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Friday, August 30, 2013

Chicken Piccata

This is PERFECT served over coined squash and zucchini, roasted seasoned potatoes, or brown rice.... it doesn't have to be pasta!  YUMMY!

Chicken Piccata RecipeIngredients

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 ounces all-purpose flour, divided (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3/4 cup chicken broth, divided
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


1. Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Place 1 teaspoon flour in a small bowl, and place remaining flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle both sides of chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour in shallow dish; shake off excess.

2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan; sauté 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots to pan; sauté 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add wine; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook until liquid almost evaporates, stirring occasionally. Add 1/4 cup broth to reserved 1 teaspoon flour; stir until smooth. Add remaining 1/2 cup broth to pan; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half (about 5 minutes). Stir in flour mixture; cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, juice, and capers. Place 1 chicken breast half on each of 4 plates; top each serving with about 2 tablespoons sauce. Sprinkle each serving with about 2 teaspoons parsley.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

If You Always Do What You've Always Done... 4 month check in.

Well, here we are!  1/3 of the way through a year. Time to check in on the progress.  From the previous posts, you can see that I am really happy.  I feel a lot better! Here are the NEW, UPDATED PICTURES! 
4 months. Before and After.
I like this one.  My shirt sits lower on my hips now.
It doesn't slide up, plus you can see a huge difference
in my back.
This one isn't bad either.
I guess I can see a small change...
yes, the picture is flipped.  I was facing the wrong way this time.
Don't know what annoys me more, the flipped picture, or being faced
the other way.

There you have it.  I think I have seen a lot of changes.  I always feel like I should see MORE than I do.  But I'm sure that is natural, right? The one thing that I HAVE noticed is that as I shrink, my body looks disproportionate. time for the NUMBERS!

STARTING NUMBERS                                           
Height: 5"6
Weight: 257 lbs
Right Upper Arm 15" from bottom of my ear:  17 1/4"
Right Wrist-  7"
Right Thigh at middle finger:  28 3/4"
Chest:  43"
Waist:  46"
Hips:    54"

Height: 5"6
Weight: 243 lbs. DOWN 14lbs! 
Right Upper Arm 15" from bottom of my ear:  16.....DOWN 1.25" total
Right Wrist-  7"...same (not sure this wrists shrink???)
Right Thigh at middle finger:  27".....DOWN 1.75 total
Chest:  40"..... DOWN 3" total!
Waist:  43.5" ..DOWN 2.5" total
Hips:    52" .....DOWN 2" total

TOTAL INCHES LOST: 10.5"  !!!  That doesn't suck!
TOTAL POUNDS: 14 lbs! (It's worthy to note that most of this came off in the last MONTH since I started eating differently. CLICK HERE to see what I changed. If you have been following the blog, you will see that at my 1 and 2 month check-in, I had only lost a pound or two.)

I think I might have "beefed up" in some places, but I'm fine with that. The weight finally started to come down.  I think this was a combination of my changing the way I ate AND the fact that I stopped worrying about it. I also stopped weighing myself.  I have not weighed myself in forever (with the exception of the "cheat" that I did a few days ago to see where I would be when I posted today.)

The hardest thing about these past 4 months is that I have climbed mountains!  I have been up and down, trying to figure out what was best for me.  I had hard days, hard weeks, and hard MONTHS! In the end, I kept going though, and it shows!  I am now in a groove where I can say that I think the days of struggle are over. I'm not saying that I still won't have hard times, but I know how to deal with them SOOOO much better than I did before. Because of that, I see a brighter future! It is easy to maintain my hope and to pick myself back up again.

DO NOT let yourself fall into the spiraling pit of despair! Your looks DO NOT define you.  THAT is the #1 thing that I have learned. I am so much MORE than the way that I look.  How I FEEL means everything to me.

I used to think people were batty when they would tell me to focus on FEELING healthy.  How can you FEEL healthy?  Now I understand.  FEELING healthy means being happy, confident, and energetic.  It's smiling, playing, and being crazy sometimes. It's taking deep breaths, smelling the roses, and taking in moments. It's having fun, loving yourself, and letting others love you.

I never realized that I didn't feel those things until I STARTED to feel them. It's amazing, and SO easy to obtain....well, mostly. PLEASE, get healthy the RIGHT way. STOP telling yourself that you need a "jump start," or a pill, shake, program, book, DVD, or anything like that.  You need to commit and convert to a new you. Conversion takes time. It takes a friend, or two, or three, or hundreds of friends on a blog! It takes, understanding that there is no such thing as a quick conversion. You did not become the person that you are today in one day, week, month or year!  WHY would you be able to change that quickly? Accept that it will take time.  Lower your expectations on "how fast" things should happen.  And, just GO. Contact me. I will help you. I can share my experiences and do what I can to hold your hand. Ultimately, it is all in YOU though.

I am 4 months into this crazy hard, sometimes cool, always rewarding journey. I am seeing progress....REAL progress.

I've learned HOW to do this.  I've learned what works.  Now, I just have to continue to do it, and I will continue to see results. 

If you always do, what you've always done, you will always get, what you've always gotten. 

Well, I have changed what I ALWAYS DID.  Now, I am ALWAYS DOING something else.... and I like it better.

I need your support! Be sure to continue to follow me via blog, Facebook, Google+, or Twitter!  Click on the links off the side of the page to follow!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Most Poor Suckers Are Starving to Death (Part 4 of 4)


My favorite part about living this lifestyle is that I don't have to obsess with food, exercise, weight, etc. I just LIVE my life.  I eat the foods that I love. I DO fun things. I take the time to enjoy what I am doing. My mind is free from stress and worry and open to happier, more productive, things in life. 

There is SO.MUCH.MORE to life than counting calories, points, weighing food, portion sizes, and meetings. 

I love the movie/book "Auntie Mame" or "My Life With Auntie Mame." Mame Dennis is an eccentric lady with crazy ideals about life, happiness, education and every other thing on the planet.  She takes in her nephew, Author Patrick Dennis,  after her brother and his wife die.  The story follows both of their lives together and the impact that they had on one another. In both the movie and the book, she is quoted as saying:

"Live! Live! Live!... Life, is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!" 

These words ring true to me as I have spent most of my life "starving to death" both figuratively AND literally speaking!  I have WASTED too many of my youthful years worrying about my weight and practically starving myself to lose it! I have WASTED too much of my time focusing on these things rather than spending time with those that DO matter DOING fun, amazing, things together. I have not experienced activities and food the way that I believe they were meant to be enjoyed.  Instead, I cowered at the chance to swim at parties, hike with friends, and play sports at family events. I avoided pictures. I hid in my yoga pants and T-Shirt and watched movie after movie.... alone.  It's pretty much a miracle that met and dated my husband!  These habits continued after I married him, but this time, I brought him with me.  I whined every time he said "Let's go for a walk or a bike ride." I talked him into spending time with me, sitting on the couch, rather than go do things that he "used to " love such as snowboarding. I refuse to let my kids go through life without being adventurous. They will go hiking, camping, snowboarding (maybe,) swimming, and bike riding. They will learn how to run fast, play multiple sports, dive off a diving board, swim in the ocean, hunt for sea glass and take chances. I will teach them these things... as soon as I learn how myself. 

I no longer worry about what I look like. I only worry about how I FEEL. Am I hungry? Am I full? If food isn't the answer, what is? Am I having fun? What example do my kids see? 

My advice to you is to just STOP! STOP looking for the perfect diet, pill, program, plan, etc....STOP TALKING about your weight- especially in front of your kids.  They will hear you. They will listen. They will copy. They will learn. Decide now what you want them to learn. Instead, eat until you are satisfied, run, walk, play, swim, bike, have fun. Let your children hear you talk about how you are finished eating because you are not hungry anymore, NOT because that's all your calories allow. Let them hear you talk about how much fun you have EVERY DAY. Don't be afraid to be in pictures. 

Make amazing memories. Be happy. Be memorable. Smile.

Since starting to LIVE this way a week or so ago, I have lost weight (appx. 5 lbs or so, but I hardly ever weigh myself so I'm not exact on that,) I am more positive, happy, everything!  I don't count calories or points, I don't push myself in exercise, I don't weigh or measure my food, I don't take any pills or shakes.

I just live my life, paying more attention to my body and the signals it gives me. 

One year ago and today.... 

LIVE! LIVE! LIVE! Life, is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!

Click for Part 1- Eating
Click for Part 2- Exercise
Click for Part 3- Timing

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Most Poor Suckers Are Starving to Death (Part 3 of 4)

Timing is Everything!

Or, so they say. But I really think that stands true when we talk about living our lives.  Too often, we believe what OTHER people say about our bodies over what OUR BODIES say to us.  As a result, our brains tell our bodies to accept the diet food, small portions, pills, extreme workouts, whatever as "normal."  But in reality, I don't think that there really is such a thing as NORMAL.... for anything.  I mean, there is AVERAGE.  The AVERAGE amount of people may do best with a certain calorie restriction or exercise program, but I wouldn't say that qualifies it as NORMAL.  

NORMAL to me may be totally DIFFERENT and ABNORMAL for you.  Am I making sense?  That is why we need to pay attention to what our bodies have to say. I think there are TWO people that really know what is best for us.... contrary to their belief, our mothers are not one of them.  Nope, those two people are OURSELVES and OUR CREATOR.  Ok, so perhaps our mother could sort of qualify for that second slot, but I think you all know where I am going with that one. 

In my journey, I have looked a lot to my Heavenly Father for help and guidance.  I have read my scriptures in search of feasting upon the word of the Lord and gaining knowledge and insight into my own being. All of that has come to pass for me.  But it's funny that I never took the time to ponder and contemplate my OWN thoughts and feelings. I only looked for the opinions of others.  I spent time reading reviews of various weight loss supplements or programs.  I spent time reading the views of those that are vegan, vegetarian, paleo, primal, and raw.  I cared more about OTHERS and their opinions than I did about MY OWN opinion.  I knew that had to change. 

The first thing that I have a strong opinion about, actually came from my 8 year old.  HIS opinion, sparked a thought process in me that created a mindset. It started when he would NOT eat anything that I put in front of him.  He would tell me that he was not hungry, but then claim starvation 30 minutes later. He would tell me that he didn't FEEL like eating certain foods but "go to town" on other things that I put in front of him! This frustrated the CRAP out of me so much so, that I often told him "This is it!  You eat THIS, NOW, or you STARVE!" Sound familiar? By the way, THIS kid very often tells me that he's just "not a fan" of foods such as milk, chocolate, and broccoli.  I used to think he was crazy or that he was just trying to get out of eating what I gave him.  Then, LIGHTNING struck my brain!  (Not literally.) Perhaps HE was just better at listening to his body than I was. Maybe his body wasn't ready to eat when I wanted him to.

One day, he said, "Mom, I just wasn't hungry when you wanted me to eat, but I'm hungry now. Can I have my sandwich?" Again, lightning struck.  WHY SHOULD HE HAVE TO EAT WHEN I TELL HIM TO EAT?  What kind of habits does that create?  I mean, how ABSURD is it to think that everyone in the household will be hungry at the exact same time... when I make the food?  AND to add to that, what makes me think that they will be hungry for WHAT I am making.  

Not my kid.
This same child has been suffering from a stomach ache almost every night for what seems like eternity.  I thought that he might have a digestive system problem.  Perhaps Celiac, Gluten Intolerance or Lactose Intolerance. Just this week, I decided to let him eat WHAT he wanted, WHEN he wanted.   I gave him options such as cereal, toast, and such for breakfast. I had snacks available in the fridge. When it came time to "make a meal," I asked both of the boys, "What do you feel like eating for ...." Then, I gave them options.  Now, don't get me wrong, I didn't make totally separate meals.  NO WAY!  But, one kid said that he wanted eggs, the other wanted toast, We had egg salad sandwiches. During this trial period, I gave them options of fruits and veggies to eat with their food.  When they said they were hungry, I told them to go get their sandwich (or whatever food they wanted) out of the fridge, or get a snack out of the pantry. They ate what they wanted.  For the past week that we have been doing this, Minion #1 has not had a stomach ache, or head ache.  Turns out, you get a stomach ache when you don't eat because you weren't hungry when mom made lunch and had to "starve" till dinner. 

Now, both boys eat small little meals throughout the day. Good habit. They eat when they are hungry and satisfy the hunger. Good habit. We DO still eat meals together.  Dinner is the main meal that we eat together. For dinner, I make whatever I have planned on the menu.  I tell the boys early in the day what we are having. I think knowing ahead of time sends a message to their bodies that they will be fulfilling certain nutritional needs. (Quit rolling your eyes.  I'm serious. It's weird, but true.) If, when dinner time comes, they choose NOT to eat what I made, that's fine.  They can MAKE their OWN food and eat with us at the table. They still clean up their dishes. This little trick does well mostly because there are not any crap options in the house. I pretty much ONLY have healthy food, and all of the "special crap food" is hidden.  ANYWHO, it worked.  Needs were met, tummies were filled and NO ONE COMPLAINS! It's a Christmas Miracle!!!  In August. 

Obviously some parental guidance is necessary.  I obviously make sure that they get a well rounded diet food pyramid. I just don't make a huge deal about WHEN they eat.  If they are hungry before I make dinner, they can satisfy that hunger with snacks (unless dinner will be on the table in 20 minutes or so. At that point, they are probably hungry because of the external "smell" telling them that they are hungry.) But, in general, who am I to tell them WHEN they can be hungry! If they aren't hungry when dinner comes, then, I still make a little for them, leave it as leftovers, and they can eat it when they ARE hungry.

Look, eat when you are hungry. Let your family do the same. It's better than FORCING them to starve themselves until dinner because they have to wait, then binge eat because they were starving. It's also better than forcing them to eat when they AREN'T hungry, teaching them to over eat or eat an in appropriate times. Really , the only exception to this thus far, is ... if they are coming to me, hungry, and the meal is within 20-30 minutes of being finished.  

I haven't been doing this for a long time, and I'm sure that I will change, learn, and adapt more as I continue this way. But, I will say that so far, we are doing pretty well with this arrangement. Studies show that our brains actually PREPARE for the food that we are going to eat throughout the day.  For example, diabetics are told to actually inject insulin at least 15 minutes before eating what they were planning to eat.  Why? Well, once we decide what we are going to eat, our brain sends a signal to the rest of the body (pancreas included) that we are going to be receiving "X" nutrients.  The pancreas releases insulin in preparation for the food.  The goal is to prepare the body for what the brain thinks will be a sudden flood of glucose. The sweeter and sugarier the brain thinks the meal will be, the more insulin it stimulates the pancreas to release before the food even enters the mouth.
Merely waiting in line for food can ramp up the body's insulin system
Photo credit, flickr -Eleets121

This works on a broader scale as well. Have you ever been disappointed because you had your heart set on a certain type of food or meal and then you didn't have it?  Me too.  It's because our brain starts sending those signals the SECOND that you DECIDE that you are going to eat something.  It starts prepping. You don't crave the nutrients that meal will provide throughout the day because your body already knows that they are coming. Even if you decide in the morning what dinner will be, you won't crave those foods through out the day because your sub-conscious knows that need will be satisfied.   Therefore, now, I tell my boys at the beginning of the day what we are going to have for dinner.  Their brains prep for it. They look forward to it, and actually EAT it because they have been "craving" it all day.  Does that make sense?

As you read earlier, I pretty much do the same thing for exercise.  I exercise when I feel like exercising. I usually do my best workouts at around 8:30 am OR 11:00 am.  I am NOT a morning exerciser.  I would never get as much out of a 6:30am workout, however, I will say that now that I am in the exercising habit, I would still probably get up at 6:30 if it were my only options.  But, when I was first starting, there is no way that I could have done that and MAINTAINED that. I think that is why it is so important for us to pay attention to when we get the most out of our bodies. My kids follow the same pattern.  If they want to run and jump, I tell them to go outside and DO SO!  I admit, in the past, I have been guilty of telling them to "calm down," but WHY would I teach them to ignore the energy that they have and NOT go get some activity in.  That's crazy, right? I might as well say "Hey guys, I want you to be a couch potato, so none of this jumping and playing, calm down and sit on the couch!" Man, I have been such an idiot!

Ok.  Before I post the last section to my rant and experience, I want you to weigh in.  What are your thoughts about this whole thing? Can our bodies really tell us what they need? Have you ever tried this approach? Am I crazy?

Click for Part 1- Eating
Click for Part 2- Exercising
Click for Part 4- Live


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