** Amber's Belly Fat Cure Shopping List - Download or Print HERE **

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Time For a Change

Back in October I decided to start Jorge's Fast Track program again for a few weeks to get back to my goal weight. I had drifted up a few pounds. But a few weeks into it, I loved it so much that I decided to give a year. My sister is following Wheat Belly, which is basically the same thing (although she has sucralose/splenda on it) and I thought it would be a great way to support her too. Fast Track is a version of the Belly Fat Cure where we have no grains and legumes at all.

But for the last several weeks I have been floundering between meals, and clearly not eating enough during my meals. We have been doing a lot of entertaining, which means all sorts of kids snacks in the house. I thought I would be fine with it, like I have been ever since I started the Belly Fat Cure. But I wasn't. And I found myself binge eating disgusting kids desserts, that made me feel sick afterwards (honestly I wanted to throw up and was completely upset with myself). SO I decided it was time for a change. Clearly I am craving something and am not getting what I need at meal time. I am adding back grains.

Do I feel like a failure? Eh, a little bit. But it is way more important to be true to myself and maintain my weight than to stick to an arbitrary goal. Grain-free has been great for me... until it just wasn't. It is important to know when to make a change, when to switch things up a little bit. Was the problem just my will power and being lazy with meals? Possibly. I notice a pattern that I put on a little weight after each Half Marathon, but I really love doing and training for them. So I'm making a change, and switching things up. Something isn't working, so change it so it does work.

So I am back to doing strict Belly Fat Cure, just like the original blue book, and following an S/C Value of 15/6 max for the day and 5/2 max per meal. Truly I was always doing that, I just took away grains and legumes too. I am sticking to high fiber grains, making them really count. We have been going to and hosting tons of parties in May and I have not been as strict with my alcohol, so I need to really watch that this summer too.

I am also tracking on My Fitness Pal too, just to make sure I am right on track. I think every six months this is something I need to do. Get super strict, just like was doing the losing phase. No popcorn at the movies, no bites of that special gelato, not a single cookie... because the deal is I don't want a little, or a bite or just a single cookie. I want the whole tub of popcorn, the whole gelato, the whole row of cookies. Somewhere in my genes it is programmed - give her a little of those foods and she'll take it all! I'm just glad the same doesn't apply to alcohol, because it feels very similar to alcoholism but with certain foods. So here I am, relearning this lesson again. For the 3rd time? The 100th time? It doesn't matter, because I AM learning it. I am stopping myself and making a change! Maintenance is hard ya'll.

ps. We went to a Cinco de Mayo party and I was thrilled to wear an outfit that a. fit and b. was cute. I was dreaming of a white blazer with skinny jeans and a belt. I want to make sure this outfit fits me next year, and the next year and the year after that.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Product Review: Refine Cocktail Mixers

One thing I really miss on the Belly Fat Cure, or any low carb diet, is a nice cocktail. Cocktails are loaded with super sweet fruit juices or simple syrups so there are very few options. I've looked at the Sugar-Free mixer options and those marketed as lower calorie, and they have agave (high sugar content) or artificial sweeteners.  I was so excited to find Refine Mixer with it's All Natural - Zero Calories label and see it is sweetened with Stevia and Erythritol.

I'm  not a big drinker these days, but I am really looking forward to serving the Refine Mojitos this summer! Add in Club Soda (make sure it is also void of all sugar/carbs/artificial sweeteners) rum and a muddle a little mint and lime and you have a great summer cocktail! It is really refreshing and light, and nice change.

Refine has 10 grams of carbohydrates, all from the sugar alcohol (the Erythritol) and 0 sugar, for an S/C Value of 0/1 a drink.  They are carried nationwide at Safeway and CostPlus World Market. Click HERE to find it locally. Click HERE for a few other low carb/sugar cocktail ideas. Happy Summer!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What's In Your Omelet

Eating out and making the right choices on a low carb diet can be tough. But what about when you  know the choices, and resist the obvious high sugar/carb options? My sister recently pointed out that IHOP adds pancake batter to their omelets. That's right - they add wheat, carbs and sugar to their eggs for the omelet base. If you read the menu clearly it says:

"Made with a splash of our famous buttermilk and wheat pancake batter for extra fluffiness".

That means for a plain omelet, just eggs folded over one would think you, get 10 grams carbohydrates and 3 grams sugar. And that is before you ADD anything to your omelet. See below for details.

I remember having this problem at McDonalds on vacation and ordering an Iced Coffee, just wanting Coffee, cream and ice... it ended up having 45 grams of sugar. And NO it was not a Vanilla Latte or made with ice cream. It is some premade mixed drink actually, not brewed coffee at all. I returned it and ask for "a cup of actual coffee" and added half and half to it.

Always, no matter what, it is a good idea to ask for the nutritional information at a restaurant. Or be proactive and look it up online before you go. I've been shocked more than a few times when I check afterwards and that my simple salad was loaded with sugar.  For IHOP's full nutritional chart, click HERE and for McDonald's click HERE

Leave a comment if you've ever ordered food that you just knew was the right choice, but later discovered it was woefully NOT low carb/sugar. Sometimes you think you know the right choices, but it seems they change the game on you. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Weight of the Nation

Tonight I am watching Part 1 of a four part HBO special called Weight of the Nation. It's free online or through you cable provider in the On Demand menu, even if you don't have HBO. It is SHOCKING, really just shocking. The Husband and I are both typing away on the laptops, too busy to really pay attention... except we constantly stop, pause and replay (thank you Tivo) what was just said. It is so easy to get overwhelmed by it all. And also to start to think it's okay to be overweight, it's not really hurting anyone.

One of my biggest questions was "Why are Americans more overweight than Europeans?" My in laws all live in the Netherlands and we visit frequently. While not everyone is skinny, you almost never see an obese person and morbidly obese... well I don't actually think I've seen a morbidly obese person on my trips through out Europe. I don't know if this series will answer all these questions, I don't actually know if the show will agree with the Belly Fat Cure at all. I think it will, since the BFC questioned these questions for me. (They don't have all the sugar and artificial sweeteners in their food like we do) But I love how half way through a man says "It's not a matter of saying 'I want to or I'd like to'... it's what will be". And he is right... it is all about making up YOUR mind that you are going to make the changes you need to lose your weight.

You can watch it all HERE. Watch it. Don't let it upset you. Let it motivate you. Let it help you move on step closer to your goal weight. It's not about what size jeans you wear. It's about your health. Being around for you kids, really being there for them. And your grandkids. You can do this. You are doing this.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Busy Busy May

What is the deal with May? Everyone seems so busy, myself included. Way busier than usual. A lot of it has to do with school activities for the kids and the beautiful weather getting us out more. Today is the Hubby's birthday! I'm going to make the Carrot Cake from the Make it Paleo book. He is Vegan, but is mostly grain-free, sugar-free too. I was going to completely skip making a cake, but decided he was worth the effort ;-) This weekend the whole family is going indoor sky-diving for his gift. w00t!

In the midst of busyness I wanted to share some of what I have been eating. Ever since vacation (which I am still dreaming of) I may sneak in a grain food item here or there. Like last night, I made the kids Chicken Tacos and I just had their regular taco shells instead of making up the flax seed tacos I usually make. They are allowed on the Belly Fat Cure and I just did not have the energy or time to make anything else. But I'm 99.5% Grain-Free Paleo/Fast Track.

#1 biggest change for me lately is that I am getting my vegetables and fruit from a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). It is delivered to a nearby location once a week with whatever is ripe. It is all organic and from local (within 300 miles) farms. I'm not sure how this is going to work since after the first week, I still have tons of it left! The Hubby has said he wants us to have all organic now, and while I totally see his point (after years of disagreeing) I realized how difficult is to find the foods we need that week that are organic. I'd come home and say "We had to have apples for the kids lunch box, but the market did not have any organic, so I got these" and he would say "Next get something else instead". So this left me really frustrated and determined to find something that would work for our family... I'm still looking. My CSA is Freshness Farms and includes eggs and fresh made bread.

I made Bacon Wrapped Chicken and it was wonderful, the kids loved it too, even they initially they acted like they would not. They actually just picked it up and eat it with their fingers. I splurged for nitrate free bacon and LOVED this meal. I made Cheesy Broiled Cauliflower to go with it. My friend Anne turned me onto this dish, and its is really nice. Fresh or frozen cauliflower chopped up, grated sharp cheese and seasoning under the broiler until its browned and bubbly.

I also get my meat from a local CSA that is up in Sonoma, Marin Farms. The Vegan Hubby said "If you're going to eat all that meat, make sure it's the good meat". Okay. It's great stuff, comes fresh once a month with whatever was ready for slaughter. It could be beef, lamb or goat - but after WAY too much goat, I asked to remove goat from my order. I gave it a try, it was fine actually but didn't really fit into a regular meal plan for us....  One of the first things I noticed about this meat was that it smelled like, well, raw meat and, well, blood. My store bought meat smells like ammonia and sterile by comparison. At first it grossed me out, but then I realized Hey! This is fresh meat and SHOULD smell like it! I'm completely sold on the meat CSA, we've been doing it for many months now.

These are my meatballs, made without breading. Just meat, egg and spices mixed, rolled into balls and baked in the oven. They are so good and I love to serve them with Zucchini Noodles and Alfredo Sauce. One of my very favorite meals! The kids get regular noodles with meal.

I hope everyone is doing well and still working on their weight loss goals! Summer is right around the corner and makes for a great goal to fit into new clothing. Remember the secret to losing your weight is to eat EVERY MEAL, EVERY DAY like it counts. Don't give into cheating urges, make something allowed and yummy instead. The urge to cheat will pass....

Local Harvest lists CSA's all over the country, even in places you would not expect, in case this got your curious. This is not a sponsored post (I've never done a sponsored post) just my personal love of CSA's kind of took over here!

Friday, May 4, 2012

I Smell Zex and Candy

I'm a big fan of the comic xkcd and my husband forwarded this to me. This is how it often feels trying to explain to people how I lost my weight by reducing my sugar - they totally don't get it! The most common response is "Well, I don't really eat a lot of candy bars". Really, Um I didn't either. It's the sugar in your everyday food. The hidden sugars...

On a funny note, my blog was categorized by a major web security company as being a "ZEX" site.  Now I'm totally scared to even USE the word zex (minus the Z and add an S) because I think it will be miscategorized again :) Hilarious, except my blog was blocked at a lot of work places, libraries, airports, etc. It's fixed now, thankfully. 

I saw Jorge Cruise appeared on local San Diego TV recently. Here is a link if you'd like to check it out HERE. Said he was going to be on all week, so there should be more videos later. BTW I don't do any of these exercises of Jorge's. I do the Belly Fat Cure and Fast Track and I run (slowly), that is it.

I've been in a total funk lately, Vacation Withdrawal Depression. Is that a thing? Several people pointed out my problem is that I have not been running much the last few weeks. So it might actually be Running Withdrawal Depression? After getting a talk to from both my sisters, I put my running shoes back and on took to my very favorite trail. It kicked my ass for 8 miles, but that night I felt good and I slept good. This morning I was less sore, less cranky, less funky.

The Belly Fat Cure has always made my think of this Marcy's Playground song, but never more than this week! It's funky song, for a funky mood. Like Disco Lemonaide.... and Zex and Candy.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

1 Year 100 Pounds: Month 4 Weigh In

Well, after a hectic March, April was a great month for me! Physically (and probably mentally!) I’m probably 90% better. Hip, feet, ankles and heart are all in a better place. I tested out my Achilles a couple of times; I can still feel the tightness walking down stairs, but other than that, there is no pain there. So enough of this! How did the scales look this morning?

 Ok – 5.6 pounds down for April for a total of 34.8 pounds since 1/1/12! While I did miss my 8 pound monthly goal, I’m still on target to lose 100 pounds this year and have stayed faithful to my grain-free plan. I can honestly say, I have not knowingly ingested any wheat or other grains in the last 4 months. So what do I eat?

 I am following the Wheat Belly Diet. This plan is very easy. And once you get un-addicted to those blobby carbs, there is little to no craving. The plan is unlimited vegetables (except potatoes or corn), raw nuts & seeds, meats, eggs and cheese. I can use extra virgin olive oil & coconut oil. There are other foods that I can have in limited quantities like berries, rice, oats, potatoes, beans or tofu. But besides frozen blueberries, I have rarely had the others. I don’t like to measure or track, so staying away from these foods moves the scales more and keeps me on track.

I love eating out and since I’m a working mom and wife, the opportunity arises quite often. The best places to go? Surprisingly, for me, it’s Mexican! Friends and family ask how I can possibly swim thru a menu of enchiladas, chips and tacos and stay grain free. It’s simple – I eat my salsa – with a spoon; my guacamole on my salad. I usually get some version of fajitas. My fav lunch spot will add mushrooms to the mix and let me substitute rice and beans for a salad. Hamburger joints easily convert to bunless (remember no ketchup!). I enjoy mongolian barbeque where you go thru a raw meat/vegetable bar and add oils or sauces and they cook it on a big wok. I just have to stay away from any sugary sounding sauces and stick with what I know…and skip the noodles or rice. I like hot wings (unbreaded) and dry rub barbequed smoked meats (no bbq sauce). Steak houses are easy, but I usually end up ordering salmon. So yah, I do eat out often.

Chicken with mushrooms and salad
Bunless bacon cheeseburger with the works
But I DO love to cook. I usually make a pot of some great vegetable soup once a week and I’ll have that for lunch a couple days a week, or dinner. I love roasted butternut squash soup, but I’m the only one in the family who likes it and it does take some time. I make a great chicken and vegetable soup and no one misses the noodles. I sauté up onions, celery, carrots and add baked or poached chicken breasts to it and add some broth. When I serve it up, a tablespoon of cilantro and a couple dashes of low sodium soy sauce adds an unbelievable aroma to the bowl. I also make a great chili. My secret there is that I add spinach, carrots and celery to the broth (in my vitamix) and no one is the wiser! Lots of taste and nutrition. Baked chicken marinated in Caesar dressing with parmesan sprinkled on top is a quick and easy go-to meal. I do a lot with cauliflower – bake, sauté, mash, puree. I make a mean meatza with a thin meat “crust” with veggies and cheese on top.

 For breakfast – I tend to go lighter. I usually grab a handful of raw almonds or pecans and have a cup of coffee with a tablespoon of cream and a sugar free hazelnut syrup. Yes – on Wheat Belly, I can have splenda or stevia. I use stevia if I add it; splenda if it’s already in there. I usually have a snack of string cheese or nuts or sometimes ¼ cup of frozen blueberries when I get home.

 Enough about food.
Wanna Ride?
May is going to be a great month for me. Tonight, the hubby and I are headed downtown to see Van Halen. A month ago, my feet would not have taken me there. I’m 20 pounds away from riding on the back of same hubby’s new hog. I’m going to attempt walking around the block in the evenings. I bought new undies cuz the old ones no longer clung to me for their life. (tmi – I know). I’m less than 2 months away from a great California vacation on the beach and amusement parks. So I’ve got a lot coming up and a LOT of motivation. Will May be the month you stick to your plan? Now you’ve gotten me excited! Are you?

 Sister M
1 Year 100 Pounds is written by my sister Misha who is on a journey to lose 100 lbs this year. She started Jan. 1 with a goal to lose about 8 lbs a month. Her issues with weight are very different than mine, but I thought my readers could really relate to her and she can definitely use the support. You can follow her weigh-ins and full story HERE.