Just a little thought...

Probably should mention at some point that I'm not a dietician, nutritionist, RN, rocket scientist, 3rd level blackbelt, or any other kind of expert.  Except in awesomeness, but that's a whole other blog.  Fact of the matter is, any advice I dole out involves stuff that worked or didn't work for me, and may or may not be right for you, gentle reader.  So, let's go ahead and agree that this is just a blog of my experiences and not in any way something that the Collective You should take as the correct action for your own weight loss.

Now that we all agree about that, let's get back to the fun stuff, mkay?



Jenny mentioned needing to be more aware of portion sizes.

One kind of awesome thing about the restaurant scene in the US of A is that the amount of food we get at most restaurants is often amazing for the price.  We can get a giant cheeseburger AND a mound of fries for $10 at just about every major chain (non-fast food), and probably just slightly less (or sometimes even MORE) for around the same price at a Mom and Pop.

But, just because we can get those giant piles of food doesn't mean that we should eat them.

One of the biggest things I'm learning is the importance of paying attention to how much I eat.

Por exemplo.  I haven't eaten cereal for quite a while.  During the week, I eat breakfast at work - usually an English Muffin with almond butter and some kind of fruit, plus coffee and often a yogurt (as I pointed out in the comments in this post).  During the weekend?  Well, I like to sleep in and my lunch is usually my breakfast.  :)  Lynda hates that.  ha.
Back to the cereal.  This past weekend marks the first time in a long time that I've had a bowl of cereal.  My favorite kind is good 'ol Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds.  LOVE that stuff.  Now that I'm all about paying attention to the nutrition of the stuff I'm eating, I looked at the serving size.  3/4 of a cup.  Not bad!  Until I put that 3/4 of a cup into my bowl.  Sad face.  Seriously, I probably ate at least 1.5 cups of cereal previously.  YIKES.  DOUBLE.  So, that means I was eating 340 calories before I even added the milk.  Not so great.

If we Google "portion control," we get "About 14,000,000 results."  Ummm...I don't have that kind of free time.  If you do, please call me.  I want someone to paint the trim in my house, and it sounds like you have plenty of time to do it.  SO, like all good searchers, I just clicked on the first link.  For me, it was the Mayo Clinic's Guide to portion control for weight loss.  A sweet slideshow of a bunch of different facts about portion sizes.  A few down was the WebMD portion size plate.  It's actually kind of awesome.  You click on one of the links with a food type in it, and it gives you a visual of several different items within that food group.  For example, a burrito should be about the size of your checkbook.  Who knew?  And not one of those checkbooks like my Nana used to have - the oversided for-old-people-so-they're-gynormous ones.  A regular old who-even-has-one-anymore checkbook.  Double bonus for the wallet and fridge-sized printable portion guides.  Nice work, WebMD!

The great thing about portion control is that, eventually, you just get it and you don't need to measure and weigh and be incredibly fastidius about it.  I've found, though, that once I get to that point, I have to take stock every once and a while and make sure I'm not blowing up my sizes again - since it's so easy to do.

Do you guys have any other portion-control tips?  Are there some common items you use to compare your food to that WebMD and the Mayo didn't feature?  Do share!



My sweet Skinny B is allowing me to post on her blog as well, as a way to keep us all encouraged! I won't pretend to be nearly as funny as Bex, but I will try and have my own moments!

Bex knows my love of the cooking, all things eating, and more than anything.....Bacon. Before I entered my current relationship with M, I was a bacon bystander. I loved a good BLT. Eggs with Bacon for breakfast - yum! I did a 6 month stint with the South Beach Diet in 03' and ate the shit out of some bacon. M has brought that love to a whole new level.

Now, this link is not healthy. It is crushingly bad for you. I bring you, The Bacon Explosion.

I had to create a Facebook photo album, titled, M& Bacon. As I work on my blogging skills, I'll figure out how to put the pictures in here...but FB friends can follow this link.
To top it off, we added a cream Gorgonzola Sauce. It.Was.Amazing. I fell in love with M and Bacon just a little bit more that day. However, the next day - Bacon Hangover. It can happen folks and it did. I couldn't get enough water and felt ooky all day. This was not a two person meal. Hell, I don't think it's a 40 person meal....

SOOOOO....Bex was sweet enough a year or so ago to get me a subscription to Eating Well, which has become part of my go to place to try and make better food with less Bacon Hangover.

A few issues ago, one of the gals wrote about going to MN and having Hot Dish. As we love our Hot Dish - both here and in WI - I knew this article was for me. M & I made the remake of the Tater Tot Hot Dish last week.

Folks, it was great! A bit of work - as you don't make a butter roux for thickening. Also, we added mushrooms. I would suggest that you caramelize the onions, add real garlic, and the mushrooms all at the start, before you add the ground beef. M did a stint as an Applebee's trainer in the kitchen and explained that this keeps the ground beef from sucking the life out of those flavors and lets them shine. Also, don't skimp on the Worcestershire! It makes a lot - he took some home, I took some to work and also found it was delicious for breakfast, with an egg on top. Most importantly - M loved it! AND THERE WAS NO BACON IN IT!

So, without further ado - Broccoli, Beef and Potato Hot Dish, courtesy of Eating Well, tested in the kitchen of Jill and M.




This is a Snackadium:

Well, I guess I should say that it's a VERSION of the Snackadium that the website "This is Why You're Fat" published on their site (warning:  don't go onto that website if you're concerned about being grossed out.  Some of the pieces of "food artistry" on there are pretty icky - for lack of better terminology...).  We made this bad boy for my birthday party a bit back.  Note the "B" in the center - clearly, that's my team logo.  Also, you can't really see it in this shot, but the endzones have "G" and "L" for "Green Bay" and "Losers" - the game was being played on my birthday (and, as I'm sure you know they WON).

Anyway.  This post isn't necessarily about this particular dish of awesome, so much as about party food in general.

In two weeks, GBP will be taking on the Who Cares; They're Gonna Lose at the Super Bowl.  Super Bowl parties are always a great place to have a good time with friends, watching the commercials (they'd better be better this year than in previous years...), and - you guessed it - snacking.

All the wight loss gurus will tell you the obvious:  eat before you come, chew gum, avoid the creamy foods, don't drink your calories, don't hover near the buffet.

Blah, blah, blah.

Don't get me wrong - those are all great nuggets.  They're just not always viable options.  Because come on.  Avoid the creamy foods?!  What ARE the creamy foods:  Artichoke dip?  Check.  Cheese-chili deliousness dip (we call it "Bastard Dip")?  Check.  Buffalo Chicken dip?  Check.  Dang, now I'm hungry.  The point is, you're often hard-pressed to find healthy alternatives to the dips and foods that are presented at these kinds of get-togethers.  PLUS, I don't know about you, but I love the hell out of all those dips.  Why should I have to avoid them just because I have a Tommy Boy-esque "weight problem"?

SO, here's MY favorite option.  Bring Droid.

The fabulous thing about having a smart phone like my Droid is that I can scamper over to allrecipes.com and, even if I don't know exactly what the dish-bringer put into it, I can get a pretty dang good idea.  A lot of recipes on that site have nutritional information, which helps me make more informed decisions about the kinds of creamy dips I'm shoving down my throat.  If I can get a general idea about how many calories I'm possibly taking in, it helps me to think a little bit more about whether or not it's REALLY worth it.  OR, if I can take less than the serving size of a higher calorie-and-fat dish.  Because, if I'm honest with myself in this little "gettin' skinny" venture, I can admit that I am willing to change much about my eating habits, but am NOT willing to completely restrict things that are less-than-perfectly-healthy.  That's a diet, not (as They say) a life change.

Also, I'll probably bring a veggie tray.  :)


Interesting figure I saw today...


Kids, I tell you what.  I was putting my hair up for my workout (kicking ass and taking names, in case you wondered...) when I glanced in the mirror.  I mean, at more than just me putting my hair up.

There's this strange thing that's showing up...I'm sort of getting a bit of a waist.  I mean, it's nothing to write about really, but for me (who's always been round) the idea of having something of a defined waist is fantastic.  These little love handles are slowly working their way off, and that's neat.  Makes it kinda worthwhile to keep eating healthfully and drag my developing booty onto that elliptical for some calorie burning.

Looking forward to the day when I can wear, you know, stuff that's made for people with actual waistlines.  I'm looking at you, adorable black dress that lives in my closet because nothing's hotter than looking like you've shoved several stuffed animals (probably bears, hippos, and dragons) into your dress.  Ooooo-wee!  Hott mama here.  ha.  ANYWAY.

For now, I'm going to pat myself on the back about this because just noticing that my lump-lumps are shifting is kind of fantastic.  A big boost.

Also, my butt is sore.  STRANGE.  But I like it.


This article bugs me.

A lot.

The article is a Web MD article about "melting belly fat."  Here's the link.

So, why does it bug me?  Because it COMPLETELY disregards the "apple" shape that many woman have (including this one, obviously...).  Unless I'm a menopausal woman, my fat accumulates in my hips, bum, and thighs?  Seriously?  I hope this person isn't an actual doctor.  If I look at this article just as it is, if I were a hypochondriac, I would probably start to worry about many things:  am I peri-menopausal??  Do I have an estrogren-level problem that results in my extra weight accumulating in my gut??  If I DO, does that mean that I'm going to have baby-having trouble when I get to that point????  Am I completely abnormal because of how my fat accumulates?

I think one thing that makes this article more troubling to me is the fact that it was sent out in a weekly newsletter I get from WebMD about weight loss.  How many other apple-shaped women are reading this article and worrying?


I'm eating a Rice Krispie treat.

Yeah, that's right.  And it's totally awesome.

BUT, I had an under-400-calorie lunch, so I'm good.

Behold the power of keeping an eye on calories throughout the rest of the day.

Pretty much, this is all I was going to write about.  Now, I shall enjoy my delicious treat.  The bite and a half that's left of it...


I did a bad, bad thing...

To break the fast this morning, I got a scrambled egg (loaded with Tabasco, natch), bacon, and had the usual English Muffin.  This time with a tiny little dollop of butter.  Almond butter doesn't really go with the rest of the breakfast.  Or does it...?

Anyway, I read just yesterday that participants in a study that had eaten an egg for breakfast ate 400 fewer calories all day than participants who didn't.

I am here to tell you that that little nugget of wisdom is caca.

No way.  I can't even tell you the last time I was as stinkin' hungry all damn day as I was today.  I had an apple before lunch.  I had chips WITH lunch.  I had an orange halfway through my afternoon.  I chewed gum.  I drank water.  I. Was. HUNGRY.

As usually happens in situations like this, I turned to the sugar.  Snickers Peanut Butter has become my Kryptonie.  They're two small squares of fun.  And 125 calories for a roughly 1" square - which is half the candy bar.  ...and I ate the whole thing.  Bugger.

Frankly, I blame it on the egg.

For the record, for a split second, I considered that maybe it had something to do with the fact that, last night, I busted ass working out.  I mean, one doesn't get all sweaty and painy and having-trouble-walking-y without some kind of benefit - like eating a Rice Krispie treat or Kryptonite.  Perhaps it turns out that my benefit is a slightly boosted metabolism that's ready to do some extra chowing to make up for the work I put into it?  Hmmm.  That's something to think about.

Or, it's a mean, mean trick.

I can tell you this much.  No more eggs.


Is it worth it?

Lemme work it!!! (3.7 points to the person who knows that song!)

Worked my booty tonight.  I did the math on it yesterday on my little food and activity log (more on that sometime later), and it told me some 600 calories were burned.  Personally, I think that little puppy was probably a smidge off, but I like it anyway.  SOLD!

The Plan:
  • 10 minutes of cardio.  My weapon of choice is the godforsaken elliptical.
    • To make it less "please kill me," I pop that "Shuffle All" button on the 'ol Droid, and hope that it picks upbeat music like the Black Eyed Peas, Venga Boys (NOT the "Venga Bus" however), Pussycat Dolls, Save Ferris, and today...Josh Groban.  The Droid wants what the Droid wants I guess.
    • I cover up the readout information so that I can't obsess about how long I've been on the machine.  Once I start to get "I'm gonna die" tired, I glance at it and see where we're at with time.  If it's at the 10-minute mark (or, if it's near I kick it down till I get there), I hop off and start Phase II...
  • A circuit through the Good Housekeeping workout to "Drop a Dress Size in 6 Weeks."
    • It cycles through 6 different strength training moves - from a modified lunge that works just about everything to a chest press - for 10-15 reps (or 30-60 seconds, depending on the move).
    • The idea is to get to a point where you can do one set of reps with ease, then move on to two sets (by about week three), then three sets (by week 5).
    • Do one workout not more than every 48 hours, with 20 minutes of cardio 4-6 days of the week as well.
  • Another 5-10 minutes of cardio (again with the godforsaken elliptical) to round things out and for a nice cool down.
  • My 4-6 days of the week alternate cardio?  Kettlenetics (TM).  It's a sort of modified, self-lead Kettlebell workout.  I've been doing this puppy off and on for probably the last 6 months (in the interest of full disclosure, I'll offer that it's been more "off" than "on"...), and it's still difficult to get all the way through the "regular" workout without feeling like someone's cutting off my air supply.  Despite the crushing feeling that I'm probably going to die before the 20-minute video is over, I love how strong I feel after I'm done.  You know, once I get feeling in my legs again.  :)
So, that's the 411 on what I'm doing in addition to logging my calories and foods eaten (again, more later).  How about everyone else?  How are you trying to work more exercise or just plain not-sitting-on-the-couch movement into your week?

Dream on!

That's right.  Comin' out with an Aerosmith right away.

Like Stevie T, I'm dreaming.  I'm dreaming of all the things I'm going to be able to do when I'm all kinds of skinny.  What I'm going to wear, where I'm going to do, how things will be different.

About 7 years ago, I was in college, working at a restaurant in the Mall.  I saw this shirt in The Gap that was SO stinkin' cute!  It had a bright yellow built-in tank top, and an asymetrical bright green t-shirt over the top.  One sleeve was tied to the tank; the other was an off-the-shoulder cap sleeve.  The only trouble with the shirt is that it was about a size small.  SO, I bought a two-blue-toned version of it in the bigger size.  Which I wore until it was too small.  I've had that green and gold number in my closet for SEVEN YEARS.

That shirt is currently hanging up outside my closet at home.  I look at it every morning.  Every morning, it reminds me that I still want to wear it, and I still want to get down to that size.

So, here are some other dreams that I have (in no particular order - time-wise or other):
  • To be able to run on the elliptical.  Not just jog, but RUN
  • To be able to JOG on the elliptical (gotta start somewhere...)
  • To be fit enough to snowboard again
  • To take more than one flight of stairs without getting out of breath
  • To look at myself in pictures and not be disappointed
  • To get completely out of the plus-size section
  • To wear that damn shirt!
  • To not be uncomfortable squishing into a backseat of a car with other people because of my size
  • To be able to get all the way through my kettleball video and not feel like I'm probably gonna die
  • To have kids and be able to chase after them and teach them to grow up healthy
  • To gain a booty from all the dang squats I'm doing!!
  • To teach my dog to run by my (new!!) bike, so that we can both get tons of activity
  • To wear the skirt I wore the first time I met my (now) in-laws (I LOVE that skirt...)
Those are just a couple of goals that I'm thinking of right now.  I'm going to have to revisit this list as time goes on, and (like my favorite list-maker, Sherry of younghouselove.com) cross things off as I accomplish them.  PS - consider the booty one half-crossed-off.  There's definitely more there than was there six months ago.  WHAT UP!?

Anyone out there have any dreams?  Anyone out there at all???  :)


It starts.

So, technically, it's not Day 1.

At the end of September/beginning of November, I went with Mom and Sister to Europe.  We went to Paris, several places in Germany, Salzburg, and Prague.  It was beautiful.  One of the best vacations I've ever been on.  We ate, walked, and drank our way through.  We also took roughly a million pictures.

It wasn't until we were back, and I was trying to figure out which pictures I wanted to print that reality smacked me in the face.  I was HUGE.  Okay.  Maybe not huge, but the snaps of me without a giant chin were few and far between.  I was really disappointed.  Crestfallen.  So disappointed that I still haven't actually printed out a single picture of our trip.

BUT, with disappointment came several other things.  Realization that something needed to change.  A windfall of weight lost on the trip - roughly 8 lbs (which is pretty amazing, considering that I shoveled kasespaetzel into my face not once.  Not even twice.  Three times.).  And then, most importantly, an opportunity for true change.

My workplace is fantastically pro-health.  This always used to annoy me.  Being one of maybe 10 fatties at work was something that bothered me every day.  In an entire building full of people, there are so few people who are heavy.  I'm sure the insurance company sees this as a fantastic thing.  But I'm pretty sure the 10 of us don't see it as a fantastic thing.  I can't be the only one who is embarrased and disappointed in myself for being in that less-than-elite group.

A few weeks after I was back fom the trip, riding high off my pride with almost 10 lbs lost, we got an email from a group in HR about a class that was being offered.  This was the second installment (the first was in the spring, and my two co-workers got all kinds of thin when they attended that one).  Encouraged by their successes in the first installment, I didn't hestate to join up.  I've proceeded to drop more weight.  I've learned how to do a better job of logging all my food.  I've learned that there are things that I can do - substitutions I can make - to continue my healthy journey.

With only a couple of classes left, I'm going to need more than just the ability to remind myself that I have to write down every piece of food that I eat.  I'm going to need more than the help of my fantastic husband.  I'm going to need a community.  They say it takes a village to raise a child.  I'm hoping that same village can help me on my quest to be a skinny b!

So, stick around.  Enjoy it.  I encourage you to share.  I WANT you to share.  Recipes, tips, words of encouragement, stories of success and failure - and how you overcame that failure.  I plan on sharing all that...it's only fair you do too!