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Blueberry Bran Muffins

A little healthy snack for those of you watching your calories at the start of the new year. Don’t we all have those 5 (cough!) – ok, 15 “Christmas cookie pounds” to lose? I certainly do. All my baking caught up with me this year. I modified this recipe so each muffin has a mere 100 calories – a perfect afternoon snack! And a terrific source of fiber. Did you know that women should be eating 25 grams of fiber daily? Men should be taking in 38 grams! Maybe let your guy have two of these muffins to help him along. They are moist and delicious – you wouldn’t even know how healthy they are if I didn’t tell you so.
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30 Day Shred – Day 12 Redo

I put it off almost all day. It was looming like a shadow as I decorated Christmas trees, danced to Jingle Bell Rock and generally had a holly, jolly time with my family. Finally, I could not avoid it any longer. The Shred.

I will not be taking another day off the remaining 18 days. After my “I’m-too-tired-to-face-Jillian” wuss out yesterday, today was like starting from scratch. I felt out of breath during the warm up. The WARM UP. I knew as soon as the first squat-rows started I was in big trouble. If it weren’t for knowing I’d have to admit it to all of you, I would have just turned off the DVD and gone back to my gorgeous burgundy and gold evergreen masterpiece in my living room. Seriously. You are all that kept me going.

I feel great now that I’ve completed it though. I feel back on track. Ready for the rest of the 30 days. I also feel totally and completely physically spent. Fantastic!

30 Day Shred – Day 7

One week down. What’s amazing to me is that with Jillian’s 30 Day Shred, the time I spent working out this week – the entire week – equals about the length of time I used to spend in two workouts at the gym. I wasn’t super careful about my food this week. Aside from trying to eat breakfast every day (mostly successful), I didn’t much change my eating. I had a girls night with my sisters where I ate junk and a lot of it – I also may have consumed some high calorie, zero nutrient, mucho alcoholic beverages that night. Perhaps. I ate pretty sensibly at lunch and dinner most of the week. But I enjoyed Pumpkin Eggnog Bread Pudding for dessert twice this week, and had a piece of Flourless Double Chocolate Truffle and a couple Zacharies during the course of the week. And I’m still down over 2 pounds.

Seriously? Working out only a little over two hours the whole week and I dropped that much? Now, two pounds may not seem like that much — but to me, that’s huge! Especially considering I would have to spend 10+ hours at the Y in a week and be pretty careful of my food intake in order to lose that kind of weight.  Also, I’m feeling a ton stronger already, I can see that my arms and shoulders are going to be really nicely defined by the end of this month. And my abs haven’t stopped hurting in a week. That’s gotta be a good sign! [Read more…]

30 Day Shred – Day 2

I’ve done many different workouts. I’ve trained for a half-marathon (didn’t actually get to the race, but that’s another story). I have spent countless hours at the gym doing various forms of cardio, weights, Zumba, Yoga, swimming – pretty much anything available.  My weight loss has been steady for the past few years. At one point, I’d lost a total of 70 pounds. However, since the Cabbage Soup Diet – I have been completely off track. My weight has started creeping back on. Right now, I’ve put back on 20 of the pounds I worked so hard to lose. I haven’t been to the gym regularly in about a month. And I’ve completely stopped caring what I shove down my throat for fuel. So, two days ago I decided to try something a little crazy. I decided to do Jillian’s 30 Day Shred.

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Cabbage Soup Diet – Recap

Ah, the wedding is over and it was a great party. Wonderful celebration with family and friends. The bride was GORGEOUS! And I fit into my dress perfectly!

Day 6

Beef and Veggies day. As much beef (or chicken) and vegetables as you want along with the soup.

I was down 12 pounds the morning of day 6. Which was more than I wanted to lose, and (I think) an absurd amount of weight to lose in only 6 days. So, instead of following the diet plan, I had a huge container of chopped up fruit that I snacked on all morning, had a bowl of soup for lunch (which was the last bowl of my batch) and went to dinner and ate pollo asada, beans, chips and some grilled veggies for dinner. I didn’t drink, while out with the gals because I knew I’d be doing that the next day at the wedding, and drinking basically makes my self-control with food go out the window.

Day 7 – Wedding Day

I knew I was not going to follow the cabbage soup diet plan on this day. I didn’t even try. Was down exactly my goal of 10 pounds in the morning (actually, 10 1/2) when I weighed myself before our 7:30am hair and makeup appointment. The day was filled with wedding festivities. Photos, dresses, makeup, hairspray, high heels, music, dancing, food (the reception food was AH-MAZING), drinks and more dancing. It was a great day.

Recap

So, here are my thoughts on the whole cabbage soup diet thing. It works. You follow the eating plan (which I did…to the letter) and you WILL lose weight. I started at 147.8 pounds. By the morning of the 6th day I was down to 135.7. I have no idea what I would have lost the last two days if I’d continued on the plan. As it is, after a wedding day and night of frivolity (aka: drinking), dancing, and eating (including wedding cake at 11pm and a McDonalds stop on the way home), I was still down over 9 pounds.

However, this diet is not a long-term solution at all. I was so happy to eat real food yesterday. I overindulged.  In just about everything. Today, I’m having huge cravings for all my favorite “bad foods” and it’s taking lot of self-control not to continue pigging out. I can totally see how this diet might actually be counter productive in the long run since after a week of fruit and veggies along with cabbage soup, absolutely every single other food sounds like 5 star cuisine. I want to eat cheese and bread by the bucketful today. Instead, I went to the gym this morning and am eating a healthy, well-balanced lunch (the best sandwich ever!) and dinner. My toe is totally healed so it’s back to my normal routine of weight maintenance – working out (hard) and eating right. Another drawback of this diet is that after dropping so much weight so fast, doing it the right way is going to seem even harder than it was before.  Switching back to maintaining my weight or maybe losing a pound or so is going to seem so lame coming off dropping 10 pounds in a week. I will say though. My lunch today was the best, most amazing turkey sandwich I’ve ever had.

 

"Real" Food - Turkey Sanny, Raspberries/Apple, Pretzels

 

I can’t say that I would recommend this diet really. You absolutely should not workout at all when doing it and probably should take a multivitamin while on it as well. I actually tried to do a vitamin the first day, but there was so little food in my stomach that the vitamin hit it like a piece of lead and it made me feel nauseated. I’m sure that’s not a good sign. I do see why people get so excited about this diet though. I felt incredibly skinny yesterday. I felt great and there’s no other way I can think of – not even with workouts and a low-calorie eating plan – I could have lost 12 pounds in 6 days.  I’ll have to wait a few days of normal eating and workouts to see how much of the weight I put back on as my muscle mass builds back up. Then I’ll know if this is a good plan for “jump starting” a diet/exercise regime, or if it truly is only useful to lose weight quickly for a specific event…expecting to put the pounds back on as soon as you’re done with your cabbage soup.

Cabbage Soup Diet – Day 1

So, obviously – this is not my standard type of recipe. Get ready for the justification.

I have always disliked the whole idea of the Cabbage Soup Diet. To me it seems terrible to basically starve yourself for a week. From what I hear, you always gain the weight back after you’ve finished your week of cabbage soup. So what’s the point? I think people should lose weight the old-fashioned way – exercise, and eat a balanced, healthy diet that has fewer calories in it than you are expending. But for a variety of reasons, I have reached a place today where I just made up a big pot of Cabbage Soup and have it simmering away on my stove top. Why?

1. My sister’s wedding is in 6 days.
2. I have been unable to work out the past three days because my baby toe is swollen and bruised. I no longer think it’s broken, but still can’t get it in a tennis shoe.
3. In the past three days I have gained 5 pounds.
4. I have zero expectation of being able to workout to my normal standards at all this week. In fact, I think I’ll be lucky to even get some time on a lame-o recumbent bike. Not working out is bad bad bad news for me.
5. If in fact #4 holds true for the week, I will probably be up 10 pounds by the wedding…and that’s thinking positively.
6. Drastic measures are in order.

Insert the Cabbage Soup Diet. I have a specific event in 6 days that I’m trying to stave off weight gain for. I’m totally fine if I gain the weight back afterward because I know that as soon as my toe stops being a pain (literally) I’ll be back in the gym and eating properly…which is the correct way to manage weight long-term. Unfortunately, I don’t have long-term. I have 6 days.

Now, given my previous outspoken disdain for the cabbage soup diet, I want to just eat my 20 bowls of soup this week privately and not deal with the ridicule I’m sure to get from others for doing this stupid thing. But that wouldn’t be very honest, would it? So – you all get to share in my week of cabbage. I made the soup this morning. I added two bay leaves, some fresh chopped thyme and 2 cloves of garlic to the standard recipe. I also used fresh mushrooms instead of canned ones…those things are nasty gross. The traditional recipe calls for bullion cubes, but I’m going to hold off on those until I’ve simmered it for about an hour – then I’ll taste it and decide if I need salt/pepper/additional spices.

So, here we go. Every day, I’ll be blogging about what I’m eating on this absurd diet. Starting now. Feel free to hit me with your objections. I’m sure they are all things I’ve said to other friends on this diet. Also, for those of you concerned that you won’t be getting any “real” food/goodies blogs this week. Never fear. I still have to feed my family, so I’ll still be cooking/baking. Which, kind of seems like willingly torturing myself, but I can’t exactly have my 4 year old eat cabbage soup for her birthday tomorrow, can I?

Cabbage Soup & Fruit

Day 1 – Fruit is the objective of the first day: Eat your cabbage soup with all the fruits that you want, except for bananas. Cranberry juice, unsweetened teas, or water are the only drinks that can be taken.

Good thing I stocked up on strawberries, kiwi, apples, oranges and blueberries this morning.

Cabbage Soup

–  1 large onion, diced

–  2 green onions, diced

–  2 large green bell peppers, diced

–  2 standard size cans of chopped tomatoes (I used the no salt added variety)

–  3 carrots, chopped

–  2 C fresh mushrooms, quartered

–  1 celery stalk, chopped

–  2 cloves of garlic, diced

–  Half of a cabbage head, chopped

–  1 pack “Lipton soup mix”

–  Salt and pepper, curry, parsley, garlic powder, curry, etc. for added flavor

1. Chop onions. Place the sliced onions in a saucepan and sauté the onions adding a little bit of cooking oil spray.

2. Prepare the green peppers by taking out the seeds and membrane. Chop the green pepper into small bite sized cubes then throw them in to the saucepan together with the sautéed onions.

3. Peel off the outside layers off the cabbage and cut the leaves into pieces roughly the same size as the peppers, then add them to continue sautéing.

4. Clean the carrots. Peel and chop them and add them to the saucepan also.

5. Keep the mushrooms a good size, you can cut them in halves or quarters before throwing them in to the saucepan too.

6. Add bay leaves, thyme and garlic.

7. Add about 12 cups of water and pour inside the pot. Turn the heat to low and let the soup simmer. A two-hour period is recommended to make the soup most effective. Add additional salt and pepper for taste.

Weighty Matters

One week ago I was a mere 6 pounds away from my goal weight. A goal I have been steadily working towards for two years. Actually, I guess it’s only been 15 months since I threw it all out the window the 9 months I was pregnant with my second child. I have spent as  much time as possible in muscle torturing, make Jillian Michaels proud, sweat inducing workouts. I have counted calories, weighed food and kept a journal of all that I put in my mouth. I tried many different “diet” things to lose weight. I drank half my weight (in ounces) of water daily. Which made me really have to pee a lot, but not much else. I ate plain chicken breasts for dinner. I even tried eating Lean Cuisines. Yuck. Finally I found something that worked well. I made food completely boring, meaning I spent about 6 months eating exactly the same thing pretty much every day for breakfast and lunch. Which gave me the freedom to eat just about whatever I wanted for dinner and still be within my allotted calories for the day.

I am 5 foot 3 and when I began this journey in January of 2008, I weighed 204 pounds. That weight was BEFORE I’d tacked on another thirty with my first pregnancy. After my daughter was born, I went right back to my “pre-pregnancy weight” which I thought was incredible, but in hindsight was just an excuse not to do anything about how heavy I’d become. [Read more…]

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