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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

1 Year 100 Pounds: Month 1 Weigh In

So, have you ever seen that Hallmark commercial where the mother gets one card for her daughter if she WINS the tournament and one card if she LOSES the tournament? Turns out, it’s the same card and mom is proud no matter what the outcome.  I truly feel that I will have support from Amber and the rest of my family no matter what happens at my weigh-in this morning. I am proud of the way I conducted myself over the last 31 days and feel that my true measurement ISN’T on those scales, but in my health and my life. 

That being said, let’s hit the scales.

OK! 13.5 pounds down for MONTH 1!

I am very pleased with this number. Although our “agreement” is 8 pounds per month, I felt as a drastic change “deserved” a drastic number. But the truth is, while grain free sounds drastic, it’s actually been quite easy.  The biggest change is in my appetite.  I am not craving any specific food and I’ve lost my ravenous hunger.  I’m easily satisfied with a deviled egg or two for breakfast and a great bowl of butternut squash for lunch.  Last night, we went out for dinner and I had nice salad, spinach and grilled salmon.  Voila.

I also believe that my mindset has changed this time around.  Weighing ONLY once a month will keep me from playing mind games with the scales.  I do have a lot to lose and reacting to little changes on the scales has not served me well.  AND the number on the scales is really just a symptom of what’s going on inside of me.  I know what to do and what to eat.  And when I faithfully follow the plan, everything else will fall into place.

I am so thankful that Amber did not give up on me and gently prodded and proposed as I decided what to do with my life.  I did come very close to bariatric surgery last year and simply could not/would not take the last step.  I’m also thankful for the support you, as her followers have showed to me.  I’m anxious to share this journey of One Year and One Hundred Pounds with you.

One month down, eleven to go!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

One Year and One Hundred Pounds

Misha dressed as a clown at my 4th birthday party
As many of you know, I have someone very close to me and I'm worried about her weight. I'm not worried about the size she wears, I'm worried about her health and happiness. And those things are struggling because of her weight. I feel like I have let her down. How can I be such a weight loss success story, and not even be able to help my sister stay on the plan? Meanwhile it turns out she feels she has let me down. She wrote several posts for me here before, but then over a year ago had a bad weekend completely fell off the wagon. Or she lept from the wagon screaming, on fire and running in the other direction...

When I met Nicole recently, I kept thinking this is what my sister could look like after losing her weight. I WANT to SEE her "After". If I could only do it for her, but I can't. If only I could talk her into a diet, but I can't. If only I could make her meals or shop for her, but I can't (she lives in Oklahoma, I live in California). But I can be a good example and encourage her. I can help her see that I struggle with the same food issues she does, and have overcome them (mostly). She has to want this for herself. Really, really want it.

So that is what I did, for many months. Dr. William Davis's Wheat Belly book really spoke to me and had a very powerful message that 100% backed up the Belly Fat Cure and the Fast Track. So I excitedly read her quotes from it and sent her a copy. I came up with this idea that by simply losing 8 lbs (8.2 to be exact) a month she could lose 100 pounds in a year. Gastric By-Pass couldn't offer results that good. We would concentrate on overall health and well being, not just the number on the scale. Because her health has declining. The number on the scale will be a bonus. And because the number on the scale has a very powerful hold on her psyche, she would weigh herself just once at the end of each month. I didn't bug her (much) but quietly talked about it with her whenever I had the chance.

She wants this for herself now, and she agreed! She started January 1st and she understands this is not a sprint, it's a marathon.  Every meal, every day, every week, every month. Month after month. That is how she will lose the weight. That is how I lost the weight. That is the secret.

I will let her tell the rest of this story as it unfolds... I asked her to share her story with us here. It's her story not mine. I'm simply a cheerleader on the sidelines. I'll try not to be a coach with a clipboard and whistle. I am SO so so proud of her. I'm nervous for her too, I want her to succeed.  I'm calling this series One Year and One Hundred Pounds.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

This one is for my husband

Sixteen years ago I walked down the aisle towards a man I honestly didn't know all that well. It was impulsive and silly to get married so quickly and we are so lucky that it has worked out.
When I married him I was thin and over the years I gained weight. A little bit at first and then a lot later. He never once criticized or demeaned me, although I did enough of that for both of us. When I cried or belly-ached over my weight and health issues he would make suggestions... none of which I followed. In fact I usually argued back how he "just couldn't understand" since he and his family don't have a pound to lose between them all.

Last year when I got to my goal weight, I went through my closet searching for some old "skinny clothes" to try on and see if they fit again. But it had been ten plus years and none were left. There in the very back was my wedding dress, so I tried it on - and it fit! I think it was a sign.
So thank you Fred, for sticking with me and for supporting me. For being there for me through thick and thin, through laughter and tears, through struggles and success. For just plain putting up with my shit. I am so grateful and thankful to have found you and taking that leap together. Because, it WAS a leap. As a grown woman who now knows you quite well, I'm glad I was impulsive and stupid sixteen years ago...

I also hope his mother has forgiven me for moving him thousands of miles from their home. As the mother of growing sons I cannot imagine my boys announcing they are about to marry a women on the other side of globe that I've never met... but then I may deserve just that. Hopefully I will have the same grace and trust in my sons that she did.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Recipe: Paleo Pizza Muffins

I finally came up with a recipe for Pizza Muffins or mini pizzas. I don't use almond flour, since I have a nut allergy and use coconut flour instead. With some a green vegetables on the side, these make a great lunch or dinner. They were surprisingly filling, even just one or two muffins.

Basically I just took my Coconut Pumpkin Muffins recipe and removed all the sweet stuff and added some savory.

Paleo Pizza Muffins
1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
pinch of Salt
1/2 Cup Butter or Coconut Oil melted (I used the oil)
4 Eggs
3/4 Cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 Cup (or more) Chopped Pepperoni Slices (or other meat pizza topping like sausage)
1/2 Cup (or more) Shredded Mozzarella

How To:
Mix together the oil, eggs and milk. Sift together the Coconut Flour, salt and baking powder into the wet ingredients. Fold in the pepperoni and cheese. Pour into greased muffin tins (no need for liner). They will rise a little, but not much, so fill accordingly. You could take a teaspoon or so of low sugar red sauce and at this point tuck it into the top of the muffin. Or leave the sauce for dipping later. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

These turned out really nice and savory, everything I wanted them to be! It made 9 muffins that lasted for several meals. It is filling on its own, but you really need your veggies with the meal too, so don't forget that. These are perfect for the Belly Fat Cure, Fast Track and any grain-free diet. When eating grain-free, which I have been for four months now, I feel much more creative in my cooking. I really do not miss the grains. Especially with meals like this.

The sauce is the highest sugar item on the menu, and I experimented with this two ways. First I just left it out and dipped my muffins in the sauce as I ate them. I also tried adding a heaping teaspoon to the muffin right before I put it in the oven. I ended up liking the second option best! I use Trader Joe's Three Cheese Marinara which is very low in sugar.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Wheat Belly and the Flaxseed Wraps

As I mentioned before, I LOVE Dr. William Davis's new book Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Belly. I have been grain-free for 4 months now! In fact one of my New Year's Resolutions is to be grain-free for a year. I was set to just do it for 2 months, but honestly at the end of that I didn't feel like adding grain back and had already been through the hardest part. So why not keep it up? (More on the 12 month challenge and how my Sister accepted it later! I'm too excited and don't want to jinx it..)

I really recommend picking up Wheat Belly, either from Amazon or your library (like I did, so more on that below). I made dozens of notes on little scraps of paper, and immediately wished I had my own copy. The first half the book really spoke to me and my food addictions, the second half I didn't enjoy quite as much. And I don't agree with 100% of what he says. I was very disappointed to see Dr. Davis allows Sucralose/Splenda (along with Stevia), basically as a sacrifice for the low sugar requirements. Boo, hiss. But I'm not adding that crap back. Aside from that, The Wheat Belly is a great companion guide to Jorge's Belly Fat Cure Fast Track, and even a little more flexible. Whether you are grain-free all the time, or just for the evening meal, it's a good read.

One recipe I really liked in the book were the Flaxseed Wraps. I changed the recipe a bit (just like Jeri over at Just Me and the BFC did) to get it just right for me. Thankfully, I but a huge bag of ground flaxseed from Costco and the Vegan Husband uses it all the time.

Here is my version of the Flax Wrap (8 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams sugar, 6 gram fiber for 0/1 S/C Value):
1 Egg
2 Tbs Water (more water will make it thinner)
3 Tbs Ground Flaxseed
pinch salt
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1Tbs melted Coconut Oil

How To:
Mix it all together. I made it just like a pancake/crepe in a skillet on the stovetop. You flip it when the bubbles form. The photo is the entire recipe, with a handful of blueberries and my coffee with cream and coconut oil. Very filling. The day before I topped them with Cream Cheese.

Depending on whether you want something sweeter or savory you could add: cinnamon, nutmeg and even stevia OR garlic powder and italian spices. I used them like pancakes/crepes and didn't add any of that stuff, but they could be used as Naan, a tortilla or flatbread. This last photo I used them as soft taco shells and they were pure perfection! I actually like these better than the coconut flour pancakes and crepes! Ground flax seed is a little easier to find and less expensive too. I get this giant bag at Costco for less than $7.

Here is a link to figure out how to checkout Kindle Books from your own local library though Amazon HERE. I've been doing it and love it! You don't need an actual Kindle, any iPod, iPad or Android phone or tablet with the Kindle App will do.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Recipe: Twice Baked Butternut Squash

 This is originally a Martha Stewart recipe I found via Pinterest, and I really love it. It is a little time consuming, so you will need to plan ahead. The left side is for my Vegan husband (minus the cheese and meat), right side for me. I also use a very large squash and make my half last for two meals. Sometimes it is the whole meal!

This is great for Jorge's Belly Fat Cure and the Fast Track or Paleo, since is it grain-free. The S/C Value really depends on the size of squash. It is a great winter meal that is savory and very filling!

Twice Baked Butternut Squash
1 Whole Large Butternut Squash
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1/4 Cup Favorite cheese - I use mozzarella, parmasan
1/2 tsp Black pepper
1 1/2 tsp Salt

How To:
Cut the squash in half legnth-wise and remove seeds. Place in pan and then fill the pan with water about half up the outside skin of the squash. I actually use hot water I've heated from my teapot to get process going. Bake at 450 for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, pour off the water.

Scoop out the soft insides, leaving enough around the edges so that the shell stays whole. Mix the scooped up insides with the sour cream, cheese, bacon and any other ingredients that sound good! Add back to the shell. Sprinkle the top with extra cheese and paprika. Lower the temp to 425 and bake for another 25 minutes.

These are just really good and I wanted to share them with you all! I served them at Thanksgiving too. I would recommend using small squash when serving guests as the presentation is prettier.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Reader Profile: Nicole Brower

Recently I met Nicole Brower, who is featured in Jorge Cruise's new Belly Fat Cure Quick Meals book (pg.5 and and the back cover). She is a beautiful 32 year old Mother of two and I thought she would be perfect for a Q&A, so we can all find out exactly how she lost her weight. Nicole and I had been "Internet friends" before we met, so I kind of knew her story. But in person, I literally found it hard to believe she had ever been overweight by any amount. She just looked TOO good!

So here are the questions I was dying to ask her, because her weight loss is incredible and we can all learn something from how she did it!

Q: First, how much did you lose and how long did it take?
Nicole: Ive now lost a total of 89 lbs and 17 1/2inches off my waist. I started BFC 6/1/10 and by 12/1/10  I was down 86lbs and 15 inches off my waist. 6 months was all!

Q: How often did you weight yourself?
Nicole: Everyday. I recorded my weight on the calender as well. Seeing the scale drop everyday was a lot of motivation to keep on going. To this day I still weigh everyday and record it.

Q: Was there an event or something that was the turning point for you, that made you really want to lose the weight.
Nicole: Ive always been into trying to lose weight, and to be healthy. I am (or was) the definition of a yo-yoer. I've had success numerous times on a few other weight loss plans and diet pills, but as soon as I lost, all the weight came back.

Right before I started BFC, I was outside with my sister who was reading the guidelines of the BFC to me and the type of things I would need to change in my diet..as I sat down in the lawn chair, I literally busted through the chair and to the ground.  I started bfc the next day!

Q: Can you tell us what a regular day of eating looks like for you? Everyone wants to know what you are eating!
Nicole: Right now I follow FT.. so breakfast is usually eggs with some cheese or some kinda of omelet w/cheese and green peppers. On a really rushed morning I will eat some cheese and almonds. I always have coffee, first thing. I use heavy whipping cream along with unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk.
if I have a snack I have celery with raw almond butter. Sometimes cream cheese or 25 raw almonds.

lunch: I will have a spring mix lettuce or spinach leaves with grilled chicken, avocado, olive oil and vinegar and a little bit of shredded cheese and black olives. I have do admit some days I don't have a lunch if I'm too full from my snack.

dinner: I eat a lot of grilled meats along with green veggies.  I love green peppers, zucchini, cucumbers and artichokes. I also have been eating a lot of stuffed mushrooms or jalapenos lately. I just put a mixture of cream cheese, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese with garlic, salt and pepper sprinkled with flax seeds. Sometimes i wrap in bacon..but not all the time! Sometimes I have red wine or chardonnay either while I'm making dinner, or after.

Q: What is the hardest part of the day for you food wise, and how do you get through it?
Nicole: Starting out, the hardest part was after dinner. In the past, I always told myself I had to eat some sort of dessert while watching my nightly t.v. shows. I usually ate a huge bowl of yogurt with granola and chocolate chips. I honestly didn't think that that was too bad.

So, instead of a dessert, I started having a glass of wine, or two. For me that did the trick.  I also discovered that when having wine, it completely kills the urge for me to want to snack.

Q: Do you have a favorite food?
Nicole: Steak. I love it.  I honestly like any kind of grilled meats, but steak is my favorite thing ever!

Q: What do you eat when you have a craving?
Nicole: I honestly have lost cravings. Sometimes if we have dark chocolate in the house, or think thin bars, I will take a bite. But those items can sit around for weeks before they're gone. I'd  much rather eat some brie with salami and some wine if i want something really satisfying.

Q: Do you exercise? If so what do you do?
Nicole: I do exercise. 6 days a week. I run 3-4 times a week at the gym, along with weights. The other 2 or 3 days I workout at home doing kettlebells, and I highly recommend them! Along with tracking my weight daily on the calender, I also put a star on the days i workout. Although, I always take Tuesdays off... it's just more satisfying to see all the stars at the end of the month.

Q: Are you BFC or FT or something in between?
Nicole: Right now I fast track. For my first 15 months I was BFC. I started FT in Sept. '11.  I Did the two week plan and then went back to BFC. I then start getting horrible headaches, so I decided to go back to fast track and my headaches completely went away. So i now have being doing FT since October, and I lost an additional 3lbs and 2 1/2 inches off my waist. Right now I love being grain free.

Q: What is your plan to keep it off?
Nicole: I plan to eat like this forever. Whether its FT or BFC. I love everything I'm able to eat, and for once in my life I have been able to maintain my weight loss. Ive now had all my weight off for 13 months, which I've never been able to do on other diets, and to me this is not a diet. I think most people in my life have now accepted this is the way I eat and no longer try to sabotage my ways. That is probably the hardest thing to get  past. There will be so many people who want try to get  you to take 'just one bite' or say you're 'small now, its ok', but it's not OK. I've made the commitment to myself to eliminate hidden sugars, HFCS, and artificial sweeteners. I don't ever want to put those poisons in my body again.

I'm just going to keep working out, eating right, and to remember this is the ONE thing I do for ME!

Thanks Nicole, there is some really great advice here that I plan on following myself! She also shared her Margarita recipe that fits the Belly Fat Cure HERE.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The End of Mom Jeans

I've cried in the dressing room many times. Every time I go shopping now I'm a little fearful I won't be able to pull the clothing over my hips. As I've mentioned before I have had to re-buy pretty much an entire wardrobe after losing 53 lbs, so that means a lot of shopping. I realize now I need to take my time to replace everything! When cooler weather finally hit Northern California and I broke out my new Fall wardrobe. I am thrilled with all the orange, brown and purple colors. Black was my favorite clothing color before, but I realize I need to change it up a little. The funny thing with aquiring all my clothing within a year, I'm pretty sure it will all be very dated. The colors and styles will all be stamped "2011". Wrap sweaters and boots are so comfy and fun this season!

My biggest purchase has been a nice pair of jeans. For the last many years I tended to buy cheap clothing. But I'd have to buy several things to find something that looked good and fit correctly. As soon as the Size 8 "fancy jeans" fit me, I got them. When I told my Husband how much they cost he was SHOCKED! He said "You know it costs $5 to make those?!" At the same time I went to the Gap and bought two pairs of jeans I kind of liked. Together they cost as much as the "fancy jeans" so I returned them and got the ones I really wanted.  No more Mom Jeans for me!

I ended up with AG (Adriano Goldschmied) Stevie jeans. The material is so nice, not like any jeans I've ever worn. They are a little stretchy, but not too much and don't lose their shape throughout the day. They come in different "ages", so you can buy the same jeans that look new, 4 years old, 7 years old, even 28 years old. Kind of cool! I see these jeans as an investment and I really love them! I spent too much on them, but look at it as an investment in me.
From size 14/16 to size 8
What are you waiting to buy at your goal weight?!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My Fitness Pal and the Belly Fat Cure

I believe it is crucial to track your carbohydrate and sugar intake on the Belly Fat Cure. The plan is designed around the concept of the S/C Value of 15/6. What does that mean?  The "S" stand for SUGAR grams and Jorge Cruise wants you to have no more than 15 grams of sugar per day. The "C" stands for CARB SERVINGS, which is a little more complicated. For a detailed explanation see THIS OLD POST.

Dawn (and her awesome BFC Blog at Dawn's Daily Chocolates) recommended My Fitness Pal as a way to track your S/C Values and I think it is a perfect fit! In fact I wish I had been using it ages ago! Instead I spent a ton of time making my own spreadsheet to do the work (ugh!). Hayhouse Publishing had a Belly Fat Cure iPhone App briefly on the market, but then pulled it the same week. I even spent time writing my own BFC App for Android and abandoned it out of frustration. But My Fitness Pal (MFP) is everything you need to keep track of you S/C Value, plus it is an excellent food diary and weight tracker. And big bonus, you can use it from your computer, iOS (iPhone, iPhone, iWhatever) or Android phone or tablet for free!

To setup MFP to help you track your BFC goals, you need to start with a little setup. After you have created your account (HERE), from the top menu choose: My Home: Goals: Change Goals: Custom. Here I changed my Carbohydrates to be 120grams, but I could only do so by making it be a percentage of my calories. MFP decided I should have 1200 calories a day, and I didn't argue with that, so 40% is the proper setting to get 120 grams. Then I changed my Fiber to be 25 grams and Sugar to be 15 grams and click CHANGE GOALS.

I really don't care what my calorie settings are, as I don't count or pay attention to them (honestly, I don't). But MFP seemed obsessed with it, so I worked with that!

Now you are ready to do your daily entries. I LOVE that everything under the sun is already in the database and other users have validated the nutritional values. I also love that with Quick Tools: Remember Meal I can save my own recipes very easily and save my common meals. For example, I made an entry called "Home Coffee" that consists of coffee, benefiber, heavy cream and coconut oil. I did the same thing for my Zucchini Lasagna and then when I have a portion I just use .25 of the recipe.

Here is a day from this week where I had a gathering where I knew I would be drinking, so I ate a little lighter than usual. I am currently doing the Belly Fat Cure Fast Track, where I don't actually need to track the S/C Values and my sugar and carbs are noticeably lower. I would usually have a light breakfast and no wine at all, so it's isn't a real typical day.

Here is a typical day of Belly Fat Cure tracking where I did count my S/C Values.
I think My Fitness Pal is a great fit with the Belly Fat Cure and allows you to track your food intake and S/C Values very easily! If you have tips on how to use MFP with the BFC, please let me know in the comments section.
If you have an Android phone, you can simply use a barcode app to scan this QR Code and get My Fitness Pal!