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.

Wow. I didn’t think I’d have much for May. I also told myself to keep a list for the month. Wrong on both ends.

So, what have I been into this month?

Beauty and skin care

  • Makeup low-keyness. I kind of went low-key on the make up this month. Gave my skin a break. I had some makeup here and there…but not nearly every day..not even when I went to work…or even to church. Okay. I’ll admit, leaving it off sometimes was because I was running late or just didn’t feel like it. But I do think giving the skin a bit of a break is a good thing. However, thanks to the summer, I’m now in a darker shade of foundation. Yay! No more mixing colors for the more appropriate shade…at least not for the summer.
  • Skin care. I’ve been brutal to my skin; I’m a sucker for picking at and bursting white heads and pimples with my fingers. So, I now have some pretty awesome dark spots on my face. So, I’ve amped it up on intentional skin care. This month exfoliating – using an exfoliating pad – and applying a mask every other day has been added to the routine. I can be kind of lazy with skin care, but I don’t want my picking to be the demise of my otherwise appreciated skin.
  • Nail obsession, or not. Pedi. Yes. Mani. No. Believe it or not, I’ve only painted my fingernails once this month. The routine is a bit much…and not being able to do anything while the polish dries is not cool. Plus, if I do them too close to sleepy-bye time, they smudge during the night. Not a fan. Therefore, nails did not happen most of this month. However, a pedicure did. I went with a really pale color though. I wasn’t feeling the “summer” vibes yet. Now…I’m all about the bright colors. Hence, the awesome pink/red (e-nuf is e-nuf by Essie)  I have on nails and toes at the moment.
  • Lips. I’ve also added exfoliating my lips to the list of  “things I do for beauty.” I just use a toothbrush and extra virgin olive oil. You can thank her for the inspiration.

Spiritual

  • A  praying sista. I’ve been much more diligent with my prayers. It’s now something I kind of look forward too. I seriously thought about prayer as a chore…something I had to do because I was a Christian. And I get the fact that it’s a privilege. But nothing was really moving me. Then I realized I felt better one day after praying…so now I just kept on doing it. Like I said, I get a bit excited about praying. It truly is a place where I can just talk to God about anything…good, bad, and ugly and He just listens…and answers.
  • Funny prayer. “God, please don’t let me get mad simply because someone talks to me.” (Okay…I’m not that bad, but when I assume it’s something I don’t want to hear…or think that you’re going to destroy my peace, I do get a bit irritated.) #mylife

Guilty Pleasures

  • Drop Dead Diva. Been watching this on Netflix like it just came out or something. Combining the ditziness of Friends with a hint of Law and Order and wit, this show works for me. Three things I like in one. I guess it’s a three-fer. (haha) Who knew Lifetime could produce such an amazing show?
  • Dark chocolate. The Lord was good when he allowed this creation to grace the earth.Where has this been all my life. To think, I used to not like most chocolate. Well, that’s changed. Thanks, Eve.
  • World’s Strictest Parents. Yep. This British series that partners the epitome of every teen who should’ve had a couple more  spankings when they were younger with seemingly strict parents definitely caught my attention. I admit it. I’m a sucker for these types of shows. Though, it was to my delight to see how the new parents were keen on communication, relationships, and a focus on the future in addition to rules.
  • Diet food” from heaven. White rice cooked in garlic-infused water, ground beef, dark red kidney beans, kale. All together. DELICIOUS! Made it once on a whim. Made it again after I realized how yummy it was. BTW…myselfishexistence has a pretty awesome post about “diet food.” Hence the term, “diet food.” Now go read it.

Reading

  • Blog posts. And not even a lot of those this month. Can’t say much consistently had my attention.  Any recommendations?

Writing

  • Off my game. I’ve obviously been off my blogging game this month. Not a lot of true inspiration. Kind of a reflection of how I’ve been feeling about life this month. Just kinda blah and boring.

Thoughts

  • Race relations. This has been on my mind a lot from several different angles for the past few months.
  • Self-reflection. Areas of growth. Not the biggest fan of thinking about this, yet, I find myself assessing often.

Work

  • Buried alive. My nose has been buried in digital marketingness. Thank God for flexibility and the skill to learn and do…even if I do moan and complain about it. Guess I have to get better at that. Prayer point.

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.

 

Making the decision to take the firs step on your weight loss journey can be a hard one – mainly because it’s surrounded with a ton of excuses that keep you in mental jail. This leads to perpetual body image and self-esteem issues. And if there is anything that doesn’t feel good, it’s being in a self-imposed mental jail. And even though this post is focused on weight loss, being in a self-imposed mental jail can result from a ton of things – absent parents, lack of encouragement, bullies -pretty much anything leading up to you saying “I can’t.”

However, we have to know that we have the control. And not because we have control on our own, but the Bible has told us that we are victorious over ALL things. So it doesn’t matter what momma said, daddy said, grandma called you, or even your ex told you. You have the ability to be victorious. It’s up to you to claim your victory. This even means victory over weight issues.

I’m not saying your transformation will come like mine, but I will say that it can come if you remove the excuse and make the decision.

When it comes to taking that first step or even sticking to your program, whatever that may be, there are a ton of self-imposed walls you run into. If any of these sound like you and you’re suffering from a mental jail of not loving all things about yourself, it’s time to make a change. When it comes to weight loss, here are common excuses and my counter:

  • I’d have to give up XXX. No you don’t. You just have to limit how much of it you eat. I was a candy freak. I still eat candy. Just not nearly as much. I eat Burger King maybe weekly – just instead of a whopper junior and larger size fries, I eat a cheeseburger, value size fries, and a diet coke.
  • My mom cooks for me. If you have a job and are in an age range where you are permitted to cook, buy your own food and cook it.
  • My family isn’t going to want to make the changes. Cook one thing for your family and something else for yourself. Or make recipes you can portion off easily and just ensure you’re eating smaller portions and balanced meals.
  • I’ve tried healthy choices and they don’t work. Take a look at what you’re eating. Some things we think are healthy can be very fattening. (i.e. granola, smoothies, etc.) Try only all natural smoothies and even eliminate the yogurt, orange juice, etc.
  • I work my butt off. I’ve learned 80% of weight loss is about what you eat while the other 20%. I get it. After working out you’re super hungry. Have a low-fat snack around to stop that snack attack. I also have a friend who prepares meals at the beginning of the week. This way, when she’s done with her workout, she has food already waiting on her.
  • I don’t have money for a gym. Work out at home. When the weather permits, workout outside. Take a walk, jog, do hills at the local park, find a trail. Get a basketball hoop and play right in your own driveway. No hoop? Simply dribble for a while.
  • I don’t have workout equipment. Use what you have. Turn on some music and just dance. Dancing is a great workout. Plus you can do crunches, push ups, planks, lunges, squats, wall sits, jumping jacks and so much more right at your house. And if you have any workout videos, don’t forget to whip those out as well.
  • I don’t want to mess my hair up. If you have a relaxer and a wrap, tie it up and let it dry before unwrapping it. If you don’t have a relaxer, consider wearing braids or your natural hair texture. Or try putting it into a bun with a headband holding your edges down.
  • I don’t want to offend the people who cooked. Choose what you can off the menu, and respectfully say no to the other things. Maybe even explain why you’re saying no.
  • People bring treats into work all the time. They don’t force you to eat it. Pass it up. If you tell them why, and they still try to encourage you, stay strong. They’ll eventually understand.

Finally, DON’T CONSIDER IT GOING ON A DIET. If you do, expect the weight to return. It’s about healthy choices and a lifestyle change. However, just take it day by day and celebrate the small wins. There is no way I really thought I was going to lose as much as I did. Though, after seeing the success, I was and continued to stay encouraged.

I am in no way form or fashion a health freak. However, I am about making better choices and trying to be the best you possible.

“…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.

So, if you read my post, yesterday, I posted 2 words, 3 syllables. Today, I got on the scale for the second time since I began my journey, and guess what. I’ve lost a ton of weight. The last time I thought it was a fluke since I had weighed myself on 2 different scales. But today,  I got on the scale again, and I’m pleased to announce since the beginning of my journey, I’ve lost about 10 pounds. I am sooooooooo happy about this. I know people say that it’s not healthy to lose a lot of weight so quickly. However, I will say that I have loaded up on fruits as snacks and have even had animal crackers and pudding. Pudding like almost every night. It was my little treat for simply making it through the day. I even had a Burger King cheeseburger and value frie (14 points) on Saturday. So…. I guess the whole weight watchers thing does work. I won’t lie, I was super bitter yesterday – like ready to cry. And when you lose your keys and know you have something you can eat awaiting you at home – well I was ready to blow up. Anyway, I’m now on week 2 and guess I have a bit more hope in the program. Plus I had turkey sausage, a piece of toast, a cup of milk and fruits for “breakfast” since I didn’t get out of bed until after noon – thanks to my day off today. And I was full after I ate. I’m hungy again, but for a snacker like me, the good thing is that 25 pretzel sticks is only 1 point and 10 animal crackers is only 1point. Plus I look forward to my dinner which I think will include some sort of chicken breast or wing dings. (Last week, I even had a chicken thigh. Yesterday, I roast and a super tiny helping of chicken and dressing (and I mean super tiny). but the reality is, I’m doing this thing. Just thought I would give you an update since I was so bitter before.