and before I knew it, here I am, on my way to 40 (!), and I still haven’t put myself first.

Guess what? Later’s here, right now.  I’m done not liking the person in the mirror.  I’m done feeling sorry for myself and making excuses about not exercising or eating crap.  I’m determined to put myself first for once and see how the chips fall.  I have a plan, I have support, I have everything I need to change my life and my mindset.  I’ve discovered “perfect” is just perception, and I’m done trying to be perfect for other people.  I’m going to be perfect for me.

A.H.

 

 

I’m NOT on a diet, dammit!

Yes, I’m watching what I eat. Yes, I’m exercising. Yes, I’m following a specific food plan for the next 6 days. But that doesn’t mean I’m on a diet. Saying “I’m going on a diet” implies that at some point I will stop eating “healthy” and go back to the way I was eating. So, I’m NOT on a diet, dammit. I am making a move to change my life, inside and out.  I’ve always felt like my biggest obstacles in trying to lose weight has been making time for exercise.  But I’ve realized that it’s not really the exercise.  I like getting my sweat on!  Lately, with my husband wanting me to go to the gym with him, and someone to watch the kids while we workout, I realize I don’t have any reason not to bust my butt and do as much as I can while we are there.

This was my lunch one day last week.

This was my lunch one day last week.

I’ve made a lot of realizations in the last month-caution! serious self-reflection ahead!-and part of that is owning up to my shortcomings, recognizing them, and coming up with a plan to fix them.  One of the things that I’ve recognized is the fact that I don’t like being told I can’t have something.  It only makes me want whatever it is even more!  This especially applies to food.  I grew up in 2 households.  One, my grandparents, where foods were high in calories and fat, sugary snacks were abundant, and eating out was expected.  The other one I don’t really remember much-weird, I know, but I can’t remember what I ate as a kid when I lived with my mom other than it usually smelled like shit and garlic or rotten fish, or having stuff in the pantry that I didn’t like.

I would spend whole summers with my grandparents, traveling the country in their big RV, swimming in every swimming pool at every campground along the way.  Most of the time, my grandma cooked all the meals, but occasionally we would eat out somewhere special, like the time we ate at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.  But whenever I got back home, my mother would do nothing but criticize the fact that I had gained weight and that I was a black as a bear.  So I’m remembering all this as I’m trying to define my past relationship with food so I can change it for the future.  Right now, I say the definition in it’s most basic form might be: Food means comfort, family, and love in every greasy bite.  Family meals meant piling your plate with way more than you could eat, yet packing down every last morsel until attaining “food coma” status.

Now, I’m trying to redefine my relationship with food so it doesn’t just equal warm fuzzy feelings.  I like to cook, and I’m pretty darn good at it.  But my food has to mean more to me than just comfort.  My food has to mean fuel for my body, so I can build muscle to burn the fat, so I can be healthy and strong and a good role model for my kids.  In the beginning, I was despairing how I’ll never get to have my favorite foods anymore, and how I have to change my cooking style.  But that’s simply not true.  I’ve already changed a lot about the way we eat in the house by eliminating the processed junk and sticking with whole fruits and veggies.  I don’t fry our foods, and whenever I can, I swap ingredients for lower calorie ones.  It’s a slow and steady process, but I’m doing it.

And yet, I say again, I am not on a diet.  A diet is something you do temporarily.  I’m redefining how I see food and how I’ll eat for the rest of my life.  I’m trying not to use food as a reward or a bribe.  I’m trying to eat clean, every day.  I’m thinking about the long term effects of that piece of cake, or that cheeseburger.  Right now, the indulgence of eating those foods is not worth it to me.  Right now, those foods are not part of the 6-Day Express plan I am working.  Right now, I am trying to jump start the old metabolism and eating that shit isn’t going to be doing me any favors.

I have 5 more days on this particular plan (I started yesterday), and I admit it has been difficult.  During the day is not too hard, even though I’m home and making food for my 3 year old.  Last night was rough when we sat down to watch a little tv, and it seemed like every commercial was about food.  That was torture! Not to mention my lovely SIL sent home 4 delectable looking little cake things when he dropped his mom off.  Little Bit just ate the chocolate stuff and the fruit off the top of his, so DH finished it.  I had a little taste of the cake; it wasn’t great, so it wasn’t a hardship to pass on more than that taste.

These first days of starting something new are not going to be easy, and I didn’t expect them to be.  I’ve read that it takes somewhere around 21 days to start a new habit, or break an old one.  I know it will take longer to break a lifetime of poor eating habits, but there is no time like the present, and I am ready to fight for the body and the life that I want and deserve to have. 5 more days of this really strict phase, then I will go back to eating normally.  And by normally, I mean eating like I actually give 2 shits about what I’m putting in my body.

Know the Difference

Yeah, Yeah, I know. Totally been off the grid as far as posting and keeping up. But I did weigh-in and take my measurements on time. I admit my results are less than stellar. I’ve had a bit of backsliding in the last few weeks (you can read all about that little CF in my previous post), but I’m ready to get back in the saddle again. Usually, I’m ready to throw in the towel and wait till I could get over being a total failure. But then, I saw a post from one of my favorite Facebook pages, Fit Moms for Life, and that post reminded me:


I don’t think I ever saw it in these terms before. And I also recognized that in the past, I did decide my health wasn’t worth the effort. I would just throw up my hands, and despair that I would never be fit or healthy. I would QUIT. Just like that.

I had started wondering if that’s what I was doing here, but then I saw this little gem, and it sort of helped refocus me. I also attended a marketing webinar that made me consider the direction I am going as far as the business end of this. So, I made some decisions, and I’m getting back on track, one step at a time.

So, here are my pics and measurements for 60 days.

weight

218.5

Basic Measurements

  

Chest

45.25

R Arm

14

L Arm

14

Waist

45

Hips

49

R. Thigh

23.5

L. Thigh

23.5

Total

214.25

  

  

Body Fat %

44.00%

weight

224

Waist

45

wrist

6.75

Hip

49

calf

15.75

Forearm

11.25

Total

127.75

 

Well, yeah. It’s like that.

The last month and a half have been a real doozy. I haven’t been keeping up with my workout plan, and what’s more, haven’t really kept up with my nutrition like I should. But, I haven’t gained any weight back, and in fact continued to lose a few pounds despite the stress.

When I say that the last two weeks were the longest in my life, they were. There was a constant sense of anticipation, anxiety, and stress. But it is done now and I can go back to doing what I need to do. Did I really need that time? Probably not. Was I being an ostrich again? Maybe. Instead of feeling like a kid Christmas Eve, I felt like I was swimming in a sea of sharks a la Homer Simpson.

Forget the last two weeks. The last few months have tried the limits of my patience, my sanity, and my wallet. We have had my husband’s mother, brother, his wife, and their daughter living with us. We went from being a family of 4 to 8, still trying to buy groceries on one budget. Let me add that while my BIL had a job, he contributed hardly anything to household expenses, despite the fact he said he would.

I had my MIL and SIL in the kitchen, constantly. We shared cooking duties for the most part, and I didn’t have a problem with that. Except that THEY FRY ALMOST EVERYTHING! And God forbid there not be any bread at the table for dinner. After my husband and I decided to get in shape and stop being fat-asses, their cooking habits were a problem. This seemed like it escalated after my husband and I announced we were going on a “diet”. They started making homemade bread, and homemade, butter-filled crescents with Nutella in the middle or other sweets and fried goodies. If I or my husband asked them not to fry the foods, their reply was “well, that’s how it says to make it”, or my favorite, “that’s how we always make it”.

By this time of their stay, I had pretty much resigned myself to eating foods drowned in oil, and having to evade a minefield of tempting goodies every time I went into the kitchen. I had ceded control of the kitchen because for them, if dinner isn’t started by noon, they go into panic mode since everything has to be boiled, baked, or fried within an inch of its life. Also, I got tired of the complaints that my niece or SIL don’t like this, or don’t like that, or this is too spicy or this has beans in it.

But that’s all over now. I told my husband they needed to get their own place, and sooner rather than later, and within a month, they are now living in their own little apartment. I’m just hoping it’s not too late to recover financially (and physically) from this nut roll. We’ve been indulging a bit in our newfound freedom, but the hard work is just beginning. We’ve had about a month now, readjusting to just being “us”. That included having leftovers in the fridge, resuming noisy sex, and eating healthier.

So yeah, it’s like that. Sometimes, life does get in the way, and I have to take a step back. I was never far, and I was constantly thinking about what I was going to accomplish without these ungrateful assholes living in my house. I participated in a webinar that has helped focus me and made me think about what direction I should take in my Beachbody business. We also found out where our next duty station is, and I plan on being ready to rock-and-roll with a new lifestyle that balances fitness, family, and learning to love myself. And now, I feel the journey can truly begin.