Absolutely not. Today – well let’s add yesterday to the list – I just haven’t been in the mood for “good for you”, skinny food. I wanted some fried chicken from Great White Fish and Chicken and I. So I had some. And today, of all things, I wanted some Ramen.

I’ll admit, adding the packet of chicken flavoring didn’t sound pleasant, so I opted to add soy sauce and kale. It’s only okay. I’m really craving some junk food, and the chicken, shrimp, kale, veggies, carrots, thing is a bit overrated and boring. Okay…it’s not overrated, but it does get boring. Sometimes I just want something fried. I sigh.

Ahh well…I guess I’ll suck it up, sip on my green juice and hope I find some new dishes…or maybe someone who can cook for me. Who am I kidding, I’ll be the one slaving over the stove…or maybe, just maybe, I can find a joint that cooks healthy food. @MySelfishExistence, know of any places?

Well, anyhoo, until next time. Bon a petit.

Me and Ramen

I realized I talked a ton about my weight loss journey, but haven’t shown you all any before and after pics. How dare I? So here ya go.

BTW…here’s my list of food staples for keeping it off. (And the after picture is at Cracker Barrel. So, yes, I do eat real food.)

Before weight loss
Before weight loss
After weight loss
After weight loss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More of my weight-loss story here, here, here, and here.

I was getting sooooo bored with my food, so I decided to get a some new noms to put a twist on things. Today, I’ll let you in. (BTW…I’m bad at recipes. I cook by experiment. So, I’ll provide the ingredients and you can take it from there.)

IMG_2185

Servings: 1.5 – 2

Ingredients: 

Chicken cutlets

Rice noodles (pre-made)

Soy sauce

Frozen green peas

Fresh green beans

Red Chili Pepper Flakes

Chopped onions

Asian Seasoning

Prep & Cook:

Chicken:

Season with asian seasoning
In a skillet…sautee chicken cutlets until brown cooked on the outside,
then add a little water,
cover and let simmer until cooked all the way through

Everything else:

Mix soy sauce and water in bowl (or cup or something). I think I had more soy sauce than water.

Cut green beans into small pieces

Pour soy sauce/water mixture into skillet separate from skillet where chicken is cooking

(Maybe have skillet on medium or medium high)

Let simmer for a few minutes

Add frozen green peas (as many as you like) and like 3-5 mins

Then add green beans…let cook a bit more (2 mins if fresh, if frozen, add at same time as peas)

Add frozen onions

Be sure to move food around while sauteeing

Add rice noodles

Let all of it cook together for 2-5 mins

The finale

Add chicken to the skillet with everything else, mix together and it’s ready to serve.

I don’t know if you can tell by now…I’m thinking of doing a post a day for the month of June. However this girl is frequently distracted or just doesn’t feel like it. However, I may really try this time to simply break the bad habit of not committing. With that said, let’s jump into today’s post.

You may or may not know that about a year and a half ago, I began my weight loss journey. After losing about 40 pounds, I left the weight loss journey and entered the maintenance journey, which in my opinion may be a bit harder than the journey getting there. But the thought of going back is just not appealing. I’m glad for my accomplishment, and it truly is a plus to be able to maintain it. Definitely worth a pat on the back.

Many struggle with either losing the weight or keeping it off. So, I’m deciding to share with you my list of food staples and sometimes. (“Sometimes” are waist-friendly options I go to, but not nearly as often as my main staples.)

You’ll notice most of these items are quick grabs or easy to cook. This works well when you find you’re often on-the-go or don’t want to spend a ton of time cooking. As you look, you’ll also see there is no butter, margarine, milk, or cereal listed.

Top keys to success: BE CREATIVE & COOK OFTEN, WEIGH AND MEASURE EVERYTHING, EAT RAW, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE GRAB-AND-GO SOLUTIONS, DON’T BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF (SPLURGE SOMETIMES, BUT LET THE GOOD OPTIONS OUTWEIGH THE BAD)

Here’s the list.

  1. Baby carrots
  2. Apples
  3. Bananas
  4. Oranges
  5. Baby carrots
  6. Grapefruit
  7. Kale
  8. Pineapple
  9. Strawberries
  10. Raspberries
  11. Blueberries
  12. Beans (Kidney beans, pinto beans)
  13. Peaches
  14. Fruit cups (no sugar added)
  15. Extra lean ground beef (this is actually better for weight management than ground turkey)
  16. Ground sirloin (this is actually better for weight management than ground turkey)
  17. Oscar Meyer turkey bacon
  18. Peanut butter (try to limit to 1 Tbsp at a time)
  19. Honey
  20. Activia strawberry greek yogurt – light
  21. Protein powder – vanilla or strawberry
  22. Honey roasted almonds (1 tsp: 0 ww points. I found that to be about 5 almonds.)
  23. Snack Pack chocolate pudding (not the fat-free kind)
  24. Clif bars – peanut butter or chocolate fudge brownie (consumer in moderation)
  25. Jiffy Pop kettle corn (3 points per bag)
  26. Chicken cutlets (pre-cut chicken breast)
  27. Pre-cooked shrimp
  28. Unsweetened applesauce
  29. White rice
  30. Egg whites (especially when I eat our)
  31. Wheat bread
  32. Dark greens or baby spinach for salads
  33. Pasta (multiple varieties)
  34. Truvia or stevia in the raw
  35. White sugar
  36. Seasonings: lemon pepper, seasoned salt, garlic salt, onion powder
  37. Frank’s Red hot sauce
  38. A-1 steak sauce
  39. Tomato sauce and paste (winter – for homemade chili)
  40. Glory greens (turnip or collard)
  41. Progressive soups (winter – roasted chicken noodle, chicken and herb dumplings – look for the kinds that are 2 weight watchers points per serving)
  42. Saltine crackers (10 crackers: 3 ww points)
  43. Reduced-fat Mexican shredded cheese
  44. Extra Virgin Olive Oil cooking spray
  45. Turkey or Beef polish sausages
  46. Smart Ones Weight Watchers Pizza
  47. Crystal Light individual packets
  48. Flavored carbonated water
  49. Trident or Orbitz chewing gum (keeps snacking at bay)
  50. Ice (keeps snacking at bay)
  51. Chicken wings

Note: There is an array of meal, snacking, and drink variations that can be made from these options. So get creative and if these don’t work, I encourage you to find your list. Just don’t stop. You have to do what works for you to be successful.

Work

  • Travel. 2 business trips, which means 2 hotels, 8 times in airports, subway trips, and cab rides. The good: I’m becoming a pro at this travel thing, and I felt pretty accomplished being able to take the subway…and actually understand it on my own.
  • I’m a Mac girl. The slow PC did it to me. Since my job believes in BYOD (bring your own device), I’ve opted to use my Mac for work. Much faster and it weighs less. (Being a mobile worker, meaning my bag plays the role of my desk at times, this lighter weight is much more helpful.)
  • Google Drive. If I had a man, Google drive would be my mister. I spend a ridiculous amount of time on Google Drive, and being an MS Office power users, I was a little hesitant. It hasn’t been bad so far. Guess you can teach a girl new tricks.
  • Calendars, meetings and planning. Oh my. I’d like to give the Emmy to Google Spreadsheets for helping with project management
  • Yearly performance review. Grade: A. Okay. We really don’t get grades, but if there were a grade, I would receive an A. Almost two years in, and I’m still seen as an asset. I can’t say reviews have always been this way. Nice to be appreciated, seen as intelligent, and your work seen as beneficial.
  • WORKING HARD. PLAYING LESS. I’m definitely earning my pay.

Read. Watch. Listen.

  • My Selfish Existence. 1st because she’s my friend. 2nd because I like to stalk her life. 3rd because I adore her writing style.
  • This post on Life Doesn’t Knock. Anyone who suffers from depression can relate. The amount of transparency is astounding. Simply knowing that someone else “gets it” is comforting.
  • Come ye sinners, poor and needy. In this blog, where the tagline is “savoring the beauty of everyday,” the author looks forward to Easter as she writes about apathy toward everyday things. Not only was I drawn to the mood of the post, the comments were also attractive and relatable. Emotionally tired is an understatement some days. Apathy, or even hopelessness, can set in. The author’s way of “keeping it real” helped me once again I’m not on this journey alone.
  • Stand-up comedy. Anjelah Johnson got on my good side with 2 of her stand up shows on Netflix. I LOL’d in my house, and I found myself laughing for days to come.
  • Vines. I love to laugh and funny Vine compilations hit the spot. Who cares I was home alone when watching. It was fun-ty.
  • YouTube. These people > her, her, this family, him, and her < have been getting my YouTube attention. While I’m still into the beauty vloggers, watching the same stuff by the same people over and over again gets to be a bit too much for me. Whether it’s through humor, substance, or transparency, I find these YouTubers often adding some sort of value – though shallow it may be at times –  to my life.
  • Pandora. Stations I’ve been tuning into are Byron Cage, Tye Tribett, Michael Jackson, India Arie, Deborah Cox, and Hip Hop Road Trip. I like to feed my spirit with gospel music in the morning. In the afternoon, I use a little NeoSoul, R&B, Pop, and Hip Hop for support and  motivation.

Spiritual

  • Lumina Bible study tool. Wanna dig deeper into the Bible? I definitely recommend this app.
  • Mad at God. I was really struggling with being single; to the point I’d become bitter.  I saw this plan on the YouVersion and decided to dive in. 2 days into the plan, and I’d gotten to the root of my problem.

Food

  • Guilty pleasure. Peanut M&Ms. Delicious. I devoured a huge bag all by myself within a week.
  • Chicken chunks. I’ve recently rediscovered these pre-cut chicken breasts with thigh meat.  I sear them and then let them simmer to finish cooking for a quick, yet tasty meat solution. My Weight Watchers grade for this option: A.
  • Sweet potato fries. Though I suffered an injury, I successfully made them at home for the first time. They went well with said chicken chunks and work well with the Weight Watchers point system.
  • Lettuce wrap tacos. They were surprisingly delicious. Beef and salsa on top of romaine lettuce. Another winner for the Weight Watchers category.
  • Shrimp. Cooked the same way as I cook the chicken chunks with different seasonings and served with white rice and sugar. (Judge me if you like. My family has southern roots.)
  • Smart Ones Pizza. Pop these babies in the microwave
  • Activia Strawberry Greek Yogurt Light. Great snack. Even better since it’s only 1 Weight Watcher point.

Leisure and the Interwebs

  • Flute. I’ve wanted to pick the flute back up for a while now…so I did. Purchased it from amazon.com
  • I had a nasty breakup with Facebook. If you haven’t seen enough about this, you can read more here and here.
  • Twitter and I became reacquainted on a personal level. And I get why it get’s the approval of so many, yet, so many just don’t get it. It’s hard to “get it” in 140 characters or less. But that’s what makes it beautiful.
  • Pinterest. I’m just like the others. Food, home decor, and fashion. So typical. No apologies. *insert evil laugh*
  • Le blog. I’ve been writing a lot on life lately. I’ve also done a couple of Daily Post challenges. I’ve found blogging to be my happy place. It’s cathartic, gives me an opportunity to exhale, and pass on a bit of what I’ve learned.

Home

  • Office and bathroom makeover underway. Almost complete…but not. Typical me. But if you like the colors peach, light gray, dark gray, and white…you may like one or both of these rooms. One thing I’ve noticed is that I’m in a color rut. By the end of all my current makeovers, almost my entire house – excluding my basement – will be shades of coral, peach, orange, gray, turquoise, and white.
  • Cleaning. Shout out to my friends who made it okay to have someone help around the house. From folding laundry to cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, and spare bedroom, the young lady who helps me is awesome. Maybe I’m a bit lazy, but I’m excited this is one thing I don’t have to carry the burden of alone.

Piston the Pooch

  • Peeing and pooping. INDOORS. It’s generally my fault when she doesn’t go outdoors, but I have pads for her. One by the front door. One by the back. But nooooo. She prefers to go BY THE PADS. My floor and Meijer brand Swiffer wet pads and Meijer disinfectant wipes are now on a first name basis.
  • Less peeing and pooping indoors. I’d like to give a shout out to my Lord and Savior for better weather. I hated taking Piston out in the winter. Now that it’s warmer outside, it’s less of a chore…meaning she’s less apt to do her business inside.
  • Disobedient. When she blatantly ignored me, it was a sign that something had to give. After going to the Dog Whisperer’s website, I learned a thing or two; namely, go back to the basics. To the backyard we went, treats and food in tow. Sit, stay, slow, lay were all things we worked on. Rewards were given. And my friendly spray bottle is the firm hand of the law for when she disobeys or does something I don’t want her to do.

 

I’m not the one to make a boat load of resolutions. While I understand the good intentions, many become empty promises. 20140103-185644.jpgEveryone says they’re gonna lose weight or focus on themselves more or get more organized. They’re gonna be more positive, more diligent, and more [fill in the blank]. And it’s not that I think something is wrong with setting those kinds of goals. My issue is that resolutions are lofty goals where we give ourselves pasts on the back as we temporarily address the things that get us fed

New Year’s Resolutions are Stupid

But what if we thought about it as a lifestyle change? What if instead of a new year’s resolution, we said, this is how I’m going to live my life going forward…not just for this year, but from this point on (or until I’ve fulfilled this goal and move on to a new goal). I personally think “lifestyle changes” are more attainable and more realistic than new year’s resolutions, but maybe that’s because I get caught up on semantics. No longer would our goals be limited to a finite period of time (this year), but instead it’ll become an everyday way of life. Healthy choices and peaceful living becomes part of who you are and not just something you think about this year, dropping it for another set of goals next year.

So to rock your world, I’m gonna ask you to throw your list of new year’s resolutions away, and start over. What’s the one (or more) lifestyle change you’re willing to commit to.

In 2014:

  • I will actively pursue peace
  • I will apply scripture to my biggest fears
  • I will say goodbye to competition
  • Not only will these goals be worked on in 2014, but the effects will not be limited to this year. Instead they will become become part of who I am, part of my character.

    So I ask, what internal characteristics are you really shooting for? Peace, confidence, etc? When you have your answer to this, you’ll be on your way to making changes that have the potential to last for a lifetime.

    “…the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong” – Ecclesiastes 9:11 (Holy Bible, KJV)

    Here’s the story.

    Over the course of 2012, I tried MANY things to lose weight. (In fact, the journey of trying occurred for years.) In 2012, I tried a few different diet pills and even had some pretty diligent times at the gym. The diet pills were a flop and the gym had become pretty tedious. Plus I gotten to a point where I was feeling pretty comfortable. Not because I was losing weight. I just was in a relationship where I would rather spend time with my significant other than focused on weight.  So I said, hey. I’m not going to try to be so diligent at this. However, after going to my health assessment at work and seeing my weight, I realized I was NOT content. Shortly after that I decided to make a change…again.

    *Sigh* Here I was again, thinking of trying something new.

    One night, I logged onto my computer and eventually went to weightwathcers.com.

    I had a bit of hesitance. Meetings weren’t my thing, and as fiscally responsible (frugal) as I am at times, I was concerned about wasting money.  And if you know anything about my mental health issues, this is more than just a bit of concern. This can really trigger a bit of fear. “What if I don’t do it?” “What if I just waste money?” However, since the online program was affordable, I decided to try it – on a whim. And I did it.

    It took commitment and sacrifice

    Though the weight watchers journey started on a whim, I found it’s like anything else you want to succeed at. You have to find what works for you, and you have to commit to it. Often that commitment comes with some type of sacrifice. Eating less and changing what I ate was difficult at first.  I wanted to cry. I had attitude issues. I was like the lady on the Healthy Choice commercial who said she thought she hated the sound of children’s laughter, but realized she was just hungry. (Watch commercial below.) However, after I grew accustomed to the program, understanding how to get the most out of the point system what I could eat consistently and how to rethink my candy/snacking habit, things got a ton easier.

    Now here I stand close to 40 pounds lighter

    If I told you the road was easy, I would be lying. However, telling you that this journey was worth it is the absolute truth. I dropped sizes and have a higher appreciation for my body. I’m okay with looking in the mirror for the most part. And now that I’m at my maintenance stage (no longer in weight loss stage), I can enjoy more of the foods I had once given up.

    Be encouraged

    I know it’s hard, and there are times you may want to give up. That’s normal. Take time to celebrate your success along the journey. When food selections get boring, switch it up. And find a treat – your daily or weekly reward that won’t totally break your journey. And if you ever  do feel like you’ve eaten too much, just kick the exercise into gear (if you’re medically able). And remembered the words of my aunt who said if you have a bad day, you can always start again tomorrow. That’s what I do to this day. You can’t let that be an excuse for a ton of bad days, but it’s definitely helpful when it comes to “staying on the horse.”

    Can’t wait to hear about your journey. Don’t forget to leave success stories, struggles, and even words of advice below.

    Healthy Choice Commercial

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjayxnZBd4w?rel=0]

    The Torrid Lie

    Around late last year I discovered this store called Torrid, a store for plus-sized women. Their focus: instead of focusing on numbers, they changed the numbers of plus sized clothes. So if you were a size 12, you would be a size 0 and so on. While the intent seemed right, I find something ultimately wrong with this picture. I understand many women desire to wear smaller sizes and tend to focus and be discouraged by numbers. I get this. However, I also feel that lying to women with a sales goal is a tad immoral.

    The number didn’t change my REAL size

    When I first went into Torrid, I was encouraged. But then it hit me. The number on these clothes did not change my REAL size. And shopping in a plus-sized store was not an option for me. Never was. I have always shied away from plus-sized stores. And with Torrid, the clothes may be labeled a 0, 2 or whatever, but in reality, they are still a 12, 14, or 16. And putting on anything above what was considered past a size 0 was not my option.

    And this poses the question. Do we deter our brains from reality with false sizes? Is this healthy?

    I get it. Weight loss can be hard.

    There are many who have a hard time losing weight. I was one of those people. I worked my butt off in the gym, but if I didn’t stick with it or stick with a rigorous exercise program, weight loss was super hard. So I don’t want to discredit those who are trying or those who have general health factors making it harder to lose weight.

    It’s worth itKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

    With hypertension, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity linked so closely with death and other health issues being overweight is something that we can no longer ignore. In fact, here are some other things that may prompt you to think twice:

    • I recently read that high blood pressure can be a predetermining factor for Alzheimer’s
    • High blood pressure can also be linked to kidney failure. And watching my step-father go through dialysis (and it’s complications) for years, the question to ask is if a McDonald’s hamburger is really worth it.
    • This is not only an elderly issue
    • Being skinny is not the same thing as being healthy. Thin people also suffer from health issues such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

    It’s personal

    We watch too many of our family members and friends die of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. In fact, you may be the sufferer. And there are times where these things could be prevented or managed. However, it’s up to us.

    We have to make healthier choices – both for ourselves and others. We have to demonstrate and encourage healthy behaviors. These behaviors include both food choice and exercise. This doesn’t mean you have to totally have to give up the foods you love, but you may want to limit how much you eat and drink as well as frequency of indulgence.